I was just reading a blog post by Candace Cameron Bure. If you don’t know her, she played DJ on Full House. Her blog was about modesty and what we wear to church. Here is the link to her blog. .. She was sharing about how judgmental and harsh people at church can be to others. Candace talked about how a brand new Christian walked into the church she was visiting and people were whispering and talking about how short her skirt was and that she had cleavage showing.
Meaning of Modest Dress Attire for Women- Women: Dresses should be modest. No tank tops (or dresses with only straps at the shoulders), no short skirts (mini-skirts), and no skin-tight dresses. Dresses should have backs and should not be low-cut in the front. If women wear pants to the services, they should be dress pants (not jeans or leggings). Shorts of any type are inappropriate.
Thinking back to when I was younger, there were a few times that some people at church thought I should have worn a longer dress or something more appropriate. I even had the pastors wife talk to me one time about that. And others told me that I need to change my clothes or not come back since we are in the Lords house. I believe I was around 12 or 13 at the time. Back in the 70’s dresses were pretty short and modesty wasn’t high on the list of things to do. At least it wasn’t for me.
To this day there are times I remember that conversation. Candace’s blog kicked that memory back in front of my brain. Now had those who I went to church with understood how difficult it was for me to go to church and that the dress I had on was the one and only dress I had, they may have understood more. But that wasn’t the case. They seen a young girl in a dress that barely covered my butt and wanting attention. With shoes in my hand as I run out the door to await my ride to church. After church that day, I talked to her about what she said. She was never at my home, so she didn’t understand. But that comment to a vulnerable young girl could have been devastating. And I still remember this moment and it is as if it happened yesterday.To this day I never wear dresses and I think it is because of how I was judged and looked down on because I wore the only dress I had and it wasn’t good enough.
We weren’t raised where it was OK to go to church. God was never mentioned in our house unless a swear word was coming out after His name. There was a handful of people that knew that, but not everyone. And I pretty much kept it that way till I was older.They didn’t realize that I had to get up way early to get the chores done so I could go to church. They didn’t realize that I had to hide those shoes out because I needed them for church. So many times I ended up having to run to Mattie Bennett car. She waited with me in the car before we went into church and helped me at least look presentable. To this day I still think of Mattie Bennett (pictured) as my friend and like a grandma. It’s because of Mattie that I write. They didn’t know the violence in our home and how much God wasn’t a part of my families lives. They didn’t know that I would get yelled at and hit (depending on moods) if I didn’t get home in time to have lunch. Lunch was at 11:00 am, and church didn’t get out till noon. Every Sunday I was late from church and I never knew what I was going to walk into and what punishment I was in store for. They would never ask how church was, I just got the look, hit or grounded.
Our cloths growing up was always hand me downs. My parents didn’t have money. Thankfully God provided for our needs by putting it on the hearts of friends, neighbors and schools to help us kids look decent. I am to this day blessed that someone had to the heart to look at me, not what I was wearing. People can be pretty harsh and mean when they see someone that doesn’t have all the nice things. Growing up we also got cloths from the Salvation Army and special angels that I didn’t know. Because of how I was raised, I can understand and relate to those who have nothing and was abused.
I don’t say these things to make anyone feel bad because of how hard I had it. The reason I say this things is that there were people who looked down on our family and how we looked and didn’t really care what was really going on. Now, there are some exceptions and they were awesome. I get upset when I hear of others bagging on those who come to church and they don’t look all clean and polished. I can understand the hurt that this type of judging can have on a person. When I think of God’s people, I think of love. That isn’t always the case.
What I think about now is those women or men who don’t fit the mold of a perfectly dressed Christian women or man. Not everyone has a closet filled with top notched labels and fancy shoes. For some people, what they have on is the best they can do. Should we shun them or talk about them behind their backs? I would hope not!!! We don’t know their stories or what they have gone through.
I would say that if someone desires to dress up nicely for church and it is your desire to please God in that way, that is awesome. But we need to be careful not to pass judgement on the women across or in front of us who wears jeans, tattooed and wearing a torn/tattered t-shirt. We should be spending more time preparing our heart for the message we are about to hear, instead of worrying about what others are wearing or not wearing. I would think that above all other things that we need to bring a pure heart, ready to worship in God’s house. We should be welcoming all in, regardless of what they are wearing or how they smell.
In my family, showers were hard to come by. My parents who fly off the handle if we showered at night and they could hear water running through the pipes. I would have to make sure to shower or clean off before my dad was in for the night. So this pretty much put taking a shower before church to a halt. But I desperately needed to go to church. In my eyes, church was the only place where I knew that people and most of all God loved me. We didn’t grow up knowing the word “love”. My parents never said that to us. I do know without a shadow of a doubt that God loved me so much that He sent His Son to die for me. Without that knowledge and the people God put in my life, I don’t know where I would be or where my path would end.
Now days, I basically wear jeans, shirt, flip flops and put my hair back in a pony tail. Thankfully I wear deteriorate and a bra to church. But I don’t always wear a bra because of my IV port. The straps hurt the area, but for modesty sake and such I will deal with that while at church. If I had some of the heartless comments that Candace Cameron Bure had on her Facebook, I wonder how my walk with Christ would be now. When I hear of the phrase “come as you are”. I take that to heart. God wants us to love Him and be with others that Love Him and want to worship Him. So I say that if you don’t have nice cloths or even a bra on, that is OK. Because clothing isn’t going to save you. God is going to save you.
What would those ladies and gentlemen think of a person walking in without a bra wearing a halter top, shorts, shoes, ratty hair, broken teeth and smelling bad? I would hope that everyone would be happy to see the person in church, not focus on what someone else wears. But logically many would think the woman was a prostitute, bug infested, drug addict or alcoholic, and for sure not someone they would want to sit with. While I know it isn’t proper to go bra-less to church or to wear cloths that are inappropriate. I also know that there is always a reason why they can’t get dressed up and wear their Sunday best. Maybe that is all they have.
How in the world I got onto the whole modesty and bra thing is beyond me, lol. But I guess it is what it is. I happen to know a number of wonderful Christian ladies who can’t wear one because of the pain they endure each time they wear one. One lady had surgery and she is in tears when she has to wear certain articles of clothing. Would God want us to judge these people? The answer for me is NO… Lastly I realize that not everyone has nice things and looks beautiful. If all they have to wear to church is raggedy cloths and no shoes, bra or anything else then so be it.
In closing I just want to say that yes my childhood sucked big time. But also it was a time where I had to really rely on God and those who was put in my life. I am thankful that I survived that time and came back with some lessons. I realized that I would never want my kids to know that I didn’t love them. I realize that God is always with me, even when I don’t see Him or I go through my dark days. I call them my days of Job. I learned that in order for my life to be better I have to not blame my parents and use those experiences to help others who may be going through the same thing. When raising my daughters I used my pastor and his family as my role model. I refuse to raise my kids the way I was.