A Letter To Christian Teenage Girls About Modesty From A Mother of Three Teenage Boys

I saw you at the pool today walking with your friend.  Your body barely filling out the teeny tiny string bikini you were modeling during your numerous walks around the pool grounds.

I saw you at the party walking ever so gingerly and carefully in your oh so high heels and itty bitty little shorts.  You were afraid to move the wrong way because there was no room for error with the height of your shorts and the depth of your shirt.

I saw you hanging out with your friends.  Your bra straps and cleavage taking up more space on your body than the teeny tiny “shirt” you had on.  Skin tight pants with an obvious thong…there was nothing left to the imagination.

I saw you…my boys saw you.  I imagine any male, young or old,  saw you and took notice.

You were made for so much more than this.

I do not write this with a finger waving at you in the air.  I do not write this thumping my Bible and preaching to you.  I do not write to you to cast blame or judgment.  I write to you to tell you that you are beautiful. You are treasured and created in beauty.  You are fairer than diamonds, more precious than the finest gems.  You are a masterpiece of the Lord, created just the way He wanted you to be, crafted by His hand.  You are like no other.  You are special, unique.  Your are beautiful.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.  Psalms 139:14

I wish that I could run up to you and look at you in the eyes and tell you that your beauty goes far beyond outward appearances.  Beauty is something within.  It’s a comfort in being you.  It is a feeling that exudes from a woman who knows that she is a child of the Lord and that her true value comes from Him.  Beauty actually has very little to do with a pretty face or a nice body.  Beauty goes much deeper.  It is found in a quiet, tender spirit.  Take away the fancy clothes, pretty hair, lovely make-up, and sparkling jewelry, and see that beauty is still to be found.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment… . Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:3-4

True beauty has little to do with appearances.

I was recently food shopping and found myself stuck behind an older gentleman.  He was likely in his late 50’s or early 60’s, and with each aisle we traveled, I watched his head turn and his eyes survey many young women.  There was one commonality in the women he took the time to check out.  They were all barely dressed.  Not surprisingly, very short skirts, spandex pants, tiny tanks, and barely there shorts were to his liking.  His motions were very obvious and his gaze lingered in an eerie way.  I also noticed that there were some women who escaped his glance all together.  They must have been “ugly”, right?  Not so.  Those equally attractive women were dressed in loosely fitting shirts,  modest skirts, or knee length shorts.  They weren’t hanging out of their shirts or barely dressed.  This man had no interest in modesty.  He sought to disrespect and get a free peep from women with questionable attire.  It was completely nauseating.

You are worth so much more than the wandering gaze of that strange man.

I hope you realize that this is not a call for you to wear turtlenecks and floor length skirts or to have your hair in a bun and to throw away your lipstick. Not at all. It is a challenge for you to think about why you dress the way you do.  Are you looking for attention?  Do you want to feel sexy?  Trying to fit in with your friends?  Wanting to get the attention of a specific boy?  Looking for ways to intentionally challenge your parents?  I can’t answer those questions for you.

Please know that I can relate to you.  During the first two years of college (when I was young and thin), I absolutely found power in a low cut shirt and a tight pair of jeans.  I found that I could turn heads, meet guys, and get attention.  I also found out that the guys who were interested in my low cut shirts and tight jeans really had no interest in getting to know me for me.  I gave the impression by my choice of clothing that I was an easy pick-up.  I wasn’t interested in casual hook-ups; I was looking for a relationship.  Thankfully the Lord opened my eyes and showed me that He valued me and was actually interested in a relationship with me.  I found worth and the freedom to just be me in Christ alone.

I want you to know that there are parents who are raising their teenage boys to respect you.  They are being taught that your true value is not found in your outward appearance, where beauty can change and fade, but instead they are being taught to look for inward beauty, in your heart and mind.  They are being taught that a lady’s first love should be the Lord, as should theirs.  They are being taught to steer clear of temptation or anything that will cause them to stumble or fall.  They are being taught that you are more than just a pretty face or a nice body.  They are being taught that they are accountable to the Lord for the way they treat you.  I hope and pray that they follow what they’ve heard and what the Bible says, just as I hope that you will do the same.

There are young men who are being taught to love and respect you and to appreciate the beauty of a modest young woman.

I pray that you will realize the great love your Heavenly Father has for you.  I hope that you realize what true beauty is.  My desire for you is to respect yourself enough to think about the way you dress.  Think about why you dress the way you do.  Please know that there are young men who are being taught to value you for who you are.  Seek them out.  Wait for them.  Don’t compromise yourself.


This post was first featured on Life in the Van.

Basil, Beans, and a Buck Too Much: The $20 Challenge


With one round of our family’s $20 Cooking Challenge in the books, we sought out our next recruit.  My eldest son stood up and took the challenge.  My oldest son is very organized and to his testament has proven himself to be quite wise with his finances, albeit his limited finances.

In preparation for our trip to the store, my son had prepared a detailed shopping list.  Very good.  Lists are helpful.  They keep us on track.  He knew exactly what he would prepare: chicken, basil, and mozzarella panini  sandwiches with white bean dip and fresh vegetables.  Although not on his list, he was holding out hope that somehow he would be able to manage to sneak dessert in there.  I was not so optimistic about dessert becoming a reality.  With $20 in hand and my wallet at home…yes, I decided I would leave my wallet home…we set out for the grocery store.

First up, bread.  Normally, I purchase a round loaf of Italian bread from a local bakery.  Unbeknownst to my son, I typically make that purchase directly from the bakery, with a coupon, making it half the price of what he was about to see at the supermarket.   He picked up the familiar loaf, looked at the price tag, glanced at me, and said, “$4.50?  Really?”  Into the basket it went.

Next on the list, chicken.  This was going to be expensive.  Chicken was not on sale, and I knew that he would need at least three chicken breasts for his meal.  We scoured through the packages priced between $9.00 and $12.00 and quickly determined that chicken breasts were going to break the bank.  I pointed out other options.  In addition, I told my son that he could change his menu around, taking into consideration some meat options that were on sale.  Nope.  Chicken panini sandwiches were going to happen…somehow.  We finally decided on a hefty package of chicken tenders that was within his price range.

We scooped up a smaller than anticipated block of mozzarella along with two cans of white beans.

“Are you sure you need two cans of beans?  They’re inexpensive, but will you really need that much dip?”

My son responded, “Yes, we really like the dip and the beans are cheap.  One extra can of beans won’t be a big deal.”

Maybe. Maybe not….

Our last stop was the produce section.  I don’t normally purchase much produce from the grocery store.  The majority of our fruits and vegetables come courtesy of a local co-op group, so I knew that my son would really be taken back by the price tags in this aisle.   To boot, it’s February in the Northeast.  Produce prices are at their highest and selection is at its lowest.   He rounded up a bag of mini carrots, a red pepper, a cucumber, and a package of grape tomatoes.  I stopped him and encouraged him to add up the items in his basket.  After weighing the pepper and determining its cost to be roughly $2.00, my son’s total calculation came in over $25, and he had not even picked up basil yet.

“Mom, do you have any extra money on you?”

“Why, as a matter of fact I don’t;  I seemed to have left my wallet at home,” I replied.

With head lowered and eyebrow raised, he asked, “Now what?”

“You can change the menu, trim it down, or make substitutions,” I said.

Well, substitutions would become the word of the day because, again, we were going to have those panini sandwiches tonight one way or another.   So back to the bread aisle we went to discover that two thin baguettes would be $1.50 cheaper than his original loaf.  Score.  We exchanged the original package of chicken for a slightly smaller one.   Back in the produce section, we put back the pepper, exchanged the bagged mini carrots for full sized carrots that were cheaper, and then turned out attention to the basil.  It was $3.29.  Ouch!  I told him that he could probably get away with using dried basil instead, and that would be under a buck. “No way” was the response I received.  I knew that my son would only need about half of the package of basil for his meal.

“If I had my wallet with me, I would offer to purchase half of your basil.  I could use it at another meal.”

Quick thinking as my son is, he responded, “You have money in the van.”


“In the cup holder.  I saw a few quarters.  I’ll be right back.”

I stood there waiting and watching the produce manager pass me yet again, likely wondering what in the world was going on…I had been there a long time.  My son returned with five quarters.  We picked up the basil and did a little happy dance knowing that now we were slightly under budget (courtesy of my basil offer).  We made our way to the cashier but decided to take one more look at the chicken to see if we could save a bit more.  I kid you not, as we were looking at the chicken, I heard the familiar sound of coins hitting, what I thought, was the floor.  I turned to my son who informed me that two of the quarters fell into the front grate of the meat freezer…into the abyss…gone for good.

No way!  What to do?  Laugh, that’s what you do.  With that I told my son that he needed to have a plan in the event that we didn’t have enough money to pay.  He decided that he would put back the second can of beans if we were over budget.

As we waited in line, I leaned over to my son and asked, “Can you buy me a package of candy?”


When all was said and done, the bill came to $20.13.  With my purchase of half of the basil, my son would come in under budget.

I was exhausted.  In the time it takes me to do an entire food shop, we shopped for one meal.  But what fun the two of us had.  My son learned the art of finding suitable substitutions.  He actually did a fantastic job making his plan work.  On our drive home he asked me if I always spend twenty dollars on our dinners.  I told him that I typically spend less.  I also told him that I tend to shop the sales.  Normally, I never would have purchased chicken that week because of the price.

Making good choices is important, not just at the food store but clear across the board in life.  Even though my son was determined to make his panini sandwiches, he may have needed to change his plan.  There are too many people walking around who have the mentality that “I am going to get what I want, no matter what”.   I told him that we can’t just walk through life determined to get what we want, when we want it, regardless of the price.  Sometimes the price is big…and I am not referring to the price tag at the store.

Who knew there would be so many practical lessons and discussions that would ensue from this little experiment.

As for dinner, the “panini” sandwiches were delicious (but were no longer paninis due to the bread exchange).  The dip was spot on and the veggies just right.  Again, I enjoyed a wonderful time shopping, preparing, and cooking alongside my son.