Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Curious? Ok – well here it is for the record.

For 25 years I have been a Christian. I received the Lord on May 9, 1985. From that day to today there have been many changes in me and in my life style. There are many things I do and don’t do because of what and how the Lord has worked in my life, and lately I have had several ladies asking me questions because they were curious – so here are my answers…for the record. I will be answering one question a day as this article would be too long to give all my answers in one day!

Do I always ONLY wear dresses (skirts) and why?

Yes, I always only wear a dress or skirt because the Lord placed that conviction on my heart shortly after I got saved. You see when I first became a Christian I heard that all the answers I needed in my life could be found in the Bible. To my thinking I imagined then that the Bible was somewhat like a cookbook. I could look something up and find the “recipe.” Well, as a young mother (I was 27 at the time with 4 children ages 5 and under) I wanted the “recipe” for being a good mother; I wanted to know how to raise my children.

As I began my quest I started looking in the index of my new Bible (concordance) and couldn’t quite find a specific recipe that said, “How to raise kids.” The Lord did however lead me to several different verses and one of them was Deuteronomy 22:5 which says, “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.”

Now, when I read that verse the first thought that came to my mind was, “oh no! That means God doesn’t want me to wear pants.” I was not excited with that news especially as I had a closet full of pants! The next morning as I was getting dressed I tried to convince myself that I had surely misunderstood what the Bible said, after all I was a new Christian and almost all women wear pants all the time. Well, as I got dressed every time I saw myself in my mirror filled room (we had mirrored closet doors on one wall, my dresser with a mirror on it on another wall, and a vanity with a mirror above the sink on yet another wall) in my heart the Lord was saying “look at you, you know that is not how I want you to dress – are you really going to just ignore what you read last night?” Well after a 20 minute struggle I gave in and told the Lord I would submit to what He wanted for me. I changed my clothes and have not worn pants since that time.

I have had many women say that the pants they wear were not made for men; they are “women’s” pants, and therefore women’s clothing. I suppose that is possible however God did deal with my heart specifically and from His Word – so even if that is the case I believe that I should stand on the conviction God placed on my heart from His Word instead of moving away from it because of someone else’s beliefs. I am not being mean spirited, legalistic, or judgmental – I am just obeying what God placed on my heart. I know for a fact that God does not want me to wear pants.

I would also say that there are other reasons I believe a woman should be careful about pants, first because of what the Bible says in Deuteronomy 22:5, but then also because of various ads and articles I’ve read about pants. For the designers pants are all about making the woman’s rear look good. I have seen full page articles about how a woman’s rear is her temple; how that a woman should try on every pair of pants before making the purchase and doing various “rear” tests to make sure it shows off the shape while walking, dancing, trying to allure men, etc. To my thinking – this doesn’t sound like anything I am aiming for so why would I consider them as anything I would put on my body – which the Bible says is the temple of the Holy Spirit!

I can quote Scripture after Scripture about why I believe God wants women and men to dress differently from each other, and why He wants Christian women to dress differently from unsaved women – but the bottom line to me is that God dealt with my heart specifically and so for me it would be wrong to wear pants.

I also believe that to lower the standard of dress is an expression of what is on the inside. (The King’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.) If I love the Lord with all my heart, mind, and soul – and if “whatsoever I do” is to be for the glory of God – I don’t want my choice of clothing to be excluded from those decisions. That lowering of the standard makes a statement to those that have been watching and it says, “see, it was that church, or that religion that was forcing her to dress that way – now she’s “back to normal.” Lowering my dress standard may negate my testimony to those I have been witnessing to for (in some cases) 25 years! The change God made in me is real – it wasn’t manufactured, it wasn’t forced upon me by someone I admired – it is the working of the Holy Spirit in me as I seek to “be more like Him.”

The second part of this question would then naturally be if I hold it against or look down upon women that wear pants…and my answer would be “no.” I don’t believe a woman should be made to feel guilty and forced to my standard, or made to dress a certain way “because of rules.” Oh, I believe that a pastor has every right to require worker’s to follow specific guidelines – after all even McDonald’s requires their employees to wear a uniform at work, as do airlines which not only require them while on duty, but any time they fly! Our choices and decisions for what we do for God must come from the heart. “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:” Ephesians 6:6, 7

Ladies, what you wear and how you choose to dress is between you and God – but really make it between you and God – ask the Lord in earnest how He wants you to dress, “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” God will let you know what He wants for you and then you can with joy and full assurance know that you are “doing the will of God from the heart.”

I love you and pray that you will have a wonderful day!

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing this. I have the same convictions that you do for dress, but I came about them differently. I love to read testimonies about dress, as they further my own conviction (most of the time), and they help me to be able to give an answer for my own convictions.

    As a pastor's wife, I try to be very careful not to give the impression that I don't like someone or will not welcome someone based on what they have on. When we first started our church, we had a family coming that picked up on my daughter and me wearing dresses, and they were offended. We had done nothing to offend; in fact, neither my husband nor I had said one word about any kind of dress standards at that point! This couple ended up leaving our church over another issue, but I've often wondered why our dress had been an issue, especially since we hadn't said anything. I felt I had treated everyone equally who came to our home and church, and no one else in all these 5 years has raised the issue. As a fellow pastor's wife, do you have any insight to offer?

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  2. Susan,as much as we love everybody you know we can never keep them all:( Sometimes people are afraid of change, sometimes others influence them and make them feel that if too much changes because of "church" that they are in a cult. I believe that as long we just continue to walk with God, be Spirit filled,do as the Lord leads, and love others as God commands then we are doing all we can - God gives the increase - so just keep sowing and watering and He'll do the rest. No one told me to change the way I dress - the Holy Spirit convicted my heart - I think that's the best way...:) God Bless You!

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  3. Thank you! I know these things, of course, but it helps to hear another pastor's wife say it! And we've learned over the past 5 years that God truly is the one building the church . . . He knows who is best for each assembly.

    I just found out today that my son is making your son's business/prayer cards! He's a student at West Coast Baptist College and is very good at graphic design. He showed me his latest project - and the picture was of your son and his family.

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  4. Mrs Azarello, Thank you for writing this article. It encouraged my heart. I have grown up hearing preaching on this very subject, and yet the very ones who preached and taught it have since "changed their views" -- I have ben struggling for years with this as I have two teenage daughters that I have tried to teach them God's point on the way a woman should dress. I have found that those who do not share the same conviction as me are always the ones "making something" about it. I say nothing verbally - only by the way I choose to dress.

    My girls have never worn a pair of pants while living in our home. My prayer is that as they prepare to leave home they will stay to the standard and not drop it - but I also know that it needs to be THEIR standard.

    THANK YOU!!!!

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  5. That is amazing! I met him this past week at the Spiritual Leadership Conference - his is a very talented young man - I am sure you very pleased that he is serving the Lord. Thank you for your encouragement! God bless you and your ministry.

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  6. Terrie I am so proud of you for your faithfulness to our LORD,and obedience, What ever GOD wants us to do we do with out question. I to want to please the LORD,just like I want to please my husband.I don't have a problem just wearing dresses after all I am a woman and I want to look feminine it pleases the LORD and my husband.love Mom.

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  7. Very wonderful post on this top, Mrs. Azzarello! Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Terrie,
    Just read this post tonight.
    Enjoyed it. I haven't changed on this issue. I do not want to be judgmental and yet, at times, I feel like others are harsh about those who continue to wear skirts/culottes/dresses. Why is that?
    My husband prefers that the girls and I wear dresses...so it's not a problem because I want to please him.
    I enjoyed reading your testimony.
    I do find it interesting that some ladies immediately put on a pair of jeans/slacks almost as soon as they leave a ministry that stood that way. (does that mean it's in rebellion...or possibly, they just never really had that standard themselves...)
    Who knows? Not for me to judge why.
    It is a 'hot' topic in Christianity and especially the churches that have dress standards for their choir members, teachers, etc.
    Thanks for addressing it.
    EJM

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