When our eldest daughter was 13 and before she started her period, my then husband told me he did not want her to use tampons because it would break her hymen and it was important for her future husband to do so.
While I was reporting on abuse in the church in 2012 on this blog, this is what I was living in my home. And while I was sharing stories of domestic violence, including emotional abuse and spiritual abuse here, I was connecting with these stories in a personal way, weeping, and knowing one day, I'd be telling my own story here. The time is now.
"I’ve decided to document pastors and individuals who promote patriarchy here on my blog. I will post screenshots of their tweets or social media posts, and name them and their churches as a public record."
" . . . unless the church treats all individuals as image bearers of Christ, we will not be the Body of Christ as the church was intended to be."
Today is my birthday. This morning I woke up happy, smiling, and very excited to be alive and well with a great home, a great job, and great family and friends. But I’d like to give you a window into what it was like this time last year. I was not well.
One thing that has been good about this job is that it has given me a break from trauma-related topics while I’m working.
I wanted to share a personal update.
In black/white churches, you have two choices: follow along with the pastor, or you are immediately castigated as someone who has made the wrong choice. If people know of your "bad" choice, you may be called a sinner or rebellious.
So, then the question I'm learning to ask myself is: what pain am I avoiding, and why am I avoiding it? Isn’t numbing pain simply prolonging it? Why would I want to prolong pain? What would happen if I moved toward the pain and wrestled with it? What would that look like?
But it makes me once again question those ideologies that led up to this point. It makes me think about spiritual abuse. It makes me think about Patriarchy. What significant changes were made in their journey? What ideologies did each one keep, and each one ditch?
But what I missed in listening to the stories is that sometimes those stories resonated personally for me. Sometimes after listening to or reading someone's personal story, their story elicited a personal response for me. It reminded me of my own journey. My own unfinished business.
But what it means is that we are being taken seriously. I think that gives us a bit more credibility. When we reach out to church leaders and ask questions, they will know we mean business.
What's interesting is if you address these people and question the way they are attack you and your beliefs, they quip they are telling you this in love and they are being Biblical. It never feels like love. It's rude. It seems like a clanging cymbal to me. Love is patient and kind, right?
Julie Anne Smith shares with Michael how she got slapped with a $500,000 lawsuit, uncovered abuse in her church and among evangelicals, and how patriarchal theology harms women. Hear this lively conversation as they discuss the prevalence and roots of spiritual abuse . . .
The spiritual abuse I experienced will only be a blip in my life's story, and it doesn't define who I am, just as Notre Dame's 2019 fire does not define it. Abuse is part of my story and has shaped me, and has produced life-changing fruit.
This story is not over yet, but I figure I better check in before people start wondering what's happening with me. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have read about my pastor and church. It's a long story, and one I hope to tell one day, but for now, I am grieving… Continue reading Another Sad Church Story
Sex Abuse, Jimmy Hinton, Pedophiles, Illusionists, Magicians, Dr. Larry Nassar *** *** April is sexual abuse awareness month. It is very important for parents to know that nearly 90% of perpetrators are known by their victims. It is also important to understand that a pedophile can abuse a child while you are in the same… Continue reading Sexual Perpetrators and Magicians – How Both Trick People with Illusions
Spiritual abuse, sex abuse, patriarchy, domestic violence, Sovereign Grace, Desiring God, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, Mental Health *** *** Part of recovery from abusive churches is coming to grips with what you were taught and how it affected you. Sometimes, and very appropriately, the ability to see this clearly results in anger. Jennifer Michelle posted… Continue reading Personal Story: What Did the Church Teach You about Yourself?
Bill Gothard, IBLP, ATI, Institutes in Basic Life Principles, Spiritual Abuse, Sexual Abuse *** The following was written by David Shere, who has been reading here for some time. He wanted to share his thoughts and advice as a Bill Gothard survivor. This was written after the news that the plaintiffs had dismissed the lawsuit… Continue reading From a Bill Gothard Survivor to Other Survivors: Free Yourselves
I hope everyone has had a good Christmas and New Year's holiday celebrating with family and loved ones. I've had a nice break from school. I had plans to get things done, but wasn't too successful. But that's okay, I'm listening to my body tell me that self-care is more important, and things can wait.… Continue reading Happy New Year and Personal Update