As a woman with a very interesting, atypical past, I am often asked, "why are you so different?" This question comes from those within “the world”, and from those who follow a more conservative path.
I grew up keenly aware of this "being different", cursing myself, my desires, my flesh, my deepest being. I implored God to change me, and daily begged Him for forgiveness of my badness and sin.
My ministry is to women abused within fundamentalist Christianity. My primary focus is adult daughters, but wives and mothers are not exempt from the emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, manipulation through fear, shame, mind control, and other serious elements, rampant within aberrant religious culture.
Many resources exist extolling the virtues of Biblical Patriarchy, the Quiverfull movement, homeschooling, isolationism, and agrarian living. Many others address the issue of prodigal sons or daughters, caution against “culture”, and illustrate what it means to be a true, godly woman.
Undoubtedly, some of these materials are valuable.
Yet very few address the negative ramifications of these lifestyles or the effect they have on women. For there is a dark side within extreme conservatism. It is compounded by secrecy, oppression, fear, and silence, while the "least of these" within fundamentalist Christianity quietly succumb to heartache, pain, and sorrow.
And that is why I write.
I pray that my words will help bring relief, hope, and encouragement to women lost and hurting within a religious subculture. I pray that they will see the true way, and the heart of Jesus. I hope that those who feel betrayed in the name of God and the Bible will come to understand truth.
To be clear, I am not “against” homeschooling or other conservative values. I do not take the position that they naturally produce fearful, depressed daughters. I do not believe it is wrong to have many children, nor to live a "counter-cultural" lifestyle.
However, I do protest when families become imbalanced, when daughters feel as though they do not matter, that their thoughts and feelings do not matter, when subtle messages bring condemnation, when things are proclaimed to be “God’s way” or the “Biblical way” when Scripture makes no such claim. I protest when the doctrines of men are used to hurt the children of God. I am against performance-based relationships, and placing anything other than Jesus at the center of a heart or family.
No family is perfect. However, the purpose of this book is not to ream others for their imperfections, but to acknowledge, validate, and launch a journey to healing from the very real wounds caused by them. I encourage all to seek the Heavenly Father and live obediently to the convictions placed on their hearts by the Holy Spirit. Weigh what I write according to Scripture, and lay these words before God.
I do not know the outcome of this project; I do not know if this work will become a completed book, or what God has in store. He has said to write, and write I do. Tomorrow is in His hands.