Head Covering: What it is and Why I Do It

I would like to begin this discussion with 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 so that we all know which passage of the Bible this topic is coming from.

2 Now I praise you because you always remember me and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with something on his head dishonors his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since that is one and the same as having her head shaved. 6 So if a woman’s head is not covered, her hair should be cut off. But if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, she should be covered.

7 A man, in fact, should not cover his head, because he is God’s image and glory, but woman is man’s glory. 8 For man did not come from woman, but woman came from man. 9 And man was not created for woman, but woman for man. 10 This is why a woman should have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 11 In the Lord, however, woman is not independent of man, and man is not independent of woman. 12 For just as woman came from man, so man comes through woman, and all things come from God.

13 Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a disgrace to him, 15 but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her as a covering. 16 But if anyone wants to argue about this, we have no other custom, nor do the churches of God.

I have read this passage many times but it never occurred to me to question whether covering my head during worship was something I should be doing. I didn’t question it because no one I knew ever did and I was never told that I should. It is no longer a custom among Christian woman as a whole in America so when I read this passage I didn’t stop to think about it. It wasn’t until I met Christian women who do cover that it even occurred to me that I should study this topic for myself. I began by reading 1 Corinthians 11 and reading commentary on it by theologians whom I respect. I also spent a lot of time reading through the articles at headcoveringmovement.com which gave me an immense amount of insight on the passage. As I studied, I began to feel convicted. Then when I spoke with my husband about it I discovered that he too believed it was something I should do and that just confirmed it for me.

The argument against head covering is that it was a cultural thing during the time of the Corinthian church and that it is no longer applicable today. But in my study, I learned that what Paul (the author of 1 Corinthians) is saying is actually a command for Christian women to cover their heads during the corporate worship service. We should cover our heads when the saints gather as a symbol that we are under the authority and headship of our husbands who are under the authority and headship of Christ. I won’t give an argument here on why I believe the passage is giving a command (other than to say that Paul is pretty clear that this is something he believes should be done) as I believe that the articles at The Head Covering Movement website have done a fantastic job of explaining it. To read those articles, begin here.

Head covering from Garlands of Grace

Head covering from Garlands of Grace

I do, however, want to discuss why I personally chose to cover. First and foremost, I do believe that it is a biblical command and so I follow it because I want to be biblical and faithful to God’s Word. But a secondary reason, and an important one I believe, is because I want to display what head covering represents, which is to show that I submit to my husband as leader in our household. In this day and age, where feminism is running rampant, I want to show that I stand by my role as woman. As a woman, I came from man and as a wife, I am under my husband’s authority. I submit to him; I do not rule over him or emasculate him. I am to be respected and not walked over by him, but I am not in a position of authority over him. Covering my head when in worship displays that I submit to my role as a woman, a role that God ordained at creation.

Despite what feminist would have us believe, this is not degrading. This is beautiful. To be a woman, created for man, to take care of my husband, to bear children, and to partner with my husband in the Lord’s divine plan for His people, to further His Kingdom, is a privilege to be celebrated. It does not make me weak or inferior. To submit to God’s role for me as wife to my husband makes me strong. God made me for my husband and gave me to him as his bride and that is why I should be respected. Not because I am strong in my own right but because I need my husband and my husband needs me. We were created to work together, to bond together and become one. This is how God designed marriage to work and I love that He chose me to be a wife, to submit to my husband, and to stand with quiet strength under my husband’s guidance and authority. I want to display this beautiful role that God has given me (and in doing so displaying my husband’s role of authority) by covering my head, my glory, when we gather to worship and pray to our Creator. It is a reminder to me of who I am; a woman whose identity lies in Christ and not in herself.  

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The things my husband doesn’t know 

But does now, now that I’ve posted them here for all to see. 

The things my husband doesn’t know about me as a stay at home mom.

He doesn’t know that I’ve started using dry shampoo because I don’t have the time (or the energy) to wash my hair most days. 

He doesn’t know that I let our son eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch as often as he asks because I don’t always have the time (or the energy) to fix him something else. Or I don’t want to deal with the mess that other foods cause on that particular day. And hey, at least the kid is eating! 

He doesn’t know that I slept in pee this morning because our daughter’s diaper leaked and there was just no way I was going to wake the sleeping children to change the sheets, thus insuring that none of us would be getting more sleep. I need sleep and if that means sleeping in a puddle of pee then I’ll do it. 

He doesn’t know the roller coaster of emotions that I feel all at once every single day at every single moment. 

He doesn’t know that feeling that I get as a mother when I hear my baby cry but I have to leave her crying for a few minutes because my toddler is either trying to kill himself or getting into something that could potentially hurt him or cause a giant mess. 

He doesn’t know the irritation of having a big dog constantly under foot who behaves much like a child and doesn’t help with anything. At all. 

He doesn’t know what it’s like to have the pressure (self inflicted of course) of keeping the house at a certain, bearable level of clean while also not neglecting the children. 

He doesn’t know how much effort it takes sometimes to do even just the minimum that is required of me as a wife and mother. And even that minimum sometime feels like it’s impossible to accomplish. 

He doesn’t know how often I have to just shrug and say “good enough” because if I didn’t, I would be a psychopath and nobody would be happy. 

He doesn’t know how often I evaluate and reevaluate myself, finding myself lacking, and then fighting to remind myself day in and day out that I can’t be perfect, I don’t have to be perfect, and that I’m really doing just fine. 

He doesn’t know what it is like to feel like my body isn’t my own. He doesn’t know what it’s like to have a child (or two) hanging off of me, touching me, and needing me 24/7.

He doesn’t know how incredibly drained I feel at the end of the day. 

And he doesn’t know that all of this isn’t insane or just pure emotion and hormones. These things can’t be “fixed” or made all better when looked at logically. 

Maybe he does know how hard I try but he doesn’t know what all goes into it or how much of myself I have to sacrifice. 

And I know that he doesn’t know these things not because he’s a jerk but because he’s a man and he has his own role to fill that I couldn’t fill as a woman. I know that there are probably things about him as a man in the workforce that I don’t know about because I’m not in it. I get that. But sometimes I do wish we could spend a day in each other’s shoes so that we would better know and understand what it is really like. Because it’s not as easy or as simple as we think it is. 

I wasn’t ready for marriage

I love mattwalshblog.com. I love everything he has to say and the way he says it. There are a ton of great posts that I could link to but this one in particular is very relevant.

I wasn’t ready to get married either. I didn’t have a full-time job. I hadn’t graduated yet. I didn’t even have my driver’s license. I was only 20 years old. I had been encouraged by many people to not be in a hurry to get married. I was told to wait. That I had plenty of time and that I should explore the world first. You know, LIVE. Live first and then get married because after you are married you can’t live anymore.

They didn’t say those exact words but they might as well have.

By most peoples standards I wasn’t “ready” to get married and start a family because I hadn’t finished college, hadn’t dated enough guys, hadn’t had a career, or any of the other things that make someone an “adult” and “ready” for marriage.

But as Matt so wonderfully points out, you can never be ready; and the only way to be “ready” is to be at a level of maturity where you can walk, jump, or hurl yourself into marriage and learn along the way.

I have learned A LOT about myself, about life, and about God through being married. I have matured. I’m not the same person I was when I first got married. And that’s a good thing. Why would I want to put that off? Why would I want to put off maturing and growing with another person who, no matter what, loves me and is committed to me? I would much rather journey through this messy life with my husband than to do it alone.

I was mature enough at the time I met Kyle to say “yes, I am committed to you. I will be faithful to you. I will honor our vows” before knowing what the future held. And now that we’re three and a half years in, now that I know all of his annoying habits, now that we’ve had some pretty nasty fights, and we’ve been through some really hard stuff, I am even more committed to him and the covenant we made.

Don’t wait until you are “ready.” It will never happen. Once you love someone with a love that comes from God, jump right in with both feet. It’ll be a beautiful, though sometimes messy, journey where you’ll learn what marriage and love is really all about.

I wasn’t ready for marriage.

via I wasn’t ready for marriage.

Real Marriage: The Porn Path

Chapter 8 of Real Marriage deals with the issue of pornography. I’m not going to write a whole lot concerning this topic because I did a four part series about pornography not too long ago so I feel like I would just be repeating myself. To read those posts, click on the following links:

Pornography & the Family

Pornography & Marriage

Porn & Parenting: 6 Ways to Protect your Child

Pornography Follow Up

I will sum up and highlight some of what the Driscolls had to say on this topic.

Most experts agree there are four basic aspects to virtually all heterosexual pornography, which constitutes the majority of porn:

1. The message is consistent that all women want sex from all men all the time in all kinds of bizarre ways and are essentially nymphomaniacs.

2. Women really enjoy whatever any man does to them sexually.

3. And woman who does not meet the stereotype of points 1 and 2 can quickly be changed through a bit of force or intimidation.

4. The woman is dominated and degraded by the man in a way that exploits her as essentially a tool for the pleasure of the man and not really a person, but rather, parts.

Pornography rewires the brain. It creates a fantasy world in which these four points are the “norm.” When this happens, reality is no longer satisfying. Real men and women aren’t attractive because our brains have been rewired to desire a porn star. We no longer crave intimacy but simply lust after more and harder porn. It is destructive to our marriages and to our souls.

Unfortunately, many many people, more and more being women, struggle with a porn addiction. It is a very real problem in many, if not most, marriages. It needs to be fought. Repentance and redemption need to be sought.

The Driscolls offer “some practical advice for those wanting to be free of porn and sinful lust, as well as those spouses who love them.”

1. You must be honest with yourself.

2. You must be honest with God.

3. You must be honest with your spouse.

4. You must put your sexual sin to death by the grace of God.

5. You must submit to God the Holy Spirit.

This is the only way to be free. Repent, confess, put your sin to death, and cling to the Holy Spirit to help you run away from temptation.

Our marriages are worth it.

Real Marriage: Disgrace and Grace

file6461281015948This chapter of Real Marriage dealt with sexual abuse. Grace Driscoll shared her story of past abuse and how it had effected her and her marriage. Fortunately, I have never been a victim of abuse so I couldn’t relate with this issue. I can’t speak from that perspective. What I can speak from, however, is having something disgraceful in your past creep up into your present and wreck its havoc.

It’s easy when we’re single and it’s “just me” to ignore issues. If we ignore it or just find a way to move past it then the problem will never bother us again. But when we’re married, we’re not “just me” anymore. Now we have a spouse and possibly children. We have a family and our problems no longer effect “just me” but them as well. What was easily pushed away, what was easily contained by the wall we built up around it, isn’t so easy to ignore or shrug off anymore.

For example, I have grown up with an anger problem and a need for perfection. When I was single, I used those things to my advantage. My perfectionism got me a great GPA. My anger fueled my passion. When things got out of control it wasn’t a big deal because I was good at hiding it and pushing through the pain. But then I got married and my anger grew worse. It was harder to contain it and even harder to ignore it. Then my son came along and my anger grew even worse and it became even harder to contain and ignore. The reason for this is because it wasn’t just me anymore. When it was just me I could more or less control my environment and keep up the wall that harbored all of my anger. I couldn’t do that anymore when it came to marriage and motherhood where my involvement, attention, affection, and every part of who I am was demanded of me. I couldn’t control my environment no matter how hard I tried. My husband didn’t function within my well guarded and well maintained world and my son had an entirely different plan, schedule, and way of living as a child in his world.

I came to the end of myself. How I dealt with my anger (which was basically not dealing with it) was causing depression which rendered me incapable of functioning. I had to get help and not just for my sake, but for the sake of my husband and especially my son.

You see, how I dealt with and responded to my anger was a disgrace. How I had harbored it, ignored it, and let it get to the point of effecting my family was a disgrace. But in finally facing the disgrace I found grace.

I think we each have a story of how God has redeemed our disgraces or the hurt that was inflicted upon us. And I think some of us, by God’s goodness, have found grace and peace in our marriages. For me personally, I know the Lord used Kyle to usher peace and grace into my life when we met. And the Lord continually uses Kyle to maintain that peace and grace in not only my life but in our marriage and in our home.

What about you? What is your story of disgrace and grace? How has it effected your marriage and how has your marriage effected your story? Feel free to share in the comment section!

Real Marriage: Sex

Woo hoo! It’s time to talk about sex!

sexpic

In chapter six of Real Marriage, the Driscolls talk about sex as either a god, a gross experience, or a gift. We all have different views of sex and we either see sex as a god, as something gross, or as a gift from God. We are going to take a close look at each of these perspectives, decide which one we relate with most, and then determine how we should respond.

SEX AS GOD

People see sex as a god when it is something that they pursue, something they can’t live without, something that tends to control them. People who view pornography see sex as a god. People who masturbate see sex as a god. People who sexually cheat, fantasize, and think about sex in a pornographic way see sex as a god. They, in a way, worship sex. It is their idol.

A quote in the book stood out to me when Driscoll wrote, “Idolatry happens when a good thing (like sex) becomes a god thing (like adultery), which is a bad thing.” Sex is a good thing but when people make it an idol, they have put the creation above the Creator. They have made it into something that God did not intend.

SEX AS GROSS

And so it also is when people see sex as gross. There are two reasons for why people may see sex as gross. One, they were raised to think that “sex” is a bad word and that it is something to be ashamed of. Sex isn’t something you should talk about, think about, or even feel. It is just a “necessary evil” for procreation.

Another reason for why people may see sex as gross is because they or someone close to them was sexually abused. Though sex itself is not bad, how it is used can be bad. Being sexually abused can make consensual sex feel gross or wrong. It is the abuser who has perverted sex and forced it onto someone else, influencing that person’s view and feelings toward sex.

SEX AS GIFT

God created sex for a husband and wife. It is not only for reproduction but for intimacy and enjoyment. It is a gift from God to His children so that they can fulfill the command to “be fruitful and multiply” and keep their marriages strong. Driscoll wrote, “Because sex is a gift that God gave, it is His intent that we steward and enjoy that gift, like every gift He gives, in such a way that is glorious to Him and good for our marriages. Sex is a powerful gift that God gives to married couples. Furthermore, it provides six good and glorious benefits.”

Those benefits are:

  1. Sex is for pleasure.
  2. Sex is for creating children.
  3. Sex is for oneness.
  4. Sex is for knowledge.
  5. Sex is for protection. 
  6. Sex is for comfort.

God didn’t give sex just to satisfy people’s sexual needs or just to reproduce. He gave it as the most deep, vulnerable, and intimate way for people to bond and become one with their spouse. It’s a beautiful thing when used as God intended, when viewed as a gift from Him, and not put on a pedestal or seen as gross.

 

Which do you lean towards most? Is sex a god, is it gross, or is it a gift?  How does your view effect your relationship with your spouse?

Real Marriage: Taking Out the Trash

**Yes, I have gotten behind in this series and I apologize. I am kicking myself for not keeping up with it as diligently as I should. Please forgive me and continue reading!**

You are a sinner. You married a sinner. And now you are endeavoring to create a biblical marriage, a biblical family, between two sinful people in a sinful world. Impossible? It can sure seem like it. Hard? Yes.couple-arguing

This chapter of Real Marriage was a challenging one. When we hear the phrase “taking out the trash” we typically think of the “trash” being someone else, someone who isn’t good for us and needs to go. But in this chapter, “taking out the trash” refers to our own trash, our own crap that needs to go. One thing that will ruin a marriage is holding onto our trash, thinking it’s not hurting anybody, and refusing to do anything about it. It will ruin a marriage to sin against your spouse, or your spouse to sin against you, and not reconcile.

Conflict comes in every marriage. It is unavoidable. But when conflict comes, repentance and forgiveness should follow.

The Driscolls list what repentance  is not in order to clarify what repentance is.

  • Repentance is not getting caught but coming clean.
  • Repentance is not denying our sin.
  • Repentance is not diminishing our sin.
  • Repentance is not managing your sin.
  • Repentance is not blame-shifting our sin.
  • Repentance is not excusing our sin.
  • Repentance is not about someone else’s sin.
  • Repentance is not about manipulating God or people for blessing.
  • Repentance is not worldly sorrow.
  • Repentance is not solely grieving the consequences of your sin but is hating the evil of sin itself. 
  • Repentance is not mere confession.

The following three things make up repentance:

  • Confession
  • Contrition
  • Change

We take out the trash we bring into your marriages by repenting of how we have sinned against our spouse. We should take this seriously. Denying or ignoring our sin only makes things worse. Putting blame on our spouse as the cause of our sin is childish. Being sorry but not truly hating what we’ve done isn’t real repentance. To repent, we must confess both to God and our spouse, be contrite, seeing our sin as God does, and then we must make a change.

In marriage, repentance has to be continual because we are continually messing up. We can’t keep our love and covenant strong if we stop repenting.

On the other side of repentance is forgiveness. The Driscolls also list what forgiveness is not. I think it is especially important to know what forgiveness is not because it can be a hard concept.

  • Forgiveness is not denying, approving, or diminishing sin that is committed against us.
  • Forgiveness is not naivety.
  • Forgiveness is not enabling sin.
  • Forgiveness is not waiting for someone to acknowledge sin, apologize, or repent.
  • Forgiveness is not forgetting about sin committed against us.
  • Forgiveness is not dying emotionally and no longer feeling the pain of the transgression.
  • Forgiveness is not a one-time event.
  • Forgiveness is not reconciliation.
  • Forgiveness is not neglecting justice.

Forgiveness isn’t so much about your relationship with the transgressor as it is about your relationship with the Lord. Forgiveness is about your heart, not theirs. We are commanded to forgive others as we have been forgiven by God so ultimately forgiveness should be done as an act of worship. When we forgive, we keep bitterness out. Bitterness is a bondage and it can destroy not only our marriages, but ourselves.

We need to repent, forgive, and keep bitterness out of our marriages. To do that, we need to learn to fight well. When in conflict, we need to learn to keep the perspective that our spouse is our friend, not our enemy. The Driscolls offer six “rules” to fighting productively.

  1. You have to decide if your spouse has committed a sin.
  2. Decide how you want to deal with the conflict.
  3. Do not fight when either of you has any substances in you, such as alcohol, that alter your emotional state. (I would also add being aware of other issues, such as sleep deprivation, that could also alter your emotional state).
  4. Before you fight, stop to pray, asking God to be in the midst of your fight, controlling your tongue, and helping you fight for the marriage by attacking the problem and not the person.
  5. Do not use fighting with your spouse as your release valve or lightening rod. (In other words, if you need to relieve stress, don’t do it by arguing with your spouse. Choose another activity that helps you relieve pressure.)
  6. Sometimes a couple simply cannot come to an agreement on an important issue, and it affects their oneness and unity, possibly including their sexuality. In such circumstances humble servants need to ask whether or not the issue is really worth holding their ground on, or if in love with a clear conscience they can defer to their spouses.

To sum it all up, don’t sacrifice your marriage for the sake of your trash. Your marriage is worth a whole lot more.