Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why I Wear a Headcover

Some of you are thinking, "I've never seen her wear a covering. What is she talking about?" Well, then you must not attend church with me or seen me out in public ministry. Others of you who have seen me cover in church and such have wondered why I don't cover all the time. Well, I am finally going to put an end to the great mystery of "why does Vicki live a double life?"

First, let me put to rest a few myths.

1. Only the Mennonites and the Amish cover. How do I know this is a myth? Because I am not Mennonite nor am I Amish. I drive a car. My husband uses tractors. I believe in salvation by God's blood & grace alone. Many women I know who cover are also Born Again Bible Believing (Baptist - gasp!) Christians.

2. I cover because of the church I attend. This is an obvious myth because of the 300+ people who attend our church, about 6 of us wear head-coverings. However, it is true that I never saw a born-again Christian wear a headcover before I began attending my church 11 years ago.

3. A head-cover is a paper bag to cover the heads of ugly people. Once thought a clever idea by a teenage boy, this is most definitely a myth.

4. A head-cover is just an excuse for women not to do their hair. Hmm...though I may not have to put as much time into it on Sunday mornings, this also is eligible for myth classification.

OK. So, the question: Why do I wear a headcover?

As I mentioned earlier, I had never given much thought to headcoverings until we began to attend our current church 11 years ago. It was then that I saw born-again Christian women wearing veils. Although, just as it is today, only a handful of women wore the veils, it seemed to be the first thing that visitors noticed, therefore beginning the myth that all women at OPBBC wore headcoverings. Though it was an obvious minority, it raised questions in the minds of Eric and I.

For a few years before this, Eric and I had begun to realize that the way we grew up wasn't necessarily the ONLY way to be a Christian. There were biblical standards that we took another look at, prayed about, and adopted that we hadn't learned before or had been interpreted differently. Because of these experiences, we had learned not to see something different and automatically declare it un-biblical just because it rubbed us the wrong way. We learned to study the issue for ourselves and really see what God had to say.

Thus it was for the head-covering. After a year of attending our church, I began to question the covering issue. The only time I ever remember hearing the passage of 1 Corinthians 11 ever discussed while growing up was in my 11th grade Bible class which covered the book of 1 Corinthians. Obviously, the teacher couldn't just ignore that passage, which seemed to be the practice of most of the preachers as it never had been touched in any message I heard. Therefore, he spent a little bit of time discussing how the covering was "obviously" the hair and went from there. Now, this passage was the very one used to defend the veil and we wanted to see if the Bible would back our "belief" (if you can call something we were so un-educated about such) or if it would challenge us to really conform to a different mind-set.

I studied the word "covering". Eric and I talked about it with people who didn't cover and people who did. We wanted to know their biblical reasons for their actions. We listened to tapes. Most of all, we prayed.

I must mention right here that it is obvious that the covering is mentioned simultaneously with the concept of a wife's submision to her husband. Therefore, though I was the one interested in studying the concept of covering as it is an action of the woman, I was not going to do anything without the permission of my husband. This is why he investigated with me. Though Eric was sort of on the fence at the beginning of this journey, he, at times, has been a stronger advocate than I in the years since.

Many people will say that the "covering" discussed in 1 Corinthians 11 is the hair. I challenge you to read the chapter and replace the word "covering" with hair. Does the chapter make any sense? This would pose a definite problem for any man blessed with hair on his head as the passage clearly states that it is dishonoring for a man to pray with his head covered. So, either there is a seperate covering being discussed, or, each man who prays needs to shave his head. Also, in verse 5 it is said that the woman who prayes uncovered is AS IF she were shaven. If the covering is her hair it would read like this: "the woman who prays with no hair is as if she were shaven." Isn't that a bit redundant? If she has no hair she IS shaved. Fits right in with "kind of pregnant" - you are or you aren't.

A lot of people will use verse 15 to defend the "hair is the covering" theory: "But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering." First, I find it interesting that those who use this verse are also people who will defend a woman's right to have extremely short hair thereby cutting off the very covering they say is given to them by God. However, notice the verse says her hair is given to her for A covering, which leads me to believe there is more than one covering for a woman.

Verse 5 mentions that if I pray and prophesy without covering my head, I am dishonoring my head. Here we have a perfect example how the same English word in one passage can mean two different things - just as the word 'covering.' When a man covers his physical head he dishonors his spiritual Head - Jesus Christ. A woman who prays or prophesies with her physical head uncovered dishonors her spiritual head - her husband. Again, I cover in church to divert attention from myself to put onto the earthly one I am to reverence. It is a physical declaration of my submission to my husband.

I find it interesting that society as a whole still adheres to the first part of this passage - the part concerning the man. Even today a man will take his hat off during prayer or while in the house of God. Up through the 1950s, women still wore hats to church. This was a result of covering. You will notice that many Eastern European women still wear a veil - especially while in a worship service. Culture? No. It comes straight from the Bible.

Why don't women cover anymore? Verse 15 states that the woman's hair is a glory to the woman. This is one of the main reasons I wear a seperate covering to church and it's also one of the main reasons women are afraid to really delved into the topic of covering. If my hair is my glory should I not cover my glory in order to divert that glory to Christ as we come together and worship? How often do we go to church and notice other women's hair and how pretty it is? What is it that takes women and girls so long to prepare in the morning? It only takes a few minutes to put on an outfit, but I've heard of some girls spending up to an hour just adding curls to their hair on Sunday morning. Why? Most would say they just want to look pretty and feminine. But, the hair is their GLORY. They are inadvertantly taking away some of the focus we are to have on Christ and putting it on themselves. By covering, I am able to escape that temptation. I will say, it is often difficult for me to put a covering on my head. Quite frankly, I'm not very pretty with one. I wear a longer covering that covers most of my hair. People who see me without my covering for the first time are often taken aback and mention how 'pretty" my hair is (I secretly wonder if they are shocked that I even HAVE hair!). It IS very hard for a woman to cover her glory. However, many of the things God asks us to do are not easy. This does not give liberty to go against His word.

I studied this topic for months. I came to a conclusion a few months before I took action mainly because I didn't want to be someone who started something just to quit a year or two later. This is not something to jump into. I knew there would be days I wouldn't want to cover and it took some time for me to make the commitment. I've noticed women who begin coming to our church have this illusion of "headcovers produce godliness" and don one within weeks of their first visit. These covers come off within 2 years because it was 1) done without much prayer and council from the Lord or 2) done without the permission of their husbands.

I will add here that, though our pastors do not have their wives cover, they are in support of those of us who do cover. Some wish that our pastors would take a stand for it from the pulpit, however, I am not one of those. Though I believe strongly that I ought to cover, I also believe verses 13 & 16: "Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God." These verses seem to say that we need to look into this for ourselves and not have dispute or contention regarding this issue.

Some proponents rightly divide that this is one of the ordinances of God - just as baptism and the Lord's Supper. I Corinthians 11:2: "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye rmember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as i delivered them to you." The first ordinance Paul mentions in this chapter is the covering. From there he discusses the Lord's Supper. Baptism as an ordinance was established during the gospels. So, some state that we preach on the other 2 ordinances and practice them as a church body, but we ignore the other. Why? Well, as my husband wisely pointed out, Who established the oridnances of baptism and communion? It was Jesus Christ. The ordinance of the covering comes from Paul. That does not negate the entire Pauline epistles and make everything he says choice. But, the fact that Christ never practiced or spoke on the covering makes it a difficult issue to "command" from the pulpit. Not to mention that, just as there are times not to be baptized and times not to take the Lord's Supper due to the condition of the spirit, there are times not to cover. Therefore, a pastor cannot mandate that everyone covers at all times as that would be causing a woman to live in hypocrisy if her spirit is not right. Isaiah 30:1: "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin..."

When do I cover? I cover in church and during public ministry (street meetings, singing in the malls at Christmas, home Bible studies/prayer meetings, and when I give a devotional). There are two reasons I do not cover all the time (and I do know there are people who would take issue with this). First, my husband doesn't want me to cover at all times, mainly because he'd never see my hair. Basic. But, that is what he stated from the beginning. The other reason is because 1 Corinthians 11 talks about ordinances commonly practiced in the church - when a group of people come together for the purpose of worship. I realize that people practice the Lord's Supper in their homes, but it is commonly practiced as a church body and that is how this passage discusses it. So, when I cover, it is in the church setting and when I "pray & prophesy" publically.

I will confess here that I have been disobedient to my husband in one aspect. He prefers me to wear a covering while I am out in public without him as it provides a large measure of protection while my spiritual head in not present. This can be confirmed in verse 10 of 1 Corinthians 11: "For this cause ought the woman to have pioer on her head because of the angels." I will admit that because I go most places without my husband I would have to cover almost all the time which means that I have that uncomfortable position of having to cover my glory. We have discussed this and he has seen the fact that if I am out with others I do have more protection, but I know he'd really like me to wear it if I am alone. Something I will remedy very soon.

Will we have our daughter's cover? Only if we see them fussing with their hair too much for worship. If they are taking the glory from God to put on themselves, they will cover. For now, we make sure their hair is neat, but not too fancy when they attend church services. It will be up to them and their husbands if they cover later on.

I know this was long, but I have had questions through the years - either voiced or seen in people's eyes. I hope this cleared some of those questions up for you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Tribute: To my Commentators

Lately, I have not had the time to respond to many of the comments made on my blog. I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you who leave comments. They encourage me so very much. Many of you have been acquaitances in the past, but I now consider true friends. One of my regular commentators is a cousin by marriage whom I have never met. This is one of the venues in which we've become closer and very dear friends.

For those of you who have recommended websites and books, thank you. I visit most every site recommended and have found them very helpful. Recently, a book was suggested and I went to Amazon.com and bought it. Also, whenever a new commentator shows up, I check out their blog and have really enjoyed many of your writings!

So, though I don't say it often enough, thank you for commenting and encouraging. Thank you for your friendships. You all are awesome!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The 4 Ingredients to My Happiness & Success as a Home-maker

Ingredient #4: Encouragement From Friends

I go out for coffee every so often with a group of friends. There are four of us; the other three attend the same church while I attend another. One of the members has been my best friend all of my life. Another is a friend from way back whom I lost contact with for years only for God to lead us back in to one another's paths a few years ago. The other member has been friends with my 2 friends for a few years and we were introduced over some coffee and now we're friends, too.

We typically don't schedule an evening to go out too far in advance (we tried that once and most everyone forgot about it). One of us usually gets in contact with everyone else when we feel like we need to "get out." Usually, the others are in need of some time out, as well.

We all have children under 12 years old. We all have more than 2 children. We all have wonderful husbands who work hard. We all are Christians striving to please God in our roles of wives & mothers.

But, we still need to "get out!"

We usually meet at the coffee shop around 8 p.m. - some get there earlier, some later. It all depends upon the time each of us can get all of our households under control before we leave. We make sure our families are fed, clean, and ready for (if not in) bed.

What do we do at these wild get-togethers? Well, we usually eat or drink something, we talk about our families and our challenges/successes with them, cut coupons, and sometimes trade some good recipes.

In short, we are encouraging one another.

No, we don't encourage in the stereotypical way. We may not say, "Wow! You are a great mom!" or, "I wish I could keep up a home like you do" or "You are doing a great job being a housewife and homeschooling your kids!"

Encouragement goes far beyond flattering words. Encouragement is seeing others who are running the same race as you are, with similar obstacles, and still making it. Encouragement is sharing things that have worked for one to help another's life easier. Encouragement is getting a few hours to relax and laugh without being "needed" immediately!

The encouragement of these friends and countless others goes so far in helping me become a successful homemaker. I hear of a good book that helped a friend so I read it and glean ideas as well. A friend shares a recipe with me that's easy yet delicious, making it possible for me to make my family happy as I provide them with a nutritous meal.

Think about the things you do and how you do them - parenting, cleaning, laundry, shopping. Most of these things we have learned to do and improved upon by the encouragement of others. They have shared what has worked for them to help us. What things have you found that makes your life easier? Have you shared those things with others?

That's another reason why I've written this series - to encourage the younger moms. Encouragement is helping others see they are not alone. That there is light at the end of the tunnel. Being understanding of someone is to encourage that person. You may not have the answers, but if you understand - if you've BEEN there - that gives them a hand to hold onto. It gives them courage to go on.

Be encouraged. Be an encourager. Your success and the success of other homemakers depend on it!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The 4 Ingredients to My Happiness & Success as a Home-maker

Ingredient #3: ORGANIZATION

I want the heart of my husband to safely trust in me. I am his helper. Keeping his home running smoothly is a job I intend to do as well as I am capable. This is what I mean by "organization." I do not necessarily mean a schedule of jobs, etc. What I mean is how to make everyday life run a little bit more smooth and stress-free.

For instance, I do not schedule when supper is, but I do write a weekly menu of what we will be eating. This helps me to make a grocery list with goals in mind and not just randomly grab things off the shelves. If I shop on Monday without knowing what we will be eating on Friday, I will most likely have to return to the store for more ingredients, thus causing me to spend even more money. This is not an organized method of providing food for my family nor is it using good stewardship.

Let me show you this week's menu:

Monday: Crock-pot Chicken, salt potatoes, peas, pie (?)

Tuesday: Burrito Casserole

Wednesday: Herby French Dip (crock-pot), salad

Thursday: spaghetti pie

Friday: Creamy Cheddary Chicken w/ mashed potatoes

Saturday: (Cassia's birthday party) pizza, pop, chips, snacks

Sunday: Makes-a-Meal Baked Beans (crock-pot)

Monday: Leftovers (yeah, we eat 'em)

In making this menu, I take in consideration what we already have in the freezers and pantry. It would be far from frugal if I made up a menu for the week and had to buy every single ingredient necessary. I do make sure to go through my coupons in order to save a few more cents.

This menu planning allows me to prevent the 4:00 stress of "what's for dinner?!" as I am able to just look at my list, knowing that we have all the ingredients in the house. Notice I am using my crock-pot three days this week. This is not uncommon as it ensures a good meal on some of my busier days. Just be sure to defrost your meat the night before or you'll have to rearrange your menu (which is not impossible, either).

Recently, I was able to do the seemingly impossible task of organizing my laundry, thus reducing the amount of daily loads and making it stress-free. Really - I'm not kidding. I was reading the Duggar's book, "20 and Counting" when I came across their family-laundry room idea. Let me give you a quick summary of how I've incorporated this into our home:

I went through each of my children's dressers and closets. I threw away those items that were ripped or stained beyond recognition. I gave away bags and bags of clothes that no longer fit, were hardly ever worn, or just things I didn't care for. I then had to make some difficult choices to give away items just because my American children still had an overabundance of clothes. Each child now has 9 pairs of underwear, 7-9 pairs of everyday socks, 2-3 pair church socks, and the girls own a couple of slips and pairs of bloomers. Each child has 2-3 pairs of pajamas. Each of these items are in a bin (1 for each child) under the clothes rack in the laundry room. On the clothes rack are their hanging clothes - 4 dress pants and 4 dress shirts for each boy, 4-5 dresses for daily wear for the girls, 4-5 church dresses, several white blouses (that 3 out of 4 of my girls can wear), and several coulottes. On a shelf, I have 1 pile of t-shirts for each child and the boys each have a pile of casual pants - about 7 shirts and 7 pants/each. Does this make any sense? Every morning, each child grabs what they are going to wear and I don't even mind them throwing it into the laundry after only 1 day's use. I do, at most, 3 loads of laundry/day, but usually just 2. The loads are not large and it takes me less than 10 minutes to fold, hang, and put away the clean items.

What's so great about this method? First, I no longer have to fight with my kids about clean clothes stuffed into drawers or all over the closet floor. I barely have to worry about dirty clothes on the floor. If a matching sock is missing, I can send a child upstairs to look for it as I know they all were just recently matched up. I am able to keep all clothes neat, wrinkle-free, and clean. The greatest thing? I have my sanity back!

How do I organize the cleaning of my house? Basically I do what I can when I can. Everyone has 15-30 minutes every other day to do some sort of cleaning. Dusting a room or two doesn't take long. I like to mop my floors at least twice a week - this usually occurs during nap time. School is over and it's not time to cook supper, so I have a chance to make the house more orderly before my husband comes home. Trust me, having my laundry under control and knowing what's for dinner gives me more time to focus on the rest of my home. I am one of the pickiest people I know when it comes to vacuuming so this job takes more of a chunk of time, but I am able to find that time about once a week. I don't have scheduled "days" as I find that I tend to dread "cleaning days." I'm much better if I just realize I have a few extra minutes to jump right in and get something accomplished.

I don't know about you, but I work much better in a clutter-free environment. I must straighten before I can succeed in getting any other work done. If you find your house in disarray, concentrate on de-cluttering for a few days before picking up the dust polish or vacuum. Once you get things put away, try to take a few minutes every day to maintain that.

For you moms with really little ones, please refer to Ingredient #2. I was not able to be this organized when my children needed all of my time and attention. I barely had time to discover or think about how to be more organized. It will happen - don't stress if it's not today.

Organization takes thought and planning. Then, all it takes is maintaining. I know that if I let things slide for even one day, I will begin to drown in the sea of disaster. I am keeping my head above water and even making some progress. I refuse to be a drowning victim. Organization is my life-preserver.