Friday, August 29, 2008

My Journey, So Far

It has been almost two months since I have begun this journey into Biblical Womanhood. It is so amazing to me how many "accidents" and "coincidences" that have helped shape my journey. It all started with homeschooling. My daughter has only just turned four, but I knew when she was born that I wanted the best education for her. I thought that the best I could offer was to send her to private school and I even found the one that I would send her to. It wasn't until I moved to this area (Olympia, WA) that I found people that recommended homeschooling as a way of life. As soon as the thought popped into my head, I was hooked. My very first homeschooling book was So You're Thinking About Homeschooling, by Lisa Whelchel. I think she does a great job of explaining and showing the different ways to homeschool as well as link you to places that can give you better information. I think by far, it is the best book to give someone who is THINKING about homeschooling. I plan on purchasing it for each of my sisters. As I read it, I honed in on classical education. I bought The Well-Trained Mind and scoured it. I attacked it with a highlighter and made charts and graphs galore. By now, my daughter was a year old, but I was ready to start preschool. [Unfortunately, all my motivation came to naught when I found that the television caters to young children. We have been trying to break Mommy's addiction ASAP.] I started to spread my wings as I looked back through Whelchel's book and saw Trivium Pursuit listed. I didn't like the site and brushed it off as "antiquated" and ignored the idea for several years. It was always lingering in my mind so after rereading Whelchel's book again several months ago, I decided that I must homeschool and I approached Trivium Pursuit again. I bought their book, Teaching the Trivium, and began to read it. I was evaluating everything against my "homeschooling bible" which was WTM. However, as I committed to reading the book, even though it just didn't seem like it was written for this generation, an interesting thing happened.

The Bluedorns recommended a book called The Mother At Home which was written in the 1800s. I decided to purchase it, since I knew that I was struggling with my purpose at home. However, I ordered through amazon.com and they like to sell extra books and on the site for The Mother At Home was another book, Passionate Housewives, Desperate for God, by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald. Since I wanted free shipping and liked the catching title, I bought it as well. It was my husband's last day home for a month because of time to be served with the National Guard when my books came, but I was ashamed about purchasing them (because I didn't ask first) and tried to hide them. I was about as effective as Adam and Eve in the garden, but to my surprise, my husband wasn't upset. When I looked at the back cover, I found that Jennie Chancy was the founder of Ladies Against Feminism, which I mocked and that Stacy McDonald was the author of a book called Maidens of Virtue, I mocked her even further. After all, I had always called myself an "anti-feminist" because after my college class in "Women's History" I became convinced that all feminism did was trap women further than they ever had been in the past. That was not the popular opinion even though I was attending a Catholic School, run by Benedictine monks! However, maidens...ladies...virtue...skirts??? I was both intrigued and offended by what I was reading, but the intrigue won out. During the month of my husband's absence, I realized that my position as the "head" of the house had to change, and fast since just months before, we were very seriously talking about divorce- we had started to divide furniture and debt. It was incredibly humbling to see that I was the cause of the friction in the marriage. His biggest complaint? I didn't clean the house even though I stayed at home all day with our children. Yes, I was ready to divorce my husband because I didn't want someone to tell me when to clean house and how well to do it!!! Praise the Lord, He knocked some sense into me!!!

The "start here" page on LAF is really where I began with my Biblical womanhood journey. I read about modesty standards, but wasn't really too convinced because I had always considered myself to be a modest dresser. The biggest push came from the word "feminine" because I wasn't really encouraged to go that direction. The day I saw a VERY modestly dressed woman at the coffee shop sticks out in my mind. The was dressed in a loose-fitting (but not baggy) t-shirt and just above the knee length shorts. She was wearing athletic shoes and her hair was cut extremely short. Truly, there was nothing immodest about her outfit, according to the way I was judging modesty. What she completely lacked was femininity. This resonated deeply with me because I did not dress like a woman either. I spent some time talking on the phone with my husband who surprised me by supporting the decision, though he specifically said that often times, women's skirts are LESS modest than the jeans, to which I agreed and reassured him that that would not be the case with my skirts. One of the best articles I read at that time was an article called Modesty: Is it all in our dress? which really got me because it is very easy to ADD things, but Biblical Womanhood calls for the losing of oneself, no that is incorrect, Christianity calls for the sacrificing of oneself, women are just privileged enough to get to practice this principle in their own home among those who love them!

Anyway, to stop this story from getting any longer- where am I today? I have just received three new dress patterns from Common Sense Patterns and I am eager to begin purchasing fabric and sewing my fall and winter wardrobe. I have quite a few projects that are already under way, two long skirts to make, four dresses for my daughter, and enough fabric for two dresses and two underskirts. I have fabric coming out of my ears and yet, I am still eager to buy more. Wearing skirts (for I don't have any dresses yet) has been really difficult, more so that I thought. I am not worried about the people I meet in Wal-Mart as they have very little pull on my life. However, the people I am influenced by, like my parents and sisters, and of course, husband, are more likely to respond to the way I am dressing verbally, but they are also some of the people who are having a hard time adjusting to my change. Praise the Lord because my husband supports my decision and though he doesn't find my clothing "sexy" he also admits that that is a very good thing for clothing to be. He is very honest and tells me when he doesn't particularly care for something. It seems like his opinions are gradually getting more "old-fashioned" as I begin to wear more modest, feminine clothes. There are people who don't agree with me and it does make life more difficult, however, I am enjoying even the difficult times because I am able to go back and remember why I am doing what I am doing and I can take comfort in the word of God.

2 comments:

Jess said...

Kristi,
WOW! What a journey. Kudos to you for writing all this out... sometimes it is easy for us to forget how far we've come in maturity and understanding in these areas, and I think writing out the "journey" like this can be a really awesome thing to look back on as we grow.

I, too, have learned a lot about "modesty" that is different from what I thought it was-- it's so easy to write it off as being about "three inches above..." or "not showing bra straps", etc. It really does change the whole enchilada when we start talking about being "feminine"-- obviously female.

It doesn't have to be skirts, but it certainly does rule out certain outfits I've always worn. I've found, though, that since wearing skirts more and more, I really struggle to wear pants. I feel boxy and masculine and it changes not only the way I feel but the way other people treat me.

Anyway, thanks for sharing your journey; I really enjoyed reading it.

Many blessings!

Kristi said...

Jess,

Thanks for posting! I have been "lurking" on your site for a while!!! I think that I like "dresses only" because it is simpler than trying to find feminine pants and outfits. I do still wear pants when I run out of skirts so I am learning to do the best I can and wear pants when I know I'm going to be home all day and skirts when I'm going out. As I continue to add skirts, I will probably get rid of my pants because I am really enjoying how feminine I feel in skirts! One of my fears is that I would stand out in a negative way, but I have found that there are plenty of "modern" skirt and dress styles that can be modified to be more modest. I am enjoying that challenge now!