My dearest daughter, 

Right now, I can dress you however I want. I can put you in adorable little dresses with cute little bun huggers that show off your chunky baby thighs. You don’t even have to wear pants and it’s cute! But a day is coming when showing that much leg is no longer cute.

I’m writing you this letter now so that when that day comes, you’ll know that I’ve thought this through. I might be making up a lot of parenting as I go, but not this.

What I have to say may not be popular. But my motivation for a dress code comes purely from my love for you and a deep desire to protect you. I want you to know that I’m going to stand my ground on this. I’ve seen enough of life to know a little more than you at this point. Plus, the basis of this code comes from God’s Word which never changes and never steers us wrong. 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14) Your body is beautiful. You were made by God Himself. Every single part of your body was designed by Him. You do not need to be ashamed of your body. I’ve been called a “body shaming misogynist” because of my stance on modesty. But nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t want you to hide your body because it’s bad; I want you to respect your body because it’s good.

“How beautiful you are and how pleasing, my love, with your delights.” (Song of Solomon 7:6) There are certain parts of your body that were designed by God to be attractive to men and used during sex. Again, you don’t have to be ashamed of this because God created your body and God created sex. He said that all He created was good. 

“Marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure.” (Hebrews 13:4) God designed sex to be within the covenant of marriage. He gave us a good gift that we were meant to share with only our husbands. So, those attractive body parts we were talking about should be kept for your husband only, too.

“But I tell you that anyone who looks lustfully at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) This verse right here states very clearly that men are held accountable for their responses to women. No man ever has a right to take advantage of a woman, no matter how she is dressed. Still, it isn’t fair to intentionally dress to tempt or tease a man. Dressing modestly is a courtesy to your brothers in Christ. Help a brother out. Also, remember that your appearance sends messages whether you want it to or not. If you are choosing to have private body parts peaking out or openly visible, just know that it will attract attention. Most likely the unwelcome kind. Bottom line: don’t bare it or share it with those who only want to use you and abuse you.

“Your adornment must not be merely external-braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3: 3-4) There is nothing wrong with wanting to wear cute clothes! You can wear make-up (in junior high or high school). You can enjoy fixing your hair. You can paint your nails and pierce your ears. But that shouldn’t be the source of your beauty. Your true beauty comes from inside. It comes from God. Think about it. What do you want a man to notice you for? Your legs in a dress that way too short? Your breasts in a plunging neckline? Overdone make-up? Or for your beautiful spirit? Your heart? Your laugh? Your brains? Your God-given talents? You are more than just a body! Dress like you understand that. 

So what can you wear? I don’t want to be legalistic about this so I’m offering general guidelines that an old friend referred to as “covering up the 3 Cs”. Follow these and you should be OK. Your dad and I reserve the right to veto outfits on a case by case basis. 

Do a “bend over test” to ensure the prevention of a wardrobe malfunction. Avoid low-cut tops. Wear a cami underneath to cover the girls. 

Just say no to it. Wear a belt, a higher rise pant, or wear a longer tank underneath. Showing your butt crack isn’t even sexy. It’s just gross. Don’t do it. 

Make sure your pants aren’t too tight through the crotch and that your shorts/skirts/dresses aren’t too short. I realize that calling something “too short” can be arbitrary. In general, if you have your arms hanging by your sides and the fabric hangs longer than your fingertips, you are good.

A few additional considerations. Are you comfortable wearing it? Is it appropriate for the activity or event? Know where you’re going, what you’ll be doing and dress the part. Remember that your clothing communicates. Ask yourself what message your clothes are sending. If you don’t know, ask me. 

My dear, a lot of people have strict rules about all this. But at the end of the day, this isn’t about rules. It’s about respect. You deserve respect, so dress like it.

You are beautiful and I love you. 

You may also like: 

Dear Daughter, Modesty is About Strength, Not Shame

Why I Stopped Criticizing My Body in Front of My Daughter

Dear Teenage Daughter, I Remember What it Was Like to Be You

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Shannon Lenz

I am a wife to my best friend, a mama to a sweet boy and baby girl, and a dog mom. My mission is to write words that encourage, comfort, inspire, and draw my readers closer to the Lord. When I'm not writing or chasing after my kids, I'm singing, reading, or cheering on the Huskers. You can read more from me at

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

God Has You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman hugging herself while looking to the side

Holding tight to the cold, sterile rail of the narrow, rollaway ER bed, I hovered helplessly over my oldest daughter. My anxious eyes bounced from her now steadying breaths to the varying lines and tones of the monitor overhead. Audible reminders of her life that may have just been spared. For 14 years, we’d been told anaphylaxis was possible if she ingested peanuts. But it wasn’t until this recent late autumn evening we would experience the fear and frenzy of our apparent new reality. My frantic heart hadn’t stopped racing from the very moment she struggled to catch a breath....

Keep Reading

My Husband Having a Stroke at 30 Wasn’t in Our Plans

In: Faith, Living
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) This verse in the book of Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, it’s felt relevant across many life events. Its simple, yet powerful reminder has been a place of solace, perhaps even a way to maintain equilibrium when I’ve felt my world spinning a bit out of control. In this season of starting fresh and new year intentions, I find great comfort in knowing...

Keep Reading

She Left Him on Valentine’s Day

In: Faith, Marriage
Husband kissing wife on cheek, color photo

“Can you believe that?” Those were the dreaded knife-cutting whispers I heard from across the table. I sunk deeper into my chair. My hopes fell as everyone would forever remember that I had left my fiancée on Valentine’s Day. Maybe one day it would just dissipate like the dream wedding I had planned or the canceled plane tickets for the Hawaiian honeymoon. Some bridesmaids and guests had already booked plane tickets. It was my own nightmare that kept replaying in my head over and over again. I had messed up. Big time. To be honest, if it made any difference,...

Keep Reading

God was In the Room for Our Daughter’s Open Heart Surgery

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child's hand with IV

I’ve had a strong faith for as long as I can remember, but I always felt bad that I never had a “testimony.” I had never gone through something that made me sit back and say, “Wow, God is real, He is here.” I have always felt it to my core, but no moment had ever stopped me dead in my tracks to where there was no denying that it was God. And then, that moment happened to me on December 5. After five months of fervently praying for a miracle for our daughter, the day came for her heart...

Keep Reading

A Benediction for the Worn Out Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman leaning against kitchen counter, black-and-white photo

Blessed are you, Father, for bestowing upon me the honor of motherhood. For allowing me to experience the deep joy of bringing forth life—a joy I often take for granted and instead choose to begrudge. My children’s cries and demands have worn me down. I do not recognize myself. I selfishly long for the old me. My thoughts are an intangible mess of never-ending tasks, self-criticism, and comparison to those around me. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama But Your word says you are near to the broken-hearted and downtrodden. You do not forget the cause of the tired and the...

Keep Reading

God Doesn’t Forget You When You’re Lost and Unsure

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking into camera, color photo

I’ve been wandering around feeling lost for over a year. Wondering where I’m going, what I’m supposed to be doing. Nothing seems to make sense. I felt purposeless. I felt stuck. I questioned everything: my faith, my marriage, my career—if it could be questioned, I doubted it. And I was completely clueless how to fix the funk. For over a year, I’ve been in the wilderness. I’ve wanted to find my way, but every path seemed like another dead end. The wilderness. I’ve been residing there. Not feeling fed. Not feeling heard. Not feeling seen. Struggling to find a purpose....

Keep Reading

And Then, the Darkness Lifts

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother with baby smiling

Today when I woke, it had lifted, like sunshine peeking after rain. And as my toddler clicked on the lamp beside my bed to see her mama, I saw me too. I got out of bed and I walked down the hall. And the coffee pot sat there waiting for me, as always, like my husband at the kitchen table with his books. He smiled at me, and I think he could tell as I took my medicine, took down a mug, and poured my coffee. I opened the secretary desk and pulled out the chair and my Bible, like...

Keep Reading

Joy in This Stillness

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding sleeping toddler, color photo

I woke up suddenly in a sweat while it was still dark. Except for the humming of the oxygen machine, the house was silent. For a moment, I thought I might have time to enjoy a cup of coffee before my son woke up. However, a glance at my daughter’s crib told me that feeding my caffeine addiction would have to wait. My daughter has a terminal brain disorder called Lissencephaly, a side effect of which is uncontrolled epilepsy. Many mornings, a subconscious recognition that she is having episodes of repeated seizures rouses me from my sleep. Throwing on a...

Keep Reading

Sometimes All We Can Do Is Say How Hard Motherhood Is

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom with baby in foreground

I have been sitting in the peace and quiet of the office to do some long overdue Bible study for all of five minutes when the baby wakes up. With a heavy sigh that is becoming all too common, I go to the bedroom to pick up my fussy, probably getting sick, 8-month-old daughter who has been asleep for approximately 15 minutes. I bring her to the office and put her on the floor with some new books and toys. Sitting back down in front of my own new book of Bible maps and charts, I begin reading once again....

Keep Reading