Saturday, November 21, 2009


As I was cleaning my kitchen floor on my hands and knees, a strange memory came to me.

Hans visited me in New Haven, CT a few years ago. He commented that my kitchen floor was sticky. I replied, "I know! It's hopeless!"

He proceeded to search for a mop. Together, we discovered that my floor was actually white, not some grayish-yellow.

He then proceeded to ask me to marry him a couple days later. He must have known I needed him then, and I still do.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Some Heart-Applications)

After our first two Sunday School lessons, the girls' faces wrinkled with worry:
So, what does all this MEAN?
Is it ok to wear a tight shirt?
Doesn't context dictate what is ok and not ok to wear?

The reason we begin the class by looking at Genesis is so we can get at heart-question first: where is our heart when it comes to what we wear? What is our love and who are we trying to please? And understanding the purpose of clothing in light of God's Word helps us to focus on our hearts before the Lord.

For the sake of giving a practical example, here is one more glimpse to the goriness of my wedding dress adventure.

As I was planning our wedding, I had my heart set on two things:

1. Cheap, preferably a great deal.
Lofty reason: I refuse to fall into the pitfalls of wedding obsession and consumerism that permeate the American culture.

2. A mandarin collar, or something like the perfect dress of my imaginings.
Reason: I don't want to bare more flesh than I would normally, e.g. I would not normally wear something strapless. I did feel very strongly about finding something that is elegant and that appropriately covers.
Real reason: I can be quite picky with some things. The image of my perfect dress was stuck in my head and it wouldn't go away.

It is all a fad anyway, so unnecessary.
It is just a silly dress that I am going to be in for a few hours.
I couldn't careless what I wear.

I lied.

My pride and emotions were so wrapped up in finding the dress that it consumed me. Even if I had the "right" reasons, my heart was definitely in the wrong place. It was that night in the train, defeated after a fruitless day in NYC, that I finally saw my foolishness.

So, I dropped my search and focused on other things. I eventually found a dress, quite unlike the dress, but I was grateful for the search to be over.

The whole point of this tale is to illustrate two things:

1. When it comes to the way we dress, as Christians, we must live in the tension of it being both an important and unimportant matter. It matters in that the Bible speaks of it in various places, so our affection must be in a disposition of obedience. Our hearts, however, must not be so bound to our external ornamentation, that we neglect necessary things such as good works and serving others.

2. The heart, my heart, is a crooked thing. Clothing ourselves with modesty requires both rightness of heart and action. On one hand, a person who covers their body appropriately does not prove their heart is right with the Lord. On the other hand, a person who is ostentatious or who neglects propriety cannot claim that they had "good intentions."

We need much grace and wisdom.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Part 5)


When I was little and even thereafter, the goal of my prayer before a meal (when eating alone) was to be as fast as possible: "Thank you Lord for this food. InJesusnameIpray Amen." Not that prayers before meals need to be prolonged, but there wasn't much thought other than to consume the food that was before me.

These days, admittedly with much deliberation and discipline, I try to think about Christ.

He is our manna, the bread from heaven (John 6:32-33). He is our True Bread, True Drink (John 6:52-58). I shall not live by bread alone, but I am alive because of every word that come from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).

This is why fasting is good for us once in a while, our hunger without food reminds us of the infinitely greater hunger of our souls without God. In other words, the nourishment and enjoyment of food points us to Christ.

In like manner, we must think about our clothes.

There in the garden, blood was shed. God slaughtered animals to cover Adam and Eve with garments of skins (Genesis 3:21). In this context, the mercy of God points to the day when Christ will crush the serpent once and for all (Genesis 3:15) and perfectly cover the sin committed in Eden and thereafter.

Christ is our True Covering. I am no longer ashamed, no longer naked. As I stand in the presence of God, God sees Christ and his righteousness, and forgives me of my betrayal, my iniquities. My righteousness is like rags, like leaves (Isaiah 64:6-7). His is perfect.

As we feel our skin beneath the coverings of our earthly garments, think of Christ. Think of the hope of our future glory (Philippians 3:20-21). Our wedding gown is expensive indeed. The Lamb of God was slaughtered to clothe us in his righteousness.

By grace, put on Christ. Wear the radiance of his glory.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Part 4)

Bridal garment.

One of the most miserable hurdles in my wedding planning adventure was the purchase of a wedding dress. It was a difficult task style-wise, financial-wise, and heart-wise. Let me spare you the gory details.

I do, however, want to share a conversation I overheard while standing in line for a fitting room in one of the bridal-gown-super-stores I unfortunately had to visit in New York City. The building was three or four stories high and it was HUGE. It was completely packed with big white things and insane women.

There I was tired and discouraged from a long fruitless day, and saddened after having just watched a few pregnant women trying on wedding dresses. Two women behind me were flipping through a bridal magazine and their conversation went something like this:
Woman A: uuu... I like this one,... very sexy!
Woman B: UGH! I would never wear that. I would look like a *virgin*!

You heard right, people. What was the ultimate symbol of purity now is expected to make women look ... well, anything but modest. My point goes beyond this one conversation, just look at the options we are presented. The styles! The price-tags!

Now, how do make my way back to the topic at hand?

So I had made the statement that we wear clothes because their presence serves as a reminder for us that we are no longer what we were created to be. They are things of comfort as they are gifts of mercy from a Father who understands the shame and fear in his children. So he covers us, pointing to a perfect covering that is to come.

Each morning, when we go about the mundane task of picking our garments for the day, let us be filled with hope. Our ordinary outfits this day point to the bridal garment that is to come (Revelation 19:6-9).

As we choose what we should put on, let us also ready ourselves: mind, body, and heart to do the good works that God has set before us this day. Let us think of people to whom we can show kindness, cups of cold water we can offer, morsels of bread we can share. May the Lord help me to be a joyful mom, a content wife, a diligent worker, a faithful friend.

Keeping in mind that we are unable to do anything without the help of our Lord. Our own attempts are futile, insufficient. Though the Bride is to ready herself, it is God who grants her the fine linen, bright and pure.

Go forth and shine, O Bride of Christ.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes