Saturday, January 31, 2015

Headcovering testimony of Sister Jessica

beautiful Arizona sky

One of the best blessings which headcovering practice has brought into my life is the intimacy and closeness in relationships.When I say relationships, it includes both divine and human sphere. Well, when I first started blogging about my beliefs and practices of headcovering, modest dress etc in Japanese, I had felt quite alone. I felt I was exactly like that lone dancer whom Bro. Jeremy Gardiner mentioned in his excellent essay entitled Will you stand alone? A call to be the first to cover(here)

Oh,but ladies, it was worth enduring it, seeing what God has granted me right now! Sweet and intimate friendship with sisters across the globe! Jessica (USA), Irina (Russia/Canada), Sanae (Japan) and Caro (France) are among those who have become my cherished and very important friends. I also have covering sisters in Pennsylvania who have always been my inspiration and help. 

Today, I am going to post Jessica's headcovering testimony entitled Faithful Over a Few Things. Among 3000 congregation members, she is the only one who covers!How courageous she is! Do you want to know what made her decide to take such a bold step? Now let us all incline our ear to her story.

                                                        Faithful Over a Few Things 
                                                          by Sister Jessica Roldan

There was a time when I thought that headcovering did not apply to us as Christians today. I had heard many times that only the Corinthian women of the first century were supposed to use a headcovering while praying or prophesying (sharing the Word of God with others). So, every time I came to the section of Scripture that talks about this (1 Corinthians 11:1-16) in my personal reading, I brushed past it, and moved quickly on to the next part. But, I always felt uneasy about this Bible text: was it for today? 

Then, I read an article another Christian lady had written on her blog, entitled “Should Christian Women Cover Their Heads?” I was intrigued. She recommended several books on this subject, and I read them all. I pondered deeply the 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 passage. Then came the moment, when I knew for sure that the headcovering ordinance was actually a command meant for everybody, everywhere, in all time. It was so clear to me, that I knew I had to obey immediately, or be in danger of sinning against God. The Bible says this:

“He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:4-5

And also:

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17

After getting approval first from my husband, I searched through my drawers for something I could use to cover my head, and found a few long, rectangular scarves. I wasn't sure if I was going to cover full-time, or strictly while at church, praying, reading the Bible, and teaching it to my children. But I had to start. Right away.

My first test came immediately. At that time of year, we were about to celebrate a very big holiday, where lots of people gather together. Couldn't I begin to use the headcovering after the holiday was over? It would be so embarrassing for all those people to see me! But, if I did not keep God's commandment, I would be a liar, and would demonstrate that the truth was not in me. I would be sinning. How unbearable that would be! So, I determined that I would wear my scarf, no matter how uncomfortable it made me feel.

On that occasion, nobody said anything to me, though I knew they were curious. It wasn't until afterward, that someone who had been at that holiday gathering, confronted me about it, and it was horrible! This person marched angrily up to me, and without even asking me how I was, or giving me any sort of polite greeting, said, “Why are you wearing that on your head? Why are you trying to be saved by works?” Struck with such a blow, I couldn't answer right away. 

But then, I attempted to reply, “Headcovering isn't an Old Testament command, but is found in the New Testament. I know that works can't save, and that's not why I'm doing this--” But I was sharply cut off and not given a chance to continue. After ranting for several minutes, this person turned abruptly around, and huffed off without even saying goodbye. I was so shocked, and so sad! Was this how it was going to be for me as I obeyed God by headcovering?

So far, that episode has been unique, and has not been repeated, neither by that person, nor by anybody else. However, I still find headcovering a struggle. I want to be normal! I don't want to look weird! But when it comes down to it, I'd rather be considered strange by other people, than grieve the heart of my Father with disobedience to His command. 

And I don't use a headcovering to try to earn my salvation; I trust only in Jesus' righteousness, and not my own! “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth … For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:4, 10). I cover my head out of obedience to God, because I love Him, and want to please Him even in the “small” things.

How small is too small? Is a little step of obedience inconsequential because it's a footstep and not a giant leap? How can we say, “God, I will only obey you in the 'big stuff' but keep Your hands off all the minor things—those tiny selfish indulgences that I retain for myself—don't touch!”? 

Should we not rather be willing to give over to God everything, the big along with the little? So, I should be willing both to proclaim God to others by telling about the salvation He offers to them through Jesus Christ, and to proclaim my submission to His order by wearing a headcovering. I long to hear from my Lord:

“...Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21

Yes, I appear unusual to some. There will be those who disapprove, and look down on me. Some will misunderstand me, and think I am being legalistic. Others will label me as “prideful” and “attention-seeking.” But did not Jesus Himself suffer reproach? I can take it! I will be strong, and not give up! I will focus on the blessings, instead of the hardships! Here are a few of those blessings:

  1. Humbleness. Covering up my “glory” (my hair) develops a spirit of humility, as opposed to vanity.

  2. Meekness. Constantly carrying the symbol of submission on my head disrupts any temptation to argue with my husband. Instead, I am reminded to be mild and to peacefully retreat in a disagreement.
  3. Reverence. Accompanied by the “ceremony” of placing a cloth on my head, Bible study and prayer is graced with a beautiful solemnity and gravity.
  4. Perseverance. Swimming upstream develops muscles! My spiritual “muscles” are being strengthened as I am forced to confront an unsympathetic public.
  5. Femaleness. Highlighting the distinction between my husband and I by wearing a headcovering, raises into sharp relief my femininity. The woman in me blossoms and softens as I relax into my proper role, and allow my husband to take charge.
There may be many more blessings that I have not listed, but that are waiting to be discovered as I continue to obey the headcovering ordinance! What about you? Could you be brave enough to find out what blessings God is holding in His hand for you, waiting to open up His palm at that moment when you decide to say “Yes” to Him? Or maybe you have already taken that first step of obedience: will you continue steadfastly and not give up? Perhaps you will be an encouragement to me, when I hear of your courage and unmovable obedience!

Lord, may we be willing to surrender every little thing to You. Help us to be faithful over a few things, and not despise them because of their seeming unimportance. Prepare us for greater responsibilities through our obedience in the simple task of wearing a headcovering. And fill us with joy as we keep our eyes trained on You! Amen.

Her blog is here

p.s. This headcovering testimony was translated and published in Japanese as well (here.) Do you have any Japanese friends whom you want to share your faith and beliefs? If so, you can introduce this article to them.