Sunday, February 1, 2015

My headcovering testimony (Part 2) –what made me decide to cover full-time

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Those of you who read my headcovering testimony (Part 1) know well that I am a shy Asian woman. So it required me so much courage and guts to start headcovering practice in the church. Just the love toward God’s Words and the power of the Holy Spirit made it possible to overcome my timidity and embark on the totally new adventure.

So you may wonder how it is possible, that this shy Asian woman even starts to cover full-time right now. What happened to her? What made her decide to take further steps? Well, I am going to tell you my story.

Desires and struggles

Somewhere around last spring, I found that something in me started to yearn for full-time covering. It was almost an irresistible desire which was hard to be ignored nor repressed.

“But I am not a nun! How could I ever walk around the streets and stores with my head veiled? After all, I am just an ordinary evangelical Christian. Oh, how I wish I was in the church environment, such as old order Mennonite church in the states or in Canada where all the sisters are covering full-time!”

An Asian full-time headcovering woman? Well, I have never heard nor seen such a woman in my life. Not a single one. True, many Indian Christian ladies are still covering their heads but their practices tend to be considered “cultural” by the world and so outsiders usually don’t think it strange.

But how about East Asian? The Christian population in Japan is less than 1 %. So if you become a Christian in Japan, you will be placed into an overwhelming minority group. Then if you decide to cover your head during the church service, this time, you will be even more alienated from the rest of the people. So,, imagine what will happen if you start to cover your head full-time in these environments? Will I be like a Martian?

From the kindergarten to high school, I had been trained to live uniformly. Same school uniforms, same school bags, same manner to answer the questions etc. We were not encouraged to develop our originality or individuality. In a word, this was our cultural norm.  

The Gospel of Jesus Christ, however, calls out each individual from the familiar, earthly cultural norm. Whether we like it or not, Jesus Christ with His authority, compels us to strip off our external, earthly ornaments and medals. He presses hard to the core of my timidity and the source of earthly attachments and calls me, “Leave them, and follow Me.”

In order to attach myself to Him and His word, I must learn how to detach myself from the earthly ties and norms. I must keep saying No! to my old world system with its values in order to abide in the True Vine (John 15).

First attempt

After several months of inner struggles, I finally decided to cover my head full-time. I put on a white triangle handkerchief and went outside. Everywhere I went, I was very self-conscious. I tried my best to be normal and natural in my behavior. The following morning, however, I had to go to embassy for paper works. In the government office, I could not help but feeling that I was a weird girl after all. The receptionist was kind but there was a hidden but obvious question mark on her face.

I came out of the office with blushed face and went to the bus stop. And then,,,I took the veil off instinctively. I could not continue it anymore. Thus, after only 1 day and a half, my first covering venture failed. The cultural tide was too strong for me to face by myself.

Second attempt

Although I went back to my non-full-time daily life, the inner desire to cover full-time never ceased. On the contrary, it has got increased and burned inside me day by day. I often said to myself, “Birds in the sky are free because they fly freely as they wish without worrying about what others think.”

“Supposed you are living in this town by yourself, what do you want to do?” I asked myself. “Well, of course, I would joyously go around everywhere with my veil.”  Then sadly, I look at my reality. I felt I was like a caged bird. I was not free. I was not doing what my conscience desires because of the fear of men.

Then I opened the letter pad and started to write to my elder sister D in Pennsylvania. I poured all of my heart, explaining how I failed on my first attempt and how I wish to do what my conscience desires. And I sincerely asked her to pray for me that He would grant me power and courage to practice it. I also humbly asked my husband to pray for me about this issue.

The power of Christ

Thanks to their prayers and warm support, I decided to start it again. This time, God granted me much more inner strength and determination to keep going. At the end of October, 2014, I joined 4-day Christian retreat. I had been deadly afraid of the reactions of the elders in the church there, but He gave me supernatural courage and boldness to keep going as a veiled woman. 

I testify to the world that it is not I who live and act as I do but Christ lives and works in me. I am a very very timid woman but the fire of Christ drives me to do something unbelievable. I testify to the world that Christ is our universal King and He is a living Son of God. He can use even a little, fragile vessel to manifest that His Words endure forever.

Thank you so much for reading my testimony. If the Lord willing, I’d like to share with you some of the major spiritual transformations which the headcovering practice has brought into my life in one of my future posts.