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Monday, February 22, 2010

A Love Story, Part 8

When, after a few months, it was evident that this wasn't a silly "phase" that would go away, my parents' attitude suddenly shifted and a cloud started to pass over our lives. Mom gave Sky the book Boy Meets Girl, by Josh Harris, highlighting all the places where it said that waiting and ignoring love was the best idea. Or that we can't trust our hearts. I got many "talking to's" about how I "let them down" and was "lowering your standards". I stubbornly held onto the knowledge that I was in the will of God, and never backed down from it. Sky asked about once a month to marry me and my dad always said no. My mom told me I should "give your love to God", which, in her mind, meant I should forget all about this foolishness. I told her I already had, many times, and He always gave it right back to me. She got angrier and more unreasonable as she became more desparate to change my heart.

She lamented "But you always wanted to be a missionary!"

I replied with cool disdain, "Yes, but you wouldn't let me. So why now, all of the sudden, when I'm ready to take another direction in my life, would you even bring that up?"

The verbal abuse and attempts at manipulation just kept getting worse. They were losing control of me and they didn't like it. I was becoming an adult, studying the Bible and forming my own beliefs about things. As I look back, I realize they had no idea how to transition from parents of a child to parents of an adult. My relationship with God grew in leaps and bounds as my relationship with my parents got continually worse. Whenever one of my siblings did something wrong, it was always my fault...I was "being a bad example by being so rebellious".

"I just can't believe you would forget everything we taught you," my mom told me. "Ever since you've met Sky, you've been lowering your standards in music, dress, and how you behave." I tried to explain that my standards were changing because I was realizing for the first time that their standards and God's seemed to be two different things. That really didn't go over so well.

She even questioned my salvation because I refused to give up my love for Sky and was therefore being rebellious.

Dad told me that I couldn't marry Sky because "He's such a nice guy you'd walk all over the top of him!" I told Dad that Sky's gentle spirit made me want to listen to him, to honor him, caused me to respect him, and that other guys I knew who strongly asserted themselves ticked me off. To my dad's credit, he laughed at that.

I got annoyed as they kept introducing me to or talking about young men who were usually in ATI or at least were of that type. It was obvious what they were trying to do. And the hurt I felt as they dismissed my heart in such a manner was too deep for words.

They did send me away for a while. My sister and I were sent to my cousins' house to help them for a few weeks in their family business. Unbeknownst to Mom, my aunt was very sypathetic towards me, always being a bit of a romantic, and she and my uncle had no problem with me using their phone to talk to Sky every few days. I got back from their house just as much in love with him as before.

By the time summer came, I knew that I couldn't stay in their home much longer. The constant assult was killing my heart and ruining my health. I lost weight and was sick often due to the stress at home. I begged God to change their minds. He kept telling me "Run, and don't grow weary".

Throughout this time, Sky's parents were very supportive. When they found out that I loved their son, they were overjoyed. But my parent's seeming rejection of him for me put a strain in their relationship. The S's gently and kindly tried to talk to my parents about how they were treating me, but Mom and Dad wouldn't listen. I spent many hours crying my heart out to Sky's mom, Linda, and knowing they were fighting and praying for us helped immensely. There were other authority figures in mine and Sky's lives that we kept ourselves accountable to, and gleaned wisdom and help from during this time.

I started college that fall in town. Because it was an hour drive, I found a job as a live-in nanny that would allow me to earn money, live in town, and go to school. My mom was very much against it. My dad seemed undecided. I told him it was something I needed to do. That I couldn't live with my mom anymore and still be OK. I wasn't running away; I promised to come home every weekend. I think he was as tired of the constant conflict between me and Mom as I was. He couldn't afford my gas money anymore and if I didn't get a job I would have to quit school. So there were practical reasons also. He gave me his blessing, and I left home to start my new adventure as a single college girl.

The day I was to start my new life, a bunch of us decided to go hiking. It was a beautiful spring day and I drove my little Honda, packed with all my belongings, while everyone else piled into our suburban. We hiked up a mountain where Sky had been working. There were wildflowers everywhere, and the sky was so blue. The top of the mountain was a huge rock overlooking the river. We could turn one way and see the hills of home, turn the other way to see the city. We broke off into little groups, exploring, laughing, knowing that life was about to change for all of us. Sky and I sat, side by side, on a rock looking down at the river winding it's way below us. We were sober. Sky was about to start a job up north and I was moving to town several hours away. We had no idea what the future held. We only knew that our love grew stronger every day.

Looking into my eyes, he took my hands and said "Will you marry me, Darcy-girl?"

I smiled back and said "With all of my heart."

It was the first proposal of many to come.

Part 9


  1. Oh...i cant wait for the next part! :D

  2. OMG you handled that so maturely. I can *promise* you I never handled anything related to my parents and rules with that much maturity when I was 18 years old. I simply would tell them they were not hearing from God, and run off and do my own thing. I never even considered giving my parents the privilege of seeing a guy ask to court me. (And don't won't.)

  3. I just discovered this site through my wife, who was raised in a spiritually abusive group (which you name-checked somewhere else). I spend a few miserable years in my late teens with ATI.

    Your comments on your experience with your parents - particularly your mother - resonate in a big way. I too was labeled "rebellious" for disagreeing with certain standards, and for wanting to set the direction for my own life. I too was trustworthy and self-disciplined - but never enough.

    I am glad that things eventually got better. In my case, I have had struggles over standards into my 30s. There really seems to be a difficulty in making that transition from parent of a child to parent of an autonomous adult, and I have had to severely limit a certain relationship as a result.

    I tip my hat to you for having the courage to say that it is the false teaching that is the problem, not just those who implement it "incorrectly".

    1. Thank you for your comment! There are many more out there like me who aren't afraid of saying the teachings have problems. Check out this website, created by ex-ATI people: http://www.recoveringgrace.org/ You might find some kindred spirits there. :)

    2. I was not in ATI, but my mother said what yours did, Darcy, That I was forgetting everything her and my dad taught me. This was when I was just starting to make my own standards, after I got back from college. My mom still doesn't approve of my clothing choices, and I've since moved out. My mother didn't try to control me, but I did endure spiritual abuse on subjects such as modesty and music. When I was 18 my sister said I dressed like a 12 year old, when I asked her if I dressed my age. I too wore frumpy clothes, that is until I got into college. I can very much relate to some of the things you post. I am so sorry you went through that. God bless you.