In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…
1 Timothy 2:9
I was the firstborn child to my parents in 1980. At that time we lived in northwest Indiana. I of course do not remember much about my family’s modesty standards during that time, but what I do remember is that we were not active in church. My family was Catholic, but we did not attend mass.
Fast forward a few years…my family of 4 (I now had a little brother) decided to spend a month vacationing in Atlanta. My dad’s sister lived there, and they were going out of town for the time. Their family always intrigued me. My aunt had converted to the Baha’i faith when she married my uncle, and they appeared very devout. We had a great month in the South, and spent a good deal of time at their pool. My cousin’s clothing and bathing suit choices were mainstream, so it never really occurred to me that clothing choices might vary depending on one’s faith.
Our family loved this vacation so much, that my parents decided to make a permanent move to the Atlanta area. I was six years old, and was excited beyond belief at the prospect of no more long winters! Since we were moving to a warmer climate, that meant we would be wearing less clothing as well. I remember going through my mother’s closet in elementary school, and finding this shirt that I just had to wear. It was a tank top, but the front was gathered from top to bottom and cinched together at the chest so her midriff would show. Of course she wouldn’t let me wear it, since I was so young, but I remember the shirt to this day. It had such a “cool” factor. My mother did not dress modestly in the least, and I wanted to be just like her.
I attended elementary school in the 80’s, and fashion was definitely interesting, while modesty was not a priority. My clothing was most definitely tight and bright! While going skating or to Six Flags, I wanted to wear more provocative clothing than what was allowed in school. My favorite outfit included spandex covered in extremely short ripped denim shorts. I shake my head now just thinking of it. But honestly, I wasn’t taught any differently.
By this time it was the early 90’s, and my family was looking for a church home. We landed at an Evangelical Methodist church, and I was saved. Praise the Lord! I had attended church with my friends and gone to Vacation Bible School in the past, but this is the first time that I attended an actual service that was more than fun and games with a Bible lesson wrapped inside. At that time, the Lord spoke to my heart concerning being more discreet. I was 12 years old. I told my mom that all I wanted to wear were Christian t-shirts and jeans. She was happy about my new relationship with Jesus, but didn’t really know how to lead me differently concerning modesty. I was still wearing skin tight jeans, and attended public school. I begged, and begged, and begged some more to either be homeschooled or enrolled in a Christian school. The way other children acted, dressed and talked just hurt my spirit immensely. After a year of pleading, I grew tired of not having many friends (over the past year of my conversion I had lost a ton), and decided that if I was going to survive the next 5 years I would need to somewhat fit in. I tried out for cheerleading in the 8th grade and made the squad…
…to be continued.