A Wise Woman

by Kari

Because I must be some kind of masochist, I was browsing over at the No Greater Joy site today. I came across Debi Pearl’s article “A Wise Woman Builds Her House,” dated May 5, 2001. After rolling my eyes repeatedly, I decided to write my own version. Mrs. Pearl’s words are in black, mine are in red.

A wise woman doesn’t take anything for granted. She is thankful to be loved and seeks to make herself more lovely.
A wise woman doesn’t take anything for granted. She knows she is worthy of love and seeks to remember her true worth.

A wise woman doesn’t allow herself to be a liability but strives to be an asset to the marriage bond. She looks for ways to make, save, and use money wisely. Her husband knows he is a richer man because she is his wife.
A wise woman is not ignorant of the family’s finances and is involved in decisions that affect her well-being. She looks for ways to help balance the family budget by looking for ways to make more and spend less. Her partner knows they can depend on each other.

A wise woman seeks to be a part of her husband’s life. His interest becomes her interest. She looks for ways to help him in every endeavor in which he is involved. When he needs a helping hand, it is her hand that is there first.
A wise woman seeks to be a part of her partner’s life while maintaining her own identity. She develops her own interests to pursue when she does not share her partner’s interest. She looks for ways to support her partner without sacrificing her own life.

A wise woman knows that his peace of mind (and sometimes, wise understanding) is something she can give or take away by her observations and conversation concerning circumstances or people. She limits her conversation to the positive.
A wise woman knows that she must be honest with her partner and herself to achieve true peace in the home.

A wise woman sets a joyful mood in the household. She uses laughter, music and happy times to stir the children to a positive, joyful frame of mind. She knows this light-heartedness helps take stress off her husband.
A wise woman knows she cannot control anyone’s mood or temper besides her own. She does not attempt to force her children to pretend happiness and joy where none exists. She knows this will cause them unendurable pain, and ultimately create more stress in her home.

A wise woman gauges her husband’s needs. She seeks to fulfill his desires before even he is aware of them. She never leaves him daydreaming outside the home. She supplies his every desire.
A wise woman knows she cannot be all-knowing and expects her partner to communicate desires with integrity. She does not pretend to know her partner’s daydreams and does not degrade herself by becoming a porn queen against her will.

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The Beautiful Girlhood Doll ~ Part 10: I Am a Person, Not a Doll!

by Libby Anne

It has now been some years since I left my parents’ house and shifted for myself. I think my parents were somewhat surprised that I was able to make it on my own and that I did not come home asking for help, or maybe it was just me who was surprised. I found inner sources of strength I had not known I had. At the same time, my college friends, both the original evangelical ones and new ones I had met, were a wonderful source of support, and always accepted me regardless of what I did or didn’t believe. I finished college on my own, and was extremely proud at graduation.

During this time I also found someone special, and I married him not long after finishing college. Because I was marrying someone who did not share their beliefs, my parents did not approve, but then I did not expect them to. My siblings were not allowed to be in my wedding, and I walked myself down the aisle with my head held high. My friends and in-laws made my wedding a time of great joy, but my heart still broke years later when one of my little brothers was exulting at being a ring bearer in one of my siblings’ weddings, and all I could think was, I did want you for my ring bearer, little brother, please don’t think I didn’t. But I couldn’t tell him that, I couldn’t explain what had happened. Remembering that moment still brings tears to my eyes, even now.

Early on, there was some question about whether my new husband and I would be allowed to visit my parents and siblings. After all, what kind of example were we setting? This question was resolved, though, when we chose to become pregnant and have a child. The presence of a grandchild has improved my relationship with my parents, though it has also created new problems as they do not always agree with the way I am raising my little one.

Another factor that has improved my relationship with my parents is their belief that my husband is my authority, and that they should therefore seek to change his views rather than mine. At the same time, though, my husband is a man and not their physical child, so there is a level of emotional distance and respect present that there is not with me. Thus my parents simultaneously leave my beliefs alone and at the same time work to respectfully persuade my husband that he should change his beliefs. Of course, this makes me want to laugh, because my husband and I have an egalitarian relationship, and we frequently disagree with each other without seeing it as a problem.

Regardless of the reasons for the softening of my relationship with my parents, I am grateful that I can still be a part of my siblings’ lives. However, my relationship with my parents will never be the same, and the pain of what happened will never go away.

My parents’ mistake, if that is how you want to see it, was teaching me how to think. The simple reality is that teaching women to think will be subversive in any system that demands male authority and female submission. My parents gave me the tools to form my own opinions and choose my own beliefs while at the same time demanding that I hold their opinions and beliefs, and once I left home and learned that the world was a much bigger place than I had been taught, I was crushed in the inconsistency of this.

There is a deeper problem as well. My parents saw me as an empty slate and believed that they could paint on it as they wished and choose what the outcome would be. They saw me as something to be shaped and moulded rather than as an individual with my own thoughts and feelings. For them, I was one more daughter to fit into the perfect mold. In some ways, it was like they were playing dollhouse with me, forming me just how they wanted and setting me up just how they liked – but I’m not a doll!

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Crushing Daisies ~ Ways in Which Patriarchal Fundamentalism Harms Its Children ~ Part 2: The Little House on the Prairie Fashion Club

by Daisy

When we were Quiverfull, our family wasn’t nearly so extreme as some regarding dress standards, but we did insist on longish dresses and hair for the girls for several years.

This wasn’t all religious nonsense: those Osh Kosh pinnies were tough as hell and could be passed on through all the girls in the family and still look as though they’d hardly been worn. And, despite how my girls remember it, they were actually in fashion at the time. I wasn’t just sewing our own stuff (although I did that too), Osh Kosh pinnies were bought off the rack in Myer and Target by regular folk as well as fundies like us. However, I’ll admit that we kept it up for longer than was appropriate. And we did choose clothing on the basis of a biblical notion of feminine modesty.

One day, some months after we’d come out, my then-17-year-old daughter K reminded me how damaged she had felt by this over-emphasis. She told me that in her view it had three significant effects – none of which I had intended to convey. For one, she grew to have an abiding disrespect for men and boys who apparently couldn’t keep their minds away from her private parts. K says she felt disgusted at male weakness and their apparent obsession with all things sexual. For years she struggled even to imagine enjoying a healthy partnership with a man.

In addition to helping us spot like-minded families in a crowd, dressing as we did had served, conveniently, to keep a distance between us and ‘the world’. K tells me that, even though she ended up going to school for grades 11 and 12, and is now happily managing university, for a long time she felt 16 years behind the eight ball when with her peers. Dress and other conservative choices we made kept my kids from engaging with their own culture. In an effort to follow the advice of patriarchal teachers such as Jonathan Lindvall we ‘dared to shelter’ our kids from many things that would help them function in a 21st world.

Finally, and perhaps most disturbing is that K says she grew up believing that there was something very wrong with her body. Having to hide herself away under a veritable mountain of denim, and promptly being admonished when any bits weren’t properly covered left her confused and, she says, appalled at her own foulness. She tells me that, before she even came to the dreadful realisation that God planned a very limited range of life choices for her, she knew she hated it that he had made her a girl. It’s impossible not to connect the dots and see this as a factor in K’s subsequent fight with Anorexia Nervosa.

How incredibly sad is that? I am heartbroken that I participated in crushing the self-worth of such a beautiful, intelligent and energetic young woman. And I feel very lucky indeed that she loves me still and allows me to walk beside her to build her up and help her realise her full potential.
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The Beautiful Girlhood Doll ~ Part 9: The Broken Doll

by Libby Anne

Soon after this rethinking of my parents’ beliefs, I returned home from college for a semester break more worried than I have ever been in my life. What were my parents going to think about my new beliefs on evolution, the Bible, the pro-life movement, and female equality? For a few weeks I said nothing, afraid of what would happen when I did. But the longer I listened to my parents praising me for my steadfast beliefs and condemning evolution and liberal college professors the more I realized I couldn’t hide my changes in belief. And so I told them. I was used to being only praised and affirmed, so telling my parents about my changing beliefs was probably the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. And sure enough, it was like I had dropped a bomb.

I have never seen my parents as angry or disappointed as they were that day. I had gone from being their golden daughter to being broken, completely broken, in their eyes. With that one revelation, they learned that all of their work had been for nothing. Since their whole reason for raising me was to create a soldier for Christ, spreading their specific views around the world, my changes in belief meant that everything they had done to bring me up was wasted.

My parents’ utter horror was soon replaced with attempts to retrain me and bring me back to the strait and narrow. My mother gave me a pile of Vision Forum materials on daughterly submission and fatherly authority and demanded that I read them. I think that backfired, actually, because having learned to think for myself and having seen a bit of the world, the books by the Botkins and others made no sense. The Botkins seem to think every college girl is a whore, and yet I had spent two years at college and knew this was not true. The Botkins also seem to worship their father in a way that I found extremely dangerous, for I had just realized that fathers are as fallible as anyone else. None of the literature made any sense to me any more.

Slightly more effective than the literature was the emotional pressure. My father, with whom I had been so close, ignored me. My mother told me over and over how much I had hurt my father, and that if I really wanted to follow God and know what was true I should just ask my dad my questions and believe whatever he told me. But this didn’t make sense to me because I had learned that my father could be, and was, wrong. My childhood friends’ admonitions that God spoke to me through my father and so I should listen to him fell on deaf ears, for they no longer made sense. After all, the Bible never said any such thing, and if God wanted to speak to me I felt sure he could speak directly to me.

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No Charity in the Remnant ~ Part 6: Finally!

by Whisper Rain

Finally! Whisper gleefully jumped into her car and took off toward the Dietz’s house. She knew Angelica well enough to know that things wouldn’t be strained between the two of them because of their little exchange through letters awhile back. She had written a somewhat apologetic letter back to Angelica after her salvation was questioned, and had carefully kept her letters very vanilla ever since. Angelica was a picture of grace and forgiveness, as always, and Whisper felt no need to worry.

She finished the long drive, and all of the Dietz girls were happy to see her! She felt the comforting, familiar sensation of being around people she understood. If that new church did nothing else good for her, at least it made the Dietz’s funny little religious quirks seem almost cute by comparison… Whisper shivered… she wasn’t going to think about that place or those people. Not here. This weekend was going to be fun!

And it was. All of the girls were growing up, and had tons to talk and laugh about. The Dietz’s always had lots of small children and babies around, and things were kind of chaotic, but definitely never boring. Whisper enjoyed her time with them. Finally, the last night of her visit rolled around…

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