Saturday, February 13, 2010

Overdue Part 6

Meekness vs. Anger -Yielding my personal rights and expectations to God (Psalm 62:5) – Bill Gothard

After a year living with our family, Kay checked out…and in many ways, so did my mother. Admittedly, my mom was more organized and seemed to take more control over her wild boys. The housework was being done and Elijah, the oldest, was being homeschooled four days a week. There was a schedule that hung on the kitchen wall and woe to the person who didn’t keep to it.

My father came home, when he was in town, to properly prepared and served dinners and a wife who “took time to make herself pretty” for her husband, “lest he should think she didn’t consider his desire to come home to beauty, rather than chaos”. Admittedly, the outside world thought my mother had got over her PPD and was now the picture of domesticity. However, the reality was that her vibrant and dynamic spirit was replaced with submission and guilt.

Between birth and the age of one, I shared a room with two of my brothers. In a three bedroom house, it was: Eli and Sam in one room, Joseph and I in another, and my parents in the third. Not too long after my first birthday, Kay spoke with my father about what she felt was an undue masculine influence on me. She, Kay, had noted and recorded (in my baby book) that I was “rambunctious and rowdy,…she climbs on everything if she can make it”. I was “improper”. That’s right, readers – by age one, I was ‘improper’.I don’t know what I did to warrant that description, especially to the extent that it was deemed reasonable to write in my baby book, but I’m sure it included immodestly twirling my skirts or climbing on top of my brother to pound him with a toy (which was apparently a favorite pasttime). In any case, Kay and my parents decided that it might be best to put me in a more feminine environment. I got my own room. Kay and my mother painted it peach and “mint green”. They hung Victorian prints of women and babies on the walls and placed floral curtains on the window. Above my bed, they placed a framed, 11×17 canvas with the following scripture cross-stitched on it:

“but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter:3-4″

Heavy reading for a toddler!

I don’t remember the first night I spent in that room. I was too small. I do remember lying in that four poster bed many nights thereafter, wishing to have a friend and sister in the room with me. In this way, I became a willing conspirator in keeping my mother pregnant through prayer. When Caleb and then Matthew and then Luke were born, in that order and over the next seven years, I wondered what I had done to jinx myself with God. As you might imagine, with every boy that was born between Rebekkah and myself, the boys room got pretty crowded. In a room that was 10×12, my parents had two, three tiered bunks. The boys were stacked like cord wood. Something would have to give…


  1. Ruth,

    I can only imagine what your brother's felt like, sleeping like soviet prisoners. The one thing I don't get about these huge families is the cacophony that comes with them. How do you ever find a quiet place to think and meditate? Even Jesus would have gone nuts in a small house with that many kids.

    Please take care of yourself and feel better.
    You can worry about school and medical bills later. Just get physically strong so you can deal with the onslaught from your family. They want you to fail. They'll do anything they can to destroy your spirit and defeat your goals. But you can do this. You ARE doing this. Everyone is bound to have down times in their life. You just have to keep moving forward, or at worst, tread water.

    You can do this, Ruth. You can be the person you were born to be. Hugs!!!!

  2. Ruth,
    Your post today made me think of Joy-Anna Duggar, who is placed between two older brothers and 6 younger brothers. Viewers of the show have often mentioned she is more of a tom-boy due to the birth order. Now that she is a young lady (12) I wonder if that will try to be stifled out of her.

    Although you were required to room alone, do you feel you were allowed to play with your brothers and bond with them? It must have been lonely for you if you weren't, with 3 little boys after you, seeing your brothers all play together.......

    I concur with Cynthia, take care of your health and rest- you will find a way to work through whatever medical bills you have. (((HUGS))) and Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. Ruth,
    With your father being an 'absentee dad' it must have been very hard on your Mom to raise all you children as a single mom.
    I know from reading your other postings, that you were pressed 'into service' long before current childrearing trends.
    The onus of that upbringing weighs heavy on you. Keep walking forward. Sometimes you will slip, everyone does, but keep going. You are doing just fine.
    Please keep in touch with Rebekkah and Blessing so they know they have a choice.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Hope you are feeling better!

  4. Let me guess...... converting the garage comes next?

  5. Am I correct in assuming that the men don't follow this guidelines as narrowly as the women must?


  6. I attended a Bill Gothard seminar about 16 years ago. I was pregnant with my third child and someone in our church gave us tickets to his seminar. My husband and I went the first night because this couple really pushed hard for us to go. Fortunately, I was too tired to pay much attention so we didn't go back the next night. Although we became involved in this circles to a degree, I am forever grateful that we did not buy this Gothard thing...I heard for years that he never married and I wondered how he could teach on marriage and child rearing...I have had the same questions of Catholic priests and nuns. Then I heard that he married but I can't find anything in print to confirm this. I wondered if it was true, that he had married, if he would treat his wife and children the way he asked others to treat theirs? Any thoughts on this?

  7. fyi One of today's Duggar parodies on FreeJinger has a Kay-like character. I still cannot imagine what your Mom went thru.

  8. Ruth-

    I've been reading your blog for a long time, and am very moved by your story.

    I'm writing to alert you (in case you didn't already know) about this horrendous abuse case from California, where one child died and another is in the ICU, after being beaten. It looks like the family was following the Pearls' child-training methods, and at least a couple of the comments I have read on various newspaper stories suggest that they were members of Gothard's ATI as well.

    See here for a report:

    Be well.

  9. @ peaceofchange: I worked at IBLP HQ from 1994 to 1996, and there were always rumours flying around about Mr. G's marital state. Obviously, they continue to this day.

    To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Gothard remains unmarried. As he is now 75, it seems fairly safe to assume that he will continue to remain unmarried.

    If he did actually become engaged or marry someone, his followers would shout it from the rooftops and there would be little difficulty in finding confirmation, I assure you.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.