My Zucchini Plants Are Dead & Everything I’ve Ever Been Taught Is A Lie.

They’re just gone. They never gave us a single zucchini, and then they turned yellow and shriveled up. I am at a loss. Year 3, no zucchini. Hopes dashed. Also my beans and cucumbers are full of grasshoppers and these awful grey beetle things. I got some organic soap spray, I’m hoping that helps with the beetles.

I’m pretty sure a flamethrower is the only way to kill grasshoppers. Oiy.

But! The tomatoes are starting to come in. They’re like 7 feet tall and just starting to fruit? Am I doing this wrong? Should I have not let them get so tall? Do they have too many leaves? Don’t they need leaves to make fruit? I have no idea what I’m doing. My green  bean plans are also huge, but making far less beans. Gardening: way more complicated than putting seeds in the ground.

These guys are assholes:

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These guys are jerks

And what the HECK is this? yeesh:

 

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Eww what is it? It’s not a bug!

Also it’s almost July. Which means we’re going to plan the Autumn garden soon. I can’t tell if we’re making valuable progress, or just wasting money at this point. Oiy.

As soon as I think I’m good with something, I’ve got it down, something new comes up and I feel like I’m just not seeing all the ways I’m failing yet.


 

I was raised, as I have possibly mentioned before, Independent Fundamental Baptist or IFB. As some within the denomination like to call it, the “Old Paths” (they aren’t the old paths, the name is a lie. Shocking).

Just so we’re all very, very clear, Independent Fundamental Baptist theology is a cult. One day I’ll go into a post about that, but if you’re were raised that way, and you look into the red flags of a cult, it’s pretty obvious. At best, if you balk at the “C word”, they are a line by line example of pharisees. An accurate description of any IFB pastor, complete with the fake/”honorary” doctorates from unaccredited schools their friends founded:

Matthew 23 1-3 Now Jesus turned to address his disciples, along with the crowd that had gathered with them. “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer.

4-7 “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules, loading you down like pack animals. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads, and wouldn’t think of lifting a finger to help. Their lives are perpetual fashion shows, embroidered prayer shawls one day and flowery prayers the next. They love to sit at the head table at church dinners, basking in the most prominent positions, preening in the radiance of public flattery, receiving honorary degrees, and getting called ‘Doctor’ and ‘Reverend.’

I’ve forgiven my parents, years ago, for raising me in this cult. I love them, I want them in my life and my daughter’s life, so I forgive them. I see them as victims stuck in a spider’s web as much as perpetrators of this awful “theology” that causes so much heartache and is not from God, but rather from man. From old crusty prudish men who wanted order and obedience and to feel important more than they wanted God.

Why do I go on this random and jarring tangent? Because I am tired. Because years after leaving I am broken in new ways over how I was treated and taught as a small innocent child. Because I have tried for years to reconcile that SOMETHING I was raised with in an Independent Fundamental Baptist Church was beneficial.

I have held on for so long, justified the manipulation, and emotional abuse, and actual abuse because I thought there was something good. WELL AT LEAST I KNOW SCRIPTURE, I told myself. AT LEAST I KNOW DOCTRINE. At least I know the Gospel

I can’t pretend anymore. God would have found me and loved me and longed for a relationship with me if my innocent self had never darkened the door of such a horrid place. If I had never been held down and beaten until my “Will was broken”. My heart would yearn for my creator like it did for years while I was there, so confused, so thirsty, so alone. When I was so desperate to be seen and accepted and loved as the mess I was (am), and be allowed to rest – God saw me, and loved me, and wanted me to just rest in that. And no one told me.

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In my head, I do know the gospel. I know the gospel backwards and forwards. I can quote the verses, I can state firmly that I choose to believe in Christ as savoir. But my heart? It’s been quoting poetry without appreciating it my whole life.

See, what I was taught was not that the gospel was proof of how much we are – I was – loved, but rather, proof of how awful I am. I learned, growing up Independent Fundamental Baptist, that I am trash. I also learned a lot of stuff that I am just now realizing, is crap. Such as….

Dispensationalism Isn’t supported by the scripture. It just isn’t. It’s a cultish theology that John Darby came up with and Schofield treated as it’s is part of gospel. I don’t know if it’s replacement theology that’s correct, or something in the middle, but…wow. Looking at it with fresh eyes, it’s a fresh crock of bullshit. And if you trace it historically, it’s just a man made thing. More on what this is and why it’s wrong here. Also here.
1611 KJV only-ism.  If you know even the basics of translation, this is a bad translation. It also begs the question – You believe that God can preserve his word through thousands of years on pieces of parchment, but you don’t believe that the integrity of his word is preserved through updating? You worship this translation of this book as much or more than you worship the Father? Furthermore they claim superiority of a supposed Byzantine text over texts supposedly from the Library of Alexandria because the people of Alexandria were all heretics and hedonists. This shows a gross ignorance of church history and…basic world history.  This is a great debate which not only teaches the basic of translation, but also shows the KJV only arguments so that you can easily see the holes for yourself in this vile doctrine. 

Purity Culture teaches women, just like “the world” that our value is in our sexuality. It teaches young men that women are enemies and vile temptations, and it teaches women that our sexuality and sexual desires (and our bodies) are dirty and wrong. I can think of fewer things that have damaged my generation more than this insane, controlling, man made, insane version of what Christ has called us to. If you’re someone who was raised in Purity Culture, I strongly urge you to listen to Rebecca Lemke, who’s done some amazing work unpacking all the baggage that comes with Purity Culture, and has written a book called The Scarlet Virgins: When Sex Replaces Salvation. Very much worth reading is this blog post on 3 Big Lies Modesty Culture Is Teaching Your Sons.

Legalism claimed to be “standards”. Now “Old Paths” and IFB give lip service to them not being legalistic, because they claim that salvation doesn’t come from following rules, but what they DO say, and quite frequently, is “If you don’t have standards I have to wonder if you’re really saved”. Bitch that’s legalism. I understand what you’re trying to say, but what you’re saying is stupid and illogical and you shouldn’t say it. Here’s an example of the modest standards women are told to hold to and are taught. It’s amazingly convoluted bullshit. However it’s absolutely how people in Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches decide your value as a woman, a person, and decide if you truly have a relationship with God.

It should be noted that men don’t hold to standards. They hold women to Mosaic law, but themselves are allowed to be gluttons and eat shrimp/bacon, and sit there, staring at a woman’s ass, declaring she’s shaming God in her jeans while they can barely button their ever present suits over their guts. Lovely. Jesus is super duper proud, guys, I just know it.

There’s more I could go on and on about – that Jesus never drank wine, it was grape juice! (a google search of greek words proves this is bullshit), the screaming from the pulpit. The fake degrees from friends. The advice to beat your children until they submit, when the “rod” the old testament speaks of was a shepherd’s rod, which they use to guide their sheep, not beat them into submission. The flat out hatred of gays, and jokes about killing them. The terrible, awful, no good, very bad music. The “altar calls/invitations” that go on and on and on until the pastor feels he’s seen good enough numbers to brag about how many were “saved”. How my family and my relationship with my parents suffered through the busy work they did and still do for the “church”. How my mom is constantly taken advantage of and never appreciated, even though she literally did more physical work for the church than the pastor’s wife did, for decades. It’s all shit, it’s all bread and circuses. I’m sure I’ll ramble on about it here at some point.

Now the last of it that I had clung to  is falling away, and I feel like most of my youth was wasted in a cult, being afraid, and hating myself. My years for a basic education was wasted by homeschoolers who taught very poor christian curriculum and no fine arts, actual history or literature classes, and everything I learned at church was just…ashes. Pointless nothing. Things I have to do work to unlearn. Destructive and evil habits I have to week out of my heart. And while absolutely my childhood was not as bad as many had it, and my parents tried their best while being controlled and lied to by an evil man who said he was a man of God, it’s really hard to get to 31 years old, and have to say “Yeah, I was physically, mentally and emotionally abused as a child. Gaslighting was a normal thing. And there’s nothing spiritually to show for it. My parents are still there, my dad still yells at me about the KJV.”

The few things that I was clinging to in order to justify my upbringing are crumbling under my feet, and I’m just here. Tired, empty,  and very very sad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is my job. Or “There are worse things than your kid being gay and maybe you should take a moment ruminate on what God calls us to as Mothers.”

My name is Elisabeth, and this is my job:

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She’s two, and quite lovely. I am blessed to stay home with her. I know moms who work outside of the house not because they have to, but because they like having a big pretty house, and spending money on shit they don’t need, and driving fancy SUVs and having fancy purses. These moms, honest to God, are stupid selfish women who are doing themselves and their children and society as a whole a disservice. If you CAN raise your own baby yourself, you damn well should, even if it means going without. They aren’t puppies or status symbols, they’re human beings and raising them well is the BEST THING you can do for the world, from a Christian or non Christian perspective, from a socialist or libertarian political view. Stay at home dads, totally cool too. Or two part time working parents. Or work from home parents. Or parents who trade off day and night shift so someone’s home with the kids. Basically, daycare so you can have nice things? You’re doing it wrong, and society needs to start judging you again. The world needs mothers who love being mothers. 

ALL THAT SAID, we (yes I am the #1 culprit) get really uppity about being Stay At Home Moms, as if, just because we don’t work outside of the house, we’re fully focused AT HOME. But are we? My husband and I share a car, I am *stuck* at home, and I find that some weeks my focus isn’t on my child and my house as much as it should be. I read too much, I work (part time) too much and let her watch Tee Tee when she asks, I get lazy about the chores because “fuck it, there will be more dishes to do tomorrow, regardless of if I do them now or not”. Which is not, you know, an amazing attitude to have. Sometimes I’ll have two days in a row go by where I don’t put everything down, sit on the floor, and focus on playing with my kid, which is shameful and frustrating. Why am I home if not to make lego trucks?

I am passionate about being a mom and a homemaker, and I often miss the mark. This is not a default job I was plopped into, this is a job I waited and worked for, and I was very open with my spouse when we were dating about my career goals (achievement unlocked: making ridiculous costume child comes up with in their own brain. 2016’s “Moo Buggy”):

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I see it in myself quite often, this idea that just because I’m AT HOME, means my heart and prayers and focus are AT HOME. But I struggle, and I fail, and I’m aware that I struggle and fail quite constantly. Sometimes I don’t put Her first, and I plan more things than I know she can handle for a few days in a row. Sometimes I just don’t want to freaking read that same owl book again or watch videos of bunnies on youtube.
I think a lot of this ebb and flow is normal, and I’m finding that even being a full time SAHM, there are no “normal” weeks. I’m two years in and just now starting to find my groove. As soon as I find my groove, I’ll lose it again, flip out, become a Llama for a bit, and then refocus on the important things in life.

A lot of what I’ve learned so far is that physically being at home isn’t enough. My heart and my focus have to be on my home and my kiddo, or I am missing the mark. 

When my heart and my focus wander, and I miss the mark, I am unhappy. My kid is unhappy, my husband is unhappy. My well of patience becomes a shrinking puddle. Part of my “job” is to remember how important my job is.


Which brings me to a question I have wanted to asked Independent Fundamental Baptist women and pastor’s wives for over a decade:

What the ever loving fuck are you doing with your families? Who sold you the crack that going to church Sunday Morning, Sunday Night, Wednesday Night, + Thursday and/or Saturday visitation, Special Events,  and “Conferences” was good for you? Or your kids?

It isn’t. It isn’t biblical, it’s modern American cult-ish busywork, and you’re paying for it with your children, and sometimes your marriages.

I know, many of you aren’t divorced, but a lot of your marriages suck. I know this, because I grew up among you and I remember it not so fondly. Or your marriage is “great”, and you are so out of touch with your children you don’t even realize that you’re losing them, don’t even have an inkling that they HATE the church-life you’ve chosen, because it’s broken their heart over and over and over. Jesus would have smacked you upside your head. Jesus hung out with whores and government officials, but he didn’t care much for the super religious. I think Fundamentalists tend to forget that, quite a bit. You’re the pharisees, guys.

I grew up under a horrible, controlling pastor who didn’t, for one moment in my memory, love me or my family. This piece of crap man guilted my mother into coming to choir practice to sing, to make him and his church look good, instead of spending her time with me and my brother. Every major holiday or birthday, my mom bought his wife’s gift and he reimbursed her. Even now, my mom spends way too much time doing random crap there, because of the expectations his reign set, and my little brother and sister in law are dragged into this (literally) ungodly, unbiblical, “LOOK AT HOW HOLY AND TIRED I AM” bullcrap. A Holy Sabbath, none of them have had, possibly ever. This pastor was vile, and a horrible example of a husband and family man, and yet, they have a shrine to him in the back of their church, because he got “numbers” on Sunday. Fundamental Christians, you are fundamentally missing the mark, and losing your children because of it.

 Sabbath is a day of rest, not a day of work, idiots. If you and your Children are tired on Sunday night, instead of refreshed and rested, you have failed the first of the ten. Sunday is not a day of work, even of “good work”. Your job as a mother, my job as a mother, is to protect my child from ungodly crap like that. And it is, most assuredly, ungodly. It has ripped apart families and stolen more joy than many can fathom. But please, keep crowing about time spent at church and bragging about your numbers on social media, that’s not a desperate cry for meaning and justification at all. 

I remember being a teenager, and crying because my mom couldn’t have coffee with me before church on Wednesday, because she had to go to choir practice, or her being harried to run the pastor’s errands every holiday. We’ve worked through stuff, we’re past it, but her devotion to Church before us, her family, was a huge issue in my life growing up and she was told from the pulpit and all those around her that she was doing the right thing, and I was just a needy troublesome child. I’d love to say this is a one off. That the busy business of church is a problem that’s strictly within my family but I know for a fact it isn’t. Churches everywhere, but specifically the cult like churches of Independent Fundamentalists in the US, are full of busy work to look good to each other and other churches.

And they can’t figure out why they’re losing young people in droves. They point to sin, to the young people, to the world, Britney Spears and that one gay neighbor they had that one time, but never look inward towards the utter burn out that the Children of families in ministry and pastor’s kids face. How have so many women, so many mothers, gone so deaf and blind to the cries, the weariness, the needs of their children’s hearts?

If you are a mother, God has called you to your family and to being a wife and mother FIRST. Things that distract you or take away from your first calling, your home, do not become Holy and Righteous just because they involve a Church.

You may teach the greatest Sunday School class, your pastor husband may have 5,000 people hear his sermon on Sunday and they all come back Sunday night too, you might pray with dozens of whores at the alter, but if you can’t see how it wears upon your children, if you can’t tell if their hearts are heavy, if you are not there and prepared and rested when they need you, if you are not a safe place for them to talk about their doubts, their lack of faith, their questions, their sexuality and know beyond a doubt they will be loved and wanted, you have utterly failed in your first calling. 

Those children have every right, every reason, to resent you and Church, and the false picture of your own version of god you have painted for them, every day of their lives. You are a MOTHER. They should never be afraid that you won’t love them, and they should never have a list of things you’ve placed before them in life, with the exception of your marriage. That goes equally for women who choose to work so they can have fancy shit, and women who dedicate their lives to a “church” so they can feel righteous.

We need mothers who love being mothers. Before they love themselves, their jobs, the other children at church, or the numbers on the bus, we need mothers who love their own children as Christ has loved us. Unashamedly, without excuse, putting nothing before our well being, and not giving a care what society or other religious people think, but boldly doing what is best for those who are under our care. What do we gain if we have thousands in church every Sunday, but we lose our own children?