I’m going to be brave and admit something to you. Since November of 2009, I have worn a headcovering whenever I pray or ask the Lord for or share a prophetic word. After five years, it is second nature to me to put it on. In public, I rarely remember that I am unique in being a charismatic Christian that covers. But recently, I was asked WHY I cover, and I realized I have not shared my testimony here about it.
1 Corinthians 11:1-16 is a long passage. I’m not going to quote nor am I going to defend, but I ask you prayerfully to go read it and ask the Lord to open Your heart to His word.
In my seventeen years with the Lord, I’ve read through those lines of scripture dozens of times. When I was little, I remember women wearing hats to church and men taking off their hats when they came into church or at a potluck to pray. I thought certainly this scripture explained WHY. But then as I moved from more traditional churches to more evangelical I noticed that women didn’t cover. I asked a few people about it at the different denominations I church hopped between, and they always said it was meant just for the Corinthian women.
That explanation never gave me a peace and my restlessness grew as I realized Paul put it in an eternal context mentioning the dawn of creation and that it was for the benefit of the angels. But I conceded it was one of those things that I would understand when I was older. Shortly after I accepted the Lord, I found myself wrestling with whether I was called to Catholicism and specifically to devote my life to a religious order. I studied intensely the reasons and doctrine behind the habit and its parts, and again I was faced with this scripture of being covered. When God closed the door on Catholicism I left more convicted than ever that we weren’t being obedient to this scripture.
I looked around and noticed that there are Protestants who cover, the Mennonites and Amish. So I studied through their doctrine and their reasoning and it was the same as the Catholic’s it was an issue of acknowledging the authority of God and of those who are to represent Christ to us our pastors, fathers, husbands. I was newly married attending a church that taught the word verse by verse and once again surrounded by women who didn’t cover.
I ended up finding my solace in an online support group for women who head covered. We were all seeking to do what we felt convicted about, but we weren’t in churches who supported us. I didn’t have the courage to do it. Even with all my studies I didn’t feel that I could stand against the current. But one night, I began discussing 1 Corinthians 11:2-15, with my husband who wasn’t yet a believer. When he said he agreed with me and then boldly asked me why I didn’t obey God’s instructions, I found myself without an answer and God convicted me of my lukewarm obedience.
So with my husband’s permission, I began covering first at home and on occasion during a fellowship or study. I wish I could capture for you a picture of how blessed my life has been since I started covering. How the simple act of covering my head reminds me that I am coming before a holy God and rights my heart before Him in prayer, worship, and when I step out in obedience to speak with someone. I’ve gained boldness in prayer that I didn’t have before. And even when I am without a cover and there is a need to pray, I can still myself and find that place where I come humbly and yet boldly before the throne of grace.
But in the beginning, I cared very much about how my obedience would affect others. It wasn’t a salvation issue and I didn’t want to stumble my friends, family or fellowship. So it took a great deal of work on God’s part to instill in me boldness for Him to do it in public. I had my Gideon moment one Thanksgiving. My mother and I were discussing my headcovering and my decision to cover, but as everyone began to arrive, I went and prayed for a blessed day of fellowship. I promptly removed my headcovering hoping to avoid the divisive subject on a day when believers and non-believers came to the table together. But as I blended in to the conversations around the table, I realized I was missing the opportunity to share the testimony of His goodness to me that came from my obedience. The next Sunday, it happened again. I felt so hypocritical taking it off when I entered God’s house, that I went home and promised Him that no more would I enter His presence willingly uncovered.
I went home and covered and prayerfully wrote a 2500 word letter to my pastor and his wife explaining my intentions and justifying why with scripture and the testimony of what was happening at home. With their blessing I stepped into church the next Sunday and every Sunday since covered. As the doubt and fear of other’s responses faded away, I found the comfort I had as a child of being continually aware of His presence. God wore away my lukewarm stance. Where I was compromised, God called me to be bold for Him in.
As my focus stayed upon Jesus I realized how precious my diligence to obey His commands and do His work are, in His sight. I appreciate relationships more, I listen more, I receive divine wisdom more frequently. I found in my obedience to recognize my position in creation as well as in my home, things began to fall into His order instead of mine. My husband’s attitude towards being the provider changed. He became more protective and concerned for the state of our household, our finances, and even children’s education. Everything I once assumed would be my duty to lead slowly became a partnership because of the work the Holy Spirit was doing in both of us. And then my husband came to faith.
While I know it isn’t the thin veil I wear that truly made any of these blessings occur, but the desire of my heart to be obedient, I believe God used it to lead my husband to faith and his proper position in Him. We know we can trust in the mutuality that Jesus had with His Father, God, while He walked on this earth. I submit to my husband because like the Lord, I know that though I’m equal in power and ability, there can only be one will and love leading our household, God’s.
My husband knows that He must be the one to intercede about the direction our household should go. When times get tough, we both have to pray and listen for direction, but I ask God to speak to my husband and let what He speaks to me be confirmation. And it is a blessing that even though I’m technically older in our spiritual walk that we can walk in this contrary manner with great assurance we are in the will of God.
Even though it has been five years, I’m still only woman in our church who covers and I’m okay with that. This isn’t a salvation issue. But my relationship with other sisters-in-the-Lord who do cover has expanded greatly in the past five years. There is even a movement to bring headcovering back to the church. If you are curious about it or the churches/pastors who now endorse headcovering you can find excellent resources and testimonies at http://www.headcoveringmovement.com/
So what area has God called you to be obedient in? I would love to hear from you.