New to forum - struggling and need advice

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by mommy25, Jul 16, 2011.

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  1. mommy25

    mommy25
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    Background: I am a homeschool mom of 5 - 4 girls and 1 boy. My husband and I were saved 13 years ago in a huge non-denomonational Christian church. We left there after attending several years. This began our journey with baptist churches. The first one we stayed at for 3 yrs only to learn they were very grounded in Calvinism. After studying about that we decided that we couldn't support that. So since then we have been visiting various independent baptist churches.

    One church in particular we stayed at for 4 mos. This was my first exposure to "women only wearing skirts and dresses." It was a bit much at first but I began to wear them and required my girls to as well. Overall it was good as it helped me to address the modesty issue which I had had issues with. I was struggling with how some of my Christian friends and my girls' friends were dressing. So this helped me to reinforce this issue with my kids. But I started wearing them out of respect for the people in this church, not out of personal conviction.

    My issue is that I don't have anything against wearing skirts/dresses; I like to wear them. But does this mean I can't ever wear pants?

    I have been reading/researching this topic for a while now. I have read all kinds of things on both ends of the spectrum. I guess the main scripture referenced is Deut. 22:7. But after looking at that and studying it along with others in the old testament, I am not convinced.

    There are 2 things that I am going over in my mind:
    1) 1 Tim 2:9 (?) speaks of women wearing "modest apparel." The greek word for apparel is katastole, which defined means a lowering, letting down
    a garment let down, dress, attire. So some say, "see that means you need to wear a dress or skirt." But others have said that pants are also "let down." etc. But for me, modesty is the issue here. One should not wear short shorts, halter tops etc. We need to cover our bodies and make sure that our clothes are not tight and revealing. But maybe I'm wrong?? I guess it is because God has not said, "thou shalt only wear a robe" or "thou shalt only wear a dress." I do not want to get into legalism with this. The other issue with this is with my older 2 girls, 13 and 15. They were not raised to only wear skirts/dresses. They are willing to do it for church and other gatherings, but to HAVE to wear them all of the time is where the struggle comes in. It creates bitterness and anger in my home.
    2) Women only wore dresses/skirts until 50 yrs ago. So this tells me that it is definitely a cultural thing...BUT it is the culture in which I live!! I mean it is not the norm to only wear a skirt or dress. My girls have said to me, "mom we feel like outcasts!"

    So I guess I am leaning more towards requiring them for church and other gatherings but still allowing pants/capris and modest shorts as long as they are not too tight and body parts are not exposed. I don't know how else to handle it....

    thanks for any support/advice/encouragement you can offer. :)
     
  2. preacher4truth

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    It took you 3 years to discover they were grounded in Calvinism? Honestly, I can't see how that part of your OP has to do with the rest of your post here, unless it is a slight of Calvinists which is unecessary and doesn't fit within the context of your problem.

    On to the real issue: Dress and modesty.

    If your girls can't do this heartily as to the Lord, and feel like outcasts, then they shouldn't do it at all. They have to find out their devotion to the Lord and how they feel they should honor Him in dress.

    - Peace
     
  3. mommy25

    mommy25
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    It was not my intention to offend you or anyone with my statement about Calvinism. Thanks, lesson learned. :( I didn't even know such a thing existed, hence why it took me 3 years to discover it. It was never brought up in sermons or topics of discussion. After having it explained to us, and reading/researching we made that choice.

    I wish you could have seen my heart in this post and could have more easily overlooked an offense. But I guess that is the chance you take when you go public, even amongst Christians. :(
     
  4. abcgrad94

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    Welcome to the board, mommy25! I'm a homeschool mom of daughters as well. We've had the "what women should wear" debate here many times, so if you do a search, you'll find all that has been discussed in detail. In a nutshell, no, you do not have to wear dresses/skirts only. We are to dress modestly. Some folks have different ideas of what "modesty" means.

    As one who had to wear culottes and skirts while growing up, I can imagine the irritation and pain your girls must feel. I would not ever make my girls go through what I did. One can dress modestly without looking like a frump from a legalistic cult.
     
  5. Tom Bryant

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    First, welcome to BB. Hope you'll hang around.

    Second, in my mind you seem to have established a Biblical sense of standards in your children. If you are happy in the church and can stand the dress code, you can dress how you feel God is leading you at home.

    You have taught your girls to dress modestly, which is the biblical command. You have also taught them that they can give up their freedom for weaker brothers and sisters in Christ.

    I think you're doing fine. I bet, though, that you might be able to find a church in which you and your family are happy with the preaching/teaching and who are not so legalistic about some of the issues you mentioned.
     
  6. abcgrad94

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    Don't sweat it. You'll find many of the more outspoken Calvinists here, and some legalistic IFB's ready to pounce on anybody who dares disagree with them. Don't let it get to you. One thing, you posted this in a debate forum, so the replies will get heated especially when discussing dress issues or Calvinism. You can always post in the fellowship forum where people act a little nicer.
     
  7. preacher4truth

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    I see your heart in this concerning your children. I came out of IFB background that had the same beliefs, but not me personally. My wife and kids dressed as to not offend. If ever discovered in "pants" we were criticized. I had a preacher come to our church on a Wednesday service in a snow storm. Our women, some, came in pants, in the snow and cold just to be there, and you could see he was livid. At a preachers fellowship meeting he let me have it in front of all the other preachers, they waved their hankies in the air and became quite self-righteous and condemning. I sat there and smiled uneffected.

    Moreover, my family couldn't live the lifestyle to completion firstly because it wasn't a mandate in Scriptures, but were the traditions of men.

    If your girls can't do it, cool. If they love the Lord, that is an awesome blessing right there and you have more than most of this world and even than many in churches have. Perhaps they are above the traditions of men, but if they behave to not offend them, that is great also.

    I know skipping and shopping churches and finding another is hard to do, but you may also try perhaps an SBC church or other Baptist church. Just walk with the Lord, He will guide. I will pray for your family.

    Also, I am perhaps the opposite of you as the IFB churches never taught about Sovereignty, "calvinism" DoG &c and since then I have, and now embrace many of these truths of Scripture. I was formerly adamant that they were false, but always thought the concept of God within the IFB ranks was rather shallow and dismissed much truth with short matter-of-fact quips.

    Being disappointed in this rather shallow theology, God has directed my life down another theological path showing me in His Scriptures about His Sovereignty and truths that were in the past overlooked.

    - Peace and Grace to you
     
  8. annsni

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    It is entirely possible to dress modestly - yet stylishly with pants in today's culture. I also am a homeschooling mom (3 daughters, 1 son, 2 of the daughters are now in college) and all of my girls mostly don't wear skirts. However, they are known for dressing neatly and modestly and my second daughter even called me from the supermarket that she works at and asked me to bring a tank top to her because she wore the small shirt and it's a little short so when she reaches for groceries, it lifts up a bit and shows her belly/back and she hates that. She's 19. :)

    I do not believe that the Bible teaches that women should only wear skirts. The "katastole" thing is a very weak argument IMO. Instead, I do believe that we should dress with a few things in mind:

    * Pants should not be painted on, fall too short or be cut up with holes. (Knee holes are a part of life and that's OK)

    * Shirts should cover the girls. No one needs to see them but you, the doctor and someday your husband.

    * Bras are undergarments and should remain as such. In other words, I don't want to see them. (Sports bras showing a little is OK because they can be very "coverage" even with a modest top. I know when I horseback ride and wear a sports bra, the straps will show even with my polo shirt because it comes so far up my neck!)

    * Shorts should be long enough to keep at least half of the thigh covered. We just don't like the Daisy Duke look and are grateful for the style of Bermuda shorts!!!

    * When we DO wear dresses, they either come below the knee or else we wear leggings with them.

    * Always check with "raise and praise" - get dressed and raise your arms in praise to the Lord. If any skin shows, the outfit fails.

    With some of these guidelines (the girls and I have gotten these ideas together), they can know what to wear without me having to say anything. I think ONCE in the last year I suggested that something didn't work (my second daughter wore a pair of shorts that were too short, IMO) and my daughter disagreed (lovingly), walked out of the house, got in her car and came right back in. "You're right mom. These are too short. I'm going to change." :D I love my girls!! They both are great kids and I've never had to argue with them about clothing - they have been trained with principles and as such, can make decisions on their own.
     
  9. Gina B

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    Hi there! I'm also mom to four girls and a boy. Three of the girls are teens. Also, was involved in a very legalistic church and one of their requirements was women were to wear dresses/skirts, preferably ankle length.

    I agreed for a while and my lifestyle didn't make it a difficulty. However, as the girls got older and more active it made less sense. They love soccer, sports, and music. Now yeah, you CAN play a violin and a bass in a dress, but my daughters mannerisms, how she sits when she plays it, how she puts the bow, etc., makes it look kinda crass imo if she's wearing a skirt. I also started being much more outdoors and involved with sports with them and it wasn't good for me to be wearing a skirt either. Climbing trees to pick apples, playing soccer with them, tending gardens, cleaning animal stalls, etc..

    I found no Biblical basis for dresses only for women, but definitely for modesty, which can certainly differ within cultures.

    A few other things factored into my opinion. One was that for a while, we lived in a place where the temps often stayed below zero. There were long months of it being between -20 to -50. Sure we could have dressed with a skirt over the zillions of other layers, but what would be the point? If anything it made things worse, trapping cold air. In those temps, getting too cold can kill. There was one church out there that did hold to dresses only. We didn't attend it and I felt really bad for the kids there because they wore no pants at all, just the dresses. Again, deadly. The place was remote and should their vehicle have broken down, that could mean death while waiting for help.

    Now for the other extreme. The temps have been in the hundreds. I used to refuse to have the kids swim in public because they require bathing suits and I felt that was just WAY too much. If they can't wear shorts in public, why on earth is it okay to wear a bathing suit? But...this is not considered immodest in our society in that situation and shorts out here are the norm.

    So I've definitely changed my stance. The girls wear what they're comfortable with. They've never chosen anything immodest for the occasion imo. Two of them decided on their own not to wear shorts, not even long ones and that's their choice. Yay! My soccer/violin/bass player does and it bothers me sometimes, I won't allow it for church even though it's pretty normal out here to see that and a lot of her teen group does. I gave up on not allowing them at all when it became part of her soccer uniform and when I realized that the temps out here are ridiculously high. They do need to be decent ones and she has a pair she's only allowed to wear in the house for comfort. I have a pair I also will only wear inside our own home and will go and change it anyone comes to the door. BEFORE they see me. LOL

    I think how it's worn/designed makes a difference too. I'll allow sleeveless shirts with wide straps, no spaghetti straps. I thought about going with the school rules until I realized that they go by the rule that they can't be any longer than where your fingertips end when you put them at your side. Some people have short arms...should they follow that rule with my daughter, the clothing wouldn't cover her bum. I DON'T THINK SO! LOL

    Anyhow, you gotta do what you think is best and as long as it's modest, let it go. It's not worth the drama to fight over things that really aren't worth making them miserable for. Once they reach the teen years we only have a few more years with them, so I see that as a time to lay down basic rules and then let them make their own choices so long as they don't violate the basics. And if they do...send 'em back to their room to change!
     
  10. Skandelon

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    As a father of 4 who also homeschool please allow me to warn you of what I consider to be a significant threat to you and your children's spiritual growth and development.

    While the principle of modesty is important, I feel that this question is a reflection of the dangerous influence of legalism. There is nothing unbiblical about wearing pants, but the very question raises many concerns about what you and your sweet family may be learning. You must understand that self-righteousness is as dangerous, if not more so, than unrighteousness.

    HERE is a great blog and book recommendation on the subject.

    HERE is a good article on the subject.

    I hope this helps. Saying a prayer for you!
     
  11. menageriekeeper

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    First off a hint for a newby: the whole Calvinism issue is a big point of contention here on the BB. Its been argued and will be argued until the Kingdom comes, so if you aren't looking to debate that particular subject, don't bring it up. :)

    Modesty is also a contentious issue here and you will hear a variety of opinions.

    For *me* modesty has more to do with attitude than clothing styles. Who are you presenting with your dress, God or yourself? Does Christ show clearly in your life?

    Of secondary concern: where are you planted? Is your manner of dress going to make it easier or harder to present your faith to others? In *my* area, the skirt wearing crowd is completely ignored. Too many here have been told over and over again that this issue (and others similar like tobaccy and dancing) is an issue of salvation and those who particpate are headed to hell in a hand basket. And they reject not only that theory, but the God also. That crowd shows little of the fruits of the Spirit in their lives and it doesn't matter how they dress. They are worried to much about appearance and to little about the condition of their heart and their growth as a child of God. They have mistaken rule following for maturity.

    So, in order to combat this sort of idea, I don't play the pants game. I played it well enough as a teen, where the members of the youth group who just accepted that "standard" turned right around and allowed sexual immorality in their lives and the ones in authority over us ignored that in favor of outward appearance! In the end it lead to the breakup of the church and that church is still struggling.

    Bloom where you are planted.

    However, I have a friend who dresses only/mostly in dresses and has waist length hair and she doesn't look dowdy or unstylish. She, after many conversations with yours truly, sees the "rule" she was raised with as a sign of feminity and has choosen to stick with what *I* see as legalism. I can't fault her for that.

    Bloom where you are planted.

    Only you and your husband can decide what constitutes modesty for your household. If your church makes dresses only a sign of salvation, you'll have to decide if you want to continue attending there. If you can wear dresses to church as a sign of respect to the standards of the fellowship and wear pants elsewhere without recrimination (as I did for many years as a teen) then do so and don't worrry about the apparant contradiction.

    If you can't, keep looking for a church that suits your lifestyle. (oh yeah, you can expect I'll be called out for this view, that's alright, I argue a lot here!)

    btw, I am also a homeschooling mother of 4. My eldest is entering her second year at university, my godson is entering his junior year at public school, my own son who is the same age is doing his junior year in homeschool and my youngest daughter will be entering 8th grade also in homeschool. You'll find we have quite a few homeschoolers here and ladies from every walk of life and experience.

    Welcome to the BB!
     
  12. Gershom

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    M25,

    Modesty is what is required and this is something that starts from within, not without. Paul's instruction is for women to dress modestly. It is up to you to lead, guide and teach your daughters how to be modest.

    While some believe the OT verses you mentioned speak of women wear dresses and men wear pants, I believe the teaching here is much more than that, and has to do with the sexes wanting to appear as the opposite sex: Men in "drag" or women who can easily be mistaken for men. This is confusing to nature.

    An old pastor friend from years ago insisted that pants are for men. He said if my wife was wearing pants, she is wearing what pertains to a man. I said no, she purchased those pants in the ladies department.. they pertain to a woman. I think he is totally missing the intended purpose of this restriction, which is what we call today "cross-dressing."

    Continue to seek God's desire and always be a mom who the children can come to with concerns. I have found in personal experience that simply being bull-headed, children will rebel. Choose your battles wisely. Lead and guide and always show your love. This will gain much more honor and blessing.
     
  13. Aaron

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    What does your husband think about the issue?
     
  14. mommy25

    mommy25
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    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your input!!!! And I had no idea this was the debate section! I missed that totally! Thanks for sharing and being so friendly. :)
     
  15. mommy25

    mommy25
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    Thank you for your words of encouragement. I failed to mention in my post that we are no longer attending that church because the preacher's oldest son fell hard for my oldest daughter. The preacher felt that complete seperation was the only way to handle it. So he did everything he could, in words and actions, to get us out of the church.

    And thanks for pointing out what you saw as far as what I have taught my daughters; I never even thought of it like that. :)
     
  16. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
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    ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in her post was a "slight" to Calvinism.
     
  17. quantumfaith

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  18. mommy25

    mommy25
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    I love your reply - thank you!! I love the guidelines you developed especially the "raise and praise" lol. :)
     
  19. mommy25

    mommy25
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    I forgot to ask - what do you do about swimwear?
     
  20. mommy25

    mommy25
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    Thank you so much for taking the time to reply; I loved what you had to say. And you are right; I only have a few more years with them and I want them to be pleasant ones. :)
     
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