I feel like such a fool. I remember who I used to be, the person my husband fell in love with. I was so joyful and vibrant and friendly and free. I read my journals from that time and I see such passionate love for the Father and openness to Him. And I just don't feel that way anymore.
My husband remarked the other day that I am so stubborn. That I dig in my heels and refuse to listen to his advice. And it's true. I am stubborn. I am loathe to receive any more instructions or corrections. But probably not for the reason he infers.
It is because I have been deceived. For the past 5 or so years I had been wading softly into the waters of Biblical patriocentricity. I had been reading things from Vision Forum, Ladies Against Feminism, Voddie Baucham and the like. And I felt so condemned. Because there is no room in these man-made philosophies for a woman like me. The only way for me to conform was by changing who I am. By changing from the person God made me into some strange Stepford wife. And when my sweet husband added any more advice or correction, no matter how just, I felt as though my knees would buckle under the burden. My relationship with God was so pathetic. I could not seek His Face because I knew it would be contorted with disappointment in my failure to conform to the requirements of the "godly."
But the Holy Spirit in me cried out against this. I was not made for this. I was not made to be a visionless sidekick. And I don't think that the Lord created half the population of the world to only be sidekicks. Christ did not come to deliver me to another set of rules.
The patriocentrists insist on uniformity in the body. All members should act alike. Personal preferences of leaders and fathers are exalted to the status of doctrine and to have a different take on things is labeled sin. Small verses are catapulted to stardom in their doctrines and whole ways of life are centered around minute portions of Scripture. "Forget the whole counsel of God," they seem to say, "we only need two verses from Proverbs and a snippet of Titus."
And it is all about control. Subjugate the women and make the men kings. Keep your daughters at home until the time comes when you transfer ownership of them to their husbands. Keep your sons working in the family business and spreading your glory.
So from now, on, I am not just Philip's helpmeet. I am Tamara, daughter of God. I am valuable to Him in my own right, apart from my position as wife or mother. I have been given dreams and passions apart from those of my husband and it is okay! I am capable and gifted as a woman. Not in spite of being a woman or only as an adjunct to a man. I am made in the image of God, just as a man is. The fact that an X chromosome sperm fertilized my mother's egg does not make me less in substance or stature before God than if a Y chromosome sperm had done the honors.
It is okay for me to occasionally need time alone. Despite what the patriocentrists teach, it is okay to go for a mani-pedi sometimes. I DO need a little me-time sometimes. I do need an hour or two to myself. It doesn't make me selfish, it makes my healthy and honest. I have six kid, for goodness sake!
I am valuable to God apart from my womb. I do not need to engage in militant fecundity to prove my worth or my devotion to Him. I can be okay with my hysterectomy and I do not need to self-flagellate in the presence of quiverfull women because I cannot bear any more children. I love babies, but frankly, my quiver is full at the moment. And that is okay. God has richly blessed me, but my hands are full! The patriocentrist ladies won't admit it, but you really cannot do it all!
Gabriel will be going to speech preschool at the local public school 5 mornings a week next year. And I am so grateful for the opportunity. For him and for me. Because I cannot teach 4 kids with a crazy preschooler at home as well as I can teach 4 kids with said crazy preschooler enjoying friends and fun at school. The patrio books/blogs would indict me for not training him better and for sending him to public school. But I have been honest with myself and realized that this is the best thing for all of us. I could insist that I am capable of juggling all these balls, but it would not be helpful to Gabriel or the rest of us. He needs the speech help and I need 3 1/2 hrs each morning to teach without constant interruption. And that is okay! Praise God that this service is available!
This is not to say that I do not adore my husband or children. It is not to say that I am not unbelievably blessed to be Philip's bride and the mother of my six amazing kids. But those things do not define me. Christ and Christ alone is my portion, not motherhood or marriage or anything else.
It is painful to admit that I have been so deceived. That I have been like the foolish Galatians, adding law to the finished work of Christ. But it is true. And now that my eyes have been opened I just want to shout "FREEEEDOM!" The weight of law and condemnation is so heavy. But His burden, His teaching, His truth - they are so, so light.
I cannot reject the pestilent teaching of the Vision Forum and other Patriocentric ministries strongly enough. They are divisive and cruel. They cause strife and division in churches. They are not humble. They do not just present teachings for consideration. They call their critics names and abuse their character and their Christianity. I repent for ever believing their lies and ask all Christians to honestly compare patriocentric teachings with the Word, remembering that description in the Word does not equal prescription. Just because Abraham and Jacob were patriarchal leaders does not mean that God intends all fathers to own their daughters like chattel. They were ancient men, living in an ancient culture, and their habits are not commandments for us.
(PS: My husband did NOT push me in this direction. He wasn't slipping VF leaflets under my pillow or buying me their books. I was the one dragging him down this path.)