She was homeschooled her whole life, raised in a cultic church and with the principles taught by Bill Gothard and IBLP. Students who have survived Gothardism tend to end up at a wide variety of places on the spiritual and theological spectrum, thus the diversity of opinions expressed on this website reflects that. Darcy is a seeker, Jesus-lover, and a bit of a rebel. Emotional purity Biblical courtship = Godly marriage. You can do everything “right” and your life can still go wrong. People who follow the courtship formula still get divorced. However, what is encouraging is that most of us have determined to stop the insanity. These teachings have deep, rotten roots, and it takes time to pull them all out. They deceive us into thinking that living by formulas is “safe.” 1 1= 2. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my dysfunction, but it is discouraging as well. They can laugh and exchange wits and, yes, even drive in a car together without anybody thinking anything dubious is happening. Honestly, I don’t get embarrassed talking about much. They can talk to each other without there being ulterior motives. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. I leave you with the words of a very wise man:“To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Anniversaries are celebrations of special events, commemorating the birth of something new, whether a marriage or something else.There are many times that I don’t realize just how much strange teaching I’ve had to undo in my life. She now lives in gorgeous Montana with her husband and three kids, loving life, writing about spiritual abuse and grace, and leading worship for church, retreats, and special events.I usually don’t realize it until times when I try to explain them to someone else. A dear friend and I were talking about our kids and how to help them transition from children to adults. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. Purity and integrity in relationships can exist without unnaturally freaking out about it. Formula says, “I will follow a God that I’ve put neatly in a box, and He will give me the desired results.” Faith says, “I will follow You even when I can’t see where I’m going, even when the world is collapsing around me.” Formula says, “I will not risk. To the rest of the world, there’s nothing wrong here.” I then calm down, act normal, and hope nobody noticed my crazy internal battle. They are not naive but they are not afraid of their own shadows. I don’t think God likes formulas, because formulas run contrary to faith.It somehow validates my belief that some of the teachings I grew up with were very wrong. I rejected the teachings of courtship and emotional purity when I was 19. In fact, I have identified several ways that these teachings can damage a person’s heart. Shame because that’s “sinful” and “emotionally impure.” Shame because it sets a standard and proclaims that you are somehow shameful if you cannot keep it. Because your heart is whole and she just gave a piece of hers to a guy she isn’t married to. You have more to give your future husband than she does. This has nothing to do with the righteousness and grace of God, and everything to do with the accomplishments of man. I was trying to explain this to my friend, and it came out sounding so . Lately, I’ve also started facing the ways in which the teachings of “emotional purity,” (a la Josh Harris, the Ludys, and others) have damaged the part of my brain that makes healthy relationships function. You are considered damaged goods if you have fallen in love and had your heart broken. I remember watching a video in which one of the biggest names in the courtship movement bragged with obvious arrogance that he didn’t tell his wife he loved her until their wedding. We took something as simple as saying ‘I love you,’ built a straw man rule around it (‘saying I love you is defrauding’), then hung it like a trophy on our walls.” Job well done, folks. They create skewed views of relationships which lead to dysfunction. Where others see nothing wrong, I am suspicious of every look, every situation, every witty exchange. I feel ill at ease sometimes even talking to other men. I’m really good at pushing those feelings away and acting “normal.” But I am bothered by my reaction to everyday situations. All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site. Two weeks after the publication of this article, Darcy wrote some follow-up thoughts. EDITOR NOTE: If you are a reader who is unfamiliar with the specific courtship teachings of Bill Gothard and IBLP (the perspective from which Darcy writes), you can find more articles by clicking here.