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My Testimony, Part 1 - Jesus Loves Me This I Know


In this several article series, I detail my eighteen-month long journey out of American Evangelicalism.

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Ever since I was eleven years old, I was told that Sabbath keeping, failing to eat pork and rejecting American holidays in order to keep Biblical holidays was evil. That it was wrong. And the people who do these things were in a cult, they were rejecting “Jesus” and obliterating His work on the cross. They were heretics to be immediately rejected and outrightly condemned because they were taking themselves out from the New Covenant and placing themselves back into the Old-

...a thing not to be done.


As I sit here at my computer typing this out, I’m in tears. I feel shame, humiliation, and embarrassment over this. You see, at eleven years old I met my very best friend who believed in keeping the Sabbath, eating clean and enjoying the feasts of Yahweh (gasp!).


When my strict American Evangelical Sunday worshipping, right-wing, ultra conservative Republican family became familiar with my friend, I was warned incessantly that their family was in grave error and that I needed to take extreme precaution against succumbing to their ways (keep in mind we were just little girls).

 

I do not think it would be a stretch to say now that they despised my friend and her family, and it came to a point where I was suppressed into never talking about her even though she was a very, very big part of my life. The fact that I couldn’t share my amazing friend who I loved so much with my religious family hurts me more than I can say up to this very moment. My friend was “tainted” to them and she would never, ever be accepted and that was so painful growing up because I loved her.


As a young, impressionable little girl who had zero bible knowledge (other than ‘Jesus loves me, this I know’), my family quickly swooped in and began my apologetics education- expertly teaching me all of the Biblical defenses for this throughout the years.

 

As I remained a fairly devout Fundamental Baptist over the course of my life, the defenses for my faith increased greatly and in a way, I became a sort of “Torah watchdog” for this religion. My apologetics made many of my Evangelical friends proud over the years.


It seemed to be my “special ministry”.
And now I humbly confess my foolish pride displayed during that.

 

And nothing changed as far as her being a religious outcast to everyone in my religious life. As I got older, and became more entrenched in the Evangelical church, I still couldn’t talk about her much or share her wonderful attributes with my church “family”. It would be a repeat of what I went though growing up, only this time it would be of my own doing.

The results of which would be nobody ever truly knowing the depths of my relationship with her, or the memories we shared. And even though I’m entirely to blame, it interfered with truly loving her (even though there wasn’t a DAY that went by that I didn’t care for her deeply) and cherishing her as a fellow human being. And that hurts a lot.

All throughout our life though, sure there were times I wanted to wring her neck, but we fought and made up just like all girls and women do, lol… we were going through the long haul, growing up together, gaining husbands together, watching each other have babies, transforming into mothers, loving each other’s children, watching those children grow up, watching them stumble and fall and get back up again.

 

Amazingly enough, we are now in the stage of watching our own children start families and it’s heartbreakingly beautiful. What a tremendous blessing to see this for each other!


We’ve been the bestest of friends for over thirty years. I’m crying as I type this because I am beyond blessed that my Heavenly Father brought her into my life. She has poured her own grace out upon me for thirty years. Grace that I didn’t deserve- grace I will never deserve after all the things I did and said about her beliefs, her convictions. Things that were precious to her.


Did she ever try to convince me she was right and I was wrong? Of course! We both tried to defend our faiths. Little did we know that it was never our jobs to convict each other of our sins, or lack of devotion or how we saw it to be. But nonetheless, we tried. We poured over the scriptures together and I had all my defenses, and she had hers… I can laugh about it now, us floundering like ducklings… yell


Fast forward to 2019-2020. As with all relationships, we had our ebb and flow. We were long past trying to defend our faiths to each other for the last 10-15 years of our relationship and we were content to just love and accept each other as people, not based on beliefs or religious affiliations. So, to say that she eventually “won me over” in this testimony would be unequivocally false. I had long, long, long given up trying to battle with her, or her family over Torah keeping (just not necessarily with other people on social media- I still did that).


So back to 2019-2020 (I think)… To be a hundred percent honest, I don’t remember exactly how I became interested in head covering, but I did around this time. It’s possible that I was just reading/studying first Corinthians and Holy Spirit gently nudged me about it, I honestly don’t remember. But it piqued my interest and with everything that piques my interest, I started talking about it to the ladies in my life. Just asking questions, you know… feeling things out.

 

In any event, all the doors were closed on this topic. No woman that I knew maintained this tradition (at that time). But per the usual activity of Holy Spirit, He wouldn’t leave me alone about it (and of course, I was praying about it) and over time… the issue just wouldn’t go away in my mind.


So one day at work, we get a new employee who was a friend of some people at church, and she was a believer (which was so nice!). It was wonderful to chat and talk in a way that we just couldn’t with other employees. We became fast friends and we had so much fun together. We had great in-depth conversations- mostly about the Bible, our families, church, how we grew up, etc. And over the course of time, the subject of head covering came up.


I don’t think I can accurately express the refreshing nature of hearing a person explain how and why they believe the tradition should still be carried out at times (this is where we eventually came to part ways on this particular nuance).


But still!


She explained the OTHER SIDE of the debate! To say that you can weigh a decision based on one-sided information is straight foolishness. To be fully and completely informed, we MUST weigh both sides of an issue. At that time, there WAS no other side to the issue – it was women don’t cover based on X, Y, Z… period. There was no, “Here’s the reasons women do not head cover – here’s the reasons women do head cover.”

None of that.


I desperately wanted to know the reasons (even beneficially) a woman would cover her head. Why? Because a great majority of women do head cover around the world, they just don’t in America (that should be a clue?) and evangelical Christianity mostly ensures that it’s women don’t cover their heads. The reasoning behind this would be good food for thought.


My co-worker friend gave me information from her prior church whose pastor was pro-head covering. They didn’t enforce it in their services because it was divisive, but they gave a full treatise on it and I commend them. It seems to be in America, most seminary schools that churn out pastors, teach that this command is/was a cultural tradition that does not apply today. Also, many women and/or men simply contend that “hair” is the covering. Every where you turn, there is… dare I say, great resistance to this teaching? Not just one way or the other, but all around in general?


To be extremely brief, I came to a place where I couldn't get past these three sentences: A) if you are inclined to believe it is merely cultural, then you’ll have to stay consistent and allow women to preach from the pulpit (1 Tim. 2) as Paul uses the creation order to defend this teaching in the same way (his reason for head covering (creation, doubled with angels)). B) if “hair” was the covering, then men should have to remove theirs (1 Cor. 11:4)… oh, they can’t take their hair off? Hmm… and, C) in the Greek for “katakalupto”, it means “to bring down”- a woman must bring down something onto the top of her head.


For a more detailed apologetic feel free to read the full journey I undertook here: afflicted4messiah.wordpress.com/2021/07/09/my-head-covering-journey-part-

There are more defenses than three, I just wanted to be brief in this post. And, to document what it was that 'tipped me over the edge' so to speak, on the issue.


Ok, back to the story.


So, was this a providential, divine orchestration for this time in my life? If you think about it, what are the odds that I was searching for answers and this one precious woman came into my life in a way that allowed us to talk for very extended periods of time about this? We were able to freely express and explain all sides to this topic without shutting each other down, without bringing in our biases, our desires to be right, or our theological bents. As with everything I study, I just want Truth. Give me allllllll the facts… So…


Did I start head covering? Did I choose not to?


I was undecided and did not cover. It took a lot of time to gather all that I needed to know (many, many months). It took time for Holy Spirit to do His work in me. It took time for Holy Spirit to orchestrate events outside of me, in my circumstances, in my life. I was still counseling with other women.


If I can say anything about me is that although I can be rash at times and make hasty decisions, sometimes I can be cautious (overly so) as well. Especially when it comes to spiritual issues. Very often, it takes months- even years to come to conclusions about things. The truth is, information doesn’t always come all it once. It tends to come in pieces as the Father allows them to fall in His timing, all the while preparing the soil of our hearts to receive these things.


When my heart became ripe… I covered.


And, by “ripe” I mean, I was not in a good place. My Heavenly Father had to take me to a place of surrender (as I read other head covering testimonies, this story became a similar theme among other women as well). It was a place of sorrow where He had to shatter my pride (it needed it) and suppress my rebellion (we’re still working on that…). And after day one of covering, I was amazed to find that the very next morning, when I suddenly remembered that I needed to put that thing on… I felt burdened.


Burdened.


I quickly felt ashamed and I was shocked to find how much it tore at my heart. I stood there looking into the mirror, holding this flimsy piece of cloth, feeling… this feeling that it was a weariness to me. On the SECOND day. Man. If we feel burdened to “put on Messiah” even one day, woe to us. And, what started out as a casual morning, plummeted intensely. This outward symbol, this symbol that outwardly shows Yah’s GLORIOUS created order- me. The glory of my husband...


…and it was a burden to me on the second day.


Then the cross flashed through my mind. What my Savior did for me, for the whole world and I have this honor, this privilege of outwardly showing His majesty in Creation, outwardly showing my celebration of HIS order for the sake of what? The angels? All of creation? And it was a burden to me?!


Guys.


Nothing compares to what Messiah accomplished at Calvary. What in the world was I holding onto that hindered me from that. From Him. Was I really willing to let my pride, my ignorance, my failure to search things out, my laziness, hinder me from fully loving Him and treasuring the things He has given?


“The secret things belong to Yahweh our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever,…” Deut. 29:29

______________

After that reckoning,

I now feel a sacred duty to wear this symbol.

For me.

I say this with a careful caveat... I will not speak regarding where other women are concerned on this topic; however, if you are tempted to think that I am saying other women are “sinning” or failing to display His Glory for not covering, you’d be wrong. I do not think those things. This is a very delicate topic that needs to be handled with great care. This is MY story. Feel free to write your own, and publish it- you have the freedom to do that. But, please don’t think that I am condemning or judging other women who do not cover.


What I do believe is that church authority should teach both sides, leaving it to be a woman’s choice between her and her husband (my husband usually compliments me quite often, but he actually complimented me more after I covered!).

 

They should be careful not to make it divisive because if it’s taught with clarity and in it’s fullness, you will most likely have some women who cover and some who do not. We must remember to love despite differences in convictions over secondary matters and the elders will have to help women wade through that.

_______________________

---- Phew! That was a lot of information on head covering… But it is an integral part of this story, trust me. There’s a lot to tell, so before we continue, let me add this very last comment about it.


There is a belief that there is “protection” on a woman who covers her head. So far, I have not found where this is explicitly stated in the scriptures. Nevertheless, I did read some testimonies where certain types of protection have happened. Protection from physical harm, protection from spiritual oppression, witchcraft… This would have to be something you endeavor look up on your own, but there are testimonies out there.

But, regardless of that, the point I'm trying to make is, something changed when I started covering.


Just not in a way I could say my life became amazing and I'm now twirling around on a mountain top singing my lungs out for joy, because would not be the truth, unfortunately. It’s been very difficult. I often wonder how this can be, but then I am reminded that the “way” is hard- it’s very narrow, very timultuous… more than one can imagine.

Well… a lot of things seemed to happen all at once, but I wanted to start there and since I feel like I said everything I wanted to say on that, and now we’ll move onto the next leg of the journey.

____________________

The Name

 

I feel like the title, “Jesus loves me, this I know.” should be the title of Part 2 as it is a better reflection of the subject matter that I’m going to get into but it’s a good launch point for the story of my best friend.

Actually, it’s a good launch point for all of our lives, isn’t it? This song is sung from the cradle to the grave, a cornerstone of a song in American churches. Tell me, who doesn’t know this song?

And from birth, a vast, beyond measure, amount of people are ingrained with this idea, this song, planted in their minds and hearts from their earliest formative years.

Is it true? Is there a God named “Jesus” who loves us?

Jesus loves me

this I know

for the Bible tells me so...

 

Thank you for reading.

To read Part 2, click HERE.


-May the peace of Yahweh through His Son be upon you all.

Comments


Donald Smith 47 w

Wow! What a great article. This resonates so much to me and my wife. For us it was the practice of pagan holidays in Sunday Church that lead us to Torah for Sabbath and YHVH’s Holy Days, His Feasts. Very well written.

 
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