Tag Archives: quiverfull

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.


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


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


Breaking Free – this hard journey I am on

Not that long ago, there was a little girl, struggling with trying to understand why her daddy wasn’t seeming to care whether or not God had spoken to her, or why he insisted he knew her heart. She didn’t understand how not agreeing or understanding her dad equaled disrespect and dishonor. She didn’t understand why her mom continued to let her dad manipulate her mom. I was that little girl.

I was the “perfect” oldest daughter of nine, submitting to the authority of her parents, not questioning, nor seeking my own way. I read all of the books I was supposed to read, agreed with everything, and only talked with those who I agreed with. I honestly was quite a pushover and I remember many times of having conversations with some of the older girls I knew and wondering where they came up with their stuff. I remember thinking that they seemed so weak, and almost like robots. But then, I was wrong, of course, because they had all of their scripture verses to back their stances up, and I can’t argue with God! Right?!

I remember one particularly interesting conversation with a friend of mine. She is also the oldest of her family, and extremely pro-Vision Forum, Patriarchy, and Quiverfull ideas. Like, extremely for it all. Or at least was, when I last saw her. I had become very weary of living at home, I was 18, had a job, and had been offered a place to stay with some friends, so I was seriously considering moving out. I hadn’t told my parents, but I knew they weren’t going to be happy. I had also, around this time, really started wondering if I really had things right. I had that nagging little voice in the back of my heart that kept saying something’s off. I just didn’t know how to respond to that feeling, or how to answer for the uneasiness I constantly felt. So when I told my friend that I was planning on moving out, and that’s what I felt like God was telling me to do, she immediately told me that that’s not following God, and that a daughter was supposed to remain at home under her father’s authority. I totally did not agree, but I didn’t know how to disagree. I had no idea why I didn’t agree either, other than feeling that was what robots did, and I was no longer willing to be the quiet, mechanical daughter. I felt frustrated when I expected her to be sympathetic, and understanding. She brushed off my tears and aching heart when I explained how I couldn’t handle life at home anymore. She told me that a good, Godly daughter stays at home under her father’s authority (and she quoted some obscure verse from the old testament) and told me I should stay home. I got off the phone call feeling very confused and not understanding where she was coming from. I also knew that I didn’t agree, but I didn’t know how I disagreed, but I knew I did, but I almost agreed because she was very convincing. Yeah, messy. She even told me that she didn’t know why I was thinking about moving out since her and I believed the same things. Uh, no, I just had never told her that I found “So Much More” to be so much crap, or how I didn’t agree with what a daughter’s place was in the home, or how important family was above everything else.

That year was really frustrating for me. I had support from good people about moving out, but at the same time, I had too many people opposing me, and convincing me of otherwise. My parents convinced me that it would be incredibly damaging to my siblings if I left, and besides, how was I could to be able to provide for myself since I didn’t have a car. Because I didn’t know how to argue against them, and because I still didn’t have much of a spine, I went with it. But it was under protest, and wasn’t something I enjoyed. I remember feeling manipulated but so unsure of how to fight it. Oh the tears, the heaviness in my heart, the ache of wanting something more and to escape from the prison home had become. I was the strong one, I kept my siblings together. I protected them, the best I could, from my dad’s rampages, and yet, I was losing it. I seriously felt like my legs were melting beneath me, and I could no longer stand strong and steady. I even broke down twice in two years, and asked friends to come pick me up. Towards the end of that year, I got up from the dinner table in the middle of my dad yelling, and I walked out. He yelled after me that I should just go, because that’s all I ever do, I run away from my problems. I couldn’t handle it anymore.

I was done.

About 6 months later, he kicked me out, and told me that he was sick and tired of dealing with me. Oh, and roughly a year and a half after my parents told me that moving out would harm my siblings, I was being told to move out because I was a bad influence on them. Serious contradiction.  I still couldn’t enunciate what it was that I disagreed with, or why, or how to back up what I didn’t agree with.  But I knew I was tired of emotionally shutting down and not facing the heartache, pain, or confusion. I couldn’t keep living like that. But I did not know how to fix it.

It took about a year after getting married and no longer living under my dad that my emotions started waking up. It helped having a very good friend to talk with who was a few steps ahead of me and was able to at least help me start figuring things out. then I kept hitting the wall. I didn’t really know what I believed anymore; did I really know the difference between my dad’s hypocrisy and God’s truth? I stopped reading my bible because I was done with being legalistic in how I read it. I stopped going to church because I felt like I was suffocating there. It didn’t help I was in a mega church, and with more than 2500 people surrounding me each Sunday, I found it so overwhelming. My husband, having grown up in this mega church, has had a bit of a hard time trying to understand what I’m working through as I unravel my past. He’s been a dear about it, but I’ve reached the point where I feel I can no longer attend this church, without serious consequences to healing from my past.

I am slowly learning how to deconstruct all of the difficult teachings about purity, raising a family, homeschooling, doctrine, importance of family, submission, and such that I was taught growing up. I am slowly figuring out what I agree with, what I don’t, and what I simply don’t know enough yet to make a decision one way or the other. Reading various blogs has helped, and I find it so fascinating and helpful having others write about what they have been through, how they are growing, and what they believe now, and why. It is such a relief to know that I’m not alone, and even though I have a long hard road ahead of me, I know that I have people who are willing to help, and will not judge me for whatever I decide, or whoever I become at the end of this.  I know there are those out there who have been hurt by legalism, and patriarchy, and I am eager to join their ranks in figuring out how to heal from the pain. It’s a hard process, and a scary one, to be perfectly honest. My whole “belief system” is in question, and the rock I stood on is getting smaller and smaller. but that’s okay, I am not alone.

With that in mind, and without further ado,

Chryssie Rose


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