If you were with me on Instagram back in January, you remember the 30 day dress challenge Avila and I did together.
It was a way to step out of our comfort zone and see if and how changing how we dressed affected our inner experience of being a woman (her young…me old lol).
And it did.
I made a video about our experience (check it out on IG), but at the end of the day it reminded me that our actions, the externals, DO affect our thoughts and emotions. That what I put on my body affects how I see the world, how I carry myself, even how I treat my kids. Like legit it’s harder for me to yell at the kids when I’m wearing a dress believe it or not! That external modesty breeds internal modesty and is a jumpstart for many other virtues.
As time went on throughout the year I fell into some old habits and knew I needed another shake up. If you can’t tell, I like challenging myself. Like the confession once a week challenge (chatted about this with Joe on the Our War Path podcast we did not too long ago) and 15 decades of the Rosary a day and other things, too. I’m not content with staying stagnant!
About a month ago I approached Nicole (@nmcaruso on IG) to see if she wanted to host a “Worthy of Wearing” (WOW) challenge with me. She is the author of a book of the same name and this book combines her Catholic faith with elements of style and is a beautiful look at how they intertwine.
Basically, this challenge would start the first Sunday of Advent and be a reminder to embrace femininity as a Christian woman. To not simply reach for the sweats and t-shirt, but rather be conscientious of what I put on. To feel worthy of wearing that which makes me feel like a woman.
However, as that month after I chatted with Nicole went on, I read a few books that challenged even more my perspective and current habits on who I am/how I dress/decisions I make as a woman and this WOW challenge has now become something more for me.
The first book I read was “Anti Mary Exposed,” by Carrie Gress. The next was, “Happy Are You Poor,” by Fr. Thomas Dubay. And the final book was “The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics.”
This providential trilogy set the stage for my current ponderings. Looking at how women have cast off Mary as our ultimate example of womanhood in “Anti Mary Exposed.” “Happy Are You Poor” is a treatise on evangelical poverty – a precursor for many virtues (and probably the reason I don’t have the virtues I want), especially meekness and modesty (two of Mary’s greatest traits). And “The Life of Mary…” is an account of Mary’s life before, during, and after Jesus according to approved revelation throughout history where we see the Mother of God in ways not written before.
Throughout reading these books I started praying for the grace to be changed. To want certain virtues I never could attain…probably because I tried attaining them on my own, without help. Of course I asked God to be gentle with me because this little heart can’t take much more purification at the moment. And He is being gentle.
And I do sense my heart changing. I see myself starting to cast off the world in ways I couldn’t before. To dig up deep roots centered on self. To become radical in living for Christ as a Christian woman.
I’m still doing the challenge (starts tomorrow on IG, join us!) but I’m also turning it into a channel of grace for God to pour Mary’s virtues into me like never before. To shed the vanities of this world and put on the garments of meekness and modesty…of faith, hope, and charity in greater ways than I could hope to expect.