Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Fear of Covering

I remember the fear to cover so very well.

Nobody covers where I live.

The one church that practises covering is in the next county and they only wear a covering to meeting, not in other circumstances. That's okay with me btw, that they have opted to cover that way.

I cover about 80% of the day so that I can pray a lot. I don't pray uncovered. That means that even if I bumped into a fellow coverer at the store they would not be covered.

I've attended upwards of 30 churches in my 28 years of following the Lord Christ. There are no coverings on any women ever. Not if the church has 7000 members and not if they have 10. Just bare heads and fairly wild clothes too.

So it's a big deal to have anything on your head and I felt so conspicuous every day, all day.

I had actual heart-beating fear! I have no problem admitting this.

I tried to be sneaky.

The first Bible study I attended as a new coverer met in a home on a Wednesday night. Of course no one covered. Because it was Summer time I thought I could wear a "sun-dress" and a straw hat and look okay.


It did not work!

After about 5 meetings the pastor who was leading the group called me out on it and said, that's a headcovering isn't it? He then proceeded to chastise me for the whole meeting. Then he did that every meeting! I endured for quite a few meetings. I did not want to be focused on. I was taking up group time due to my hat!

I did not want to debate him because I had studied women teaching men from Paul's epistles and that's a stupid place to find yourself. Attempting to teach a man that women ought not teach a man is ridiculous. This pastor thought it was okay for women to teach men and to argue with them.

It was so awful that I had to stop going. What kept me strong was knowing the I Cor 11 passage like the back of my hand. I can do Greek Word studies (like many women can) and I "Greeked out" the passage to such a degree that nobody could sway me.

What I am saying is this. I knew I had to cover and I could not find a way out of covering due to I Cor 11. I knew that I didn't want attention in anyway for this. I wanted to blend in and be liked by everybody. That's what I'm used to. People like me. Who wants to give them a reason to think you're a kook? A weirdo? Someone to avoid?

Sometimes I snuck a covering on after every head was bowed at church--it was that bad for me. Sometimes I slipped a hoodie over my head in secret.

Sometimes I put on the most noticeable covering that could not be anything but a religious covering and went on out into public boldly.

I was hyper-aware!! But after time I stopped being aware at all.

It's been 21 years now and I hardly think about it. But I do remember the fear and I have had people argue with me, leave my friendship and more. Regardless of what others think I am going to obey the New Testament and I'm doing this with the great confidence of knowing the passage.

I know what it's like to being the only coverer in an entire county and I want to give support to any coverer who needs it.

May the Lord strengthen all those who are afraid and lead them to a place where they may be supported.


Beautifully Veiled said...

Clevsea, I enjoyed reading this post. It is interesting how people can have such strong reactions to headcoverings. I have a friend whose pastor's wife tried to pull hers off when she first started wearing it. She would also sigh and say things like, "You are still wearing that thing? I've been praying that the Lord would show you the error of your ways." It has really grieved me. And has made it extremely hard for her. I think I'll send her your blog link. You would be a great encouragement for her!!!

Ember said...

Clevsea! How brave you have had to be!
And Linda!
Mostly the headcovering feels like a reminder to me - it's something that as I put it on is the adopting of an attitude. So sometimes even it can be as minimal as a ribbon even, just so long as I put it on - because it's between me and the Lord, nobody else in my regular circle of (offline) friends and neighbours practises any kind of headcovering.
And when I wear it, it says to me 'Remember. Remember the divine order. Remember the fear of te Lord. Remember to walk in submission, in kindness and humility.'
I have a while in the mornings when I just have my hair loose with no covering, because my hubby loves that. But when I start the day properly and when I go out into the world, my covering is the wing of God's presence stretching over me.
God bless and encourage you in your faithful witness to His word.

Mrs. Q said...

Wow, Clevsea. You have such wonderful posts. We are finally attending a church. We meet at a home right now but will need to get a building eventually because of outgrowing the house. I absolutely love the church. It is a bunch of big families who have embraced children as blessings from the Lord, and everyone there homeschools as well. They believe women should be keepers at home. I couldn't ask for more! But still, no one there covers. I covered the first time and then felt self-conscious about it. (I didn't want to draw attention to myself). My husband was not with me the first time and I don't know how he feels about covering, but my inkling is that he probably thinks it is strange. I am not one to put him above what a command of God though, although I don't want to make him think I am being "rebellious". This is something I struggle with.

For these reasons, I have not continued to cover at the church. I am not quite sure what to do. I am glad I can identify with you though, as those who cover are so few and far between. Any advice?

clevsea said...

Mrs. Q.,

If you don't want to draw attention try the most subtle covering you can find.

The truth is that no matter how subtle it is if you are consistent they will figure it out. That is what happens to me over and over again.

At least you would know you were not trying to draw attention and you were not looking for a dispute.

For me the answer is clear. Paul may not have dictated the shape, size and color of the covering but I personally feel he was clear that there would be a head covering. For myself that means that I cannot pray uncovered. If people are going to get upset with me then I can't pray with them. If my bare head means that much to them then that's my only answer.

I've been in situations where sneaking the hoodie over my head was the only thing that kept the peace but after a while it isn't worth the effort to be around people that hostile to a New Testament teaching.

I have attended "all" homeschooling churches, twice in fact. Not a coverer among them. It's all a trade-off. That can affect how long I go to such a church but it would not incite me to pray uncovered.

These are only my answers, not really what I advise you to do. I trust in you to know yourself and what you are convicted to do.

Sometimes it comes down to pleasing God and not being able to please "man." It doesn't have to be a fight. Peace. Love. Joy. Patience. If you are a good tree you will have good fruit and that will counterbalance the potential attacks.

Much love.

Mrs. Q said...

Thanks for your reply, Clevsea. I have actually been inclined to "cover" with my hand at these times (it was suggested in a book I am reading). I think you are correct in your conclusions though.

Now do you have any advice about husbands and coverings? Most people I hear think that if a husband doesn't want his wife to cover, she shouldn't. But to me it seems it is a command to cover because of God's divine order, and the husband can't usurp that command. What do you think?

clevsea said...

I will post all 3 of my previously written answers to that.

Look for that in a new entry.


clevsea said...

Some of the comments were erased by blogger.

I wanted you to know that it was not me that deleted them.

You probably knew that but I wanted to make sure.