Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

This question has been posed to the ladies in our family more times than I can remember!  I have answered so many emails about it and each time it comes up again, I feel like I am typing the same response that I have done multiple times before.  So the decision has been made to compile all my thoughts (or at least most of them!) and publish them in this format.

When I was about four years old, my mother was convicted to wear a headcovering while praying, based on this passage of Scripture:

But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.  For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. – 1Corinthians 11:5,6

She began wearing one while she was praying, but did not wear it all the time and would sometimes scramble to find one when a prayer need came up, especially if she was on the phone talking to a friend.  My father once took a picture of her with a cloth diaper on her head – a clean one, of course!  After some time, she started to feel that she should be wearing one all the time but was hesitant. Then we were in a restaurant while traveling somewhere and when my father left the table to take us children to the buffet, a man started making inappropriate advances toward my mother. She felt strongly that if she had been wearing a headcovering, that would not have happened.  From that point on, she started wearing one pretty much full time and I decided to also.  I did not really understand why but just followed her example.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

And this is slightly unrelated but I just want to add: Mothers, you have incredible influence on your children when they are young.  They want to imitate you and get your approval.  There is a cartoon drawing that has gone around of a mother laughing at her little girl who is saying bad words and behaving immodestly … and then the mother wonders where she went wrong when her teenage daughter ends up pregnant out of wedlock.

If you value dressing modestly/wearing a headcovering, your young daughters will also.  If they are exposed to worldly influences and allowed/encouraged to think that being immodest is “cute” and desirable, is it any wonder if they go astray as they get older?  Back to the topic …

For many years I wore the headcovering because my mother did, the ladies in our fellowship did, and the ladies in the community (ex-Amish/Mennonite) did.  Positive peer pressure!  But as I grew older, it was time to make a personal decision and answer the question for myself …

Why do you wear a headcovering?

There are two reasons I wear a covering.  Actually three.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

1Corinthians 11 says that a woman should wear a headcovering when she prays or prophesies, or have her head shaved.  No two ways about it.  There are three main arguments for why women should not wear headcoverings, in regard to this passage.

1). That these instructions were only for that culture/congregation/time period.

2). That a woman’s long hair is her covering.

3). That a woman’s husband/father/male authority figure is her covering.

My thoughts on these objections are as follows …

1). While I agree that these instructions were for the Corinthian congregation, I also believe they are for all other believers who read them.  If we can disregard this passage as “cultural”, what else in the Bible can we disregard as “cultural”?  Why not determine that all of the instructions given to the Corinthians are inapplicable for us today?  This is a dangerous viewpoint, a slippery slope.

2). Many say that a woman’s long hair is her covering and quote verse 15 – “But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering.”  I am not a Greek scholar but I do believe in studying the words that are used in Scripture to the best of my ability, especially when they seem to contradict another verse.  It is interesting to note that the word used for “covering” in this verse literally means a mantle or veil, in other words, something tangible/material.  In verse 6 Paul says, For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.”  This verse instructs that if a woman is not covered, she should cut her hair short.  This makes no logical sense in light of the viewpoint that long hair is a covering!  Why would she shave off her covering?!

Also, if this passage is saying that long hair is a covering … how long is long?  Who gets to decide?  This would seem to be a very important factor.  We should also keep in mind that a man is to pray with his head uncovered … thus, if hair is a covering, he must take off his hair every time he prays!  These are some of the reasons why the hair-is-a-covering idea does not make sense to me and I believe that verse 15 could be better understood if it said “for her hair is given to her for covering”, like one might say “the body was given for clothing”.  Not that it is clothing/covering, but it needs clothing/covering!

3). Regarding the third opposition, verse 3 of this chapter says, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Messiah, the head of woman is man, and the head of Messiah is God.”  A woman’s husband (or father) is her spiritual authority or “head”.  This is confirmed in a number of Scripture passages.  But it never says that he is her covering, in the sense that the word is used in this chapter.  And logically speaking, does that mean if a woman is not married or does not have a father in her life (i.e. is not covered), she should shave her head?  This makes no sense!

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

In conclusion, I do not understand how people explain away the instructions in 1Corinthians 11.  At the same time, I do believe that this passage is specifically referring to the public prayer/prophecy in the congregational setting.  Some people use it to support the idea that a woman should wear a covering all the time, citing the injunction in 1Thessalonians 5:17 to pray without ceasing, but I am not convinced that it applies.  After all, you can’t wear a headcovering while you’re washing your hair!  Does that mean it’s a shame if you pray in the shower?  This is why I believe this passage is referring specifically to the congregational setting.  However I do try to wear a headcovering most of the time and this falls under my second reason – modesty.

There are several references in the Bible to uncovering a woman’s head/hair and in both situations, the woman is in a disgraceful position.  One is Numbers 5, when instructions are given regarding what to do if a husband thinks his wife has been unfaithful to him.  The priest was to uncover her head and make her drink a bitter water made from dust.  If she had no reaction, she was innocent.  If she became ill, she was guilty.  The other reference is Isaiah 47, speaking of young women who were in shameful circumstances.  These references seem to imply that it was normal for a woman’s head to be covered, and to be uncovered was a sign of shame.  Sound familiar?

In light of 1Corinthians 11:15, which states that the woman’s hair is her glory, it is interesting to note Isaiah 4:5 which says, “then YHWH will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering.”  Melanie Ellison expounded on this in detail in her article for Shining Stars Magazine, The Headcovering: A Chuppah Of Divine Protection.  Essentially, the meaning of this word for covering (over “the glory”) means “divine protection”.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

That corresponds exactly to my mother’s revelation in that restaurant 20 years ago, and we have experienced numerous times that the headcovering does provide protection and inspires respect.  It is definitely an outward sign or symbol of being set apart.  I wear the headcovering in public for the same reason I dress modestly: I respect myself too much to reveal “my glory” to anyone and everyone.  To me,  it is more important to wear the headcovering in public, than in private.  There are times when I do not wear a headcovering around the house but I feel strongly about having it on when I go out.

Why Do You Wear A Headcovering?

And for the third reason, that my parents want me to … that’s pretty self-explanatory!  It is a family conviction and if I were to stop wearing it, I would more or less be rebelling against their wishes.  If I marry and my husband has a different understanding and prefers me not to wear it at times, I certainly don’t think I would be in sin to follow his leading.  But I do believe in submitting to the authority that the Heavenly Father has placed in my life right now – my parents.

With all that being said, let me make it very clear that I believe the decision to wear the headcovering is a very personal one.  You cannot find a chapter and verse that say “Thou shalt wear the headcovering”!  It seems to me that the principle is clear throughout Scripture but it something that each person must decide for herself.  After all, if someone only wears a headcovering because of the influence of someone else, there is very little conviction involved.  Each person must prayerfully consider her responsibility, study the Scriptures, seek Godly counsel and come to her own conclusions.

I have shared how and why I have come to mine … may each of you be blessed as you establish your own!  If you do wear a headcovering, I would love to hear your reasons for doing so!

P.S.  This is the last day to enter the giveaway for the headcovering from Rosi’s Boutique … if you haven’t entered yet, you can do so here!

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Ain’t You Glad You’re Single?

I’ve got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle,
As I go riding merrily along.
And they sing “oh ain’t you glad you’re single”,
And that song ain’t so very far from wrong.

glad you're single large

It’s an old Western song with a catchy tune and I was singing along with my younger siblings when the meaning of the words struck me.

Ain’t you glad you’re single?

Well no … as a matter of fact, I ain’t!  I’d rather be married, thank you very much!

What a stupid song! was the thought that went through my mind!

Getting married and having a family of my own has been my greatest desire for as long I can remember.  I always wanted to get married young … you know, like at 16 or 17.  And as the years go by and my age nears that quarter of a century, I have to fight impatience and discontent.  I have to keep reminding myself that the Heavenly Father’s timing is perfect and I don’t want to step outside of it one little bit.

But glad to be single???  No way!

Then several thoughts came to mind, thoughts that inspired this post.  I thought of the many Scriptures that command us to be glad and rejoice.  I thought of Pollyanna and her “glad game” … finding something to be glad about in every circumstance.  And I thought of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:34 – There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

To be honest, caring for how I may please my husband sounds pretty good to me right now!  I do believe there is a part of my carnal self that thinks that would be more enjoyable than caring for how to please my Savior.  Perhaps some others can relate!

But I think that’s where many of us miss a lot during this time of life … we’re too busy wishing for what we don’t have, that our focus isn’t on being holy in body and spirit and pleasing our Lord.

So with those thoughts in mind, I wondered to myself … can I really say that I’m glad I’m single?  I’m not quite sure yet but I will admit there are many aspects of singlehood that I can be glad about.  Here are a few:

  • Living at home –  This is huge!  I love my family and our home.  I love the feeling that comes to me when I pull into the driveway after being out and about … that deep sigh of relief … I’m home!  Although I do consider myself an introvert, I cannot even imagine living by myself – that would be so lonely!
  • Caring for the things of the Lord –  Like Paul said, the unmarried years are a period of life in which we have more time to focus on the spiritual things.  That may mean that we can spend a large portion of the day studying the Bible, because we don’t have the responsibilities of a house and family to care for.  Or we can fast and pray for an extended of period of time, without worrying about keeping our families fed, or being so drained that we can’t properly care for them.  This can also take on physical aspect, as we are free to volunteer our time and talents to reach out to others, in ways we may not be able to once we’re married.
  • Traveling as a family –  Several weeks ago we all traveled together to visit some friends who live several hours away, and we had such a wonderful day.  We sang songs together on the drive … we took some time to walk around and play at the Ocoee river … we stopped for ice cream at a quaint shop in Chattanooga … we went into Publix for a few groceries and were stopped by an older gentleman who wanted to know about the way we practice our faith … in short, we talked and simply enjoyed our time together.
  • Running a successful home business –  Our puppy business, Happy Hill Pups, keeps me on my toes 24/6 (I don’t say 24/7 because I do take a break on Sabbath!)  Granted, some times are slower and some are busier but overall, I (and my family members) invest a lot of time in keeping this family business going.  I am thankful for the opportunities, the things I’ve learned through it, the income that I’ve earned … but I know it wouldn’t be practical to continue my role in this business once I’m married.  Of course, I hope to still have my several dogs and raise puppies with them but it cannot be the focus of my day-in day-out life.
  • Sleeping through the night –  Ok, you might laugh at this one but I’m serious!  When I think of marriage, I think of motherhood as being synonymous with that.  I know that for some people this isn’t the case and my heart goes out to them.  It is my prayer though that I will be blessed with many children.  And mothers don’t get to sleep through the night much of the time … at least, that’s what I’ve heard!  So for right now, I can be glad to take advantage of sleep!
  • Shining Stars –  I started the magazine eight years ago to encourage unmarried young ladies.  I have been so blessed and encouraged and strengthened over the years and have met so many wonderful young ladies.  But, similar to the business, the magazine ministry demands a lot of my time.  Being single right now, I can invest that time into it.  Once I’m married, I will need to invest that time into my home and family.
  • Singing in the kitchen –  One night several weeks ago, the kitchen needed to be cleaned up and no one felt much like doing it!  Lydia and I ended up volunteering, a little grudgingly and without the most pleasant attitudes at first.  Things threatened to be kind of unpleasant for a little bit but after we had apologized and made things right with each other, she suggested that we sing while we worked.  We sang song after song and had such an enjoyable time doing it!  Once I’m married, I have a feeling my opportunities for washing dishes and singing with Lydia are going to be few and far between.
  • Writing letters to my husband without knowing who he is –  Do any of you unmarried young ladies write letters to your husband?  I started doing this several years ago, and unfortunately I don’t do it as often as I would like, but one of the things I love about it is being able to write without knowing who he is!  If I knew who he was and what his personality was like, I would tend to taylor my writing to fit what he might expect.  This way, I can express myself honestly, without any hesitations or questions in my mind about his reaction.
  • Traveling to Israel with Abba and Tommy.  When you’re reading this, I will be spending four weeks in Israel with my father and brother.  While I am sorry that the whole family cannot go along on this trip, I am very thankful for this experience.  That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like to travel Israel with my husband, but I am very excited about going with my father and brother … something that wouldn’t have happened if I was already married.

Disclaimer: I wouldn’t want anyone to misunderstand what I have said and take it to mean that being single is better than being married, or that one should wait to get married until one has experienced a long time period as a single.  I believe that being a wife and mother is the absolute best and highest calling a woman can have and it makes me so sad that women refuse to fulfill this role.  However I do see the flip side and recognize that many young ladies cultivate such a longing to get married that it causes damage in their spiritual lives, and that is the group to whom I am writing this post.  As in all things, balance is the key!

What do you think …

If you’re unmarried, what are some reasons that you can be glad about that relationship status?  

If you are married, what are some of the positive aspects of singlehood that you enjoyed, or could look back and appreciate later on?

Raising Children – It’s What They Do Best

Raising Children - It's What They Do Best

Our family enjoys old Western shows and we have recently been watching episodes of The Rifleman on youtube.  In a particular episode, there were some disreputable women who were trying to set up a gambling hall in the local town and after they had been run out, Mark asked his father who those women were and what did they want?  Lucas told him that they were card dealers and wanted to turn North Fork into a gaming town.  Mark replied, “It seems like those women ought to stop playing cards and start raising kids!” and his father answered, “Yep, that’s what they do best!”

Of course, we all started laughing and my father said “can you believe it?!”  Can you imagine if someone made that statement on TV today? I’m not sure what were the motives of the producers for including such a strong statement but it is a truth that few people want to recognize or acknowledge.

So as we prepare for Mother’s Day coming up in just a few days, I want to encourage the mothers out there … you are doing what you can do best!  You may think it strange that an unmarried girl with no children is writing a post like this but I believe this standard is one for which even us unmarried young ladies should be striving and preparing.

I can understand when people who don’t believe in the God of the Bible refuse to follow His standards, but it puzzles me when people who believe in the Bible choose to live a lifestyle that is in direct conflict with its instructions.  The simple fact is that women were created to be wives and mommies.  There is no way to get around that!  Your physical body should remind you of this fact every day.  On the emotional level, women were created to be helpmeets to their husbands and nurturers to their children.

Even women who are so bound by feministic ideology as to reject this usually end up fulfilling their womanly roles, albeit in warped fashion.  They end up being a helpmeet to someone (usually men) and they must nurture something (usually it’s animals).  Even they cannot escape the innate desires that were woven into their DNA by a loving Heavenly Father who wants His creation to have what is best for them.

Women were created for a certain role and that is what they are good at.  When they are “allowed” to truly fulfill that role and are respected for doing it … wow!  It’s beautiful. Unfortunately the world in which we live condemns women who want to fulfill that role by taunting them with condemnation that they aren’t “talented” or “accomplished” or “educated” enough to be anything but a homemaker.  It’s as if being wives and mommies doesn’t take any skill or talent or patience … it’s just something that you do if you aren’t good enough to do anything else!

What foolishness!

Raising Children - It's What They Do Best

From an economical viewpoint, have you seen the calculations that show a stay-at-home mom really ought to earn over $95,000 a year?  If someone else were hired to take over her tasks and responsibilities, this is what they would get paid.  And I believe that is a conservative estimate.  Now I know why my father always said that my mother works harder than him!

But the financial aspect is nothing compared to the opportunity she has to reach the world through the lives of her children.  We have all heard the saying “For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world” but I think many women do not believe it.  They hire someone else to rock the cradle for them so that they can rule the world exclusive of husband and children.  The end result is confusion and misery.

Sometime back I was listening to the Christian radio and there was a discussion between a female caller and the female DJ about how they had dropped their children off at the nursery that morning – I think one of them had a 6 week old baby and the other had a toddler.  They were talking about how hard it was to leave their children and yet they were trying to make the best of it.

And I wanted to yell – You left your precious child in the care of others so that you could come to work … at a Christian radio station???  This is what our world has come to.  Motherhood has lost its value and women are no longer expected to do “what they do best”, on the contrary – they are ridiculed when they do!

I know that raising children isn’t easy – I have observed my mother for 24 years!  I have seen her get frustrated, overwhelmed, angry and hurt … and I have seen her ask forgiveness and start the day all over again.  Raising children is probably the most difficult occupation in the world, because souls are involved.  There are two kingdoms battling for those souls and the mother has the greatest influence on which kingdom will win.  The father has great influence too but I sometimes wonder if the mother doesn’t have more.  There are too many accounts of children who had no ‘count fathers and yet were led to the narrow path through the prayers and examples of their mothers.

But even if it is the most difficult thing to do, it can also be the most rewarding.  Mothers, I encourage you to take joy in doing what you can do best – in raising your children in the fear and admonition of the Almighty and directing them to the Savior who instructed us, “take up your cross and follow me”.  It isn’t a simple task … and it isn’t going to be.  We have an adversary who is going to make it as difficult as he can because he wants your children.

The good news is, you can defeat him!  When you realize that being a wife and mother is the highest and most important calling you could ever fulfill … and that it is what you do best … that no other career could ever fulfill you like this one does … and you pour yourself into your family, filling their lives with love and blessings … and you keep loving … and keep serving … and keep working … and keep praying … and then do it all over again …

… then your children will rise up and call you blessed; your husband also and he will praise you, saying many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all.  Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain: but you, a woman who fears YHWH, you shall be praised.  You will be given the fruit of your hands and your own works will praise you in the gates.

Happy Mother’s Day Y’all!!

Women In Need Of Prayer

Shalom y’all,

This is Annie writing.  I would like to bring something to your attention that I hope you will prayerfully consider.  YHWH has allowed me the blessing of meeting with the female inmates in the local jail, once a week.  It has been an awesome opportunity to get to know these ladies and spend sweet times of fellowship with them.

Each week when I go into their cell, I write down the names of any new ladies and I also write down the names of their children, if they have any.  When I get home, I make an index card of this information and hang it by our table so we can pray for these ladies and their families throughout the week.  This blesses them greatly and they are truly thankful.

This is what I am seeking help for.  Would you be willing to pray for an individual lady and her family on a regular basis?  Please do not volunteer unless you can truly commit to spending time doing this.  These are real people with real and difficult situations.  Once they leave the jail, they often have nowhere to go except to the same setting they left … broken homes, alcoholic and drug-dependent family members, no jobs, no cars, etc.  It is truly a vicious cycle.  And sadly, there are more “men” waiting to help these ladies out, rather than followers of Messiah.

If you are able to commit to praying for one or two of these ladies, please comment or email us and I will give you a list of the ladies with a brief description.  You pray about which one you would like to lift up to the Father and then let me know.  I will then keep track on the list of who has prayer coverage and who still needs it.

Thank you and shalom to your home.

Too Old To Get Married???

Too Old To Get Married???

I received the following comment via email and wanted to share my answer with everyone in case there are any other readers who have the same assumptions.

I am 27.  Am I too old to get married in your worldview?  Because I’m also very well educated and an accomplished author and my themes are about women in politics.  So I’m just wondering if I’m not marriage material in your book.  Sorry to sound cynical but I do feel I was lied to that if I waited around Prince Charming would come.  That said Jesus is the solution to all our problems and no husband can ever fill that longing in one’s heart.

Dear —–

Thank you for taking the time to express your questions and concerns and I am sorry for the delay in getting back with you.  Due to our family being overseas for 6+ weeks, I am still trying to catch up on correspondence!  To answer your question, I do not know of any age at which a person is “too old” to get married.  I also am not aware of any statements on our website that would lead you to make this assumption, but if there are any, please enlighten me!  I believe that people should marry when the Heavenly Father directs them to do so by providing the spouse that He has planned for them since before the foundations of the world, regardless of whether they are 18 or 88 or anywhere in between!  I would never, ever say that someone is too old to get married!

Too Old To Get Married???

In regard to your question about if you are marriage material in my book, my first reply would be: does it matter?  Is my opinion so important that you would shape your decisions and lifestyle around it?  I hope not!  My second reply would be: it’s not my place to determine whether someone is marriage material or not!  And I certainly don’t think that because a person is 27, well-educated and an accomplished author, she isn’t fit to be married!  Again, I don’t think we have ever expressed such sentiments on this website but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

I am sorry that you feel you were lied to but I’m unclear as to what the lie was.  That if you waited around, Prince Charming would come?  What do you mean by “waiting around”?  Just by definition, all of us who are not married are “waiting” for our husbands, but that doesn’t mean that we are “waiting” to live our lives.  Maybe what you are referring to is the concept that life doesn’t really start until you’re married?  I would agree that this is an incorrect and dangerous perspective to hold.  Regardless of whether or not we are married, we should be waking up each day with the determination to serve our Father in heaven and bless those around us.

In reply to your last sentence, I agree that we can find hope and answers to our problems through our relationship with our Savior, but there are certain longings in a woman’s heart that will never be fulfilled outside of marriage and family.  If the Heavenly Father desires for a woman to wait many years before He brings her husband, He will provide the comfort and sustenance that she needs, but there are still unmet longings and desires … and there is nothing wrong with admitting that!  No, we don’t need to get married and yes, our Savior provides everything we need – but we were created to be wives and mothers.  Not everyone is called to that role but the majority of us are.  The question is: how can we live today so that we can be like the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, doing our husbands good all the days of our lives? (v.12)  And yes, even when we don’t know who they are!

Too Old To Get Married???

Thank you again for writing and feel free to let me know if I need to clarify anything I have said.  With love in our Messiah, Hannah