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My Journey into Femininity and Modesty – by Peacefulwife

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Oh, where to start? 🙂

As a girl and teenager, I figured that boys thought pretty much the same way that I did.  I didn’t pay much attention to what anyone wore – so why would guys be looking at me?  I wasn’t very caught up in clothing. I almost always wore jeans and a t-shirt, except I would wear a dress or skirt on Sundays for church. 

I didn’t think that clothing was very important or made any real statements about anything about a person.  I was horrified to dress immodestly out of embarrassment.  But girly clothing seemed too expensive for my budget of $20/month as a teenager and it seemed uncomfortable and fussy.  Dressy clothes didn’t fit me well – they almost always gaped in the chest area and were too tight in the belly. Shopping for clothes was always very frustrating for me.  Still is!

I did start dressing up a bit more in college, when Greg asked me if I could wear dresses more often.  When I got my first job as a pharmacy technician, I wore dresses to try to look more professional.  Then a week after we got married, I severely sprained my lower back. Suddenly all the beautiful dressy, girly shoes were a thing of the past and I had to find shoes that didn’t hurt my back.  Tennis shoes didn’t seem to go with feminine clothing at all, so I just stuck with jeans at home and khakis at the pharmacy for many years.

April in 1st grade
April in 1st grade

GROWING UP I FELT AWKWARD AND UNFEMININE!

I mostly remember feeling VERY unfeminine when I was in elementary school.  I was kind of my Daddy’s “son” until my little brother (7 years younger than me) was old enough to take over that position. My twin sister was “the girly twin” and I was “the tomboy.” I didn’t relate much to a lot of the girls. I didn’t like the drama – and I became a target of some of the more popular girls in class who enjoyed teasing and making fun of me in upper elementary school. I got glasses in 5th grade – which made me feel even more awkward and un-pretty. So, I retreated into a bit of a shell.

April in 7th grade
April in 7th grade
  • A boy made fun of my twin sister and me on the bus one day in 7th grade in front of everyone in the loudest voice, “You guys are SO FLAT!!!!!!” And he laughed hysterically and pointed at us.

I began to believe that guys couldn’t be attracted to me – that my body was too “flawed.”

Greg and April in 1990 - he was a senior in high school, I was a junior.
Greg and April in 1990 – he was a senior in high school, I was a junior.

I believed that being feminine was impossible for me.  I was convinced that I was not “woman enough” because of the curves I lacked and my self-consciousness sky-rocketed. I felt judged and completely rejected by the world’s standards of physical beauty. I believed I was invisible to guys. Any guy who was friendly to me – I assumed just wanted to be my friend. I couldn’t accept that a guy would actually be attracted to me as a girl – so I became completely blind to how guys actually saw me or any interest guys may have had in me.

If I ever did hear teaching about godly femininity or modesty, I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention because I didn’t think those things really applied to me.  I didn’t feel much like girl, and didn’t think I looked very beautiful. I didn’t understand the power of a feminine body or spirit. And since I had close to zero understanding of how guys think, I didn’t realize I had anything to be concerned about.

AS A YOUNG WOMAN

  • A lady at Victoria’s Secret measured me when I was about 25 years old. She laughed loudly and said, “Oh, girl!  We don’t have NOTHING here that would fit YOU!”

In fact, the only lingerie that fits me to this day is from the little girls’ department. Like – the children’s department.

Now, I am actually totally fine with my figure. In fact, I love my figure and am completely confident in my body these days.  I am so thankful for the body God has given me.  I am able to see the positives and even accept the things I used to see as “flaws” as beautiful. I am grateful to God that Greg loves my figure and has always been very accepting of my body.

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Me (April) and our son  – a month before I turned 30

I LOOKED YOUNG

Another issue about my appearance was that I usually looked MUCH younger than I actually was. I will be 41 this March. Usually – people these days think I am in my twenties. But people regularly asked me if I was 12 years old until way after I was 30. That got really old! Patients didn’t take me very seriously at work in the pharmacy many times. They didn’t think I could possibly be old enough to be a pharmacist. One man demanded to see my driver’s license because he didn’t believe I could even be 15. I was 27 at the time.

So – my figure made me look 12, my face made me look 12. I just never really could accept that I could feel feminine, womanly and beautiful. It seemed impossible to me for a long time.

HAVING A SON TOOK ME EVEN FARTHER FROM FEMININITY FOR AWHILE

Then we had our son and he LOVED to be outside- all the time.  He would run for hours.  So I continued in my jeans and a pony tail for going to the playground almost every day and running around in my tennis shoes.  In fact, if I didn’t wear tennis shoes, I couldn’t catch my boy when he was 2-3 years old!  I soon cut my hair short, even though I knew my husband loved it long.  I was all about being practical.  Who cared what my husband thought anyway, right?  That was my mindset at the time. Turns out that short hair took WAY LONGER to style than long hair – for me, at least. I MISSED my long hair and decided I didn’t want to cut it short anymore after that.

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April in 04-2006

THEN WE HAD A BABY GIRL

I started thinking more about femininity when I had a daughter and she was starting to be old enough to want to wear dresses every day and to love princesses.  I loved how romantic the long dresses looked in her stories and realized that the effect just wouldn’t be the same if the princess was wearing jeans and a t-shirt!  Maybe clothing makes more of a statement than I had ever really considered before.

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Our daughter – 2 years old

I began to study femininity and God’s design for women/wives/moms and the way God made men and women to be so marvelously different from each other.  I began to understand that a woman has a great deal of power in her appearance that affects her own attitudes and also significantly impacts most of the men around her – including her husband. 

 

I was so excited to discover that I could actually feel feminine and womanly!

ME!?!? Who knew!?! 

  • I could have a gentle, peaceful, vulnerable, delicate spirit.
  • I could be soft and beautiful.
  • I could be the follower in my marriage instead of a take-charge leader, barking out orders and giving commands.
  • I could wear girly clothing  (once I found the right styles for me) and I did finally feel like a woman – especially in long, flowing skirts.  The clothing actually did make a difference in my feelings about myself. Hmm…. that was interesting!
  • I realized that the more feminine I look and act, the more feminine I will feel and the more masculine my husband will feel. That helps to really BOOST the chemistry and attraction! What a powerful revelation!
  • I decided that I wanted to attempt to model godly femininity for my daughter – as well as my son – by my dress, my attitude, my voice, my expressions, my priorities, my character, my love for Christ – EVERYTHING.

MODESTY IS BEAUTIFUL

My understanding of modesty grew out of my study of godly femininity and also understanding men much better.  Men think VERY differently from women and are tempted visually in ways I had never imagined.  Kinda shocking for me at first! If I had known in high school what I know now – I may have worn a choir robe to school instead of jeans and a t-shirt every day!  I think a lot of women think things like, “Oh, I’m too small, too big, too old, too young, too unattractive to have to concern myself with modesty. I am not a temptation to anyone.”

I know I felt like that.

Now, I know modesty is a gift we can give to others no matter what our shape/age may be. It is a way to show reverence for God, respect for myself, for my husband and for others around me (men and women alike).  I REALLY love adding feminine clothing to the modesty equation- I feel softer, lovelier and more beautiful.  I noticed more men holding doors open for me and offering to help me. I noticed that I feel so different when I “dress the part” of being a woman.

Clothing can tell the world you are a lady and it is interesting to see that people actually do treat a woman differently depending on what she chooses to wear. Skirts and dresses remind me that I have the honor of being a woman and that I am thankful I don’t “wear the pants in the family.”  It is a subtle reminder to myself to savor my identity as a woman each day, to embrace my femininity, and it is a reminder to my husband that I am a delicate, beautiful, feminine woman to be cherished and adored by him.  I like that!

Am I saying all women should dress just like I do?

Nope.

I am just sharing my story.

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My favorite definition of modesty is that it is “humility in clothing.”

If we have a spirit of humility- as Christ certainly did, and we are emulating Christ- then we will desire our clothing to draw attention to Him not to our bodies.  And I will have mercy on my brothers in Christ by seeking to wear clothing that will not distract or tempt them to lust after me.  And I will model modesty for my daughter so that she grows up seeing that modesty is “normal” and understanding the gift of her femininity and sexuality and how to properly use it and how to guard her great gift.

I think the subjects of modesty and femininity are fascinating.  I kind of felt like I was building my identity as a woman from scratch 5 years ago.  I pray that we might discover God’s beautiful design for femininity and live it well.  And I pray we might pass along God’s ways, wisdom and perspective to the generations coming behind us.

RELATED:

His Wife’s Body Image Issues 

What Guys Think about the Importance of Modesty

Respect, Biblical Submission and Sexual Attraction

46 thoughts on “My Journey into Femininity and Modesty – by Peacefulwife

  1. Love this, April!! I think long hair suits you much, much better! You look lovelier now than many years ago. And Hailey is so cute!!! 🙂 Modesty as “humility in clothing” is a beautiful description of modesty in clothing. I am only learning this now. I used to think I can wear anything I wanted. It is only recently that I am learning to love and enjoy wearing longer skirts and dresses. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

          1. I love pictues too, and I
            like your pictures on here April, It helps us visulize and know you a lot better. Wow, I’m flat chested, and always was made fun of for being super skinny. I put on some weight as I grew older by building up some muscle. U make me feel less alone, I can totally relate. I’m just being open here, that’s all.:-)

          2. Sharon,
            As I began to take up running, I got a lot stronger and began to have a better shape. Still very small chested, of course – but now, I think of myself as having the figure of a ballerina or gymnast instead of focusing on negatives.

            Thank you for sharing, Sharon! I love it. 🙂

    1. You look beautiful. I wear dresses and skirts too. I’m not well and I have to use diabetic therapeutic shoes. Thanks God for mary janes therapeutic shoes . They look nice with skirts and blouses and dresses.

      1. ripsimeh,

        I can’t wear heals or fancy, super stylish shoes either. They mess up my feet too much! 🙂 I’m glad to hear from you and to get to meet you. It’s neat to hear a bit about your story and that you enjoy dresses and skirts, too. 🙂

  2. Thank you for the post. You inspired me to dress more feminine to work today. With my career I have to wear jeans and work boots but I am able to where whatever style top I wish. So I decided to wear something that looks more womanly. I work on call so sometimes I don’t have much time to get ready and I will where old worn out sweatshirts and I do feel different, I don’t feel as womanly or confident. I’m gonna set a goal to wear only feminie looking clothes for now on. My husband has also made comments in a joking way about why I dress up or put on make up only when we go out. He said he was joking but I do think now that maybe he sees it as disrespect. Thank you again for this post and all the post you have written… I hope to read all of them 🙂 You are an extremly huge blessing!!!

    1. Kara,

      I read a non-Christian book 5 years ago that was about femininity. The author, Mimi Tanner, said that the more feminine a woman looks and acts, the more masculine her man feels. She encouraged women to wear dresses and skirts – of course, she did not encourage modesty.

      There IS power in dressing femininely and provocatively – but I pray we will only use that power in private with our husbands.

      But there is a totally different kind of power in dressing femininely and modestly.

      I told Greg about what the author had said, and he asked, “Well, do you feel differently when you wear skirts?”
      I said, “NO!”

      But I decided to try wearing skirts every day for 1 week and see how I felt.

      I was SHOCKED.

      I just started a new job where I could wear anything that was “professional” – I had worked at Target Pharmacy for the previous 3 years where the dress code was khaki pants and a red shirt. I got so tired of red and khaki!!!!!

      It was freeing to get to choose different colors and more feminine fabrics and flowing skirts and dresses. I LOVED IT!

      So, I told Greg I would like to wear skirts all the time.

      He wasn’t sure about that at first.

      I kept my jeans for a few years, but then gave them away because I never wore them again.

      I do wear yoga pants at times to run and exercise in and sometimes to sleep in. But – there is something amazing about dressing in a feminine way that I never appreciated as I was growing up.

      How we dress is a lot more important to our husbands than we would ever imagine a lot of times.

      It’s funny how we knew when we were dating how important it was to dress up for them and try to look our very best – but after we get married, it’s easy to feel like we don’t “need” to do that anymore.

      It is STILL a gift to our husbands when we doll ourselves up for them – even if it is just for them to come home from work and eat supper with us in the dining room. It shows that we value them and that they are the most important people in the world to us! 🙂

      I am so excited to see how things go for you. Definitely keep me updated!

      Much love to you – this is the kind of thing I WISH I had someone to share with me many years ago. It made a huge difference in my life as a woman and in my marriage.

      Now, I try to generally be dressed in a skirt/dress and have my hair/makeup done when Greg comes home from work. Not always. But most of the time. He is not as visual as a lot of men are, but I still think it is a blessing for him to see his wife care about her appearance when he comes home.

      Much love!

  3. I have only begun this journey into feminity. Much like you, jeans and tshirt are the norm in my wardrobe. I have added skirts and consistently wear them daily. This has brought about a lot of questions from coworkers who have not seen me in skirts in years. Some wonder if I have joined a cult! I am using these questions to have great conversations about what being a woman is and why wearing clothes more traditionally for women makes me feel beautiful. I think this is what makes me most surprised. When I wear skirts I feel more womanly.

    1. I am starting to believe the devil is behind fashion in our culture. I see more and more women dressing like men and I have been guilty of it too. He wants us confused about who we are.

      1. Kara,

        Absolutely! Causing gender confusion is definitely a way to help destroy God’s design for masculinity and femininity. And – promoting immodesty is certainly a successful plan of the enemy to help promote temptation and promiscuity and immorality.

    2. Sara,

      That cracks me up about the cult thing. 🙂 HA!

      I think it is a fantastic opportunity to share about what you are learning about godly femininity and about strengthening your marriage – and, may be a great spring board to share Christ with others, too. WOOHOO!

      Yes, feminine clothing definitely does make me feel so much more womanly, too. I love it. I have been comfortable and confident in myself as a woman these past 5 years in ways I never was before. I long for every woman to discover her godly femininity in Christ and to enjoy this precious gift.

      It won’t look exactly the same for everyone. That’s ok! I LOVE LOVE LOVE sharing all kinds of different women’s stories and seeing the many varieties of ways that God works in different women and marriages and how He shines through each one.

  4. Thank you for this – and all other posts. I’ve been reading, thinking things over and being convicted deeply and sharply! In fact, in praying for my husband once, God laid it on my heart that I needed to be dealt with first and boy has he been wrecking me!

    This is such a challenging journey and along the way, I’ve had to seperate myself from people and shut off the voices of everyone and instead, tune in to God’s voice and direction. Not only in how I sepak to and about my husband but, amongst other things, how I dress. This was the tarting point for my blog, Chasingwomanhood…how to be a young wife (32) in a modern world and still adhere to the word of God!.

    Back to the point of this,I find myself swaying towards dresses more now than ever. At first. It was convenience (dress, shoes, bag you go! As opposed to finding pants/skirts, a matching top, shoes etc). I admit it was also easier to hide the post pregnancy baby weight with dresses too! 😀

    Anyway, in recent months, I’ve been challenged about: dress length, showing off cleavage, too much skin etc. I’ve also taken to asking my hubby how I look, what he thinks about my hair (to cut, grow, put in a weave)….whew! And you’re right: it not only makes him feel valued and wanted, but it also makes me feel….treasures, protected, looked after!

    Thank you April and all other women who contribute, share, impart their views, pray…..sitting here in South Africa, I am really blessed!

    1. Lebo,

      I am so glad to hear from you!

      Yes, God OFTEN wants to deal with us before our husbands. It can be pretty shocking to find out just how much work we as wives need at times! It sure was for me!

      I love your blog idea. Can’t wait to check it out.

      I am so glad that you are asking your husband’s opinions and valuing him.

      I can’t wait to see what God has in store for you and your husband!

      Much love!
      April

  5. Very cool post. And I know this doesn’t pertain much to the clothing aspect, but as to the self-esteem aspect, it’s something I’ve struggled with forever. And my dear, wonderful friend wrote me (and all women) the most MARVELLOUS response – I’d love you to read it and see what you think. It’s sublime, and I really feel like God’s speaking through her there: http://summat2thinkon.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/how-do-we-measure-our-worth.html

  6. April,
    I would have never guessed you were 41! My mom is 43, and she also looks young for her age, but you look much younger than even she does!
    For years I have always gotten the same thing: “Are you 12?”…or at best “Are you 15?”
    I’m 24, and at this point in my life I wish I could look older…like a woman!
    It is especially awkward when I’m out with my three children and people stare at me in shock like I’m a teenage mom.
    When my husband introduced me to a guy he knew through work, the guy later joked to my husband “I didn’t know your wife was 12!” (Haha)
    This has always weighed on my self esteem, but I know that my husband really doesn’t mind that I look like a girl, and that’s all that should matter!
    It was an exciting and enlightening journey for me as well, going from jeans to modest dresses. I was first inspired to buy a pretty dress when I saw a girl in the grocery store dressed very pretty and modest. I hope that I will inspire women when I dress this way as well!

    1. Paulina,

      You know – the looking 12 thing has seriously been a big problem! My twin sister and I had middle schoolers following us around hitting on us when we were 25. I had women in my neighborhood that were APPALLED at me when I walked my son around in a stroller. Yes- people get pretty judgmental about a woman having children when she looks like she is 12!

      My mom and both of my grandmothers always looked young. It’s starting to be more enjoyable now that I am 40 and people think I just got out of college. I was so excited when people began regularly asking me in the pharmacy, “Did you just graduate from pharmacy school?” I think that started happening when I was about 35. The next 20 years will probably be easier. 🙂

      My husband never had an issue that I looked really young. He would always say, “That just means you will look way younger even as we get older.”

      I’m sure you will inspire other women with your beautiful dresses. 🙂 It can be really fun to be a woman. I’m glad you are on this journey with me!

      1. I’m very very grateful to be able to learn from you. I’m going to go an entire week wearing feminine looking tops. Unfortunately I can never wear dresses and skirts to work but I can still wear womanly tops jackets and accessories. I’m very excited to keep learning and growing from you blog post. I have completely forgot about being upset my husband was away and him and all his friends always go to strip clubs when they go away. I respectfully asked him if they went last night and his response was no I don’t even think there’s one close by. I did respond by saying that makes me feel good 🙂 I believe my prayers and everyone else’s has something to do with this 🙂

        1. Kara,

          I am glad you are feeling better. I pray God will work in your husband’s heart. He is obviously visual, so, it will be interesting as you begin to wear more feminine clothing.

          Much love my sweet sister!

  7. Thanks, April, for this post. God revealed to me how I have been trying to put my husband into the “godly Christian man” box in order for me to feel like a “godly Christian woman” (whatever those two roles are like!). The main idea was for me to feel more feminine because growing up I was a tomboy (short hair, t-shirts & jeans, nothing feminine at all) in order to try to gain my father’s approval who had wanted a boy (my nickname was “Charlie Brown”). I now realize that I can’t get my husband to make me feel feminine. I can only do this through Christ in me by being the woman He made me to be. I have to admit that this is a struggle, to not demand my husband to make me feel feminine. Unfortunately my demands has emasculated him – what a mess I have created! I would be grateful for prayer on this as I’m headed into undoing something that is very scary for me. Who knew femininity could be so powerful?!

    1. Sally,

      Of course I will pray for you to discover yourself and your identity as a woman in Christ and to find contentment and purpose and acceptance in Him. Your husband can’t give you what Jesus can give you. Only Christ can make you feel like a real godly woman and empower you to savor and cherish your femininity! to understand what true femininity is and to live it out for His glory.

      Another resource that is very helpful is David Platt’s series on biblical manhood and biblical womanhood as well as his series on Marriage, Family, Sex and the Gospel. You can find them on YouTube. SO worth our time!

      1. Thanks, April. I’ll check those resources out. I’m beginning to realize I’ve not only had a false idea of what a woman was according to God, but my idea of marriage as well. I guess when one view is skewed it stands to reason that the rest might be a bit off as well! Thank you so much for the information available on your blog about this! Hopefully I’ll get on the right track sooner than later.

        1. Sally,

          Yep. I had all kinds of worldly, ungodly messed up ideas about femininity, masculinity, marriage, God, myself, my Christian walk – and had NO IDEA. I thought I was the best Christian wife and woman ever! 🙁 Yes, there is a lot that gets very skewed as we are influenced by the ungodly culture around us – we have all together veered very far from God’s standards and truth.

          I know God will continue the work He has begun in you. It can be really overwhelming and frustrating at first to realize just how far we are from where God requires us to be. We can’t do this on our own. We NEED the power of His Spirit to do what He calls us to do.

          I’m right here – and we can talk about anything you want to. I will do my best to point you to Christ and His Word, my sweet sister!

  8. There is nothing wrong with looking young. I am now 45 years old and I pass for my mid 30’s. I am trying to dress more feminine every day. Where I work with small children, it tough to wear jewelry or my hair down because they grab at it. So I wear it braided or pulled up in a bun. I wear my cross to church and outside of work. Dresses are difficult to wear in the snowy weather we have been having this winter.
    I have accepted Jesus and his plan for me as you have. It is so empowering to accept his grace. I don’t pretend to be better than anyone else as we are all sinners and fall short. But I will do my best to honor God and my guy. I won’t be wearing trashy clothes, wearing excessive makeup or cutting my hair short.

  9. Pingback: Why Long Hair? |

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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