Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dear Daughter... Keeping Our Femininity

I realize there are men that read Homestead Revival™, but may I take a day to specifically address not only my daughters, but our female readers on the topic of femininity? (Guys, you're more than welcome to post your comments on this topic as well). 

Ladies, this topic has come up in my own home, especially as of late, and I felt that I wasn't communicating my thoughts to my own daughters very clearly or graciously. Writing it out has helped me tremendously and it reflects my own interpretation of scripture. Perhaps it is a discussion in some of your own homes as well. If so, I hope it helps. Also, I pray that everyone (including my daughters) will remember that this is how we should be characterized; none of us will probably ever do this perfectly 365 days a year, myself included!

Dear Daughter,

As you already know, having a house full of daughters, it's easy for our home to become a "girl world". And yet, living miles outside of town where a knock on the door is rare, it's also easy to become very relaxed in our day to day living, specifically in our appearance. 

But really, any excuse is as good as any when you're homesteading and maybe tired, working out in the yard or the chicken coop, gardening in the dirt, canning in a hot kitchen.... you get the idea. Soon, we have swapped out the nice clean shirt for one with paint and a hole (daily instead of when we're actually painting), we skip the makeup for the day, decide we'll wash (or brush!) our hair later, and tell ourselves no one will see us. 

Our family does. And our men do! 

And before you know it... we're characterized by looking haggered, tired, and overall... unattractive.

Because our men are typically such great guys, they won't say a word (and because they're smart, they don't want to say the wrong thing, like "Honey, that dress makes you look 10 pounds heavier than you really are, I'm sure.") 

First, whether we wear jeans and cowboy boots, a skirt and head covering, capris and a t-shirt, it's important that we look like a lady! Don't just take my word on this. Look to God's Word for direction on the subject... while you may interpret Deuteronomy 22:5 differently, at the very minimum, we can agree that a man was to look like a man and a woman was to look like a woman. 

 “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God."

At the time this passage was written, everyone wore a tunic of some kind, but apparently there were little nuances that made the difference between a man's tunic and a woman's. Hmmm...

We need to seriously consider what God desires for women to do when it comes to being feminine. There is the minimum expectation and then there are things we can do that might enhance our femininity even further, without being legalistic, specifically things that please our husbands that are not forbidden by scripture.  

Second, we also need to remember that God is a god of order. We see this reflected throughout the Bible, but I Cor. 14:39 immediately comes to mind... 

"But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner." I Cor. 14:39.

This verse may be speaking about prophesying in tongues, but in general, it's speaking about how we conduct ourselves... period. God would not have us orderly in our speech, but disheveled in our appearance, would He? God took great care to place your eyes, nose, and mouth in an orderly arrangement that has not varied from person to person... so apparently, He has shown us that a systematic display of facial features is important.

Taking care to maintain ourselves is not just "acceptable", it's a statement that we recognize God's desire for us to be orderly as well. Brushing our hair, arranging it in a pleasing manner, and keeping our bodies clean are all ways we reflect His order. Even things like neatly trimmed or manicured nails, ironing a skirt, or making sure the blouse has all the buttons sewn in place communicates our submission to His will. And when we do it with joy, it pleases our Heavenly Father. 

And finally, what about God's character in terms of beauty? While we may not always feel beautiful, shouldn't we try to reflect all His character at all times, including beauty?

"but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." I Peter 3:4

 I'll be the first to agree that we should not spend more time on our outward beauty than our inner beauty. Proverbs 31:30 warns us specifically of a woman who only relies on her outward beauty, but this warning was not a command to purposefully make ourselves ugly; nor was it a license to neglect our appearance and let ourselves go. 

There is no biblical requirement for us to wear costly clothing. But I hope you can see there is a call to look like a lady, as well as to be clean, neat, and as attractive as possible given the context of the moment. Doing hard work should not be an excuse, nor should the fact that we think no one else will see, because we never know what the day will hold and who may grace our doorstep! And our husbands and family? Do they not deserve our very best? Who else should we want to please the most other than our Lord? 

When the time comes that you are married, ask your husband what he prefers (or ask your father now), but typically most men appreciate a woman who...

• knows the difference between frumpy and baggy clothes as well as too tight, too short, and immodest
• realizes that a tad of natural looking makeup is good; too much is gaudy
• wears a dress or skirt daily or on occasion 
• realizes jewelry should be an accent, not overpowering or distracting
• is neat and clean in appearance, even at home, but isn't afraid to get dirty when necessary
• who is modest inside and out; in character and her adornment; (the internal gives birth to the external and God does not pit the internal against the external, but rather he calls them to be in harmony)

How we walk, our speech, our manners at the table... all contribute to our appearance. A young lady who laughs so loud as to drown out others, chews her food with an open mouth, or talks incessantly about herself or anything else, for that matter, detracts from any physical beauty she may naturally possess. Rather than drawing people to her, she ends up pushing them away. 

God made you to be a woman for His pleasure and His glory; it's an opportunity to reflect the beauty of the Lord within you. Don't miss out on the blessing you've been given! And don't miss this moment in time to bless those around you.



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