In the Wake of the Doug Phillips Affair, a Mother Grieves and Seeks Our Prayers

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The Doug Phillips affair has touched many lives.  Read as a mother cries out for prayer as she “fostered some pretty difficult beliefs” on her children by adhering to teachings in the Homeschool Movement and Doug Phillips and Vision Forum.

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 Hear my cry, O God;

Attend unto my prayer.

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed:

Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Psalm 61:1-2

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This prayer request just came in and I didn’t want it to get lost.  My heart breaks for this woman.  I am posting it here as well so more people can pray for her and offer this dear woman some encouragement, but also in the hopes that others who see it may realize that they are not the only ones going through this painstaking process.

This is hard stuff.  I find myself at this same place sometimes, too.  The mom guilt is such a difficult thing.  I want to curl up in a ball and cry right now.  Oh boy, do I get that pain.  Kay, thank you so much for expressing what so many of us moms (parents) are facing.  We clung to the perfect family ideas that Doug Phillps and many others taught and and now it has backfired for many of us.   Kay, I wish I could reach out and give you a hug.

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I don’t know where to begin…as I have read through so many of the posts about the DP mess, I have been forced to reevaluate my own life. Let me state from the beginning that we are not a part of any Integrated Church, and not a part of the “patriarch movement”…but we did, long ago, embrace some of their teachings….like having a large family, homeschooling, courtship, and such.

We have ten children. Six of them are out on their own, five of those are married. Not a single one married with our blessing/agreement….three lived with their spouse before marriage. One son is involved with drugs…one daughter is tattooed like crazy….two remain active in “church work” ……but none “honor” their mother and father…and this is where I find myself…in a time of really re-evaluating what I believe. I feel that for our older six to be who they are must be connected to our wrong beliefs….at least to an extent.

As painful as it is to admit, I am beginning to see that we fostered some pretty difficult beliefs upon our older children all in the name of “protecting” their futures.

We are a divided family now, and my hope that there will ever be a time that we can be all at peace with one another wanes with every passing day.

This Thanksgiving…the children are celebrating without mom and dad…as I just couldn’t host another holiday with all this underlying pain/issues.

My request is to pray for us…as we face this holiday season, as I work through this season of looking at myself and what I believe squarely in the eye…that I will find real answers….maybe for the first time in a long, long time. Thanks for a safe place to express these rather painful admissions…..

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photo credit: zbigphotography via photopin cc

119 comments on “In the Wake of the Doug Phillips Affair, a Mother Grieves and Seeks Our Prayers

  1. Kay, we do what we think is best for our kids. But no matter what we do or don’t do, what rules we enforce or don’t enforce, there is no guarantee on how our kids will turn out. Please don’t be so hard on yourself. I am praying for you and your family.


  2. I agree with Lynette. I am reminded of the quote by Maya Angelou, “You did then what you knew how to do, and when you knew better, you did better.”


  3. Sure, Julie Anne.

    First, I grieve with you for your broken family. You obviously love your children to be searching for answers as to why things turned out the way they did.
    Your story is important because many of these teachings were presented with almost a guarantee of good results. You know, if you raise your children apart from the influences of the secular world they have a better chance of becoming strong Christians. Now that many of the children raised this way are coming of age, the evidence is mounting that this is not necessarily the case.
    I pray the Lord will show you how your family can be reconciled.


  4. I am so sorry for what you are going through now, Kay, I have no experience in this personally, but my heart aches for you. I don’t know what to say other than I pray for the comfort only Jesus can give. Praying for you and your family.


  5. My heart goes out to you, Kay! We’ve made mistakes, your kids will make mistakes, too; and as long as we come to understand, repent, and love … LOVE others in their language as much as is possible, then the kids come back in their own way and their own time to receive our love again. We need them and they need us.

    I understand the value of giving the kids space and time, of going the extra mile to communicate your regrets, communicating any confusion you may have. As you find ways to extend grace to your kids, just as you need grace extended to you, there will be a paradigm shift.

    The kids are looking for us to show our clear and irrevocable acceptance of them. It’s okay if you disagree on a theology or on a particular sin they are involved in; but they already know that so it may be beneficial to agree to be silent on the issue without non-verbal disapproval. Just focus on your love for them; focus on all the positives in their lives; and focus on getting yourself healthy.

    The kids would each love to give their two cents worth, when you are up to listening. At least that is usually the case, and I see these scenarios a fair amount. Just let each know that if and when they feel up to it, you would value their input as to how they perceived what happened in the family life. When you listen, don’t focus on what “facts” they get wrong, as all members of the family remember life differently. Focus on what they perceived, how it affected them and what they need now.

    The humility of a parent goes immensely far … even if the kids need a lot of time to let it soak in before they can respond well to it. You are already there, Kay! The kids will see this.

    I’d recommend spending some time on Homeschoolers Anonymous, just to listen to where other young adults are coming from. Listen for a long time to grasp their heart in these matters. It is so helpful for learning how to see what is truly a peripheral issue that doesn’t need to cause division.

    I’d start with wearing a fake tattoo when you visit with your tattooed daughter. Tell her you’d like to know all the meanings behind her tattoos, even if it hurts. If she says, “This tattoo is because I hated thus and so about my life.” Then respond lovingly that you can understand, that you understand it must have been very difficult. Once you make headway with one child, the word will spread. The others will have time to process the possibilities and be ready to talk with you later.

    Kay, you are so on the right track. If my own mother would simply say the things you’ve already said, I’d think a miracle had truly taken place. (My situation is not involved with the same subject matter, but kids needing their mothers is universal.) I’m proud of you, Kay! Don’t worry if you stumble through this process, God will help you through it and bring restoration.


  6. One more thing … Kay, I’ve had to do a lot of what I describe above with my own kids for different reasons. Some warm up immediately and some don’t. It’s okay. I have learned to apologize a lot!


  7. The only environment I knew was that of Independent Fundamentalist Baptist which is full of don’ts and rejecting those who do not follow the don’ts including children. Although we could never reject our children and the door was always open, I made some bad mistakes based on wrong doctrine I was taught. It haunted me for years and I did a lot of apologizing. Moving a couple hundred miles away 21 years ago, and attending the church we do now woke me up. My husband was always awake.

    Sometimes kids just want you to love them where they are. God did. I agree with what Katie said. She is right on target. I have 3 children and 3 stepchildren and none are going the way they were taught, none go to church or follow Christianity, but they are our children and we love them with everything we have inside and will proudly stand by them no matter what.

    As a result our family has a lot of love.

    So many teachings are wrong and destructive to marriages and children that it does my heart good to see God destroying some of these teachings and I pray He does more. If a teaching doesn’t protect and bring love to a child or a spouse(women in most cases), nurture then it is not what the Bible teaches, but is in fact a distortion of the passage. I adore my children and grandchildren and I will love and stand by them know matter what path they choose. When children become adults we have to let them live their lives. We can’t dictate. We have to let them go and continue to love and pray for them, give advice when asked and only when asked. They may still honor you, just not in the way you think they should. If not they will.


  8. {{{Kay}}}

    You are in my prayers, Kay.

    Be kind to yourself, Kay! Even though you now feel that your past actions/inactions came out of wrong beliefs, your heart was in the right place at that time. Do not judge too harshly, be it yourself, your husband, or your children.

    Just as you are working through the pain/issues, so are your children. I hope and pray that soon you can all come to be working through it together, in the Love of Christ.


  9. I should add, please post back here Kay, if/when you feel up to it, and let us know how you are faring and if there is anything that we can do to help you in this troubled time!!


  10. One more thing, I pray that you will forgive yourself. Back when we were parents, there weren’t any or many books to guide us and we did what we the best we could with what we knew(in this case bad doctrine). We are not that way now, and your children will see this. It’s love that caused our deep guilt, your children see this. You love them. It’s obvious and that is most of the battle. It was like a light went on when I began to see what I had done through listening to Wade’s sermons and it hurt like nothing I had ever experienced when it hit what I had done was wrong. But….that is how much you and I love our family. That is a wonderful thing.


  11. Dear, sister,

    When a family knows they are dysfunctional, this is opportunity at long last for God. The sad part is the legalists who judge you are farther than ever from experiencing God. I will pray for your guilt. Jesus already died for our second chance, so there is no need for longing to go back. My family was dysfunctional too, but looking back, it caused me to know from a young age that rules suck. I can thank my parents for this!


  12. Oh Kay, I hear your pain. If you have a moment, hop over to I write quite a bit about raising moralistic children, and I can tell you that there is good news! Jesus has rescued us all from moralistic living and invited us into freedom in Him. That is the promise! In Christ we find the freedom to come clean, be real and honest about ourselves with each other, and find rest for our weary souls. Your children don’t need to see you holding it all together anymore, they need to see you falling apart into the arms of Jesus. He loves you more than you can imagine and He has forgiven you of all your sins. He says “I have loved you with an everlasting love that will never fade away.” blessings, friend.


  13. Kay
    the important thing is that you recognize it now- what a beautiful thing! This is a time for new beginnings; ones that God will start showing you in marvelous ways. We will pray for you – why? because we have all been there here and are still going through it. My daughter is running away from God and I understand where I went wrong, but now I am focusing on loving for who she is at the moment. It is liberating because now I have let her go to her Father- who loves her far more then me. He is to be trusted- He will take us where we need by His grace. You are a beautiful and loved person for sharing with the rest of us your journey!

    I found this website guys that is amazing and uplifting for helping us all grow out of our dependence on man and put it squarely where it needs to be- on Jesus! I hope you will be blessed as I was by listening to one of his pod casts:


  14. Kay,
    I started down this road of realizing how dysfunctional these teachings are a couple years ago. I’ve been rethinking and processing and it has been difficult, but very freeing. I’ve had to go back and ask forgiveness from my children and admit I had been worshiping an idol of “the perfect family” and not really connecting and loving them as I should. It’s really sad though; the more I tried and fretted, the more my kids seemed to push back. I was left feeling like I had failed as a mother and a teacher. Now add to that the implied teaching that this was “God’s” way ~ well, it’s a no win situation. Obviously, I just can’t do it good enough for God either. Those are lies from the pit of hell.

    But I want to encourage you. God loves us and our children more than we could ever imagine. He understands us ~ He “gets it”. He knows your heartache and He will comfort you and your family. I pray this for all of you.

    I’m still coming to a place of seeing my family just as it is ~ warts and all ~ and knowing and resting in the truth that God doesn’t condemn or judge me and my kids for not “looking and acting” a certain way ~ the idealized, unrealistic portrayal of family in the VF crowd. It doesn’t exist.

    What is true is that God’s love is unconditional and He loves us just where we’re at and continues to love us even when we’re angry with Him and our life. We don’t have to look to other men/women and leaders to get the right way to raise our family. We can trust the Holy Spirit inside us to lead us. I pray the Holy Spirit will guide you and your family through this difficult time and bring healing to all of you.


  15. When a family knows they are dysfunctional, this is opportunity at long last for God.

    There are so many good comments here from people who have walked this path. I know that my relationship with Hannah is so much better than it has ever been. Finally we are talking heart level stuff. There’s lots of tears/pain, but there is so much more joy because there is complete honesty and vulnerability. I have told my kids that I expect to be hearing about how I was a bad mom for many years and I will accept it and we will work through it. I also told them that I will probably be apologizing to them for the rest of my days. But one thing that is good is that we are so much more open than ever before. Having all of this yuck stuff out in the open is very freeing and humbling and probably where we should have been to being with anyway. I think we’re all messed up to one degree or another. At least that’s what I’ve found in my dealings with others. And it’s okay to admit that and accept one another with grace and love.


  16. Kay:

    I’m a 35-year-old single woman and I’m the oldest of ten homeschooled kids who I’m guessing were raised much like you raised your kids. We weren’t ATI and we were never in a Family Integrated Church. However, my parents embraced large families and courtship and became increasingly narrow in their beliefs through the years. I actually left home and went to work for HSLDA as a young adult, but after I left, they suddenly started embracing the idea of keeping unmarried daughters at home. This led to many years of conflict between myself and my parents and my younger sisters. I have been deeply wounded by the actions of my parents because of these beliefs. I was diagnosed last year with PTSD and have dealt with depression and anxiety as a result of all the conflict over the last several years. I live less than an hour from my parents but they haven’t spoken to me in over a year. Of the ten kids, there are only three who have reasonably healthy relationships with my parents. I could go on with stories of our painful journey these last several years, but I think you can get the picture.

    What I want you to know is that if my mother showed an inkling of your humility and willingness to consider that what you thought before might not be right, it would thrill me. You have no idea how encouraging it was to me to read your note. It gave me hope that my own parents might someday pause long enough to ask some different questions and be willing to admit they might be wrong. I applaud you for being willing to take a fresh look at these teachings – that takes incredible courage.

    Your kids are adults and you aren’t responsible for their choices. My mother carries a lot of shame and guilt for what she believes are her failings. I wish I could tell her that I don’t blame her. She did her best, I know that. She and my dad were, and continue to be, as victimized by this hideous movement as their children were. Sadly, at this moment it time it has cost them nearly all of their family. Their hearts are broken, which makes me sad. The difference between you and them is that you are taking the courageous step to dig deeper. You may find that you made mistakes (who hasn’t?) but it’s God’s grace that is sufficient. I pray you will receive His grace where you’ve made mistakes and find freedom and confidence in knowing that His grace is sufficient, always. It’s the same prayer that I have for my own parents, for it is only in receiving God’s grace that we are able to extend it to others.


  17. What I want you to know is that if my mother showed an inkling of your humility and willingness to consider that what you thought before might not be right, it would thrill me. You have no idea how encouraging it was to me to read your note. It gave me hope that my own parents might someday pause long enough to ask some different questions and be willing to admit they might be wrong. I applaud you for being willing to take a fresh look at these teachings – that takes incredible courage.

    Jeanette: Welcome to the blog. I was very touched to read your words to Kay – especially considering the fact that you yourself have been deeply affected by the harmful legalism/abuses involved with this movement. I hope that one day your parents can one day look beyond that “ideal family image” and what they have been taught and truly connect with you and your siblings. There’s so much pain with this stuff. It’s very sad. But it sounds like you have done a lot of work to understand the system they are stuck in. It doesn’t remove the pain, but it helps with understanding.

    I’m glad you commented. Your words are powerful. Thanks again!


  18. Dear Kay,

    I am praying for you tonight. I think I get you & what you are saying.

    My heart goes out to you & your children.

    So much wisdom has already been said in the above comments.

    Both of my daughters have ditched anything to do with the gospel. And I feel responsible because I followed rule after rule when I raised them.

    However, a dear brother in Christ asked me if my God was the God of regret.

    Even though I regret how I raised my precious daughters, I have to hope that God is greater than my error, my shortcomings & my innocence & desire to follow a pastor who I thought was a man of God.

    Both of my girls want nothing to do with the church today, and honestly I don’t blame them. I have named my failures to them, and they have been so kind & gracious, I pray the same will be yours.


  19. Believe it or not, this is a good place to be in your life. God is so gracious and He is merciful and loving to us as we earnestly seek answers to our questions. I came to a similar point in my life where I saw so many “rules” and “judgements” within my own church and finally admitted to myself that I did not believe all these things to be true. I became saved in a church that preached “you should be doing this” and never spoke about Jesus’ love for us. Watching “Dragon Tales” was a no-no, children should never say “stupid,” “butt,” “fart.” When I would talk about being exhausted and having trouble with my four-year old and newborn, I was told to “break them now.” In other words, spank them until they break. Some people talked about spanking their children thirty times in a row. There was constantly talk of being a submissive wife and allowing our husbands to be the spiritual leaders in their homes. My husband was not saved at the time, so I became this soft-spoken, agree to everything in order to win him over. He actually sat me down and asked why I always said, “whatever you think sounds good.” He was mad that I never gave him any guidance. Shortly after I was saved, I really wanted to be baptized, so I filled out the application to meet with the pastor for baptism. When I went and met with him, he interrupted my testimony and started telling me about what a true christian was and I did not sound like a true christian. He asked what works I could point to to say I was saved and I just cried. Finally, I stated that it was just a heart change that I knew to be true. I could go on and on about different examples of how we were constantly made to feel “unworthy” and judged. Years later, I still struggled in a different church with moral absolutes that are nowhere to be found in the Bible. I told the Lord that if this is who he is, I wanted nothing to do with being a Christian anymore. I could not live up to those standards. I was very depressed. The Lord spoke to my heart through his word and different people to show me his grace and mercy and that I don’t have to do anything but come to him. Pleasing people and living up to rules will never satisfy. I am still a christian, homeschooling mom, but I still almost daily have to remind others around me that it is not about rules and what we “do” or “do not do.’ I have gone from a harsh, depressed mom, to a pleasant, loving mother who sees how Jesus loves me and that is how we should love our children. I was also raised in an abusive home, so I know that I will always struggle with feeling loved, but if you are in a church where love is not exuding from the pastor, change churches! The ultimate sign of the Holy Spirit in someone’s life is the evidence of love. This is all over the Bible!!! Hang in there, I am praying for you. Good will come out of your family situation. God promises it. “God works all things for good for those who love him.”


  20. Words escape me to adequately express how deep my gratefulness is to each of you who spent a few of your precious minutes writing to me….your words of support are overwhelming. Hope is what you have all communicated…hope that through Jesus, things can change. Thank you…

    To Katie: Your kind words are so appreciated. I have been to the Homeschoolers Anonymous web site, and honestly, have cried through some of the articles there. One in particular, I have shared with my husband, who is also looking for answers as to our mistakes. Honestly, that site is a painful place for me to hang out, and I have to “screw” on my courage just to go there….but someone once said courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the willing of yourself to take the next step. So, I will return there…when I feel I can take more eye opening self examination….

    Jeanette: Wow…you are only three years older than our oldest. So, I know that your parents and us were in the same time period when homeschooling, jean jumpers, making your own bread, and other such stuff was considered the more “right” way to live. You know, as I have thought about those days, I do think, at least for my husband and I, our motives were pure. We so wanted to raise our children differently than our parents, so as to not repeat, for another generation, the mistakes that we saw them make. And I know for us, we felt the ‘end of time’ was drawing near, and so ‘short circuited’ one daughter’s hope for her own future. She is, now, finally, expecting her first baby (at the age of 30), and has only in the past year, ceased her comments about how I ruined her life by insisting on her helping me raise all the other children. I had to admit to her, several months ago, that I did “use” her as a second mother. What I viewed as ‘training’, she felt she was suffocating under. Only God knows the weight of the guilt I have felt from that! You will be glad to know that when we were first introduced, through a friend of ours, to the concept of “daughters staying at home serving their father’s vision” we threw the DVD (yes, the VF DVD!) in the trash, and told our friends this was going too far. That, along with our offering their two oldest girls a place to live, ended a 20 year friendship. I guess you can understand how they felt about us doing that!! We weren’t your “conventional” followers of these teachings….back in the day, I was “that” midwife that delivered all those babies at homes of these families, then was later shunned because I was “working” outside the home (of course, I have often wondered about that double standard!)….my husband and I “worked” our midwifery business together….he ran the office and kept the children at home when I was gone. I did all the client care. It was a good arrangement for many years, until someone along the line decided that we were an “out of order” home because of this arrangement. (of course, my husband disabilities were never taken into account….because one thing we have figured out is that the disabled are not loved nor accepted in that group nor most churches!)….I have no idea who delivers all those babies now…I guess a younger, single woman! Eventually, we gave up trying to fit in anywhere…we haven’t been a “member” of any group, organized or organic, for the past ten years. John gave up and grew his hair long….almost as long as my waist length hair. Most days, we just wade through…trying to navigate the raising of these last four without destroying them. Some days are better than others. And yet, even with us not being your “conventional” followers of these teachings, we still were destroyed by them…just goes to show ‘a little leaven….’

    So, thank you so much for your perspective of an adult child that has lived through all this…..It has helped me to read your words. Your diagnoses of PTSD really cemented something I have been thinking for awhile….that this life style leaves in its wake life long stress and trauma….for all involved. Now, how to overcome that, and move forward..that’s the real kicker!!

    To all the rest of you: I am truly honored that each of you heard my cry of pain and responded so lovingly…so honestly. This Thursday will be a hard day, as the older six gather elsewhere…but I will try very hard to not focus on what isn’t, but what I have with the four left here…..those four are a bit different….and for the most part, supportive of my tears, giving hope and hugs in the midst of this deep soul searching time. Knowing that there are others that are mentioning our name in prayer, even if just briefly, is a real comfort to my heart…thank you.


  21. oh, and one more thought….I will re-read all of your comments again and again…so much food for thought there. I am honored to be among people of such insight and love….you each have given me hope.


  22. In re-reading what I posted, I realized some clarity was needed…at the time of my original post, all the children were planning to have Thanksgiving at the home of the middle sister…we had told the four living here that we would willing drive them to their sister’s home so they could celebrate with their siblings…and Dad and I would go to IHOP! After my post yesterday, the four here came to me and asked if they could just stay home with us. They love their siblings, but were more inclined to be where we are. I was more thrilled than I could express…we spent the rest of yesterday at the grocery store buying our Thanksgiving meal! Just didn’t want to leave anyone with confusion about my original statement that the children were celebrating sans us, and the comment I made about focusing on the four that will be with us that day. Thanks for letting me clarify myself!


  23. Kay, you say “Your [Jeanette’s] diagnoses of PTSD really cemented something I have been thinking for awhile….that this life style leaves in its wake life long stress and trauma….” FWIW, I think you are on to something. Very recently I withdrew from a an email exchange with a Vision Forum homeschooler who was beginning to express how much stress was being triggered by the exchange, even mentioning something about undiagnosed PTSD. I absolutely cannot add anything to what others have said here, but I am convinced that ours is a God of comfort, not a God whose expectations are so impossible to meet that anxiety and stress, including even PTSD, are the fruit.

    May our God, Who is Love, richly bless you and your family. May the sure knowledge of his profound and unconditional love for you and your family be firmly lodged in the very depths of your being.


  24. Thank you all for sharing. As a divorced non-homeschooling mom, I always felt judged by homeschoolers.

    Just a couple years ago a homeschool dad confessed to me that he was amazed at how well my adult children had turned out. That was vulnerable of him (and I take it as a huge complement), but it also opened my eyes to the arrogance in some homeschool groups.

    Suddenly I realized how superior he always felt toward me and how much he and his wife looked down on me. I feel a lot of anger about those smug attitudes, but at the same time I am trying to recognize that he was brainwashed.

    I’m sad to see his children rebelling, but you reap what you sow. I knew for years his second child was chafing under the control, and I tried to warn him to back off. He continued to be as invasive in his teens’ lives as he was when they were toddlers. It was horrifying to watch, and — in my opinion — inevitable that the son would have a dramatic break from the family.

    Even now I don’t think they get it. I pray for them.


  25. Julie Anne,

    I do hope I did not say anything that triggered mama guilt. Would it be helpful to suggest that, maybe, Godly sorrow can be mistaken for feelings of guilt? 2 Cor 7:10 comes to mind. I suggest that the salvation-worked-by-Godly-sorrow spoken of in this verse includes healing as well as redemption, and I suggest that this salvation/healing is is effective as to both the one who sorrows and the one for whom they sorrow. Still, I fear that I speak only from and to the mind.


  26. Kay!!

    So happy that you returned to give us an update!!

    You know, as I have thought about those days, I do think, at least for my husband and I, our motives were pure.

    I believe that to be true, Kay, just as I believe that God saw what was in your heart (as he sees what is in the hearts of all) and has already been leading you out of the path that you were following.

    And for those who have and will shun you for not following their teachings and their rules about “proper order home”, etc., I have taken comfort in two verses, one from the OT and one from the NT where Jesus reflects back on the one from the OT:

    Isaiah 29:13 And the Lord has said, This people draw nigh to me with their mouth, and they honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me: but in vain do they worship me, teaching the commandments and doctrines of men.

    Matthew 15:7-9 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men’

    at the time of my original post, all the children were planning to have Thanksgiving at the home of the middle sister…we had told the four living here that we would willing drive them to their sister’s home so they could celebrate with their siblings…and Dad and I would go to IHOP! After my post yesterday, the four here came to me and asked if they could just stay home with us. They love their siblings, but were more inclined to be where we are. I was more thrilled than I could express…we spent the rest of yesterday at the grocery store buying our Thanksgiving meal!

    Oh how my heart absolutely SOARED for you when I read that!! Your hope of moving forward is already in motion!!


  27. Gary: Your words spoke comfort to my soul and heart…thank you. I am in agreement with you that our God is a God of comfort. In more recent years, I have worked harder at communicating that to my kids than I used to.

    Anonymous2: You are right….there is, in many homeschoolers–me included–the attitude that we are doing something “more right” than those who chose to public school. When our third child (second son) and his wife decided to put their only child in public school at the age of eight, they moved 3000 miles away before they did it. And broke the news to us in a “back handed” way over Facebook. As I reflected on that, I really had to face the awful things I have said and done that communicated that I couldn’t be supportive of their decisions to raise their son…their way. I wrote them a note, and have only tried to say supportive things ever since. Our oldest son, the one struggling with a drug problem, has three sons….the oldest is in public school, the other two in day care while mom attends college (to become a public school teacher)….that was real hard for us to accept. But we are trying…we attend activities at Jake’s school, and try hard to keep our opinions to ourselves. This son has told me privately that he wishes his wife would homeschool, but she hates being at home all the time….and hence the decisions they have made. Probably just as well anyway. With the drug problems there, the boys need some stability that at least attending school/day care every day is providing them! And honestly, I can’t blame this son’s wife for wanting to have a career…life with him has been uncertain for quite awhile now.

    But you are right….even in the wake of all that has gone wrong in our kids lives…I still have to fight with myself to not think I am better than others who public school their children. Dear God, forgive me my arrogance!!!!!


  28. Pam: I have NEVER thought of those verses in the context of this whole “proper home order” attitude and way of thinking….thank you, thank you, thank you!! I can hardly wait to share these thoughts with my husband!!


  29. Oh, no, Gary – mama guilt is primarily self-induced for me. Knowing my childhood abuse background, I thought I was making much better choices for my children. That did not prove to be true.


  30. I just want to say what a wonderful group of gracious, loving, and understanding people I see in this thread. Kay, I am just so thrilled that you posted and have really been a blessing to so many of us. What a privilege to pray for you and see the Lord working in your life and all of our lives. I will continue to pray for your family and all the families, myself included, that just want to do right in the eyes of the Lord. It breaks my heart that these leaders really do not see how they are breaking us away from the love of Christ.


  31. Kay, I’m so glad to read your update. With regard to public schools – I have been volunteering nearly daily for the last 6 years. I have not seen much of what Phillips told me(us) I’d find in public high schools. I have 2 boys attending high school full-time. This is a first for us, but it is going well. I’m angry that I believed all of those men who told me that I was sending my kids to the devil if they went to public schools.

    There really was a lot of legalistic hype in homeschool circles.


  32. Julie Anne,
    As you mention abuse in your childhood, do you think we, as abuse survivors, are more drawn into black and white beliefs in order to try to save our children from what we went through? I always wonder if I wanted a “this is how it should have been done” approach since I had nothing else to look to as an example.


  33. ” When I would talk about being exhausted and having trouble with my four-year old and newborn, I was told to “break them now.” In other words, spank them until they break.”

    Do people who join this groups have a genetic default for bearing especially naughty children? I’m around 4 year olds and terrible twos all the time and they barely ever do anything to warrant punishment.


  34. I was giving an example of legalism and abuse within the church setting. Not sure what one child’s behavior vs. another child has to do with it. My children are precious, wonderful gifts from God, but they are just as imperfect as I am, so, yes, I guess I breed genetically imperfect individuals. LOL


  35. All the talk of spanking. I’ve not normally seen children who behave consistently in ways that merit punishment at all – be it time out or spanking, that was my point.

    Every once in a while they do naughty stuff. But the way “break then in nowers” talk like kids are being naughty 24/7.

    That’s what I find odd.


  36. Exactly, it is supposed to sound odd. In no way, shape or form should a child be spanked thirty times until they break. This is a board about ABUSES in the church.


  37. @Kay,

    Pam: I have NEVER thought of those verses in the context of this whole “proper home order” attitude and way of thinking….thank you, thank you, thank you!! I can hardly wait to share these thoughts with my husband!!

    To be sure, Jesus spoke those words in a specific circumstance when he was being challenged by the Pharisees, and gave example of how they were hypocrites in that they would and did break a commandment of God (and they were the keepers of the Mosaic Law) in order to keep with tradition, so highly did they value their traditions.
    Jesus and his Disciples also raised the ire of the Pharisees by working on the Sabbath, healing people and gathering grain in order to feed the hungry. He rebuked them at that time, also, saying “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?”. Therefore, should we not honour God in healing/helping those in need by sticking to to the man-made tradition of, for example, not allowing women to work outside the home? As a midwife, were you not helping someone in their time of need, which they and their families readily accepted at the time when your help was needed before they then threw “tradition” in your face?

    You are already questioning things that don’t smack you as being honouring of God (the DVDs that you threw out, for example), and that makes me think that you’re gonna be okay. You really are.


  38. Okay, I am home with the flu, so this is unusual for me to have this much time. But, I just finished listening to my church online and I loved what he said about trials and tribulations in the life of the believer. Everything God allows, even from the enemy, will be turned to good. Nothing can harm us, God is in control. Kay, I know that there are people who have and will put you through a fiery trial of words that peirce the heart, but just know God is holding you in his hand and will use your pain to show you his love. You might actually help those who right now are “against” you, turn back to a relationship with Jesus vs rules. I love you, sister in Christ. Jesus loves you too and he has already paid for all the mistakes we make in life. What comfort! I’ve made some doozies. I’ve had to tell my seventeen year old, who bore the brunt of my legalism, how sorry I am for not being the loving mom I should have been. He was the four- year-old. You know what? We have a very open and forgiving relationship now because he knows I don’t have it all together. God will restore those other ones to you. Your humility is what will win them over. Thus, my favorite verse. “God gives Grace to the humble, but resists the proud.”


  39. As you mention abuse in your childhood, do you think we, as abuse survivors, are more drawn into black and white beliefs in order to try to save our children from what we went through?

    I missed this earlier, loveoneanother. Sorry!

    Yes, I do think this is part of it — perhaps the pendulum swung too far when we were trying to make a course correction. Both of us acknowledged our difficult childhoods and it was on the table when we got married We were determined to make it better for our children. ::::sigh::::

    PS I hope you get well soon!


  40. “As you mention abuse in your childhood, do you think we, as abuse survivors, are more drawn into black and white beliefs in order to try to save our children from what we went through? ”

    I think that’s the case. Some women on CDD openly talk about previously abusive relationships and how now they are being spanked out of “love”, not beaten out of hate.

    Also, on Raincloud Mary’s blog you get female commenters who were highly sexually promiscuous in their teens and 20s and now that they are “born again” and married, are telling never-promiscuous women that they are nonetheless “sluts living in sin” if they are not in a Dom/sub relationship with their husbands!!!!

    Its like these folks have never heard of the word “balance”.


  41. One comment I would have on all of this is how sad it is that so many people embrace leaders teachings without thinking for themselves and questioning whether what they have been taught is what they should be doing. It could be as simple as trying to impose a “one size fits all” mentality.

    Below is a link of a story from a book that I have posted on my blog:

    It is so sad that so many in the Christian world don’t think for themselves and have such deference to what a leader teaches or even to “group think.”

    What is even sadder is when the signs show up that what teaching you are applying (be it courtship, homeschooling etc.) isn’t working people still continue to impose it without any modifications.

    It is so sad that people are taught to almost not think for themselves.


  42. Kay, I’m so glad to read your update. With regard to public schools – I have been volunteering nearly daily for the last 6 years. I have not seen much of what Phillips told me(us) I’d find in public high schools. I have 2 boys attending high school full-time. This is a first for us, but it is going well. I’m angry that I believed all of those men who told me that I was sending my kids to the devil if they went to public schools.

    It seems to be a pattern for various leaders promoting their “alternative” to exaggerate the problems of doing something the conventional way.

    – Public schools are so bad so the only alternative is homeschooling
    – Dating is so bad that the only alternative is courtship.

    Some call this a “false dilemma.” It may times implies that there are only 2 choices.


  43. Steve – I get what you are saying, but for those like me who came from completely dysfunctional homes, we didn’t know what good parenting looked like. We thought we were thinking for ourselves. We thought that if we repeated what our parents did, we’d come out damaged. We wanted something different for our children. We wanted a healthy Christian home, to parent using Biblical guidelines, etc. Phillips, Growing Kids God’s Way, the Pearl’s and so many others convinced us they were doing things biblically. When they spoke, wrote books, we got sucked in. It was believable. It gave us hope and a direction – – something that we didn’t have before.

    I want to be careful about the “we should have thought for ourselves” thing because I think we sure thought we were thinking for ourselves. We don’t need to heap any more shame on ourselves, but we do need to gently try to figure out what wrong.

    The thought that I could have destroyed my kids more than I was “damaged” is sometimes such an overwhelming thought – it can lead to crazy thinking and a downward spiral of depression and who knows what else. I don’t want that happening here.

    We have to acknowledge that we thought we were loving our children and doing the best for them. But also now we need to do some damage control – the good kind – where we humble ourselves with our children (adult children) and let them know what we did and why, and take responsibility for it. And then we must allow God’s grace to heal us and to move on and do better.


  44. loveoneanother,

    You wrote:

    As you mention abuse in your childhood, do you think we, as abuse survivors, are more drawn into black and white beliefs in order to try to save our children from what we went through?

    I agree with your line of thought, and believe that any dysfunction can lead to parents wanting a control formula to guarantee that nothing bad will happen in their family.


  45. Anon2: I was at church when I read your comment and wanted to respond to your earlier comment. I am completely guilty of looking down on Christians who did not homeschool their children. I’m embarrassed to admit it now, but it’s true. I remember apologizing to a friend last summer when she put her girls in the local public school so they could attend choir!! I was thinking, “what is she doing to her precious girls?!?!” My, things have changed as now I’m on my 6th year of volunteer work with choirs at 3 different public high schools. HAHA – things have a way of coming back and hitting you upside the head, huh?

    I want to work on a post to show the kind of stuff we were fed which led us to have this kind of judgmental attitude. Now, after being out of the Homeschool Movement for a while, I’m shocked that we listened to this kind of crazy.

    If you knoew me personally years ago and you felt I was looking down on you because you did not homeschool your children, I am deeply sorry. Please forgive me. That was so wrong of me. Ugh!


  46. Julie Anne,

    We moved to a neighborhood where people move because of the public schools.
    I started my oldest in public school at 5, and had both my kids there until 3rd and 5th.
    I was class mom, knew all the moms who were volunteers, helped create a reading program for the 1st graders who did not know English (to teach them reading) and my kids were thriving.

    I was only saved 3 years and I came to believe that having my kids in public school was delivering them to Satan. At my CC, many of the moms were homeschool moms or had their kids in the Christian school there. Some of my friends told me that if I kept my kids in public school, they would be taken over by evil and I believed them, so we applied to the school connected to our church and I can say that after 6 years there, it was the worst experience in many ways. Hypocrisy, bad teaching, etc, etc.
    One year I homeschooled my daughter and I was very turned off by the homeschool moms. They DID look down on others who did not homeschool. To me they were a controlling bunch. I remember once at a meeting they had a social for the kids at a church and one mom had a bowl of Hershey’s kisses where she was sitting. She would not let any of the kids have any she said it was for the moms. What was the big deal?(For some reason this really stands out in my mind) Many of these moms that I knew were telling me they hated what they were doing but there was no way they would put their kids in public school, and they could not afford private Christian. One mom I know is a professional and she HATES homeschooling her 13 year old but her husband will not let her stop.
    After we left Christian school, I put my kids back in public school and looking back I should have never taken them out.
    I didn’t trust that God would be with them in Public school and could use them as a witness. I bought into the lie of the enemy. I regret not trusting God with them. Many of the High school teachers were professional with Masters degrees. It prepared my kids for college and my son has a 4.5 GPA and was in Honors, AP, etc. Many of the kids in Christian school went nowhere academically. I don’t expect the school to make one a Christian just like homeschooling a kid does not make them a believer.
    It is the influence of the parents, and up to God to get a hold of our kids. We just need to keep praying. Sorry this is so long. There is so much more I could write!


  47. Dear Kay,

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I wish I could promise you that your children will “come around”, as some might say, and know God better. But I do have hope that they will see your love for them. Your honest efforts to both reach out to them and give them space will shine through. They will make mistakes of their own, and realize how hard it can be in this world. At times like those, your determination to stand by them and love them, no matter what, will be so very important to them.

    I can’t imagine what this holiday season will be like for you. I pray that you will be good to yourself, get plenty of rest, and remember to forgive yourself. And, no matter what sadness you feel, I pray that the peace of God will fill your heart, and give you the hope and strength that you need.


  48. Julie said:

    Steve – I get what you are saying, but for those like me who came from completely dysfunctional homes, we didn’t know what good parenting looked like. We thought we were thinking for ourselves. We thought that if we repeated what our parents did, we’d come out damaged. We wanted something different for our children. We wanted a healthy Christian home, to parent using Biblical guidelines, etc. Phillips, Growing Kids God’s Way, the Pearl’s and so many others convinced us they were doing things biblically. When they spoke, wrote books, we got sucked in. It was believable. It gave us hope and a direction – – something that we didn’t have before.

    I want to be careful about the “we should have thought for ourselves” thing because I think we sure thought we were thinking for ourselves. We don’t need to heap any more shame on ourselves, but we do need to gently try to figure out what wrong.


    I think we are thinking along the same lines.

    I think there is no doubt that people thought they were doing the right thing when they adopted BP’s teaching. One tendency when someone comes from a dysfunctional to go to the other extreme. It appears a lot of BP’s teaching was the other extreme. I am not saying that homeschooling is necessarily the other extreme but a lot of BP’s teaching appears to be from that I have heard.

    I myself have embraced teaching by leaders without really thinking it through or even questioning it more when it appeared to not be the truth. As Scripture teaches, no man is perfect and despite even the best intentions what someone teaches is bound to have errors in them. When you are in groups where no one is questioning what is taught and people are saying how good a certain teaching or practice is it can be harder to question and think for yourself.

    This is especially true when examples of well it works are paraded but examples of failure with a practices aren’t shared at all. Sometimes those who promote a certain practice only hear what they want to hear such as successes and are blind to seeing examples of failure or things not working. There is also a tendency to want to apply a “one size fits all.”

    It is good to look back and ask yourself what happened and why you adopted a certain practice rather than questioning it so you can learn from the future. Also just the realization that there needs to be balance and being wary of going to the extreme or applying reactionary tactics is a good start.


  49. I have read every post on this site as I was arrested by the title of the original post.

    I too will be spending this, and perhaps all, my holidays away from my older children.

    I am guilty of nearly all the sins, failures, mistakes, etc listed by those who have posted, and then some…

    I am praying now for this fellow homeschooling mother as I sit like a weaned child and cry, not for myself, but for my children and all those affected by this fallout.

    It is a crushing sorrow and like an ever-widening black hole that threatens many of us every hour of the day. We who once arose before dark –wide-eyed and full of dreams and hopes of how we could spare our children from the pain we grew up in and help build a brighter future for them….

    As idealists from often broken dysfunctional abusive homes we set out on course to give our children a better life.

    And now we, who sit twenty or thirty years later with shattered hearts for our precious children, are in perpetual anguish that we who sought to protect have actually stumbled our children into worse places than we ever were.

    We were sincere,…we were passionate…we were sacrificing..

    .we were hopeful…we were audaciously brave….we cared,,,we sheltered…

    .we scolded….we worked ourselves into rage-inducing exhaustion… we stayed up late night after night believing it would all make a difference in a big way to those we yearned over long after they fell asleep as we prayed on our faces beside their beds recounting the day’s failures.

    we spanked when we should and when we shouldn’t….too much or too little we don’t know and are haunted by it…

    …..we tried and failed and kept trying…we read the books…we bankrupted ourselves on curriculum and conventions…we poured everything into this adventure of parenting and homeschooling often with little other than ridicule from those around us and little or no support from grandparents or churches whose help could have made such a difference….we did all we knew to do and then some…

    We snuck to therapy without our children knowing it….we talked and prayed on the phone til late into the night to scheme and plan..we church shopped…or we homechurched…..

    And most of did not smoke, drink, chew or cuss……well not the last one till the battles got overwhelming and fear gradually overtook us…or financial problems drained the light and life out of us…

    we believed and hoped that we were doing the right things and that we could have these perfect families we so wanted our children to have so they could have the lives God intended them to have…

    and we were wrong………and we are in anguish..

    .in my case it was not the sins out there that hurt them but my own….and never have I fought any battle more passionately than the one against my own flesh… They may or may not have seen it for they only saw the sins I didn’t win the battle against—namely fear–especially fear of man and the devil or bad movies or …..

    I feel now like Florence Nightingale in the film where she realizes that the men in a certain bed in her hospital are dying because they are lying beside a drain that has a dead mule in it underneath the floor. She brought them out of the battlefield to die in her hospital because she didn’t know… There was death in the pot..or the home…or the heart…

    So here we sit….and write…and cry….and pray….and read the Psalms and sometimes stare into space and try not to imagine what they are doing just now in this far-from-fellowship-with-God world our disappointing stares and well-intended rules and lectures have propelled them..

    I see pictures and read journals of when they were little and ask how did we get here? Sin, not theirs, but maybe ours, started the downhill spiral.

    I feel like the child who found out his father had an affair and wasn’t coming home. He asked his mother “Can we still love Daddy even though he doesn’t love us”

    Does anyone else feel like the tunnel digger Danny in “The Great Escape” who tries to go over the fence rather than go through the tunnel and risk sabotaging the escape mission for others. Well I wanted to keep digging and trying for the sake of those behind me but now it seems I have sabotaged the mission and I can’t help anyone.

    Some of our hearts feel like swiss cheese and we ache and ache and ache for our children….yes we are alone on Thanksgiving but we think of where they are…

    Those for who we made bread for feasting on the husks of this world for we unintentionally starved their souls in the pursuit of the perfect family….

    They who we dragged to church in our old cars week after week only to have them live through inconsistencies in our imperfect homes major scandals in our churches and the church abroad and now within conservative Christian homeschool ministries and become understandably disillusioned. And now no one can drag some of them to church.

    And now they…and us…and all those who are being dragged down and discouraged or emboldened into arrogance…or embittered beyond seeming restoration… are paying the price…and so will many more before the fallout is over.

    So why do I write…sitting here like a broken reed facing down despair every waking minute asking ourselves things like…

    These strange ashes….pornography found amid books on purity, unbelieving spouses for those for whom we have prayed before they were born, perversion where once purity was fought for, eating disorders after homemade bread, cruelty instead of deep tenderness, vanity fair vs the Celestial City…. wounds received not from enemies but from family and friends…no more I love you mom..but you are a _____…

    We who have yet to know God’s love in such a deep way as to experience His Victory could not pass on what we did not have.

    We with children with wounds from things said by mothers whose demons they faced and fought…and lost
    I cannot blame public school…in fact I blame no one. It is largely my own fault.

    Though some try to tell me otherwise I know in large measure it is true..And they all have made it clear it is my fault and oddly, I guess in answer to my own private prayer that if I were hurting them emotionally like my own mother did and does me, that I be cut out of their life for their sake.

    And yet I must say that in all of this I feel sorry for fellow moms who, like me and this dear woman, long to make things up to them. to be a blessing, to work things out for their health, to restore broken places and seek a better way…

    We can’t. For many reasons, and in my cases the pain I have caused, the swirl of lies they have believed either from bitterness or the insinuations and criticisms of enemies or their own pain so deep…

    I have no stones to throw. I only have sadness. And I do go to God daily with this constant plea for forgiveness and for their healing.

    I ask only for God’s mercy and for the restoration of my children who are my first and last thoughts each day. I only wish they could have the kindness to see the glorious future of theirs I was fighting for even if the battle got messy. That, like in the opening scene of Courageous when the man saw his child being kidnapped, it wasn’t a pretty fight. And some of us fought the kidnappers and lost our children’s hearts in the process. Perhaps if they could see some of our backstory it could grant them more grace to be grateful for what we tried to do and therein find a measure of healing

    I may not be with them in the future…like Moses perhaps my anger will keep me out of their future…but I plead for prayer for all who read this post that I may not be overtaken with much sorrow for I daily despair of life and I do not think I am alone. That somehow all we had hoped to do for them will help them forgive…That a gratitude for what we had hoped would be a good portion for their lives.

    A bruised reed He will not break. A smoking flax He will not quench. Tonight,
    I cry out to HIm Who is all I have. It seems the only one who loves me…the only one who can…I pray more for them that somehow, someday, someway,,they may know His great love for them and live in that GREAT LOVE.

    Readers, please join me for mine and all these others…both children and parents. Like Tiny Tim…may God bless us this season ….in thanks for His mercy ….God bless us one and all is my prayer…..Lord may it be so. It is not a vain thing; it has been our life and it is their future.


  50. Dear Kay, I ‘liked’ this post not because I like the pain you are in, but because I like your and JA’s determination to face truth, no matter how hard, how raw, how searing, how seemingly devastating. Thank you for sharing and I shall pray for you and all in a similar boat.


  51. shattered,

    Desire wells up within me to say something useful and comforting, but nothing comes. I am not qualified. Still, I would like you to know I have read what you have shared, and I am moved. I simply cannot believe that your great love will go unrewarded.


  52. shattered – Thanks for coming to the blog and pouring out your heart here. I know that your comment represents many others who are going through this kind of heart-wrenching anguish. I think through honesty and humility and an effort to seek reconciliation with our adult children, God is able to restore what the locust has eaten. It is a joy to be able to talk to my adult daughter now. While there is still pain for us as we realize what happened, there is hope for the future as we begin afresh. Please do not lose hope.

    Feel free to comment any time here and share your heart. That’s what this place is for. Also, if you desire, there is a private forum where you can initiate your own comments and get support/feedback. Anyone interested can contact me to join: spiritualsb@gmail dot com


  53. Shattered: I, like Gary, am overwhelmed at how beautifully, how eloquently, you have expressed not just your pain, but mine, and probably many others, as well. Like Gary, I have no words to say to you….but like him, I also cannot “believe that your great love
    will go unrewarded.” As my husband reminds me so often, “as long as there is breath, there is hope”… prayers are with you.


  54. Dear shattered,

    Your comment was so powerful… I could feel the heartbreak in your words. I’m not surprised that you’ve been reading a lot from the Psalms. Your message reads very much like a psalm — pain, raw emotion, pouring out all your heart to God.

    Thank you for being so honest with us about something so painful. Will be praying with you tonight.


  55. Shattered –

    I am sitting here at my office weeping as I read your post. I can hear so much of my own mother (and father) in what you wrote. This is the second Thanksgiving I will not be spending with my parents. In my case, it is their choice for this separation and not mine, and though I have healed considerably in the last year, it still hurts so deeply. I’ve found myself wondering how my parents are, wondering if they’re okay, if they will have a happy Thanksgiving or if it will be like so many other holidays – filled with sorrow and drama. I worry about my younger brothers who are still at home, who I haven’t been permitted to see in over a year. I wonder how old they’ll be when I finally get a chance to really know them, and I wonder if the years of brainwashing by my parents will make them hate me. Though there has been much hurt, the Lord has given me great compassion for my parents, and I am thankful for that.

    My parents were like you – dreamers, sincere, passionate. They seemed to look for the most difficult path and determined that it was that path God expected them to take and they did. We made bread, grew a gigantic garden, canned, had chickens for eggs and meat, went to homeschool conferences, played music together, learned about modesty, courtship, the evils of any kind of music unless it was classical or hymns, and that there was no other Bible except for the King James Version. We often had to skip out on fun things at church because they were too “worldly” and we weren’t allowed to get our own plates at potlucks because we wouldn’t make healthy choices. We church shopped and we home churched too.

    But, my parents tried – oh they tried. The older I get the more clearly I can see this. Though they may be blinded by legalism these days, they did everything out of a desire to honor God and do their best by us. They were ridiculed by family and friends alike and they often felt completely alone. I think they, like you, have never truly experienced God’s love and grace themselves, at least not in a way they could pass down to us.

    Your children may be far from God right now, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t at work in their hearts. Though I have never completely abandoned my faith, there were two times in the last seven years or so that I came incredibly close to doing so. I am convinced what kept me was the foundation of truth that my parents carefully laid and the prayers of many other godly people in my life who showered me with grace and understanding. In spite of the legalism and control of my upbringing, there were threads of truth that made their way into my heart and soul at a young age, and they’ve never left me. I have one sibling who has chosen a pretty ungodly path, and it’s been heartbreaking to watch. And yet, after several years of wondering if they would ever get some things right, I have seen signs just recently that God is working in their heart and all hope is not lost. I pray that God would do the same work in your children’s heart and cause them to cry out to Him. Only He knows what healing is needed in their hearts, and only He can do that work.

    I wish I could hug you and cry with you. I’m not a mother, but I know what it is to face the reality that everything you thought you knew….you don’t. I know the pain of loss – you’ve lost your children. I’ve lost my parents and some of my siblings. It’s utterly agonizing and so scary and you wonder how sad you can be before you crawl in bed and never get out again. It’s dark and it hurts. But it is in the dark that God meets us. He met me….in the midst of panic attacks and fear, months of depression and just wishing I could die to make the pain stop. And He will meet you.

    I often take hope in these words, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten – the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm – by my great army that I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed.” (Joel 2:25-27, NIV)

    You will be in my prayers this Thanksgiving. I pray God sends you a special reminder that He is with you and that He is working all things for your good and for His glory.


  56. The words of comfort expressed here are blowing me away. I love how Jeanette as a daughter brought up in legalism can reach out to a stranger and give hope. This is Christ’s church happening right here. What amazing love.


  57. Shattered

    I cried when I read your post. Sobbed.
    God knows our heart.
    What you expressed is straight from the heart of our Lord who has suffered more than we can imagine and who reunites us with His suffering.

    At the times I was doing everything I thought I “should” except really loving my kids as I ought to, I didn’t know God enough at that time because I thought every waking hour should be in the Word reading and learning as much as I could since I was saved at 40 years old.

    All those years I was at my computer, was time I could have been playing Barbie with my daughter. All the weekends filled with internet study on doctrine –trying as hard as I could to learn the whole Bible as fast as I could, life was passing me by and my kids were growing. I craved the Word. I thought knowing the Word would bring me happiness. I was so deceived by the devil. He got me so into “works” that I was on my own path.

    But was it intentional? No- we all think we are hearing His voice.
    We can’t condemn ourselves.
    There are sins in the OT that are sins done without knowledge.
    I know that God knew my heart and that I was attempting to get closer to Him, even though I spent much time away from my family.
    I could barely hold it together in my own life when He called me.

    Jeannette- God seemed to bring you to offer hope to shattered.
    It is never too late to make a phone call and pour your heart out to those who need to hear how much you love them.

    JA- Thanks for the opportunity here for us to repent, share, and grow closer to the Lord.


  58. Shattered,

    Your honesty has given me courage. Legalism kills the soul and it is not so easily defined. Your transparency has been a blessing in this community today to many of us who have listened and wept along with you.

    May God continue to bring healing to his body.



  59. There is nothing more in life that I would cherish than for my own mother and father to pour out their souls to me as you have done. You have no idea how profound and wonderful your words are. Remorse and repentance are what brings healing. My parents have never apologized and actually continue to deny anything bad went on in our household. We are silenced by fear of retaliation if we say the truth. There is a pretense of a beautiful family, but underneath are the unspoken things. The Lord has allowed me to move on to a large degree, but it is hard to completely move on because there is no sorrow on their parts for the abuse and anxiety they put us through. So, don’t despair because God delights in your humble spirit and the Bible says he well give you grace. We all have done terrible things, myself included, but that is what God’s Grace is for. He doesn’t want the perfect people, he wants those who can’t pretend to be perfect anymore. Love you sister in Christ.


  60. Kay

    I would like add what others have said that is is quite admirable and going back and admitting what went wrong. I am sure you thought you were doing the best when you did it. Lets pray that God can use this to bring healing to your family.


  61. It’s a terrible thing when families and churches refuse to face issues that trouble them. A facade exists and someone is scapegoated. It creates seemingly irreparable damage.


  62. I witnessed these teachings (and the effects) in the lives of some of my girlfriends (we are all mothers in our early 30’s now)
    What I saw was that separating children from the secular world did nothing to keep them “pure”. We are not born little angels who get corrupted by drugs and dirty movies. Instead, we are already corrupt and we CREATE all that stuff in the world.

    It’s like in the zombie show The Walking Dead. It takes them a while to realize that getting bitten by a zombie isn’t the only danger — because everyone is already infected with the virus. 😛

    There must be grace for all parenting mistakes. I am sure I make a lot of my own mistakes even if I don’t raise them under patriarchy. There is hope for all of us.


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  64. Katy “What I saw was that separating children from the secular world did nothing to keep them “pure”. We are not born little angels who get corrupted by drugs and dirty movies. Instead, we are already corrupt and we CREATE all that stuff in the world.”

    You are so right and so fortunate to see this clearly and not make the same mistakes so many of us have.

    I was sold the lie that Satan had more power over my kids lives than God.
    That’s because I didn’t know God well enough. I was not born into Christianity.
    I arrived at 40 years old. Imagine not even knowing Jesus was Jewish and being born a Jew? Christianity was beyond a whole new world to me. So when I began learning my own “Book” I was astonished. It was surreal, as If I was living in a dream.

    I was shunned by my family and extended family.
    Then I was shunned at church.
    My freedom came when I left the church-left the Christian school, and actually began associating again with the real world.
    I had 2 older women friends who I believed were wise telling me if I put my kids in public school Satan will devour them. I believed it. No more.


  65. I may add that this older women still to this day attends the church that attempted to destroy me and my family.
    There is no real support and friendship when you leave the “system” some are held in bondage by. I suspect it is the same with this Patriarchal movement.

    It is so much about being part of a “community” and “fellowship” that many overlook the corruption.

    There was a time I would not even let my family listen to secular music.
    There is much beauty God has allowed outside the church.
    Many gifted artists that are not believers.
    I have recently began to allow myself to listen to some music that in the past touched my heart. Yes, God is there in the music even if the person is not a believer. How foolish I was! What a blinded sheep!


  66. I wanted to share something else.
    As I just let the dog out of the house…

    I have an old dog who gets let out the back of the house to do her “thing”.
    We have a young spayed cat who lives inside the house that we do not allow out.
    Every time I open the back door I have to close another door so that the cat doesn’t get out.
    Sometimes I don’t close that other door to see if the cat will leave.
    Once in awhile she goes out and stays really close to the door that leads into the home.
    Most of the time she just watches the dog from the door and does not leave.

    I am secure in the knowledge that the cat loves us more than wanting the opportunity to run away. If I give her the opportunity of an “open door”, I have to trust she will make the right decision. Also, I believe the temptation to run away is tempered by the open door. I think we have to trust our kids the same, and always give them an opportunity of freedom, to make the right choices.


  67. I want you all to know how lovely it is reading the comments on this thread. You are my sisters/brothers, for sure, and I am deeply grateful for your honesty, grief, grace and courage. It has made me go cross-eyed, switching between your words and those of the Reconstructionist men on the earlier thread. I will never forget this. You are where Christ resides.


  68. The most encouraging. work I have EVER read as I have been on a similar journey is Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr a Fransiscan Priest. I highly recommend it for your healing process as well. So much love to you, from another mother who understands


  69. Welcome, Maria 🙂 Thanks for the suggestion.

    Patrice – I love this: “t has made me go cross-eyed, switching between your words and those of the Reconstructionist men on the earlier thread. I will never forget this. You are where Christ resides.” Beautiful! And I agree!


  70. With their extra-biblical ideas, Fundamentalism and Calvinism have been ruining the church almost as much as liberal progressivism. It is becoming increasingly hard to find moderate Christians who know their Bibles and who stick solely to them. Extremism is very much in fashion in Christianity as in politics.


  71. So much pain and sorrow, and yet so much love and hope, abound in this one thread. I have cried both tears of sadness and tears of joy in re-reading the original post and all the comments.

    My wish for everyone today is that you have a Happy Thanksgiving, and that you find unexpected happiness where you expected to find only continued anguish….and not only just for today but every day as you seek to move forward.


  72. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

    Does anyone know if Doug Phillips is Reformed and believes in Calvinism? I know others like Mahaney and the Reformed group do.

    Calvinism teaches that man has no choice with regard to salvation and that is God who “elects” some for salvation by being given an “irresistible grace.” It claims that it all up to God and not man’s efforts. Those who God doesn’t “elect” (according to Calvinism) have no chance of salvation.

    It always baffles me when these parents go to such great lengths with their children such as overprotecting them when they claim that they believe someone’s salvation is all up to God.

    I am not saying that that parents shouldn’t proper good parenting and bring someone up in the ways of the Lord but just baffled that they think doing all of this has to be done one right way when then claim it is God who decides who becomes saved. Their actions seem to contradict what they claim to believe.


  73. As I sit here in the dark of my office, waiting for dawn, I wanted to share with “y’all” (as we say here!) how yesterday went. At 8:30 am I headed to the kitchen to begin our Thanksgiving meal. As the four children left here at home slowly woke up and wandered into the kitchen, I was greeted by smiles, love, and hugs. Each one of these kids knew how tough the day was going to be for me…and for their Dad. While mashing the potatoes, I wept…and they just offered hugs and comfort. As I made Green Bean Casserole, I started down the road of another panic attack…and they just offered hugs and comfort….not one rebuke..not one look of disappointment, anger, or judgment. They accepted my fight to overcome the grief, and looked for ways to shift my focus to what I had in front of me instead of what was missing. By the time I sat down to eat our small feast, plates full and wine in the goblets, I was at peace, and acceptance was deep in my heart. Our oldest son called in the midst of the morning, with some rebuke for the divided family, mostly because his precious boys were expressing so much disappointment at not coming out to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for the day. I begged him to understand the need for the distance for now, and he, in turn, begged me to not cancel Christmas celebration…but to move forward with our usual plans of going to cut out tree at the tree farm, and a day together with all invited…he said, “if some choose not to come, so be it…that’s their issue. But I want my boys to be with you guys…I want to be with you guys. Today will be a real drag for us, not being all together.”……this is the son with the drug problem…the one fighting, and fighting to get clean and provide for his family (drugs, when they ensnare you, are so very, very hard to get away from…to overcome…but he keeps trying)…..We ate peaceful meal, complete with toasts (led by our youngest), laughter, and a quiet joy of just what was there. Later, when I had to go rest (I am permanently disabled with Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia, as a result of a near death illness in 2007)….they smiled, snuggled with me on the bed, and expressed how “stress free” the day felt.

    I cannot express to all of you here how your words of hope, encouragement, and love reached into my heart and holiday and provided me with a lifeline I so desperately needed. Hearing others’ stories, reading others’ thoughts, like of “floaty” on the water, buoyed my soul, spread joy like jam on bread, and held me tight like a seatbelt in the car. Thank you, my brothers and sisters, for your prayers, your words, but mostly…your understanding. As Julie Anne said, this is the Body of Jesus being what she was meant to be. My prayer for “y’all” is peace. I am so grateful to have stumbled upon this place.


  74. Kay, thank you for posting your update on Thanksgiving day at your home. It is encouraging to me. God is so gracious to us all–so many little gifts of love He sends, tokens of the greatest love-gift of all, His Son on the cross. LIve in the moment, sister, and fully accept with thanks each gift He sends –this is my “mantra” for daily life.

    Anyone here ever read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts? Ann shares her story of the death of her baby sister (traumatic) and her subsequent life of self-abuse, depression, discontent, regrets… and how she is finding healing by living a life of thanksgiving. I’ve experienced little emotional trauma compared to Ann and some of you here, but learning to live by thanking Him has been a big change in the negative thinking I am prone to.

    Here dies another day
    During which I have had eyes, ears, hands
    And the great world round me;
    And with tomorrow begins another.
    Why am I allowed two?
    ~G. K. Chesterton


  75. Wow, that is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart and being brave enough to be ‘real’. I love that you allowed yourself to feel and your family allowed you to feel what you really feel. So important and often I think we are taught not to feel deeply but to be content.

    As far as your fiber myalgia and chronic fatigue, that made me think of Carol Tuttle and her energy profiling system. Have you heard of this? It is very different than personality profiling and has been a huge help in helping me to live in my true nature. We so often are made to believe that who we are is not OK and then we don’t feel free to be who God made us, so we reverse who we really are and it has a big impact on our immune system, energy, etc… it is fascinating and I invite you to check it out if it feels right for you.

    Blessings to you.

    did the rose
    ever open its heart
    and give to this world all of its beauty?

    It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
    otherwise we all remain too

    – Hafiz


  76. So glad you gave us an update on your Thanksgiving day, I was thinking about you that day and hoping that you would leave a comment!!

    What a wonderful day you had, made all the more poignant when your four children at home snuggled with you!! Bless your hearts!!!! And your son calling and rebuking you, but simply because he and his family wanted to spend the day with you, how WONDERFUL and I’ll bet it was unexpected!! I hope you plan on taking his advice about Christmas and move forward with your usual plans, and a day together with all invited, for he is right when he said, “if some choose not to come, so be it…that’s their issue”. He needs your love and forgiveness just as much as you need his to help him face the issues that he is facing. Your faith, your hope and your love ARE strong enough to lift the both of you.

    For all that you believe that you and your husband did wrong, you obviously did the MAIN things RIGHT……… taught your children how to LOVE and how to FORGIVE!! In turn, their love will help you to keep forgiving yourself.

    Please continue to visit here and to leave comments when you feel up to it. Yes, this IS the Body of Jesus being what she was meant to be.

    1Corinthians 13:13
    “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”


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  80. Shattered….

    Your words resonate so deeply within me. Coming from a home of multiple fractures and child sexual abuse, I too wanted that opposite set of circumstances for my children and family. It was truly my idol. Fear commanded me, and everything I did was a result of it.

    My husband was never godly enough, and it wasn’t long before he began to stray from me. I do not take the blame for that, but I would say that I was the most harshly judging person in his life. I did the whole formula, homeschooling, modesty, courtship pledges, etc. I was never happy with my children because they never seemed to live up to the images I thought were real in the lives of other families.

    We had several separations and near divorces. Each time I fasted and prayed that God would restore our family, and each time it seemed he did. Our children rarely laughed. They didn’t enjoy, nor were they enjoyed. They existed to fill the cookie cutter images I tried to make of them.

    The breaking point became when my husband had an affair and got another woman pregnant. We made final arrangements for her and moved away. I was spiritually now bankrupt. Every formula had failed me, and in my mind, things were as horrible as they could be. I went into deep depression. I wanted to die. I’d received a standing ovation at my former church for forgiving my husband, but now in a new state, I didn’t even want to pray to the God that had rejected me….had not enabled me to fit the bill…not my marriage, not me, not my children. There was nothing left.

    Then comes the irony. The very first church we attended in the new state was a house church led by Doug Phillips. I’d placed my hope in a harsher, tighter cookie cutter. Our things still in boxes, we entered our mini-van to go to a location I’d had to beg Vision Forum to reveal to me. Our oldest daughter came out last to get in the van. I was horrified. She had on blue jeans, because her dresses were still in boxes. While I didn’t mind blue jeans on a normal day, I knew that this would not be acceptable at Dough Phillips’ church. I was correct. We went in and were met with stares and scowls. During the message and hymns, little girls stared at my daughter as though she were one of the demons they’d learned about. We were not spoken to nor welcomed. Thankfully, God spoke to me that morning. He said, “You know her heart.” He said that. And it touched me. My husband couldn’t wait to get us out of there and immediately assured our children that we would never return.

    As a side note, the message Doug Phillips delivered that day had nothing to do at all with the glory of Christ. The entire discussion centered on how different they were from the world, and there was discussion following of congregants comparing themselves with neighbors or acquaintances, and most of all, those who called themselves Christians who were not living biblically like they were. It was entirely self-glorifying.

    I entered into a three year depression in which I stopped even trying to live the formula. I eventually put my kids in public school. I slept until noon daily. I could no longer bear the weight of the formula that had failed our family. I could no longer delight in a God who sovereignly allowed us to fail in every way. Another woman was having my husband’s baby, and more than anything, I just wanted God to take me.

    I don’t know how it happened, nor when it happened….but our children began to smile. They began to do things that were uniquely different from each of the others. Some developed humor, others grace, others deep intelligence. No longer having cookie cutters to conform them to fake images, they began to become who God made them to be. And slowly, I began to stop sin-sniffing and sledgehammering individuality and delight in them. I’m not going to say that the struggles and fallout ended. My oldest child moved in with a boyfriend with whom she became addicted to heroin. I watched all of the oldest ones, to the extent they’d been harmed, walk away from the Lord. I continued to love them, as did my husband. We made mistakes, but God brought us both to a place of loving them and giving grace….being vessels of God’s love rather than extenders of Satan’s accusations.

    Still, I had no confidence in all in God’s love for me. I was a failure. I feared what would happened to my children now that I’d let go of the ball. How would they ever recover?

    Years of pain, abuse, victimhood, anger, and pressure to forgive the unforgivable finally surfaced. I filed for a divorce. I had an affair. I threw everything out the window and did what I wanted to do. Eventually, I ended up in an intensive care unit, having overdosed on an anti-anxiety drug. I was admitted into a psychiatric, locked unit. This was the bottom. I bawled my eyes out as they prepped me for the locked unit. I feared I would be cut off from everyone and everything. I was strip-searched. I was treated like a bad child.

    But there….at my moral bankruptcy, at the failure of all my efforts, God was with me. He comforted me. He held me. He let me know he was inside those locked doors with me, and that was all I needed to know.

    Months later, I returned to my husband. This time I was different. I was no longer self-righteous, nor was I willing to be mistreated. I enjoyed my children. Within a year, they were laughing and living and enjoying one another. My husband blamed himself for everything I did, and said he led me to the place I went. I’m not sure that’s totally true, but he began to lay himself down for me, something that remains true to this day. One year and one month after I returned to him we renewed our wedding vows. All six of our children attended, even the oldest one who was still living with her boyfriend and on heroin.

    We let her know we loved her, but we could not force her to leave. She came for help twice, but went into rehabs that were ineffective and very short. She continued to return to him and drugs.

    One night at our life group, having grown tired of asking for prayer for her, I at the last minute asked if we could pray for her one more time. They agreed. Three days later she called us for help. We picked her up and told her the only way we would help was if she immediately left the state. We knew he would come back for her. She flew to Tennessee and stayed with a family member. She found a place called Mountain of Mercy in northern California that took in people like her. She asked us to fly her there, and we did. For eight months, she stayed there in a place that covered her with God’s love and grace. They didn’t talk about alcohol or drugs. They worked on the reasons that each of them had turned to alcohol and drugs and allowed the Spirit to heal those areas. She has now been clean for 2 1/2 years.

    I’m also seeing my kids walk back to the Lord, one by one, in their own unique ways and timing. He is faithful. He is faithful. He is faithful. I’ve repented to them for all of the ways I failed them. I’ve written apologies, I’ve stopped trying to control, and most of all, I’ve come to delight in them. I love how unique they are, and they are emerging into outstanding individuals…not in the ways you hear from many homeschoolers (“Oh, she’s ten years old doing high school algebra,” or “he has memorized the book of Ephesians”)….none of that. But they are uniquely delightful. And I respect them. I respect their individuality. I adore them. I dare anyone to judge them.

    I really thought I’d screwed them up forever. Here’s the thing. When we give up, God’s faithfulness and mercy does not. Continue to apologize to your children. Tell them about the fear, tell them what you feared, and pour out your regret for seeing them through a lens of fear that disallowed them to simply be little humans. If you’re tempted to correct them….bite your tongue and pray. Love, love, love. Pray, pray, pray. God is faithful. Let them find their way to him, and they will find their way back to you when they come to trust you don’t judge and you don’t have a Bible sledgehammer ready to hit.

    Trust God. He isn’t finished. Not with me, not with my kids, not with my husband, and not with you or yours.

    Big, huge, tearful, understanding, compassionate hugs to you!


  81. This is the most beautiful expression of how God moves in such mysterious ways. I have such love for those who have followed Jesus’ path of descent and found resurrection rather than living an empty life of moralism. Have you read Richard Rohr’s Falling Upward? You might just LOVE it:)

    Come, whoever you are! Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving. This is not a caravan of despair. It doesn’t matter if you’ve broken your vow a thousand times, still and yet again come! ~Rumi


  82. I want to thank every one who has commented. Your stories testify to God’s good ways, and they are an admonition to me.

    I consider myself a progressive, thoughtful woman. I have a graduate-level seminary degree, and would never think of myself as gullible or easily brainwashed. When I heard Doug Phillips speak at a homeschool conference, I felt a visceral draw toward what he preached: family, modesty, “traditional values”…This is it! I thought. Despite years as a Christian, as someone from a non-believing background, the idea of adhering to a formula and seeing results was so tempting (although I never would have acknowledged that’s what it was). I buried myself in memorizing scripture, tightened the boundaries around my children, and embraced my role as my husband’s helpmeet, which–I know–isn’t even a biblical word.

    I am grateful I didn’t begin striking my children or completely losing myself in service to my husband, but I did begin to treat them more harshly under the fuise of “training.” I allowed leglaism to creep into my words, saying things like, “We don’t [whatever behavior I saw as distasteful]” instead of focusing on the winsome, beautiful love of Jesus.

    When I learned of Doug’s abusive behavior, it was as if a light went on and I suddenly realized what a crazy and legalistic system had begun to infiltrate our lives. By God’s grace, this way of thought and practice was relatively short-lived, and my precious children are still very young.

    Hearing your stories and the grace extended here is a confirmation that it is love and grace that speaks loudest to our children’s hearts. My heart and my prayers are with everyone who has shared here. Please know that your experiences are not in vain, and you have given me the push I needed to detach from a system of legalism that brings only death, and to fully re-embrace the life-giving gospel of Christ. Thank you.


  83. goodfig: Welcome! I’m so glad that you have found the personal stories helpful. That is the whole purpose of this blog and so it thrills me to get this kind of feedback.


  84. A Dittmeier- After reading your comment, my heart is singing amazing grace while tears fall down my face, wow, just wow. His mercies are new every morning and great is His (not mine) faithfulness. Look at all that beauty that came from ashes! Thank-You for sharing.

    Kay, Thank-you for being you, so open & real, it does my heart good to read about your Thanksgiving. Much love in our Savior.


  85. “The very first church we attended in the new state was a house church led by Doug Phillips… Our oldest daughter came out last to get in the van…She had on blue jeans, because her dresses were still in boxes… We went in and were met with stares and scowls. During the message and hymns, little girls stared at my daughter as though she were one of the demons they’d learned about. We were not spoken to nor welcomed. Thankfully, God spoke to me that morning. He said, “You know her heart.” He said that. And it touched me. My husband couldn’t wait to get us out of there and immediately assured our children that we would never return.”…”The message Doug Phillips delivered that day had nothing to do at all with the glory of Christ. The entire discussion centered on how different they were from the world, and there was discussion following of congregants comparing themselves with …those who called themselves Christians who were not living biblically like they were. It was entirely self-glorifying.”

    This should go on their website, what an endorsement for this friendly body of christians….Truly, this is the crux of it all – exclusiveness and self-righteousness. This is why Phillips and everyone that does as he does, are not agents of God’s love and mercy and truth. They are a club for those who are consider themselves better than the rest of the forgiven, who by their actions and teachings have been dividing the body of christ destroying relationships by self-glorifing behavior.

    – liza


  86. And I wonder in many ways if this is not the beauty of it all. What if we can see God’s mystery in this. God is waking people up that have been living morality in His name, which is Grace, Mercy, Compassion. I think God is doing beautiful work through all of this. Many have suffered and many are suffering, and the path of transformation is the path of descent. Darkness, failure, relapse, woundedness and death are our greatest teachers rather than ideas or doctrines. In some ways, we can surely rejoice in all of this potent teaching. I am certainly praying that his is a great awakening for many…


  87. Kay, I share some of your pain as I watch my older two children reeling from our choices. We went from a family of 4 to 7 in a 5 year period. I literally spent my sons teenage years obsessed about getting pregnant, being pregnant and enter the world of autism . I missed my older two’s teenage years as they needed their mom and I was expanding our family because it was “God’s will” Yes, God did say yes to three more boys and I do believe in a sovereign God . But my self serviging religious heart wanted more babies and I wanted this “holy close to God life” Ironically, instead of listening to my husbands wisdom and insight, I told him to show more faith in God. Well we are in a world of a crazy, non homeschooling life. Autism changes everything and my boys are in public school *8-o” I am doing my best and somedays I want to go back to my family of four and go back to the days before I entered the world of “quiverful” We left a family integrated church, where all the kids were homeschooled, and most were quiverful.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my boys and they are from the hand of God and blessings. But they came because we went through extreme measures to extend our family and be in “God’s Will”


  88. TeeDee, wow, autism, that really adds a whole other dimension of deep challenge and yet, look what God has taught you, all of us through trying to live perfectly and not being physically able to do it. So much pain for sure. One of my favorite teachers, Richard Rohr says that the path of transformation is the path of descent. Darkness, failure, relapse, woundedness and death are our primary teachers rather than ideas and doctrines. I too have suffered greatly as a result of learning from DP. I used to be so resentful b/c my husband was not like him. I ordered all of his resources and my husband just wouldn’t listen and I chose to suffer deeply over it. We only have 4 kids, but what makes me so sad is that we listened to these moralistic teachings rather than taking our own frames into consideration. I have struggled with manic depression for years and have been so overwhelmed as a mother, absent much of the time. Now I am having to build a career b/c it is just too much for my husband to be the sole provider. We never looked at that honestly until we had to and then I have had to deal with so much resentment there too. God is kind, his grace is amazing and he meets us right in our darkness if we allow him to. My kids are all in public school this year for the first time as well. Nothing creates a greater opportunity to have faith than having all our ideals smashed. I am having a whole different, messy, beautiful, ugly, mysterious relationship with a God that offers outrageous love and radical grace and asks nothing of me than to receive it, which often, surprisingly, I find very difficult. I’ve been practicing a meditation in the morning where I just sit and see His loving gaze into my eyes, His breath breathed into my wounded soul. It’s quite healing. So glad to be here and not feel alone in this.


  89. I stumbled upon this site after first stumbling upon the Homeschoolers Anonymous website. I had never heard of Doug Phillips before, but everything here is familiar. I was homeschooled in the 1980s and my father was a follower of Bill Gothard’s/BYC similar approach to family relations and patriarchy. And as someone who who went through a similar upbringing over 20 years ago (expected to heed the teaching’s ridiculous expectations when it came to “honoring” your parents, marriage and courtship), I can say that it does have some nasty effects on one’s life. I married against my father’s wishes (my mother, wisely, never went along in deed with my Father’s ideas). But even away from home—with a husband and a wonderfully liberating university education—I found that many of the “issues” created by my upbringing (reaction against my father’s oppressive parenting style and religious legalism, suppressing & fear of sexuality, separatism) don’t really go away—even if you wish them to. My first husband and I divorced over matters relating to sexuality that stem directly from the atmosphere of fear of sex and its overemphasis in my childhood. Luckily, I had a great support system, years of spiritually-sensitive counseling, a sound education, and was able to keep the kernel of my faith from dying. Not to mention the support of my mother. I am now remarried and have my own young children and satisfying marriage. But it took years to change not only my beliefs, but the habits of mind and heart formed in my childhood. My younger siblings have also struggled in their lives and I often wonder if my parents had used a more gentle and reasonable approach to parenting whether we could have avoided so much pain and confusion when it came to making our own decisions. I do know, however, that the love of my mother—despite any of the misguided ideologies she was involved with—gave us children a great gift. Her love and support has been invaluable through the years, we knew she was far more interested in us being ourselves than she was in using us to prove anything to others.


  90. I am not familar with the writings of Doug Phillips and am wondering WHY so many mothers were following his teachings? Shouldn’t we be following God’s teachings? Shouldn’t we be training our children and not doing something because so and so said it. Yes we are to listen to older, wiser WOMEN (not men) on how to be good wives and mothers, but we should always check the Scriptures 2 Tim 2:15.

    Futhermore. WHY are we blaming others for our responsibility?
    If my children go astray, Lord Willing, I will see the error of MY ways and not blame someone else.
    Reading all these comments bashing DP, none of these stories commend him for his repentance.
    Ladies have you not read the Scriptures?
    DP has stepped down from his offices, knowing he has hurt the body of Christ. I have read his statements and he is owning up to his sins (not blaming someone else). 1 Tim 3:2

    Concerning the family;
    All we need is the Scriptures to fufill this role. However if we take one rule of thumb and set it apart from the others then we are selecting what we want to hear.
    We are to study the Whole Counsel of God and Lord Willing our work that the Lord enables us to do will not return void.

    First and foremost if you want a godly family you must surrender your will to the Lord. God does not choose the common way to go about every day life.HE says if someone slaps you in the face, we are to give them the other cheek to slap also. If someone asks for something, we are to give and offer more.
    God chose 300 men to defeat thousands. HE chose an 80 year old man to lead the people out of Egypt. HE choose a 90 year old woman to give brith to HIS chosen people. Let’s face it, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-13

    I gave my adulterous husband to the Lord years ago. I said, “OK, Lord, he’s yours. Save my marriage, make me a good wife.
    You know what I found? An adulterous me, found in smutty so-called Christian love novels dreaming of what my husband should be. Matthew 5:28. I had to repent…a thousand times over…I had to get that sin (and more) out of my life before I could even SEE clearly to help my marriage. Matt 7:3-5
    You know what I found? JOY. I had to force myself to get up and have joy. I could not rejoice in my physical current state of affairs. But I could rejoce in the LORD, I could rejoice in my Salvation. My husband said, “Is this my wife?’ You bet! Honey! THis joy rubbed off on my family. My husband got saved and surrendered his marriage to the Lord Eph. 5:25. We are like newly weds for at least 10 years. It just keeps getting better all the time. People ask us all the time why we are so happy. We just tell them, marriage is about saying no to yourself and yes to your husband. Marriage is the closest thing we can experience here on earth of what Christ did for us. Sacrifice.

    Ladies, Isaiah 55:6-13, Give it up… and read your Bible Every day and let God speak to you!


  91. Gee, Shirleydaughteroftheking, if only we’d read your post before we had kids, we’d have never been fooled by false leaders claiming to know the way to raise a godly family. I’m so glad you do. As for us, we had to be apprehended by the grace of God, not our good works.


  92. Shirleydaughteroftheking…..thanks for your insight. And while I rejoice with you that you found joy in your marriage, please bear in mind that not all of us walk on the same road. I have not discussed my marriage here, as it wasn’t related to the topic of my prayer request.

    But the truth is “all I need” is not “the Scriptures to fulfill this role” Truth is giving such a pat answer is trivializing the mistakes I have made, and pain I have caused. Finding my way as a wife and mother…well, all I have needed is Jesus. I have made huge mistakes, that caused pain for those I love the most. Finding my way out of that crushing guilt has led me back to the place I started….to the person of Jesus.

    And regarding DP’s repentance….if the tables were turned, and it was I who had sinned and “repented”, I would be held at arms length until the fruit of my repentance was proven. It behooves us, as the Body of Christ, to do the same to DP. And because of his ‘public position’ in the Body, his proof will, by necessity, take much longer than someone NOT in a position of ‘authority’. Remember,” to whom much is given, much will be required. ” And foolish we would be to accept this “resignation” as proof of any real heart change on his part. He’ll have to walk it out….for a long, long time before anyone with a passion for a ‘no compromise’ gospel will accept anything he has to say again. The nature of his sin may very well mean he never regains is place of “authority” in the Body again.

    Regarding your forgiveness of your spouse for his ‘sin’…..I am rejoicing with you that you saw the age old truth that both failures and successes of a marriage are a two way street.

    Regarding…”give it up and read your Bible everyday and let God speak to you”…that is what I have done (want to come over and see the journals?? Years and years of journals?? for I have been a believer since 1975)…..and I still made decisions that deeply wounded those I love the most… DP, your formula for avoiding making mistakes is just that….a formula. And formulas just don’t work.


  93. Then comes the irony. The very first church we attended in the new state was a house church led by Doug Phillips. I’d placed my hope in a harsher, tighter cookie cutter. Our things still in boxes, we entered our mini-van to go to a location I’d had to beg Vision Forum to reveal to me. Our oldest daughter came out last to get in the van. I was horrified. She had on blue jeans, because her dresses were still in boxes. While I didn’t mind blue jeans on a normal day, I knew that this would not be acceptable at Dough Phillips’ church. I was correct. We went in and were met with stares and scowls. During the message and hymns, little girls stared at my daughter as though she were one of the demons they’d learned about. We were not spoken to nor welcomed. Thankfully, God spoke to me that morning. He said, “You know her heart.” He said that. And it touched me. My husband couldn’t wait to get us out of there and immediately assured our children that we would never return.

    I am sure that this was traumatic for the daughter. Hopefully one way the daughter and others will look at this is that it spared the family from all the abuse of this church. In other words it was a blessing in disguise as the old saying goes.


  94. This sad story is multiplied in the lives of many because confidence is placed in a man rather than the Lord God Almighty. My family suffered because I listened to men rather than just trust the Lord and do what He says with the grace and power that He supplies by His Holy Spirit. I have apologized and worked to see my relationships improved with my children. By God’s grace things have improved to a certain degree. Although they don’t attend church, my husband and I are still looking for a church that has leadership committed to God’s Word and not the vain opinions of men, my children say the believe in Christ, although there is a lot to be desired in how they live their lives. However, I have realized that I am not responsible for the choices that my children make, they are. We are all accountable to God for our own actions.

    The word of the Lord came to me again, saying , “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As I live,” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. “Behold all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die. But if a man is just And does what is lawful and right;…He is just; He shall surely live!” Says the Lord God…If he begets a son who is a robber or a shedder of blood,..He shall surely die; His blood shall be upon him. Ezekiel 18:1-5,9,-10,13
    Regardless of our upbringing we are all accountable to God, and we must keep in mind the deceitfulness of sin that leads sinners to make any excuse to turn from God. Our enemies, are sin, the devil and the world, which oppose Christ and His work for us. Unfortunately, much that is considered to be of God is really the deceit of the devil and leads many astray.

    I want to encourage you with a personal illustration of how the Lord has worked in the life of my daughter. While I was attending the university in our area, our daughter lived in the same city as her grandmother, and I had great unrest in my soul regarding her behavior. I would cry and beseech God like a crazy person as I drove to and from school. When I had opportunity to visit her, I did and my worst fears were confirmed. Thinking to get encouragement, I attended Grace Community Church that Sunday morning and heard a message of condemnation and discouragement. It left me feeling bleak and as if I had no hope for my daughter, especially given her ungodly behavior, and that God had forsaken us. However, as I drove home I listened to the Word of God, Galatians to be exact, and Galatians 6:1-5 became a bubbling brook refreshing me with hope for God’s work in the life of my daughter.

    Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. but let each one examine his own work and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another, For each one shall bear his own load. Galatians 6:1-5
    We can be used by God to restore others as we realize that we too are liable to temptation, needing God’s grace continuously operative in our lives, so that we can be used by Him to minister His grace in the lives of those who have need. As we obey God in this area we will reap His blessings.

    Through God’s work and timing He brought my daughter up to our area and then brought her to live with us. This was necessary as she had harmed herself by her sinful choices. By God’s grace she is doing much better, but I can’t take any credit for this, it is all God’s doing by encouraging me with His Word, directing my prayers and steps and humbling me according to Galatians 6:1-5 to be a support for my daughter, Lest you think that I am some great Christian, I have struggled with wrong attitudes towards my daughter during God’s work in her life, but He has corrected me and extended grace to my daughter. We are now, meaning my daughter and myself, striving to help her friends here where we live. We have seen answer to prayer for her friends. My daughter asks for me to prayer for her and different situations that she has concerns about. I praise God that He delivered me from holding onto men and brought me to trust Him. This has been a difficult but necessary lesson for His glory and my blessing. By His mercy and grace I trust Him to do His work of love and grace in the lives of my children and praise Him for the opportunity that I have to be a witness for Him. God bless you:)


  95. Eliza-
    What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. For me, it is the big sin of the church and by sin, I am using it’s true meaning, missing the mark, we have forgotten that we meet God much more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death and wounded are our greatest teachers rather than ideas or doctrines. I am so glad God has shown this to you. If you want to be really encouraged on this path, there is a great book called Falling Upward by Richard Rohr. He puts into beautiful words all that you are experiencing and explains how this IS the journey of a Christian, not the path of moralism which leads to despair and rebellion b/c it isn’t real.


  96. Hi Maria,
    No thank you . I will continue to rely upon God’s Word the Bible and trust in His Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. A Franciscan monk is by definition not a believer and we are commanded in God’s Word the Bible not to have anything to do with those who promote error and heresy. It is true that Jesus Christ came to save us from our sins, but once we are saved, after we have repented of our sins and believed in Him, His call to us is to live lives of uprightness for His praise and glory. One of the main stumbling blocks to this is false teaching, as those who were wrangled in by Doug Phillips can attest. False teaching leads us astray and makes us captives of the enemies devices. What is the only avenue of false teaching? It is man’s opinions as opposed to the Holy Word of God. We are commanded to study to show ourselves approved rightly dividing the Word of truth. Jesus Christ commanded us personally to not allow anyone to deceive us. As we stay true to Him by living our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit and relying upon God’s revelation to us in the Holy Scriptures we can escape the snare of the devil whose goal is to make us captives to do his will. So much sorrow. pain and anguish can be avoided by ordering our lives by His Word as taught to us by His Holy Spirit. However, praise God He is faithful to His children and delivers us from the snares of the enemy and sets our feet upon the Rock and puts a song of praise in our mouths as we trust and obey Him. God bless you:)


  97. I would be careful in defining any person as not a Christian based on their association with a particular church or movement. The same could be said of many, say IFBers, or Calvinists, etc. The decision as to who is or is not a believer in Jesus Christ and a follower of him is not ours to make. Do not presume you have the right to act as the judge of another’s relationship with God! Only HE has the right to do so.


  98. An Attorney-
    It is interesting that you took this from what she said. I didn’t even see that she had said this and maybe she did but what she was trying to say is that she has found the voice of God in her soul and is listening to that rather than men. What a beautiful thing.
    For so me reason, you saw an opportunity to make her wrong so you could be right. Hmmmmm. what would you say that is about?


  99. No, I was only responding to a fault that I find in many commenters, acting as God in condemning a person who believes themselves to be a Christian but who is in a different religious organization or has a different doctrine than the commenter. I have known Catholics who are Christians, and I have known evangelicals that I have reason to doubt. But I am not the one with authority to decide. Only God has that authority.

    I did not comment on the rest of Eliza’s comment. I might have, but I was interrupted and had to attend to business for a while, and just recently came back to this blog. And the time has lapsed. However, generally, the rest of her comment is fine, although I would have chosen different language than she used.


  100. An Attorney,
    OK, according to her following comments, I totally stand corrected. Seems she does feel she can judge who is and who is not saved. Interesting. Well, we can only be where we are on each of our journeys. It is so interesting to me that it is so common in the Evangelical world to take the us and them stand. Those who are and those who are not. The haves, the have nots. Jesus must be sad. He called us to love others and love God, not spend our time deciding who is and who is not saved. How can we EVER know what God is doing in someone’s life? He is mysterious and it is not our job to understand it all. For now we see through a glass darkly. I think many people are not loved b/c of this very thing. Unconditional love is what transforms people. If we have the love of God and we share it with everyone God brings into our lives, we’d never have to care where someone is on the path. When we focus on our individual salvation and feel a sense of safety b/c ‘I’ am saved, we are missing the whole point and I believe that is what Jesus called ‘sin’. WE are to look and wipe the mirror clean about where we ourselves are deceiving our own selves. That is when we know the Holy Spirit is working. When we can see our own insanity, the ways we trick our own selves (and see the ‘sin’ in others without taking the log out of our own eyes, which is exactly what we do when we focus on anothers sin or state of salvation, its a trick of the flesh to distract us from our own stuff) and bring the compassion of CHrist to ourselves even though we see the ‘ugliness’ then we will be able to do the same with others. Do you remember that He said, love others as you love yourself? For me, that means, it will naturally happen as you truly learn to see yourself as God sees you. Once you do, you will never look at others the same again and you will never try to change where God has them, or distract yourself by judging whether they are saved or not, you will love them right there, where they are and the thought of that judgement will not even enter your mind, then you will know you get it and you are not longer in sin (missing the mark, the point).


  101. P.S. the above was not directed to you, An Attorney, just the first statement that I had missed the mark and misunderstood her.


  102. Well, if you studied the Scriptures instead of the opinions of man then you would have an understanding of what I said. If a person holds to beliefs; read doctrine, that are contrary to what is written in the Bible then they are believing in a false god and false messiah, as a matter of fact they are of the spirit of the Antichrist. Because I do know the heresy that the Catholic church teaches I can say that anyone who believes these things and is counting on them for their salvation is lost. God calls us to not have anything to do with the wicked works of darkness. I chose not to have anything to do with false teaching which is following the command of God rather than the command of man. The book that you are promoting is written by a man who holds to a counterfeit faith, (what else can I discern about him since he belongs to an apostate religion?) therefore in order to honor God my Father I will not read that book. Very simple. Judging me for being discerning isn’t motivated by love for God, His Word, His Son, His church or even the lost, it is motivated by a disguised rebellion against the truth of God in His Holy Scriptures.
    By the way, it isn’t unconditional love that transforms sinners but the gospel of Jesus Christ, that Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried and rose again from the dead. This is the grace of God given to us as we repent of our sins and put our faith in His Son Jesus Christ. This is His conditional love. His unconditional love made the work of Christ available to all who will believe, but His conditional love, receiving us as His sons and daughters is incumbent upon the sinner recognizing the fact that they are a sinner in need of salvation from God’s just wrath so they turn to Christ in repentant faith trusting that the work He accomplished on the cross is sufficient for their salvation.
    The reason the Catholic church is false is that it believes and teaches a works righteousness doctrine, worships a false god, one made to their own liking, the church elevates tradition and the sayings of very fallible popes to the same level of Scripture, they have added to the canon of the Scriptures the apocrypha in order to support their heresies one being purgatory. They believe one is regenerated when they are baptized by the church and they have received Christ when they take their first communion, the wafer being Christ Himself, so they commit idolatry in worshiping a wafer. The curse anyone who believes that we are saved by grace through faith without works clearly contradicting Ephesians 2:8-10. They believe they sacrifice the body of Christ over and over again in a bloodless sacrifice during mass, they worship Mary, and now this new pope preaches universal salvation and says that sins the Bible clearly condemns are okay. And you are questioning one who God has brought to rely solely upon His Word by the work of His Holy Spirit? It appears that you need to study the Bible to show yourself approved rightly dividing the Word of truth so that you can be graced with discernment to reject the false and hold to the truth. God bless you:)


  103. My heart breaks for your sorrow dear ladies. I would plead with you to have mercy on yourselves. Children do not come with instruction manuals and anyone can be led astray by bad advice.

    We homeschool our little ones for many reasons. Much of it revolves around our desire to give our children the best education for them. I have heard of vision forum but mostly as a source of various christian resources. I have heard a few sermons by DP, but little else.

    The best thing you can do for your little ones and big ones is to love them completely and without reservations. Then you can choose what education is best for your kids (public, home, private, online etc). Love covers up many wrongs. Forgive yourself, be humble, and love your children.

    I think sometimes we all must remember we are all sinners saved by grace. None of us are perfect, none of our families will be perfect. Striving for the unattainable is not helpful. Loving each other in spite if our imperfections is grace in action.


  104. Eliza wrote, “Well, if you studied the Scriptures instead of the opinions of man then you would have an understanding of what I said.”

    Most everyone commenting at this site has studied scripture. That you think your very own view of it is the Total Truth shows that you are suffering from that which you accuse others. It is deeply egocentric to think you know it all, and for everyone.

    I recommend that you read the Bible front to back in a month, and do this twice, and after that, review your supercilious statement.


  105. “Eliza wrote, “Well, if you studied the Scriptures instead of the opinions of man then you would have an understanding of what I said.”

    Hmm. Even Peter wrote that Paul was hard to understand. :o)


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