Tag Archives: highest calling

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?

 


Thoughts on Sovereign Grace Ministries

*This is a guest post from my husband and I thought it was worth posting. I am very proud of him for breaking away from SGM, and for being able to so clearly see the things that have really damaged a lot of people. I certainly married well, and I love him very much!*

I have spent my entire life in a huge church in the Sovereign Grace Ministries sphere. I’ve personally interacted with almost all of the SGM celebrities at some point in my life. I have personally had over a dozen peers leave SGM for either personal reasons/disagreements or for life changes. Every one of those who have left have been shut out and forgotten about after leaving. Their “friends” discuss rumors and speculation about them “walking away from God” as the motivation behind leaving our SGM church. I grew accustomed to this early on in the youth ministry and didn’t even flinch. I never thought twice about it. I was left with the impression that our church was the BEST church and in CJ’s words “The dearest place on earth.”

I was deceived. I do not blame anyone for this but myself. I want to emphasis that it was I who allowed myself to be deceived. There were several categories that I have fallen under a dangerous philosophy on;

1) When people leave the SGM sphere, they are no longer worthy of acknowledgement. They are ignored publicly, they are judged, and their “friends” openly slander them justifying their words with “We’re burdened by their decision.”

2) Small groups are small churches. The leaders of your small group have the authority of pastors, and the purpose of small groups is to discuss conflicts, sin, and accountability.

3) Humility is present when your words reflect a “humble heart”, control over emotions, and the ability to deflect compliments or encouragement.

The above are all “ideas” or philosophies that are heavily present within the congregation of my church. I say congregation because that’s the majority of the church, and as your peers, there is an overwhelming amount of peer pressure in SGM churches or even ex SGM churches. All in the name of “staying in God’s will”.

This past summer my wife and I left our SGM church. It took me a while. Over two decades in SGM and then leaving. Not as easy as I thought. In the last 3 months of our membership at our church, all of the above things shot up like rockets in our lives and we were overwhelmed by the pain that people under these ideas have caused us and others. Let me walk through each one.;

1) The mindset in issue one is horrible. It’s selfish, arrogant, self righteous, and cult like. I’ve seen it happen to close friends and even to whole families. They leave, whether because of a disagreement or because of a job in a new state, and they’re erased from everyone’s lives. No one will talk to them, and if they see them in public (i’m not making this up) they will refuse to acknowledge their presence. This happened to my wife a week ago. Someone we’ve known for years walked up to the friend my wife was talking with and said hello to the friend and wouldn’t even look at my wife. This is wrong. The greatest strength of the church is community. Just because you don’t go to the same church as someone else or because they disagree with your doctrine, does not give them any right to ignore you publicly  We are called to love and peace and community, not to what could be called persecution. Because of the above mindset, I believe that SGM has a very elitist mindset that is extremely contradictory to the whole message of Jesus and the Bible. It amazes me that members will pride themselves about their outreach groups yet turn around and refuse fellowship and friendship with members of other churches or ex-members of their church. This is very troubling to me. It’s hard enough trying to meet new people or couples in our old church, even though it had over 4000 members. Unless you were part of their Care group, or their clique, you’d either get the “let’s do it” then silence, or you’d never hear from them when you contacted them to get together. This has baffled me since the youth ministry. This is a big reason why we are backing away from large churches and SGM altogether. The elitist mindset is harmful to the community and very hypocritical of the whole idea of what a church is as presented by scripture in the New Testament.

2) I’ve never understood small groups in SGM. Why are there “leaders” when really it’s supposed to be a time set aside for fellowship and Bible study? Instead, it’s a time to share sin, often discourage each other because of your sin, go through marriage books by guys with scary mustaches, and even spend hours discussing a quote from Piper or Mahaney. There’s also this idea that care means pointing out your sin, and then telling you what to do. Questions are asked to “bring sin to the surface” and if you get emotional, you are flat out accused of being in the wrong and having a sinful heart. If you in any way question someone’s rebuke, you are rebuked for being prideful and are “counselled” to pray about what humility looks like. Care in care groups, with the exception of a few I’ve only heard of (I’ve only experienced what I am describing), is about rooting out sin, making judgments on each others’ hearts, and refusing to listen to the person you’re caring for. If you don’t agree, you’ll hear the rebuke over and over again until you say “I’m sorry, I was wrong, you are right.” This is wrong. My wife came from small churches and she immediately explained the problem. No other  “normal church” has pastor established “bible studies” that only specific members can attend based on where your pastor places you. Other churches have open Bible studies that do not discriminate based on season of life or preference for peers. The other problem with the setup of small groups in SGM is the strange misunderstanding on the whole idea of how we should care for one another in Scripture. The Bible nowhere says when we meet we should root out sin, hunt down pride, and rebuke sin on a regular basis. In fact, the New Testament encourages frequent encouragement, sharing scripture in love, seeking peace, and caring by carrying burdens and being understanding. When I read Paul’s letters and the Gospels, I’m at a loss as to where this grave misapplication of a few verses (2 Samuel 12, Matthew 18:15-17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, and Titus 2:15). Do I think there are times to rebuke? Sure! We’re told that in scripture. But our fellowship should never be known by frequent rebuke and reproof.

3) Finally the one thing everyone can understand coming out of SGM; the humility philosophy. In scripture, humility is all about your heart. In SGM, and churches who have been associated with SGM, Humility is your highest calling in life. To my peers, humility is present when you say words like “I’m saying this with humility” or “I want to be a true friend and be humble by sharing this.” I’ve also been to countless care groups, birthday parties, and events where you’re asked “to bring an encouragement” to share during about an hour long awkward period where everyone puffs up someone else. “You’re so humble” or “You’re so Godly”. This is the most contradictory practice I have ever experienced. It’s actually comical. If you respond to anyone asking a question with any kind of emotion, even if you have been abused, hurt, or scared, you’re not being humble. If you’re not being humble you can’t get married. If you share a viewpoint that’s not in line with your care groups, you’re not being humble. If you have an opinion that is not popular, you are not being humble. From what I can gather, if you are submissive to everyone, conforming, quiet, have low self esteem, and use the right lingo you are humble and things will go well with you. You’re can’t know your own heart, you can’t know yourself better than others, and you can’t disagree because that’s not being humble. After all these years at an SGM church, I don’t want to be humble. I’d rather stand up for my convictions, my faith in God and scripture, and be willing to say “I think you are wrong” than have this false face of humility. Humility is about the heart. Many people like to use the verse about “out of the abundance of your heart, the mouth speaks” to trap anyone who said something that’s not humble enough. I hate that. That makes me mad. It’s irritating. It’s not helpful. Right now, I have no clue what humility is because I’ve been sucked into the weird SGM humility face idea that it’s all about outward stuff.

These are basically my three biggest beefs with SGM churches. I know I am not alone. I’m so relieved to be out of that mess. I hope that my thoughts can give encouragement to others who feel the same way but have been shut down. Speak the truth.

——————————————————————————–

With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


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


Wide Open Ground

The Unfundamental Conversion

Leah Hope

For Those Of Us Whispering. Screaming. Sharing. Rebuilding. Broken. Clinging. With Weary Hope.

Dramas Whoo!

Asian Dramas and Kpop

Spiritual Sounding Board

Finding resolve amidst the dissonance of "churchianity"

Wide Open Ground

The Unfundamental Mission

The Nest Egg

"We shall know what things are of overmastering importance when they have overmastered us." — Dorothy L. Sayers

quirky wife life

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." J.R.R. Tolkien

Blog - Tangled Basket Farm

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." J.R.R. Tolkien

John Blase

The Beautiful Due

Liberty for Captives

Confronting Spiritual Abuse with Grace and Truth

Stitching up the Seams

on every broken promise that [our bodies] couldn't keep.

Notwsetapart's Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Paul's Passing Thoughts

Pondering God's Revelation

Our Blog

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." J.R.R. Tolkien

Prego and the Loon

Pregnant and Dealing With Domestic Violence

Grace for the road

Seeing God's goodness in the unexpected path.

Bridging The Gap

Life and Other Stories by Kieryn Darkwater

No Longer Quivering

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." J.R.R. Tolkien

Quivering Daughters

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." J.R.R. Tolkien

Rethinking Vision Forum

Sometimes there is more to the eye

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair; and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." J.R.R. Tolkien