Justice is No Lady: Chapter 6 ~ In Which Nate Takes Up Racquetball

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.by Tess WilloughbyI tried to conceal my misery, fatigue, and desperation from the members of our new church. We had not been there very long when people began to notice how spaced-out and jumpy Tess Willoughby was. Our pastor, Mike, and our assistant pastor, Randy, both expressed concern about me.I was pregnant for the seventh time, and I dreaded another pregnancy, birth, and recovery. The clandestine feedings of Matt had delayed this pregnancy—this baby would be two whole years younger than Matt, a personal record. Matt’s birth in 1998 had been in the hospital—my first hospital delivery—because Nate had health insuran … [Read more...]

Adventures In Recovery ~ Boo! Letting Go Of Magical Devil Thinking

 by Calulu Sometimes I forget just how far my thinking has changed since I left Possum Creek Christian Fellowship only be to reminded in a very big way when I least expect it. The other day I was reminded how much my thinking on 'The Devil' has changed.I was working at the quilt studio helping a customer pick out coordinating fabrics for borders and bindings on several quilts she was finishing up. This customer was someone I knew vaguely from my PCCF days, a lady that attended a sister church that has split off from PCCF named Abundant Grace Fellowship. This lady, Michelle M., was a regular at both of the studios, the fiber arts-quilting one and the fine arts studio. She is one of those f … [Read more...]

When Promises Become Dreams: Doing Marriage God’s Way

by AfricaTurtleThe title of Sierra’s Post “When Dreams Become Promises” stirred thoughts in me of another Dream, of other Promises that have brought their own dose of pain and disappointment and reality into my life: Dreams of an enduring, godly marriage and the Promises I made to God and myself in order to lay hold of that dream.I made my first promise at the age of 14. “I promise to never date a non-christian”. It was the call to action given by a speaker at the summer church camp I attended that year.  I knew it was right, I knew it was what God expected of me. How can “light fellowship with darkness”?  Why would I build a life with someone I couldn’t hope to spend eternity in heaven w … [Read more...]

Justice is No Lady: Chapter 5 ~ In Pursuit of Biblical Theology

Warning: This story series contains descriptions of physical abuse.by Tess WilloughbyHannah was born at home in spring of 1996.  By this time, Nate had a better job at a personal injury law firm and we were able to get a three-bedroom house.Satan must have followed us, because now there were lesbians having sex in the mailbox and Nate had no idea how the pervert porn peddlers got his name and address again.I was still in a stupor, still worshipping my cult leader. The lights were on in my brain but no one was home. I think, however, that my brain’s doorbell started ringing in 1996, and Tess’s Good Sense began its three years of patiently knocking, waiting to be invited back in. Doubt … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: When Dreams Become Promises

by SierraAs followers of God’s final prophet and members of the elect Bride of Christ, we made a lot of promises in God's name. We promised safety to a world we presumed was in its death throes, ready to face tribulation, destruction and ultimate renewal. We promised healing, hope and happiness to those who accepted God’s provided way of escape. We promised individuals that their broken families would be restored, that their financial problems would vanish when they tithed, that God's will would give them purpose and the strength to deal with the wearying parade of everyday troubles. We promised Alissa that God would heal her daughter.Alissa was a single mother of two young boys. She wor … [Read more...]

It's Not About the Clothes!

[Note: For NLQ readers who have not yet joined the forum, here's a small taste of what you're missing ~ :) ] by Whisperthroughtherain When I was little, before we moved to the Bible belt, getting dressed was simple. I liked wild colors and animal prints. I felt so pretty when I got my ears pierced. In the summer when it was hot, nobody thought twice about running around in a bikini... Most of us did. Even chubby grandmas! We had pool parties and ordered pizza and my cousin taught me to swim. I thought he was great. Sometimes little boys tried to kiss me, but I just ran away.When I was a little older, we got involved with a southern, backwoods Baptist church. In Sunday school they taught us … [Read more...]

I Am So Much More Than a Maiden of Virtue! Part 4 ~ Little Things

by WanderingOneI am a nail-biter.  I don’t bite them because I’m nervous or scared or anything like that.  I just…chew.  My nails are ugly and jagged; short and stumpy.  I hate the way they look.Growing up my parents tried to discipline me out of the habit.  It showed a lack of self-control, an inadequate ability for self-restraint.  I tried to stop.   I hated disappointing them.  I was afraid of punishment.  And yet, I never could shake the habit.  I bit and chewed—perhaps it was a form of unconscious resistance:  this small imperfection, this awful habit, was a small way of ensuring that my parents’ authority was not absolute.  Maybe it was just a bad habit I could never kick.In any c … [Read more...]

Adventures in Recovery ~ Hi Ho Trigger!

 by CaluluI'm not talking about Roy Roger's stuffed horse that rests in the Smithsonian either. I'm talking about those emotional triggers that stun us, slap us upside of the head when we least expect it, pulling us right back into the powerlessness of the moment. Unfortunately for most of us that moment is usually negative, bordering on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.For at least four years after I left the toxic environment of my old church it wouldn't take much to trigger me, a snub by a former friend in the dressing room of the local gym or at the grocery store, certain hymns or songs, or places. One minute I'd be pulled together, moving and grooving and the next I'd be shaking, … [Read more...]

Adventures in Recovery ~ Surfing

by CaluluOne of the great enduring passions of my life has been surfing. I've surfed off and on since I was in my teens. My father taught me and we'd scour the weather reports for tidal surges during hurricane season in south Louisiana, waiting till the waves came. The Gulf of Mexico is like a tepid bath, calm, warm and blue-green most of the time. We chased the storms to ride the waves, cruising over to Pensacola or Destin, Florida to ride the wild surf.I loved surfing. It was by turns like dancing with the ocean and carrying out a battle. I felt powerful, warrior-like when I surfed. There was just nothing else like it.Years later after I married and had children I stopped surfing for … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Shift

by Sierra           Clear morning light filtered in the empty door of the bakery. I was alone behind the storefront, a wall of bagel baskets hanging like a curtain between me and the rest of the world. My mother busied herself in the front of the store, wiping counters and making coffee as I methodically drew and cut the clear plastic wrap in its long rolls. I wrapped another sponge cake, applied the golden bakery label, and set the finished product on a tray to be stored and sold for the Jewish holidays. It was normally one of the busiest weeks in the store: the owner was Jewish and had many connections with the synagogues in northern New Jersey. We were a hotspot for holiday feasts.The … [Read more...]


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