“In the last few years I feel like God has been urging me towards a more modest feminine dress but I’m not sure what that is yet. I went through a short phase of wearing only skirts. But now that we are homesteading (garden, sheep, chickens, etc) skirts seem impractical, especially during tick season. What do you wear?”
I get this question a lot. Until now, I’ve always answered the query directly, but I’ve come to realize that for every lady out there asking, there are many more wondering how I apply this issue in my own life. I hate to bring it up, really, but it just breaks my heart to see so many agonizing over this choice and feeling sinful when they’ve heard or read that the godly way to dress is in skirts. God give me grace and help me give a response that glorifies Him because I’m afraid I’m going to rub a few of you the wrong way.
I’m a “Sola Scriptura” Christian. If you don’t know what that means, it’s a term from the Reformation that Christians use to say that their standard for faith and practice is God’s word ONLY. Nothing more, nothing less. In other words, if man started making rules to follow, we throw them to the wayside and only concern ourselves with God’s revealed will for man as found in the Holy Bible.
What do I see this meaning in regard to how I get dressed when I wake up in the morning?
3 things: 1.) Don’t cross-dress (Deuteronomy 22:5); 2.) Be modest (1st Timothy 2:9); and 3.) Don’t draw attention to yourself (1st Peter 3:3-4).
Are there other verses about clothing in the Bible? Sure. But I don’t think they are commandments, so much as comments. [Otherwise all of our clothes would be purple silk. (Proverbs 31:22)] And I’ve just gotta point out that the word translated as “modest” in 1st Timothy is translated as “good behavior” later in the very same book… Food for thought. (1st Samuel 16:7 comes to mind.)
So that’s my standard when I’m choosing what to wear. (That and the weather forecast.)
Man has gone and interjected a lot of opinion and logic into the subject to say that women must dress “as feminine as possible” so as to avoid the appearance of cross-dressing. And that even the door on the bathroom sign has a woman in a skirt so surely that must be our standard for clothing choices. (I don’t make this stuff up.) That our clothes should draw attention to our face and that is best done by covering neck to ankle. My friend told me that in one Amish group, the elbows have to be covered as the bent elbow looks like a breast and will cause men to lust?! Those of us who love the Lord Jesus and are overwhelmed with gratitude for His sacrifice will want to keep His commandments. We are eager to be “godly,” “virtuous,” “feminine,” “modest,” and an example of all of these things to our daughters. But we’ve got to make sure we’re eager to do it His way and embrace the liberty He has given us where He has given it to us. God doesn’t ask us to close our eyes, drop our finger on a timeline and dress like they did as my little daughters say, “back in then.” If that was the case, the only acceptable, Biblical, way to dress would be like the Jews did. But He didn’t give us a dress code that is applicable across all time and all cultures and all situations.
I believe that Christian women can look godly, modest, and distinctly feminine in our current culture regardless of whether they wear pants, skirts, cotton, or polyester.
(This is the most balanced and honest assessment of the subject of modesty & the “sinfulness” of wearing pants I have read.)
I have learned that there is nothing modest about a lifting a cattle panel in a long skirt, getting it stuck up on the end of the panel, lifting the skirt up, and flashing your whole family. There’s no responsible stewardship of your life when you have a bull charging you and you have to be quick at jumping that fence and your skirt is in the way, slowing your escape. There’s nothing feminine about a long skirt you can’t tuck into your boots and schlepping through mud and manure that clings to the hemline and wicks its way up higher and higher till somehow you’re knee-deep in 4 inches of “mud.” You can’t wear skirts in a foot of snow while breaking the ice in your stock tanks. Before long your skirt will be so wet & frozen you might as well be wearing shorts for all the protection a skirt will afford to your skin. Skirts worked fine for me when I was just gardening or tossing scratch to the chickens but having to manage livestock in waist-high pastures with the fear of getting ticks in my nether regions where I’m never going to see them or getting wild blackberry brambles whipping up into my skirt and cutting my legs is highly impractical.
During our morning devotions using this book, we’ve been discussing the conscience as we lead up to the topic of the moral law & the Ten Commandments. One of the points that we discussed was how while the Lord has given us a conscience to convict us of sin and point us in the right direction, our conscience is marred with sin just like the rest of us and will sometimes convict us to do things that God has not called us to do in His word. I used skirt-wearing as the perfect application of this topic.
So, rest assured, you will not find me binding your conscience that you ‘oughta be enduring all of those scenarios and more that I mentioned a moment ago so that you look as lady-like as you can in order to set the clearest distinction possible that you are not a man! Please buy yourself a pair of hot pink Muck boots to tuck your jeans into. Wear a shirt with a flower on it, comb your hair, pop one of these lovely, feminine, and headache-free clips in your hair to keep it out of your face, and put on some tinted lipgloss. Nobody is going to confuse you for a man.
Have you ever seen the movie Wives & Daughters? (It’s one of my favorites.) In it, the heroine dresses beautifully & modestly throughout in old-fashioned Victorian dress. That is, until the very last scene where she has gone to explore Africa with her new husband and she’s wearing a pair of khaki trousers and a white blouse. She still looks lovely and you certainly do not confuse her with the man standing at her side, but she is dressed very appropriately, practically, and safely as she serves her husband and helps him while he labors to take dominion over the field of science in a foreign land. That, my friends, is what I picture when I think of true biblical womanhood. And that is the picture I strive for as my husband and I work to fulfill our callings that the Lord has given us.