A Warm Fuzzy Robe by Nancy Vandemark

Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ... Romans 13:14 was the theme for the 2014 women’s retreat. Our key note speaker, Pam Dewey, came from an interesting perspective in her address, "One Size Fits All".

What follows is not exactly as Pam said. It is more an attempt to share what I internalized from her presentation. This small summary does not do her presentation justice as her presentation was much fuller than what I am able to cover here. I hope one day she will make a video of the presentation to share.

Brides to Be

We are to be the bride of Christ. Pam focused on three historical and cultural perspectives of what men saw desirable in a wife. Because the mothers of the young girls thought they could make their daughters more desirable, they would subject the young girls to devices that would actually deform the young girls' bodies.

Neck Rings

In some cultures, there is a custom of wearing neck rings. It is related to the ideal of beauty of an elongated Young girl with neck rings. neck. Since this can be more painful to do when a girl is older, it was not uncommon for this to be started from the age of 2-5 years old. The family wanted their daughters to be considered beautiful and have a better chance of getting a ‘good’ husband.

The women experience the obvious discomfort of chafing by the neck rings and the sanitary issue of having the rings around their necks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Additionally, there is damage going on inside of their bodies. You see the neck does not actually get longer, but the weight of the heavy neck rings push the clavicles, (collarbones), and eventually the ribs down. All of this pain was endured to be more desirable for their eventual husband.

Foot Binding

One of the stories of how foot binding came into being is that a Chinese emperor liked the tiny 'lotus feet' of a dancer he watched. The bound feet soon became a mark of beauty and became necessary to find a husband, especially a man with money.

I cannot bring myself to show a photo of what this did to a woman's foot. Of course the foot binding started when Lotus shoe as compared to deck of cards. the girls were young. I can’t begin to imagine the pain as they broke the young girls' toes and folded them back underneath the sole of the foot and held them there with bandages. All this pain was gone through to fit into the lotus shoes. The ideal foot was three inches in length. Three inch feet were called golden lotuses. Feet that were between three and four inches in length were called silver lotuses.

When I select a shoe, comfort comes before style, and I am probably in the minority on that. When I saw a recent trailer for the new Cinderella movie, it only showed the glass slipper. The shape of the shoe reminded me of foot binding. This glass slipper, if it was real, appears to make a woman’s foot look tiny, but would cause physical problems, albeit not as extreme as foot binding leading me to wonder: what are we teaching our daughters today about what is important in attracting Prince Charming?

Corsets Diagram of woman's organs without and with corset.

As we continue around the globe, we see the Europeans and Americans in fashion corsets. These took various shapes, depending on the fashion of the day. Perhaps the most well-known, is the one that squeezed a woman's waist to, for the most part, an unnatural circumference. In doing so, it squeezed her internal organs frequently causing fainting, digestive problems and most likely other health issues. Again, even some young girls were subjected to having to wear these devices. The primary goal was to be more desirable to a future husband.

 

Future Bride of Christ

What does all this have to do with us spiritually? We are to be the bride of Christ:

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.

Revelation 19:7

We are preparing to be a special bride indeed. We want to prepare ourselves, our children and others we have an influence on, to be a beautiful, desirable bride for Christ. But so often we, or others, develop our own devices in the form of rules and expectations to mold us into the shape we think God desires. Like the devices mentioned above, they distort us, weaken our natural strength, cause us great pain, and we pass that pain on to others.

But that is not what Jesus told us. His way will not harm us.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Mathew 11:29

Jesus would not have us put on harmful things, such as guilt and fear that we so easily slip into. Instead he wants us to:

…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Colossians 3:12

These do not harm us or others. A woman with a warm fuzzy robe, sitting in a rocking chair.

Pam demonstrated clothing ourselves with Jesus in a physical manner by wrapping up Scarlett in a warm fuzzy robe. There is nothing in it to deform us or cause us pain.

It will always serve as a reminder to me that the characteristics God wants me to put on will not cause me great harm, but they are good, gentle, peaceful, and will warm my heart. We all will go through trials; but how comforting it is to have these qualities in ourselves and in others who surround us, comforting us like a warm fuzzy robe.



Volume 13 Issue 05 | Notes from Nancy | Women in Christ Commentary | Bible Study Guide | Abundance of the Heart | Exhortation |

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