Hello! Welcome to the Quivering Daughters website. Please note that this site is no longer being updated with new material but I hope you find the archives helpful. God bless you.

Season of Rest

You may notice a little bit of quietness on the blog for the next few weeks, at least with new posts. I welcome email and comments and may comment from time to time, but following the release of my book I am taking a much-needed rest. I still plan to keep up with facebook and twitter and look forward to hearing your thoughts ~ about the book, this blog, life, and God.

During this time I will continue to pray that God uses these words to bless my readers and bring comfort and encouragement ~ as well as continuing to seek Him for my next steps and the direction He wants for me. If there is material you'd like to see addressed in the future on the Quivering Daughters blog, or if you have questions, please write: hillary (at) quiveringdaughters (dot) com. I don't know how long I will be, but please check back soon and I am excited to see what lies ahead! You may see me around from time to time; I am so blessed by the relationships and friendships I've made through this little corner of the web. Feel free to join us! 

For My International Readers...

V ery happy to announce that Quivering Daughters is now available at The Book Depository which ships worldwide!

Friendly Friday

Y es, I realize it's late today. :-) This week has been very busy for me and I'm thrilled that many of my readers have already received their books!  For those of you waiting for emails, I'm hoping to get caught up very soon; thanks for your patience with me. 
     For today's Friendly Friday, I'd like to share those who have supported this book with much anticipation and excitement! In order of appearance: 
  • Meg Moseley, whose novel about a woman’s battle to break free from a cultic group releases next year, wrote a touching announcement entitled "Freedom for Quivering Daughters". Meg's beautiful endorsement of this work is a treasure.
  • Cindy Kunsman's "First Entry in My Quivering Daughter's Diary" made me cry, too. I am so pleased that she wrote the Afterword to my book, and her reflections after reading the finished work are especially tender for me.
  • Karen Campbell has posted "Quivering Daughters Hot Off the Press" and will be holding a giveaway in a few weeks during her upcoming Patriarchy Two podcast series. Karen is one of the very first people I interacted with online who showed interest in this book, and I am so honored that she also has written a lovely recommendation.
The past few days have been very surreal for me. I hope to write about some of this soon, but for now I'd like to say only: thank you for all of the encouragement, the prayers, the emails and messages, and the support I've received over the last year and a half of research, writing, and exploring the issues of authoritarianism, patriocentricity, and spiritual and emotional abuse. It means more to me than I can even express. With tears and humility I continue to fall before our Abba, Father, and daily ask Him to bless these words and those who read them; that His Spirit is present even within these pages and will, through them, bring comfort and hope to His precious daughters. 

In His Service,

Now Available! Quivering Daughters

I am thrilled to announce that  
Quivering Daughters: Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy 
is now available online at  

The listings aren't complete and will be updated over the next several days, so please click the links to arrive directly. Thank you so much for your support, prayers, and encouragement over the past year and more; I pray that this book will be a blessing in your life! 

If you do not care to purchase online, the book can be ordered in-store at Barnes and Noble.
  • ISBN-10: 0984468609
  • ISBN-13: 9780984468607

Evolving in Monkey Town | A Review

Ihave a question. Is it possible, sometimes, that we as Christians might make an idol out of always having answers?
Zondervan recently sent me a review copy of Rachel Held Evans' new book, Evolving in Monkey Town, where the tagline reads, How a girl who knew all the answers learned to ask the questions. Yet "knowing the answers" is a mark of Christian discipleship and maturity...right?

This spiritual memoir from a recovering fundamentalist opens with a frank admission of bias. "I'm judgmental of people I think are judgmental," writes Evans. "I've been hurt by Christians." Then she adds, "As a Christian, I've been hurtful."

This honest reflection sets the tone for the rest of her book, which I found refreshing, unnerving ~ and, in the spirit of honesty, even a little uncomfortable at times. But that's okay. God is bigger than our questions ~ both unasked and unanswered ~ and thankfully, He is even bigger than our answered ones. This is comforting because sometimes the answers hurt.

Using the highly controversial (at least to most evangelical Christians) theory of evolution, Evans draws parallels to her own journey of faith. "Spiritual evolution explains why Christianity has thrived while other ancient religions have perished," she says, later adding, "I'm an evolutionist because I believe that the best way to reclaim the gospel in times of change is not to cling more tightly to our convictions but to hold them with an open hand."

Rachel Held Evans
Always ready, this pastor's daughter ~ with a positively ingenious childhood plan to witness to her Mormon neighbors ~ grew up with answers that outnumbered questions she didn't even know to ask. She writes, "So ready with the answers, we didn't know what the questions were anymore. So prepared to defend the faith, we missed the thrill of discovering it for ourselves. So convinced we had God right, it never occurred to us that we might be wrong. In short, we never learned to doubt."

In fact, we're afraid of doubt. We pray against it. We writhe thinking of Doubting Thomas and say we would never be him, pressing away insecurities, clamping a hand over our mouths and hanging on to the answers that make us feel safe. Somehow we've equated 'not having an answer' with being a poor witness or lacking in faith. 

We fear not having faith. And sometimes this makes us stop asking hard questions.

Evans, a self-proclaimed skeptic, muses, "On the one hand, I love what Jesus said about forgiveness and enemy love. On the other, I am horrified at the acts of genocide committed by Joshua in the Old Testament, acts seemingly condoned, even ordered by God...it baffles me that the same God who cast the lepers out of Israel sent His Son to minister among them. The same God who ordered the death of every man, woman, and child in Canaan welcomed little children into His arms."

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.—Rachel Held Evans, Evolving in Monkey Town.

Although this book will be a gutsy, thought-provoking addition to the shelves of anyone interested in matters of faith, some of my readers will feel alarm over Rachel Held Evans admitting she doesn't know the answers to many questions regarding morality, current events, the Bible, and other religions. Furthermore, "I don't know how God will ultimately judge between good and evil," she says. "I don't know which church tradition best represents truth. I don't know the degree to which God is present in religious systems, or who goes to heaven and who goes to hell." Her lack of certainty indicates to many black-and-white thinkers a kind of watered-down faith, a suggestion of tolerance that invites compromise to the church.

But others will find relief.

Many have spent their entire lives being told what to believe and how to believe it, what the answers are and what questions are appropriate. Evans strips away evangelical extras and reveals the foundation: Jesus. The cornerstone, the Rock. I think I blushed on her behalf a few times, but it's good to challenge all we've held dear, testing them and holding fast the good. And her courage to say "I don't know" in response to difficult situations is a refreshing surprise, for living in a world that puts stock in having all the right answers takes the journey away from us and molds God into a neat, predictable image. Admitting "I don't know" puts mystery back into Him and hands Him ~ not answers ~ out to others.

Rachel may not know all the answers, but she knows the One Who does. Her life echoes my own prayer of faith to God:
I'm willing not to know, but to rest in knowing You.
And here, there is peace.

How is Your Father's Day?

You won't want to miss Resolved2Worship's excellent post on parenting. I am currently reading and reviewing Rachel Held Evan's new book, Evolving in Monkey Town, and hope to post it sometime this week. If you've read it or want to read it, please stay tuned and join the discussion! In the archives here at the Quivering Daughters blog, Dear Anonymous continues to be a hot topic; I will reply as I can but if you like, please feel free to add your own thoughts to the comment thread.

I receive many interesting questions and feedback through (or because of, perhaps) this blog. I hope and pray that God gives me wisdom in how I write things so that I can convey truth and "what I really mean" because these subjects are serious and while there are always times that clarification is necessary, I endeavor to communicate in ways that limit when I have to say "What I meant was..." This includes current hot issues such as grace and forgiveness for past hurts and for those who we feel contributed to them, or the fact that most of our parents really do live how God has convicted them and this isn't about airing dirty laundry  ~ and many other things. I sometimes feel at a loss of how much more clear I can be...and I am open to suggestions! *smile*

Someone asked me recently, point blank, if I still loved my parents. As in currently, now, today. Honestly? I love them more than I ever have.

Perhaps this seems incongruous with writing about the hurtful effects of spiritual and emotional abuse in the family structure. Although there have been many repercussions (fruits) spiritually, emotionally, and in other ways that I've encountered and had to work my way through, hand in hand with the Lord, it is because of this that I can sit here today in obedience to His calling. Additionally, it is understood that not every family will practice the same things in the same manner. (For example, when I was growing up, Vision Forum didn't even exist ~ although I have many readers who now experience the teachings and beliefs that are promoted by them. And for another example, in their wisdom, my parents did not get into Gothard like many of our homeschooling friends did. And yet I have many readers who were part of ATI. And the fruits of those teachings ~ some of the effects on the daughters of patriarchy ~ are some of what I address in this blog. ) Does this mean that any of our families were all wrong? No, and I don't know how else to state that I'm not saying they are. I hope and pray that where I lack in my communication the Lord will help me. 

In the next few weeks I hope to post What My Family Did Right.
So how is your Father's Day? 

Friendly Friday

T his week has gone by super fast with lots of excellent material in the blogosphere. Whether you are a newlywed, hope to be married one day, or are celebrating your 25th anniversary, you will love Darcy's hilarious, yet seriously helpful article, "10 Truths About the Man You Marry." If you are a homeschooler or plan to homeschool, Luke Holzmann wants to tell you why "Sonlight Won't Take a Stand" and invites discussion regarding his curriculum's choice to "educate, not indoctrinate." Lewis writes about "Word Games" ~ special, internal language familiar to those within fundamentalism and patriocentric households. For those who love photography, especially when adorable children are involved, visit Adeena's "Life by the Creek." If you or someone you know is caught up within domestic violence, "The Dorcas Network" by Jocelyn Anderson seeks to respond "compassionately, effectively, and Biblically to the sin and trauma of domestic violence."
Fridays at Quivering Daughters are dedicated to my blogger friends...the ones who take the time to follow this blog or who pen words that inspire, challenge, or encourage me throughout the week. What have you found particularly intriguing or inspiring? Please feel free to leave a link in the comments so others can visit, too! God bless you.

Why I am Still a Christian

A couple of similar comments were left recently that I wanted to address in a post:
"Without trying to be antagonistic, I am curious why so many have continued in the christian religion after their experiences with it. I was raised as a strong Protestant, and had spent years studying the Bible and Christian theology, but subsequent to my experiences with a man who controlled his daughter/family to the point of ruining a relationship, I realized that trying to pick and choose which parts of Christianity gave birth to it was impossible. So, I am interested why so many here are moving forward with that intent." (From Commandments of Men | New Blog)


"Not to join in the mutual misery society, but having likewise been through a failed relationship with a girl because of her father and her refusal to actually commit...similar to many of the details that "Lewis" has shared...I have one question: Why do any of you continue to be christian? Once I learned what the end result was, I washed my hands of it all; and I'm curious why so many of you who have been through similar situations continue in the very ideology that gave birth to the abuse." (From When You Love a Daughter of Patriarchy.)
I am so sorry for the pain that you've been through. I believe that God weeps with you at the injustice and sorrow that you've witnessed and experienced; even though I don't know the precise details within your situations He did speak strongly about those who cause His children to stumble. 

Speaking for myself, separating God from man (including man's actions, beliefs, lifestyles, etc.) and separating God from the man-made religion of Christianity was a vital part of healing and continuing in the Faith. Ultimately it required taking certain people and ideas off of a pedestal and allowing God to shatter all the false ideas I held onto, including lies about myself and a misunderstanding of His nature, and replace them with truth.

I can follow a God who hates authoritarianism, who prizes mercy over judgment, who values person over doctrine. For me, it's a matter of realizing that humans (including myself) are fallen creatures and that I can look to no one except God for truth and righteousness. This also helps me have grace and mercy, forgiveness, honor and love for those who continue these practices, knowing that as a human, I too make mistakes, cause pain, and am no better, more enlightened, or more worthy than anyone else. I can't blame God for the actions of man, even when those things might be done in His name. I am actually thankful, for in my own life it forced me to seek Him myself and work out my own salvation with fear and trembling.  The Lord called me, healed me, and set my feet upon the narrow path...it is my joy to serve Him however I can.

I'd love to hear from others, both Christian and those who have left the faith due to abuses of patriarchalism, authoritarianism, and fundamentalism. If you are a Christian, why, and how have you remained so or become so? And if you've left the faith, why, and what would it take to come back?

In other words, why have you kept the faith despite spiritual abuse?

Commandments of Men | New Blog

I 'd like to introduce a new blog by a young man with a unique perspective on the patriocentric, authoritarian family. He writes:
"In my dealings with a group of hyper-fundamentalists, I've seen how a father raised his children (particularly his daughters) in such a way as to create dependency on his "authority". For instance, if you want to control a daughter's choice of men through a process such as courtship, there's no better way to accomplish this than to raise her to be insecure, indecisive, afraid of her own shadow emotionally and convinced of the wickedness of her heart, and indoctrinating her to believe that any means other than courtship can't be blessed of God. Make her need you. Create the demand, then demand to meet the demand. And it's all based on the notion of "protection". If you fail to comply, life becomes very hard very fast. People can debate intent, but many of the men fervently carrying out their patriarchal practices won't stop short of killing the spirit of a son or daughter (daughters particularly) to maintain their control. My ex-fiancee's father was trying to "protect" her from people and things which pose a threat to him. Her well-being had little to do with it."
For more, please view Commandments of Men.

Monday at Quivering Daughters

Happy Monday! I am in the middle of updating my website and added a New FAQ & Disclaimer page, as well as posted the back cover of my book, Quivering Daughters. Lord willing, it will release June 30th. I will post more information soon. Thank you to all of you who have asked about it and show support! You humble me with your support and care. May God bless you all this week.

Friendly Friday

Follow Jesus! That is my mantra. To be honest, I wince a little using the oh-so-self-aggrandizing term supplied by Google ~ "followers." And yet, those of you in the blogworld who regularly keep up with my articles here, or who write things in your own spaces that inspire, challenge, and encourage me...I am so blessed by you! And I want to honor you and others whose words have made an impact on me throughout the week. So to keep things simple and to show those whom I follow, or those who follow or link to this blog my appreciation, Fridays at Quivering Daughters will be dedicated to these friends.

I am always inspired by Kelly Langner Sauer's blog, "A Restless Heart." She infuses words with longing and serenity while her lens captures moments I want to climb into and remain for a while. Every nook within her space is lovely, but visit her recent post featuring a poem for her husband, entitled "Love Does". 

Shadowspring reminds parents to "Show, Don't Tell" when it comes to communicating faith to their children, especially through education.

I've poured over the photography at  My Pinecraft World lately because not only is her work exquisite, but because, in many ways, it's so familiar. We did not grow up Mennonite, but we attended a Mennonite church for a short time when I was very young and used Rod and Staff curriculum for our schooling. The little girls could be my sisters, at least as I remember them from so long ago. *tear*

holy experience

It's likely that I will feature Ann many times because she always speaks to my heart. As an artist and writer and perfectionist, I torment myself sometimes wondering if I've given my best, my all. If I've communicated what God wants me to say. If He would look at me and ever say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." That's actually been a silent plea of mine for all of my life. Thanks to my dear friend who sent me this link from A Holy Experience.

I always love to meet new friends and discover new spaces for thought and contemplation! Please add your own favorites in the comments so that I can check them out this week.

Why Patriarchy Can Look Attractive | Guest Post By a Mother of 12

We live in an age where there are "solutions" to nearly every problem. When one is not readily available, we continue to strive to find one, assuming that one can be found. We adults were born in a century that saw many deadly diseases eradicated, or at least cures found. We continue, and rightly so, searching for cures to diseases that are yet without solution. Even today, BP and the government are working day and night to solve a problem of vast proportions, assuming it can be solved. We, especially Americans, have the attitude that there is nothing "WE" cannot do. We pride ourselves on our ingenuity, education, and abilities, which are, no doubt great.

But what about sin? Do "we" have a solution to sin? We have 4 teenage sons, ages 14-19. In the last eight months, we have had to deal with sexual sin in some form or another in their lives, from falling into p*rn sites to having sex with girlfriend. We are disappointed, but not broken hearted, as we have learned the God's grace can and will draw them back into a right relationship. But, waiting for that is very difficult.

It is very tempting to look for a "formula' that will ensure that our children do not stray from God's way. Especially when "experts" trot out their lovely families (and they ARE lovely no doubt) purporting that they have found "the" way to raise children who will never stray.

This is a very attractive idea, especially when in the midst of disappointment with a child who has fallen into sin of some nature. Far too often we look to a leader who seems to have all the answers, rather than falling on our knees before the Lord, searching the scriptures for ourselves, and waiting upon the Father who loves our children even more greatly than we do.

Trust me, I would LOVE to have some formula that would protect my children from falling as low as they have. To have avoided the tears and the fears of the last few months would be very welcome. But life gets dirty and God allows what He allows in His sovereign nature. Right now, He is allowing my sons to see what is really in their hearts and to see their great need for Him.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

I can say these things now, because with six adult children, I've gotten to the other side. Five are believers and live lives learning to follow God. One is still a prodigal, but God never seems to cease sending her wake up calls. He will never give up on our children as we lift them up to Him. Ultimately, they will decide if they will follow.

Only through experience do our children learn their need for a savior or THE Savior. We in no way can protect against that, nor can we train to avoid it. We can only give them Christ, guide them through life's difficulties, and in our prayers, lay them at the foot of the Cross for His sovereign work in their lives. Satan does go about as roaring lion and wishes to have our children. Never cease to be in prayer for them.
This guest post was written by a conservative, homeschooling mother of 12 children.

Abusing Abuse? | Guest Post, Part 2

So...are we making a big deal out of nothing? Have we made ourselves into victims, casting blame on well-meaning parents and spiritual leaders, not "owning up" to our mistakes or claiming responsibility for our own problems and sins? After all, there is REAL abuse out there...just look at all the shelters for battered women. But as all counselors will tell you, abuse takes many forms. It is unfortunate that the Body of Christ seems to place more importance and validity on the kind of abuse that endangers the body while neglecting the kind that endangers the soul.

Just because spiritual and emotional abuse is subtle and often unseen except by the victims, doesn't mean that it is less important than physical abuse that can be seen. Who are you to look at someone who is hurting and tell them that their pain isn't as important as another's? To look at the girl who wonders if she has any value in God's eyes and tell her "Well, buck up, take responsibility for your life, and be thankful you weren't beaten"? How are bruises on the body worse than bruises on the soul?

I refuse to play the my-problems-are-worse-than-your-problems game. Pain is pain. It hurts, it debilitates, it affects every area of our lives. Anyone who lives with chronic physical pain can tell you this. And those who struggle with spiritual pain know all too well. May I even suggest that wounded spirits have far more profound impacts on people's lives than wounded bodies? Perhaps because a heart that is whole can live a beautiful life even in a body that is broken. But it doesn't really work the other way around.

Yes, healing is our choice. But we first have to recognize the wound in order to apply the correct balm. Ignoring it, or telling yourself to "just get over it" won't work. If I've grown up with the belief that I am only pleasing to God if I perform correctly, then I must see the lie in that message, and apply the correct truth. The lie: that any works of righteousness can make me acceptable to God. The Truth: "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God" and "when we were still without strength, Christ died for the ungodly" and "He has made you accepted in the Beloved".

This is not a "blame game". We do not believe in sitting around and blaming our parents, church, friends, whomever for our pain and the consequences thereof. But the fact is, there are things passed down to us from our parents that contributed, if not outright caused, certain wounds in our lives. This is true for everyone, regardless of religious beliefs. Acknowledging this, recognizing it, and discussing it is not the same thing as blaming others. I believe in family wounds and generational curses/pain. A woman who was told she was never good enough is going to pass that lie to her daughters and they to their daughters unless it is acknowledged and healed by the Healer. I can see some lies and strongholds in myself that were present in my grandfather. I am not blaming him, just recognizing where the lie started and looking at all the heartache it has caused in subsequent generations. I also know that it does not have to be this way. That lie and the wounds inflicted by it can stop with me. I do not have to pass it on to my children. I will not; I refuse. I'm sure my mother would have said the same had she but known to even look for it. Had she not been told "You're fine, get over it."

This is why we even bring this up. Not only so that we can live from a healed, whole heart, but for our children and our children's children. Broken people produce more broken people. It is an endless cycle of pain and brokenness and the Enemy of our souls loves it. Ignoring it will only perpetuate the pain. The Church today has very little understanding about matters of the heart and this has to stop. It is because of people saying "Buck up, stop blaming everyone else, get over it" that there is so much brokenness and dysfunction among Christians today. We've ignored our pain and the causes for too long and are now reaping the harvest of broken people, broken families. Christ's little ones are stumbling and falling and being told to "get over it" because their wounds aren't visible to the world. These things ought not to be.

Jesus said "Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest". But how can we get that rest unless we first admit we need it? How can we leave our burdens with Him unless we first admit we have a burden? Ignoring the burden or downplaying its effect on our lives will not make it go away. It will only cause us to live a half-hearted life and when we die, to pass that burden on to our children. Brothers and sisters, I beg you, do not perpetuate pain by ignoring, comparing, downplaying, and telling others to "get over it". And stop criticizing those who are recognizing wounds, denouncing lies, and inviting healing into their pain-wracked hearts. Be cautious lest you find yourselves fighting against the very God you serve. In the words of a very wise man, "And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it ~ lest you even be found to fight against God." Acts 5:38,39

Darcy is wife to a good man and mother to three beautiful children. Her passions include music, organic living, coffee, homeschooling, and Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ. Due to being raised in a spiritually abusive church, extreme fundamentalism, and other ills of the Dark Side of the homeschool culture, she is also passionate about freedom, finding healing in Jesus' grace, and leading others to the Healer of hearts and the Restorer of souls. She blogs at Darcy's Heart Stirrings.

Interview at Scita Scienda

P lease be sure to visit Scita Scienda for my interview with C.L. Dyck.  And check back here on Thursday  for part 2 of "Abusing Abuse" by Darcy!