Tag Archives: patriarchy

And then you broke my heart – Courtship, Part 2

I couldn’t keep Daniel away from me that night at the party. I would turn around and he would be right at my shoulder, big smile, and a running mouth that wouldn’t stop chatting with me. My heart knew this was one heck of an awesome guy and I was falling head over heels for him.

We danced for hours that night, swing dancing, laughing, and talking after our week of no communication. It was exhilarating and comforting to be back on talking terms with Daniel. That night I texted him and told him how much I loved dancing with him. He texted back and said that he still didn’t want to be texting yet but that he enjoyed dancing with me too.

Our church was in the middle of doing a high school play and both Daniel and I were involved. As rehearsals got more intense and as opening night for closer the more I got to see Daniel. I was 100% sure he was just as interested in me as I was in him. Especially when he was having to be reminded often that he was needed on stage instead of talking with me. We got close and spent a lot more time as the days past almost attached at the hip. We were inseparable but I felt like something was going to go wrong. More and more of my friends were coming to me asking if it was wise that I spent so much time talking with Daniel. They were concerned for my heart and didn’t want to see me get hurt. I brushed off all of their concerns and told them that we were just friends. But I quietly worried that something really bad was going to happen because I had seen close friends spilt because parents felt like the couple was too close.

It was the week before opening night and I got really upset about so many people butting into my business and worrying over how much I was in Daniels company. It didn’t help that as I was working in a prop piece Daniel was right there keeping me company and chatting away. I was so sick at heart because I knew something was starting to go wrong. He left that night after rehearsal and I ignore him with a very heavy heart and a sick stomach. I have often been able to tell when something’s about to blow up and this was one of those times. On another note, I had found a caring and wise ear in my adopted grandfather and when he had visited the two weeks before I had talked for hours with him about my feelings for Daniel. Since i felt like I couldn’t talk with my dad about Daniel, it was such a relief to talk with my grandfather. He had promised after talking with me that was going to write Daniel a letter and encourage him to pursue me if he felt like that was what he was supposed to do. Looking back, the promise of this letters was quite significant in changing the direction of my feelings toward Daniel.

The next morning, I woke up with a very queasy and nervous stomach. Today was the day that I knew something was going to happened. I remember sending a few messages to Daniel, but when I didn’t get any sort of response, I remember thinking something’s wrong. My grandfathers letter to Daniel arrived in the mail that day and I was anxious to give it to him but I decided that I wanted my dad to give him the letter. I figured my dad would be willing to do that especially since my grandfather spent a while trying to talk to my dad about Daniel and I. I should have known better than to ask my dad to get involved but I am getting ahead of myself. I left for rehearsal excited and very nervous since I knew something was up. I got to church and started working on what I hadn’t finished from the day before. I soon saw Daniel get there and my heart sank. He was pale, almost looked like he had been crying and he completely ignored me. He grabbed the mutual friend who had introduced us and asked to talk with her. My heart dropped further and I ran in the opposite direction frantically dialing a best friend’s number. As soon as she picked up, I said something is very wrong and I am very nervous and anxious. She talked and listened for about five minutes when I got another call from Daniels and my mutual friend. I switched calls and this friend told me that Daniel wants to talk with me and could I meet them at the back entrance to church. I got back on the phone with my best friend and told her to pray and pray hard because here comes the storm. I hung up and saw my other friend walking toward me and my heart started cracking. When she came up to me I could barely talk and as we started walking toward where Daniel was I stopped and started crying saying I couldn’t do this. I was so close to passing out and even as I write this I am feeling the pain all over again. My heart aches for what happened next.

I walked up to the back entrance of church and felt the bombs hitting my heart as the black fog rolled in over h eyes. Daniel looked sick and he was incredibly nervous. He barely looked me in the eyes, and I was really lightheaded and my heart felt like it was being completely ripped to shreds. With our mutual friend standing by my side, and Daniel facing me, he started the little meeting by telling me in a choked voice how much I meant to him, that he will never forget me, and that I mean the world to him. He then told me with tears in his eyes that his parents told him that we needed to cut off our friendship and we couldn’t talk, chat, email, or even be in groups together. I could barely see him because of the black fog that was cutting off my vision, and I was starting to sway on my feet. My heart hurt so bad. He asked me if I had any questions or if there was anything I wanted to say, and I could only shake my head. He then bolted out the door, tears streaming down his cheeks. He was gone for several hours running, crying, praying, and just trying to understand what he should do now. After he left, I staggered outside and fell to the ground stunned. I lay there with quiet tears falling, and I felt so empty. I somehow found myself inside the church about an hour later, I wandered around in a daze. I didn’t have any strength to do any costume work, but at the same time I was suddenly determined to act like nothing had happened even though my heart was no longer beating.

I can’t describe the pain my heart felt that day (and I’m feeling it again as I write. I am very much anxious for my husband to get home for I need that reassurance that he is mine now). I asked our mutual friend to ask Daniel something for me. I asked her to ask him if he, in the future, could see himself courting/marrying me. She asked him and then brought me back the answer. She said that he gave her a resounding absolutely yes in response to my question. When I saw Daniel get back from his escape, I felt my heart shatter all over again, and I realized that I couldn’t handle being there any longer. Even though the major part of rehearsal was just starting, I had to go home. I called my mom and told her what had happened and asked her to tell dad and come get me. She came and picked me up, and as soon as I got home, my dad gave me a hug, and then told me that if my heart was hurting then I did something wrong. I was stunned when he told me that, but I didn’t say anything. I lay on my bed for the rest of the evening crying and missing desperately my best friend, and cursing the separation.

The few weeks that followed as the play came to an end were torture. I could barely eat, and I honestly don’t remember much. I remember being in a daze and finding it hard to breathe at times. My heart was broken, my dad didn’t care, and the friend Daniel had become was desperately missed. (oh snap, I’m crying now as I write and am remembering those days.) After the play ended up, I didn’t see Daniel all that often. Maybe saw him at church, or saw him at a party, but we didn’t go to the same places, and I bitterly felt that loss. As the months slowly passed, I tried to move on, but I couldn’t. My parents and I went to a seminar at church for parenting young adults, and guess what, Daniel and his parents sat right behind us. That was pure torture knowing that the guy I was falling in love with was siting right behind me. I tried to talk with mom about the severe heartache I felt, but I couldn’t. She didn’t understand and so I kept my mouth shut and only talked to the people I knew I could trust and who would care for me. I tried sharing the story with the small group I was now apart of since I had graduate HS and they didn’t get it one bit.

Shortly after our friendship was shattered, we both asked our parents to meet and try to help us come up with a game plan so that we could talk, or at least have guidelines. All four parents met, and came out of that meeting all with very different ideas of what was going to happen. The bottom line was that we couldn’t talk, and that was it. No talking with us, no trying to understand where we were coming from, the parents shut things down, and then walked away believing that was all that should or would happen. My dad believed that it was a done deal and there was nothing between Daniel and I. That summer was the absolutely worst summer of my entire life. I was a ghost of my former self, and I was painfully aware of the gaping whole in my heart. I saw Daniel at several key points over the summer, but the friendship that we had had was never seen when we ran into each other at social events. It was incredibly awkward and I always walked away kicking myself and blaming myself for causing him more pain if I was rude (without meaning to be) or abrupt. Being in the single’s ministry meant that I saw him at big meetings for all of the singles, and after one of those, I told him that I had to remove him from my friends list on Facebook. That was very difficult for me to tell him, but I had to do it because of the flack I was starting to get from my dad if I was even seen near Daniel at church or anywhere else. If I breathed in Daniel’s general direction, I was immediately chewed out.

Life was HELL. I was lost, and I can’t remember large portions between April, when he told me we couldn’t talk anymore, to October, when the next big chapter started. We kept individually begging our parents (what I don’t understand is how we were singles, seen as adults, and yet still allowed our parents to completely control our relationship…that’s the courtship dilemma for ya) to get together and give us guidelines so we could talk, and each time the parents met, they all walked away with a very different idea of what was going to happen, not one parents’ recollection of the meeting lined up, and still, we weren’t allowed to talk.

Around July, I suddenly realized that I didn’t just like Daniel, I had fallen in love with him, and I knew for sure and for certain that I was waiting for him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I found out later that he had had the same revelation about me…a few months before. I broke down on the day I realized that, and freaked my dad out because when I called him at work (which I will never do again, and have never done since) to tell him that I loved Daniel and I wanted to be able to talk with him, my dad was hugely surprised because he truly believed that there was nothing between us. I got a huge talking to when he got home from work that night about how I was making Daniel an idol, and how I was lusting after him, and that no, we weren’t going to be allowed to talk, there was nothing there. He kept telling me that I would grow out of this, and that it wasn’t wisdom for us to talk.  I remember walking away, feeling renewed in my determination to not let my dad take away my love for Daniel. I felt sick that my dad was accusing me of being idolatrous especially when I knew of his porn addiction.

Daniel had started finding reasons and opportunities to come over to my family’s house in September, 5 months after our friendship had been destroyed. I would nervously bounce around the house, trying to obey the rules that I couldn’t talk with him, but I would try to be around wherever he was, and would throw in the token word every once in awhile. I even found an opportunity to hand him a letter I had written to him the day after he told me we couldn’t talk anymore. But even though I knew he was strongly interested in me, I still had had no verbal assurances from him.

One day I had had enough of trying to guess Daniel’s feelings for me, and I had had enough of not being able to talk. I couldn’t handle it anymore, I called him, and as soon as he picked up the phone, I asked him how he felt about me. His response was instant with no delay.

He loved me.

He wanted to marry me.

He wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

And that’s the end….right?


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?

 


To doubt or not to doubt

(Please feel free to read my fellow bloggers’ take on this subject in our three part posts.  here is Joanna’s,  and here is Hännah’s)

 

I grew up under the mindset that to doubt Jesus meant to doubt my salvation, the bible, my faith, and that Jesus is real. I remember being a newly baptized 8 year old, crying on my bed because I was disobedient and I needed to be baptized again because I had sinned. Even though I was thoroughly reassured by my mom that I couldn’t lose my salvation and that I didn’t need to be baptized again, that fear that if I doubted, or messed something up big time, I would lose favor in Jesus’ eyes.  So as I started really questioning the church, my bible, and seeing my faith with eyes damaged by my dad’s hypocrisy, this fear started crippling me, and I felt trapped; stuck.

I knew I was watching my “faith” fall apart, I knew I was no longer comfortable reading my bible, attending church, or even talking the talk. When I tried to explain to someone what I was feeling, I felt like I had to quickly reassure said person that I wasn’t running away from God; in fact, I was running to Him! The looks of cautious disbelief I got were numerous. Seriously, though, was I running away from or to God? Deep in the recesses of my mind, I didn’t know. I still feared the conditionally loving God I thought I knew.  The questions that ran through my mind were overwhelming and yet I still tried to block them out and pretend that all was well. Those questions soon became like trying to hold oil in my hands. I couldn’t hold on to them, and they started affecting more than just wanting to not go to church.

The increasingly fearful and uneasy feelings I felt caught me off guard. I began to accept that I was doubting, but I still couldn’t put my finger on why I was doubting, or what I was doubting. I knew it had something to do with my past, my dad’s hypocrisy, and the beliefs I had willingly swallowed since I became a Christian some dozen or more years ago.

A friend lent me Rachel Held Evans’ book, “Evolving in Monkey Town“. I kept coming across things and saying yes, I agree with that, yes, I can totally relate and understand what she is talking about there. Even if I agreed and felt like I could relate, I still felt like there was more to the answer for my doubting. Then it hit, and through three different outlets, I got the same answer, all within days of each other.

Through a long email chain with a friend, she told me how her mom had told her it was okay to question, that that meant your faith was becoming stronger and was growing deeper. Through multiple blogs and many posts, I started seeing the same thing; it’s okay to question. It’s okay to ask, challenge, and doubt your beliefs. All of this sounded so good and was a relief to hear, but I was still stuck on the fear of doubting God and losing my faith; I was still stuck feeling like there was more to this.

I got the end of “Evolving in Monkey Town”, and that’s where I found my epiphany; I found the answer. Up to finishing the book last night, I still clung to the fact that I knew I wasn’t doubting God, I just didn’t know how to put into coherent words the doubt I felt. The fear of doubt was no longer strangling as I discovered how much Jesus loved me. I discovered that He will love me no matter what. He is the author and perfecter of my faith, and that faith will never be taken away from me. All that matters to my faith is the fact that I love because I have been loved first with a love that is deeper and wider than any figment of the imagination. Everything else is piddly details that many Christians get caught up with and oftentimes forget that we are loved and have been given a wealth of grace and mercy.

Rachel writes,

Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter is a virtue.

This is what I couldn’t put into words. I was not doubting Jesus as I first thought, but I was doubting the fundamentals of my faith, my beliefs. I was, without realizing it, becoming a Berean and was no longer content with just accepting what I was taught, but was questioning, trying to probe deeper to come to a conclusion about why I believe what I believed.  To doubt and question what I’ve been taught is to throw my faith through a refining fire to burn away the false ideas that have taken root. To doubt and question my faith keeps my faith active instead of allowing certainty to freeze it and never allow for any growth.

My past with my dad and his influence to my faith is very toxic. Trying to question and rebuild my beliefs is like trying to get rid of a poison in my system but my system still craves it. This is not normal for me, nor is it comfortable. I wasn’t encouraged to question my faith growing up. I was given the mindset that once we reach a certain stage our faith will remain the same and constant.  I was taught not to question, not to dig deeper and constantly evaluate what I believed.

This epiphany was relieving, it was helpful, and has given me a break in the frenzy of doubts and questions that have been flying around my mind. I can now say with doubled confidence I am not doubting Jesus, I am not doubting His love for me, I am not doubting my salvation. I am doubting the beliefs I was raised under; I am doubting the things my dad would say and then do the opposite.  I am rebuilding the foundation everything else will stand upon. Jesus is my only foundation, and I want to get back to that place. I do believe that this is going to be a long journey, but I’m not worried anymore. I’m not feeling crushed under doubt I don’t understand. I understand where I am at, but I do not know where this all will take me. I am willing to question, doubt, and wait to see where I go. I do know it’s gonna be good.


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.

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With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


The Classic Knee-jerk

I am in a vicious mood tonight, and I believe it is a classic knee-jerk reaction to allowing my mind to accept and revisit pains in my past. My husband and I visited a place today where I have many, many bad memories. Even though this place holds a lot of bad memories, there are also some good ones, and I seriously hadn’t thought about the bad memories at all recently. It helped greatly that my dad was not there, nor were the rest of my family. There was nothing reminding me of those difficult memories, or so I thought.

Events soon followed that brought back everything. And I discovered that I was willing to feel, and feel hard the old bitterness and anger that I first felt when wounded. Memories of past words, comments, manipulations, unhelpful advice, and sad memories were actually felt for the first time today, and it has left me viciously angry and zealous for the well being of myself and a few close friends.

All it really took for me to make the transition from the peaceful, at ease, and comfortable me that I was this morning, to the spitting-nails, boiling frustrated me of this evening, was laying eyes on the one person I realized I have a boat load of serious issues with. As the time got closer to meet up with her, for I hadn’t seen her in a very long time, my hubby and I started wandering around, my thoughts being that maybe I’d run into her. I suddenly saw her, and a shock wave rolled over me. A very vivid memory of being in the same position hit me, and I remembered why I had simply walked away the last time.

[….I have, in a blind rage, stood by and watched this woman tear down one of my closest friends, and scorn her because of a guy. I have had her try to manipulate me into believing that separating from a very bad family situation wasn’t in God’s will, and that I should stay home where I belonged. I have been blatantly ignored while she, and other friends, made plans to go out together, all while I stood or sat there next to her, without being included. I have, on multiple occasions, tried my best to confront her for the offenses I saw, and was shut down before I could get the words fully out. I have been shut out of her life when I bring up concerns, and welcomed warmly when I agree with everything she says. She has discouraged me from believing in a scripture that brought me great hope, instead told me not to get my hopes up that I would ever be healed….]

I finally caught up with her, and my hubsand and I sat down to chat for a few minutes, but I found my mouth glued shut, and only brief answers were allowed past my tightly closed lips. I was inwardly surprised at how simply being in her presence shut me down. Just like that, I was quiet, I felt like I had to defend every thing I said, and was getting riled up at every little nuance of something she said, did, or reacted to. I sat there quietly, inwardly, grappling with my anger and frustration, and felt so unsure of why she was setting me off. Then it hit me. I had never been able to accept that she had hurt me, that she had hurt my friends, and that now I was watching her scorn another friend of mine. I purposefully forgot what she had done so I could keep the friendship, although shaky, that I had with her on a level plane, and that is no longer acceptable to me. I cannot heal from the hurt, anger, and frustration I have felt unless I can accept that she hurt me, and I can move on.

For all of the years that I was under my dad’s influence, and in an unstable emotional environment, it will most likely take just as long for me to relax, and not react, in a stable emotional environment.  Being married to a man who is very stable emotionally, and is willing to chill when I am blowing up, makes a world of difference in how I am reacting now. I am learning to recognize the people who I can’t be around without being reminded of my dad and reacting emotionally to normal things that should not affect me. I cannot be around people who scorn those who don’t agree with them, or call them out on their issues. I cannot be near those who shun family members for choosing to break from from ancient family chains, and who make you feel like you are worth next to nothing when they question your opinions. I cannot be around those who are loving, caring, happy, and accepting one minute, and then the next around cold, rude, and patronizing. I need real people with real feelings who, no matter how ugly or good, will freely share those feelings.  I will not willingly stand by any longer, and watch my friends get treated like crap. If a  family treats one of their children like they are dead to them simply because of differing opinions, then shame on them.  Situations like mine with my dad, and others of my friends, make me very grateful for the band of friends I am forming who are willing to stand by me, and constantly remind me of what is NORMAL, and what is not.

So here’s to all of the fellow Black Sheep out there. I toast to our health, our peace of mind, heart, and body, and to the love that only true friends can give.

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


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