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Got It Covered!

 

I want to take an opportunity to share something that was part of my journey to become a peaceful wife early on. My hope here is only to share what I discovered with my precious sisters in Christ. Please, as always, do what you believe the Lord desires you to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ No pressure from me!ย 

I was reading along in my Bible when God stopped me in 1 Cor. 11:1-16 and would not let me go on until I wrestled with the issue. Verse 3 is an extremely critical verse that describes God’s authority structure:

The head of every man is Christ, the head of the wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. 1 Cor. 11:3

Three months into my journey - February 2009
Three months into my journey – February 2009

After that, there is a section about that men should not have their heads covered in corporate worship but women should. Paul gave four reasons why things should be like this and he said no church has any other practice than this.

  1. Creation Order
  2. Because of the Angels
  3. Nature
  4. Church Practice

HELP ME UNDERSTAND, LORD!

I had never covered my head before. No women I knew in my present and past churches or my family covered their heads for church.ย I had always been told that head covering for Christian women “was just a cultural tradition and it is irrelevant today.”

But – was that really true?

WHAT DOES THIS PASSAGE SAY? DOES IT APPLY TO US, TOO?

I was struck by the words in 1 Corinthians 11:10, “the wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head” – speaking of covering her head with a veil/cloth during prayer in corporate worship. After taking a class at my church on the importance ofย spiritual authority, I realized that when scripture talks about authority, it is a big deal.

I wrestled with God for 3 solid days over this idea of covering my head to show my submission to my husband and to His authority structure in the church. I had already accepted God’s design for marriage wholeheartedlyย – even if I didn’t really know yet how to live it very well.ย Now, the question was, would I also receive the biblical symbol of God’s design for authority for myself as a woman – if that is what God’s Word was really saying?

It was a small thing. Not a matter of salvation or a “super important doctrine” as humans would rate biblical doctrines and commands. It was just a symbol. But symbols are important because the meaning behind them is important. Things like the Lord’s Supper (which actually appears later in 1 Corinthians 11) and baptism are precious symbols to all believers because of the big concepts they represent. Wearing a wedding ring is a little thing, but it symbolizes something sacred – our marriage covenant.

I could hear God gently asking, “Are you willing to obey Me even in the small things? Even if no one else does?

I decided that I would obey my Lord no matter what – on this issue and any other issue. He is LORD of my life now, after all. I am no longer on the throne. And what other people think no longer really matters. My only goal has to be simply to please God.

As I studied, I could see that the reasons Paul gave for men to have bare heads and women to have covered heads in worship were not cultural, in spite of what I had been taught in the past. The hard thing for me really wasn’t understanding what this passage said once I studied it and read it with an open heart. Deciding how to live it was the hard part.

2000 YEARS OF HISTORY

I was surprised to learn that Christian women in many other parts of the world still do obey this passage by covering their heads with cloth of some kind (or a hat) during church meetings. I was also surprised to learn that women in other Christian cultures wonder why we don’t cover our heads in corporate worship. I noticed that men still obey this passage in our culture even today, even unbelievers. They take their hats off when they come into church, and even other buildings, as a sign of respect.

It seemed only to be the Christian women in the church in the West who were not following this particular passage of scripture. Why would that be?

IMG_4103As I studied how Christian women for over 1,900 years covered their heads in obedience to this passage (and in many other Christian cultures even today in other parts of the world), I think I found the main reason why women in our culture stopped covering our heads in church decades ago.

During the second wave of feminism in the 1960s-1970s, Christian women stopped wearing hats and veils to church – largely, it seems, because of the messages of feminism.

So – yes, the symbol of head covering became culturally irrelevant in our Christian culture in the West, especially after the 1960s. But the symbol became meaningless primarily because we got rid of everything the symbol meant in our culture, even in the church, due to the influence of feminism.

If that was the only reason why we stopped covering our heads – or if it was just a fashion thing – I realized those reasons wouldn’t hold up before my Lord when I stand before Him in heaven.

MY DECISION
I let Greg know what I had been reading and was amazed that he was quite supportive. That was another confirmation from God to me because this was a very new thing for me to do.

Interestingly, covering my head really helped me remember to show proper honor and respect to the Lord and to my husband when I pray and when I am at church. It has been a sweet, tangible reminder to me of God’s authority structure in my life. I love to think about His covering and protection over me and my husband’s covering and protection over me.ย IMG_7985

At first, I began slipping a scarf over my head during prayer at church. But eventually, I switched to wearing an inexpensiveย cloche hat throughout the services and have done that for probably 6-7 years now. When I am having my daily quiet time, I also generally cover my head with something, as well, often a scarf or wide headband.

If someone at church asks me about why I wear a hat to church, I respectfully and gently share that it is because of I Corinthians 11. Usually, if people comment at all, they just say, “I like your hat!” Most people never say anything. It truly isn’t as scary as it may seem at first. Now, to me, this practice is very beautiful.

It may even become a source of blessing to you like it has been to me.

I invite you to do your own prayerful study of this passage and the history of head covering for Christian women when you get a chance. Don’t just take my word for it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Perhaps you may want to pray about it and then even talk with your own husband about it.

Whatever you may decide about this passage, I am so thankful that we are all part of one body of Christ and that we have His love and unity.

Here is a page of FAQs that you may have about this whole ideaย from my favorite site on this topic… www.headcoveringmovement.com. (This list seriously covers almost every question believers would think of in very well-written, well-researched articles.) There are also articles by women who decided to cover their heads at church that may be interesting, as well.

RESOURCES:

There is also a book that goes over all of our questions and combs carefully through scripture on this topic that may be a blessing to read through by yourself or with your husband – “Head Covering” by Jeremy Gardiner (same author as the site www.headcoveringmovement.com.) I respect Jeremy Gardiner’s gentle, humble, respectful style and his desire to accurately represent scripture.

Places to find head coverings:

www.garlandsofgrace.comย – a Christian site with some lovely ideas for fabric coverings

www.headcovers.comย – a secular site with lots of options hats, scarves, turbans, beanies, etc…

 

55 thoughts on “Got It Covered!

  1. This is great food for thought, April, thank you for keeping us on our toes! I have never covered my head in church, though many women in my husband’s culture do. I have covered my head with a scarf from the rain and it is a wonderful sensation. I am not sure it is obligatory for us and my husband has never mentioned it but I will certainly reflect on this. Am feeling a little rebellious and anything that builds humility in us is surely a good thing.

    1. Hope,

      That’s all I am asking – that we just prayerfully study the passage and seek to understand what God may desire us to do. ๐Ÿ™‚ I believe this does help us with humility. I know it has with me – and that has been a very welcome thing.

      Much love!

  2. In Germany there is a lot of aggression towards muslims who wear veils. They are calling us western women whores. They disrespect their country – the civilization wich granted them a new home. Who took them in as guests. My Husband is strictly against any kind of veiling during prayer as there is no base in scripture. At least not if you take into account that Paul was mistranslated more then once. Also it is proven that slaves were shorn while romanised women wore a very thin, if affordable silk, veil over their hairstyle/bun.

    1. Trine vomEmscherbruch,

      I would invite anyone who believes Paul was mistranslated to do a word study in the original language for this passage of Scripture – that is easy now with the internet. That way you are not depending so much on translators. ๐Ÿ™‚

      The instructions in 1 Corinthians 11 don’t specify what kind of cloth covering a Christian woman is to wear. I seek to avoid wearing anything that would give me the appearance of following a different religion.

      Much love to you!

      1. Full well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your own tradition. Is it not written in your bible “but if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.”? But you say, “covering my head really helped me remember to show proper honor and respect to the Lord” making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which you have delivered and many such like things do you. Hearken unto me all of you, and understand: the command of the covering has nothing to do with culture and nothing to do with adding a piece of cloth to your head. The hair IS the covering. Men are to have short hair. Women are to have long hair if its in their power to do so.

        1. Jennifer Dale,

          Thank you for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

          The passage does mention women having long hair as a covering. This is why the passage gets a bit confusing in English.

          The “hair as a covering” idea did not start in the church until the mid-late 1960s. Before that, believers understood that women were to have long hair and men were to have short hair. And that men were not to cover their head in corporate worship, but that women were to cover their hair, “their glory,” in corporate worship with a cloth covering.

          The other problem with the long hair view is that the passage doesn’t make sense in several places when you change the word “hair” to “covering” everywhere in the passage. Then men would have to remove their hair in corporate worship. But – please don’t take my word for it, ladies. Study for yourselves and see what the Word says. Do what you believe God asks you to do.

          Here are some post about that very issue for anyone who is interested.

          Is a Woman’s Long Hair Her Covering?
          Where Did the Long Hair View Come From?

          Much love!

          1. All,
            I am so thankful that even if we come to differing conclusions on a passage like this, which is a bit difficult for our translators, we can still have the love, unity, and fellowship of Christ together. โค

    2. Dear Trine, nice to meet you here! Do you know of any “peaceful wife/submission – material” on the internet available for German speaking ladies? Much love to you!

        1. Hab nur gedacht, dass es schรถn wรคre geeignetes Material fรผr Deutsche zu haben. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hab keine Ahnung, ob es zum Beispiel deutsche glรคubige Frauen gibt die nen Blog haben, der aufbauend und auch bibeltreu ist. Ich hab beim Suchen nichts der Gleichen gefunden. Sag mir gerne, wenn du Ideen hast. Liebe GrรผรŸe!

    3. Trine vomEmscherbruch,

      I can’t imagine the chaos there would be in a country with so many new refugees coming in. I pray so very often that God will bring these refugees – for whom Christ died – to the Gospel and to know the salvation and regeneration of Christ! May God empower His people in Germany and many other countries where there are so many in desperate need to share Jesus with them.

      I pray for wisdom for believers in Germany and for the government leaders to make godly decisions that are best for all involved. May these refugees, many of whom have never heard the truth about Jesus, experience His love and truth now and be transformed by the power of Christ.

      1. The refugees are not the real problem. It is the 4th and 5th generation of the guest workers wich came during the big boom years. They are just becoming too much with their refusal to take up the way of living of their home country. They still retain their nationality of their families origin and vote for Erdogan.

        I keep wearing a hat to church. But at home my hair flows freely;)

        1. Trine vomEmescherbruch,

          Are things very unsafe now in Germany? Are the German people fearful?

          That made me smile. I wear a hat to church and at home my hair flows freely, too. ๐Ÿ™‚ My husband loves to see my hair down and loves for it to be long.

          Much love, dear sister!

          1. I misspoke, I wear my hair in an updo or in braids almost all of the time. Very intricate and with hair accessories. Less chance of damaged hair this way. But on special occasions (date nights, work dinners, church functions or at any other occasion) I wear my hair open or in an hand do. But the sight of my hair is not reserved for my husband at all. Cause this is the reasoning of those heathens. For Church I either braid in yarn or wear a hat or a headband in the most outrageous color. Once or twice my Husband even remarked that the intricate buncage was covering enough in his eyes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            That depends largely on where you are in Germany. In the Ruhr Area it is advisable to stay away from certain parts of the large towns. At day. After sunset no sane woman would dare to venture anywhere without car. Again, mostly in large towns. Me and my Mann live quite rural. So I take the car on most occasions anyway. Public transport is tiresome. It runs late about 90% of the time and is of course frequented by shady persons also.

          2. Trine,

            Thank you for clarifying about your hair. It sounds beautiful!

            Yes, it is not safe for a woman to walk alone in big cities in the USA either. So sad! Thank you very much for sharing a bit more about your life and thoughts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Some time ago, I felt led to cover my head because of this same verse in Corinthians. I discussed it with my husband and he didn’t want me to do it (he thinks that it was a cultural thing), so I decided to follow his lead on this. I might share the site that you are recommending and see what he says.

      1. Thank you, April. I will do that- I will share the sites with my husband and pray that God would lead us so that we can do whatever He desires us to do.

        Much love to you, too!

  4. I work at a Catholic university and its lovely to see very young women wearing the veil. I always see one and then just this morning another young lady. I don’t wear one and just learned today regarding ‘the presence of angels’ aspect of the verse. That left me awe filled. Gotquestions states that a womans hair is the veil and that wearing scarves is a matter of the heart. Catholics too aren’t obligated but in the Tridentine Mass almost all women wear them and I see local parisihioners wearing them publicly too. I do feel nudged to wear them at home in private prayer and the other day I put a sweater over my head because I didn’t have anything else. I would like to find a large headband to wear to mass, especially after reading regarding the angels.

    1. SisterinChrist,

      Thank you for sharing! I think chapel veils are beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, I was also amazed to think about that covering our heads in corporate worship has something to do with the presence of angels. I don’t fully understand what that means, but that may be all the more reason to show respect for this issue! The creation order also sounds very significant to me.

      I have one of those wide headbands on right now, as I am about to have my quiet time with the Lord.

      Much love to you! It’s a blessing that we can discuss these issues together here.

  5. Hi April,
    Wow, this is a topic I have been musing on off and on for some time. When I thought it through, I reached similar conclusions to yours as to why women in our culture no longer wear hats, or dresses as much, etc. Even in the business world, there is a shift away from formal business attire and esp. uniforms. Why? Because these things point to authority and of course, if you have authority, you have to have submission to authority.

    When I was a little girl I can remember my grandmother wearing a hat and gloves to any formal occasion be it church or a garden party or a funeral. It wasn`t that long ago that this changed, and yes I agree, it did change with feminism. I`ve noticed also in church that pastors will often tell the men to take off their hats, please“ if they are wearing one but won`t say a word to the women in the church. Not that I think wearing a head covering should ever be something forced or enforced but it would be great if pastors would express support for women who want to and assurance for those who aren`t ready that no one will pressure them at any time. My few discussions with others on this show that many Christians including leaders, believe that this is a legalist and cultural thing that we don`t need to obey. And I would almost agree with them if it weren`t for that little bit about authority and because of the angels. Authority isn`t cultural. Angels are definitely not cultural.

    One thing I noticed, when I attempted it once before, was that my flesh went nuts. At that moment, the flesh wasn`t just an abstract concept by which we explain our predilection to sin but a real oppositional force full of all kinds of sin junk. Suddenly I felt more feminine and godly than the rebellious women at church such and such ( a church I know of where almost all the men are definitely NOT the ones wearing the pants in the family and the pastor`s wife is a controller and dominator and some of the ladies definitely operate in the same bullying style). It`s not that I merely judged this to be true; this is a church like many modern churches where scripture is obeyed when it suits and the approval of the world and of man and personal image and power is important. However my heart attitude was not one of grief or a desire to intercede but rather just that fiendish delight we get when we think we are “in“ and someone else is “out“. Suddenly all that was in me came out of the woodwork from where it was hiding. I was quite alarmed and thought `Wow, if this is how it happens,what hope is there for me to be truly submitted? I suppose in one way I shouldn`t be. The bible says that the flesh LUSTS against the Spirit, no doubt for power and control of our lives and for who we are going to obey. The flesh is sort of satan`s ally, I am guessing. So of course a very rebellious woman with a lot of pride is going to have a furor rise up within if she tries to go God`s way instead of man`s way. I just wasn`t expecting so much opposition from within.

    But often the sticking point for me with submission to authority is dealing with authority that is unjust or corrupt. It seems that as soon as I get hurt by my husband or he displays moral character weakness and I get hurt as a result of his need to have everyone think well of him, I get angry and bitter and very mistrusting, and my desire to obey God vaporizes. When I experience instances of blatant sin and corruption, bullying and lying in churches and by leaders who have supposedly stellar reputations, it really pushes my `this is all horse manure“ button. Here is where I have a real struggle. Glad you are talking about this though, I am interested in the whole thing.

    1. SevenTimes,

      Yes, I do think we have moved away from any outward symbols of authority/submission. Also, I think we have moved toward more of an androgynous external look, also because largely of the influence of feminism. It is the idea that men and women should look, dress, think, and act “the same.”

      Thank you for sharing about your grandmother and about your experiences.

      You know, I have heard the “legalistic” argument, as well. That always kind of confuses me. If scripture admonishes us to do something, or especially, if it commands us to do something as believers in Christ, we are not being legalistic to obey the Word. I mean, we could be legalistic about almost any command. We could decide that our obedience is what makes us right with God rather than the death of Christ on our behalf. We can make anything into legalism – prayer, going to church, reading the Bible, tithing, etc… but we don’t advocate not obeying the Word in those matters. We hopefully would simply deal with any heart issues and continue to walk in obedience with the right attitude.

      That is really interesting about your flesh when you tried this before. And it is a really great point! The goal is to obey God externally and with the right attitude. It is not pleasing to God for me to cover my head in obedience to 1 Corinthians 11 and then to have self-righteousness, judgment, hatred, contempt, or scorn in my heart for other women.

      May we guard very carefully against pride and self-righteousness at all times! Our flesh always wants to latch onto something about which to be prideful or condescending. Got to take those thoughts captive for Christ and immediately repent!

      Yes, submission to an imperfect authority is problematic. I think what helps me is to realize that it is not ultimately the person to whom I am submitting. My submission is really all about my submission to the Lord, and to His authority in that person. The person will be responsible to God for the proper use of that authority and will be judged by God for any abuse of authority. There are certainly times, if an authority is asking us to commit or condone clear sin, where we cannot cooperate. We must obey God rather than men.

      Thankfully, God is able to use even imperfect and sinful authorities, even unbelievers, to accomplish His will in our lives. They can’t stop His good plans for us as we trust Him. May He give us the discernment we need to know how to properly approach and honor those in authority out of reverence for Christ. David is a great example of how to handle an ungodly authority in a very respectful, godly way when King Saul was trying to kill him.

      Much love!

  6. Yes! That is very helpful as far as enlarging my understanding of this goes : You said : I mean, we could be legalistic about almost any command. We could decide that our obedience is what makes us right with God rather than the death of Christ on our behalf. We can make anything into legalism โ€“ prayer, going to church, reading the Bible, tithing, etcโ€ฆ but we donโ€™t advocate not obeying the Word in those matters. end quote . Often when people through the legalism card, or any other card meant to upset any definite statement about what`s right, I`ve been flummoxed on how I could answer that charge. Even my own flesh furnished reasons of its own; oh, well if I am reacting this way in the flesh, it must be legalism. In fact, as far as the flesh goes, I remember years ago hearing teaching that included the thought that the flesh is in fact, very religious! What was taught was that the flesh loves religion, especially self made religion. Idolatry is fleshly religion. Jezebel was very “religious“.

    What you said about David is a good reminder and one God spoke to me once in a situation where I was dealing with a spiritual Saul who was using his authority and role to coerce me into going along with something that involved dishonesty and deceit on his part. I was afraid I had sinned by refusing to obey this man`s demand I come to a meeting with him and the other person whom he had deceived and then felt guilty later because he was the pastor. He was spinning the truth so that I was the scapegoat and his serious sin as a leader was covered. I think God was letting me know through this verse that I had not sinned by refusing to go somewhere I knew truth was going to be covered up and that its acceptable to refuse to put yourself in harms way with someone who has demonstrated wrong motives and that they are more faithful to their own agenda than to God`s and that I was dealing with a spiritual Saul. The fact that he DEMANDED via shouting and screaming at my husband that we present ourselves was evidence enough that he wasn`t walking with God despite his image otherwise but for anyone who is concerned at all about obeying God and not wanting to be blatantly disobedient, it was a very trying moment. I think much rebellion in my life has come through fear of abusive authority and precisely this kind of character and behaviour, but not just that alone; also the belief that in order to be aligned with God, I had to submit to that abusive authority even when what they were doing was destructive to me or amounted to them acting sinfully and was not allowed to act on behalf of my own wellbeing. I thought that saying no to someone behaving wrongly if they were in an authority role, was tantamount to saying no to God all the time and some of the teaching I got in church suggested this very strongly. It is very hard and frustrating to come from a background where the dynamics are one sided and abusive and the flesh and its selfishness is in control, only to find that many churches operate on those same dynamics underneath despite having the image of godliness. It`s almost driven me away from God more than a few times. I`m not blind of course to the fact that in addition to legitimate reasons we may have been provoked to rebellion by abusive or corrupt authority, there is always the sin nature there whose very nature is seeking justification for rebellion and self will, the pride of life, etc.

    You said that “ Our flesh always wants to latch onto something about which to be prideful or condescending. I think this is what probably happened. My flesh definitely latched onto it, making the whole experience one of extreme obnoxiousness within and so seemingly hopeless I gave it up. So the flesh grabbed hold and true to its intentions derailed my smoking flax attempt at obedience. And I hadn`t even gone out in public yet! I am trying to find some time to fast and pray without distraction, because I have a real blockage or stronghold in this area and it derails me every time. I suspect I walked into quite a spiritual snare because of it and made a huge mess of my life that affected other`s lives with my sinful example in times past, as far as marriage is concerned. No matter what anyone might say, the fact is that even non believers can tell a Christian who is obeying God and taking His word seriously from one that just uses it conveniently to justify themselves and their ways. I`ve attempted to walk after God for many years and this is where I am always falling down. and very self willed so I really need some miraculous intervention here. Thanks for this discussion April, I am finding it spiritually nourishing and helpful and appreciate the time you have taken to interact with me; it is helpful more than you know because I learn from it.

  7. Hi, April

    In your picture you look radiant! It just struck me how feminine and genuinely content you looked!

    Love, A Lifetime Learner

    1. A lifetime Learner,

      Thank you, my sister. ๐Ÿ™‚ So funny – because for so many years I did NOT feel feminine at all. But since I have been studying being a godly wife and woman, and since I have sought to obey God to the best of my understanding, I have felt more feminine and more beautiful than ever before in all my life. To me, God’s design for femininity is glorious.

      Much love!

  8. I have been wondering about this lately and wondering if it just applies to married women. I haven’t really studied it, so I can’t give my stance.

    Ps… you look BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  9. Hi April and others!

    I just started covering this year and truly have been blessed by it sooo much! As you said it is a daily reminder of God’s authoritative structure. It is also easier to be meek and quiet while covering as you just know that symbol is right there! I like to remember James 4:16 in regards to this.

    On another note Rosis Boutique on Etsy.com has wonderfully comfortable coverings for some as cheap as 10 $ !!

    1. The Lord’s Handmaiden,

      The more reminders, the better, for me!

      Thanks for letting us know about the site on Easy.com. I’ll check it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. This is soooo timely! I have been studying this but putting it off for probably 4 years now. Recently I became super convicted about it and began to cover with a scarf during my private prayer time. Today I ordered a hat online that I can wear with my dresses to church, but I’m so very nervous about how people will respond–especially because I am the pastor’s wife. I do not want to do anything to hurt my husband’s ministry here. I’m so glad to read this post tonight, and am SO encouraged by it! I think I will respond the exact way you have–to humbly say, “because of 1 Corinthians 11”. And then try not to “explain” why I believe it, etc. I like to “explain” but I think I often come across as preachy or judgmental when I do. That’s something I’m working on–just saying less & not feeling like I have to defend myself or convince people of things.

    1. Rachel Self,

      I’m so glad this was a blessing. What does your husband say about the hat thing? ๐Ÿ™‚

      I definitely understand you don’t want to hurt your husband’s ministry or create a bunch of misunderstanding. I sure do wish that Christian women could feel comfortable and welcome if they choose to obey this passage of scripture in our churches. But if your husband is on board and you know God is calling you to do this – I know you will be just fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

      You can just say that simple answer very humbly, absolutely! No need to explain a lot. If people continue to ask, you can give more info.

      You don’t have to convince people of anything. You just do what you know God desires you to do out of pure motives in your own heart – a desire simply to please the Lord and honor your husband and God’s Word.

      Much love!
      April

        1. I can relate to Rachel, as one liking to share information and explain things and finding that some folks don`t appreciate it and see it as preaching or they secretly think I am judging them or even one upping them and dominating them. That`s a tough one. Especially because sometimes `judgemental `really means `I am feeling conviction and I want to push it away` and in cases like that, people try to find a way to discredit whatever witness you are having to them`. Other times, we can definitely be suffering from prideful overspill of the self ๐Ÿ™‚ and be being preachy or judgemental or even dominating with the way we relate. Maybe even both.

          I was trying to think on what I would say, re head covering, esp. to some of the more dominant Christ professing women I know who would surely find the idea of me attempting to be submitted and covering my head offensive and possibly a threatening message aimed at them. I am sure they would take it as me saying `if you were as righteous as me, you would be doing the same as I am“. They would also see it as legalism threatening to take away their freedom. I live in an area where there are folks of Anabaptist persuasion, i.e. old order Mennonites for instance, and these folks are seen as being snared by legalism and works of the flesh by the evangelical Christians around me
          ( even though in at least some cases, I think their witness is superior and hard to ignore as far as truly trying to live by the bible and be separate from the world) so seeing me wearing a covering would likely trigger some reactions and in the case of at least one or two, possibly even getting accusatory or confrontational.

          One thing I thought I could say about it is that I am not wearing it for them or as a message TO them, but because God has convicted me of how rebellious and out of control I am and I feel He wants me to do this, as a means of reminding myself, via that passage in Corinthians. I wouldn`t be lying either. I can indeed be a very self righteous, controlling and prideful person whose attempts at godliness are often overruled by rebellious flesh and self will. I`ve even in the not so distant past, been known to have road rage and make rude gestures in traffic or use very unsavory language in arguments, and have in the past, been guilty of serious failure, so this is one sister upon whom alot of work must be done. Some of us have come from very rough backgrounds where niceness was hardly ever part of the environment and learned to be rough and rude as a means of survival. Stuff like that has to be unlearned. So I suppose I could just say that due to these factors I need the help of a visible reminder and symbol of spiritual realties perhaps more than many do. It would be hard for someone to be threatened by that, unless deep down they know they have the same thing going on in their lives but then its their choice to seek God on the matter

          1. SevenTimes,

            With some issues and certain people, if you even mention very briefly why you are doing something, they will feel “preached at,” even if you seriously didn’t preach at them. Sometimes if you talk about a subject at all, there are those who will feel you are “shoving it down their throats.” Sometimes, they feel that way even if you say nothing. Just your presence evokes that response.

            We can’t always avoid offending others. Sometimes it is their own conscience at work, just watching our lives, that makes them feel guilty. Or the Holy Spirit may be contending with them about something and they lash out at us. I pray we will be sensitive to how the Spirit may desire us to respond. I definitely never want to force anything down anyone’s throat. I want others to feel they can talk with me about things if they want to. But I don’t want people to feel I am pressuring them or preaching at them. No one responds well to that approach.

            It helps me to keep in mind something about sin. There are three kinds of sin:

            1. I can do the wrong thing for the wrong reason – like steal money to buy illegal drugs.
            2. I can do the wrong thing for the right reason – like steal money to give to the poor.
            3. I can do the right thing for the wrong reason – like go to church, pray, cover my head, read the Bible… but with wrong motives.

            All of those three things are sin in God’s eyes.

            The goal is to do the right thing in God’s eyes with pure motives.

            If I am doing what I believe God calls me to do and my motives are pure – that is all that matters. If I notice my motives are not pure, it doesn’t mean I should stop the external obedience. It means I need to repent of my wrong and sinful motives so that I can obey with right motives.

            It is very easy for pride and the flesh to rise up.

            There are some groups who tend toward legalism. It can feel like being in prison to be part of that. We don’t want to promote legalism, but we do want to promote believers doing what the Bible says for the right reasons. The problem is – it is easy to try to control external obedience in a legalistic environment. It can make people feel like everyone is very holy because they are all obeying externally. But you can’t see their hearts. You can wear a covering on your head and have a horrible attitude. That isn’t good.

            Kind of like – you can partake of the Lord’s Supper – but that doesn’t necessarily mean your heart is right about it. There are some very sobering words about what can happen when we participate in the Lord’s Supper with wrong attitudes.

            All of us have a lot of baggage and sinful thinking to unlearn. All of us need to be radically transformed by God’s Spirit and conformed to the image of Christ. ๐Ÿ™‚

            What I have generally done so far is:

            1. If someone directly asks me why I am wearing a hat at church, I will answer very briefly, usually by simply saying, “Oh, because of 1 Corinthians 11” and I smile. If they want more information, that is the only time I give more information.

            2. If someone just comments on my hat, usually it is a compliment. I just smile and say, “Thank you.”

            When I used to put a scarf over my head during prayer time, one time a man came into our Sunday School class right after prayer and he commented loudly, “April’s being Mother Mary over there.” I said nothing. Yes, I was embarrassed. But I just let it go. (I did let my Sunday School teacher know ahead of time what I would be doing – that I would be covering my head during prayer. But he was the only one I told in advance.)

            We have a very large church. In the sanctuary, we often have 2000 people on a Sunday morning. Sometimes there are one or two other ladies who wear hats. Usually they are much older women.

            Much love!

      1. He is slightly weird about it. He doesn’t want me to use a scarf at church or in public, but he’s okay with cute hats that look more like accessories. So that’s what I’m hoping to do. (And as I’ve been covering at home, he is starting to even smile about it when he sees me–like he is proud. It is so sweet.) I can’t wait to get this new hat in the mail! ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. So, Cool story from today that I wanted to share. I was trying to put the boys down for their nap, and they were being unusually difficult. After lectures, spankings, and repetitively putting them back in bed, I lost it and screamed at them. ๐Ÿ™ They got quiet (finally) and so I started to leave, but I was soooo worked up. Then Nathanael held his little hand out and said, “Pray?”

            I was almost shaking from being so angry, but I knew I couldn’t tell him no. So I said, “Let me go get my scarf.” I stepped into my room and grabbed a scarf, and quickly twisted it around my head. In that moment, I stopped trembling. A peace washed over me and I suddenly felt a gentle spirit inside of me. I went back to their room, held his hand and prayed with him, gave him a kiss, and then quietly left so they could nap.

            It was like the scarf had power, but I know it was not the scarf itself that changed me. It was the step of obedience and my submission to the Holy Spirit. I’m so thankful for this tangible act of head-covering!

          2. Rachel Self,

            Thank you for sharing this! How precious that your sweet little boy held out his hand and asked to pray! Brings tears to my eyes!!!

            And you are right, the scarf doesn’t have power, but it is just so helpful to have that tangible symbol to remind us of the authority structure of God in our lives and His covering and our husband’s covering over us. Also, there is great blessing in seeking to obey the Lord even in little things.

            Much love!

  11. I like your 1 Cor. 11 answer ๐Ÿ™‚ รŒ would prefer to say as little as possible and not make an issue of it for anyone, and I certainly don`t want anyone to feel pressured. The dominant Christian women I am thinking of can actually be quite rude and even bullying so if that ever comes up, and it may not at all, I would want to be prepared to handle it so that I am not triggered into blurting something out that is in opposition to the direction of godliness I want to go in. I don`t want to further affirm their fears or objection about submission inadvertently by saying something crass or stupid under pressure or worse being provoked to respond with equal aggression which for me has been normal in much of my life. That`s why I thought maybe some version of ` you don`t have to do it because I am, this is how God is dealing with me“ might be helpful in a more charged discussion. But I forgot all about the headcovering site and I think they may have some resources that address dealing with folks who are hostile to the sight of a headcovering. I mentioned the anapbaptist folks around here; some of them have a good witness but there are some who are disliked rather intensely. Some of the reason is that they are perceived as an economic threat while in other cases, its because of accusations of shoplifting and other forms of ungodly behaviour. So in my neck of the woods there is much more awareness re seeing covered women and pockets of good and bad feelings about that may come my way.Like I said, where I live the sight of headcovered women and real sheep is not unusual, lol! Where I used to live, it was rare to even hear the matter discussed unless someone was talking about the Amish

    Your point about legalism is definitely valid. I was part of a legalistic group, as a young person, that was heavily into submission and authority but it just degenerated into people conforming, not because God convicted them, but because they were shamed and intimidated into feeling they had to meet the demand or face censure from the group and its leaders and they were “bad“ if they didn`t. I suppose its not for nothing that we are compared to sheep. Sheep are fairly defenseless, fragile and easily frightened and hurt, and so they have to be handled carefully and respectfully and with sensitivity to how vulnerable they are. Being in that environment definitely made one feel very disapproved of and like the Pharisees, they tended to fall into straining out gnats and swallowing camels. There wasn`t a lot of invitation to think matters through for ourselves biblically and I suppose that`s part of the problem. When Jesus took on the Pharisees for their abuses, its interesting that He didn`t find a lot of fault with what they actually taught as far as scriptural orthodoxy went. It was their motives and how they applied it and they did indeed oppress the people whom God intended should be free. This was very similar to that group. A lot of the teaching had some real truth and insight to it but how it played out horizontaly was rather unhealthy and even destructively hurtful. I`d be quite concerned about misrepresenting God that way to anyone which is why I want to handle proceeding in this direction with some care and wisdom.

    Thanks for jawing with me and everyone else about this April, this is definitely a very iron sharpening iron conversation and I have most definitely enjoyed the interaction and have been reading with eagerness everyone`s thoughts on the matter. Your thinking on the subject is clear and well thought out and tracks well with biblical truth and historical evidence and I have found it rather affirming as to knowing I am not nuts in my desire to do this. I`d love to hear more stories of other`s experiences with covering and changes in this area, and even pictures of the varioius coverings some sisters use. Thank you and hugs and squeezes ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. SevenTimes,

      If people are hostile – I think the thing to remember is that only God can open their eyes to things. Even to things that are in scripture. The more I defend myself or explain, the worse things usually go. But if I simply share I am doing this because of this passage, or I am doing this because God convicted me that this is for me, I am not attacking anyone. Then they can decide for themselves to research the issue if they would like to. No one answers to me. So – I don’t want anyone to do something because I say to do it. I only want people to do things that they believe God is calling them to do. It has to be all about Him!

      If they can’t see what the passage says, that is okay. It doesn’t have to affect me. God can open their eyes in His timing. In the mean time, I want to respond with the power of the Holy Spirit and with none of my sinful flesh. That others might truly see Christ in me and be drawn to Him.

      The covering my head or not is a small issue. God will certainly be interested in my motives and in how I respond to those who may be hostile. I want to respond with His love, kindness, gentleness, and grace.

      Yes, I understand the desire to never misrepresent God. How I long not to do that, myself!

      There are a number of women’s stories at http://www.headcoveringmovement.com including my own, if you would like to read them.

      Much love!

  12. Thanks April, glad you shared on this and of course I`ll pop over to the head covering site later. Its freezing in our office right now so I am going to get warm by the fire ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. You posted this 3 days ago, and for 3 straight days I cannot get it out of the forefront of my mind! Your blog has been such a blessing to me, I adore your tone and style. I find we are in sync with many other elements of how we practice our faith.
    I fall into the blissfully ignorant category – as once this verse was dismissed as culturally irrelevant I wasn’t too concerned with it the past. So now, I find myself not being able to dismiss the idea. In fact, I feel pretty clearly that God is dealing with me… So I forwarded your post to my husband and my mom yesterday, they are my wisest counsel – both of them said basically the same thing: Interesting read, what do you think? Not a salvation issue, but possibly something you’re called to understand better. Absolutely no one in my area or my church head covers. I’m aware that vanity and fear are the biggest counter arguments I have. I guess all of this is simply to say- I read, I’m provoked, and thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Susan,

      That is all I hope to do here. To get us to think about verses that are for Christians, especially for us as Christian women – that our culture may have dismissed, even our church leaders may have dismissed. Let’s really dig into these passages that have been ignored. Why are we dismissing them? Why do we believe they are no longer relevant? It seems to me that almost every passage of New Testament scripture that deals with women tends to be dismissed by our culture as “no longer relevant.”

      No one answers to me, that is for sure. And this issue is not the biggest issue, by far. But my heart is for us to want to obey and honor Christ as Lord in everything – for us to put His Word above man’s word (or woman’s word in our culture). May we long to live lives that please Him. And may we no longer fear what others may say or think if we know that the Lord desires us to do something, however small it may be, even if it is unpopular.

      I am not an expert on this issue. And I don’t read New Testament Greek. But it does seem to be an issue worth prayerfully examining for ourselves and discussing with our husbands.

      Much love to you! Thank you so much for sharing with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Just the other day my husband asked me if I was going to wear a blazer over my dress. I planned to so I said ‘yes’, then he said the blazer wasn’t enough and I should wear a long sweater. The way he said it was very endearing and if I were honest, many years at the start of our marriage I’ve always longed for him to pay that particular type of attention to me. He’s done that a few times already over the past year. I’ve actually changed outfits a few times. (The dress was form fitting, past the knee, but not tight and I always wear a blazer or sweater). He’s always commenting now, whereas years ago (at least 10 years straight) he never showed concern. We were in different places. I’m just sharing because he says I’m a Christian woman and should show respect to God and him by how I dress so people wont misinterpret me. I appreciate that. I used to be the kind of woman that said “I’ll wear what I want I’m my own person! I’m independent! I was born without you on my hip and I think I can decide what to wear without your opinion”. That woman I used to be repulses me, I was miserable on the inside with a confident facade. Just wanted to share something positive! I put a sweater on my head at home when I pray.

        1. SisterinChrist,

          That is really sweet. I’m so glad he feels safe enough to share those important kinds of insights with you and that he wants you to dress in a way that respects God, yourself, and others.

          Thank you for sharing! It is amazing how God can change our hearts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Hello April! I was so thrilled to see this topic when I came to your site to do some catching-up reading! ๐Ÿ™‚ I was raised in an Anabaptist culture,where head covering is a doctrine and any believing woman is expected to cover her head. AT ALL TIMES. They use the reasoning that we are to “pray without ceasing”(I Thess. 5:17) so then women should be covered at all times,so that they can pray at all times. I would love to hear your thoughts on this…

    1. Crystal,

      I have no problem with the idea of a woman covering her head all the time if she wants to and feels convicted to. My understanding at this time is that the command in 1 Cor. 11 was given along with the Lord’s Supper and other commands and instructions about corporate worship.

      Here are some posts that may be helpful at http://www.headcoveringmovement.com:

      Can Head Covering Be Limited to Church if the Arguments Paul Uses Apply at All Times?
      Where Are Head Coverings to Be Practiced? In Church or Everywhere?

      (For some odd reason, I am not able to paste the links right now. I am so sorry!)

  15. Dear Peaceful Wife,

    I love this blog post! I must ask your thoughts on single women covering. Do you think a single woman should also cover her head? I, an unmarried 19 year-old, personally do cover. I believe I cover to honor my head, at the time, my head would be my step-father. What’s your thoughts?

    1. EstherRuth,

      The words in that passage of 1 Corinthians 11 could be translated “husbands” and “wives” or “men” and “women.” I think it makes more sense in the context of corporate worship for it to mean all men are to uncover their heads during church meetings and all women are to cover their heads in recognition of creation order and God’s authority structure and design for masculinity and femininity. And because of the angels.

      But that is my understanding.

      You are welcome to research it yourself. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Here is a post that may be a blessing:

      Much love!

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