Tag Archives: dreams

All hell broke loose – Courtship, Part 3

That warm October day, when I finally worked up the gumption to call Daniel and ask what he felt towards me, changed our existence drastically. That first conversation after 6 months of silence jump started the next hellish chapter in our story. We got off the phone, me privately trying to calm my racing heart, and Daniel doing fist pumps on the other side of the phone. We both felt so elated to have finally been able to talk, and to finally tell each other how we felt. We continued having secret phone calls; me sneaking out on long walks, Daniel, going on long drives. I don’t remember who came up with the idea first, but we decided that it would be a good idea to come up with a relationship guidelines presentation. We worked on Google Docs (yay for technology!) and chatted and talked while we wrote together a list of the things we thoughts the parents would approve of and that we would be able to do. We talked about finances, we talked about how we could make it work to get married in a year, or two. We talked about our dreams for a family, and what we wanted to do when we had kids. We talked about where we wanted to live, and dreamed together about what our dream house would look like.

For one blissful week, we talked, and talked, and talked. We talked with my grandparents, and discussed what would be the best way to present the parents with our presentation without setting them off first and us getting shut down. We had the parents figured out by this point. If I was seen anywhere near Daniel at church, I was chewed out later by my dad about how disappointed he was with me, and how wrong it was that I had been near him. I was so sure that if we didn’t tell the parents at the same time, we would get in trouble that went far beyond our imagination. We finally worked out a plan, and as the week came to a close, both of us became more and more nervous that we were doing something terribly wrong.

I realized that I forgot to write about something in the previous two posts. When Daniel was approached by his parents and “told” him that we should cut off our friendship, they didn’t command him to cut off our friendship, it was a suggestion. But because of the church culture, and what our parents believe about courtship, Daniel took it as something that he had no choice but to do. Instead, he actually had the choice to not take the suggestion and do it. This really irritates me that we were old enough to be treated as adults, but we were still treated as children.

Our plan was that Daniel would tag my dad at church and ask if he could come over that afternoon to talk to him. And then Daniel would ask to court me, my dad would say yes, and then we would show the parents our relationship guidelines and everything would go as planned.

But, of course, that would never be the case.

Daniel, in all his nervousness, was a bit hasty with my dad that Sunday morning, and he was a bit blunt when asking if he could come over that afternoon to talk with my dad. My dad, always courteous in person, told Daniel that he could come over around 2 that afternoon. We left church, and my dad mentioned that Daniel asked if he could come over this afternoon, and wanted to know if I knew anything about that. I denied knowing anything about it, but my insides were quaking as I knew that potentially that afternoon would mean that we would be able to start talking again. Daniel called me to tell me that his car battery died.  Thus started the hell that afternoon ended up being.

Almost a half hour late, Daniel finally got to my family’s house, I hid on the side of the house to say hi to him and to say a little prayer before he faced the lion, er, dad. Daniel marched, shakily, around the corner of the house to talk with my dad, and I began the anxious wait in the back yard waiting to hear what the verdict would be. I watched from the bushes as Daniel and my dad wandered up and down the sidewalk, and I noticed that my dad, as usual, was doing most of the talking. When they finished, I managed to grab a few minutes with Daniel before he headed home. He said that my dad gave him this long talk about being responsible, but he didn’t get an answer about being able to court me or not. He left to go face the music at home from his parents, and I went inside to face mine.

I don’t think I have ever seen my mom get that mad. My parents chewed me out to within an inch of my self esteem and self confidence.   My dad couldn’t believe that Daniel would have the gall to pull him aside at church, no less, and ask, no demand, that he come over that afternoon. My mom couldn’t believe that we had gone behind their backs and talked. They kept asking what I had to say for myself, and how disappointed they were in me. I was reduced to tears, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. I couldn’t figure out what we had done wrong, or why it was so wrong that Daniel and I had talked. I called Daniel sobbing and asked what we had done so wrong! He told me that his parents had chewed him out as well. He said we should stop talking and stay away from each other until things calmed down. He said he felt just as humiliated and condemned as I did.

That night was torture, I felt like I had lost my love again, and I didn’t know how many more of this I could take. A few weeks later, everything seemed to have blown over, but I still felt the shame for something I still wasn’t sure I had done. November came and went, and as Christmas rolled around, things were still very rough. I was still chewed out when I got seen around Daniel, but my dad still believe that there was nothing going on between us and that was that.

As New Year rolled around, I was getting excited about going to a friend’s party and I knew Daniel was going to be there as well. We were looking forward to it very much, but I still had to ask if I could go. I finally worked up the nerve to ask my dad if I could go. He asked a few questions and then asked if Daniel was going to be there. I knew there was trouble, so I said I wasn’t sure. I knew he had been invited, but I didn’t know if had decided to go or not. He had this look on his face, and then proceeded to tell me that if Daniel showed up then I would have to leave right away. my heart sank because I knew that my conscience would not allow me to stay if Daniel showed up. I was crushed because I really needed to get out of the house, and I needed to see friends since I didn’t get to see many people otherwise. I hid in my room, called Daniel and pleaded with him to not show up at the party. I told him why, I said that I couldn’t handle not having to leave.

He sweetly told me to please go and have fun for both of us, and that he would enjoy hearing about it later. I felt lonely that night as 2010 rolled in. I missed my other half, and I felt trapped. I had no idea what the next year would bring, but I had this really strong feeling that it wasn’t going to be easy.

January past, February, March, and then April. I met a new friend in April, really clicked with her, and found it really cool to know that her husband was one of my husband’s good friends while growing up. We talked for a very long time over dinner one day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Daniel and I had started talking with more frequency by this point, and even though we tried to hide it, I think my mom at least knew. We were talking a lot, and it was so relieving to know that I could call him whenever I needed to and he would pick up.  Anyway, I got home from the dinner with this new friend, and found an email in my inbox a few hours later. She wrote to tell me that they would be moving, and they wanted to offer me a room in their house because they knew my family situation was rough, and they wanted to offer a way out.

I could hardly believe my eyes. I was shocked and at the same time felt a small flame of hope. Could I really have a way out of this wretched situation?

I emailed her back and started making plans.

I knew I wasn’t going to tell my parents, but I knew I wanted to move out.

Little did I know that things were about to get a heck of a lot worse.


When I first met you – Courtship, Part 1

Having over 160 pages of my husband’s and my story written down, it’s difficult to condense our story into a readable amount. But here is where I will try my best to do just that.

The First 6 Months

Year 18 of my life was strange. I was often told I was very mature for my age, but I never really knew what that meant. I would get cautious compliments on my accomplishments, but rarely did anyone take the time to draw me out. I had three friends that I kept up with, but everyone else either was never available to talk, or I had to fake my way through a shallow conversation. When I met Daniel* I pretty much wrote him off as another shallow guy, but there was something about him that intrigued me. We had just started going to a new church, and a mutual friend of ours introduced us. I met him while surrounded by my crazy siblings. I tried to find him on facebook later that night, but with no luck (I found out later he had his profile private). He never really left the back of my mind over the following two weeks. When we started chatting online two weeks later, there was a little click. I was still intrigued about something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Looking back, I can say that I definitely liked him from the start, but I wouldn’t have admitted it then.

In the midst of dealing with my parents, the stress of trying to finish school, and being in a ridiculously stressful job, Daniel started becoming my voice of reason. When I met him, I was coming to the end of two years of doctor’s appointments for my FM and those drs visits were increasingly depressing and discouraging. I would often get off work at the library, get online there and chat with him for two hours before heading home. The first 3 months of getting to know Daniel were refreshing, and we clicked almost instantly. Our chats are over 300 lines long, and we were constantly in communication of some sort. I figured out that I could send texts to his email, and since he was online all of the time, we would text/e-text back and forth for hours on end. I would hear from him first thing upon waking up and a text from him would be the last thing I read before falling asleep at night. This was all happening just 3 months after meeting him. I can see clearly now how much we liked each other from the start….:duh moment:

My family went on vacation that December, three months after we had met. I didn’t know if I would have wifi for my laptop, but we still texted through the vacation. A few days into the week, I asked him to cut back on texting me. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea (gag me now) and I knew I was falling hard for him the more he communicated with me. He eagerly agreed to text me less, and hoped that he hadn’t “led me astray.”  We tried to cut back the text messages. We really did! It was so hard though. Really hard. Because of Daniel’s strict conviction of not talking to any girl on the phone unless it was for business, or because he was going out with her, I didn’t talk with him at all on the phone for the first year of getting to know him. There were many times that strongly frustrated me, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Allow me to back up a few steps and give some background. As I have mentioned before, I grew up under the ideology that courtship was the only way Christians did relationships. I read all of the right books, even some marriage books that were highly recommended by friends and mothers of my friends. Even though my parents were not involved with any of my friendships, I still tried to be careful with any guy friends I had. I can list the number of guys I’ve had crushes on on one hand. All of those friendships were one on one friendships, and I quickly outgrew my crush as I got to know them better. Only with one of them had I ever had a “let’s define this friendship” talk. That guy was just all over the map when it came to girls, and he had quite a trail of broken hearts behind him. I was quite determined not to be one of those broken hearts…and I’m not.

When Daniel came into the picture, I had already pulled back a lot from the other two guys I was pretty good friends with. Part of the reason for that was not wanting to become emotionally dependent on them, but also because I was withdrawing deep into a dark shell. Daniel came into my life right before I shut the door on any new friendships. You could say he made the friendship cut.

So when I told Daniel that I wanted to cut back on talking, I had several reasons for doing so. He had told me the previous week that he wouldn’t get into any relationship until he was done with college, and the next girl he got into a relationship with was going to the girl he married. I knew I liked him at this point, but I also knew that things were going to have to slow down or else this all going to blow up and we were going to be heading down the path he said he wouldn’t until he was out of college.  He had all four years of college ahead of him, and I knew neither of us were at all ready to support ourselves financially. It just couldn’t happen…yet.

I got back from vacation, and we went right back to our previous level of communicating. If anything, we probably talked more than before. I spent more time up at the library, and we started leaving voice mails for each other. We really figured out all of the ways technology allowed for us to keep in contact without actually talking over the phone. Daniel became the one thing that helped me get through most days as I sunk deeper into a very dark pit. He very quickly figured out that my family was dealing with some pretty dark things, and instead of running away and leaving me to my pain and ignoring me, it became his goal to make me laugh at least once every day. He listened when I cried about having a discouraging doctors appointment, and he encouraged me when I said I didn’t feel like talking that day. When we were together at church, he was the one who stayed by my side when I was in a lot of pain or having a really bad fibro-fog day. This guy was an absolutely true friend, and he is a precious gift.

Around March he told me that he wanted to take a week to cut back on all communication except for email, and only when I was online. He told me that he needed to take some time to figure out his and my friendship, and what my place was in his life. By now, I was 100% he liked me a lot, but he wouldn’t and didn’t admit to anything.  At the end of the week, the mutual friend who introduced us was having a birthday party that we both were invited to. I should probably mention that when talking with one of my closest friends about Daniel, she had cautioned me to not get too attached, because that would end badly. I told her not to worry because I knew things were right where they should be, also, I knew this guy was special. She didn’t believe me, so I stopped talking about Daniel to my friends. His name rarely came up.

The birthday party as a big question mark for me. I was going to know at this party where Daniel and I were going next with our friendship. I knew it would either just fade away and become nothing more than an acquaintance-ship or we were going deeper. I called my friend and told her that I wasn’t sure if I was going to come or not. I didn’t tell her anything about Daniel, but I was very nervous and anxious about seeing him after a week of almost no talking. At the last minute on the evening of the party, I decided to go. My stomach was entirely made up of butterflies and I could barely contain my heart as I rode over to the party. This was it. This was the first of many turning points in our friendship.

I got there early and helped my friend’s mom finish up with getting the food set up. I was so nervous my hands were shaking. I finally heard Daniel’s voice in the hall and I just about fell apart. He came around the corner, and it was then I knew.

We were moving forward.

*Name changed


Remember When Dreams Faded…

I watched a darling three year old the other day, and had an absolute blast with her. There is something rejuvenating interacting with an innocent child and there is something refreshing watching their joy at the simple things in life. A lot of memories from my own childhood came back as I watched and listen to her prattle on about favorite things as she shared her little life with me.

As I watched her make up playmates and give her toys voices, I realized I have no memories of doing that. I frantically tried to remember any time I might have made up scenarios for my dolls or played with imaginative playmates, but I only had foggy memories. By the time I had reached 10, I was already an “adult” and had lost any desire to make my dolls my playmates. My siblings and I built forts and made up towns in our basement. That only happened though when all of us got along…which usually wasn’t very often. But when we did get along, the stories about the towns we came up with were quite elaborate. That all stopped when I was 12 though. Every once and a while I would be convinced by my brother to build the Lego houses I was quite known for. He still, at 20, reminds me of those several story houses I used to build.

At 12, I was in charge of meals, cleaning, laundry, raising my two youngest siblings, and I was supposed to still be doing my school work. Somehow I fell off the school radar around the time Mom got breast cancer, and then I was in charge of grocery shopping as well. I remember feeling like everything I did didn’t matter when families brought over meals for us. I used to silently question whether or not I was good enough to cook for my family. I used to be mad at the families who provided meals for us because I felt like everyone was doubting my ability to take care of the house or the meals. I was trapped between wanting to be affirmed for the work I did, and wanting to not have so much responsibility.

Someone was babysitting us one time and I broke down in sudden tears because she wasn’t letting me do my job and she was letting the kids be kids as they raced around the house, was loud, and played lots of games. I rarely cried, but when I did it was because I couldn’t take it anymore and a LOT had built up. She comforted me by telling me that I should let my siblings be kids and that I was just a kid and needed to act like one. I couldn’t explain to her how and why I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t make her understand why I wasn’t a kid, and I couldn’t explain the problems that wracked my family. That is when I realized that I wasn’t a child anymore and from 12 years old and on, I was an old spirit in a young confused body.

My biggest problem with large families raised in a Patriarchy/Quiverfull mindset is the weight that is put on the oldest daughter. I have read articles, and heard parents talk, about how they don’t believe in teenagers, or even that their children can’t handle the heavy theology or ideas that the parents start inducting them into at a very early age. The parents treat their children as if their children are already adults, but then lose it when a child acts like a child and the parents come down harder with the discipline. Because of being treated like an adult by my parents, it always was hugely confusing when I got in trouble for something I didn’t think I’d get in trouble for. Or something I didn’t think I should get in trouble for.

I hear a lot of parents wanting to raise their children to make good, wise decisions [on their own], but I barely see parents, especially P/Q parents, allowing their children to do that. My husband and I have had a lot of discussions about what we will or won’t allow our children to do. Even though I grew up with more maturity than most people my age, and I don’t regret having that, I don’t want my children to feel like they can’t act their age.  I don’t want to see my children frozen in a state of responsibility that makes it hard for them to imagine, create, or be risk-takers in their endeavors.  I am stuck right now feeling unsure of what my “gifts” are.  I was so concerned about shouldering my responsibilities that I never had time to really grow creatively or let my imagination blossom.

If parents are so concerned with teaching their children to make good decisions, then why are there so many grown up children fighting to make those good decisions as their parents beat them down and still try to make decisions for them. A friend told me a few months ago that even though parents are usually wiser than us kids, even they don’t know what is best for us all of the time. Even though I knew this, I hadn’t ever put it into words.  This is what frustrated me the most in my relationship with my husband, prior to marriage.

When I met my husband, I was in that unknown stage between being a child and a young adult, able to make her own decisions. I hadn’t pushed my parents [yet] into letting me make my own decisions. The decisions I had made myself were, more often than not, the decisions they wanted me to make. The frustration, the confusion, and the pain of not feeling like my parents trusted me was dizzying as I made decisions (with my now husband) like I had been taught, but was not allowed the freedom to make them. More on our relationship story later though.

I still find myself wringing my hands in frustration and confusion as I try to figure out what I am good at. I feel a great sense of loss looking back and feeling the numbness my 12 year old self felt when realizing I could never be, nor was I, a care free girl. I have broken out of the added weight of feeling responsible to raise my siblings, or to be the oldest child to set the example for my younger siblings. But I still feel lost. I still don’t know what my gifts are, or what I should pursue now.

I am good with kids because I am the oldest of 9, and have nannied for over 3 years on top of having raised most of my siblings. I have played the piano for 12 years and am good at it because it was my dad’s dream for me, and yet it carries some harsh memories because of his disappointment when his dream crumbled because I couldn’t play anymore. I am a historically accurate seamstress because the only way we were going to be able to do reenacting was if I made the clothes myself. I took voice lessons for 1 1/2 years because I wanted to, but had to stop when Mom couldn’t afford to drive me to lessons each week since i wasn’t taking piano lessons at the same place anymore. I sometimes wonder if the reason why I couldn’t take voice lessons anymore was because I could no longer follow my dad’s dream with the piano. I love to write because this is the only outlet I have left for the emotions that erupt from my heart and mind at times. But am I good at writing, singing, sewing, playing the piano, taking care of other’s children? I think I am, but those are all connected to the grave responsibilities I was placed under as a child.

Playing the piano became my dream when I discovered I had a natural talent for music. But that crumbled when I developed FM, carpal tunnel, and tendinitis. Singing was amazing, and I was slowly discovering bravery and confidence when that had to stop because I couldn’t play the piano anymore. I took sign language for 4 years and loved it, but the stress of living at home that brought on the Fibromyalgia, also caused me to stop signing because I had to focus on things at home.  I used to write poetry, lots of it, but I stopped when it became too heavy and depressing. I showed my mom some of my poems, and she didn’t understand the pain I felt. There is a certain emptiness felt when you stand before a field of broken dreams, lost dreams, or buried dreams.  I am rediscovering how to dream, but sometimes I feel too cynical or too “grown up” to dream.

do you dream? can you dream?

 


I will not repeat the past

The weepy teary-eyed moments usually hit when I least expect it. More phrases or memories have been triggering these weepy moments recently, and it’s becoming harder to predict when something will trigger my emotions. I find myself getting to the evening and starting to crash emotionally and hitting a wall, and wanting to just curl up and not have to work through things anymore.

My hubby and I had a conversation the other night about hoping for something and what it looks like when that hope is disappointed. I tried to explain to him how hard it is for me to hope for something, and to pray for it, because of how many times I’ve been so bitterly disappointed. We didn’t really agree on what it looked like to hope in Jesus, but as I rolled over to fall asleep, a bitter memory hit me, and I ended up curled up in my husband’s arms, crying, and hearing him whisper in my ear about how sorry he was that I had to deal with what I did growing up.

I never thought I’d say this, but I am angry at my mom. Like seriously angry, and what makes that harder is she does not know what she did. I’ve finally accepted the fact that I was truly alone growing up. I had no defender, I had no one to take my stand or to back me up. I keep trying to tell myself that I’m wrong, that I am exaggerating and making things up, but I can’t escape the truth; I. Was. Alone.  My siblings were alone, and most of them still are. We were alone as I watched my brothers get thrown around during my dad’s anger fits. We were alone when mom was out, and dad decided to start yelling and throwing things around because the house wasn’t clean enough for his high and mighty standards.

I never want a child of mine to feel the pain of having to stay at someone’s house for two hellish weeks, only to have found out at the beginning that that family really didn’t want you, they just wanted your younger brother. I don’t ever want any child of mine to feel like I would never defend them or stand up for them. I would never stand by and watch while a child of mine is verbally chewed out. The guilt (wrongly felt) and the shame (wrongly felt) I have grown up with is something I never want my children to feel.

I feel like my heart is breaking again trying to accept that I truly was alone growing up. I have opened up memories that I have not wanted to remember as I’ve looked back with these new eyes. I keep trying to defend my mom to myself, and telling myself that she really did stand up for us, for me, and the more I uncover, the harder it is to convince myself that she did. It’s like telling myself that this memory is the worst it’s going to get, and then being thrown back by the next memory when it is worse than the first.

I have had this post draining my already low energy reserves for the past week, and I’m still not sure of how it’s turning out. If anything, this opening of hard memories has shown me just how strength Jesus actually gave me through all of those years at home. I never really saw myself as strong, I just simply had to be the defender. It was that or I kill myself.  It was be my siblings’ defender, or let them crumble like dust. I am tired of being strong. All it takes to break my strength is one sleepless night followed by a day of major aches, then followed by a second sleepless night full of more aches and pains. Once in that cycle, it’s hard for me to break out, or to find the strength to hold up under memories I don’t want to remember but that have been triggered. The past two weeks have been that cycle for me, and it started when my mom told me that someone challenged her to repent of not standing up for my siblings and her response being she doesn’t know how she didn’t do that.

I passed my dad in his car on the road today as I drove home from a job. I almost burst into tears when I saw him because of how present the pain is right now. I want to have a relationship with him, and it hurts to not have one. I want to see him care and love my siblings, my mom, me. I want to see my mom recover and realize how much she’s denied throughout her life, and I want to see her heal.

I am fighting doldrums many times a day now, and I never know if I’m just going to break down and start crying or if I will find the strength to hold my head up and not let the memory get close to my heart. Jesus is a fading and shifting shadow to me right now. Sometimes He’s easy to reach out to, and other times He feels far away. I never doubt his love for me, I just get lost inside the pain.

It’s a low time right now for me. Especially as the weather gets colder and my fibromyalgia starts reacting towards the cold with a lot more pain than usual. The more pain I’m in, the more worn out and weary I feel. The more worn out and weary I feel, the less I fight to be strong.


On College and My Highest Calling

“Nope, I’m not going to college.”

When asked about going to college as I got closer to graduating highschool, this was my usual response. A lot of people wanted to know what my plans were for my life and seemed quite interested in my future scholastic intentions. I got a lot of disappointed looks when I answered with a great big resounding NO. My reasons for not going to college caused even more disappointment, but I couldn’t understand, nor did I want to, why.

I proudly explained that going to college wasn’t where I felt God was leading me, and besides, I couldn’t learn anything in college that would help me be a wife and mother. I was so confident in my reasons that I didn’t bother to even consider possible (good) reasons why college would be something to think about. I am only now seeing how robotic my reasons were and how sucked into the quiverfull culture I used to be.  I would watch my mom wrestle with all of my siblings and I saw how miserable she was and desperate for company and peer relationships. I knew I didn’t want to become my mom, but I didn’t think I had a choice. One day I was going to get married and start becoming a baby making machine. I was going to have tons of kids, probably watch my body fall apart, and would be stuck at home with a bunch of crazy monsters kids who would suck my life away. I would then make it to the last child graduating highschool, suddenly left with the stark and despairing knowledge that there was nothing left for my life. All because motherhood is the highest calling for women, and that’s what God wants from us women.

That was my foreseen inheritance, and I was, blindly, willing to walk right into that.

Being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia towards the end of my school years at home was the first major thing that started changing everything. I went from being very active, easily beating my siblings in running races, having no problem keeping up with my schoolwork, to being flat on my back, no energy whatsoever, and I fell behind in school rather quickly. I had to completely relearn how to live and it took a long time before I was able to get through the day without feeling like I had gotten run over by an 18 wheeler. My sole purpose in life became making it through a single day without breaking down, feeling depressed, or frustrated that I couldn’t do simple things like open a door. Even with feeling wiped out physically, emotionally, and mentally every day, I still saw my future holding me becoming baby machine and being stuck at home. With the FM, I felt my chances at college, furthering my education in any way, or even having my own life, was still greatly unrealistic. I didn’t know I had a choice, or that I could have my own opinions. I was still being force-fed the ultra conservative, legalistic ideas that the highest calling of a woman was to stay home, have LOTS of kids, submit quietly and gently to her husband, and never question, never balk at his authority. Although I was force-fed these ideas, I was aware of a little glimmering light at the back of my mind and heart that kept saying I did have a choice. There was a deep part of me that cried out in anger and fought against those ideologies and was not content or comfortable to simply sit back and let that happen to me.

The harder readjusting to life became, the more disillusioned I became at the prospect of my future. I watched my mom get more and more rundown with each passing day, and if that is what it looked like to be the mom of many kids and the wife of a controlling manipulative husband, then I didn’t want that. I didn’t know what I wanted, but I now knew for sure that that was not what I wanted my life to become!

I graduated HS and moved on without another look at college. I knew I wasn’t willing to follow my mom’s footsteps with having so many kids, but I also knew that with how hard it was for me to finish HS because of my health, there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to handle college. Even though I was now, theoretically, willing to think about college, my health became the reason why I said no. I felt lost, unsure about what my convictions were on college or any sort of furthering of my education.  At one point I actually seriously considered taking a college class, but then I got a full time job and I no longer had any time or energy left to deal with more classes or homework.

Then I got married and did the unthinkable! I supported my husband while he was in college and couldn’t get a better job for the first 8 months of our marriage. I wasn’t available to start the big family I was supposed to have which was my highest calling, according to the patriarchal/Quiverfull movement. Instead I was bringing in the big bucks, taking care of others’ kids, and my husband pushed through school. Still I wondered whether or not I regretted not going to college. Yes, at this point, I seriously wondered if I had made a mistake.

But I had no time to really dwell on that potential mistake. I was being run down by a crappy job and as soon as my husband got a significant raise, I quit and came home where I have been for most of the past year. Only in the past 6 months have I really thought about my reasons for avoiding college and also with regards to what my highest calling in life was.  And I have reached some very revealing conclusions.

Being a mother and being a submissive wife is NOT my highest calling, and never will be. My goal in life is not to blindly submit to my husband, but instead to serve along side of  him as equals and to enjoy fellowship with him as we live life. Becoming a baby making machine and popping out child after child until I rip my body to shreds is something I will never do either. My life’s joys, loves, wonders are not founded in or conditional on whether or not I’m married or have born children yet. This life of mine before kids come along is becoming absolutely amazing! I am thoroughly enjoying life, and I feel no lack in my spirit. When God sends a baby, then He sends a baby, but I am not going to base my whole being on waiting for that child.  There are several checks in the deepest corners of my heart about wanting to have a baby, and I’m not 100% I really am ready to become a mother.  I still carry a bitter taste from watching my mom with my many siblings. My worst nightmare is to become my mother and be trapped at home frustrated with my life raising kids. The other side is that I know children are a good thing, and I also have the freedom to change how my husband and I raise ours. I do want a baby because they are precious and I do want that blessed responsibility of raising a new life. But I don’t know if I am truly ready. And the best thing is that is completely okay. My highest calling is enjoying God and glorifying Him.

I believe I need more time to figure out my thoughts about college. I’m not ready to admit I want to take a few classes, but nor am I ready to admit that I never will. I’m sitting for awhile on the fence, watching and learning from others’ opinions. It is with cautiousness that I am expanding my views on college and finding those little compartments in my heart where I’ve truly desired to do more with my life. I can say this with confidence though; I truly regret not taking more writing classes, or taking the classes I did take more seriously. I am finding my writing here, and on other blogs I have, to be a bit rusty and lacking. But I am rediscovering the art of the imagination and finding my voice once again.

So I really don’t know where I stand on taking classes or pursuing some sort of degree. It’s still a work in progress for me, and I have yet to reach a solid conclusion. I can, although, confidently say that I do not want to watch my last child head out the door to college and have forgotten what it means to live my own life. I really want to make sure that there  is still something of me left, and something of me that still has life left in it.

With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


Am I Beautiful? – the throes of longing for approval

I’m not one for girly girl posts, but I think this one is about to become one….

For most of my life, at least all that I can remember, I have struggled with feeling like an ugly duckling, a blemish to society.  I have hated and raged about the way I looked, even when I was only 7! Thankfully, at that age, I wasn’t aware of the anguish that would come later as my body changed from a little tomboy to a blossoming young woman. As time passed and I grew up, I went through so many phases with liking something and wearing it all the time, to absolutely hating everything in my wardrobe.  I would wear a sweatshirt and jeans in the middle of summer because I was ashamed of showing any of the “bacne” I had on my shoulders, or showing my slowly forming womanly frame. I was sure everyone watched me and thought I was ugly.

I grew up in a home where encouragement was not a norm, and still isn’t to this day. I have had to really work on encouraging my husband, and let me tell you, it’s a habit that’s hard to form! Neither one of my parents grew up in “loving” homes, but instead grew up in broken homes. My mom’s dad was emotionally absent and just simply wasn’t there. Her mom was an alcoholic and her oldest sister pretty much raised my mom and her siblings. My dad’s dad was a military man, bound to anger, and my dad will say that he never heard his dad say I love you until my dad was out of college. Both of my parents are 1st generation Christians and have a lot of regrets from their growing up years before becoming a Christian. Which, on a slightly different topic, is why patriarchy and the Quiverfull lifestyle appealed to them so much. It was a lifestyle that promised a much better life for their children. But, I don’t blame them for not being emotionally supportive throughout my life at home. I am sorrowful because I know they simply didn’t know how to be there for their children like that. It is my goal to try my best at helping my future daughters know they are truly beautiful.

As I got closer to my teen years, I remember watching the older girls around me, especially at our house church (yes, my family did house churches for a good bit in my young young years). They were so pretty, had really good looking clothes, had their ears pierced, and they got to wear makeup. I remember when I got my ears pierced for the first time when I was 12. I remember when I got my first little makeup kit when I was 14. I remember always dismaying over my big fat thighs, and worrying that my waist wasn’t thin enough. I thought that if my legs were skinnier, my waist thinner, my breasts bigger, or my hair less curly and frizzy, my dad would say I was beautiful, and people would tell me that I was pretty.  I can’t honestly remember right now if my dad has ever told me, I was beautiful. I am probably forgetting something. I remember one time he told me that I looked “really nice” and that was it. I don’t remember my mom telling me I was pretty, much less beautiful. The only times I can remember getting praised was on my birthday, and it would in a card my parents gave me, or when I had accomplished a great piece of music at a piano recital or audition.

I remember asking my mom at one point if I was pretty. I don’t remember her ever answering that question directly. I think she said something like it wasn’t about outward appearances, but about the heart. As I started going through my teen years, the acne hit, and there were many days I was too ashamed to be seen. I couldn’t control it, no matter what I did. It was terrible, and I hate, even now, looking at pictures of myself from those days. It is hard to look back on that teenager me and not feel anything but pity and sadness for her. She was so eager for approval for her sewing, her piano playing ability, her writing. She was starved for affection, aching to feel loved, to feel beautiful. Behind that stony exterior, that I got so good at projecting, was a tiny little girl who’s heart wept and ached for affection.

My married, 21 year old, self still feels the ghosts of those aches and longings. I am married to one awesome dude who is constantly lovin’ on my body, telling me how much he loves the way I look, and how much he is so rich to be married to me. Me! the older version of that little girl! He loves me! Sometimes it is too much for me, but I am slowly learning to accept it and know that I truly am beautiful. It’s really hard though. Even more so living in a culture that praises the thin shapely legs of a very skinny person, the thin flat stomach of a barbie doll, and the round voluptuous breasts of a D cup. You’re not going to see this culture praise wide hips and thighs, short waisted, B cup women. Do you know how hard it is to find clothes to fit endowed hips and butt? Or how hard it is to find a dress or shirt that looks good on some with a short torso? It sure requires a lot of digging and and usually takes awhile to find something that fits and, in my opinion, looks good. I truly believe that most women struggle with feeling disgusting and ugly. I know I’m definitely not the only one. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier though.

I stumbled across several articles a friend shared with me a few months ago. They dealt with women who, like me, had grown up in a broken home, or with emotionally absent parents, and couldn’t see their own beauty. They shared their journey of realizing that they were truly beautiful, and how it was draining them to constantly be picking on themselves for their perceived ugliness. Those articles were another step in this journey I’ve been on in regards to my weight, body, and the perspective I have of myself. I am tired of constantly beating myself up for gaining weight after I got married because I was finally free from the stress of my family’s home and I was happy, and I finally could eat without feeling sick to my stomach. I am tired of worrying that I’m ugly and seeing pictures of myself and wanting to hide and delete every picture of me. It is embarrassing feeling ashamed of myself.  I am done with not accepting my husband’s eager pride in me and how I look.

I have made it my goal to find one thing, usually more, that I can praise my friends about, and especially praise and encourage my sisters. I know how it feels to feel ugly, and I want to make sure my sisters know that I see them as beautiful young women. It really does help my view of myself when I’m more concerned about encouraging a friend or sister than how I look.   I have made myself find one thing, or more, that I absolutely love about myself every time I look in the mirror. I am working out, and watching food amounts so I can lose the 20 pounds (or more!) I have gained since getting married.  I refuse to step on a scale because of how depressing it is to me. I work hard to make sure that my wardrobe is only full of clothes I love the way they look on me and I am comfortable in them. I have learned what times of the month I am most prone to beating myself up, and I set up reminders for myself that this is for only a little while. I know the times of the month when I feel the best, and I think I look the best. Even with doing these things, my husband still has to put up with my anguished cries of feeling fat and ugly. That still happens on many occasions. and each time he constantly reminds of me of how much he loves the way he looks.

I am learning to be constantly amazed at two things. The first is that over every single woman in the world, my husband chose me. He CHOSE ME. The short, thick-thighed, non-flat stomach me. The little girl inside the older girl asking, “am I beautiful?” Yes, he answers, yes, you are beautiful. My husband once told me, when we first start dating, that I was the one he wanted to grow old with, and he knows I will be still beautiful even then. The second, I think even more important, is that God has chosen me, loved me, wanted me, called me perfect and beautiful since before the beginning of time. I am awed that I really am beautiful, I am graceful, I am worth something. I am brought to tears as the little girl inside me claps her hands in delight.

I am learning, I am striving for my own perfection levels, and I don’t always remember that I am beautiful. I am constantly comparing people I see to myself, and tearing myself down with each comparison. I truly am my worst critic. That is, until I can again remember, I am beautiful.

With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


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