Monday, June 06, 2011

FREEEEEDOOOOM - aka, why I am renouncing my prairie muffin credentials

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.)


Jean said...

Praise God, Tamara. I am sooooo proud of you for determining for yourself that you are a valuable and beautiful member of God's Kingdom. This blog post is an answer to my prayers for you. I cannot wait to see how God blesses you and I cannot wait to see you next week.

love you

TealRose said...

God bless you ! I have never believed that men should be over women. God made man, and then .. he made woman. He didn't make man's companion another man he made us women .. so we could be loved, have children and suckle them .. none of which men do! Not to say God couldn't have had men do this if he chose to .. but he didn't! We are different ... but equal! You are being true to yourself and God .. and I for one am so glad !

Rachel DiMaggio said...


This is the first time I've ever read anything on your blog - I ran across it via a link on Facebook. God's timing is amazing. I just wrote a Facebook note about this very topic (patriocentricity, adding to God's Word), and your post only encouraged me more. Thank you for your honesty and your wonderful blog post.

Shelley in SC said...

My heart stands up, lifts its hands and sings when reading this truth and freedom. Thank God, I answer directly to Him. I am His loved child first and wife, mother, friend second. I join you in your gulps of the air of freedom. Praise God!

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to read this post! I came here via "Why Not Train a Child" and your post really spoke to me. I started going down this path and recently came out of it after moving away from those who were influencing me and seeing from a distance how far they ended up taking the Vision Forum/Above Rubies ideas.

I thank God that I moved away before becoming more entrenched in this thinking! I thank God that you were able to break away! I have so many friends right now who are involved with those "ministries" and all I can do is pray that someday, with God's help, they will come to the same realization that you and I came to.

Bless you for sharing your story and may it bless many other women!


Erin said...

Awesome. You go girl. :)

Rantsy Pants said...

There was a time when I nearly got sucked into this. I grew up in the opposite extreme and in trying to rectify that, danced on the edge of the other extreme. I personally know a woman with 7 at home and 2 grown, and she isn't doing it all.. and I can't imagine the burden of guilt for knowing that considering what is expected of her. Parenting comes with plenty of guilt and regret built in without unrealistic expectations being piled on your head. Her husband has the nerve to complain that he is 'the only one making any money around here' which sends her into a search for some home business so she can "help" him even further. Everyone fails to notice that these ancient cultures they want to pattern their lives after had servants!!! And extra wives... which is where sometimes this mindset lands. enough said.

Amber Rain said...

Praise God. I have been praying and praying for some balance for you. Enjoy all your family time and the few minutes of peace you'll be granted in the fall. :) (And if you ever want to grab a mani/pedi, call me!)

Allie @ This Precious Life said...

I found your blog through Why Not To Train Your Child & while I am so happy for you that you have experience wonderful freedom in Christ, I do not think it's fair for you to generalize the patriarch, or "Family Reformation" ministries as *all* bad. I feel that they have some amazing lessons to teach families who are tired of the life our self-serving culture leads us so blindly into. Some of those lessons have changed my life & my family literally would not be here today without some of the ministries you mentioned. I think that *any* movement or group of ideas (including "gentle parenting") can be taken to the extreme & those who do not discern what's right & wrong for them & their own family will get to the point where they do become unhealthy & may end up hurting themselves or their family (emotionally, spiritually or physically). It all comes down to finding balance, seeking Godly counsel, searching God's living Word & making decisions together with your husband about your family choices. God did very intentially design each one of us with a specific purpose & calling. He loves us & will lead us if we choose to follow Him. Blessings on you & your family!

Tamara said...

I agree that some of the things coming out of VF and the "family reformation" ministries are fine. I mean, who doesn't want to have a close-knit, God-honoring family? But they come from a place of misogyny. When women's rights are removed (a few years ago VF promoted the idea that women's sufferage was unbiblical - they have since realized this was a bit much and removed those articles), the Body of Christ suffers. God needs ALL of us working according to our giftings. And when half the Body is hamstrung due to being an "inferior" sex, our ministry to the world suffers.
My marriage suffered when I tried to just submit to my husband instead of being his true "ezer" - a helpmeet that is equal in power to him. We are both here to strengthen and encourage each other to pursue God.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I looked at Vision Forums stuff and all I felt was condemnation, not love. Thankfully the last few years for me have been so crazy I mentally have not been ale to take on or research much of anything, which probably helped me not fall deeper into their teachings. Although I now know how to speak to my husband like he is NOT my 8th child, I am rejecting much of what I have come across in the area of Biblical wifely duties in the last decade or so. Truthfully, the only resource we need to help us know how to be the perfect wife to our husbands is God's own Word. People can have extra Biblical beliefs, but they cannot teach them as doctrine. I have pretty much given up reading Biblical commentary book for now because it is too easy to get sucked into someone God never said.

Anonymous said...

That would be "someTHiNG" God never aid. Nice auto correct. :)