Headcovering & Complementarianism

My Headcovering Experience

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(The picture above is from  https://www.garlandsofgrace.com/)

In a church where there are about 3,000 attendees, I have discovered that there is one way to stick out for sure: wear a headcovering.

When I first began to headcover, I felt so awkward and weird. I wanted to tell people that the only reason I had a scarf on my head was because it was cold outside. Nobody said anything to me the first day, but I did get some curious looks. You know, when you’re talking to someone, and instead of looking at your face, you catch them stealing glances at that thing on your head.

It’s been a couple of years since I started, as I write this. Most people have been very gracious in their conduct, either ignoring my different look entirely, or making some kind of benign comment, like “You remind me of my missionary friend in Greece.” One person yelled at me. One of the pastors never returns my friendly smiles of greeting and always seems to be pretending that there is something “over there” that he’s looking at. Why? I’m still in a mental tangle over that one. If they ever see me at church without my headcovering, some folks will come right out and ask, “So where’s your head thingy?” They’ve gotten used to seeing me that way, and I’ve gotten used to wearing it, but it’s still conflicting sometimes, inwardly. It’s hard to be the only one who practices this in my church. Yet, better to stay true to my conviction than to give in to the pressure of emotional insecurities.

Here are some of the things that I’ve learned:

  • ABOUT MYSELF
    1. I like to be liked. It’s hard for me to be different. I want to fit in.
    2. I’m determined. Even if I don’t fit in, I won’t give up my standards.
    3. I tend to resent it when other people don’t see things the way I do.
  •  ABOUT OTHERS
    1. Most people are kindly tolerant of small differences in belief.
    2. Usually, people would rather say nothing than cause discomfort.
    3. Some people will show their acceptance of me by giving me a compliment, making some small observation, or asking me a question about my covering. This is rare, though.
    4. There are a few who are offended by my being different. They see me as legalistic; perhaps arrogant, too.

Discomfort and tension, I’m learning, reveal the person I am beneath the composure. For example, I hesitated to describe myself as tending “to resent it when other people don’t see things the way I do.” What am I, a bigot? Maybe I am, to a certain degree. But I might not have realized it if I hadn’t put myself in a position to experience friction. To deny my negative feelings would be dishonest; the only way to improve is to acknowledge my shortcomings, and do something about them. I am actively trying to transform my attitude toward others by focusing on generosity and humbleness.

Wearing a headcovering has also taught me something else: It’s easy to misjudge other people–until you’ve been there yourself. Let me illustrate what I mean. On several occasions, I’ve observed some very modestly dressed families while shopping at the grocery store. All the women wear cap-like headcoverings, which cover their hair pulled back into a bun. I’m not positive, but I’m guessing they’re Mennonite. The grown-up women smile back at me, and are generally very friendly. I have noticed, however, that one young woman, possibly in her teens, does not return my smiles. She doesn’t even look at me. At first, this was a puzzle. Was she arrogant? Did she think she was better than me? (Just to let you know, I was not wearing my headcovering in the grocery store–I only use it during church services, Bible study, and special times of prayer.) But now, I think I understand.

Think about this: when feeling awkward and embarrassed, some people will look at the ground. They feel so out of place they don’t even have the courage to lift up their heads and look you in the face. Then there are others, who will raise their heads to force themselves to be composed, when all they really want to do is hide. These people restrain their embarrassment by imposing upon themselves a dignified demeanor contrary to their unease. It’s not arrogance, it’s diffidence. It’s an attempt to overcome a lack of self-confidence while combating shyness.

I know that feeling! When I first started wearing a headcovering, I had to make myself look up at people’s faces. It wasn’t easy, because I felt so strange. But I eventually was (mostly) able to overcome those emotions, as I am confident that young woman I saw at the store will too, given time. However, I would not classify my experience as negative just because I’ve had to struggle with self-confidence; I have been given the opportunity to know myself better, and to grow.

Though my use of a headcovering is based solely on what the Bible itself teaches, I’ve found it very helpful to read other ladies’ blogs about this topic, and to familiarize myself with teachings on headcovering by various outstanding pastors. Being the “odd one” is stressful at times, so I continually reinforce my stance on this issue by deepening my knowledge about it. Here is one website that I have found VERY supportive, and instructive:

www.headcoveringmovement.com

 The Head Covering Movement | 1 Corinthians 11 For Today

 What convictions have you stood by in your life, that have made you stand out, and that have been a challenge for you to maintain? I’d love to hear your comments.

In the next post, I will tell you the reasons why I have chosen to use a headcovering. I can’t wait! Thanks for reading!

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28 thoughts on “My Headcovering Experience

  1. Thank you so much for writing this. I also cover my head during the times you mentioned and I can completely relate. You wrote exactly what I have felt and experienced on so many occasions and it was very encouraging to hear you speak about this so genuinely. I look forward to reading your next post. Blessings 🙂

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    1. I’m glad you found my article helpful. That’s my goal, to inspire other ladies to follow God’s will in this, even though it’s hard, sometimes. I also was encouraged by your response–nice to know someone else out there who feels the same way.
      Thanks for your comment!
      -Truth at Home

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  2. Dear my sister,

    Thank you so much for your sharing. It was wonderful.

    I ‘ve been covering for more than 4 years and I am still the only one in my area so I really understand your feelings.

    Thank you so much!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your story!! I’ve been covering full-time for about two years now, and I find myself longing to find others who do (I don’t know any in our area at all!). I appreciate your openness in sharing your journey!

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    1. I feel exactly the same way. I have been praying that God would bring into my life friends who also cover, but after months of praying, I haven’t met anyone so far. At least not until now. Maybe it’s not the same as knowing somebody in person, but meeting other ladies through this website has been a gift from God! Thanks for your comment!
      Your headcovering sister,
      -Truth at Home

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  4. I have been led in my heart to cover during prayer , worship and Bible study as well . It is a pleasing thing to the Lord not a legal matter .
    It is certainly a lonely experience but I always wind up asking myself will I be obedient in this or weak in my fear of man .
    There is certainly a blessing in this obedience .

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    1. You are so right when you say that this is not a legal matter but something pleasing to the Lord.
      “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me … ”
      John 14:21a
      I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts on this. You, as well as the other sweet ladies who have commented here have been an encouragement to me.
      Thank you!
      -Truth at Home

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  5. This really resonates with me as I started wearing head coverings a couple years ago to our Charismatic evangelical church. While one woman wears a Mennonite-style “doilie” and another wears colorful small hats (both were brought up Mennonite), I felt self-conscious at first because everyone knows I do not come from a Mennonite background. When I visit churches outside my community I am the only one veiled. The only one who has asked me directly about it has been an elder’s wife who was brought up Mennonite.

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    1. Rebecca,
      Thank you for sharing your perspective on this. You are so brave to use a veil, even when sometimes there is no one else who does! It makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one, who’s the only one!
      -Jessica, Truth at Home

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  6. Hi Jessica,

    I appreciate all that you do and stand for! It is very encouraging to see other women like me. In a small congregation of 50-60, my mother and i are the only ones that cover. I wear a headcovering fulltime (with the exeptions of at home or at an all women gathering) that completely covers my hair and, apart from 1Cor 11 for when I pray, these are some reasons why:

    1) It encourages me to dress modestly. Hard to wear a headcovering and a low-cut shirt.

    2) It helps me to remember the persecuted worldwide, particularly in the east.

    3) It reminds me to have a meek and quiet spirit and be silent during services.

    4) The biggest reason for my full-time covering is to save my main beauty for my husband.

    I am only sixteen and want to live a life of modesty for my husband. Not only do I wear skirts and dresses in public (truly, I don’t like men seeing my rear and thighs. Its…awkward, to say the least), I also wear pants (preferably sweat pants. So comfy!) underneathe them (it creates not only a greater sense of modesty, but allows me to run, jump, bike, etc without worrying about showing anything). I tend towards long-sleeve shirts but have no problem with wearing modest short-sleeve ones. One of my biggest issues is to not become legalistic or judgmental of others. I just want to serve God faithfully, or as you said “faithful over a few things”.

    Thank you for all you do! I am truly inspired. 🙂

    Love in Christ,

    Kegan Cook

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Kegan,
      How wonderful to hear from another member of the Cook family! Thank you very much for sharing with me your reasons for headcovering. I love all the points that you brought up, and respect you very much for going even beyond the basics, and really embracing the headcovering doctrine, along with modesty, wholeheartedly! You demonstrate a spirit of cheerful obedience to God’s Word, and it is very refreshing!

      I appreciate your warm words of encouragement!
      Jessica

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      1. Dear Sister Jessica,

        My father is the one who pointed me to you. It has been very refreshing reading your blog! I do get discouraged sometimes. But in truth I do enjoy being modest. And femenine. 🙂 It has been an exciting journey. I used to wear my headcoverings only at the times you mentioned (I started covering a couple of years ago) and I just recently (around August of last year) started wearing them full time. But it’s been quite a learning experience! I agree with the things that you learned about yourself and others. These are things I have also found to be true! How wonderful our God is in everything He does! He certainly molds us daily if we will allow Him to. 🙂 Praising Him for your blog and ministry!

        Love in Christ,

        Kegan Cook

        P.S. If you happen to have a facebook account and don’t mind sharing it, you can visit mine here: https://m.facebook.com/kegan.cook.92?ref=bookmark
        Please friend request me! 🙂

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      1. Headcovering is surprisingly challenging. Sometimes I think if I wore a pizza on my head it would not get more looks and questions, lol.

        My first time wearing a headscarf in public is a long and odd story (not sure if you want to hear?).

        The biggest challenge to me was worrying what my husband would think. I started by just covering to pray at night. I told him I was going to give that a try and he didn’t say much. Next step was wearing to church. Those are the times I headcover. Do you do so more extensively?

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      2. Oh, of course I’d love to hear about your first headcovering experience!
        I wonder, is your husband now supportive of your headcovering? What does he think about it now that you’ve been doing it for about a year?
        I cover during the church service, during Bible study, during AWANA (which I help out with), during prayer (at least audible prayer), and while teaching my children from the Bible.
        These are the times I feel that I should, but I continue to consider the issue, because I want to do my best to live up to the “when “praying or prophesying” command.
        Thanks!
        Jessica

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      3. Jessica,
        It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job practicing headcovering, at just the right times. I am proud of you.

        Are you doing a full hair cover or partial?

        It was important to me to have my husbands support on this issue. The first time I wore it, I was one of only two women wearing that day so I understand his concern that I was (unintentionally) drawing attention to myself.

        As we read the Bible on the matter, and over time when a few more other women started headcovering, he changed his mind and gives me the support I was seeking.

        Two summers ago while on vacation, I saw my first Mantilla at church. A year ago I saw the first one at our church. These momements got me thinking and reading, but no acting yet.

        The first time I actually covered my head was this past February, and was of unlikely origin. I ended up walking past a Kiosk promoting an event called Wear Hijab for a Day. I was very conflicted, but I figured a covering was a covering and that was my first time covering my head that day!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks, Victoria, for sharing that with me! It was interesting to hear that your first headcovering experience was wearing a hijab for a day.
    I don’t cover all my hair, just the top of my head and over the back a little past my neck. The rest of my long hair can be seen flowing out from under the back of the scarf.
    Personally, I feel that it’s okay if attention is drawn to ourselves, in a GOOD way! We’re supposed to be light, and the light shines in the darkness. So, yes, there will be times when we won’t fit in with the surrounding cultural darkness because we are being lights for Christ–but that’s a good thing! It leads people to ask important questions, and might convict them about the way that THEY’RE living. It could be a catalyst for change! But, I think that’s one of the normal concerns that most headcovering women (and their husbands) usually deal with (that of wondering, “am I drawing too much attention to myself?”). Of course we shouldn’t be wearing gaudy coverings with feathers and sequins. But, like you pointed out, if we are wearing a simple covering, and UNINTENTIONALLY draw attention to ourselves, that’s to be expected!
    I really appreciate your feedback!
    Jessica

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jessica,
      What types of headcoverings do you favor? Are they store bought? Homemade? Have you ever worn a mantilla? I bought one this year as my second headcovering. I like it. Did you start practicing headcovering before or after meeting your husband?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you ever tried wearing a headscarf that covers all of your hair completely? If yes, what did you think of it?
        What did your husband think of you adopting headcovering?

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      2. Hi, Victoria!
        Well, I have never tried wearing a headscarf that covers all my hair completely. I once suggested it to my husband, but he didn’t like the idea. He thought I would look Jewish, I think, and since that’s not our background, he preferred for me to have at least some hair showing to distinguish me from those who are. However, I don’t think I would have had a problem with it. Or, maybe I would have: it might have made me look a little bald, I don’t know; and since I don’t wear makeup (usually), it might have made me look pale. I’m happy with the triangular scarf, which is my favorite style. What about you?
        Jessica

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      3. Right now I own a purple headscarf that does cover all my hear, and I have a white lace mantilla, that does not cover all my hair and is semi-transpaprent. I’m still experimenting.

        Isn’t it funny how just the style of headcovering or the way it’s worn can have such a cultural or specific faith attached to it?

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  8. Jessica,
    You are the only one I’ve met in our area who covers. I have yet to meet the Mennonite ladies you mentioned.
    Until last week no one at church mentioned ” that head thingy”. One of the pastor wives said she had been wanting to ask but was afraid I’d be offended. I told her I was obeying 1Corinthians 11. She didn’t seem bothered by my answer and she said she had seen Mennonite women in town her cover. She said she admires their sewing skills. Last night her husband greeted me and said he had just finished reading 1Corinthians and he mentioned the headcovering verse. He admitted he still wasn’t sure but he didn’t seem to mind my covering either. So we will see if my covering continues to not be a problem. However I don’t know how long that will last. The senior pastor hasn’t said anything yet.

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    1. At least in my experience, most people don’t like to cause waves; so, I’m going to venture a guess that nobody will say anything negative and you will be able to continue to go to that church with no problem. Being able to talk a little about why you cover to one of the pastors and his wife is great! You are planting seeds, Regina! Just being there in a covering, even without saying anything, is a great testimony. Keep up the good work!
      Jessica

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