You have no idea how many blog posts i have started about this subject but have always hit the delete button. It's a subject that Marlin and i have talked about, prayed about and struggled with. Is there something like modest fashion? Or is fashion from the pit of hell? A tool to destroy our churches and weaken our witness? You decide, i'm just going to share our testimony, our walk and our thoughts. We are very much a work in progress and more than anything, i want to glorify Christ, not me, myself and i. So here goes.
I'm going to start waaaay back, back when i was a little Eastern Mennonite girl, dressed in plain, homemade dresses. I remember that navy dress. A very special dress, for on my little belt that ran around my waist were 4 little dark blue buttons that turned my dress from plain to "fancy." At least in my 6 year old mind. I was quite fashionable and i pitied the little girls in the church we visited that certain Sunday evening. They were uncool, their dresses drab and boring but mine? I was to be envied. So you see? Even in the most conservative of churches there is fashion, just on a different level, and even in the youngest child, that flesh is working. I think every woman longs to be beautiful, at least at one point in our life. We want to be noticed, to be thought special and to make matters even more interesting, God created women to love beautiful things. It's our love of beauty that makes a home cozy and pretty and it's our love of beauty that makes us want to dress in a beautiful way. Is that wrong? Don't ask me, get on your knees and start asking God. But i digress. Back to the little mennonite wanna' be fashion model.
Fast forward to my teen years. I was obsessed about clothing, in spite of the fact that by then little blue buttons did nothing for my self esteem. And the day i married? Let's just say i could've cared less what any church said, i was finally free to wear what i wanted. Phooey on authority. I was determined to finally be cool. I loved the mall and being fashionable was a high calling in my opinion. Little did i know the power of fashion in a woman's life and to be honest, i wouldn't cared if i had known. Of course i believed in being modest, at least when you went to church. But even that varied on what church you went to, and Tommy Hilfiger quickly became a sort of god in my life. And then i met the real God and my fashion world got rocked in a serious way. So now the battle began. Where was the line? I remember standing in the church basement one evening before services shortly after salvation, and being troubled by a young girl's fashionable skirt that was sporting slits up both sides. But i brushed it off, due to the fact that her parents were heavily involved in the church and i was just a young christian. Who am i to challenge anyone? We then moved to a fellowship that was quite a bit more conservative and i found myself slowly changing. I still believed you could be modest and fashionable, but God was working. The fashion god was slowly dying. And then we moved again, back to an area where there were many, many fashionable "conservative" christians and i was shocked at what was happening to the young people. And the hemlines. Yikes, i felt like handing blinders to my men and a housecoat to the women. I won't even talk about the thin tshirts they wore with the skirts. And when they're that thin? Even 10 of them wouldn't be enough, never mind 2! But the thing that bothered me more than anything was the little piece of lace on the top of their heads. Make up your mind people, choose you this day whom you shall serve. Was i becoming legalistic? Judgemental? I battled it and prayed and continually asked God to show me His heart. I wasn't interested in becoming pious or super-spiritual, but i was sickened at what i was seeing. I'd look at my little girl and be saddened at the thought of men checking out her body in a hip hugging denim skirt and fitted shirt. Modest? Maybe, if you're skinny enough. But is that true modesty? And then i'd watch a young mennonite girl in a "fashionable" cape dress, and i didn't feel much better, but i wasn't sure why. Remember what i said about fashion even among conservative mennonites?
So then we moved again. Yup, i'm REAL good at packing but i've never regretted a single move. God is good and banana boxes are a blessing. And through the move I found myself probing deeper into my heart. "God? What is YOUR heart? Am i focusing on something you don't even care about? Is fashion a non issue?" Why, when i'd see people that were totally not fashionable 5 years ago but now are way cool, why did i feel bothered? Why did there seem to be a sweet innocence missing? Does God want me to dress drab, colorless? What about bright bold colors? Which, by the way, i LOVE. I love red. And orange. Lime? LOVE IT! Bright pink? O yeah! But why was there a check in my spirit when i'd put something like that on? It's like putting on a blinking sign. LOOK AT ME!!! LOOK AT ME!!!! I'm beautiful, worth noticing. And in talking to Marlin, i started to ask myself questions. Questions about where fashion comes from and who dictates it. God? The Holy Spirit? Um, let me think. Nope. Mini skirts and halter tops aren't exactly conducive to the "meek and mild" spirit God finds so precious. I think we'd all agree that fashion like that is from the pit soooo..........maybe if you only wear what's fashionable in the church you'll be ok? As long as it's considered modest? Maybe it's the Holy Spirit behind the fitted dresses (cape or not), the high heeled sandals, the cute shirts that tie right under the breasts? So ok, we won't wear things like that, we'll leave that to the renegades but that still doesn't answer the question. Can you be modest and fashionable? If we keep our skirts longer and our shirts looser, we can still be fashionable, right? To be admired for being both modest AND fashionable. But wait, if fashion stems from satan, does that mean it might affect the church? Could satan be having an open door into our very homes through the wives and children? If i dress my daughter in a modest but fashionable outfit, could i actually be buying into a lie that it doesn't matter, as long as she's decently clothed? Can true modesty and fashion walk hand in hand? Or, my friends, is there a spirit that comes along with fashion, a spirit that we would run from if we saw it for what it is? A spirit so deceptive and so smooth, that it is blinding our very eyes, rendering us powerless in our churches. We become desensitized and it becomes normal until one day we wake up and our grandchildren don't even bother with the modest part. So how about you answer the question. For yourself, for your family, and for your future generations.