I was not one of those people who could eat the meat and spit out the bones when I read or listened to patriocentric authors, bloggers, and speakers. And I’ve never been a person to do things halfway regarding issues of great importance to me. I was only 18 years old when I got married and began my journey into patriocentricity by reading The Way Home by Mary Pride. A year later, at 19, I became a mother and discovered Michael Pearl and To Train Up A Child. After that I was hooked and became a steady consumer of all things relating to the “biblical” homeschool lifestyle, especially materials and websites related to Above Rubies, No Greater Joy, and Vision Forum. I was young, naive, idealistic, and clueless.
I can’t blame my parents for my mistakes because they did not insist I stay at home, eschewing college life and a job outside the home in order to help raise my younger siblings and be my dad’s helpmeet. Remember, this was the early 90′s and, although I was committed to abstinence before marriage, I’d never heard of Josh Harris or the concept of waiting until my wedding day to kiss. I had a very healthy, normal, Christian upbringing for which I’m incredibly grateful. My parents loved me, taught me about Jesus, took me to church, supported me in my interests, sacrificed to send me to Christian school (and one year of homeschooling), and, as an older teenager, let me make my own decisions about my life.
I can’t blame my husband either. He was only 19 when we married, struggling with issues of his own regarding faith and salvation and spiritual bondage that took years to work through. I was the one who was a whiz at Bible trivia and had memorized huge chunks of scripture and had devotional time every day like clockwork so he just assumed I knew what I was talking about! He put up little resistance to the ideas I was gleaning from homeschooling books, magazines and websites.
I had no idea, at 18 years of age, that over the next decade of my life the movement I was embracing would cause me to
- spank my two year old daughter, who would frequently wake up crying in the night, for continuing to cry and not go back to sleep when told (oh how I wish I could go back…I would rock her and sing her back to sleep or read to her until she was sleepy instead of giving her harsh commands in the middle of the night and spanking her when she didn’t obey)
- seek out male professionals (such as doctors, realtors, etc) rather than female because every woman should be a homemaker and I didn’t want to support women who were being disobedient to the Word
- criticize women who ran for public office (again, they ought to be homemakers–public office, whether county commissioner or vice president, is man’s sphere)
- consider an ideal church to be one led and run solely by men so that the women would be free to remain silent
- view my husband as my priest, prophet, and king–essentially a mediator between myself and God (though I never would have said that!)
- advise people who told me that the methods in To Train Up A Child weren’t working for their child, “You’re not spanking hard enough. Light spankings will only make them mad, not submissive!” and give them a plumbing supply line because I thought it was more effective than a wooden spoon
- be critical of teenage girls or women who wanted to work outside the home, believing this made them a helpmeet to a man other than their father or husband
- refuse to put my babies and toddlers in the church nursery, preferring instead to make frequent trips out to the car in order to spank them for not being quiet during church
- Though I did vote, I believed that the world was a better place when women couldn’t vote. Feminism, so I thought, was the root of all evil
I didn’t come up with these ideas on my own but I blame myself more than anyone else for the years of bondage I lived through. False teachers will always be around–it was my responsibility to follow Christ alone and hear only His voice and I had to bear the consequences of not doing that. I hurt the ones I love most–my children. My husband and I struggled in our marriage, each trying to act out the roles of “biblical manhood and womanhood.” I was harsh and critical in my thoughts toward others. I pasted on a smile and endeavored to maintain a pristine image and be a good advertisement for the homeschooling, patriocentric lifestyle so that others would be drawn to this “biblical” way of life. I was unhappy and depressed but I tried to never let on to others how confused I felt.
I’ve experienced first-hand the pain caused by swallowing and digesting patriocentric teachings, meat and bones. I wasted a lot of years trying to put the cart before the horse, making obedience and godliness my goal instead of simply seeking Jesus first and allowing Him to lead me into the good works He had planned for me–unique work, especially suited to me and my family.