A Response to Criticism of My Article

The following is a response I wrote to a woman, who will remain unnamed, who shared with me the sad story of hiding herself to be the perfect mother.  She was asking me to reconsider the stance I presented in the article I wrote in Above Rubies. I am publishing it here because I know that this woman represents more than just herself but also the falling away of our entire society from God's path.  As such, I am changing the salutation to the Women of America.  I pray this gives those of you who read this encouragement to stand for your beliefs.
In Christ,

Dear Women of America.
I'm so sorry to hear the sad tale of your life that lead you to a
point where you felt like you had become a martyr on the alter of
motherhood.  I'm sorry that there was such a terrible event in your
life.  However, from what you wrote to me, and only what you wrote to
me, I think you had the wrong idea about motherhood from the
beginning.  Motherhood is not a "death sentence", it is a life
sentence! Everywhere around me, there is life and joy and laughter.
Everywhere I look there are things I can see that are terrible,
challenging or just plain irritating.  But when I chose to look past
the mess on the floor, when I chose to step over the laundry mountain,
and ignore the fact that we are having beans AGAIN... oh wait, that's
not my life!  Yes, I hate doing laundry.  I've hated it my whole life.
 And yes, I make thrifty meals, most of which include meat or pasta
(two of my favorite things). And yes there are messes on the floor.
You know why? Because I DON'T work tirelessly to keep my home clean.
Because I am encouraged by my husband, who TRULY considers me his
queen and tells everyone he's ever met about me to the point that
complete strangers know all about me, to nap daily, to play on the
computer, do the crafts I enjoy, and sit around as much as I want.  I
also spend my fair share of time complaining about all those things,
not just burying down "bad" feelings.
I am also saddened that you would take someone's testimony about God
speaking to their heart with words of comfort and encouragement and
turn it into something completely different.  To be truthful, I think
you completely misread the article that I wrote.  I wasn't complaining
about the fact that I am not a lawyer at this point.  In fact, I had
dropped out of college LONG before I became a Christian or a mother
because I knew it wasn't for me.  I hated everything about the law. Or
that I don't have time to pursue my own interests.  I'm pretty sure
that no one else in my family is all that interested in learning to
knit or garden or make cheese.  And I don't do those things because I
have to.  I do them, with my husband's encouragement, because that's
what I want to do.  And when I decide I don't like it, I give it up
with my husband's encouragement.  I have never considered giving up on
childish dreams to become a woman with responsibilities to those she
loves to be martyrdom.  I have never given up my true dreams.  In
fact, the biggest dream I ever had was to become a published writer
but I didn't write about it in that article because I felt like it
would be asking to be published.  I shared it simply out of the joy of
my heart in that moment.  But God knew the desires of my heart and the
gifts He had blessed me with in writing and it was published.  Just
like He had a wonderful surprise in store for me when my husband and I
bought our home.  For my whole life, all I've ever desired in a home
was a tangerine tree because I had wonderful memories of one when I
was a child.  About 2 months after buying our house, we discovered
that we had 7 tangerine trees.  God had taken the dream of my heart,
one that was silly and unimportant, and fulfilled it beyond my hopes.
It is the same for me with motherhood.  He has taken a desire of my
heart, one that was hidden, and the traumas of my past and healed them
through my children.  You see, your tragedy that helped you to accept
who God MADE YOU, not who you thought a godly woman was, whatever it
may have been freed you.  But at the same time it enslaved you.  You
are merely enslaved to a different anger now.  The only reason you
would take the time to read a magazine that you haven't a heart for
and then take the time to respond is that you are angry about who you
were and are projecting that onto others.  What you don't know about
me is that I don't say things I don't mean.  I am not hiding a heart
of anger behind a facade of self-righteousness.  I am more than
willing to share my angers.  I don't berate myself for "bad" emotions.
 However, as an adult I expect myself to control my emotions and deal
with them in a positive way.  I also am not blind enough to believe
that all my children will walk with the Lord.  My children have their
own personalities, their own failings and successes and will have
their own experience with God.  Will it grieve me if they are actively
walking away?  Of course it will.  Because I lived that life.  I lived
a life where I sought love and approval through premarital
relationships, where being the best and the brightest and getting all
the praise was the whole reason I had for being, where I ate drank and
made merry almost to the point of death, literally.  I do not plan on
having a million children because I read somewhere that was God's will
for me.  I planned on having a lot of children before I was ever a
believer, which happened when my oldest was 14 months old.  The second
they laid him in my arms, I looked at my husband and told him I wanted
20 more babies.  Because I knew what it was to lose that amazing
miracle I was holding in my arms.  You see, my traumas happened
earlier than yours.  Not only was I sexually abused as a child but, at
14, I had an abortion.  I spent the next 7 years convincing myself
that I never wanted children because the pain of having killed my own
was too much to bear.  So I never wanted to know that feeling again.
And then I was given a word TO ME from the Lord that called me to have
children.  However, from what you've written, whether you were called
or not, you were not in it for the heart of joyful giving and
obedience.  You were in it for the sacrifice.  I'm so sorry for your
regrets.  Truly, it is a sad story to hear.  However, have you ever
considered how any of your children might feel to know that you
consider the sacrifices you made for them to be the biggest regret of
your life.  And that you share that regret with total strangers? As a
woman whose own mother feels that way, I can promise you that when you
die, your biggest regret will be the hurt and trauma you yourself
caused your children by allowing your bitterness to overwhelm you to
the point that you considered it some kind of twisted ministry to tell
complete strangers that you gave up everything of yourself for your
family and you wish you hadn't.
I am highly offended that you think I am not educating myself everyday
or that I am merely an automation to do laundry and cook meals.  My
children know who I am, who I was, and why I am so grateful who for
God has made me into.  God never intends for our personalities to be
hidden or He would not have created each one of us with a different
personality and different giftings.  Even the Bible talks about this
in 1 Cor when Paul is discussing spiritual gifts.  I am also very
angry that you think I am no longer a thinking, investigative person.
You have no idea who or what I am but the tiny bit of my life that I
willingly shared with people I thought might be encouraged by my
testimony.  My intention was not to have a long drawn out debate on
how I have given myself up for the sake of my children in a misguided
attempt to earn recognition from God.  If that was what I was feeling
called to do, I would have submitted it to the NYTimes or something
While I know that you wrote this email in an attempt to share what
you've learned in a loving manner, I am sorry to say that the only
thing you conveyed to me was an angry, bitter heart who had no true
understanding of God's intention for women.  God wants to draw us to
Him, to comfort us, to lead us.  Following God, which is, YES, the
path less taken, is a joy. However, I have a Father who will never
fail me, or leave me, or abuse me.  A Daddy to run to with my hurt and
anger, with the trials of my life which are, TRUST ME, never ending.
I will be praying for you.  I think it is an amazing testimony that
God showed you the appearances that you were putting on.  However,
that testimony would be so much stronger if you were still walking the
path that God had set before you with a true understanding of grace
and faith, not just works.

I had an article published!

God's Dreams, Not My Own

            Yesterday was my husband's ten year reunion for high school. We were small town high school sweethearts so I wanted to go but we could neither afford it nor did we have a desire to leave our children overnight. However, it was the perfect opportunity for the enemy to start whispering in my ear. I only wish I hadn't listened, though I am so grateful for what the Lord showed me instead. You see, I remember very well who I was in high school. Yesterday, probably better than normal with the little reminders that kept cropping up from seemingly nowhere. I was fun, vibrant, outgoing. I was in charge, knew what I wanted, how to get it, willing to work for it, determined to never be a doormat. I was always doing something and had big dreams. I was very involved in school, yearbook, sports, even ASB at one point. I wanted to be a lawyer, go to a good college, live in NYC, travel around the world. If I go married and had children, which was a huge if since I didn't want them, it would be MUCH later in my life. I pretty much imagined my life would be like a movie. I mean, what non-believing teenager doesn't? I wasn't raised in a Christian home and the values of family, home and submission were not instilled in me. I was, I am ashamed to say, openly promiscuous until I met my husband. And to me, it wasn't a big deal at the time. I had even had an abortion when I was a teen, which I still regret to this day.
            Nowadays, my idea of sparkling conversation involve diapers and what's growing in my garden. I have three children and am a stay at home mother, training, teaching, cooking and cleaning my days away. What's that compared to being a lawyer, helping others, living a big life, traveling? How can I deal with the common issues of bickering, floors that never stay clean, laundry that never stays tidy and folded, and food that always needs cooking when I was supposed to be so much more than this? What would all those other people think of me: submissive; the freak wearing a head covering and skirts; not even having finished college; home schooling; still staying in our small town and buying a house there in which to raise a family? Was this really what I wanted to show people? Never mind the fact that a lot of them know what we are doing and who we are thanks to social media. For some reason, actually seeing them made a big difference.
            My husband could see I was working up to a huge outburst so he took the children to the park. I decided to make dinner and clean the house before home school started today. Yet another thing that separated me from who I used to be: home schooling. I loved school, was always the teacher's pet and got great grades without even trying. Still feeling down and defeated, I put on my favorite worship CD and started to chop veggies for the supper I was making. Ironically, I was making stew because I sure was stewing about the life I had wanted. The life I had intended to have. The life I had given up for this one.
            Suddenly, the peace of the Lord fell upon me in a powerful way. The Lord says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” I was right! I had given up the life I had wanted and intended for this one. And yes, it is filled with messes, bickering and irritations. But it is filled with joy, laughter, hugs, kisses and peace. I don't want to be a lawyer, a law enforcer. I want to be a grace enforcer and I get to be that to my children everyday. I don't want to miss a moment of my children's learning and I don't have to. While diapers aren't always a good topic of conversation, there is nothing wrong with finding joy in the fruit of the land that the Lord has brought us into. And that the land is in a small town where we grew up is all that much better. We can go to the exact place my husband and I met to show our children. We can continue our legacy where it started. Why would I want to live in the city surrounded by man's creation and glory when I can live in this small town surrounded by God's creation? Am I a freak for wearing skirts and a head covering as a reminder to be sweet and feminine and submit to my husband  or am I an obedient child of God doing my best to bring joy and peace into my home by following God's calling on my life? Best of all, I get to give up my dreams in favor of the Lord's dream for me. What a trade! I give up on something that would have undoubtedly brought me sorrow for something that invariably brings me joy. And I get to help three little men and my grown man to grow into the Lord's dreams for them, which is the most rewarding and demanding job I could have ever dreamed about. Truly, God's Word is true in Jer 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” 

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Our small family includes Colin, Brandi, Dylan, Joshua, Peter and a new little girl due in July. We're a young family raising our children for Christ.