Throwing Out the Moral GPS

by SierraGrowing up in fundamentalism was like living with a moral GPS navigator installed in my head. Every decision was mapped out already; all I needed to do was listen to the voice telling me where to go. Sometimes I could stop and look at the map. Most of the time I was looking ahead, trying to live, listening and following directions as best I could.The GPS gave me directions for living: Read the Bible and pray every day. Obey your parents. Be respectful of elders.Those directions made sense. They were there to help me get where I wanted to go: straight ahead. There were no twists and turns yet.Then the directions got a little stranger: Listen to one of Branham's … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Doing the Math

by SierraTurning eighteen was magical. Suddenly, all the job applications I seemed to be throwing down an empty chute were bounced back with interest. Sven had already landed a job at Wal-Mart in his town. Now it was my turn. I nervously sat through my job interview, not daring to hope that I might actually be on my way to earning money. When they called back with an offer, I could hardly contain my excitement.Not only did I have a job, I had a real driver's license. No longer did I need the supervision of an adult driver. I could take myself anywhere I wanted, whenever I wanted. The freedom was intoxicating, and I found myself driving everywhere at the slightest excuse.Now that I was … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Waiting

by SierraI loved driving. I'd always known I would. As a child, I collected Hot Wheels cars until they numbered in the hundreds. When I was twelve, my mother decided to teach me to drive in case my father's rage spilled over completely and I needed to escape. It was both terrifying and exhilarating. The car felt huge and seemed to move so much faster when my hands were on the wheel. I crowed with pride as I successfully navigated the winding roads of our rural neighborhood, passing a UPS truck with wide eyes and short breath.As I grew older, I periodically stowed away money for a car. At my bakery job, I thought I might finally have a chance when I amassed $1,000 – a year's savings. A … [Read more...]

My Courtship Story ~ Part 8: Courtship Is Not The Answer

by Young Mom @ Permission to LiveLooking back, I like many things about our story. I love that we were very honest about our needs and desires as we understood them at the time. I can imagine it would be more difficult to fall in love with someone and then find out afterwards they don’t want children and you do. I can see the benefits of being straightforward and asking the tough questions right away.On the other hand, there were things that we could not talk about as well. Religious questions weren’t really that relevant, because we were so enmeshed in our families, we hardly had any beliefs that were truly ours, they were all dictated by our families. There are other tough issues that c … [Read more...]

My Courtship Story ~ Part 7: I Do

by Young Mom @ Permission to LiveWe spent most of our time together at our family homes, so we also spent a lot of our time together trying to evade family. Since we were engaged we were allowed to go on short excursions alone to public places. So we ran errands for the wedding, like picking up my wedding dress after the alterations were finished, or running to the mall to pick out "Hunk"’s wedding band. When we were around my house, we went for lots of walks together, and I even took him up to my secret spot on the garage roof where we could be alone.At the end of June (about 3 weeks out from the wedding) I went on another trip with "Hunk" and his family. We all flew out to spend a week … [Read more...]

My Courtship Story ~ Part 6: The Countdown

by Young Mom @ Permission to LiveHunk and I and our parents set the wedding date that same night. He was going to graduate school (3 hours away) that August, and we both knew that we did not want to risk our parents nixing a wedding before next summer. A wedding over Christmas or spring break sounded complicated, and we both knew that he would be distracted from his schoolwork driving down to see me. Secretly I felt that I would go insane if I had to go days and days without seeing him. After a few calls to family members who lived some distance away, we settled on a date in July, eight short weeks away.I now had a ring on my finger, and people who knew me at violin classes were shocked, … [Read more...]

My Courtship Story ~ Part 5: Will You Marry Me?

by Young Mom @ Permission to LiveTwo days later, I was allowed to drive over to “Hunk’s” house for the first time (with a sister along) and when I got there we went for a walk around the block alone (his family was a bit more liberal than mine). I had explained to my Dad that it felt very awkward to not be able to touch at all, and he had approved of us holding hands and promised to give “Hunk” a call to give him permission to do so.So we held hands as we walked, and I told “Hunk” about a dream I’d had where he had told me “well, this has been nice, but you’re not the one for me.” He replied with a shocked look “How could those words come out of my mouth!?” We walked in silence for a few … [Read more...]

My Courtship Story ~ Part 4: The Singing Again

by Young Mom @ Permission to LiveWe had a good time talking and getting more comfortable being around each other that first day of our courtship. And best of all we were able to see each other again the very next day at Greek class. It was kind of nice to be officially courting, because now we could get down to business and talk in more depth about our beliefs and what we were hoping for in a marriage relationship and children.That Monday after Greek class (while my sisters hung around and waited for me to be ready to leave) we even talked a little bit about ideas for a wedding. Before I left that night “Hunk” gave me a letter to open the next day (he called it “sad Tuesday”) since we wou … [Read more...]

My Courtship Story ~ Part 3: New Horizons

by Young Mom @ Permission to LiveMid April, my friend the Greek teacher walked up to me at a church event and started talking to me. We chatted about C.S. Lewis and Victor Hugo and suddenly I saw “Hunk” in a different light. He was interesting, he actually listened to stuff I was saying instead of keeping quiet just long enough to formulate his response. When I saw him the next week, he ended up hanging out by me again. We talked, if I walked into another room he would wander in there himself a few moments later. I started to think that maybe he was interested in me, but I still wasn’t sure if I was interested in him.“Jay” was still on Military leave, and he randomly tried to make convers … [Read more...]

My Courtship Story ~ Part 2: Waiting and Hoping

by Young Mom @ Permission to LiveNow that I had given up on being anything but what my parents wanted from me, I began to gain some sort of sense of contentment. I was still afraid that I was going to be a stay at home daughter the rest of my life, but I had hope that “the time of the singing” would eventually come. So I poured myself into being the best daughter I could be. I had discovered some food allergies that had been impacting my health, and after removing the troublesome food from my diet, I had more energy. I got better and better at cooking and cleaning, I dreamed about how I would run my own house someday. I was usually too tired to work on anything for my hope chest, but I was … [Read more...]


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