What Quiverfull Never Told Me

My heart feels as cloudy as the day. So much rain has been falling and for those of us with Seasonal Affective Disorder, rightly coined “SAD,” the dark winter season seems to be running full bore into the approaching summer. At least that is what June 21st will be called despite the weather or hemisphere one resides in.

This past Mother’s Day, and the days following, my heart hasn’t felt any more sunny than the dismal Should Be Spring But It’s Not, of my surroundings.

We have a closing on our house today. Right now it feels a bit like “too little too late.” The one week I didn’t want to move, the worst possible one this spring, was this week. Too many good-byes this week. Emotions for us both are raw, bleeding, sitting on the surface like an open wound. This week the one remaining child, the one who has always been nearby, the grandchildren who were within arms reach, is moving far, far, away.

Loss is real.

The loss of dreams, the unrecognized, faceless, nameless, losses that are deeply imbedded and underly all other losses poke and prod. I woke up before dawn this morning choking sobs.

The pain that comes unwarranted in the darkness, in dream states, and mocks the idea of rest.

Weariness has set in. Sleep eludes me. The house is bare. The boxes that surround us scream “This is your life. The dreams you had for your golden years are gone.” We are forced to transition into this new normal of health challenges, downsizing, the passing on and giving away of forty-years of parenting, homesteading, a lifetime of homeschooling, of Sunday dinners, a house full of children’s friends, and friends of friends, college students, and the Other brought home and welcomed.

Family.

A vapor blown away with the passing of time.

The realty turned dream of Forever Sunday Dinners Surrounded By All Those Grandchildren has morphed into lost dreams of geographical and busyness. No more birthday party invites or babysitting. In this era of social media, and texting even a voice on the other end has become increasingly rare. Where are the tiny faces and hands that touched my face? My husband’s tears burn my flesh hotter than my own.

Who am I without my family? Who are we?

This is what empty feels like.

And so I pray.

Not the kind of outward focused prayer with words or petitions to the God out there, but with attentive listening to know the Presence right here. Silent cries of my hurting heart flowing into the God who feels all my pain marked by blood and scars.

The in me God. The surrounding me God.

The I’ll always be here, “I’ll never leave because I’m incapable of breaking my promise to always be with you” God.

Humans can’t and won’t ever hold that space. Only God will.

The Comforter grasps me within the Trinitarian embrace of perfect, complete, unstoppable community. Emptiness is burned away by the flames of perfect Love and I can breathe here. Deep breaths fragranced with eternal belonging.

The lies of Quiverfull never told me I’d sacrifice my life on the alter of others and end up alone. The lie said we were “called to raise righteous children who in turn would raise righteous children.” They would look like me. They would be Quiverfull. We would Live Happily Together in The Think the Same Community.

They never explained that kind righteousness is born of fear, performance and identity crisis.

Not of God.

It feeds the soul of lonely, confused, desperate, people seeking love and belonging as all cults do, but the food is poison and without wisdom you drink the Kool-Aid that tells you you’re children are all you need. They are your full time job, your one and only responsibility, your Golden Crown of Righteousness. They will rise up together with your husband and call you “blessed.”

They never told me that if I raised my children to be independent, educated, strong, compassionate, individuals they would go and find their place in serving humanity. Some far away. They never explained they would be righteous because of God and God alone not because me.

Quiverfull lied and we’re alone. It’s hard. It’s sad. It’s a process of reinventing myself and resting in identity. It’s a crisis of purpose and meaning. But like all crisis it holds the Sacred Space of movement.

I guess we raised them right after all.

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