I accidentally posted this somewhere else (don't even know where it ended up) so excuse me for re-posting if you have already read it, but I really wanted the plain folks to read it.

I have been wearing my head covering since January of this year. It has been an emotional roller coaster and very challenging to me! I feel so led to wear it that I don't feel I have any choice about it - in other words I can't stop wearing it now - but occasionally a voice asks me "what do you think you are doing when no one else is doing the same?" It seems to mock me and encourage me to question the leading, especially the fact that "no one else" is doing this! Kind of a "who do you think you are" question. This is on my bad days, obviously. On those days also my snood looks unattractive, and maybe downright offensive to me! But on other days it looks beautiful and makes me feel just right!

I don't know if others have these feelings, but I am trying to see it just as a test of my resolve and my willingness to serve God as he asked me to. I have always been fickle, hereditary I guess, and I think I am being tried so strongly for that reason. But for this very reason I can see why God is requiring this difficult and visible testimony of me and maybe not of others - because if it weren't for that cap I may have let other things, like my daily time with God, slide as well, and pretty soon I would be back into old habits, old ways of thinking and suffering!! It is this cap, no matter how I feel about it, that keeps me on the straight and narrow right now.God knows us so well, eh?

Blessings on all of you, Barb

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:)

Barb, please don't see your choice as anything negative.  Our Muslim sisters make the choice of covering their heads or not, and covering more or not.  I know Muslim women who do not wear a head scarf/hijab, and some who do.  I began covering my head quite some time back, and there are many ways to do it, not just with a snood or a kapp.  I have found some wonderful shaped hijabs on eBay which have elastic across the back.  One has long ties that I can leave hanging, or wrap around my neck if it's cold out.  I also have triangle scarves and other scarves.  Orthodox Jewish women cover their heads too.  

Actually, I'm seeing a bit of a head covering revolution!  After the hoodie issue in the Treyvon Martin case and Mrs. Alawadi who was murdered in CA for wearing a hijab, I know quite a few American women from various traditions who are taking to head covering as a form of protest -- saying that we should not judge others by what they wear. 

And I love wearing the basic salwar kameez too!  It's a long tunic worn over long pants, and I get the ones with 3/4 sleeves.  They are modest, practical, attractive, and simple ones are quite available. 

The concept of plainness for me evolves out of the Quaker Testimony of Simplicity.  It's not a uniform.  We don't have a dress code like the more structured plain peooples.  If it's simple and modest and it simplifies my life, then that's what works for me.  We each have the freedom to find our own path to simplicity. 

I applaud your effort.  In many traditions, men and women cover their heads to remind them continually of the role of God in their lives. 

 

Jenna - You understand what I am dealing with! I did not at all mean to imply that I find this a negative discipline!! Very much on the contrary. It is just that all disciplines are hard and of course have negative aspects otherwise they would not be disciplines would they?

I have found that I am not comfortable with any more modern or stylish headcovering - if it can be seen as worn just for style or on a whim it does not bring me peace. So that's where I am and I am just beginning to understand why this has to be this way for me! It is just so strange cause I have never in my life done anything that NO ONE around me is doing - I am different maybe, but not radical!

I am so glad you understand.
Peace, Barb

Yes, Barbara, I've had very similar thoughts and feelings as well.  One of the most confusing things for me when I was thinking about covering/feeling very called to do so, was that so many women didn't do it - women that seemed to be so very spiritual and really serving God.  I thought, if they are obviously living lives dedicated, in big ways, to serving God, why haven't they also been called to cover?  I guess I am not supposed to understand it all.  I am glad that so many woman are being called to cover, and I have definitely felt more strength in my ability to do so, the longer I wear my covering.  

In the beginning it was so hard and some days I just didn't have it in me to go out and about, running errands, wearing it (and I felt so guilty for not wearing it).  But there was one very distinct day when I went to the mall with my daughter, and got all the usual looks and probably some stares, but I didn't care.  I just had an immense feeling of peace.   It just didn't bother me anymore, and it hasn't since.  I think God gives us that peace, when we try hard to obey, whatever it is he is asking us to do.  Now it is such a part of me that I wouldn't start my day without putting it on. 

And I know what you mean about it helping one to stay on the narrow path.  It is just so many things, in a little piece of cloth!  It reminds me that God should come first, it reminds me to be more patient and kind, not be judgmental, and see more of the goodness in people, when that can be so hard.  And of course it is not the covering itself, but rather the grace that comes from obedience and devotion. 

The other one was over here: http://www.quakerquaker.org/forum/topics/the-discipline-of-covering

You posted in Quaker Talk which is the generic forum. I spotted it in the activity sidebar on the QQ homepage, but you should also be able to see it by looking at your own profile page on QQ, which lists your recent activity on the site.

Ms. Smith, I am no expert nor am I wise.My reply is to wear what you feel is your style or statement when and if you so desire.You do not always have to dress in attire that is attributed to a faith; but you can always dress in that attire if you want or feel compelled.Most people are not even noticing.Do you scutinize every outfit you see worn? or do you have other things on your mind.I very rarely notice dress(Horrible witness for a police report...What was he wearing?...Dunno,  What color?  Dunno,etc.You seem sensitive to what others see and are then concluding they disapprove.So wear your headdress when you want.Patrick

 

I just wanted to pop in on an issue of semantics that's something of importance to me. 

The word "discipline" in our society has come to mean something negative, harsh, and that's not the origin of the word at all.  To discipline used to mean "to teach."  Jesus had desciples, those who were being taught by him.  When you go to college, someone might ask you which discipline you are going to pursue, meaning, "What are you going to study?"  

It bothers me that such a wonderful word has gotten such a negative connotation in our society, when it has such positive potential.  

And to have self-discipline is such a positive notion!  To school oneself, to hold oneself to the pursuit of a good goal, whether it be staying within one's budget, being careful about what one eats, or instilling in oneself the habit of daily meditation and study are all splendid examples of the positive aspects of discipline.  8-)  

peace & blessings,

         bets

 

Hello, I had an interesting experience this weekend and thought some of you might relate. Friday and Sat. was our churches large sale for world relief so I was in contact with all stripes of plain folks working for a greater good. I've been doing my own version of plain modern for 6 months now and I thought that was as far as I was being called in the plain witness/direction. Now I'm not so sure, I was very attracted to the even simpler sisters at the sale, solid colored dresses in the traditional style. Also, on Monday, I was looking for plain t shirts to wear under jumpers and I couldn't find ANYTHING not made in a country where I don't know about labor practices. The next obvious step is to just make my own things. SO what's stopping me? Many things, not sure if any or all are valid. One, I'd embarass my fashion loving mom and daughters (ok I know that's not a good reason)  Two, I don't want to call attention to myself, if I go further on this journey I'll have to explain myself more both to my church and others. Many in our church were hurt by the old Mennonite way of enforcing dress codes and what that meant for people, particularly women. Third, if I invest in plain clothing I want this to be a permanent thing I don't want to be wasteful. I know this sounds like a lot of me, me, but I don't know another way of discussing a personal call from the Spirit without being, well, personal. Thanks for letting me ramble G.

G.H.,

I have found Five Tests for Discerning a True Leading from the Tract Association of Friends very helpful to me over the years as I have struggled to discern the Lord's will for me. I am particularly fond of the test he calls "Patience." That section quotes George Fox: “Be patient and still in the power and still in the light that doth convince you, keep your minds unto God . . . If you sit still in the patience which overcomes in the power of God, there will be no flying.”

Isabel



G.H. said:

Hello, I had an interesting experience this weekend and thought some of you might relate. Friday and Sat. was our churches large sale for world relief so I was in contact with all stripes of plain folks working for a greater good. I've been doing my own version of plain modern for 6 months now and I thought that was as far as I was being called in the plain witness/direction. Now I'm not so sure, I was very attracted to the even simpler sisters at the sale, solid colored dresses in the traditional style. Also, on Monday, I was looking for plain t shirts to wear under jumpers and I couldn't find ANYTHING not made in a country where I don't know about labor practices. The next obvious step is to just make my own things. SO what's stopping me? Many things, not sure if any or all are valid. One, I'd embarass my fashion loving mom and daughters (ok I know that's not a good reason)  Two, I don't want to call attention to myself, if I go further on this journey I'll have to explain myself more both to my church and others. Many in our church were hurt by the old Mennonite way of enforcing dress codes and what that meant for people, particularly women. Third, if I invest in plain clothing I want this to be a permanent thing I don't want to be wasteful. I know this sounds like a lot of me, me, but I don't know another way of discussing a personal call from the Spirit without being, well, personal. Thanks for letting me ramble G.

I tend to fall somewhere around what Isabel's site labels "modern Plain." I also do those things that make people assume I'm a Pentecostal (like not cutting my hair) or (correctly) a feminist (like shaving) or both (like not wearing makeup). 

My dad's getting married in August, and I'm to be one of the bride's maids. You can probably already see where this is going. This is the dress his fiance has suggested: http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/js-boutique-dress-sleeveless-one...

Oh dear me. That is short. And I am not! At 5'8", dresses have a tendency to look 5 inches shorter on me than in the picture. And with no sleeves and all that leg...I am sure to be lectured about my "hygiene" (as though hair removal had anything to do with hygiene at all). And of course, they'll want me to buy new shoes to wear with it, because http://www.bornshoes.com/Product.aspx?ProductID=4544 aren't "appropriate," never mind that I'm trying to avoid re-spraining my ankle.

And gosh darnit, the idea of buying a dress that I would never have reason to wear ever again! I suggested I be allowed to sew infinity dresses for all the bride's maids. Then I could sew them to be knee-length and we could all wrap the top however we want, and they could be worn again after the wedding! The idea of me sewing did not seem to sit well with her when suggested though. She said maybe if we find an infinity dress at the store.

G.H. - I can definitely relate to your quandry. I have been wearing a head covering now for 5 months, and I wear dark, plainish, long dresses or skirts, so the overall effect is very plain. It has been an amazing journey with the head covering though and I have made many discoveries. First of all I have discovered that as someone, or several folks, told me, most people do not pay that much attention to what you are wearing, or rather they quickly accept however you look, make assumptions about you (right or wrong), and move on. So while I expected searching looks, questions I would have trouble answering etc., that has not really happened. Generally people are super friendly, I think even more so than before, especially men. Maybe I look "safe" in some way, and it seems they are more relaxed with me, though all that is very hard to judge as it could just as well be me feeling more relaxed with how I look, feel etc.
The second thing is that while I have gone through some intensely uncomfortable times with this covering, it has gradually grown to be so much "me" that I'm usually not even aware I look different anymore - whereas in the beginning I was so self-conscious it is now hard to understand what I could have been thinking! As if anyone really cared what my deep spiritual leadings were! People generally don't even know about leadings and just assume you are part of some group that is dictating how you look.
So I would say to anyone feeling led to be plainer to follow that and rest assured first that no one really cares, and second that you will gradually grow into it if it doesn't feel like you in the beginning. Afterall, God leads us into new things and we must not let the newness scare us.
As for family, that is still an unresolved issue with me, but now that I am feeling stronger in my dress I feel more able to cope with negative reactions from family. I take it you are Mennonite. I fully understand about feeling a bit uncomfortable when you are seeming to go counter-current to the directions those around you are going. I also attend a largely Mennonite fellowship and I sat in my plain clothes listening to a group of women discussing the agonies of being forced to wear plain clothes as children! It was a bit strange, but no one seemed to connect any of that with me. They know I am doing it out of a calling and not because someone is forcing me to, so that is very different.
I'll be interested to hear how it goes with you!

Mackenzie - We got a laugh out of your situation! Especially relevant as my daughter is about to be a bridesmaid and is also agonizing over a dress with similar issues. Oh dear, the situations we get into. Best wishes.

Barb

Oh dear... I would never wear such a tiny dress and I assume they expect you to wear it in church too? I would have to say no even if it would be with a heavy heart seeing it is family. Being so 'undressed' would simply not work. I am not saying this is what you should do, but that is what I would do. Thankfully my family is quite considerate of me and the way I dress so I do not think they would ever ask of me to show that much leg and bare my shoulders in church because they know I find it unacceptable. Likewise, I would never ask any of the other to cover in a religious setting because I know they do not believe it is necessary.

Mackenzie said:

I tend to fall somewhere around what Isabel's site labels "modern Plain." I also do those things that make people assume I'm a Pentecostal (like not cutting my hair) or (correctly) a feminist (like shaving) or both (like not wearing makeup). 

My dad's getting married in August, and I'm to be one of the bride's maids. You can probably already see where this is going. This is the dress his fiance has suggested: http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/js-boutique-dress-sleeveless-one...

Oh dear me. That is short. And I am not! At 5'8", dresses have a tendency to look 5 inches shorter on me than in the picture. And with no sleeves and all that leg...I am sure to be lectured about my "hygiene" (as though hair removal had anything to do with hygiene at all). And of course, they'll want me to buy new shoes to wear with it, because http://www.bornshoes.com/Product.aspx?ProductID=4544 aren't "appropriate," never mind that I'm trying to avoid re-spraining my ankle.

And gosh darnit, the idea of buying a dress that I would never have reason to wear ever again! I suggested I be allowed to sew infinity dresses for all the bride's maids. Then I could sew them to be knee-length and we could all wrap the top however we want, and they could be worn again after the wedding! The idea of me sewing did not seem to sit well with her when suggested though. She said maybe if we find an infinity dress at the store.

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