Voices
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

A covering

When you walk with the Spirit there is no telling what God might have you do

Issue: "2012 Books Issue," July 14, 2012

I do not look good in hats and so I do not wear them. The exception is in church on Sundays where I don a mantilla "because of the angels" (1 Corinthians 11:10). So when David told me he had spotted a hat in a store and thought, "That's Andrée!" and bought it, I was apprehensive: This was my husband so there would be no question of re-gifting.

An important element of this story: I do not have normal hair. One of your fibers would be 10 times the breadth of my baby's down lock that burns in exposure to the summer sun where yours does not, just as a thinner cut potato will fry crispier than a blunt-cut one. And so, hatless for four months, I annually emerge into autumn singed.

More on my husband's gift-hat later.

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I find myself married to a man who lives in a world of symbol. I think that "symbol" is the wrong word here, and that I grope after something oceanic. Gustave Flaubert said human language is a cracked kettle on which we hammer out tunes to make bears dance while we long to move the stars. There is something analogous in the spiritual realm.

The Lord had been preparing me for years for a deeper dimension of His reality. A friend walked me through a house in Texas, room by room, placing his hand on the wall and asking a blessing. As I could think of nothing unscriptural to say about it, I just pondered it in my heart.

Six years ago, a certain child, at a Thanksgiving gathering, was stolen away into my kitchen by a man who took her in his arms and prayed solemn prayers for her future, availing himself of tap water for an ad hoc sprinkling, for she would not be baptized otherwise. No one in her immediate family of unbelievers understands how she has come by such faith.

My husband made me a bracelet during our courtship (which I broke in the act of throwing a beach towel out the back bedroom window to my son). It was a careful arrangement of mother-of-pearl, garnet, and crystal. The crystals symbolized God, the light of the world.

These David strung on either side of the garnet (for consistency) as representing his promise of faithfulness being hemmed in by the light of Christ. Crystal refracts into seven colors (for fullness). The bracelet had seven stones between each garnet. Three pearls in each seven-stone segment of the pattern represents Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with us.

The symbolic in Scripture (I still seek a better word) weaves through like music decibels too high or too low for most modern ears. Moses is told to strike the rock and does so-though God, not the stick, brings out water. Elisha commands a new bowl to which salt is added, and when he casts it into the bitter water, the Lord says, "I have healed this water" (2 Kings 2:19-22).

Jesus commands the servants at Cana to fill stone pots with water (John 2) and tells His disciples to bring Him the little boy's lunch of five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:9). God tells the sufferer to sing (Isaiah 54:1), which would be cruel if it were not that through this obedience to a word that makes no sense in the earthbound realms, He intends to unleash blessing.

When you walk with the Spirit there is no telling what God might have you do. He may have you go to the elders, vial in hand, and ask for anointing and prayer for your insomnia.

The hat David bought me 600 miles away looks very smart: Everybody says so. I wore it to church (because of the angels) and to the sunny field where my granddaughter plays near the cat-o'-nine-tails, and where the rays of the beating sun cannot singe me. And it occurred to me in that field that my husband has provided a covering for me, not unlike God's covering for His bride. And I rather enjoy the thought of it.

Email aseupeterson@worldmag.com

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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