Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Reasons I started wearing skirts

We're coming up on my 1 year anniversary of full-time skirt wearing! As I hit this milestone, I'm also looking forward to another--weaning my youngest from nursing and getting to purchase and wear some dresses rather than skirts! But this year I've worn skirts in 110 degree weather, and in 10 degree weather. They've kept me cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. Overall, it's been a great year of skirt wearing, so I thought it an opportune time to do a post on the top 5 reasons to start wearing skirts.

1. Skirts are prettier than pants. Before my stint into the skirt-wearing world, all I wore was tank tops, waffle knit long sleeve pull-overs and boot leg jeans left over from high school. When I decided to start wearing more skirts, I went to the thrift store and picked up several different styles. Skirts are SO much more interesting and beautiful compared to pants! Typically women look good in one style of cut of jeans. Maybe they look good in boot leg or skinny jeans, or boyfriend jeans (whatever those are). But skirts come in all kinds of lengths and cuts, prints and fabrics and styles. I have (and love to wear) jean skirts, but I also have pretty striped skirts with floral embroidery, khaki skirts, plaid skirts, skirts with pockets...you get the picture.

2. Skirts are more comfortable than pants. If you are like I was, you may be doubting this claim a bit, but I encourage you to try a skirt for a week or so and just see. I've been married since 2002. I can truthfully say, I literally never wore a skirt or dress for the first 10 years of my marriage. And before that, after I left the obligatory uniform skirt of elementary school, I can count the number of times I wore a skirt or dress on one hand. I really never thought skirts were comfortable. But once I tried them, I realized that they are SO comfortable. In the summer, they are airy and light, and in the winter, they are perfect for wearing over leggings to keep yourself warm, but still feeling feminine. And truly, there isn't much that most people normally do that you can't do in a skirt. I've been to the fair in a skirt, I've gone hiking in a skirt, I've gone to the park in a skirt, played on the living room floor with my babies in a skirt, and much more.

3. Skirts will make you feel more beautiful than pants. I have found this to be really, really true. We recently purchased a piece of 13 acre undeveloped land to build our dream home on, and it was head-high in brush and sticker weeds when we drove down to see it. Clearly a situation where a skirt probably wasn't going to cut it. So I pulled on a pair of boots and jeans and we hiked around our land for a bit. I'll tell you, I felt so big and bulky in those jeans! I felt like a man! There was no swish of fabric as I walked. All my undesirable curves were accentuated. There was no feminine touch to the outfit. Conversely, when I put on a pretty skirt, I feel more graceful, more feminine and more beautiful than I have ever felt in pants.

4. Others will see you differently when you wear the right kinds of skirts. Okay. We all know that you shouldn't judge a book by its' cover. But the truth is, people do. Wearing a modest and tasteful skirt in our society is actually rather uncommon, and it's something that people do notice. It's my experience that people perceive me differently than they did when I mostly wore t-shirts and yoga pants. People seem to perceive my parenting differently, they tend to show me more respect, and they assume a certain value system when they meet me. Inside, I haven't really changed my thinking, but the way I am perceived now has made the values I hold on the inside more apparent to people looking in from the outside.

It's very easy to get into the habit of throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt every day. It's a little harder to get into a style rut when you are consistently wearing skirts. When you put on a skirt, you tend to make a point of finishing the whole outfit and actually styling your hair, rather than throwing it in a messy bun on your head. Somehow, a skirt (or dress) makes you try harder, and because of that, I think people do notice the effort and it says to them that you respect yourself, and that they should respect you also.

5. The right kind of skirt (or dress) is more modest than pants. I say "the right kind" of skirt because of course mini skirts aren't really modest, and maybe a skirt with 'juicy' emblazoned on the back isn't modest. But a tasteful, feminine skirt is more modest than pants. The hem of the skirt serves as a boundary line for the eyes; effectively stopping the eyes from traveling up the length of your body. The body of the right kind of skirt is loose enough to provide coverage for your curves.

Truly, I don't think I'll ever go back to full-time pants. What do you think? Why do you wear skirts or pants?

Four Benefits of the Family Integrated Church

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Salvatore Vuono,

The vast majority of Christian's today attend churches where Sunday School, women's ministries, men's ministries and children's programs are the norm. For those of us who are Christian, Sunday School is what our kids do on Sundays, and it can be almost impossible to imagine a world in which these age and gender-segregated programs don't exist.

However, there is a small and growing movement toward churches where there are no age- or gender-segregated programs, and where families worship together. This church model is called the family-integrated church. In this article, I want to give you a list of benefits of attending a family-integrated church.

1. In the family-integrated church, families worship together. Have you ever taken your child to Sunday School, and, upon picking them up ask, "What did you learn today?" only to get stutters and ums, and mentions of silly games or yummy snacks they ate, and little to no information about what they actually studied during their time at church? In the family-integrated church model, since families worship together, parents know what their children are hearing, and the family is learning the same things at the same time. Sermon topics become conversation topics during the week, where parents have a chance to extrapolate on the sermon, bringing the message down to their level and helping children internalize what they have already heard on Sunday.

2. In the family-integrated church, children see that faith matters to their parents. There came a point in our church life where my kids were in one classroom, I was in the mother's room with a crying baby, my toddler was in the nursery, and my husband was alone in the church. We weren't learning the same things, and frankly, we didn't know what our kids were learning, and we assumed they weren't capable of understanding what we were learning (not true). Our faith walks were totally separate from one another. In the family-integrated church model, children sit with their parents, they see their parents worshipping, praying, and fellowshipping, and they see other adults and children doing the same. If our faith matters to us, in this church model, it'll be obvious to our children. Children look to see what matters to their parents, and those same things will matter to them. Actually physically seeing you make God a priority, will impact the faith of your children.

3. There is more unity in a family-integrated church. I'm sure this is not true of all family-integrated churches, but the very nature of doing church as whole family units lends itself to more unity within the greater body of Christ. You get to know whole families, as opposed to a more traditional church model where you might get to know the person sitting next to you and your child might make a friend with someone whose parents you've never met. Doing church together, means getting to know families in their natural state. This lends itself to deeper relationships between the members of the church body.

4. Children learn to participate in "real" worship. I want to be very careful how I word this next point, lest anyone think I'm suggesting that children cannot worship without their parents--that is not what I'm saying at all. My point here is that the vast majority of the time Sunday School is more about crowd control and making church "fun" so that children will want to come back, and less about real knowledge and understanding of the matters of the faith. As an example, at our last church, we adults received wonderful teachings from the word of God, but when my husband volunteered in our kid's classes, he said there was literally a 2 to 5 minute mini-lesson, a snack, play time, and singing time. When children are trusted to enter into "big" church, there is a chance for the "bells and whistles" to fall away, and for children to come humbly to the throne of an amazing God, a God whose Son said, "Suffer the little children to come unto to me, for such is the kingdom of heaven".

There are so many benefits to attending a family-integrated church. It has literally changed the dynamics of our family (in unexpected and wonderful ways). Since switching to this church model, I have seen so much spiritual growth in my older children (ages 7 and 8). They may not understand every word of the sermon, but they are taking in more than you would think. Even my 2 and 1 year olds can be caught singing the great hymns of decades past in their baby language. My husband and I are more unified than ever, and as a family, we are so much more engaged in our church body than we have ever been in the past. So if you're thinking about trying a family-integrated church, I encourage you to give it a go. You might just find that you too enjoy worshipping as a family.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Defending biblical gender roles

What will the next generation of men and women look like?

There are times when I read something on the internet, or recall something a friend said, or that I read in a book, and when I go to bed that night, I can't stop thinking about it. I've come to learn that often, it's the Lord, prompting me to explore the idea further, to delve into it, Bible in hand. Tonight is one of those nights.

I read something today about Christian feminism, and it really bothered me. I mean just bothered me to my very core. I tried to go to bed, but I couldn't. So I flipped on my computer intent on writing a post that blew Christian feminism out of the water, that proved all those Christian feminists wrong. But every time I wrote something, the words just didn't seem right. So instead of refuting Christian feminism, I'm going to defend biblical man and womanhood.

This is one area where the Bible is very clear. And I suppose that's why when I read posts by Christian feminists, I'm left feeling confused. I'm left wondering if we mean the same thing when we say we are Christian. Because, when I say I am a Christian, I mean I believe not only in the teachings of Jesus Christ, but also in the teachings of the religion that is based off of his life. I believe the teachings of the Bible. Even the ones that assign very distinct roles to both men and women (of which there are many, by the way).

Back to what I read. There's this blogger I follow who is (apparently) a Christian feminist. And she asked a question of her readers: What if we raised our daughters to stop seeing themselves in light of their gender and its' "inherent limitations", and instead allowed them to be who they were created to be? Could we change the face of Christianity in one generation if we raised strong girls who became strong women who became leaders in the church? And could we teach our boys to help these girls along in this cause?

That question, the idea behind it, scares me. When I think of a world where little girls aren't raised to be nurturing and meek and gracious, and where little boys aren't raised to be providers and protectors, it scares me. Essentially, she's asking, when is it our turn? When do we women get to be men and men get to be women? Yes, if we teach this to our children, we could change the face of Christianity in one generation. But a better question would be, is this biblical, is this right? What will happen to our families if we really do live this thought out? I'm not sure many Christian feminists are asking those questions.

God created genders. It must've been important to him. He could've created a man to be a companion to Adam in the garden. Then each man could do double the work, and no one would feel limited by their gender because they'd be the same. But he didn't. Genesis 2:18 says, "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."  When God created woman for man, He did it because our nature, who we are deep inside as women was the best possible option for man. If we raise our girls to ignore their gender, to believe that it somehow limits them, what are we raising them to believe about God?

Because if we think gender roles limit us as women, essentially, we think God made a mistake when he made women as the suitable helper for man. We think God should've made women to do what men do, and men to do what women do. And He didn't. So obviously He was wrong in the beginning. And if He was wrong then, what's to stop Him from being wrong about others things? And so it is on the slippery slope that is feminism.

Behind Christian feminism is the idea that there are these limitations that come part and parcel with our womanhood. That somehow the fact that our churches don't allow women pastors or elders shows that our churches, our men, believe that women are inferior.

But the Word never says that your gender limits you as a person. By contrast, 1 Corinthians 11:11 says this, "Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born from woman. But everything comes from God." Please get this. In God's eyes, women and men are equal--we all come from God. We all bear His image. But neither gender could survive without the other. Women can't just be men; it isn't in their nature. And men can't just be women; it isn't in their nature. We are interdependent, not independent.

And I think that's what really bothers me about Christian feminists. Their cry is that the church is sexist and women aren't given enough opportunities, or are relegated to only certain roles in the structure of the church. What I have found to be the common thread among Christian feminists is a lack of contentment.

We may not understand why God has made genders. We may not get why He would inspire the ancient men of God to write things like, "I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man" (1 Tim. 2:12) or "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church." (Eph. 5:22) or "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the wife is her husband..." (1 Corin. 2: 1). But He did. He made us equal, but he made us distinct.

Listen to this verse from Titus 2:

"But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. "

The author says to teach sound doctrine. Then he goes on to explain what sound doctrine is: men who are dignified, self-controlled, and faithful in love, and stable, and women who are respectable, who are mentors, who love their families, and are keepers at home, respecting the role their husbands have been given by God. Christian feminists buck against verses like this. They want the freedom to be whatever they want to be.

But there is freedom in acceptance. There is liberty in contentment. There is truth in living the way God intended. And there is something deep inside that begins to bloom when women and men accept their roles as God intended. I am living testimony to the fact that when a husband and wife both accept who God created them to be (as men and women of God), something changes. It is like a ripened vine that pushes up out of dry earth, reaching for the heavens. Our very existence living as men and women ought to is sweet worship to our God.

A year ago, I first asked myself what biblical womanhood really was. I was raised a feminist. I was raised to be strong and independent. I knew how to get my way in my marriage. My husband was also raised a feminist. He was raised to believe that it was chauvinist to try to lead a woman. That women didn't need protecting. But when we both embraced biblical man and womanhood, suddenly I had no desire to fight for my rights. I had no desire to be right just because I could be. I was stripped of my manipulating ways, my pettiness, and my pride. And my husband matured. He learned how to cherish me, how to provide and protect while treating me with respect and compassion. There is nothing better, nothing sweeter, than understanding and accepting biblical gender roles.

If Christian feminists get their way, and we change the face of the next generation, I don't believe there will be freedom. There will be emptiness though. And longing. A woman can achieve anything a man can achieve. It isn't about ability--or our worth. And accepting biblical manhood and womanhood isn't about oppression, or power. It's about acceptance of God's creation--the way He decided to make it--not the way we want to see it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Giving More to Our Children When We Feel Like There Is Nothing Left to Give

The other day we were invited to a birthday party for one of my 7 year old daughter's friends. Truly, it was comical getting all of us out the door and into the van. I mean, I *only* have four kids, but two of them are babies, and I almost think that if 50% of your children are babies, you should get twice as much credit for going anywhere because babies just seem to complicate things exponentially. Anyway, on this particular day, we needed to get the following into the van: 1 laundry basket filled (yes, I take a laundry basket with me now to cart all our junk around) with a diaper bag, a watermelon, a box of crackers, a blanket, two pairs of baby shoes, and a birthday present. 1 play pen, and jackets for everyone, two big kids, and three babies (because we had an extra foster baby around for the weekend).

With the foster baby, we maxed out the seating in the van. That meant: 2 boosters, 1 forward facing car seat, one rear facing car seat, and an infant seat. All of that meant that everyone had to get into the van in a particular order so that we could wedge the infant seat in just right and make it all fit. To tell you the truth, we were an hour late to that party, and not because we weren't ready on time, but because we take so long to simply buckle ourselves into the car!

All that being said, I think a lot about the pros and cons of having a large family. There are so many pros to having a lot of kids, even a lot of young kids at one time as we have. But one thing I've struggled with (and maybe was even too busy to realize it) is giving all my kids enough attention. Today I want to share my heart with you regarding the importance of making time to pay attention to our kids as individuals.

Even in a small family, there are so many things vying for our attention. Whether that's work, the internet, friends, TV, sports activities, homeschool co-op, or something else, in every family with children, it can be a struggle to invest enough time in your children on an individual level. Being a large family, especially one with lots of little ones, makes that even harder.

My oldest daughter is 7, and she has always needed more from me than any of my other children. She just does; that's just who she is. She loves to talk, she loves to be with people, and she loves to be with me and her dad. She has also always been hot-tempered, and recently, it's gotten to a level that just made me feel so defeated. We try so hard to instill godly character in our kids, and when the fruit isn't coming forth, it can really wear you down.

I was at that point yesterday. Finally, during our family devotions, I asked my daughter if there was anything that she wanted to say to me. It came out that she just feels like she isn't getting enough attention.

Couple the large family issue with my nature as an introvert who needs time alone, and I can see where she is coming from. Maybe I've unintentionally caused some of her behavioral issues by not giving her enough positive attention. Maybe I've given her attention in ways that I enjoy (such as homeschooling her) and assumed that I'd filled my quota, and need not give her even more attention. Maybe I've responded to her negative behavior by pouring myself even further into the little children because that was easier. Maybe I've said "I forgive you", but haven't really deep down forgiven her for the hurtful things she's said and done. Maybe I've felt that I have nothing more to give.

But the truth is, there always more to give. In Mark 14, Jesus takes his disciples with him up the mountain to pray. The Bible says that Jesus felt "overwhelmed to the point of death". He needed to connect with his Father. He had nothing more to give. But after spending an hour with his Heavenly Father, Jesus came back to the disciples recharged, saying, "Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!". We don't know every word that he prayed on that mountain, but we do know he went up feeling as if he had no more to give, and he came down, ready to give his very life.

Being a parent in a large family isn't easy. Parenting my oldest daughter isn't easy. Sometimes I feel that I'm just at the end of my rope, and I have nothing left to give. My glass is empty. Or maybe it's overfilled. I don't know. But either way, when we ask for help from our Heavenly Father, there is always more to give. Always.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Building Character In Your Children

  Image by: David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.net
Many parents want to instill godly character traits in their children. We want our children to be considerate, compassionate, kind, and un-selfish. However, many parents find that talking to their kids about these things is often a fruitless endeavor. In this article, I want to explore why that is, and offer some solutions that may help build character in your kids.

So how DO we build Godly character traits in our children?

Problem #1: I think the number one reason children do not exhibit godly character is because it is frequently talked about, but infrequently modeled. I know for myself, I struggle with this issue multiple times a day. I hear my kids bicker and nit-pick and I exhort them to be kind and compassionate, to be servants to one another. But by the end of the day, my gentle exhortations have become angry, snappy comments that truth be told, do no good to anyone. My kids are left feeling scolded, and I'm left feeling like a bad mom, and the bickering continues.

Solution: Building godly character in our kids starts with modeling godly character. We all know this is easier said than done, but if we really want to see change in our kids, we have to be willing to change our own behavior.

Commitment: Today, I commit myself to using a gentle voice, to guarding my tongue, and to speaking words of exhortation rather than words of destruction to my children.

Problem #2: Fervent prayer is absent from the home. Many families identify with the Christian faith, but so often frequent, fervent prayer is just not happening. We live in such a concrete world. We get so much instant, visual input. I believe this modern way of life really hampers the prayer life of many Christians. There are just so many other more visible things to do and needs to be met on a day to day basis, that something as abstract as prayer doesn't get priority in our lives.

Solution: Pray more. Pray for your children every day, not just when you're at your wits end or when they are feeling sick, or at bedtimes and mealtimes. Commit to a daily prayer time where you can get quiet before the Lord and intercede on behalf of the heart of your child. Prayer works. I fully believe that if we pray more we will see the fruit of that in the lives of our children.

Commitment: Today, I commit to finding a quiet time to pray for each of my children. Though it may be difficult to find a spare minute, I commit to making the time and lifting them up to the Lord on a daily basis.

Problem #3: Children have only a general sense of what it means to be "good", but a very deep sense of what it means to be wronged. I have found that my kids are very easily offended. An accidental touch, a sarcastic comment, an unintentional interruption, and my kids are quick to accuse one another and defend themselves. But when I ask them to be "nice" or "kind" they struggle to do it because they don't really know what it means.

Solution: I believe that teaching your children specific character traits by name (responsibility, diligence, self-respect, humility, etc) will go a long way in helping them demonstrate these positive attributes. Today my son was struggling to do his reading homework, and on the verge of giving up (read: throwing a fit). I was able to encourage him to be diligent because we had been studying that character trait for the past few weeks in our homeschool curriculum. The fact that he knew what diligence was really helped him change his actions to align with the behavior and attitude I was wanting to see from him.

Commitment: We recently started using Heart of Dakota in our homeschool, and I'm so thankful for their character trait Bible studies. Previously we had not done much character trait study, but I'm so glad we've started, and I find it to be a very valuable tool in my parenting tool box. I encourage you to find ways to incorporate character trait study into your daily routine.

I'd love to hear from you! What things have you found helpful in instilling godly character in your children?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

1 Corinthians 11, Christian Head Covering for Today

Image Courtesy of: Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Recently I talked about some emotions you may feel when you start wearing a head cover in worship. Today, I want to unpack 1 Corinthians 11 verse by verse to bring to light why Christian head covering is for today.

To be clear, Christian head covering refers to the wearing of a cloth cover on the head of a woman during corporate worship. This post isn't meant to address every opinion, objection or variation of the belief of head covering. Rather, this post will only extrapolate the individual verses, or groups of verses, as the case may be, and hopefully shed some light on this often neglected portion of scripture.

1 Corinthians 11: 1--16

Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Here, Paul exhorts the Christians to follow his example because he is following the example of Christ. Because Paul's words are inspired by God, we can feel confident that following the example of Paul is like following the example of Christ.

I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you.

Paul is praising the recipients of this letter for holding fast to the tradition of head covering of which he had previously taught them about. This verse is in direct contrast to verse 17 of this same chapter, where Paul says that he does not praise the Corinthians for their treatment of the Lord's supper.

But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man and the head of Christ is God.

Verse 3 begins Paul's first rationale for the use of Christian head coverings. He starts his argument by appealing to the creation order--God is the head of Christ, Christi is the head of man, and man is the head of woman. Understanding this rationale is important because Paul is saying that the reason head covering is required is because the covering represents the creation order (God, Christ, man, then woman).

 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.

This passage isn't just about women wearing a covering; it's also about a man NOT wearing a covering. When the verse says that a man dishonors his "head," what it's saying is that by a man covering his physical head during worship, such as with a hat, he dishonors his spiritual head, which is Christ (see verse 3).

 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head. A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man.For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

Here, Paul says that a woman should not pray or prophesy with her head uncovered, but that she should wear a cloth covering when doing these activities. He says that if she does so uncovered, she dishonors her spiritual "head", which is her husband.

Some argue that a woman's long hair is her covering, siting verse 15; this argument makes no sense in light of verse 6. If we were to plug "long hair" into verse six in place of "cover her head", we would see that it makes no sense that a woman's covering is long hair, and that instead Paul is speaking of a cloth covering: "For if a woman does not have long hair, she might s as well have her hair cut off, but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should have long hair." If a woman doesn't have long hair, then she can't have it cut off; it is already cut off!

10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels.

Paul gives no other explanation here other than that we should have a symbol of authority on our heads because of the angels. While this verse seems somewhat incomplete on its' own, if you do a study of angels, you will see that angels are mentioned many times in the Bible, and clearly play an important role in their interactions with humans.

 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

Paul makes sure here to add the caveat that while man is the spiritual head of woman, man isn't independent of woman, nor is woman independent of man--both come from God, and both need each other. Neither gender is better or more important in God's sight.

13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.

Paul uses the phrase, "Judge for yourselves" not because he wants us to actually judge for ourselves whether or not head covering is necessary. If that were the case, why bother making such a long-winded case for head covering in the first place only to say, "hey, it doesn't really matter though--you decide!". Rather, he is using the term rhetorically. He is appealing to nature. It's normal and natural for a woman to have long hair and a man to have short. In the same way, he's saying that it's normal and natural for a woman to show her submission to the creation order with a physical symbol upon her head in the form of a head covering. It's also normal and natural for a man to show his submission to his head, which is Christ by remaining uncovered in worship. The apostle's use of rhetorical questions like this is fairly common in scripture, so it is not unreasonable to assume Paul is using the statement in this way here.

 16 If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have no other practice—nor do the churches of God.

Some interpret this to mean that if there is contention about this, then just don't practice it. However, that interpretation doesn't make sense because if the practice were optional, why would Paul give such a lengthy argument for its' use only to then end with, "but if others don't like it, don't do it"? Instead, this verse means that if anyone has a problem with the practice of head covering, just let them know that all the Christian churches practiced covering, and that there was no other alternative practice.

5 Emotions You May Experience Concerning Christian Headcovering

Image Courtesy of: Arvind Balaraman, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Several months ago,  I came across the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 regarding Christian head covering, and I began to read the passage again with fresh eyes. The Lord really opened my mind to understand the meaning of this section of scripture, and I became convicted that Christian head covering was for today.

All that being said, I didn't make the decision to cover without some inner angst. It isn't usually easy to do God's will, but when God's will isn't culturally relevant, and even in some circles, borderline repulsive, it can make having the boldness to move forward a difficult thing. In this article, I want to highlight 5 emotions you may feel if you decide Christian head covering is for you.

1. You may feel self-conscious. Christian head covering can be done quite discreetly, but even if you choose a cover that is discreet, you may feel like you have a pink feathered hat on your head and that the whole room is looking at you wondering what on earth you are thinking! If this is you, remember, "God did not give us a spirit of fear (or timidity)." (2 Timothy 1:7). To help with this, you can try different things. Here are some of the things I've tried:

--Practice wearing your covering at home before wearing it to church or in public. This will get you use to the feel of it as you go about your day.

--Explain to those most important to you that you have become convinced that the teaching in 1 Corinthians is for today. That way people won't be staring because they'll already know what you believe and why you are wearing a covering.

--Connect with others who have a similar conviction. You won't feel so alone, and you can ask them for advice on your feelings.

2. You may feel misunderstood. In our society, head covering has been unfortunately misunderstood to be something that represents female oppression and male domination. We live in a world where it is male against female, each gender fighting for its' own rights. But God's plan for males and females is nothing like that at all. In God's plan male and female work together to glorify God in everything that they do. Listen to this scripture (from the passage on Christian head covering), "In the Lord however, woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God." (1 Corinthians 11:11-12).

3. You may struggle with feeling legalistic. I know for myself, I had to come to terms with the idea that a physical covering was what the passage was calling for. Because I had been conditioned to believe that Christianity was only about the spiritual world, and that the physical world was something separate, I felt almost legalistic saying that a cloth covering was necessary during corporate worship. I prayed and pondered this idea for some time, and came to realize that:

--Christianity should not be relegated to the spiritual realm. It is a very physical belief system, as well as a spiritual belief system. The Bible talks about baptism, a physical act representing a spiritual principle. We also have the Lord's supper, which is something we physically do that is a symbol of something spiritual that happened when Jesus died for our sins. Jesus' act on the cross was the ultimate in physical pain that resulted in spiritual change. Spiritual and physical are not meant to be mutually exclusive. Christian head covering is also a physical act that represents a spiritual belief.

--God is the creator of the physical world, as well as the spiritual world. It should make sense to us  that some of His commands address the physical realm. The Bible talks about dressing modestly (a physical act), meeting the physical needs of others, and working diligently in the physical world.

--Colloquially speaking, legalism has more to do with the way other's perceive your attitude toward their decisions, rather than what you actually do. So if you are convicted to cover, make sure your heart is in the right place, and that you aren't judging others who may be on a different path in their Christian walk. You can be convinced of the biblical command to cover without putting head covering on par with more important commands like evangelizing and feeding the poor.

4. You may feel alone. This one was huge for me. Christian head covering was the norm from biblical times up until several decades ago, and the person who didn't cover was the odd man out. Now, just the opposite is true. It's virtually unheard of--outside of the Amish and Mennonite faiths, and a few others--to have women who believe head covering is for today. It can be daunting to do anything alone, but something so outwardly evident and so dividing can really make a person feel as if they are the only ones doing it. I was blessed to know one woman who also believed in Christian head covering and she was more than willing to be a mentor for me and guide me gently in the right  direction. I would encourage those who feel alone to find someone to talk to who shares your conviction. It makes all the difference.

5. You may question yourself. When so many Christians, especially those we've been trained to put on a pedestal as the great teachers of our time, don't believe in Christian head covering, you may questions yourself and your ability to interpret this passage correctly. My encouragement to you is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show you the meaning of this scripture. Without turning to commentaries or sermons or the opinions of others, simply read the text and see what the Lord shows you. Sometimes I think we turn to sources outside the Bible too much, and to our detriment. Instead, turn your mind toward what scriptures says, and I am confident the Lord will show you the meaning of this passage through his Holy Spirit, and give you the confidence to cover.