Covering Testimony: Marie Valle
Name: Marie Valle | Age: 27 | Location: Alexandria, Pennsylvania | Starting Covering: Sept 2015
1) Introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello everyone. My name is Marie. After meeting and marrying the love of my life at our Assembly of God undergraduate college, I followed my husband on his journey to reformed Christianity during his years in seminary. A few months after he graduated, with a newborn in tow, we moved hundreds of miles from family and friends to a church that called Angelo to be their pastor in Alexandria, Pennsylvania. We’ve been in Alexandria for almost three years now and have since added another baby to the mix. I’m a stay-at-home mom to Jonathan (3) and Eliana (almost 1), along with all the responsibilities that come with being the pastor’s wife in a small county church. I love to cook & bake, especially with my son, tickle my daughter and watch lame superhero shows with my husband.
2) Where do you attend church? Tell us a little bit about it. Do others practice headcovering there?
I attend church at Christ Reformed Church of Alexandria, where my husband is the sole pastor. It is a historically reformed church that we are attempting to return to its biblical roots after having been pastored by predominately liberal leaders in the past fifty years.
We are a very small congregation, normally about 35 people there on a Sunday morning, with the majority of the folks in the later years of their life.
Currently, I am the only one who practices headcovering. A few days before I began covering, I sent a message to my two closest friends at the church (who happen to sit next to and behind me) to let them know what I was about to do and why. Although neither ever responded to the message, at least I know they are informed as to why I do what I do. No one else has ever said anything to me about covering at all.
3) What led you to start covering?
I really first came to head coverings when Angelo, came to some serious opposition on his beliefs about the Lord’s Supper. As we together studied more about 1 Corinthians 11, I started to pay more attention to the whole chapter. I can remember thinking that if we were fighting so hard for the universality of the second half of the chapter, how could we make such a huge distinction with the first half. I remember reading the head coverings portion of the chapter and thinking “well that’s pretty clear. Wonder why it’s not practiced”.
After doing a quick Wikipedia search (a surprisingly helpful source on this particular topic), I was instantly engaged and needed to know more. I soon found the Head Covering Movement’s website and was reading anything I could get my hands on regarding the topic. I can remember sitting on the floor of my husband’s library pulling out commentary after commentary on 1 Corinthians and being rather annoyed that no one had much, if anything ,to say about head covering. After more time on the Head Covering Movement site and reading many articles, it was hard to deny.
I almost wish I could say that I was hesitant, but I really wasn’t. I’m a pretty logical, no-nonsense kind of person, so it didn’t take me long to come to a conclusion. I think it actually took my husband longer to get there. Not that he was at all against it, but with the responsibilities of the church, he didn’t have as much time as I did to read and study on “fun” things, not currently associated with a sermon or a theological fire he was putting out in the church. I wasn’t willing to begin covering without his understanding and blessing, so I waited a while. Once we were at a bit of a lull in the church and I convinced him to read, he gave me his blessing and the rest has been history.
Once we both saw the clarity of the passage and the cultural shift that is predominantly the reason for the absence of head coverers (and the resulting gender confusing chaos in our churches & beyond), I realized that I could be a part of the solution, at least in my home & church. That Biblical Complementarianism and its demonstration in covering needed to start with me.
4) What was that first Sunday like when you showed up in a covering?
I’m an introvert. There’s no better way to say it then that. And true to the idea of an introvert, I don’t like being in the spotlight. I don’t like being at the center of everyone’s attention; I much prefer the background work and allowing my husband to do the talking in front of people. (Even at my wedding, as my father walked me down the isle, I asked him “Why are all these people looking at you? Make them stop please.”) So when my husband gave me his blessing to start covering, I was mortified to think about how many stares I would get my first day wearing.
As I mentioned above, I did message my two closest friends in the church (also the only two young women in the church) to let them know of my new practice. Although neither replied to the message, my one friend said it looked nice the first Sunday I wore it. That has been the extent of the church’s reaction to my covering. I typically use an infinity scarf to cover and pull it on once the service is about to begin and pull it off as soon as it’s finished because it’s gets so warm in the sanctuary, and I sit near the back of the church, but I don’t think the lack of comments is for a lack of notice, nearly as much as a lack of care.
Actually, more difficult than my first time wearing it in church, was my first time wearing it around my family. My family lives a few hours away so when they come to visit, they normally stay the weekend and come to church with us. My teenage brother came in to church a few minutes after we’d started and I saw his eyes about bug out of his face when he saw my head covered. As a tan Latina, I suppose his first thought was not 1 Corinthians 11. I can remember being distracted in church wondering what he and my father were going to ask about it after church that day, however, nothing ever came up. Although my family & friends all know I cover, no one has asked any questions.
5) When do you use your covering?
I cover my head every week during Sunday morning worship. Although our church does not have evening or mid-week services, my family often attends another church’s evening service and I cover there as well.
As the world becomes increasingly confused on gender issues, I have contemplated covering all the time, but I don’t see that as a biblical mandate. My husband and I agree that although I don’t have to cover all the time, I do want to be affirmed as feminine all the time. My current context especially is one that has a plethora of androgynous people. So I go out of my way to ensure that my daughter and I are always easily recognized as female and my son is easily recognized as male. This is always especially difficult for young babies, so we made the decision to get Eliana’s ear’s pierced at about six months old. Additionally, Ellie and I often wear headbands; I like to think of it as “head covering lite”.
6) What counsel can you give to women that do not cover out of fear?
As odd as this sounds, first, I’d say that you need to spend some time in the Old Testament. I have a special affinity for the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy as it lays out for us the blessings but also the justice of our God. If you’re not covering out of fear, my first reaction would be that you need to learn to fear the Lord. Although my salvation is not based on my covering or not covering (or any other work for that matter), I do want to honor the Lord and obey the Lord as much as I am able to. I cover my head in worship as a way to show my obedience to the Lord and my respect for HIS created order.
Secondly, I would say that there is really nothing to be afraid of. If you and your husband are grounded in the Scriptural basis and even some of the opposing arguments, there’s not really anything worth the time or energy to be scared of. I think this time in the world’s history is probably one of the easiest to begin the practice of covering because there is so much (perhaps too much) tolerance for the choices of other people.
7) What would you say is the best and the most difficult aspect about head covering?
There are so many great things about head covering, but I think for me one of the best and at the same time the worst is covering with two little children. Our church is very small and mine are the only young children, and with my husband as the pastor, I can often be seen on a Sunday morning with a child on each hip. Perhaps it’s because of the type of covering I use, but this often means my covering is being pulled on, played with or even eaten by one or both my children. Yes, this is annoying and could probably be mostly fixed with a few pins, but I really like that I have to adjust my covering periodically. Having my children “interfere” with my covering means they are aware that something is different. It’s an additional reminder to them of the specialness of the corporate worship. Once they are a little older, my covering will open up conversations with them about what it means to be made “male and female after God’s own image” and even what respect and order looks like in a marriage relationship. Having to adjust my covering reminds me that it’s on and that it’s a visible demonstration of my submission to my husband and the Lord. And because my hands are often full, my friend is occasionally the one to fix it for me. I’m praying that this is a regular invitation to her to study for herself and come to cover as well.
Beyond the logistical difficulty of my children or remembering a covering when we go away for a Sunday, I don’t think there is any real difficulty.
Another great benefit is the way it reminds me of my need for submission. My husband and I are in a season of uncertainty in a lot of areas of our lives, and now more than ever in our marriage, it is easier to follow him and respect his leadership. Not that I haven’t before, but I feel that this past year of covering has been a regular reminder to me of his headship and leadership over me so now that it comes to bigger decisions, it’s only natural to follow him. Perhaps it’s all in my head (head, get it, head covering ^_^), but I think regularly covering has transformed my own mind toward the Lord as well as my husband.
Finally, covering has encouraged me to celebrate my femininity. In a world where gender holds less and less meaning, I think now more than ever it is important for Christians to not just say that God created us male and female but to also demonstrate how that difference is good in our day to day lives. Covering during corporate worship and “covering lite” as I say has been a way for me to celebrate in my own life, as well as demonstrate to my children, that God made me to be a woman and that’s a good thing.
8) What kind of covering(s) do you use? Where did you get them?
I typically wear an infinity scarf and pull up one part of it as my head covering, either a standard black one or one that particularly matches my outfit for the day. (My son likes to hand me his favorite blankie before bed and he tells me that’s my head covering too). I have found them at Walmart or Target, or even the local second hand store. I also have a few large lace headband types that I purchased on Amazon, but I didn’t really feel covered. I tend to wear those more throughout the week as my “covering lite”.