The Rose-Patterned Tights

Several months ago, I bought the rose-patterned tights. I don’t know why exactly, except that patterned tights intrigued me and I was just taking my first baby steps into a world where I admit that I want to look beautiful and I want to dress well, vulnerable as it still makes me feel to say so.

So I bought the tights, and though it took me more than a month to put them on, eventually I wore them to a coffee shop with a friend. She took some photos of me that day because she is a star-fire soul who sees beauty everywhere and embraces it and scatters it abroad, and later I posted one of those photos on social media. Some days afterwards I was told by someone dear to my heart whose opinions I respect that those tights looked like something a prostitute would wear.

That was fun.

I didn’t wear them again for a while after that. But they were still pretty and I still liked them, and my husband liked them. So on my birthday, when he took me out for brunch and coffee, I wore my rose-patterned tights. It was just us. It felt safe. I felt beautiful.

And then last weekend, we went to a marriage seminar and on the second day I wore them again. Several beautiful women gave me compliments on them, but although words of encouragement is a spiritual gift and it was healing to hear that, especially from women, that isn’t why I dress up.

The seminar ended on Sunday afternoon with a time to recommit ourselves to our spouse and then a celebration. We dressed up. At lunchtime, one of the new friends I made over the weekend, a lovely little mother of five, asked me a bit shyly if I was planning to wear my tights that evening. She wanted to borrow them. When I gave them to her, she cried, and she said to me that she was going to please her husband so much that evening.

And I was so deeply honored, but I didn’t fully understand why until later, after three things happened. 

The first was seeing her that evening, wearing a little dress her husband had given to her and heels and those tights. She was beautiful the entire weekend, but that evening she carried herself a little differently. It’s not that the clothes gave her confidence, but maybe the decision to put them on did. Diligence brings confidence, and she was diligent in preparing herself as a bride for her husband that evening. It was a gift to me that I got to be a small part of it.

The second was talking about it with my husband, and him telling me that he was proud of me, he was proud of the fact that by choosing to dress up I had empowered another woman to feel beautiful for her husband. And I understood why it moved me – because I know how powerful it is to feel beautiful for my husband and I know how deeply it hurt when I did not. 

The third was the next day when I started writing about it, because it is when I am writing things out that God speaks to me. And He reminded me of how He knows that I still struggle with the old programming which says external beauty is dangerous and prideful, and that the only kind of beauty that is acceptable to God is inner beauty – because He’s not the one who invented needlessly gorgeous sunsets and the muscled arms of men and the graceful curves of women and the elaborate tail of a peacock, right? 

And He said to me then, Who else could have orchestrated it so that the first piece of clothing that you felt attacked and shamed for wearing was also the first piece that flowed through you to lift up another woman?

That is why. That is why I dress up, and why I have to be okay with you not always liking the way I look. Because yes, it’s fun and being diligent in the way I present myself has given me new levels of confidence and that has done amazing things for our marriage – and honestly, that could be enough reason for me. That is why I started.

But I won’t stop because that isn’t all. Because maybe there are others like me. Maybe I’m not the only woman who knows the feeling of having nothing to offer my husband except my intelligence or my usefulness. Maybe I’m not the only one who knows what it is to see no beauty in myself to give to him. 

And that kills a woman from the inside.

So if I can help one other wife step from the death of that lie into the power and life of her gift of beauty, I will dress up til the day I die.

Because that is who we were created to be.

BEAUTY

16 thoughts on “The Rose-Patterned Tights

  1. I’ve often told you I like reading the words you write and I’m telling you again. I hear your rich voice speaking the words in my brain as I read and I’m glad I get to know Jenny. Love you girl😍

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    1. I would like to add here (very gently) that confidence and empowerment starts in our hearts, by truly knowing how God sees us, and will not necessarily depend on “dressing up”. Also that I believe our purpose in life is not merely to “be beautiful because God made us to be beautiful” but our purpose here is to honor God, and specifically as women, to honor God with our beauty. Though obviously there will be differences of opinion about how best to live that out…
      And thank you for sharing your heart here, this post is one I’m going to be thinking about for awhile.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for commenting, and especially for not just saying ‘yes I agree with this’ when that is not all that you thought. Please don’t misunderstand me…I absolutely believe that confidence and empowerment comes from within, essentially from God, and that putting on clothes will never be enough in and of themselves. I know that this blog post is focused on exterior beauty but that was a deliberate choice because all my life I was told and told that inner beauty is all that matters and no one ever told me that wanting to look beautiful, especially for my husband, is a God-given desire.
        I also don’t believe that women were created for the sole purpose of being decorative. But I do believe that we were created with a heart for beauty – we love to see it, to share it, to create it, to be it – and especially in relation to our husbands. I think we especially reflect a part of God’s heart in this way, and I don’t think it honors Him for us to repress it or call it wickedness.
        There’s a bit in Revelation that talks about New Jerusalem being prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, and I think that’s beautiful and also very telling – we were created to want to make ourselves beautiful for our husbands. But on the flip side, is there any woman who wouldn’t be crushed if her husband would tell her “your heart is beautiful, but you look ugly”? And how many women actually quietly feel that way about themselves even though he has never said it?
        That was my point.

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  2. “The sheer joy of the Trinity demands companionship.” What happens when the Beauty and Joy of the Trinity is refused and is substituted with worship at the altar of self and spouse? Such may seem attractive at first, but ultimately El Shaddai says, “I will not give my glory to another.”

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    1. Hello, Chester. It’s good to hear from you again. Thank you for the comment.
      I don’t think I’ve ever heard that quote on the Trinity before – I looked it up and found a Thomas Aquinas quote that has some similarities but doesn’t mention the Trinity – and I’m not sure I really understand it. Would you care to explain it to me?
      The obvious answer to your question – ‘What happens when the Beauty and Joy of the Trinity is refused and is substituted with worship at the altar of self and spouse?’ – seems to me to be DEATH. But how does that look in every day life? What are the signs that you are worshiping at the altar of self and spouse?

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  3. Hi Jenny! You are touching on a very important topic here: beautiful women and understanding our God-given love of beauty. However, it is important that “being beautiful for your husband” in that way isn’t in front of other people. I’m not trying to say that ugliness is godliness. Nor am I trying to say that a gunny sack of a dress is ideal. I firmly believe that we women can either dress in a way that draws attention to our bodies, or in a way that glorifies God and draws attention to Him. 1 Peter 3:4; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 These are beautiful verses. As Christians, we are the temple of the one and only holy God. We are instructed to not ornament our bodies. We are not our own. And that should impact how we dress. I think part of this instruction (in the verses) is given because we humans are sexual people, and we are drawn to feeling beautiful because of our sexuality. Like I said, we have a God-given desire for beauty, feeling beautiful, and also being loved and cherished. And we CAN be beautiful while still covering our bodies. Beautiful colors and textures are fun to combine. Women who are at peace with who God made them to be, are joyfully filling the place God has called them to, and are dressed modestly are very beautiful!

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    1. Hi, Heidi! I don’t think I’ve ever met you – thank you for reading my blog, and for commenting! You said several things that I think I understand and I agree with, but also some things that I am not sure I understand. I would love to hear further explanation of these if you are willing to give it.

      You said: “However, it is important that “being beautiful for your husband” in that way isn’t in front of other people.”
      What do you mean by ‘in that way’? In what way?

      You also said: “I firmly believe that we women can either dress in a way that draws attention to our bodies, or in a way that glorifies God and draws attention to Him.”
      Wonderful. Firm beliefs are much better than weak beliefs. I would love to hear more about this one. How can a woman dress that glorifies God and draws attention to Him? I don’t mean theoretically, but practically. What would I need to wear tomorrow morning for me to be glorifying God and drawing attention to Him, as opposed to drawing attention to my body?

      I looked up those verses, and chapters, and I agree that they are beautiful. I definitely agree that being a Christian should impact how we dress.

      You said: “We are instructed to not ornament our bodies.”
      By whom are we instructed not to ornament our bodies, and where?

      You said: “we humans are sexual people, and we are drawn to feeling beautiful because of our sexuality.”
      Is beauty inherently sexual? And if our value and desire for beauty comes from our sexuality, why does God value beauty?

      And lastly, you said: “Women who are at peace with who God made them to be, are joyfully filling the place God has called them to, and are dressed modestly are very beautiful!”
      I appreciate the qualifications of what makes a woman beautiful. The first two make sense to me, but the last one I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Can you define ‘dresses modestly’? When you look at a woman, how do you know if she is dressed modestly or not?

      Again, thank you so much for commenting! I highly value hearing others’ perspectives and having my mind expanded!

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  4. Hello again! Yes, we have met, but it’s been a while.😉 We’re second cousins, actually. My mom and your dad are first cousins.

    I apologize for the poor statement of “drawing attention to God.” A better way of saying it would be that the way we dress can reflect God’s heart, and His intentions for us. We are not our own. In fact, we are ambassadors for Christ. Ambassadors dress intentionally to reflect on the mission they are fulfilling.

    1 Peter 3:3-4 says in reference to godly wives “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel, but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

    1 Timothy 2:9,10 has the same idea, only more straightforward. After talking about how men should conduct themselves, Paul addresses women. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness, and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works.”
    It’s clear in these verses that we women are not to ornament ourselves. We are told here by Peter and Paul in the inspired Word of God that women are not to wear jewelry, arrange hair elaborately, or dress expensively. Basically, our focus and time should not be given to externals. God has work for us to do, far more important than primping.

    You asked me to define modesty. In short, dressing modestly is not revealing or emphasizing one’s figure. So anything that does reveal or emphasize one’s figure, is immodest.

    Honestly, a lot of the details are played out when we allow our hearts to be quiet before God.
    Psalm 139:23,24 Search me o God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
    I’ve had to remind myself repeatedly, “Who am I taking my cues from? Is God telling me this is beautiful or ugly, or is the world defining my view of beauty or ugliness?”
    When we truly want to desire what God wants, and prayerfully search our heart with Him, He is faithful, and will give guidance.

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    1. Oh, you’re that Heidi! 🙂 Nice to hear from you again. And thank you for the response!

      I asked several questions you did not answer, but I recognize that I asked many questions so this time I’ll limit myself to three!

      On the subject of the verses you use to explain your beliefs (1 Peter 3:3-4, 1 Timothy 2:9-10), my three questions are:
      1. Have you ever done any kind of study on adornment, or even specifically jewelry, in the Bible?
      2. When going to the Scriptures for guidance, do you believe it’s important to include the entire Biblical message in your conclusions, or is it just as effective to go with several specific verses?
      3. You read in these verses a command for women not to ornament themselves, but aren’t Paul and Peter actually instructing women to adorn themselves, and telling us how to do it most effectively?

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and beliefs with me!

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    1. That’s perfect, I appreciate in-depth responses! But you are right, this thread is getting a bit long. Should we switch to email?

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  5. Yes, I do believe it is important to take the entire biblical message to form our conclusions. In fact, we dare not pick and choose certain verses merely to support something that may actually not be biblical. I’m getting the idea that you think I’m doing that (picking and choosing) by using the verses that I did. Or maybe I misunderstood you? I don’t find anywhere in scripture that disagrees with, contradicts, or annuls what Peter and Paul said. So I am rather puzzled if indeed you did think I was being choosy. If you care to, I would appreciate feedback/clarification on this one. And yes, email is fine if you prefer that.

    As to whether or not Peter and Paul are instructing us how to adorn ourselves most effectively, I wouldn’t have thought of it that way, although I suppose you could say that. It is important to note what kind of adornment they emphasize: “the hidden man of the heart” and “good works”. I think I can safely sum that up by saying that our focus should be on developing a Christ-like spirit, which comes from a close relationship with Christ. Once again, our purpose is to draw people to Christ, not to ourselves.

    I think that covers all your questions!😉

    Thank you for the consideration you have given this comment section.

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    1. I’m enjoying this so much, thank you for engaging in this discussion with me!

      Don’t you think that’s an important distinction, though? Because if Peter and Paul are acknowledging that women do want to adorn themselves, do want to be beautiful, and their reaction isn’t “NO THAT’S WRONG” but rather “Here is how to do it most effectively, here is where true beauty comes from”, doesn’t that change the message of those verses quite a lot?

      You didn’t say whether you have ever done a study on adornment throughout the Bible, and the reason why I asked is because if you haven’t, I can easily see how you could understand these verses to mean that women are not supposed to adorn themselves outwardly – just as if you would only hear me say that I don’t think a woman should get her identity or sense of worth from being a wife and mother, you could assume from that that I think marriage and having children is a bad idea. I have done some studying on adornment, especially clothing and jewelry, throughout the Bible and though I don’t claim to have a perfect understanding of it, what I have learned so far has definitely stirred up my mind. I’ll talk to you about that in an email though, since it’s rather lengthy.

      Again, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! I’m learning things over here that I might never have learned if you hadn’t chosen to comment.

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