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.  

Beyond the Costume

photo-2Back in November my favorite author, Ted Dekker, came to a church in Dallas to share his testimony and do a book signing. Having never seen him in person I was eager to go and hear him speak.

Some time after I received an email from Ted’s manager asking for the attendees to share how Ted’s talk had impacted us. I replied with a short version of my story. I came across that email today and it inspired me to write this post. Here is what I wrote:

Ted,
My name is Sarah Kerby and I am 24 years old. I am known as one of your diehard fans having read almost all of your books. I truly enjoyed seeing you in Dallas and having the opportunity to hear your heart and get a glimpse of who you are and why you write what you do.

What you had to say was very relevant to what I have gone through this year.
I am married and I have an 18 month old son. My husband and I desire to have more children and in January we found out I was pregnant. I lost that baby a few weeks later. In May I was pregnant again! But, just like last time, I lost the baby a few weeks later. It was utterly devastating. Tests have been done but there is nothing physically wrong with me that would lend reason and answers to why I had two consecutive miscarriages after having a healthy child. It’s a mystery, as so many things are.
In between my two miscarriages the Lord was working on my heart in an extreme way. I finally sought Christian counseling for the anger and depression issues that I had had for so long. It was a humbling and cleansing experience.
All that to say that the Lord has shown me an immense amount of grace. He has taken me beyond this “costume” that experiences heartbreak, pain, sin, and wondering and has shown me an unexplainable peace that penetrates my soul. There is more beyond this life that we live day to day. We forget who we are, always, but then God sends a reminder. He has done that a lot this year and He did that through you and what you shared.
I thank the Lord that He has chosen to speak through you and that He has given you such an amazing gift. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.
Faithful reader,
Sarah

Since that email I have lost a third pregnancy. And now I’m at a point in my life where the future of my family isn’t so clear. After three consecutive miscarriages I feel like we’re at a crossroads. What do we do now? Do we stop getting pregnant or keep trying to have a healthy pregnancy? What is the Lord’s will in this?

My doctor is going to be running more tests and we’re going to be praying about what the Lord wants us to do next but right now, in the unknown, I am at peace. I’m at peace because there is more to life beyond this costume. I’m just here playing a part that God created. This body that makes up Sarah Kerby is just my costume. The roles that I play, the experiences that I live, and the choices I make are just one small part in the greater drama that is the Gospel, that is God’s divine plan.

It’s not that my struggles don’t matter. They do matter. They are real. But there is more to life than this alone. There is more to life than fulfilling the dreams of Sarah Kerby. There is more to life than doing what makes Sarah Kerby happy.

I have this soul that is in dwelt by God Himself. And it is my soul that says, amidst the feelings of my costume,  that “it is well.”

My costume says, “God must not love me since he’s taken three babies away from me.” But my soul says, “I don’t deserve God’s love and yet He extended His grace and gave me a son.”

Beyond the costume. That is where I look when all seems lost and things don’t make sense. The costume confines but the soul is free. The soul knows that this body and this life is just a costume and that I am meant for much more than this.

My costume has always desired to have many children. I dreamed of having a big family. But my soul knows that the Lord is sovereign over that dream. I can let go of that dream because my soul is content with God’s purpose for my costume and ultimately, my soul itself. I may yet see that dream, maybe not biologically or maybe not at all, but I am at peace. I am not my costume. I am my soul. And my soul belongs to God. In belonging to God, I have nothing to fear. Not death, not unhappiness, not suffering, not future unknowns. I can rest here, now, in all of this, because I know Jesus and Jesus has set me free. I am not bound to this world. I am not bound to this costume. I am bound to Christ, to His unfailing love, and to His grace which carries me through life until He calls my soul home.

The following song written by Horatio Spafford is, for me, the perfect way to end. I cry every time I sing this song as I’m sure Mr. Spafford did as well. He wrote this song during his own personal tragedy and it wonderfully expresses the anguish of pain and loss of our costumes as well as the deep spiritual strength, gratitude, and humility of the rescued soul.

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

I’m Baaaack (imagine creepy sing-song voice)

Hey folks!

I apologize for my long absence. I needed to take some time away to focus on some sanctifying work the Lord has been doing on my heart. I want to share a little bit with you what the Lord has been doing and I will be sharing more of what He has taught me concerning marriage and parenting later on.

Since my adolescence I have had a problem with anger. It reaches back into my childhood but unfortunately, since it was never addressed, it followed me into my adulthood. It was a wall I put up as a way to hide and protect myself. It was a coping mechanism to keep things “just so” because if things did not remain “just so” I couldn’t cope. It spurred on a perfectionistic mindset which served me well as a young, independent, single, and dedicated college girl. However, when I got married, my anger problem grew worse. And then when I had a child, it grew even worse. It became worse because my way of coping no longer worked. I couldn’t keep things “just so” because I couldn’t control my husband, my son, or even my dog. They don’t function within my walls of finely crafted protection and stability. They have their own wills and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get them to behave in such a way that made my world feel stable.

I never knew how to handle my anger in a healthy way so my cycle was to experience, stuff, ignore, and then eventually explode. I was a pressure cooker. I stuffed down all of my anger and emotions until the pressure built up and all I could do was release it. It was never pretty. I felt out of control and terribly depressed. I tried and tried and tried to do the right thing but nothing worked. Nothing worked because I was trying within my own power. “I’ll deal with this,” I said. Me, I, myself. I didn’t realize it but I am so selfish. This was all about me. Until one day, after one of my worst episodes of anger and depression, I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought of my son and how I did not want my problems to effect him. I did not want him to learn this response to anger. I wanted better for him.

God broke me and I gave up my fighting. I finally started looking for help and eventually came into contact with a counselor at Hope for the Heart. I began seeing her once a week for six weeks. It was so hard at first. My pride was hurt in admitting that I needed help and in discussing things that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. But, in the end, the Lord brought me out of the bondage of my anger and set me free. Anger is no longer a wall of protection or a coping mechanism. Perfection is no longer my (very unattainable) goal. My ability to be loved, my significance, and my security is no longer found in my performance or in what people think of me. My greatest needs (love, significance, and security) are solely found in Jesus. He has set me free to respond to stress and anger differently. It is still an effort, as I’ve lived many years responding one way, but the Lord has given me the power through His Spirit to change.

Psalm 116:1-7 sums it up for me.
“I love the Lord because He heard my plea for mercy, and listened to me. As long as I live, I will call to Him when I need help. The ropes of death tightened around me, the snares of Sheol confronted me. I was confronted with trouble and sorrow. I called on the name of the Lord, ‘Please Lord, rescue my life!” The Lord is merciful and fair; our God is compassionate. The Lord protects the untrained; I was serious in trouble and He delivered me. Rest once more, my soul, for the Lord has vindicated you.”

Kermit Gosnell Kills Women and Babies and the National Media Remains Silent

Social medias are blowing up with the news of Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial but the national media has remained relatively silent. I have read many articles about Gosnell today and the more I read the more my heart breaks and my anger boils. The evilness that has taken place at Gosnell’s abortion clinic is unspeakable. The stories that staff members have told about what they did and witnessed are unbelievable. Truly, the heart of any person who can perform an abortion is depraved and hardened but the heart of a person who can go to the extent of inducing labor and delivering viable and active babies and then kill them by decapitation is absolutely black with evil. It is deplorable. And then hospitals, the health department, and the state department ignore the complaints, turn a blind eye, and are satisfied with an incomplete investigation! It is despicable! And now the national media is ignoring this story as well which leaves people ignorant of what is going on.

We must cry out to the Lord for His mercy and justice. We must speak out on the behalf of all those women who have been mistreated and for all those babies whose lives have been taken from them.

If you haven’t heard about Gosnell then please take the time to read these articles and spread the word.

Why Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s Trial Should Be a Front-Page Story
(Please note that this contains graphic imagery.)

8 Reasons for the Media Blackout on Kermit Gosnell

9 Things You Should Know About the Gosnell Infanticide and Murder Trial

Lord, please come quickly!

Jesus Appeased God’s Wrath

the-passion-of-christ_1639599353There is a fine line between God’s law and His grace. God is both just and merciful. He is both a God of wrath and a God of love. His attributes don’t contradict but complement each other. I think people are focusing so much on God as a God of love that they are forgetting His wrath. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden God cursed them and banished them (Genesis 3). When Uzzah touched the ark of the covenant to keep it from falling into the mud God struck him dead (1 Samuel 6). And when people were desecrating the temple in Jerusalem with their trade Jesus made a whip out of cords and drove the people out (John 2:13-21). He is a God of wrath and when we disobey Him, dishonor Him, and make a mockery of His Word He is sure to correct us however He desires. And He is completely just in doing so.

I say all that to bring us to the cross. When Jesus died, He appeased God’s wrath. He took all of God’s wrath onto Himself for our salvation and His glory. He bore the wrath of God so that the children of God wouldn’t have to. And if indeed we are the children of God then we don’t have to live under God’s wrath. Instead, He has grace on us when we fail. That doesn’t mean that we can then live however we want for if we truly love God then we will desire to obey Him and follow His Word. But He will extend grace when we make mistakes along our journey of sanctification. God is a God of grace and amazing love because He made a way for us to be shielded from the weight and fury of His wrath. But for those who reject Him, and for those who confess with their mouth but deny Him with their life, they will not escape the wrath of God. Judgement Day is coming and God will not be merciful to those who do not fear Him. Oh but the wonderful love and grace He will display for those He calls His children.

This message of wrath and grace is for sinners. It is for homosexuals, liars, cheaters, and adulterers. It is for people with addictions, people who are striving for perfection, people who are angry, depressed, and hurting. This message is for you and me. Without God’s wrath and without His law we wouldn’t know grace because there would be no need for it. So on this Good Friday I encourage us all to be reminded of God’s wrath and of Jesus’s death which appeased God’s wrath and brought about our salvation. What amazing grace God has on us to sacrifice His Son to shield us from His wrath, to pay the penalty for our sin, and, in the resurrection of Jesus, to give us hope. There is no greater love.

Happy Easter everyone.

Three Things Christians Need to Stop Saying in Response to Gay/Marriage Equality

freeimage-5429390I have been seeing a lot of pictures, links, quotes, articles, and statuses about the legalization of gay marriage and marriage equality. Facebook is blowing up with everyone’s thoughts, opinions, and strong convictions. Some of what I am seeing I completely agree with and stand behind but there have been some things that make me angry. It makes me angry because they are things coming from Christians – people who claim to love the Lord and adhere to His Word. I expect nonbelievers to behave and respond as nonbelievers but when Christians respond in a way that goes against God’s Word, His standards, and His values then I am angered. So here are three things that Christians need to stop saying in response to the legalization of gay marriage and marriage “equality.”

1. “I’m a Christian but I believe that gay people have a right to marry the person that they love. I’m not going to judge!”

This statement is basically saying that “I believe in God and the Bible and I know what the Bible says about homosexuality but I’m completely disregarding that because I don’t want to offend anyone. And I think not judging someone means accepting everything they do and believe even though it goes against God and His Word.” This statement reveals that we don’t understand the word “love” or the word “judge.” Nor do we know what it means to be a Christian. We can’t call ourselves Christians and then blatantly go against God’s Truth all in the name of “love” and “equality” as we have defined it. As Christians, everything has to be put through the filter of God’s Word. What do we believe about homosexuality? Look at God’s Word. What is love? Look at God’s Word. How do we define marriage? Look at God’s Word. And we must let the Bible speak for itself. We can’t pick and choose what we like and what makes us feel good. We can’t impose our presuppositions onto what we’re reading. Homosexuality is a sin because God says so. Period.

2. “Let gays get married so they can be just as miserable as the rest of us!”

The message here is that marriage is miserable. What a terrible thing to say! Marriage isn’t all rainbows and sunshine all the time but it is a blessing and a God-made institution. Marriage is sacred and is used as a picture of the Gospel. That is beautiful! Marriage can be hard and at times it can be miserable but the goal of marriage is not happiness but holiness. And often times the hardest experiences in life are what make us more like Christ. Marriage isn’t the end all of this life and it isn’t the answer to all of our problems but please, Christians, let’s not send out the message that marriage is miserable. What is that saying about our marriages and how we feel about our spouses? That is a destructive idea to promote and it doesn’t glorify God and His gift and design of marriage.

3. “Gay people should be condemned to hell.”

We should all be condemned to hell, gay or not. It is true that “all have fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I have my sin issues and you have your sin issues. Any sin on any scale or level is enough to separate us from God. And it is true that homosexuality is a sin and that does separate people from God. It is perverted and wrong. It goes against God’s design for sexuality and gay marriage goes against God’s design of marriage. It is and will always be wrong according to God’s Word. (Read Romans 1:18-32) And it’s okay to say that. It’s okay to call sin for what it is and to remain faithful to God’s Word. Please, do that! But condemnation should be left to God and God alone. We should not hate homosexuals or condemn them. We should not speak harshly of them or hurt them. We are to love them. That doesn’t mean that we ignore what the Bible says about their lifestyle and that doesn’t mean that we accept their lifestyle. To love them means that we don’t condemn them but rather show them grace and show them Jesus. We should love them to repentance.

Please, fellow Christians, stop saying these things. You (and I!) are hurting the cause of Christ. Let us be more of a herald of the grace and truth that we have found in Jesus Christ rather than a tool of the Devil and a promoter of lies. And please, believe me when I say that I am speaking to myself as well. I am no better. Yet God has placed within me His Truth and I must proclaim it not for my own sake but for His. For His Kingdom, and glory, and honor, may we be biblical in our response to the gay marriage and marriage equality issue. No matter what happens, no matter what our government decides, and no matter what you say, Christ still reigns.

In Jesus, There is Hope

Today I am reminded of the magnitude of the fallen world we live in. Healing from the loss my husband and I have suffered and then attending a funeral today and hearing of other struggles people are facing, the fact that sin is ever manifesting itself and effecting us in different ways is brought to the forefront of my mind. During the funeral I kept thinking of how this fallen world is currently pressing in on me. I mean, I am always aware of the depraved world we occupy but recently it is weighing more heavily on my shoulders, making its presence more obviously known.

However, I am not disheartened. Along with this realization is the truth that God is faithful. That truth follows closely on the heels of the truth that the world is fallen. We don’t have to fall under the weight of sin. We don’t have to succumb to the pain and depression that the effects of sin bring upon us. We have a God who is faithful to His nature and to His promises. We have a God who, if we are His chosen children, will not fail us, will not stop loving us, will never leave us. We can rest in His faithfulness. Even if we do not feel His presence, we can claim Truth, believe it in our souls, and trust that one day we’ll climb out of the darkness and into the Light. We’ll find healing. We’ll find hope.

Hope. That is what I am always coming back to. In Christ, there is hope. In His faithfulness, there is hope. In His holiness, there is hope. In Him and in Him alone, there is hope. I could not have survived the loss of my baby, Rylie, without Christ and His hope. It is through Him that I continue to live with joy, hope, and faith.

Even though knowing Christ does not disqualify us from experiencing the effects of this fallen world, it is knowing Him that gets us through. That is a truth that you can take with you as you face whatever you are in right now or whatever may lie ahead for you. That is a truth you can remember as you grieve the loss of a loved one, as you work to strengthen or repair your marriage, as you search for wisdom in raising a difficult child, as you strive to live biblically in this fallen world. Knowing the Lord and bringing glory to His name is the ultimate goal, no matter what it is that we face here on Earth.

“Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” – Philippians 3:7-11

Jesus is better.