Covering Testimony: Rachael B.
Name: Rachael B. | Age: 28 | Location: Wyoming | Starting Covering: May 2016
1) Introduce yourself to our readers.
I have been a Christian for 9 years. My husband and I were in Bible studies led by a Godly mentor when we were in college and we chose to obey the gospel through baptism the same day. We married a year later and have been faithful to God and each other ever since. We have one daughter who is 2 years old. At the end of this year, we have committed to leave my husband’s military job so he can begin full time ministry work as a preacher.
I work part time as a massage therapist and teach natural birth education. Most of my time, I love being home with my daughter, making delicious and healthy food in the kitchen, and visiting the mountains.
2) Where do you attend church? Tell us a little bit about it. Do others practice headcovering there?
I worship with a local church of Christ that teaches the Bible in truth and spirit. We have lived and worshiped here for 4 years. Head covering is quite unorthodox here so I am the first woman to begin covering on my own initiative and there is only one other woman who is 90 that has worn a hat to church all her life.
3) What led you to start covering?
Six years ago, someone gave me a pamphlet on head coverings. At the time I was spiritually immature and afraid to read it for it might have told me something I didn’t want to hear or do contrary to the satisfactory explanation that head covering is a cultural matter. However, I never threw it away, but kept it, for no “apparent” reason. This past season, I was being taught in a personal bible study, exegetically going through all of 1 Corinthians verse by verse, which finally lead up to chapter 11. I knew it was there and was getting nervous but was ready to be brutally honest with God’s Word and obey Him with all my ability, regardless of the conclusion I came to regarding the text. I read and reread the chapter many times to become familiar with Paul’s words before reading the pamphlet so that I could decide for myself if it measured up. It seemed to confirm many of my suspicions about the argument that head covering is merely a cultural matter and was instead supported by Paul’s reasons. To my surprise it lit a wild fire in me, which resulted in countless hours of obsessive research, finding every piece of argument against head coverings that I could get my hands on. After I met with this teacher again (who does not believe that these instructions apply to us) to discuss this chapter after more research, I was convinced that the head covering applies directly to me and that I would need to start covering at once. The teacher respected my decision, which I’m thankful for. This has brought so much peace and joy to have faced and overcome one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make as a Christian in response to God’s Word!
I could go on and on about the details in the text I used to conveniently skim over (as do some commentators) to get to a cultural application conclusion, however I will only give one example of a compelling argument which has changed my mind. Most people assume that Paul gives these instructions to correct a wrong behavior within the culture, that women were disrespecting their authority by removing their head covering to be equal to men. However, Paul’s first words in this pericope are “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” He actually praises or commends them for something they are doing right which is hard to come by in this entire letter. This was something he already delivered to them; previously taught them. Secondly “traditions” means apostolic teaching and the same word in greek is seen in 2 Thes 2:15 and 3:6. The tone Paul uses in these instructions (vs 2-16) is positive which is clearly seen in contrast to the very upset and negative tone he uses when immediately following, he corrects them about misusing and abusing the Lord’s supper (vs 17-34). Verse 17 he begins “But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.” Verses 2 and 17 directly parallel one another about how he feels in giving each set of instructions. Until I saw this, I realized I had previously been practicing perfect eisegesis (inserting ideas into the text). I believe Paul’s reasons for writing to them about the head covering was to affirm the spiritual reasons why it is necessary (headship design vs3, creation vs7-9, angels vs10, appeal to nature vs13-15) and of course to correct anyone who was disregarding these instructions. Nowhere in this text does Paul argue culture being a reason. Instead he ends by reasoning that there are no opposing practices to these taught in the churches of God.
4) What was that first Sunday like when you showed up in a covering?
To be honest, it was gut wrenching. I thought at any moment I might throw up. This was all so sudden for me; I studied 1 Cor 11 for only 2 weeks and was convinced enough that I would violate my conscious if went to worship without a head covering, but that doesn’t mean I wanted to just yet. I still had many unanswered questions which is why I felt so uncomfortable. However, no one said even a single negative word about it, even throughout the following weeks. I’m happy it wasn’t an easy decision to make (for me). It demonstrated that I really was following God’s Word despite my circumstances and chose to be obedient to Him not only in times that I want to but when I don’t want to.
5) When do you use your covering?
One of the difficult questions about this subject was determining the perimeters of what “praying and prophesying” means. For myself, I feel that if Paul only wanted women to cover and men to uncover during Sunday worship, he would have said “when you assemble together.” If he wanted us to do this at all times no matter when or where, he would have said so. But he didn’t. He said during praying and prophesying. To my knowledge, this is mostly referring to what is done during the assembly but does not stop there. I cover at any formal church gathering, bible study with others and family prayers at home. My 2 year old daughter is so sweet; at home she will grab one of my coverings and bring it to me and ask to pray <3
6) What counsel can you give to women that do not cover out of fear?
Being a disciple of Christ means surrendering your life to Him. In Luke 9:23 Jesus says “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Vs 26 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of man will be ashamed of him when he comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the Holy angels.”
One thing I can say is that I’ve been there. I know this is hard. It took every single ounce of obedience in me to overcome this one, but you know what? It was worth it! Instead of being ashamed of 1 Cor 11, I now cherish this text! There is so much good to be gained in the passage above and beyond deciding to make the change of what we put or don’t put on our heads. I have learned a deeper understanding of how God made differently males and females for his own purpose. It has brought my husband and I even closer together in marriage and in other ways it has blessed me so greatly. Growing can be painful but it brings us closer to God. If we love God, we will obey Him.
7) What would you say is the best and the most difficult aspect about head covering?
The most difficult aspect is deciding to accept this text as truth and obey it. After that, the worst is over. The best aspect is showing my confidence in who God has made me to be as a woman and a submissive wife.
8) What kind of covering(s) do you use? Where did you get them?
I mainly use infinity scarves because they work great and are affordable. I bought the majority of mine at Walmart for $3-$5 a piece.
9) How did you hear about the Head Covering Movement?
When studying this subject, you must do some deep digging and researching because the internet lacks good information. However, this was the only website I found worth reading, and it became a strong contributing source in my decision to obey the instructions in 1 Cor 11. It was also the first place that I discovered other Christians choosing to cover when they didn’t attend an obvious head covering denomination like Mennonites. My husband also, changed his mind about head covering when we listened to the audio series by Milton Vincent. The series is quite long but I highly recommend listening at minimum to the first three lessons. Very powerful!