Head Covering Advice from Long-time Head Covering Women
Have you ever wished that you could sit at the feet of a woman that has covered for a long time and listen to their experiences with head covering? What kind of questions would you ask? What advice would they give?
We surveyed seven women that have been covering for 10+ years and found so much wisdom that we just had to share it with other head covering women. Though their stories are different in many ways, we wanted to share the similarities in order to encourage you in your walk with head covering.
First Memories of Head Covering
Choosing to obey the Lord’s call to cover your head is only half the head covering battle. Many women faced internal and external opposition from themselves, friends and family during their first moments as a head covering Christian woman.
“I will never forget the utter fear I felt taking a step outside my front door the first day I wore one. Every time I went to a new place, or seen someone who hadn’t seen me cover before it was hard. I knew I would have to have the explanations ready,” Eleanor, who has covered since 2001, says.
Carolyn, a head coverer of 23 years, says a friend asked her if she was cleaning her house the first time she saw her wearing a simple bandana over her head.
Sometimes beginning head covering can be heartbreaking, especially when the opposition comes from family. Mrs. Robinson has covered for 13 years, remembers a conversation between her and her grandmother, a pastor’s wife.
“My grandmother hated it. [She said], ‘Why can’t you let everyone see your amazing hair? You look ridiculous.'”
Despite the obstacles in head covering, there is some time-honored advice for other head covering ladies.
Advice for Overcoming Head Covering Struggles
Above all, each woman declares that head covering must first and foremost be a commitment based on the Lord’s call to cover based on Scripture. Covering to please man leads to much confusion and heartache.
“First, be very sure before you do it of your personal commitment and your basis in Scripture for doing it. The road is not an easy one for many sisters and you need to be prepared to walk it without waffling. Taking it off and on constantly is a poor witness,” said Ganeida, who has covered for 15 years.
By allowing the Lord to be the central reason you cover, you can overcome many internal and external struggles.
Eleanor regrets the few times that she chose to forgo covering. “The peace that comes from obeying God can not be measured.”
Another way to overcome struggles is by reexamining the Word of God.
Joy, a head covered woman of 30 years, says there was a time that she struggled with covering during her 30s. “Some of my family and good friends were no longer covering and I really started to doubt why I was covering.” During that time she began to study Scriptures related to covering. She recalls her husband patiently answering her many questions. This period of questioning was vital to strengthening her conviction to continue covering.
Don’t be afraid to question head covering because it serves to strengthen your resolve. Make sure your answers come from the Scriptures and those that seek their authority in your life.
How to Deal with Questions from Others About Covering
Almost everyone that head covers will have to deal with questions regarding their reason to cover.
When it is an unbeliever that comes to question, Ganeida looks at these questions as an opportunity.
“For an unbeliever it is a wonderful way to introduce the gospel!” she says.
“Most questions come from those wishing to figure out what ‘denominational box’ you fit into,” Eleanor says. “A rare person actually wants to know the real underlying motivations. I try to figure out what information they are looking for and give the best answer.”
When a woman is truly interested in the Scriptures about head covering, Carla says to be open to studying the Bible together.
Many people are concerned when they see a loved one begin to cover. It can bring up fears that a head coverer has changed religions or is getting in too deep with ‘something weird.’
“Keep in mind that head covering can really worry those who love you,” Stephanie says.
To combat this Eleanor suggests, “Tell them you appreciate their concern, but it is your decision before God this is important to you.”
If they are particularly antagonistic, Carolyn says to pray for them and love them unconditionally.
Head Covering and Children
A common concern for head covering women is whether or not to require female children to adhere to the practice of head covering. Of all the women surveyed said they felt lead to lead by example more than force.
“To shame them or force them or guilt them into covering are totally wrong reasons for them to cover,” Joy says. She also believes that it is more important to educate male children on the benefits of covering, so when they become husbands and fathers they will be able to be supportive and open-minded about head covering.
Carolyn recommends discussing being covered early on so that children are more likely to believe in the rewards and blessing of covering.
Not all female children choose to follow their parent’s wisdom, Ganeida, who started covering after her children were grown says, “At present neither [of her two daughters] choose to cover.”
Finding Head Covering Support
Belonging to a church where head covering is practice can be a wonderful support system, but more often than not women find themselves among the few people in their church that practice this tradition.
“Being a part of a church group that requires women who are members to be covered has bepen a source of great support and encouragement to me,” Joy says.
But being a part of a head covering church has it’s own set of problems, “It is hard to see those who attend our church [who] struggle with covering. Sadly people tend to leave eventually if they don’t want to cover.”
The Holy Spirit can be a great source of comfort for those that don’t know any head covering women in real life, but so can groups, like those found on Facebook or other head covering forums.
Deciding on the Type of Covering to Wear
Carla, who has been covering for 18 years prefers a lace princess style mantilla. “It stays put on my head without pins. I can take it on and off as needed without disturbing my hair!”
Her advice is to not worry so much as to what type of covering you choose, but to remember why you cover.
“Study yourself and talk to God about it. If you find yourself fussing too much in the mirror about it, take a step back and examine your heart.”
Stephanie’s favorite head covering is a hijab because it’s easy. She also loves when her husband reaches out to hold it in place when the wind is blowing and her hands are full of children. She also wears a tichel because ‘it’s fun,’ but recommends seeking God for the type of covering you should wear.
“Ask God to help bring the kind of covering to mind that would be best for [an occasion],” she says. She believes that God has an opinion on what style would be best and you might not know unless you ask!
Eleanor’s husband loves her to wear a medium-sized lacy veil, commonly worn by Mennonites.
“Eventually you find your ‘go to’ style,” she says.
Finding your ‘go to’ style can change over time, Carolyn admits that for many years she’s worn a simple black scarf because it was the least obvious, but lately she’s been thinking about changing to infinity scarves, but admits that she hasn’t had the time to work with them yet.
Makeup, Jewelry & Head Covering
In head covering circles, the practice of wearing makeup and jewelry can cause quite heated discussions to arise. In general, the decision to wear makeup and jewelry varies vastly from woman to woman based on their interpretation of Scriptures, the desires of their husband’s and their own convictions.
Carla’s husband likes when she wears makeup and jewelry, but she tries to keep it minimal and not too flashy.
“I own some, but I usually keep that for wearing in private for my husband only. If I go out with anything at all on, I try to make it appear there is none,” Eleanor says. ” I do wear a wedding bad and occasionally a cross necklace. I try to make it a point not to wear expensive things.”
Stephanie has learned that by not wearing makeup, her skin has cleared up and she’s gotten a nice tan on her face.
Biggest Head Covering Mistakes & Regrets
As with anything new we learn, women often want to share their newfound head covering knowledge with others, but Joy says her biggest regret was judging others that didn’t choose to cover and taking too much responsibility for changing the opinion of others.
Becoming too concerned with the nitty-gritty of head covering was Eleanor’s biggest downfall.
“[I regret] getting too caught up in self made rules about exactly what type and style when the Bible doesn’t really prescribe a certain type, style, or size,” she admits.
Caring about what others thought and getting defensive of the head covering practice also made the list on biggest head covering mistakes.
Learning the Heart of Covering
“Don’t make a mockery of a powerful symbol of the headship order only to disobey the very heart of the scripture. Be willing to submit to your husband (or father),” Eleanor warms.
“I have seen many sisters wear the veil because they want to be different or modest but then refuse to acknowledge the Biblical role of submission to the husband. The heart of the scripture is more important than the symbol of it.”
A Testimony to Encourage Continued Covering
One of the most powerful witness to covering is real life experiences. Ganeida shares a friend’s story concerning head covering that had eternal consequences.
“I have a covering friend in another country who shared this story with me about why she covers. She tells of a woman, homeless, without even enough money for coffee on a blistering cold day. [She was] wandering through the mall and bemoaning the fact she couldn’t even afford to end her own life. She thought, ‘I don’t even know how to pray. I wish I knew someone who could pray for me.’ Just then she saw a covered woman and thought to herself, ‘She looks like someone who knows how to pray.’ So she approached the woman who led her to Christ in a dressing room.”
The story has encouraged Ganeida to continue her commitment to head covering because she wants to look like ‘woman who knows how to pray’ for those who need the story of Jesus.