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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ladylike, Lost.

    Earlier this summer, I had an experience that made me think. Not really all that significant   an event, really. I noticed something most would just consider a random, meaningless - perhaps a bit annoying - scene. But it started me thinking and ignited a spark in my heart that grew as the weeks have moved on.

 I sat down on the beach blanket, completely out of breath. Sand all over my legs and arms, I collapsed onto the ground, exhausted as I sipped a cold Coke out of a glass bottle and looked at the beautiful, sparkling Pacific Ocean before me.
  Recovering from throwing a football around for a while in the hot sun with my dad (which, for the record, almost killed me - the guy has the arm of a freakin' quarterback.) I smiled, thankful for the gorgeous last beach day of the summer spent with my sweet family on the Malibu shore. As I relaxed on the big quilt, someone pointed out a group of jumping dolphins, just feet past the crashing waves ahead of us - a breathtaking sight. The beach was pretty full that day, tourists sunbathing and local family's building sandcastles all around. But one particular little family caught my eye. A kind-looking grandmother set beach bag, ice chest and towels near my family's rainbow-umbrella beach perch, and she smiled at me as I noticed she had a little boy with her - obviously her grandson - who was about 6 years old. They made a cute pair as they settled on their blanket and snacked on grapes and chips. The grandmother had such a sweet spirit, and as the afternoon progressed, I noticed her diligent care and interaction with the little boy. She lovingly chatted with him, suggested ideas for fun play, but also carefully shepherding and leading him. When he began, unknowingly, kicking up sand with a little shovel as he excitedly filled his pail, she gently said, "Sweetie, be careful. You're accidentally throwing sand onto our neighbors." As she smiled over at us. When he ran too far into the shoreline waves, she gently but firmly reminded, "Son, you must be careful to only go as far as I told you. Grandma can't see you when you are too far out, and I'm unable to swim because of my knee problems. Stop and think of others." And when the little one darted back and forth across the sand, having childish fun while unthinkingly blocking the paths of seaside walkers, she took him aside and graciously explained, "People are trying to take a walk on the sand, you are blocking their path... you need to be careful to think of other people and put them before yourself." 
       As the afternoon sun sank through the clouds above the sea, a group of young people arrived and made their way down to the beach, positioning themselves slightly in front of my family's spot. As we read magazines and snacked on fresh cherries, I noticed the group laughing, joking, and interacting. They were about my age - in their 20's. And one needn't be very observant or look at them very long to notice something very blatant about their group: the young woman was wearing a thong. Not just a skimpy bikini....but a thong bikini. (And by the way, super awkward writing out that word on my blog!!) At first I thought, "Wait... who wears a thong out in public as they throw frisbees around on the beach with a group of guy friends? I must have been mistaken.." But sure enough, as she ran in front of our beach towel and bent over to pick up a fallen frisbee, my suspicions were confirmed.... unfortunately, as I turned to look away and nearly gag. The rest of the afternoon - as my family tried to look for dolphins on the horizon and relax on the sand, she bopped around in front of us... and every other family trying to enjoy their wholesome beach day. She flitted back and forth, overtly showing off her body as she ran across the sand, bouncing around and laughing loudly. At one point, she positioned her friend's surfboard on the sand in view of all the beach-goers, and stood on it. She spent about an hour chatting with her group as they laid on their beach towels, relaxing - while she bounced back and forth on the board, practically dancing around in her barely-there swimsuit, clearly begging for the attention of innocent families trying to enjoy their time by the sea. If I were to be completely honest with you, I would admit that this whole scene really irked me. In times like these, I tend to go all "Joan Of Arc", a passion against wrong and injustice just well up inside my heart and take over. I nearly approached the gal and told her to put some clothes on, as something in me was just sure it was against the law to wear a thong on a public California beach (and just for the record, it totally is - I later looked it up...touche!) but I didn't (instead, I just threw the football...really hard.) My group averted our gaze as she paraded around, causing an uncomfortable and awkward situation in a mixed group. But I couldn't help but look over at the grandmother and little boy I'd formerly noticed, and see a stark contrast between the separate groups who sat on either side of my quilt. 

 The woman on my right, quietly and kindly concerned for others - carefully taking the opportunity to input into her precious grandson's life a sense of thoughtfulness and care for those around him as she instructed and guided him to think of other's before himself. 
  And the woman on my left, absolutely oblivious to the feelings, hearts, and eyes of those around her. Completely enveloped in her self, she simply thought of her own needs and her own insecurities - flagrantly flaunting her body to get attention, distracting the eyes of the men on the beach, unmindful and careless of the children around her. Totally absorbed in herself. 
     Friends, I'm not sharing this with you to bash anyone, get up on my soapbox or preach a "prudish" message. But I am bringing this up because I believe it's important.... not just the idea or act of what I witnessed that day in Malibu, but of a greater heart issue involved. An issue I considered more carefully after this experience. An issue we, as women, must think about and consider. 

   Hey I get it - people can wear what they want to the beach and that's not my business. But I think we can all agree that showing your backside at a public, family beach is simply inappropriate. I don't care if you're a guy or a girl - I really don't wanna have to look at your backside as I'm enjoying a day at the beach with my family. But even further, she was clearly gaining quite a bit of "attention" from the majority of men on the beach - the husbands, the teenage boys, the grandpas. Totally selfish behavior, causing distraction and encouraging lust in the hearts of men so that she would feel "beautiful" and "loved". It was truly such a far cry from the dynamic on our other side - the care-filled grandmother who's main concern was others, not herself. And I thought - what a picture. A contrast of a selfish heart's actions, and a heart striving to put other people first.
  My sweet readers, this particular post is not going to turn into a "5 Steps To Dressing Modestly" sermon. Growing up as a homeschooled PK (pastor's kid, for you unfamiliar with the lingo ;) and spending 4 years living on the campus of a very conservative Christian college, I have heard (and given) my share of "modesty talks." I think their guidelines can be very helpful and needed, especially in groups such as schools. This is a whole topic that I'm not going to explore in depth today. Guidelines for dressing in a way that pleases God, in a way that is appropriate for a Christian young woman, is helpful. Practical tips and advice are wonderful. But I think it goes deeper than just a list that says, "Okay, cotton dresses in dark fabric that go 12 inches past the knee is acceptable" or "Wearing a certain color really causes men to stumble." I've, honestly, seen girls covered up in baggy t-shirts and jeans who draw more attention to themselves than if they were sporting a minidress simply because of the way they interacted with guys - the way they talked, what they talked about, and how they drew attention to themselves in a selfish way simply by words and sexual innuendos. So, instead of sharing tips and tricks for dressing modestly, I want to simply bring up one thing to our attention, ladies. It can be so easy for us as women to use our physical bodies to gain attention and to ultimately be...self-centered. And after the little scene I viewed that day on the beach, I decided to strive to ask myself a question - in this area of my life, but also other areas: 

Am I putting myself first?
Or am I careful to think of other people,
 treating them as I would like to be treated?

It is truly a convicting reality. And it spreads into every area of our lives. 

Scripture says, 

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
 -Philippians 2:4. 


"And He (Jesus) answered, 
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength
and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself." 
-Luke 10:27

    Convicting reminders and truth... none of us are perfect. I just wanted to share my observations that day and remind myself, and you ladies, of truth. I'm not saying you can't wear a cute swimsuit at the pool or beach. I'm not saying we ladies must wear dresses 5 feet past our ankles, or not dress in a way that's pretty, stylish, feminine and attractive. I honestly think that we face different types of situations and those call for wisdom and discernment about what we wear. I'm not saying we should be legalistic about how we dress, and go around judging others, pointing out to them how they should change. And sometimes, we disagree one what's "modest" or not. I'm not saying that I am always unselfish or careful to consider others first... we all fail, and often. But ladies, in this area and in other areas of our lives - my prayer is that we strive to be women who have hearts that try to honor God. Who don't always strive to attract attention (male attention as well as other forms of attention) to ourselves. Who point to Jesus through how we act, speak, and dress. Who try to put others before ourselves. Who think of others first. I want to be a woman who is careful to think of other's first, thoughtful of those around me, and never trying to attract undue attention to myself in obnoxious ways. 

I want to be like that precious grandmother on the beach that day.... 

Just somethin' to think about.

I pray that we choose to be women of God.
Women who embrace sexual purity.
Women who choose to be ladylike.
Who choose to say "no" to the world's standards of beauty.
The ones we see on TV and in fashion ads.
May we choose to be different.
May we be unafraid to speak out in this ever darkening culture.
May we see true, inner beauty as precious.
Women whose inner beauty shines much brighter than our outer.
We fail, we fall, we make mistakes, we get all wrapped up in ourselves.
But at the end of the day, may our hearts grow less and less selfish
and more and more focused on others...
and Him. 

Love y'all. Alot.



linking up here


  1. "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."
    -Philippians 2:4. "
    this scripture means a lot to me.
    so much of the craziness we see in our society can be tired right back to that..people doing things because it makes *them* happy. i've come to find that nothing last for those who do things for themselves. it's sad, but sometimes it takes a lifetime for people to realize life is not about them. it takes losing more than a few people in your life to realize just how precious the lives of others were. just reading of the older women, that's where my mom goes. she's seen a lot in her years. the other girl, not so much..still learning a lot. when i come into situations like that, i've been praying that they will learn to live for something else..and most importantly that i can in someway show them that there IS something more.

    ah, sorry, didn't mean to rant there!
    and i knew that you were a pk/christian college kid but i didn't know you were homeschooled too! i think that's why i relate to your posts so much!


  2. and i kinda needed some coffee when i typed all of that. ha!
    couple of typos:

    *tied right back
    *my mind (not mom)

  3. Brilliant post! I LOVE this! I completely agree with you and I cannot stand when people do things like that for attention; it's pathetic!

  4. Beautiful post and scriptures<3

  5. Amazing post, it really spoke to me.

  6. This was a beautiful post, Erin. Truly.

  7. This is an area where I struggle because I'm a sun baby with very little modesty. I love laying on a beach and soaking up the sun. And I am perfectly comfortable in a bikini, but its not always the most appropriate thing for me to wear. (and after baby #3 those days may be over...) I love your take on it though, why do I dress the way I do and how does it make others feel. Thanks my friend.

  8. Appreciate your words, friend! We ladies, as children of the Most High, need to hear more words like them! It's such a struggle sometimes because the world is so in our faces! But HE has made us conquerors! :) Thanks again!

  9. I didn't realize you were homeschooled!

    Me, too!!! :-)

    Last day to enter this So Delicious health food giveaway!

  10. So well said, sweet friend. Thankyou for being bold and writing such thought-provoking and convicting words which really need to be heard =)
    Love your heart and am SO excited that I get to see you in like 6 days!!!!! =)
    Much Love!

  11. You are such an inspiration. I love the way that you wrote this and in our world now so many woman need to hear this. And I whole heartedly agree that woman in baggy tshirts and pants can be so much more attractive with how they interact with men. I find it so much more refreshing to meet a woman like this and i think men do to. Love this post. Thanks!

    visit us:

  12. Beautiful post, something we all need to read and think about

  13. I totally feel where you are coming from. Within the past two or three years, I have stopped wearing swimsuits altogether if I am in public. I just began to feel like those parts of my body should be between me and Jesus [as I was faithfully dating Him ;-)]. And now that's I'm married, I can't imagine another man seeing my thights, mid-section, or cleavage that isn't my husband. If I'm at a friend's house and it's just me and the girls hanging out, that's different. But I don't want to purposely be a cause of temptation to men around me.

    I think the more we begin to truly realize how precious our bodies are to God, we will think differently about the way we dress :-) GREAT POST!

  14. Thanks for this, sweet friend. Your heart is for purity, so I totally understand you getting upset by something like that!

    Thanks for being an amazing role model and someone I can look up to!! :)


  15. What a great post!! Really gave me some food for thought. It hit me when you said we should honor Him by what we wear. Good job!!

  16. Beautiful post! :) I love your heart for God and for others... blessings!

  17. This was really relevant to me this morning since I plan to go clothes-shopping later with one of my friends, and being a teenage girl who just wants to be talked to in school, I tend to want to dress like the less appropriate women that are seen in media. So thank you for some awesome encouragement to be an appropriate Christian youth. C:

  18. Erin, I was a little unsure of the direction you were going to take this post, but I was so blessed and pleased with what you said. It was a great challenge to all Christain women. The beauty of unselfishness was so vividly shown in your story. It was convicting for me and probably would be for any Christain out there. You really got to the heart of the issue leaving no room for legalism. Thank you.
    Alesha <3

  19. very good post about this. i wouldn't enjoy being paraded around like with either.

  20. Exactly!! I agree totally. Thanks for sharing this. It's beautifully written and it needs to be shared. :)

  21. Great post. What a precious conclusion. We will shine for Him when we live lives of purity. Your statement about modesty being the way we act (our heart) even more so than the way we dress is so true. Keep shining for Him, sister!
    Those are such a cute pics of you with the sunlight, btw!

  22. I love this post!! I always feel extremely uncomfortable when girls/women flaunt themselves that way. It's such an awkward situation for everyone.

    I am even more mindful of it now that I have a son. It's frustrating that you can't go to a public place without having to worry about what your children will see.

    So frustrating, but such a good post. You definitely have a way with words!

    New follower! xo


sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.


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