Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Karen - I am right there with you being comforted by my plainness. 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?
Isabel Penraeth said:
carolyn taylor said: I feel the same as Barbara does on some days but mostly the leading is the
cause of my complete wardrobe change over months. And mine started with the cap.
Isabel Penraeth said:
Carolyn - Would you care to share your story? I am always interested in how we are led in these things. If not I understand.
I have been modest for the last twenty-two years but not necessarily "plain". My prayer style has always
been an inner communion with God, and I believe in Jesus as His Son and in the Holy Spirit. So those
three companions have always been with me. Somehow, months ago, I discerned there was more God wants from me. I thought, "What could that be from a sixty-year old woman?" in prayer. And then, the
calling came when I found a kind of prayer covering that is soft and pleated. I ordered six. There was to be more to this, but what? I have been wearing long skirts for some months and then found out what Plain Dress is. This discovery stayed with me. So I ordered some simple dresses. They were too large, but set them away. Then I kept trying on my prayer covering. It felt like I was Home. I experienced an over all
warmth and joyous feeling that I still feel to this day. It has never left. I found a place to get the Plain dresses from by reading Isabel's journey, and a couple other places as well. The first group of genuinely
plain dresses arrived and there I was, tried on the first one and felt transformed. My family did not. )
Isabel's reference to taking it easy and going plain gradually took hold. "I will try that", I thought. So I
did, it has been some months now and I wear the prayer covering and plain dresses with aprons every
single day. Even out. At first I was wondering how people would respond. I prayed, "God, is this what you
would have me do?" Again, that overwhelming feeling of Peace. I was reading and discovered the way I pray, by quietude and "going within" is the Quaker way and I had had no name for it but now I do. I will
get to the Quaker meeting next month for sure, am certain God has called, led, and is still leading me.(My maternal grandfather came from a long line of religious ship-builders who left England in the 17oo's
for religious freedom. They survived a bad shipwreck at Cape Hatteras, and went on to become Hicksite
Quakers. They helped slaves to Freedom on the Underground Railroad I was always so happy to know
my own family believed in Peace and were not the sort to hurt anyone, but be kind and helpful). I
was a stubborn person even though personally religious, and there has been a transformation of my own
willfulness in this journey. I once went through my closet and got rid of every single garment that did not
fit, and replaced old winter shoes with a pair of strong flat, black lace-up boots. Isabel Penraeth has been
a helpful person with her writings about plain dress, and I was so surprised she used words like "discernment" and "leading" and things about "feeling called". Because that is what happened to me,
though not in precisely the same way. As an older woman now I wish to be modestly clothed and
covered at all times. It doesn't bother me what anyone might say or think. My family is fine with it now
once I gently told my husband what a prayer covering represents to me and I don't say a thing to anyone
about my choice unless they ask. So far not very many have. Instead, there have been compliments! I did
not expect that to happen.
I had put on some weight from a medication and needed new plain dresses, just put the smaller ones
away until able to wear them again. The new ones are being worn now and the medicine thankfully
discontinued. Its not about weight, large, small or in-between. Its about the inner sanctum every Soul
possesses, and its about the little bit of God in Every Man. Its about rendering our own will to His and
being obedient to the Call. There will come a day when we all take off our bodies like old coats that no
longer fit, and rise to the Occasion in the Spirit body. Until that day comes. I must respect the call to
muster plain dress, for to me it is the outward modest covering for the human body that He desires me
to sustain until the Final Call.
God Bless You, Barbara. And God Bless Every Soul.
Carolyn - Thank you for your story. It is actually quite like mine. I also had to modify my plain dress style to fit what truly felt authentic for me and what God was leading me to. It is different for each of us and at first there may be a tendency to not see that. I have also found that to my surprise there are times when dressing plain is not what is required - in particular circumstances, for example. At first I thought I was not understanding correctly and that I was just being whimpy about wearing my dress around certain people but now I know that there are times when that is the right thing to do. We can be more rigid than God, I have found, and want things more black and white than perhaps they are meant to be.
I hope you find a Meeting that is a blessing to you, and that you can be a blessing to.
There is a Meeting here and I have talked to a couple of members on the 'phone. They are welcoming me
plain dress and all. I am excited and happy to be going there come the second Sunday in November. I had
surgery and up to now haven't been able to get there, had to get the physical healing to a good place. And
had to be able to get a shoe on, lol! The members are mainly my age group and that is also a Blessing though to me age is just a number. I am pretty isolated and don't drive so its going to be good to meet up
with folks who think pretty much like I do.
Thanks for your kind reply.
i was an exchange student in India in 1988 and wore salwar kameezes for a year, came back to the US and felt strangely underdressed and immodest...have been seeking a traditional american look since then and feel most comfortable when wearing plain modern dresses and a kapp or kerchief. it's like i look different, but not too old-fashioned. i try to buy my dresses commercially made so i don't accidentally make a costume looking dress. But i make my own kapps and kerchiefs....
Thanks for sharing your experience. Perhaps modesty is all about what makes each individual comfortable. No two people are necessarily exactly alike, and that adds variety to the mix when it comes to modest dress. I don't make my own dresses or aprons, or kapps. They come from three different places at this time. I may look more Amish or Mennonite than I realize, yet somehow it doesn't really come together that way with the softer kapps. Those are not what the Amish or Mennonite ladies wear, but they are part of my wardrobe. The softer ones are easier for me. Who knows, I might try something else out as time goes on. I did keep my plain skirts because they may one day be needed. They are made of different denims. Very practical in some instances, just the thing in others. I like to dress for overall countenance as well, am not exactly a mirror user except to make sure that things are on straight and hairpins on the kapp correctly. Makeup? I have it and haven't even been using it. What a nice break. My husband always tells me he prefers me without the stuff anyway.
Friend Barbara brought up something. She mentioned how she never realized she and her husband could be so close. I am experiencing that as well. It doesn't come just from simple dress, it comes from this former "spendy" person giving Christian headship to my husband instead of the old "Well, I want it and I'll get it anyway!" attitude that was always me whether in prayer or not. Something happened. The old desires just fell away. They don't matter now. Christmas doesn't have to include spending a thousand or more dollars on the resident child. Did it make all her dreams come true, doing that? Nope. It just gave her too many things, a lot of which are in big plastic boxes stored in our full garage, and which are on shelves in her rooms. The THINGS are not what is important, even down to the plain dresses, coverings, etc. Those are still things. Its how we use what we have to be modest in attire, heart, mind, and soul that matters. The state of our hearts, our dispositions, and how we serve those around us, not how others serve us.
The key to happiness? That came into my heart when Christ whispered, "Come and follow Me!":)
right now i'm making a kapp out of what i thought was some old dance costume, when i had it all pinned together it looked oddly familiar and then it dawned on me it is my wedding veil! And now i think it's even cooler that i can still wear my wedding veil on a daily basis, i mean, how cool is that ...sorry having punctuation problems, typing on a mexican keyboard.... i make them soft, too, but with stiff fabric, like organdy but with no backing, etc. This change has been a gradual one over the years, to the point that i've switched over my wardrobe and slowly gotten rid of things or use them for the fabric to make other things....so i like the recycling aspect of what i'm doing... and it's funny that i was led to this by going to India, of all places....and also, from doing geneology research on my family, who became quakers in 1650 in Boston...before i did the research in the early 90s, nobody in the family knew we had been quakers even though they had been for hundreds of years through 1880, and then my family went west in a wagon and forgot its origins, not even any oral tradition of it, which i think is so strange....
We have a history of Quakers in our family going back generations into the 1700's and England before that. When ancestors on my maternal grandfather's side survived a Cape Hatteras shipwreck they went on to become Hicksite Quakers. I knew of this as both written and oral history, but never dreamed I would find a time in my life when it was time to become a Quaker myself. It was finding out that I have always prayed like one and didn't know it. So that must be what I am supposed to be, after months and months of praying if not years.
I think its remarkable you went to India and that started your journey. I don't sew anymore, and was never that good at it. Its nice you can make good use of your fabrics from other things. We just end up donating what doesn't fit and I have to buy my plain and cape dresses. That is OK because there are vendors selling them if you know where to look (Thank you, Isabel!:)
It is nice to read that your family also had Quaker heritage! That made me smile today, Lynn.:)
i was able to read the minutes from the meetings going back through the centuries and it was like my ancestors were speaking to me...then i read Fox's journal, etc and the more i read the more fascinated i became with this religion that had caused my family to be expelled from Salem, MA. They were some of the first Quakers in America....