The Teen Season

I oftentimes get torn about writing about this subject because I am absolutely not an expert on the subject.  I have not lived through it to tell about it.  I have not arrived nor have I passed with flying colors.  Sometimes I am barely surviving and the only banner I hold is a wimpy white flag of surrender.

When my kids were little, they were like little ducklings, waddling behind me.  They followed me, clung to my side or climbed into my lap for protection.  But there comes a time when each child climbs off your lap and looks at life in a whole new way.  It is then that you realize that they were not created in your image but in God’s.  And they are not your clone, but divinely created to be who they are supposed to be.

It has been one of the most dynamic and difficult adventures I have been on.  I remember one year ago, I could barely breath.  I felt the caving pressures of kids that wanted to be “normal”.  I was able to keep them little longer than most of the people I knew.  keeping them unspotted from technology, from mainstream culture, and from the ever shifting pulls of modern society.

When your daughter says, “I am NOT your little girl anymore,” or “I don’t want to dress like a 100 years ago anymore!”  It is a moment that I felt my grip slipping and all that I poured and invested was being put to the test.  I saw lives instead of clones.  I saw real people instead of children.  They had their own ideas and dreams.  To raise a flock of children that can’t express themselves or be anything other than what you prescribe, is no different than having programmed robots that have not the first gift that God gave.  God endowed each of us with the gift of making our own choices and a free will.  We get to choose between right and wrong, and when we follow Him, it is because we desire that path.  And that glorifies God.  FREE WILL is exactly what separates us from robots and makes us HUMAN.

People are different.  I know the feeling of power that a parent has when the kids are young.  Your word is final.  What you say—goes!  A child will trust a parent so completely and love so unconditionally.  When we slip up and yell at them, when we lose our cool, they are quick to forgive.  The same face that snarls at them, they will gently touch with their soft hands that knows no real evil.  They are precious and they are a fleeting gift.  They like what you like.  The music you like whether that is gospel hymns or rock and roll.  I have seen little children who will stand up in front of a crowd in a pretty little line, reciting scripture, and singing the most beautiful hymn.  I have also seen kids stuffed in car seats memorizing rap songs from the radio that their mama is blaring from the front of the car.  They just do it.  It is a part of being a kid and wanting to be just like mom and dad, the only life line they know and trust.  They don’t understand the lyrics on either side, yet they march to the beat of that drum because that is where they placed by God.

They don’t get to choose what home or family that they are born into.  And as parents we want the very best.  We want to protect and shield them from all the injustice and evil that the world has so readily offered.  I have been around people that do not allow their children to have peers because they feel kids are foolish and it is better that a child be around wise older people.  Others that have found like minded believers that live in little sects.  Those same people that will cast you off the second you do not conform on some certain outward application.  We have had the pains of that rejection.  I am not the perfect, meek and quiet lady-like woman.  I have a wild dynamic personality that does not conform.  I refuse to be like everyone else and I will not be put into a box!  And I have kids that are just like me. In the process, what I did not realize, is that I made my own odd shaped boxes.

It should have been no surprise to me when my kids did not want to fit into my odd shaped boxes!  But yet it was hard to walk through at the time.  A time when I wished I could show off my kids that they were so conservative and perfectly mannered, dressing in ultra modest apparel, but those days were gone forever.  I could no longer say with PRIDE, “My kids don’t like to play video games!  They like to play with cardboard outside all day in the sunshine!  My girls love to sew their own dresses, they don’t want to wear skinny pants!”  And I just wanted them to be who I was.  I wanted them to STAY in that box, even though I would not have it that way for myself.  Loving your neighbor is even harder when it is your kids, to love them as yourself.  We often put unreasonable expectations on our kids that we, OURSELVES, could never rise up to.

And what it all boiled down to was pride, my own stinking pride.  I did not want to show up somewhere with kids that dressed like the world.  I had MY IMAGE to uphold.  It was my selfish heart that wanted to KEEP them! They are NOT mine! They belong to God, and I was just blessed to hold them and lead them for a time.  We live in a community where there is a big divide.  There are the Plain folk and the World Folk.  You can’t blur that line or else you will not fit in.  And that is fine with me.  I don’t care to be like one or the other, I like to walk that path that is less traveled.  I soon found out that my old fashioned wardrobe was embarrassing for the kids, and to get them to dress like that in a sea of skinny pants and makeup, I might as well leave them floating on an island in the middle of an ocean with no connection to the outside world.  But they live in this world and they have cell phones.

That was one of the hardest battles.  It was one that my husband won.  Yes, I was that controlling wife AGAIN, as embarrassing as it is to admit, that wanted no movies, no tv, no cell phones, no worldly music, no make up, no pants, CONTROL, CONTROL, CONTROL!  And it was going to tear my family to pieces.  I was doing this with my own selfish pride.  When my girls skirts kept getting shorter and shorter, because they were sick of being weird, I would cry and yell at them about how immodest it was.  They would cry and withdraw from my fellowship because I did not understand them.  My husband said with authority, “Are you going to let a few inches of fabric ruin your relationship with your daughters?”  Oh man!  I tell you what, I was broken!  What he said hit me right in between my eyes and I was humbled by it.  I was more concerned with fabric than their souls.  That was a year ago!  And I have come a long way.  We wear pants and make up.  We have fun girl days, going shopping and we still love Jesus! I will even venture to say that our relationship with the Lord is even deeper and filled with more meaning than when we were trying so hard to please a God that is not pleased by a bunch of empty standards anyhow!

I know some of you will judge us, but that is okay!  You have the right to have your own standards and to follow your convictions.  I can’t just force my family to fit into your box just so you will respect us more.  Just because you respect us more is not going to give us a better family life.  Most people who read my blog never even take a single minute to pour back into our life.  I cast my bread on the water and oftentimes I wonder if there is anyone out there who reads it.  Most people just “eat and run”.  We are REAL people, with real lives, and to try to live up to yawls expectations is foolish.  It is all a part of my personal growth as a woman. I am actually very thankful that God lov
es me enough to teach me the value of life, the value of my family, and the ministry that I have is to them first.  If I have anything left over, you all get my left overs.  I refuse to revolve my life around my blog.

I used to be all things to all people except my family!  And now I am honoring my husband and my children with my life.  We are one!  I am no longer sitting in my room looking down my scornful nose, I am enjoying a movie with my family, or texting them, or reading their posts on social media.  When you have teens you have to focus on relationships not necessarily all the outward things.  You teach them to have their own convictions when you allow them freedom to chose.  It works!  My husband’s point with social media and cell phones was, “You can keep them off all that stuff, but when they are adults they will run right for it with nothing to hold them back, or help train them!”  That was a hard pill to swallow when you have all the bad stuff you know is lurking out there on the internet.  Well, it is a blessing that we keep a close watch and have kids that have the knowledge of what is evil out there.  We get to talk more and teach them even more on what consequences that go with sin.  And they stay away.  I never have to peer over their shoulders.  I trust them.  Maybe you don’t have that kind of relationship with your kids.  We can pick up their phones at anytime and check their history, they ask us to, because they want accountability and proof.  We have people in our community that just love to slam people with accusations about porn use.  “Bring it on,” say my kids, “We can prove it! We will NEVER waste our life on Porn!!!!”  No one will be able to nail us on that one!  Maybe you can’t turn your back on your kids for even a second because they will be curious and go to the depths of hell and back again and lie to your face about it.  And you are right to fear what they are doing.  Not everyone has trust and the blessings of true fellowship with their kids like we do.  And I could have traded that trust for forcing standards on my kids and they would have hated me for it.  The first chance they had to run, or sin, or cheat, they would.  But praise God, we are one.

There is balance.  And that is where I am now.  I am trying hard to find it!  I am trying hard to understand my place.  My place as parent and friend.  Respecting them for who they choose to be and how they choose to look.  I am learning to embrace my kids for who they are becoming and it is WAY better than anything I could have prescribed.  They are inventive, expressive, talented, kind, compassionate, and funny!  Life is different on the homestead.  We can’t write stories of the little family that seems as though they were taken from a storybook from 100 years ago with dust on their cheeks from working the fields!  We have kids that are branding themselves.  They are breaking the mold and exploding into amazing people.  And we are getting closer as a family each day.  God is showing me how to be patient, kind, yet firm when it is needed. They actually don’t want to be on phones all the time, they still play outside a lot, help on the homestead, and live a pretty active lifestyle.  It would never be good to overdue.  It is always great to have moderation in all things!

I am still the keeper of this homestead, canning lady, Pioneer woman, butcher queen, pie baker, follower of Jesus, homeschooling mama of 5, wife and lover to my dear husband.  I still tie my apron on and am productive around here even though I may sometimes wear a pair of pants.  Oh, and we do network marketing and love, love, love it!  It has become our new family business!  Mark and I already make a living with it and our health is amazing!  Our family is finally thriving mentally, spiritually, physically, and financially, Praise God!  And as a family, we are helping a lot of people!  Don’t judge us— join us!  We are in the business of offering others hope!  We are actually looking for more people who want to join our business and it is about time that we show people how to get busy with helping others, too!  It is so fun to be on the other side of that fence making a difference in the lives of others instead of just judging them.  Email me if you are ready to get busy with us!

What I love most about God is that His mercies are new each morning!  That means we can start over each day and it is never too late to learn and make some adjustments when they are needed.  Life just evolves sometimes into different seasons, and you have to find joy even in change.  I have found joy in the teen season.  We are not finished with that season, and we probably will have to keep adjusting and finding more balance as time goes on.  I like that I am on the right path, right where God placed me, in His blessed will.

“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.”
Lamentations 3:22-24

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62 thoughts on “The Teen Season”

  1. Thank you for being so real! I tend to deify everyone associated with NGJ. This was a blessing to me. My 7 year old girl is starting to be independent and I need to respect her more. She’s not a baby anymore. I so appreciate this look ahead and learning from it.
    PS My Dad trashed our TV for 7 years and my hubby loves movies. Its an adventure in new opinions, but CTBHH taught me not to judge and really opened up healthy communication between me and my man on media. I will always be more sensitive to the trash, but now he complains when he goes to the movies with his brothers and tells them not to watch things! He is a blessing to his family. Love you and can’t wait to hug you in heaven! Just prayed for you.
    Pray for me, pregnant with #4 and struggling with energy and emotions at times.

  2. Such an encouraging post, the teen season is the same all over the world. We all struggling of find balance with our teens but I’ve come to appreciate the value of relationship. They readily let you into their world and you’re better placed to guide them, as you pour lots of love into their hearts and pray. At His feet we find answers to all our life questions. Thanks for the post.

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart on this topic.
    I believe a lot of it comes down to laying a good foundation and training when they are young. Some people only get involved when trouble arises and by then sometimes it’s too late.
    It is our place to guide our children and of course be there to stop bad behavior but we do have to realize our teens are their own people.
    We’ve homeschooled for 13 years now. Around here that is probably more “religious” & “judgmental” than most churches. I have also seen some of the children of the super rigid controlling parents. As soon as they are 18 they bolt and get into all sorts of trouble and don’t associate with their families much. (not all but more than not)
    Not to say our kids have never made wrong choices but we discuss all sorts of topics and I feel that we’ve guided them enough that they know right from wrong and at a point you have to loosen the apron strings.
    Our goal in raising our children is to raise responsible adults who love the Lord. –I have seen many stray from this too but it comes back to laying a foundation. They will always remember that IF you live as you say too. A teen can spot a hypocrite from a mile away and will remember that forever.
    My children are 22 and 17 now and I’m so glad we have a line of communication and trust open. We are still Mom and Dad but we are also friends with our young adults.
    Anyway thanks for letting me share too and I really enjoy reading your blog even though I don’t often comment.

  4. THANK YOU. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea great it was to read this. Grinning from ear to ear. Same boat, same conclusion. So happy. Your BEST blog post yet for us. Thank you!!!!! =)

  5. I know men who have addictions to porn and modesty is a big problem in the world we live. We should always keep this in mind when we are dressing. Yes it is their sin, but if you are intentionally dressing to attract attention from men then you are sinning. We are to be our brothers keeper and not be a stumbling block to those around us. Our churches are full of women who dress immodestly and the ushers have to be careful as they take offering. We need to make sure to teach modesty. Give our young girls the reason why. Then maybe they will choose to look in the mirror everyday and ask the question will what I’m wearing today honor God or will this bring shame on his precious name?

  6. I have to admit when I first read this article I was encouraged. I don’t leave reply’s very often and I don’t usually subscribe to get the responses via email but this time I did. It has been a little saddening especially the response from the young man looking for a Godly young lady. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s awesome that he has high standards and that he is looking for a young lady that loves the Lord. Why some of these comments are making me sad is that I would LOVE to wear dresses all the time and would love for my daughter to as well. That being said in submission to my husbands authority my daughter and I wear pants. We live in remote interior Alaska and have a small farm. So it’s sad to think that my daughter who Loves the Lord may be overlooked by a young Godly man because of how she dresses. That being said we don’t wear our pants or tops tight and still have a strong sense of modesty, especially when out in public. I do dress like a man looser double knee carharts and t-shirts or flannel shirts. I don’t wear makeup. My nails are short. Because my husband works away from home and I have to work like a man to maintain our farm. I guess I just wish that more Christians would be willing to look beyond the surface. Maybe there is a good reason that someone doesn’t dress how you think they should. When looking at it legalistically read all of Deuteronomy 22 make sure “Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together” 22:11 and “Thou shall make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself.” 22:12. Also look at it from a historical perspective. In modern times pants are for men and dresses for Women. Look at pictorial depictions of what was worn by the people of biblical times. Maybe do a little research into what was considered men’s vs women’s attire. I know I will as my curiosity is peeked.

    1. Since you are in AK, I doubt that you need to worry about ever showing to much skin! (Joke!).
      I don’t condemn you for wearing pants, especially if your husband wants you to, it’s just not something I choose to embrace.
      When I hear that a girl is “embarrassed” to wear a dress, I see a heart problem.
      A child of God should want to be different than everyone else, not be embarrassed that they are different. We are different, by God’s grace, praise the LORD!
      God Bless!

      1. Actually, I applaud you for your willing submission to your husband. It shows that your heart is in the right place. A lot of women do as they please, without caring what their husband thinks.

  7. I am not going to say a lot, but I do want to say how disappointing your blog on The Teen Season was to me and I am sure many more. We are to be different from the world not join in with them in our dress. The modest standard is our Gods not ours. Tight pants, tight tops etc. is a stumbling block to the men around us. Why would we want to dress and be like the world. Come out from them and be separate. The world is looking for something different not the same as they are. Lets be a light in this dark world. What is in the heart will come out in our clothing and words etc. Please take me off your mailing list and also your email list.

  8. Thank you for this, Erin. You are a blessing through your blog, book, and videos. I enjoy seeing someone with your outgoing, people-loving, spicy personality, making changes and growing, and willing to do so openly before us all. Blessings upon you all.

  9. Thank you so much for this post. I have a 14 yr. Old daughter and can identify with what you are saying. Your post gave me comfort. I hope you will share more about teens and what you have learned. God bless you!

  10. Thank you for this post! As always, I am encouraged and learn something from your posts. I often print them off or save them to my binder of parenting learning articles. Your writing is making a difference, and I appreciate so much your honesty. Parenting is hard, and this is a breath of fresh air and encouragement! Blessings abound to your family!!!!

  11. Erin: I cannot tell you how blessed I was when I read your post!!!! Your journey reminds me of the journey the Lord has led me on the last three years. It was so encouraging to hear your story and I felt it may encourage you to hear a very shortened version of mine….then you would understand why I was so blessed.
    I asked Jesus into my heart when I was ten. From that moment I just seemed to sense there was a lot to this christian life I was hearing about. I began my journey on trying to find a personal fulfilling relationship with God. Sadly to say I was part of a very legalistic church. I was raised in a family where relationship was based on a work acceptance program. I spent my whole life trying to find approval through work and designing a list of rules for my children and myself to follow. The more I couldn’t find Jesus the stricter my rules became. I loved my children and husband very much and we did have a very loving family environment. I was just driven on performance. About three years ago we met a group of Christians that God arranged for us. Thru this small group we were shown God in such a different light. I had honestly been wanting more of God and asked Him to show me what I was doing wrong. God was faithful in sending these brothers and sisters to lovingly show us God in a more healthy way. I wore only dresses….the whole works. I was very very self righteous. I kept myself away from the world..even Christians who didn’t go to my church were not good enough for me. One day God told me to go out and do yard work in pants. I could hardly believe God was telling me this. He let me know my outward appearance had become pride and it was not what He wanted from me. I could have a daddy in Him without all my works and self righteousness. The first day I walked in obedience and wore pants a lady my age pulled over as she was driving by. She introduced herself and said my daughter and hers were friends. We started a relationship then. She told me later she had wanted to be my friend for three years but she felt I was too far above her and wouldn’t come down to her level. The first day I made myself look a little more reachable she felt she could connect. I understand the feeling of not being able to breath. The first year as I was shedding all my self righteousness I thought I would die. It was like a knife cutting most of my self away. God worked with me lovingly but at times I felt I couldn’t go thru the fire any longer. Backing down from my lofty position was one of the hardest things I ever did. It has taken me three years of relearning all I ever knew to finally feel I am on the other side of it. But God has been full of mercy and love as He has walked me through healing in the most amazing ways!!!! I still wear a skirt at times but I am free from the law and I do wear pants and so do my daughters. It took me awhile to wear a skirt again because for me it was my cloak of self righteousness, my works acceptance program to get God to love me and be personal with me.
    God has lead us to sell our home in California and has called us to South Carolina. I started following your blog a year ago. We feel the Lord is calling us to a self sustainable lifestyle. But as of now we have not been able to make it a reality. I love your blog posts so much. We have bought all your DVD’s. My heart aches to live like you all do and I have to pray and ask God to give me patience and to be okay with where we are at. We are praying also to have friends and be part of Kingdom work where we are pouring love into others lives.
    Thank you so much for opening yourself up and being transparent for all to see. I know how hard that is!!!!!! I am so encouraged when I see other ladies who are humble and wanting to do what is right. Thank you so much for all your posts. Beings I am so passionate about a homesteading lifestyle but not been able to do much of it I devour each post. May the Lord bless you as you walk the life of finding balance. God will show you balance!!! Shelly
    PS If you post this could you post my name anonymous. Might not be good if anyone I know read this…might cause some damage.

  12. Thank you for your continued transparency. I am always so encouraged by your posts. And I appreciate your honesty; often times I feel as though I may be the only parent trying to figure this all out. Once again thank you for your courage to be honest.

  13. Hello Mrs. Harrison!
    Thank you for sharing this! It’s always an encouragement to me to see a family who is walking in intimacy with Christ and therefore changing and growing as He leads.
    Reading this post made me think that your girls might be encouraged and inspired by Olivia Howard’s blog, Fresh Modesty. In my journey of learning to honor God and my brothers in Christ by the way I dress, Fresh Modesty has been a huge blessing for me. Olivia dresses modestly, femininely, and fashionably and uses her blog to encourage Christian girls in the area of dress and appearance.
    I pray your family would be blessed a hundred fold for the blessing you have been to me and others! I pray that you would continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18a)

  14. I am going to be blunt, so please forgive me.
    I am reading this article and thinking, but, but, Why?
    As a young man, I will soon be looking for a young lady to spend my life with. And when I do, I want a lady. Not a girl that wears boy’s clothes.
    When I see a girl in pants I get the feeling that they have more love for the world, than for God, and I am immediately turned off by it.
    Pants are immodest on girls. Period. I can say this because I am a man, and notice these things. They cling to places that shouldn’t be seen. Tight tops are the same.
    When I go looking for my bride, I want to find a girl that looks and acts like a lady. Not some girl that is embarrassed to wear a dress. To me, that is a big red warning light.
    What’s next? Will she be embarrassed to be a believer someday?
    When I see a girl in a dress, I get excited. So few young Christian women wear a dress anymore. It is a shame.
    Of course, a dress does not confirm that the person is saved. I know a lot of Amish, German Baptist, and Mennonites that wear dresses and are not saved.
    A dress is not a matter of salvation, but more of a matter of decency and etiquette.
    Just so you know, My bride will not be one that wears pants. I may spend my whole life looking for a girl that is strong enough to dress like a lady, but I will find her.
    And, no I am not a Mennonite, just a frustrated young man waiting patiently for a Godly LADY, undefiled by the world.
    God bless you, and your dear family. My family and I love seeing your homesteading articles!
    P.S. To all of you single young girls out there. Act like a lady, and wear a dress! 🙂

    1. Thank you, John! Your comment coming from a Christian young man, who desires Godliness is encouraging. My husband and I agree with you 100%, and I can tell you with confidence that there are definitely other Godly young ladies out there, who desire to dress like a lady, in dresses and skirts, to please God, and not conform or give into the pressure to follow the world’s standards, or idea of clothing. (Romans 12:2, Matthew 7:13-14) Jesus Christ told us plainly in Matthew 5:14-15 that we are the light of the world. How can then a woman dress like a man, in pants, and be a light? how will the average person on the streets notice anything different about her, than from a woman of the world, just by observing her appearance? (Romans 12:2, Philippians 2:15) As I’m sure you know, the Bible clearly says in Deuteronomy 22:5 “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are an abomination to the LORD thy God.” You won’t see a man putting on a dress or a skirt, yet many women want to wear pants, like a man, against God’s direct command. No matter how ” feminine” or “modest” she says they are, they (pants) still pertain (associated with, related to) to a man. We need to fear God and keep His commandments, if we love Him. John 14:15, Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) Again, I applaud you for your stand, and wanted to share encouragement with you, and some thoughts the Lord gave.

      1. Thank you for your encouragement, Amy! I sometimes wonder if I am the only one left standing for anything! (although I know I’m not!)

      2. Amy,
        I would like to point out that Deuteronomy is a law book, and while we can learn from it, we cannot keep the law. That’s why Christ died. He did it all. We can do nothing to save ourselves.
        Wearing a dress is biblical, and it is a good way to let your light shine, (being separate goes far beyond clothing!) but a woman wearing pants doesn’t damn her to hell.
        I’m sure you understand, but I wanted to clarify for some others that may think you to be legalistic in using that verse.
        Please don’t take offence, and thanks again for your encouragement!

      3. Just to clarify, in response to John’s last comment, I completely agree that salvation is through grace and faith (Acts16:31) in the finished work of Christ, and not in any thing we can do, keeping the law, dressing a certain way, etc., Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17) I wear skirts, and dresses as a desire to please, and obey God by dressing modestly, so as not to cause men to stumble, not in any way depending on my dress as a means of salvation. Again, salvation is found alone in Jesus Christ, and not in a set of legalistic rules and standards. However, modesty and dressing like a lady, is of huge importance for Christian women, as this world falls deeper into feminism, with gender roles being reversed, and men and women’s clothing being so similar, against God’s plan. I want no question about who’s side I am on! …As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

    2. Amen and Amen ! Praise the Lord for a man who has such strong conviction on Modestly and Godly standards. I will know God will send you a wonderful wife in His time. God Bless you

      1. Thank you Gary, and thanks Amy for hitting the nail on the head! I couldn’t have said it better myself!
        God Bless you both!

  15. Hi Erin
    This comment is for the wife that stated her clothing embarrassed her husband.
    I once dressed in a manner that fully pleased my husband. I wasted time on coloring my hair blonde, painting my nails.
    I wore tight clothing and jogged in very short shirts. I would always double check with my husband and ask if my clothing was ok, and he always approved.
    I brought a lot of negative and unwanted attention. Needless to say the marriage ended.
    Two years later my hair is back to its original color. I hardly wear any make up. I wear skirts and dresses that ate modern but modest. I have never felt more beautiful than i do now.
    We are all on different journeys. I am happy that your marriage is honoring God. I tjink its important to honor your husband. It sounds like your still dressing modestly and that you both are happy. Sadly for me that was not the case. I just wanted to share my journey. Your way is not wrong and neither is mine. Just a different journey. Peace to you and yours.

  16. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2

    1. I love that verse. Thank you for sharing it! I am so thankful that God woke me up before I lost my children to the world. They are very much following Christ, and our actions speak louder than our outward adornments. I am so thankful that God continues to renew my mind through His Holy Spirit. I realized that I could dress the right way but when my heart was wicked, judgmental, prideful, all that clothing that I was hiding behind was only a white washed tomb filled with dead mans bones. I am so glad that He does not leave me or forsake me, that He will always teach me to find joy where ever I am planted. God bless you Joy!

  17. Jennifer Bontrager

    Thank you so much for writing this. I too have gone through something similar. I wore skirts and dresses exclusively for many years. A few years ago while on a trip my husband had a heart to heart talk with me. He said the way I dressed embarrassed him and that he would like me to start wearing pants and dressing more modern. But how could I do that? What would my family and people at church think? I finally decided to obey my husband and please him. Like you I have felt such a deeper relationship with the Lord. Maybe it was because I finally didn’t have some kind of outward show that I thought really set me apart as a Christian. Now I have actually had to build a relationship with Him and stop trying to let my works be everything. Thanks again for posting.

    1. I think there is such a peace and precious grace upon us when we honor our husbands, even in our dress. My husband would never ask me to dress inappropriately. I am learning right now how to have fun making pants more feminine. I like to layer pretty long sweaters over my pants, wear lace under my boots, and flowery flowing tops that are like dresses, Love it!

  18. Erin.
    I just had to comment. Please forgive this if it sounds critical. I am just thinking out loud. I agree with some others that a girl can wear jeans at times, yet many today are wearing the same tight jeans ( with the exception of the low rise type ) as the world wears. This is sad. Also many Christian girls and women seem to not quite understand that high neck t-shirts that are tight enough to show their forms are more of a draw for a male’s eyes than a looser type t-shirt. I would be concerned if they were my girls. We must be realistic here. Not trying to sound critical. Looser pants and bigger t-shirts are a good way to have a better balance of things. Just sayin’.
    I do understand about not wanting to control the growing kids so they are what we want as parents. I think we all have made the mistake of pushing too hard on some issues yet I think that perhaps there may be something to be concerned about.
    I heard a great sermon about how we can sometimes carve out an image of God to our liking and how wrong that is. Maybe God does give some stronger convictions and that’s ok. We just need to teach our kids to love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. I don’t have all the answers I just thought I’d let you hear from one mom that was a tiny bit concerned over the tightness of the garments. We don’t need to compare the clothing with the world. We can many times say,” They’re not as tight as those people wear.”
    But with how God would want us to look. And if it is a draw to the eyes where it should not be…um… best to be a bit more discerning.
    Thank you for all of the wisdom you have shared over the years. Yes we still all appreciate you.

    1. I appreciate your concerns. I hear you. I am still on my journey on how to figure out more feminine modesty in pants. I do not just wear pants, I still have some skirts, even tops that are more like a dress to wear and layer over the pants, 😉
      I am learning to find really pretty options that are really more covering. I just did not have a photo of it. The girls even came to me much after this photo was taken (in October), and we just had hand me downs from others. Recently we were able to go shopping, which was super fun for us and purchase some looser tops, longer to cover our rears, and it is refreshing that we were able to still look feminine and modest! What a joy! Glad you love us enough to be honest, yet in such a gentle loving way! We are all learning!

  19. This reminds of the adage, “Teach them to love the standard, or lower the standard!” It’s always more important to have their hearts.
    But the standard is still there. The trick is differentiating it from our personal standard. My goal is for my children to love what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful. I hope with the girls this translates to femininity, modesty (honor), and beauty (glory) in the way they dress. But I want them to be unique in how they apply it. I want them to have the freedom to be creative, because we serve a Creator God.

  20. Dear Erin, I love you and I love your heart. Your family is as beautiful as usual. I love your picture and your happy countenances. God bless you .

  21. Yvette Barbatsuly

    Erin! I Love u!❤
    When i began reading your blog it was midway that i realized you were writing about your very own family. I was very surprised at first but also very relieved to know i am not alone.
    Your blogs are very raw, real and it takes a strong Godly woman fueled by faith in God to throw her bread out into the water.
    I have followed your blogs on and off for the last three years. Your blogs encourage me and inspired me.
    I tried to keep my children away from tv, internet, cell phones and the i pad.
    Both of my children attend Christian school or have been home schooled. As my children become older it become more difficult to do so.
    Clothing and such became a strife in my family. I now allow tech devices but with rules and restrictions.
    Regarding the clothing issue i have gone through seasons in my life when i seldom wore a skirt to only wearing a skirt in public. I believe the Lord speaks to us all differently and he knows best what we need better than we know for ourselves. I believe you can be modest and wear jeans.
    I have a daughter who likes to play sports, and who is very modest but would rather wear jeans.
    I have encouraged my daughter to wear a skirt and she will occasionally choose to do so but it is no longer a battle.
    What will you do with your skirts and dresses? I am interested in purchasing some of your dresses for myself.
    Thank you for sharing your life journey.

  22. Thank you so much for posting this. So encouraging to me. We have been going through much of the same changes as you all. Just such a blessing to read this! I am taking your “bread”. 🙂

  23. Thank you for sharing this time in your lives.It is interesting, God has been showing me all these lessons on pride.One day my Bible study was on pride, the next day the article I was reading was on pride.As I read this post, I saw myself in some ways.Wanting my son who just turned 18 to stay in the box. It never dawned on me that it is MY pride that wants him to think like I do, make the same decisions as me etc. I kept thinking, boy my son should read these lessons on pride……..haha. I bet that made God laugh. Thank you again for sharing your heart and for being an instrument, used by the Lord in my life.
    Keep the Faith.

  24. Our children are young, but this was a good reminder that things will change as they age.
    Your picture surprised me, with the pants. But, you all look very healthy and happy! =) We are moving to the country, so my daughters and I will probably wear pants more when it’s appropriate for the work we’re doing. Living in town, there aren’t too many times when pants are necessary. =) I’m like you in that I don’t like to look like everyone else and prefer “amish” type living.
    Stay strong in the Lord!

  25. I think you guys looks beautiful and modest! Love your picture. I know what you are dealing with and it is great to hear how you are growing through it, as I am.

  26. One of my favorite blog posts that you have written!!! So excited for your family!! Wow!! God’s growth & love is beautiful on you, Erin!!!!

  27. Hi Erin! We are raising 4 kids 11-14 and have come to the same conclusion regarding phones, pants, Christian music, etc. It is hard to change your stance on your standards but ultimately it does come down to us answering to God for our choices. I wasn’t willing to lose my girls over jeans or my boys over ccm. Not worth it at all!! I want my kids to choose Christ out of love and thankfulness for what He’s done on the cross. So glad your sweet family is following God no matter what way He leads you ☺️

  28. Therese Bizabishaka

    Dear Erin. I am one who often doesn’t comment on your posts. However, I just want to say that your photo of a pants wearing family is beautiful. not because of what you are wearing but the smiles on your face. Whilst the bible does give some instruction on modest dress you can’t take on old testament scripture and misinterpret it to mean women should wear dresses only. For me I encourage my girls to look like girls. They wear pants but not too tight or revealing with tops that have a touch of femininity. as for technology I know that porn is a concern but for me I am more disturbed by the addictiveness of social media. The disconnection from face to face contact. I think that much of what you have taught them will remain with them. They may find themselves reverting back to some of the old ways as they grow to be parents themselves. But most of all I hope that our children will retain principles of godliness rather than laws. Principles get at the heart of the matter, rules only require a robotic obedience without understanding. God Bless.

  29. Dearest Erin
    I was very surprised to see your photo all wearing pants. You all are looking beautiful.
    I have a husband just like yours who is our balance. I fear so many things of the world and my husband helps me to understand some thing that needs to be allowed under our guidance and training. For example technology. Until now our children are doing very well and we have an open book policy.
    We had a situation where one of our teens made a wrong decision, but because of our close relationship our teen quickly came to us for help. And we went through this trial together. It was hart breaking and a sad time. But we stood together, handled it together in love and forgiveness and with God’s mercy and we overcome. We took victory over the situation and I’m totally convinced that our team learned Avery valuable lesson. And I can admit that our relationship is even stronger and more trust worthy.
    We are living in the times as it is and God knows we will know how to live this life to honor and glorify His name. We are in this world not of it. So if we do wear pants we wear it with Jesus in our hearts and of course we will do so with the knowledge of God’s truth. How can we be an example to the world if we stay ‘behind’.
    To reach other people we sometimes must become part of them, without laying down our values.
    I have to go. I will continue later.
    T ?

  30. You are just beginning. When your children move out of your home is when you really see what seeds sewn have actually taken root. I have 5 daughters, all now living on their own. It’s been bumpy at times, also there are rewarding times. I struggle many times with unbiblical decisions they choose, but continually try to bring God’s word, not mine, into focus for us both. Our girls were in Christian schooling and public schooling, and short time home schooling. Even though as a Mom, you choose relationship, they do not always.

  31. Thank you Erin for another great article. I have to admit that I am guilty of wanting to go the way of old fashioned dress and no tv. My husband however has no interest in all that and likes me in jeans or double knee carharts. Reading your article is like a breath of fresh air telling me to relax. It was a loosing battle for me that was over before it even started. I put a dress on my daughter just to find it later up a tree and her barefoot in shorts and a t-shirt up another tree. My kids are still young but I have come to the conclusion that I can’t shelter them from the world. That I need to prepare them for it and give them the skills and tools that they will need to navigate in it. Only time will tell if we have made the right choices. God has their hearts and for now I have their hands and we will all walk together.

  32. Thank you so much for your writing! I love your left overs!! 🙂 I am learning many of the same lessons you seem to be writing about and it is a blessing and an encouragement to read. Something about that “if she can, I can. If I can, she can” that calls something inside to rise up and shout, Praise the Lord!!!

    1. Well that is very kind of you! I am so glad to dish out some of my left overs especially now that I know people are glad for them. That is very encouraging to hear! Oh, and yes, if I can do it, anyone can because I was the biggest mess when my husband married me!!! God bless you and I pray that you will keep on keeping on with me!

      1. 9inthehouse (Katie Schubert)

        Absolutely will keep on :-), I have often wondered if you were in here in Missouri watching me because one of your posts would hit so close to home lol! Love your realness, I always walk away from your blog encouraged and ready to take the next step of the day. Many Blessings to you all!!!

  33. I struggled with this too. My amazing, wonderful husband saw the big picture like Mark the whole time. I just wouldn’t listen or reverance(obey) my husband. I kept trying to convince or lead my family. I made ALL of us miserable. I want to please my Lord and my husband. 🙂

    1. We are very blessed to have WISE husbands to lead us! I do not know where I would be without his grounding force of sound wisdom! Praise God for new mornings! And grace! God bless you Karla!

  34. Thank God for wise husbands. 🙂 I loved all of this post! Our 5 children are still young…oldest is only 8. I’m so thankful for blogs like this that help me keep perspective when my pride and/or anxiety get in the way.

  35. I think most modest Christ followers struggle with this modesty balance. The struggle of being in the world, but not of it. They will know we are Christians by our love! Reading today was a breath of fresh air! Than, you for your honesty. I love reading your blog and often don’t comment. I think I should change that ?. Thanks for sharing your authentic family.

    1. Yes, it can be such a struggle! And the trouble with me was that my kids never dressed in an evil or seductive way, so I was making a lot of the trouble up in my head! LOL! And Yes, the real thing that people see is LOVE, people actually can see passed our outer shell especially if it is not loving! Thanks for commenting and reaching out!

  36. Great article. I was there a few years ago. But praise God, He opened my eyes. And I totally get the not willing to conform bit. It can be hard sometimes, but I remind myself it’s how my loving Father made me, and now, my children.

  37. Great article, Erin! God looks at the heart and this is what we dealt with most with our children as well. Yes, we wear pants and makeup also but we are all walking in Truth. Wearing pants and makeup isn’t sin in our home.
    It is a bit more treacherous raising teenagers today because of the smart phones and easy access to porn but we do what we can to protect them from it, teach them the destructive nature of it and then ask for the Lord’s protection around them.
    Many blessings to you, my friend!

    1. When we spoke the last time, it made my heart sing! I was so thrilled that you have walked this road, have had the blessings of that same oneness and fellowship by pouring into your teens lives! You are such an encouragement to me! I know all things are possible, and you have helped show me the way with your precious balanced view with Godly wisdom as always! Love you friend!

  38. Thank you for sharing and taking the time to write this.
    So many of us, out of our desire to please the Lord, seek to serve Him with all of our hearts. We falsely set ourselves apart in ways we feel righteous about. Oftentimes, this is due to a tainted past that was at a severe end of the spectrum and deep in sin. We will tip the balance all the way to the other side and try in a severe way to satisfy ourselves in that sense.
    I was on this road with my family as well. We are a family of 10 (2 parents, 8 children). As our children grew, their specific identities as well as gifts and talents began to reveal themselves. However, my own pride and brokenness also reared its ugly head.
    Thankfully, the Lord brought me out of that pit! I loved Created To Be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl as it really made me examine myself and my pride.
    God also showed me that I am valuable and necessary to teach other women. We are to be a light to each other, especially as we age. Neglecting this aspect of my life was starving me of the precious friendships as well as the ability to testify to those who don’t know Christ.
    The Lord Jesus loves us, just as we are…and enough to rid us of prideful thinking and living. He desires that we have an abundant, joyful life.
    May we rejoice in a God with such love for us! May others see and desire to know Him through our walk!

    1. I am so glad that our pride, both yours and my own, did not get so puffed up that it destroyed our families. I love how faithful God is to teach us, lead us, and protect us from destruction from the enemy! Thank you for sharing your story and reaching out to help other women, it is a gift to do so!

  39. Awesome article! This fits our family to a tee! Everything you have said is so true for us also! I wanted the same for my family and did so for a while and then it hit me, why are we arguing and crying over something that is tearing us apart! Clothing shouldn’t be doing that! I have come to see that we can wear pants and shorts and still be modest in doing so! We are happier and my 5 girls are happier! Thank you, Erin for writing this!

    1. So true!!! Clothing is just that, clothing! It will all burn! We came to this earth naked and we will return naked! Clothing should never be something that tears a family apart. I am so thankful that we both were sensible enough and teachable enough through Christ, to get a hold of ourselves before it was too late. Praise God!

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