Our family has always dressed up for church, a value and tradition that both Steve's parents and my parents instilled in us at an early age. When I say dressed up, I mean no jeans, na-na-na-nooooo shorts, no sweats, no jammies, no swimwear (I'm not joking, some of the things people wear to church literally resemble swimwear and pajamas). Now, I'm not saying that we're better than everyone one else, I'm just saying that our dress code matches our priority code, and that is this: of all of the work and activities that we attend to during the week, above all in matters of importance is the one hour that we give to our Lord on Sundays.
Go ahead, roll out the
1. God loves me just the way I am, so I don't need to dress up.Yes, God does love you, honey, He loves all of us just the way we are, but this isn't really about God's love for you and me, it's about our love for God. The time and effort it takes to dress up is an expression of love for Him. I'm always amazed at how girls will spend weeks searching for the perfect prom dress to wear for some dude who could really care less, but then they take so little time to prepare themselves for church. This concept is even worse for boys. It's rare to see any of them dressed up, ever, for anything. Even parents dress well for work or an evening out, but see no reason to include days of worship in that same standard of dress. As parents we lead by example, and the way we dress to meet the King says a lot about how important that meeting is to us.
2. I can't afford to dress up.People, please. If we can afford Starbucks and i-phones, we can afford a shirt and tie. All of those snazzy folks in the church pictures from "the good ol' days" barely had a pot to pee in, but they always came to church well-dressed and dignified. It's not impossible for the rest of us to find a way to make it happen. Where there's a will, there's a thrift shop, I mean a way, right?? (Raise your hand if you luv a good thrift shop!)
3. My kids just WON'T wear what I ask them to.Really? The truth is, your kids just won't wear what you expect them too. As long as they live under your roof, you do have the right to have expectations of your children, and you also have the authority to see those expectations through. If you provide any of the following things for your kids - a cell phone, car, clothing, allowance, food, bed, hot shower, etc, etc. - any one (or more) of those things can easily be taken away until the child chooses to acquiesce to such a simple request. You might begin by taking a little bit of time to talk to them about their own personal worth and dignity. Each of us is made in the image and likeness of Christ, and it is proper to our dignity as humans to exude that image to others, particularly at church. It is not proper to our dignity to show up to mass in cut off shorts, tank tops or something so flimsy it wouldn't pass for a beach cover-up. That's just one of the reasons why our family has to sit in the front row in during the summer months, so that my sons don't have to be assaulted by the disproportionate ratio of skin to clothing. But, anyway, lead by example, and lead with love. No follow, no talkie/textie on the phonie.
And, my favorite parental line of crap:
4. "Oh, I'm just so happy that my child goes to church, I really don't care what he/she wears."Well, make the rest of us happy, too, by acting like a parent and seeing to it that your kid is at least fully clothed. The reality is, if you don't care about what your kids wear, you probably don't care about what you wear either. This state of mind often spills over into an entire family attitude toward dressing for church. Mothers and fathers stagger in on Sundays exasperated, dragging their kids behind them, then plunk down in the pew, staring at the cross in exhaustion with a look that says, "I hope you're happy, Lord, it's nothing short of a miracle that we are even here (in our jeans and sweats)." I know how agonizing Sunday mornings can be - the endless search for mates to shoes, trying to put on mascara while your toddler is wrapping himself up in your skirt, taming rooster tails and re-buttoning buttons so that they line up right, yelling at the apathetic ones to please get dressed for the thousandth time. Of course it's hard, but hard isn't an excuse. Everything in life is hard, but most of us don't quit our jobs, or tell our kids they can quit studying or playing sports because it's just too darn hard. All the more love we offer in the struggle - it's called sarifice!
If you're still here with me, you'll be happy to know that I've come down off of my soapbox, and you'll also be happy to know that that was the short version of my book of feelings on this topic. Moving on!
The lovely ladies over at Fine Linen and Purple have a wonderful little link up called What I wore Sunday where bloggers can share their Sunday style. This week, I thought that linking up would be fun and also a great way to give some visual truth to my preachin.' Here's what I wore yesterday:
Sweater: Frankie & Jules (a fun Kansas City boutique)
Belt: Frankie & Jules
Blouse: Banana Republic, clearance baby!
Skirt: Garnet Hill
Boots: 6th Street Fashions
The boys knew that something was up when I asked them to snap a picture of me, because they know that I'm extremely camera shy. They decided that they wanted in on the action, so of course I had to honor their rare but valiant willingness to have their picture taken while donning dress clothes. So, they posed. Once. Then, they ran off to resume being rowdy and gross. This is what I got:
Chaps Shirts: Kohls (Black Friday sales = cheap!)
Dress Pants: Target and Wal-Mart
Belts: Target and Wal-Mart
Expressions: Genetic Gifts
Expressions: Genetic Gifts