My prayer covering, and this column’s purpose

Do you wear, or have you ever worn, a prayer covering? If not, do you wonder what it feels like?

Lucinda J. Kinsinger

I have worn mine for 25 years now, ever since I was 8 and asked Mom if I could. In my world, all the grown-up ladies wore coverings, and I thought it was the natural next step in my growing-up progress.

Mom, pleased with my desire and unaware that I didn’t really understand the significance of a prayer veiling, made an order. My covering arrived a few weeks later in a square cardboard box in the mail.

On the day it arrived, Mom twirled my long, uncut hair into a bun, instead of the braid I’d always worn before, and secured it with silver hair pins. The hairpins scraped my scalp, and I shook my head, pointing to the one that hurt until Mom took it out and placed it in again more loosely. The bun felt strange and heavy, and when I looked in the mirror I thought the white mesh covering Mom placed on my head looked like a white ark sitting atop a mountain.

I wore that strange white ark to church the next day, holding my neck stiffly so as not to dislodge it. But by bedtime, my hyper-awareness of the new hairstyle had vanished, and I crawled into bed and slept on my knobby bun without a second thought.

I have learned since that time —thank God — that my bed is comfier and my hair healthier when I take it down at night, but otherwise, I still wear my hair very much as Mom first combed it for me when I was 8.

I have also learned since that time why I wear a covering. I wear it in response to the teaching in 1 Corinthians 11 that says a woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head. My covered head represents my spot of safety under God’s authority as well as under the leadership of my husband.

ALL MY LIFE, I have been a part of a conservative Mennonite church that teaches this doctrine, though I recently moved from my close-knit community in Rusk County, Wis., to a vibrant blend of Amish, Mennonites and other folk in Oakland, Md. Those of you who’ve been following my column in Mennonite World Review know something about that journey.

For those of you who do not know me: God surprised me last year by introducing me to Ivan, a blog reader who felt impressed by God to ask me to date. I was doubtful at first, having only ever communicated with him online, but on the advice of my parents, I agreed to a meeting.

We met in March 2019, and now that I know him better I am amazed that such a shy man had the courage to fly from Maryland to Wisconsin to be inspected by a stranger. But he did, and I did, and we married in November.

If you’re interested, you can read more of our love story from both of our perspectives on my blog at ­lucindajkinsinger.com. You might also be interested to read about our conservative Mennonite-style wedding and my introduction to Oakland.

A bit about my personal interests: I love people. I seek friends from many cultures. I read. I write books.

I am honored and excited to continue my column in Anabaptist World. My role as columnist is to represent the face of conservative Anabaptism in this magazine. I will do so in the only way I’ve ever been able to write anything: by telling my own story, my own unique perspective.

And though my story and perspective are unique, you may find aspects of your own in it.

In future columns, I will try to show an awareness of how my perspective fits into the Plain mindset, how it fits into Anabaptism as a whole, and how it fits into Christianity. It is my job to notice this, to mine the comparisons and the contrasts.

You can help me. Respond to my columns or contact me on my personal blog (lucindajkinsinger.com) with your own thoughts and questions. Do you want to hear a particular subject addressed? Tell me. I look forward to hearing from you.

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