I’ve been thinking a lot about the carnage that has come out of evangelicalism. More specifically, Reformed theology, Calvinism, the homeschooling movement, the purity culture, and complimentarianism.
Who has suffered the most? I believe without hesitation, that the children raised in these systems have been and continue to be, its greatest casualties. We continue to receive emails from parents who have been broken by the system and who have grown children who have walked away from the faith and sometimes into atheism or agnosticism. Some of these children cut their parents off for a season. Some, permanently. It’s painful, but I think necessary for the child to figure out who they are apart from how they were raised. Some feel as though they have been brain washed their whole lives. And maybe so. Did we present one set of beliefs and hold them hostage to those beliefs, living in fear that they would somehow be corrupted by the world or even worse, another church with different theology?
I’m thinking too of the many who homeschooled like we did. Many believed they were raising up little warriors for God. Girls were taught that their value before God hinged on their presenting themselves as virgins to a man. And if they weren’t virgins on their wedding day, they were damaged goods, considered less than. They were also taught that their entire identity as women was gauged by their constant submission to a man, regardless of how abusive the relationship might become. They were compelled to follow that man, helping him to achieve all of his hopes and dreams while she stayed home and had babies. I’m not saying that staying home and having babies is bad, I’m thankful I was able to stay home with my children. But what if I had a choice to pursue my dreams too?
So not only were they held hostage to our theology, but to our worldview and political agendas as well. We presented a life and a God that fit neatly in a box. Our children lost their identity, if they had ever known it to begin with. I see one of the biggest results of being raised like this is anxiety and sometimes depression along with it. They don’t know who they are. They don’t know what it’s like to be belong to something, only how to fit in so they can be accepted.
So they leave. Leave the church and sometimes their families. And many leave their faith and sometimes stop believing there’s a God.
I came from a broken home. Deserted by my dad. Raised by an abusive alcoholic. I was a shattered human when I met Jesus. So why was I able to have an adult relationship with my parents and care for them when they died? What’s the difference? Why are kids who were raised in homes where divorce didn’t happen, where mom stayed home to cook and clean for them and sometimes homeschooled them, walking away from it all?
Today Mike and I celebrate forty-three years of marriage. Forty-three years. I’m trying to wrap my brain around that. What does that feel like? What does that look like? I admit, it’s not one of the biggies, like the 25th, or the 50th, but it’s still significant. I sit here with all of these thoughts about what it looks like.
I think it looks like living. I think it looks like dying. I think it looks like joy and happiness, sorrow and peace. It looks like two young kids standing in a meadow pledging to love each other till death do us part and not having a clue what that means. It looks like moving how many times? It looks like two young kids losing their first baby in a strange hospital with no family around, the pain and sorrow threatening to drown us. It looks like losing three more babies and holding each other through it all. It looks like the joy of having three healthy babies, Mike by my side, coaching me through each contraction because back then you didn’t use drugs during labor, you had to breathe through it all. He was a Continue reading
NOTE: This is a blog post Susan wrote in 2010 on another site we had at the time. After a little bit of updating, we decided to share it with you here. It seems like this topic is always applicable. Enjoy!
A Pastor friend of mine recommended a book to me recently because of the chapter on forgiveness. Most of this blog will be quotes from that book because I don’t think I could say it better. The book is 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne.
I have been questioning what it feels like and what it means to forgive someone when there has been tremendous hurt. If there is still hurt and distrust, is it really forgiveness? How do I get past it all? What am I doing wrong? These were just some of the questions I asked my friend. Osborne addresses the false beliefs we tend to have about forgiveness. Here is Continue reading
It’s been a really rough month for me. I’m sure most of you will be able to relate. It’s been a month filled with introspection and regrets. Motherhood regrets mainly.
I come from a broken home. I never wanted to have children. I never wanted to get married. I didn’t want to put anyone through what I lived through as a child. Then… Jesus. He saved me and set me on a whole new trajectory. I met Mike and suddenly I wanted marriage. I wanted that relationship. But I told him from the beginning I didn’t want kids. But…. Jesus showed me how beautiful babies were. And I had hope. Hope that I could somehow be a mom and do it differently. So after 2 painful miscarriages we had our first baby. I was a mom. I was going to do it all differently. My kids were never going to experience divorce. They were never going to experience the abuse of an alcoholic step-dad or the abandonment of a father. They were going to have a Leave it to Beaver family. My dream family.
And I thought that’s what I was doing. I thought I Continue reading
I’ve been thinking about my dad for a long time. He died several years ago. When I was little he was my hero. It really wasn’t until I had my own little girl and saw Mike’s love for her, that I realized my dad was not who I thought he was.
My parents divorced when I was about 4. I was beside myself with grief. I only saw him every other weekend and for summer vacations. I became a very angry child, often getting into fist fights. My older sister and I became latch key kids which really wasn’t a thing yet so there, shame began to invade my life.
When I was in 4th grade my mom married someone I had never met. It turned out he was a mean, abusive alcoholic. He moved us out of state the next year. At that point my dad decided that his job was done. He never contacted me or Continue reading
I finally did it. I made an appointment with a therapist. After 6 1/2 years of depression, anxiety, and good counseling, my counselor thought that a therapist might be able to help me heal. I’m broken inside. Something is not right in my brain. The healing for deep hurt is not happening like it usually does in most of us. And it’s not a sin issue. I need help with mending my soul.
While driving to my appointment on the freeway my anxiety began to grow. What if she said I was imagining this? What if she said that I just needed to get over it, like so many others have said? What if I can’t be fixed? What if this is what I will feel like for the rest of my life? So I turned the music up. And up and up until I was sure the other cars around me could hear it. Sometimes that’s the only way to push down the fears. To cancel out all of the Continue reading