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 Please note that this site is no longer being updated with new material but I hope you find the archives helpful.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.

What is Abuse?

AAbuse is a hot, yet tender, topic. Nearly everyone would agree that abuse is horrible, unjustifiable, and devastating. Invariably, within a discussion of abuse, someone will bring up the question of definitions and ask, but what is abuse? Are we just throwing the word around, willy-nilly, and making false accusations? Are we slandering others using this emotionally-charged word? Shouldn't we drop this word and perhaps use something a little less alarming?

We are conditioned to consider abuse to be that which inflicts violence in the forms of rape, battery, beating, or extreme neglect. And yes, those are examples of abuse ~ yet they are not the only examples. Here is how the United States Department of Justice defines abuse. Please read carefully.

We define domestic violence as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling, etc are types of physical abuse. This type of abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use upon him or her.
Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to, marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual's sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem is abusive. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling, or damaging one's relationship with his or her children.
Economic Abuse: Is defined as making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one's access to money, or forbidding one's attendance at school or employment.
Psychological Abuse: Elements of psychological abuse include  - but are not limited to - causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner's family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Domestic violence affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. Domestic violence occurs in both opposite-sex and same-sex relationships and can happen to intimate partners who are married, living together, or dating.
Domestic violence not only affects those who are abused, but also has a substantial effect on family members, friends, co-workers, other witnesses, and the community at large. Children, who grow up witnessing domestic violence, are among those seriously affected by this crime. Frequent exposure to violence in the home not only predisposes children to numerous social and physical problems, but also teaches them that violence is a normal way of life - therefore, increasing their risk of becoming society's next generation of victims and abusers. Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Center for Victims of Crime, and WomensLaw.org.

These descriptions illustrate the mis-use of power and control over another person's mind, heart, and body. But there is another form of abuse, a spiritual one. A popular blogger recently observed that the term spiritual abuse is becoming increasingly wide-spread. I am thankful for this! It means that awareness is growing and when one is aware, he or she is more likely to be alert and able to discern warning signs. But what is spiritual abuse? Ezekiel 34 illustrates spiritual abuse in heart-wrenching prose.
“Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.”
Another definition is offered by Watchman Fellowship:
Spiritual abuse is the misuse of a position of power, leadership, or influence to further the selfish interests of someone other than the individual who needs help. Sometimes abuse arises out of a doctrinal position. At other times it occurs because of legitimate personal needs of a leader that are being met by illegitimate means. Spiritually abusive religious systems are sometimes described as legalistic, mind controlling, religiously addictive, and authoritarian.

It is important to reach an understanding of words and what is meant when terms are used. But while one could argue definitions all day, please remember that meanwhile, there are some desperately hurting individuals in this world who need healing.

Letter From a Friend

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

My dear friend,

I know you have been through some rough times recently. Your family does not understand why you have done what you have done. Most of your friends are probably avoiding you. But deep inside, you know you did the right thing by leaving. You can no longer be a slave to other people’s opinions - opinions that they claim are God’s way of doing things, but you cannot find basis for in Scripture. You likely feel very alone and very small as you begin your new life. I’m sure there are some doubts at times. It is ok. All of that is normal.

Letter To a Friend | Book Recommendations

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

My dear friend,

You asked what books I might recommend as you seek healing from the emotional and spiritual trauma you have been through.  There are a few books that stand out in my mind as having been really helpful to me.  I am sure there are many, many more, but these are some of my favorites.

Link Round-Up

I've come across some great reading over the past few weeks and wanted to share with you. Have you found anything inspiring lately? Or maybe written something especially profound? I'd love it if you'd add some favorites of your own in the comments!

On womanhood ...
I Was You Once

On homeschooling ...
Faith to Embrace Diversity

On patriocentricity ...
The Sins of Triviality and Partiality and the Curriculum that Promotes Them

On the “victim mentality” ...
My Personal Response to “Why Don't you Just Move On?”

On parenting ...
Possession Mistaken for Love

A Gentle Reality Check for the Daughters of Patriarchy

As I shared on facebook, I've wanted to address this topic for a long time. But while chatting with my friend Darcy, I realized that she was the perfect one to write about it instead. I'm including a teaser clip below, but please click the following link to view the article in its entirety. I couldn't be more thankful or proud of Darcy for this and truly believe that this reality check is sorely needed in the world of Biblical Patriarchy. 

Darcy writes:
My husband's a trucker. I'm "alone" from about Sunday afternoon to Friday afternoon every week during the summer. I have to fend for myself and three kids. I sleep alone, a gun nearby, knowing there may come a night I'll have to use it (and trust me, I can use it better than most men I know). I have to make all the decisions on how to run my house alone. I have to be mature and interact with the world around me (including men and atheists *gasp*) alone. I have to be discerning all by myself, able to judge right and wrong, wise and foolish. If I break down on the side of the road, my husband isn't there to "protect" or rescue me. I have to deal with it as if I were single. I have to be strong and capable and mature and independent every single day. My husband leaves every week depending on me to be all these things and more. If I had an emergency, it could be 12+ hours before my husband could get to me. He didn't need a girl who needed to be coddled, needed someone to make decisions for her, needed to be "led" and guided in daily interactions like a child. He needed a mature woman who could handle an imperfect life. And it's a darn good thing that I didn't spend my growing up years thinking I needed a man to handle my life or come between me and the big bad world. I had to learn how to be a functioning part of society and take care of myself and others. My family's well-being depends on this.

I know girls who weren’t allowed to go grocery shopping, in a safe small town, without their dad or big brother for “protection”. They weren’t allowed to go anywhere without a man, for that matter. Their view of the Big Bad Men in the world they needed to be protected from has grown into a paranoia. They’re scared of their own shadows. They think all men are out to rape them or take advantage of them. And they truly believe they are gullible, weak, and cannot handle life on their own, because that's the line they've been fed all their lives. It's become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As my friend, Christi, said in comment to this idea:

"This is exactly what patriarchy wants us to believe, that women are weak-minded things incapable of avoiding dangerous situation. I lived alone ...and I never found myself in a compromising position. And how would a predator know whether a woman lived at home with her parents, or with her husband, or lived "alone" (with roommates)?

And while we're talking about this, why don't people realize that homemakers are some of the most "alone" and vulnerable women out there? You seem to not realize that married young women have to do the exact same things that young women who are away at college have to do, and more. I have to go out and do my shopping alone, just like a college girl would (though I imagine that college girls get to carpool together). What's more, I'm even at home alone. I'm pretty sure that I'd really be better protected on a college campus since I'm alone during the day (and night, since my husband works until 11 PM) and have often had to interact with strange men, sometimes even inside my house, while my husband is at work. Apartment maintenance men, internet guy, phone guy, UPS man, door-to-door salesmen, etc. Oh, and it's usually my job to take our car in for repairs and oil changes. Car repairmen are actually pretty nice, or maybe it depends on where you go (which again, is simply a matter of making an intelligence choice).

I mean no disrespect to my husband when I say this but, he's really not here a lot to protect me because he's busy working a full-time job in addition to being a full-time student. My marriage license doesn't really afford me any more physical protection than I had when I was single."
 Please view On Women and Protection to read more! 

Recovering Grace: A Gothard Generation Shines Light on the Teachings of IBLP and ATI

Introducing a new site that may be of interest to some Quivering Daughters readers:

You Have a Story

My strategy to survive was to appease the soldiers and to make friends with them. I thought, if only we could make friends with these soldiers, then we would survive. 
But porters can die at any time. For example, if a soldier got angry and just shot me with his gun, nothing would happen to him. I would just die, like a chicken or a rat. To Tanintharyi Division, they send 500 porters every year. Of the 500, only 72 porters make it back to the prison. If you survive, you survive.
I was a porter for nearly six months.
~ Lai Pa, 34-year-old man from Burma. Source: How to Use Stories to Change the World.
by Hillary McFarland

Everybody has a story. Sometimes it's buried so deep we forget we have something to say. We wonder who would want to listen? And often it's so painful that reliving our stories through the telling process is such an overwhelming prospect that we squash it into oblivion.

Stories are like sculptures. They must be chiseled slowly, carefully. Creating art from a sprawling array of experiences takes time. And yet, this can be powerful. Redemptive. And part of a personal healing journey.

My book features many stories from women who share their experiences of setting out like Abraham into a land they do not know, a life they do not know. It's a tremendous act of faith to follow the prompting of God and leave all they've known behind, but these women are brave. Courageous. And I am deeply inspired by them. They are my heroes. And I continue to hear from others who do the same ... who leave all to take up their cross and follow God into the wilderness despite extreme physical and emotional hardship, rejection from their families, and the comfort of what they've always known. It is scary to walk by faith! It is agonizing to endure accusations, knowing that your act of godly obedience reaps judgments of rebellion, of feminism, of apostasy and worse from those you love the most.

It is in this pain, in this becoming, in this life journey, we find your story.

Finding Healing from Disillusionment | Guest Post

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

What do you do when someone you trust breaks that trust?  When you find out that they are a hypocrite?  When you finally realize that all the little things that didn’t quite make sense before, now make perfect sense, but in the opposite way you had hoped? 

I don’t know about you, but I felt lost.  Disoriented.  And hurt – deeply hurt. I totally believed the leader of the organization I was a part of.  Why wouldn’t I?  My parents believed a lot of what he said.  What he said sounded logical.  He seemed to have things all figured out.  He claimed to have answers that no one else did to very common problems that people face.  And his “answers” seemed to work.  If they didn’t, it must be my fault, not his.  I must not be doing it right.  I must not be committed enough.  I just need to keep trying, and then it will work.

Disillusioned Pictures, Images and Photos

I worshiped him, really.  Of course, I would have denied any such thing.  Everyone knows that you only worship God, not people, even really outstanding leaders.  But in reality, I worshiped him.  I believed every word.  I believed the stories he told of the wonderful things God was doing through him and the organization.  I wanted so much to be a part of those wonderful things!

Some things didn’t quite stack up, though.  Why did the board of directors change frequently?  Sometimes it was just one or two leaving and being replaced.  Other times it was almost everyone on the board.  Much later, I learned that the leader, according to the organization’s bylaws, can never be fired.  So, while he claims to be accountable to the board, he really is accountable to absolutely no one. If one of the men on the board disagrees with the leader too much, the leader has been known to be sure they leave the board at the end of their one year term.

To Change a World | Guest Post

by Melanie Anderson

Sunset Park is a little piece of fairytale on the coast of one of the Great Lakes, about twenty or so minutes from where I live.  It looks like just a hill with the lake in the distance until you are a couple feet from the edge and realize you are standing at the top of a wall of rock falling to the thin rocky beach below.  It is one of my favorite places to go to.  It feels like, for a brief period of time, I can actually step into a fairytale world, or at least the Atlantic coast.  I could sit on the edge of one of the crags or stand on the beach below for hours, watching the sun's journey towards the western horizon and thinking.  Because the whole atmosphere is very conducive for thinking.

 On a recent visit to Sunset Park, I decided to watch the sunset alone from the beach at the foot of the crags.  It's a rocky climb down, but if you just find the right place, it's not to steep.  I climbed down to the edge of the water and sat on a log that had, some time back, tumbled down from the height above.  I watched the waves rushing towards my feet and then falling back again into the vast expanse of water, which, at our point in the lake, looks like it could go on forever to the edge of the world.

As I sat there at the edge of the water, my mind deep in thought, I realized what I want to do with my life.

Garments of Salvation

By Eric M. Pazdziora

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”

—Jesus (Matthew 6:28-30, NIV)

Why do we worry about clothes? Ever since Adam and Eve’s sin made them ashamed of their nakedness, there’s something about the subject of clothing that makes people a little tetchy. Just ask, “Is it OK to wear this?” and everybody will chime in with an opinion until you’re too dizzy to care.

Jesus, of course, was talking to people who were worried about whether they’d be able to get any clothes at all, helping them remember God’s faithfulness to provide. Lots of other things make people worried about clothes, though. Am I overdressed? Am I underdressed? Is this tie too geeky? Will that skirt be too chilly? Is this too revealing? Will that cause a brother to stumble, or will he stumble on his own? Why exactly is it so horrible to wear white after Labor Day? And of course the all-time classic: Does this make me look fat?

Living under a system of rules is a great recipe for worry. Especially religious rules: if you have to do the right thing to glorify God, what if you do the wrong thing? Yet most Bible teachings about clothing are crammed with moralistic, rules-based readings of Scripture, especially once they get to “modesty.” I think we’ve missed the point.

Lies We Tell Ourselves About Abuse (And Other Things)

It has been a busy year for Quivering Daughters. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the responses, both public and private, to my book. I want to thank everyone who has contacted me, prayed for, and written to me, as well as all who have shown support and shared concerns. I pray that the Lord continues to use the message He laid on my heart for women for His glory, and humbly ask that you continue to pray both for those who read this book and for those who encounter or promote differing viewpoints. May the Lord be glorified and His name be praised!

While by no means exhaustive, I'd like to offer a couple quick mentions: much appreciation to Gina Dalfonzo from BreakPoint for her review published in Christianity Today. In addition, Internet Monk is hosting an open discussion about the issues raised in my book if you would like to participate. I'm also deeply thankful to Lanier for her review on YLCF this past March.

And finally, don't miss these truly insightful links:

Denial takes on many forms. It can look kind of like being a murderer in court, trying to convince the judge to let you off because you only killed one person, “At least I wasn’t a serial killer!” you protest. "I killed the guy with a gun, it’s not like I went after him with an axe!” The fact is, you are still a murderer, and you still have to deal with the repercussions of that.

Another example of this is sort of like the Pharisees’ prayer in the Bible where he prays, thanking God that he doesn’t have all the sins of other people all while completely ignoring his own sins. In this denial, you might say “I thank God that I wasn’t like those homeless children, at least I HAD parents. At least I am alive! I could have been one of those children who got killed by their parents, so I have it pretty good. I should be grateful.” You keep busy telling yourself what didn’t happen to you, so that you never have to face what actually did happen to you...
Please view "Lies We Tell Ourselves About Abuse" to read the article in its entirety. 

And a guest post on Darcy's Heart-Stirrings:
Letter to a Family Considering Joining ATI
May God bless you all.

When Parental Obedience Brings Rejection | A Repost

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy...
1 Tim. 3:1-2

by Hillary McFarland

Have you ever had this Scripture quoted at you? With ominous emphasis on last days and disobedience to parents?  I have.

I often hear from ostracized adult daughters who have made life decisions their parents believe are in disobedience (rebellion) to them and their teachings. Most of these women report that the difficult choices they make are a response to God's calling for them. Parents counter that God wouldn't ask them to do something that contradicts what they have taught and their understanding of Scripture.

Yet these same parents teach their children to obey God first, regardless of the cost, regardless of the suffering and sacrifice, regardless of what other people think. These same parents generally encourage their children to stay in the Word and ask God for wisdom. To grow in the knowledge of Him, take up the cross, and follow.

When these women obediently do so, they are condemned, emotionally (and sometimes physically) severed from their families, and rejected.

Disobedience, Really?

Scripture teaches that children are to honor their parents, but there is a difference between honor and obedience. Honor itself is not always a feeling. This article is not a criticism of parents who want to raise a godly family but it is a pointed look at the highly-confusing message some women (and men) struggle with in their adult life: which is that living life differently, having alternate convictions, or even reaching a different understanding of Scripture is equal to backsliding, rebellion, deception, or rejection of faith. For those who have prayed, studied, and carefully sought the Lord regarding their conclusions, this can be absolutely crushing.

Part of walking with God means to be bare before Him, asking Him to reveal sin in our lives and lead us in the way everlasting. Only the Lord knows the true motivations of our hearts. If there is an adult daughter who is in true rebellion and disobedience, there is still hope! However, honor and obedience notwithstanding, I submit that there is a lot less disobedience happening than some would have us believe.

Did your parents raise you to obey God? Did they teach you to follow Jesus? It's a hard life. Can a parent ever be truly prepared for this? Can we ever be truly prepared for this? Because this is the reality of a cross-bearing life:
Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them,  “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?  Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace.  So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:25-33
Did they raise you to seek first the kingdom of God? To be willing to go against the flow, to sacrifice? To take a stand? To question? To test all things and hold fast the good? To love God above all others, even when it hurts?

How Healing Starts to Happen

“not once,” i whisper. “not once did you or mum come into my room, sit on my bed and say sorry. not once did you ask me how i was doing; why i was hurting myself, and what you could do to help.”
Click here to continue reading How Healing Starts to Happen, written by my dear friend, Emily Wierenga. Honestly, I'm at a loss for words to sufficiently introduce this article. Parents of aching children and the aching children of parents can both find healing here. All I can say is ... please read her words. You will be glad you did.

The Journey

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

that wall is 13ft thick and is broken Pictures, Images and Photos
Iwish I could tell you the whole story of how God rescued me and healed me, but that would take at least ten posts. But I will say this. It was personal, intimate, and totally tailored to where I was each step of the way.  God kept bringing the right friend, the right book, the right message, the right quote, the right mentor, or whatever I needed at exactly the right time. 

So how did I get out of legalism?  Two words:  God & friends.

Who knew my desire for Him
Who patiently waited for me to be ready
Who came to me
Who gently shone His light into my cell
Who gave me genuine choices
Who smiled at me
Who loved me no matter what choice I made
Who spoke without speaking
Who held me close while I cried
Who showed me my heart
Who walked with me every step of the way
Who promised to help me tear down the walls
Who promised to help me clean up the toxic waste
Who helped create beauty where there had been darkness and chaos
Who has never given up on me

Who loved unconditionally
Who looked beyond the walls to see the real me
Who loved me even when I hid from them
Who listened and listened and listened
Who gave when I was afraid to receive
Who gently insisted that I receive
Who validated pain
Who gently reasoned against slavery
Who gave me courage
Who cheered at the smallest progress
Who recommended resources
Who told me the truth
Who taught me that friends are essential
Who were real, not perfect
Who taught me to see beauty

The Bondage of Betrothal

by Eric M. Pazdziora

One of the fundamental teachings of the Biblical Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements is the doctrine of “biblical courtship,” or “betrothal.” (My brother suggested the word “casuistries” instead of “teachings,” which is perfect except that I didn’t know it before, either.) This teaching has it that since a father is the head of the family, his children are completely under his authority—even for deciding whom they marry as adults.

Under this system, adult daughters or sons who presume to consider marrying somebody their patriocentric parents don’t approve of may be labeled rebellious against God and His plan for the family. It’s a classic case of bounded choice. Even though the doctrine purports to be motivated by turning fathers’ hearts toward their children, emotional trauma often ensues all around.

This isn’t about minors—I’ve heard this from men and women in their twenties or even older, still bound by parental authoritarianism. It’s a small step from “stay-at-home daughters” to “kept-at-home daughters.”

Let’s ask one simple question: Is that really what the Bible teaches?

The “Joy” and Power of Guilt

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

by Kiery King

Humble and proud. 
Guilty and righteous. 
Loving and judging. 

They sound like opposites, don’t they?  Maybe that is because they are.  However, during my time with the organization, they often were so mixed that I was a bit confused as to their meaning. 

It was totally unacceptable to be proud, of course.  So we would do various things to make sure we stayed humble.  Sometimes this meant doing things to humble ourselves (menial chores, obeying an authority when we didn’t want to, or asking forgiveness even if we weren’t really wrong).  Sometimes it meant inwardly berating ourselves for our weaknesses and sins.  Sometimes it meant letting someone else berate …er… encourage us.  On the other hand, it could mean flaunting our humility - sharing a story in such a way that everyone listening could see how humbly we had behaved.  But of course, we could never actually claim to be humble either, because that would be pride. 

Mind Renewal

“In their zeal for producing godly offspring, many well-meaning parents insert themselves in their adult childrens lives in ways that are deeply inappropriate and hinder them from growth and maturity. Addressing the effects of this does not mean they are inherently bad parents or that we arent loving or loved. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Healing from over-control and surrendering to the transformation of the Holy Spirit in our lives is crucial to our growth —because it is when we walk in the Spirit that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Our parents (or pastors, husband, and friends for that matter) cannot walk in the Spirit for us.The Over-Controlled Adult Child
In this perverse world, it's important for kids to understand their personal boundaries. "It's not okay for someone to touch you there," a parent might say. Teaching a child how to keep her body safe involves understanding what is off-limits to others. "This part belongs to just you," she learns. "It's private and no one else is allowed to look at you there. If someone asks or tries to touch you, you scream as loud as you can and run away."
     Owning and protecting those private places are essential for healthy personhood. Violations are horrific, often causing lifelong pain, injury, and trauma to the body and the heart—as well as legal repercussions for offenders. But we have other areas that need owning and protecting, too. Other parts of us just as private and personal. We can choose, at appropriate times and for legitimate reasons, to allow ourselves to be influenced by safe people, but self-control is important enough to God to be included in Scripture along with love and faith, the fruit of walking in the Spirit. Therefore it should be important to us.


The Fifth Mile

Continued from here, featuring guest contributor Elizabeth Cook.

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

We are probably all familiar with the “second mile” principle. Jesus, referring to the law that a Roman soldier could require a Jewish man to carry his heavy backpack one mile in any direction, said, “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” Matthew 5:41 The Jews had no choice but to obey it or face the wrath of the Roman government. If the soldier wanted a rest, the civilian had to carry that pack. And I doubt that all the soldiers were considerate of the direction the civilian was headed or of the load he was carrying for himself.

Roman Soldier B & W Pictures, Images and Photos
image source
I’m sure we have all heard explanations of why Jesus said this. The one I’m most familiar with is that when we are forced to do something we don’t like, we can change our attitude about it by doing more than is required. And we might even get a chance to witness to the “soldier” in the process because he will be so shocked at our choosing to help longer than we have to.

However, what often happened in my experience was that the “second mile” became commonplace. As someone told me, “The second mile is totally expected. We have to go the third, fourth, or even fifth mile” to get approval. As I thought about that, I realized it was true. No longer were we appreciated for doing normal chores. We had to give up our free time to do extra chores. No longer was a met deadline good enough. We now had to meet the deadline even though the necessary materials were delivered late. No longer were we praised for finishing the job. We were expected to finish it in shorter and shorter amounts of time.

The First Step . . . Down

... continued from here.

by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

I was so excited! I was old enough to go to the seminar that had changed my parents’ lives! I was a tad bit nervous too; after all, I was a young teenager and this was a big event with hundreds of people attending. I would be expected to act like an adult. But it sounded like a lot of fun as well.

Wide-eyed, I went with my dad through the line to get my workbook. Then we settled into our seats and listened. To me, the material was all brand new. I listened with all of my being, trying to absorb it all (which is of course impossible to do the first time around). I scribbled furiously, trying to keep up with all the notes. When I got behind, my parents let me look at their books so I could catch up. During the break, my parents and others assured me that with this new workbook, taking the notes was easy; a lot was already filled in for us. Back in “the old days” there was no notebook, only paper.

Puzzlement : Introduction

Hillary's note: Starting today, the next several Tuesdays will feature a guest contributor, Eliza, sharing her experience with a conservative organization prominent within the homeschooling subculture. You may remember Eliza from this article by Sarah Posner.


by Elizabeth Wyse Cook

Iwas bewildered.  A friend of mine, whom I highly respected, was being “sent home”.
     I was hurt.  I was upset.  I just couldn’t understand it.  How could this be happening?  It sure wasn’t what I expected. He worked for a Christian organization that promoted godly living in all areas of life.  He had faithfully performed his duties.  He cared for his co-workers.  He cared for the people he served.  He worked hard.  He lived above reproach.  He was loved by those who interacted with him.  Now he was leaving, and not by his choice. 
     What was his crime?  Had he failed secretly?  Had he neglected a critical duty?  Had he done something inappropriate?  No.  None of those.  
     He had disagreed with the leader. 

The Alluring God

... because sometimes we ~ I ~ need reminding ...

by Hillary McFarland

The Word speaks: Let there be light.
The earth crowns, the will of God who says let there be life, and we crown into light.
     Fresh and new and shy, our baby hands clutch mama-skirts to hide when others look at us. But soon we run, we run around like wild things who worry not what others think; we climb trees while hair frizzes a golden halo and our cheeks blush like apples and our toes peek through sneakers. But we don't mind because we are six or nine and we sing at the top of our lungs that the hills are alive with the sound of music, and they are ...
     Years collect like memories, like photographs; we grow fifteen and shy while hills grow quiet. Hearts blush like maples in fall, but every hair is in place and hands smooth our own skirts and we hide behind trees instead of perching in them.
     We grow old in soul. Melody is memory as feet shuffle dust and we strain to hear and see the One who spoke the dark :: light, who breathed into lungs the light of life. We are tired and hungry; we ache, and our face is etched with the fine tip of years. Our heart is carved up and arms are weary and why do we even try? 

Who is Your God?

by Hillary McFarland

“I'm okay with Jesus.
It's God I'm not too sure about.”

For many daughters of patriarchy, God is an imposing figure. Why wouldn't He be? His name is the one attached to doctrines of men. He is the why behind many destructive religious lifestyle choices. From the earliest crusades unto today's authoritarian Christian family, some form of God's name, character, or command is mis-used and misapplied with devastating results.
     In the hands of a sinner, God is a dangerous weapon.
My will be done?
     Of course, we are all sinners with the capacity to use God's name in vain to serve ourselves. For the one, however, who grew up literally threatened with God, experiencing Him as a tool of manipulation and control, of behavior modification, force, and cruelty, God is a destructive force who breaks hearts, crushes life from the spirit, and leaves us without hope.
     The adage is true: actions speak louder than words.
     Despite lifelong biblical messages of God's love and salvation and grace, the imprint left on hearts by God-in-the-everyday becomes what is true. It becomes what is lived, believed, and known. It shapes our theology and our faith.
     The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. (John 10:10a)
     God becomes the enemy.

Grace Makes the Imperfect ... Holy.

by Hillary McFarland

a repost from the archives

Idon't sew much anymore, but when I was six years old, a thoughtful gift from my mom  ~ a cookie tin stuffed with my very own red pincushion, thread, buttons, and delightful squares of fabric ~ launched several years of  me curling up on my bed, trailing awkward stitches in whatever scraps of calico I could find. I spent hours at Wal-mart looking at rows of colorful cotton, imagining everything I could make with the materials. I loved to create things, to bring beauty and joy using ribbon and satin, rosettes and yarn, muslin and batiste.  
     As I grew older and perfectionism set in, this affected my sewing as well. Unhappy with the slightest pucker in a hem, I'd rip the whole thing out and start new, fresh. Even though no one else could see interior seams, the slightest fray that I knew was there grated on my mind like nails on chalkboard, prompting me to devour a book from the library on Sewing the Perfect Seam and then transforming simple patterns into French couture ~ on the inside, at least. Sometimes, when projects became hopelessly befuddled and beyond [perfect in my eyes] repair, I abandoned them to my little sisters who gleefully added them to their own collections. It got so bad that at one point, sentimental me-who-keeps-everything threw away the very first project I made with my birthday sewing kit: a floppy little dolly which I thought was dreadfully ugly.
     But my mom saw something in her I didn't, fished her out of the trash, and stuck her away in a special place.

An Ultimate Question: Will God Protect My Kids? (by Brant Hansen)

Eric's Note: Brant Hansen is the host of the Christian radio program "Mornings With Brant," which, unlike some other Christian radio programs, includes irony, accordion playing, and actually talking about Jesus. This recent post from his blog falls into the latter category. For those of us who are overly familiar with Patriocentricity or other systems of doctrine that exalt "biblical family values," this is a bracing, blistering, and devastatingly comforting reminder of what faith is really about. Brant's blog, which I enthusiastically recommend, can be found appropriately enough at Brant's Blog. Many thanks to Brant for his kind permission to reprint this article here. (Source)


My dog growled last night and I thought of this question and decided I'd ask you.. My husband travels a lot (like 2 weeks a month) and so I am home alone with my two babies, my dog, and my two cats, and all the scary noises and shadows that make you wonder how safe you really are.. I normally follow my dog's lead when I get worried as his hearing is better and he is very protective of us.. I read a prayer book to my babies at night (just a collection of prayers) and a couple of them contain "Protect my family", "watch over us", etc.. but here's my hiccup.. God lets bad things (horrible things) happen to good people.. to HIS people.. People are raped and murdered every day so how is trusting God to keep us safe supposed to happen?? Yeah, Daniel may have walked through a den of lions unscathed, but I'd be willing to bet Stephen felt every stone that was thrown at him.. So how do we sleep at night knowing the world is full of evil and that sometimes (a lot of times) that evil hurts good people?? Just wondering what your thoughts are on this topic..



Okay, here are my thoughts, such as they are. And I hope you don't mind the picture at left. I have no idea who that is. I just like putting pictures next to blog entries. Thank you. But back to the question, and I think a LOT of people are asking it, even if not out loud:

As a dad, I think the answer to this is scary.

And this may not be true for you, it may not be exactly YOUR inner conversation, but the conversation can go something like this:

Honest question: If I am a good Christian, and have faith and stuff, will God protect my children?

Honest answer: He might. Or He might not.

Honest follow-up question: So what good is He?


Just As You Received Christ...

by Eric M. Pazdziora

Suppose you asked someone what the Gospel is: how does a person receive salvation in Christ?

How would you respond if the answer was...

“The Gospel is the good news that we have to keep all of God’s Laws and rules, because there’s no salvation apart from trying hard to do good things. By really making an effort to live up to the Bible’s teachings and principles, we can become good enough for Jesus to save us. Salvation is the reward you get for living a godly life, being devout, and having good values and morals. You won’t be saved if you don’t do enough good things. If you’re good enough and totally committed to the Lord, you’ll be saved and make it to heaven, maybe.”

Bill Gothard and Patriarchy: Re-routed Feminism?

by E. Stephen Burnett

Many mysteries are revealed in human marriage.
I sort of knew that in theory even before my own, and of course have seen it even more in person. There’s that whole mystery of showing-Christ-and-His-Church, on which marriage is based (Ephesians 5). And of course, there’s the oft-discussed re-discovery of your own flaws.
But then came an even more stunning discernment: that many who’ve claimed to be meek and submissive wives, and who inform others of this in books and blogs, might be just the opposite.
It was while reading these kinds of blogs that my wife noticed this, and summoned me to see.
“Isn’t it strange,” she remarked, “that in all these websites about Keepers At This-and-Such and Titus 2 That-and-All, it’s the women who do most of the talking?”
And together we began to wonder: is this movement truly about “submission” anyway?

Life and Sparrows

by Hillary McFarland

“Remember, Miranda, ‘rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.’”
—From When Sparrows Fall, by Meg Moseley

Releasing May 3rd from Multnomah.
I haven't been writing as prolifically here at Quivering Daughters the past few months. Sometimes I click on my link and just stare, asking in silence,"Do You have anything for me, Lord?" And with my main topics, at least, there hasn't been much in the way of newness or inspiration. I remember when it wouldn't stop coming, flowing out, and I had dozens of sticky notes scattered across my desk with hasty phrases and references scrawled across so I wouldn't forget an idea or a point or something I believed God wanted me to share.
     Now these notes are few and far between. And as I click through my archives, I realize: I've said what I believe God has asked me to say, and I hope ~ pray ~ that He is glorified through words found here.  
     In November I shared how I want to be grace-with-skin and am desperately still learning how. In part this means continuing to pour myself out to Him and for Him as He calls. To immerse myself in community with others ~ writers and readers, online, in daily life, and wherever He leads. I love how the Lord continues to give beautiful, tender examples for me to follow through His own grace towards me!


By Eric M. Pazdziora

I have felt dirty and unworthy of a clean slate with God ever since my experience, ever since that meeting with Mrs. H---, this feeling has plagued me for years.... The struggle that has lingered from my TM days is guilt.

--Anna (on Recovering Alumni)

Everybody’s felt that.

You feel dirty.

You feel unclean.

You feel unworthy.

You feel guilty.

And all the religious people in the world decide they agree with you.

That’s the part that hurts the most, maybe.

For the Love of a Shepherd

I have loved you with an everlasting love
     therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.  
(Jeremiah 31:3b) 

Those recovering from spiritual abuse, authoritarianism and emotional manipulation often say they also need a break from God.
     Often, they do. 
    At least from the god they've known. But in a wild, heady, divine redemption, this rejection of an authoritarian god often becomes a heady step of faith ~ a move towards the One True.

With lovingkindness I have drawn you.

Saturday Evening Blog Post with Elizabeth Esther

Please visit Elizabeth Esther for a unique gathering of bloggers! This month she invites you to link your most poignant, your favorite, or most thought-provoking articles from January and December on her website. I've chosen The Secret Life of Grief from January and a fresh look at John the Baptist, Emmanuel, from December. A close third would have been When Parental Obedience Brings Rejection. I look forward to reading yours!

Faith Tangles

The words throb with aching, almost melting with unseen tears as I read them, again and again, in my email. Or on facebook. Is it too late? Is there hope? And sometimes they are angry, and accuse, leaking pain and regret and pride and humility and sometimes they are my own, broken, weak and frail. And hearts break, both sides, both those who ask and those who wait, longing to hear I love you.

No matter what. 

I don't know who you are, dear friend. I hear from many of you. We sin and are sinned against. We all have stories, some of joy but more of grief. I tremble with you and my heart sobs for the eternity placed within where there is no more dark, no more pain. When mortality is swallowed up by life. These tangles of humanness and faith, the where did we go wrong and where do we go from here and it's too late now and I'll never be what they need or want spill from every soul-crack and heart-fissure. We groan and labor, awaiting redemption.

God knows.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
You matter to Him. Your pain and heartache matter, your struggles and confusion matter. Whether you are a child or a parent, whether you are a friend or a sibling or a wife, husband, teacher or pastor, whether you are falsely accused or responsible ...

 ... you matter.
     You are loved.
     You are known.

And you aren't left helpless. Regardless of the hurts you've given or sustained, the mistakes you've made or the wounds you bear, whether you're allowed in or shut out, the Most High has not left you fatherless or barren. There is something you can do, no matter who you are or what responsibilities are yours. Where to begin? Paul gives us a hint in 1 Corinthians 13. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; he says, but the greatest of these is love.

And now abide. Present. With us. Faith, hope, love ... the living out of endurance, of suffering long, of bearing all things, of not giving up. Rejoicing in truth and through it, recognizing where we stand now, today, and seek how to become more like Christ.

How would this look in your situation? Sometimes it requires humbling ourselves and asking forgiveness. Other times it means upholding truth when we've done no wrong. It could be honoring boundaries. Or respecting someone else's walk with the Lord, even when we don't understand or agree. 

Sometimes it means, simply, to watch and pray.

I watched a play recently with a message that can apply to all of us. Just click on the image below. Will you take the time to view it and then add your thoughts or share a link of your own?  I'd love to hear who you are and where you are in your journey, and anything you care to add.

Written by Dr. Jay Wile and hosted at www.drwile.com.

Reader Question: Beagles, the Bible, and Birthdays

Ali writes:

Have you written on "birthdays?" My parents taught us the bible teaches that birthday celebrations are wrong and selfish. I remember King Herod being an example. I also was the example for my younger sisters as on my 6th birthday I acted selfish and ungrateful and I ruined having birthday celebrations for my 3 younger sisters. I don't honestly remember how I acted, but it must have been terrible to ruin "birthdays" for my 3 younger sisters.

I can understand why some religious folks get uneasy about certain popular movies or books or styles of clothing or genres of music. But birthdays? Sometimes you can push a line of thought too far and pull the whole thing down with it.

Apparently, the argument goes something like this. The Bible doesn’t have much to say about birthdays—certainly not whether we should celebrate them—and what it does say doesn’t show them in the most flattering light. Pharaoh had someone executed on his birthday. Job cursed the day that he was born. Herod threw a wild birthday party that included him ogling his stepdaughter’s exotic dance and wound up with John the Baptist getting beheaded. So, the Bible never says outright that we should celebrate birthdays, and the few times they’re mentioned at all, it connects them with sinful things. That proves birthdays are evil, right?


The Secret Life of Grief

*Please remember that articles at Quivering Daughters are written primarily to adult women struggling with a fundamentalist or patriocentric upbringing. Bear in mind that some content might be triggering for parents or siblings to read. As a writer in keeping with my audience, it is not to "paint with a broad brush" or "condemn" those who believe differently but to address the concerns of those to whom I write. Thank you for understanding.*

by Hillary McFarland

It's cold here, this January. Even the sun chills earth and bone. A squash bakes in the oven and I stare at my screen wanting desperately to tell you that grief ends someday ~ in this life, I mean.

But I can't.

The truth is, grief ends some days.

Other days, it tears through heart-skin kept tender and transparent by hope and faith and love. And then we lash out at faith and hope and love, because ultimately, these are the faces that keep pain alive.

Pain indicates that something is not as it should be. We flinch at the sight of blood. We learn to bandage soul-wounds so tightly that bleeding stops, and we think the tougher the skin, the stronger we are. Sometimes we must be strong to survive those midnight moments when relief seems light-years away. But what if, in a frantic quest to end our grieving, we miss the secret treasures which can only be learned through grief?

A new book by author Kierstyn King illustrates the surprising life of grief experienced by those who become unwelcome in their families because they aren't good enough, godly enough, or ideal enough. For asking too many questions or the wrong kinds of questions; for understanding and believing differently. There aren't many things more agonizing than feeling unwanted, or wanted only-on-condition. 

Rejection hurts. It's an action that says, I don't want you in my life if you [behave, believe, think] like that. Instead of rejecting the belief, there is a rejection of the person behind the belief. This subtle distinction spells death, and with death comes a type of weeping and gnashing of teeth that many I know experience every day.

What do you do with that kind of pain?

A Few Good Links

Ihope your New Year is off to a great start! Do you have any plans or goals for 2011? More reading, perhaps? If so, here are a few links that may be of interest...

A wealth of articles and links about spiritual abuse
Touching prose and thoughtful dialogue at A Deeper Story 

What are you reading lately? Feel free to link up or comment about your current finds.

Behind Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month: Guest Post by Lisa Bertolini

Your God reveals Himself to you, 
not just information about Himself. 
~ Steve McVey, Grace Walk Ministries

Hillary's note: I've invited Lisa Bertolini, founder of Spiritual Abuse Awareness Month, to share the personal background which inspired it and why bringing awareness to this tragic reality is important to her.

by Lisa Bertolini

It's been nearly two years since I exited fundamentalism with deep gaping wounds in my soul. I knew that God exists, and I love Jesus, so I knew I would continue to walk with our Lord but I couldn't face gathering with others in churches just yet. Fifteen years of mind control had done it's damage to my mind and heart and I needed to be unraveled from it all. My husband, myself, our children, and a few others who exited the same week we did began meeting several nights a week to sort through our emotional and spiritual distress. We covered our dining room table with Bibles, concordances, Bible dictionaries, and the Hebrew/Greek Interlinear Bible. We needed to know what we believed and why we believed it. We no longer sought to know what the institutional church believed and why they wanted us to believe it. We needed to know who God is to us personally. We had been told before that we needed our own walk with Jesus, not our parents walk and in this case not our former church's walk. We needed our own unique walkabout with Him.

We each went through days of various emotions, from anger of being spiritually abused and lied to, confusion, and long days of crying. Breaking away from a church was like going through a divorce. It was incredibly painful. Some days were better than others. Some days I felt like part of me was dying. Some church members, who we had once called 'family' would ignore us as we passed by them in the stores, and others would send hate mail and leave awful comments on my Facebook page. I was going through such a difficult time and I couldn't go back to the same church family with my pain. I had tried talking to some in leadership, but they chose to side with higher leadership and ignore my pleas for help. They sided with the leadership that was causing me so much pain. We tried the Matthew 18 approach to no avail. It could never reach the church level of accountability, the leadership would not allow it to get that far. So I felt outed. I had to put up with it or walk away. For my own sanity, I needed to walk away. My husband and children were all hurt as well. In varying ways by different people in leadership. The abuse trickled down through the hierarchy and into the people. Now that we were out...now what?

When Parental Obedience Brings Rejection

by Hillary McFarland

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:  For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy...
1 Tim. 3:1-2

Have you ever had this Scripture quoted at you? With ominous emphasis on last days and disobedience to parents?  I have.

I often hear from ostracized adult daughters who have made life decisions their parents believe are in disobedience (rebellion) to them and their teachings. Most of these women report that the difficult choices they make are a response to God's calling for them. Parents counter that God wouldn't ask them to do something that contradicts what they have taught and their understanding of Scripture.

Yet these same parents teach their children to obey God first, regardless of the cost, regardless of the suffering and sacrifice, regardless of what other people think. These same parents generally encourage their children to stay in the Word and ask God for wisdom. To grow in the knowledge of Him, take up the cross, and follow.

When these women obediently do so, they are condemned, emotionally (and sometimes physically) severed from their families, and rejected.

Broken, Revisited

I'd like to begin 2011 with an important reminder from Eric Pazdziora. This article meant a lot to me, personally, and I hope that you will carry the truth in this message with you this year. God bless you all.
~ Hillary McFarland


By Eric M. Pazdziora
Abroken arm is painful. A broken glass is dangerous. A broken mirror is unlucky. A broken heart is depressing. A broken toy is sad. A broken promise is wrong.

So it’s strange that some well-meaning devotional writers tell us that spiritual brokenness is something we should aspire to, an attitude that we should constantly maintain. The doctrine has it that God uses suffering to break us spiritually, forcing us to depend on Him and making us willing to serve Him.
The Bible says the opposite. Spiritual brokenness is destructive and unbearable:
The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?
(Proverbs 18:14, ESV)
A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.
(Proverbs 17:22, ESV)
Life has a way of hurting us, injuring us, breaking us. Sin, grief, injury, pain, suffering, bereavement, all of them act on our spirits like a hammer on glass. Some people may be in denial about it; some may be suffering from it every moment; some may be slowly recovering. Whatever the case, nobody needs to break us. We don’t need to break ourselves. We’re already broken.
That’s not a good thing. That’s an awful, painful, horrible thing. But it leads us to the only verse in Scripture that seems to put brokenness in a positive light:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
(Psalm 51:17, NASB)
That might be where some of those misguided teachings were extrapolated from. In reality, the verse is much simpler, deeper, and better than that. David wrote this psalm while he was in anguish over the guilt of his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah. Sin breaks our spirits; remorse breaks our hearts.