Family Man, Family Leader: In Conclusion

Family Man, Family Leader: In Conclusion September 4, 2011

by LivingForEternity

The other day my husband came to me and confessed that sharing our story was just very painful for him to the point of tears. Out of love and respect for him I am submitting by not continuing to tell what we have been through. He did not ask me not to, but the last thing I want to do is hurt someone that I love so much. However, I would like to share where we are now, as how we got here really doesn’t matter. We choose to live from today and not let our past dictate who we are.

We no longer have an identity created by our marriage or our children. His identity is not bound to whether or not he is a perfect “leader” of his home. Mine is not tied to being the “perfect” wife and mother. We can never be those things. We could never achieve the perfection put forth by the Pearls, Doug Phillips, or any other mortal man. We were like beautiful tombs, but were dead inside. Our identity comes from trusting in the sacrifice of our Lord. The life I live is in faith, not faith in men, but faith in God. If my husband leaves I stand, if he stays I stand. We are who we are because It is finished, the work is done on our behalf.

This had given us freedom that we never knew. Before, we thought we had to be something or do something before our lives would be perfect. We had all these ideas from men, but when these ideas did not work out the way they promised we had to turn somewhere else. This compelled us to our answer, which was our faith. Is it perfect? No. We still stumble and misunderstand, but we have a peace now that was missing. We discovered through much study and prayer how we were supposed to treat each other. Not how some man said we should treat each other. We were in roles that were not intended for us to be in.

One thing we discovered is that we desire to be praised and worshiped. For me it was praise and honor that my marriage was intact and my kids well-behaved. Serving my family was not an act of love, but one of gaining praise for myself. A patriarchal dad is the center of his home or “kingdom”. He is worshiped by absolute obedience and getting his every desire. When our son began to rebel, and I was so unhappy in my marriage I was shattered. Everything I had worked for was not turning out the way I wanted. My husband was really unhappy trying to strive for this worship, because he was not created to be worshiped. He was created to worship.

We both felt condemned, because our life was not the perfect rosy picture of happiness religious men had told us it should be. We were condemned because our older children weren’t the picture of obedience, condemned because I worked out of the home, condemned for the music we listened to, and on and on. This unhappiness led us to the discovery of Romans 8:1-2. We had read it many times before but it never spoke to us. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit has set me free from the law of sin and death. We had bound ourselves to the laws of men’s interpretation. So now we will stand in the knowledge that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. We will stand firm, then, and not let ourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

We realized that Phillips and the Pearls really have a narrow vision that can’t be applicable universally. We believe God is universal and cross-cultural. We had separated ourselves from the “bad” influences of the world. We wanted to keep our family “protected”. We lived in fear, which was wrong, because perfect love casts away fear. When Jesus walked the earth many of his friends were whores and thieves. He loved these people. The “religious” people on the other hand were constantly subject to His wrath. We were the “religious.”  This was hard for us to accept about ourselves. We had scorned the very people that Jesus loved. Since then we have opened our lives to many more people, and have been greatly blessed. We are confident that He who began a good work will complete it no matter who is in our lives.

One of the most important things we have learned is not to take ourselves too seriously. This can lead to hurt feelings, resentment, and bitterness. So we consider each other and look not only to our own interest, but to the interest of each other. Bitterness can destroy a person, so we have been gifted with the ability to let things go that have happened to us or things that we really can’t control. We bear with each other and forgive because we have been forgiven.

Notice that I say we. This has been a journey that we have taken mutually, and for that we are grateful. Neither of us could have done it without the other, nor would we be where we are today without the other being on this journey. Do we have the perfect, rosy marriage? No, but our vision is much clearer. This allows us to walk together in love and unity. If the unity is broken we have the tools to fix it. We had no one but each other on this journey, and that was good. We have been to many marriage seminars in the past, but they never helped like just being with each other through our trials. We are so very cautious now about the advice of men. It is always filtered through each other, prayer, and scripture.

The hardest thing we had to deal with was being totally open and honest with each other. That is naked and unashamed. I am not talking about being physically clothed or not, but about who we truly are and how we truly feel. We were guilty of putting conditions on our love, both with each other and our children.  In the past we were afraid to share our true selves, because of the possible condemnation. Finally being able to do this with each other has been the best part of this journey. The comfort we feel around each other has made a powerful difference in our lives. I am truly a better person, because of my husband and his unconditional love.

This is simply our story, and is not meant for advice to anyone. We have had enough advice to last us for eternity. It is our wish that it be an encouragement.

I would like to thank Vyckie for her courage in starting this website. Krwordgazer you have filled in so many gaps in my understanding. You have been blessed with a wonderful gift. Journey, Africaturtle, Dragonfly, Mamaloo, Calalu you have encouraged me with your courage and determination. Keep it up. Tess, I so want your story to have a happy ending. We are survivors.

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum. Comments are also open below ~ please feel free to add your well-wishes to LivingForEternity and her family.

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  • nolongerquivering

    Thanks you so much for sharing your story with us, LFE. All the best to you and your family as you continue your journey.

  • TeeBowen

    thank you from the bottom of my heart for your story, I was not a part of this movement but was raised SBC and then migrated to IFB and have since left… my heart aches for you have gone through, I so admire you and your husband for sharing and caring for all the other who need to know we are not called to be worshipped we are not called to be perfect…many blessing to you and yours as you move forward in this journey of living!

  • Kristen Rosser

    Your sweet words are very appreciated, and I’m glad my studies and writing have been some help on your journey. Your story, too, has helped me on mine.

    – KR Wordgazer

  • Michelle

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I remember, when I read what all the bloggers here have to write, why it matters that those who are christians work to remove sexism from christianity. Women in pain, in situations like this, need help and healing–whether it’s found in a religion or not. Period.

    I think…I think sometimes, and I have experience only (thankfully) with “complementarianism”: a very mild form of patriarchy–though still damaging for women and men…I think sometimes the way these groups use words is odd. For example, if a wife takes action “X”, it’s submitting: If a husband takes action “X”, it’s “leading” (that’s the hip, new word used by some complementarians)–just by virtue of the sex of the person performing the action. Not because that’s actually what’s going on, but because that’s what it MUST be.

    That said, LFE, I don’t think that anyone who has not come from some version of patriarchal religion would call your decision to stop writing y’all’s story “submitting”: We would call it relationship. Loving and respecting your husband. Leading/following don’t, thankfully, seem (to me) to have anything to do with it. Whatever one calls it, I’m glad your journey has been together, and hope it continues to be so. 🙂

  • Emmaline

    I had a similar experience as you, though I didn’t stay in very long, but I read the Pearl books and looked upon the beautiful perfect christian families and longed for it…and it began to do the same things to our marriage that you have described here.

    Thank you for sharing your story.