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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Emele Williams said:"... All things that I've ruminated on over the years, always coming back to the fact that I've never been happier living a healthy and God focused life when dressing plainly. "

Emele, this is what stood out for me in your post. "I've never been happier".

People who are happy at a soul-deep level are very attractive to others. Your joy in life will shine through whatever is on the outside. In a way I think Plain for me is about doing whatever keeps me in joy with God. I have been blessed with a small daughter who is very sensitive to when I am unhappy. It has been making me reflect on the role of joy in my life, and be more careful to centre myself in joy instead of overworking - I have recently realized that is a difficulty for me which is related to my difficulty in trusting God's goodness to me. If I can draw near to God's springs of grace, and experience the living waters that flow from that source, my soul is brought towards joy and 'shalom', God's peace.

Do whatever helps you experience joy in God. Honest work, good clean fun, wear what your conscience directs. I am certain that those who love what your soul is singing through you will be irresistibly drawn to you.

Two of the Quaker Testimonies stand out for me when I think of "plain dress" in any of its manifestations.  The first and most obvious is simplicity.  The simpler one's wardrobe is, the easier it is to maintain, to decide what to wear, etc.  Life has always presented challenges, but I think today, the pace of living has increased as well as the complexity of living in the world today, so anything that can simplify life I view as a good thing.  I am constantly trying to be mindful of simplicity, of ways I can simplify my life.      Equality is another Quaker Testimony that is addressed by simple or plain dress.  Clothing and accessories are "status symbols" in our society.  If we dress simply or even "plainly," we remove indicators of socio-economic status!  

 

Actually there are Anglicans and Roman Catholic laity who have adopted plain dress for these very reasons.    So yes, there are values reflected in the choice to dress in a simpler way or to actually adopt "plain dress." 

What interesting questions... Thank you Betsy for your comments. You wrote what i have been feeling and trying to practice, but was not able to articulate.

I wanted to thank everyone for their wonderful and thoughtful advice, as well as personal opinions and experiences. It really meant a lot to me and it was much appreciated. Sometimes just hearing some outside reassurance other than my own inner cheerleading is needed!

That is what we are here for, to encourage each other daily, while it is called today. We all need cheerleading, or reassurance from others.

Thy Friend,

Timothy

Emele Williams said:

I wanted to thank everyone for their wonderful and thoughtful advice, as well as personal opinions and experiences. It really meant a lot to me and it was much appreciated. Sometimes just hearing some outside reassurance other than my own inner cheerleading is needed!

Warm greetings Barbara:   Yes I understand and agree.   I began covering about 12 years back but not continuously.  In my area I do this, alone and I do it on the quiet when people will not mock me, which has happened. 

 

When surrounded by other Plain -- such as Amish, I don't feel worthy to cover in their presence  - - because they were raised this way and I was not.   In my garden, or my prayer closet I feel more safe to do so.  I am already made fun of for the way I dress and eat. . . I handle it as best I can. . . and think I only cover in private to protect the sanctity of my lifestyle.  Sometimes I already feel like a Zoo animal on display. . . don't want to encourage more of that behavior in others toward me. 

 

When I do not feel safe to wear it in public, sometimes I will just hold it in my hands before going out.  Seeing it and holding it brings me back to center again and brings me peace.   I feel the need to do this until I can move away from here. . .to a more appropriate location...and dress more as I see fit to do, which would include covering more than I do now. 

 

Blessings also unto you.   Chris 

Beautifully spoken.  I do so agree and could not have said it better. 

Betsy Packard said:

Two of the Quaker Testimonies stand out for me when I think of "plain dress" in any of its manifestations.  The first and most obvious is simplicity.  The simpler one's wardrobe is, the easier it is to maintain, to decide what to wear, etc.  Life has always presented challenges, but I think today, the pace of living has increased as well as the complexity of living in the world today, so anything that can simplify life I view as a good thing.  I am constantly trying to be mindful of simplicity, of ways I can simplify my life.      Equality is another Quaker Testimony that is addressed by simple or plain dress.  Clothing and accessories are "status symbols" in our society.  If we dress simply or even "plainly," we remove indicators of socio-economic status!  

 

Actually there are Anglicans and Roman Catholic laity who have adopted plain dress for these very reasons.    So yes, there are values reflected in the choice to dress in a simpler way or to actually adopt "plain dress." 

Emele Thank you and Bless you for these words.  It is as if I were hearing my words being spoken. . but you spoke them so much better than I.  In your words I truly now see that I am not alone in my way of thinking, living and being.   

I have alienated most all my friends.  They told me I've become very weird and don't want to be around me any more.  My husband of over 25 years told me that people would think I was 'Cheap'  - - - I told him, fortunately for him, finally I had become Cheap. . . but when I wasn't - - before - - he wasn't happy about that either. 

 

People could not accept me for living in my truth. . . though I gladly accepted them for living their truth.  Though I still loved them, they removed their love from me.  The emotional roller coaster I had to ride was very dark and lonely, because I have no extended family. . . so my friends were my family.  But my friends had family. . so they just grew closer to family when they separated from me.  I was left alone with my new acceptance and determination to see this thru.  I read Quaker and Amish / Mennonite books to help me, which I still read again and again today. 

 

Finally after 12 years I have found this site. . . and I see Quaker Friends who think and believe as I do.  I see I am not alone which is a huge relief.  But I also know I would have persisted on, even had I been alone, without ever finding this site.  My calling was that strong that I could not turn back.  

 

Still there is great comfort in the words you speak.  No matter how strong my resolve, I am only human.  I want the company of other  like minded plain people and want to be accepted by them.  Its a normal  human response, though a weak one.   



Emele Williams said:

You're very much not alone. I have been wearing plain dress in some incarnation, on and off, for nearly four years now. No one in my social circle dresses plain.

It's something that I struggle with.

At any age really, but often as a young person, it can be a real struggle to follow leadings that set you apart from your peers. It's limiting my social interaction; I have no desire to waste my time drinking my life away, or any other number of particularly popular group sports. My friends and co-workers are kind, they try to include me in their activities, but many of them are completely unsuitable for my beliefs and proclivities. And yet, however conscience damaging after the fact, I have the occasional off desire to humor them for fear of offending them.

I worry about being frumpy and unattractive. I worry that it will drive off any possible romantic prospects, or that I'll alienate long time friends who are slowly becoming dissimilar by the day. Fears (real or otherwise) that I embarrass family or friends are hard to reconcile. All things that I've ruminated on over the years, always coming back to the fact that I've never been happier living a healthy and God focused life when dressing plainly. It forces me to think about my actions, about what God wants for me in life rather than what I want for me in life. Why should I sacrifice my modesty for acceptance? But then I worry that idea itself is rather prideful...

I just wish you lived closer by, I'd love to sit down and quilt with you =( Just remember that you always have friends here, and Jesus is always with us. What I've found, recently, is that by just being myself and letting go of my self consciousness I have no trouble in friendships with my non-plain friends. I'm firm in my beliefs (no drinking, drugs, etc.), and open with my plain-ness and that's okay! If your friend are fair-weather, then it's time to find new friends. Making conversation I meet and make friends in the oddest of places, like when a waitress approached me about my clothes at a late night diner one night. Come to find out that she knew someone from my meeting and one of my professors! Self esteem is difficult, but I think that if you're open with your beliefs friends will find you in time. God bless, and I will keep you and your husband in my prayers.

Hello, Friend Chris and Emele!

I have enjoyed the both of ye as Friends here. I have been reading and following along, as best as I can. I have slipped and stumbled here not long ago. . . It just goes to show, we are human indeed. We make mistakes. We stumble and we fall short at times where God wants us to be. Yet, unlike thy husband Friend Chris, He is so Merciful and True. He loveth thee. Unlike thy situation Emele, God is not one to forsake us. . .

I'm glad that the two of thee can be Friends here. We all need an outside voice of encouragement—a second voice from someone else to uplift at times. We have so many problems to repair though. . . In thy case, dear Friend Chris, thy poor husband doesn't know what he doeth. His mind and brain are impaired. One day, that will all change. I hope and pray that thee can find someone, whether here or especially nearby, to just listen to thee and give thee a big hug. That is what is sounds like thee needeth, a sister Friend to wrap their caring arms of love around thee; assuring thee saying, "It's alright, I'm here to listen to thee. I may not understand or have gone through what thee hast, but I here for thee!"

Sounds as though Emele would do so if ye were situated closer by. Even quilt with thee too. There's nothing better for me to see Friends in Christ Jesus getting along like this and that is what we are here for. . . to encourage each other, listen to each other, and then cheer each other along our pathway, which may indeed get dark at times. Like a quilt, the dark areas and light all mingle together to create a beautiful effect, so skillfully woven together.

Glad to God that ye both are following after the heart of God in all thy ways. Keep at it. I will always be praying and cheering ye on, as long as time and life permits. I am greatly encouraged to know the both of ye and thy plain and simple dress undertakings. Others may not notice or care or may even ridicule thee: I see past all of that, for I see the heart speaking, and that is what maketh ye both so very sweet peoples, even with thy plain dress and covered heads, thy heart is purely speaking forth beautifully.

True Friends will always be there for thee. God Himself, doth not want us merely for a "fair-weather Friend." So when the difficulties of this life push against us, ye will see who thy true Friends are. . . God's Light will always be there waiting for thee. His arms of care and love are waiting for ye both, and for me. . . . I hope to be a sincere, kind, and true Friend to ye both and all of ye Friends. I hope to be of some help to someone, then I'll feel as though I've done something right and good.

Our prayers continue for ye all. . .

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