When God was merciful, when He revealed Jesus Christ to us as our Brother, when He won our hearts by His love, this was the beginning of our instruction in divine love.  When God was merciful to us, we learned to be merciful with our brother.  When we received forgiveness instead of judgement, we, too, were made ready to forgive our brother.  What God did to us, we then owed to others.  The more we received, the more we were able to give;  and the more meager our brotherly love, the less were we living by God’s mercy and love.  Thus, God Himself taught us to meet one another as God has met us in Christ.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Why I'm Not a Christian Feminist

(chubby cheeked me and my daddy, circa 1970)

Every strong and reliable person in my childhood was female. The women in my life worked hard, were outspoken, took care of things, and were kind and tender to us.  The men seemed superfluous to the story, a burden, even.  They took odd jobs when desperate, spent their earnings on booze and old junker cars, and were occasionally violent.  At age 27, when I finally had a coming apart from the flood of crazy childhood memories, the psychiatrist looked at me with misgiving when I told him my story— like he thought I was making it all up.  I told him that I learned to drive a stick shift to keep my intoxicated father from killing us when I was ten, and that I didn’t bat an eye when we all got toted to Brushy Mountain prison for weekend visits to see my incarcerated cousin when I was eight and how I  sat in anger and disbelief when a close relative hung himself, after a long battle with drugs and alcohol and childhood trauma.

 And that only scratches the surface of the heartache.

The years of watching my father battle his demons, the rampant disregard for the well-being of all us children, the poverty, the neglect—it all did something permanent to my heart. I always think I’m over it and then when I’m forced to relive it, I realize that in some ways, I will always be the scared little girl who is desperately looking for the approval of men. (And in defense of the bright side, the girl who knows the lyrics to all good old school country songs.)  I grew up in the seventies, when the world went a little crazy, and my life played out like the perfect country song.  And when I say perfect, think Slingblade meets Coal Miner’s Daughter. Which may explain why I’ve been in black all weekend, mourning the loss of the Possum, and playing his music on a continuous loop.  Call me crazy but  George Jones and Merle Haggard played music that became the soundtrack in the background of my childhood and in some ways, the music is like therapy to me.  Contrary to what I always believed, just because you grow up doesn’t mean you fully heal.

To this day,  I pathologically avoid conflict because every single time there was conflict in my childhood, someone went to jail or got hurt or died.  Suffice it to say, it made for some interesting therapy sessions. But, it is my story.  My broken, beautiful story that still bleeds and still chokes off my breath and still can, at the drop of a hat, cripple me with sadness.  It’s also not that different from your story, and the story of  every child of God. Sin has broken our backs.  But redemption draws nigh.

 Despite the darkness, there was always a bright side.  (There seems to always be one, if you look hard enough.)  I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was loved.  Both my parents loved me, unconditionally.  And when my father was sober, he was funny, incredibly generous, and always ready to tell a story to make us laugh.  He was gifted with his hands and had a few memorable tattoos on his biceps and forearms.  I always worried that if he showed up to any sport or school event, he’d be drunk, and usually, I was right. But the night I was crowned Homecoming Queen and the day I got married, he came sober.  And with his teeth in. (We were always happy about that!)  I think about him all the time.  Despite the painful scars, I love him.  I forgive him.  I wish he were here to see how awesome his grandchildren are.  His icon, George Jones, joined him yesterday, so I can only imagine the stories those two are telling each other on the other side.

I say  all that to say that my pathway to here has not been what you might have expected.  I didn’t grow up in the perfect home, with June Cleaver waiting after school for me with baked goods. I grew up believing that the world is a hard place and that if you’re gonna make it, you have to find a way to take care of yourself.

So, I spent the next fifteen years showing the world who was boss.

 I excelled at everything I tried. I graduated from high school with every possible accolade and went on to graduate from college with a double major in Chemistry/Biochemistry with highest honors.  I was accepted to medical school and got a Presidential Scholarship that totaled about $250,000.  On the surface, I had the world by the tail.  Everything I touched was gold. But underneath and unbeknownst to me, a groundswell of anger and pride and revenge was forming. In hindsight, maybe I was becoming a feminist.  I wanted to show the world what I was capable of—maybe then, the gaping wounds in my heart would heal.  Maybe then, I would be whole.

But soon something happened that shifted the ground beneath me.

My daddy, who had suffered horribly from lung and liver cancer,  passed away, during my 3rd year of medical school.  My aunt called one Sunday night and said that she didn’t think he would make it through the night and that if I wanted to say goodbye, I needed to hurry. I prayed the whole way that he wouldn’t die before I got there.  Somehow, I knew he would wait for me.  He always teased me with the phrase, “Have you made doctor yet?”.  It was pretty clear to me on that long drive to Knoxville that he was never going to see me graduate from medical school.  When I arrived to be at his side, he was in and out of consciousness, with very labored breathing.  I prayed with him, told him how much I loved him, cried with my sister, held his hand, and sang Amazing Grace to him, as he breathed his last breath.

He waited for me.  I know he did.

 Still, I was devastated and bewildered. I was angry.  Angry that he left me.  Angry for all the things he was unable to give.  When he died, there were so many things still unsettled in my heart. He died before I could show him that I was strong and smart and capable of great things.  He died before I could fully appreciate the love he had for me.  And years later, I realize that something else slowly began to die that day too—my frenzied need to prove myself.  Because I realized later that daddy didn’t need for me to ‘make doctor’ in order to love me.  I was already enough.  I was his girl.  And he loved me because that’s what fathers do.  And even when their attempts have been meager, when they’ve done it so imperfectly, even when the tally of wrongs is greater than the tally of rights—they have shown us something true about our heavenly Father.  We have nothing to prove, nothing to work for, no one to impress.

And this picture of fathers is no accidental analogy in the Scriptures, no matter how imperfect our earthly fathers have been.

Our Father in heaven loves us.  He comes to us with peace and forgiveness and it’s His love that makes us whole and worthy and beautiful.

He takes the years of wrong and makes them right.  He takes the anger and gives joy. He takes the suffering and brings peace.  He can be trusted. He will never, ever leave us.  But, He loves us with a peculiar kind of love.  He is not content to leave us as He found us. And the process of making us into who we are created to be will almost certainly be painful.

He did not come to give us ‘rights’, as slaves might be given rights.

He has come to make us sons and daughters.

And that changes everything.

 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.



Preorder my spiritual memoir, All the Pretty Things here and then claim your preorder bonuses at this link!


In honor of my George Jones-loving daddy……

117 comments on “The Wounds of Fatherlessness”

  1. Oh Edie, I love your heart, your mind, the way you tell your story….everything. I was so hoping you would decide to post this and I look forward to parts 2,3, & 4. I am excited to hear why you are not a Christian feminist, because I don’t really understand the concept and sometimes feel the need to explain why I have embraced the traditional role of women.

  2. Courage. It takes so much to share your heart and your story. Thank you for sharing it! I look forward to reading the rest.

    Your list of sources amazes me. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  3. Thank you for posting this. There are unresolved issues in my life that I struggle with from time to time. I look forward to reading the other parts of your story. And the links! I’ll be busy reading for a while!

  4. My story is similar yet very different if that makes sense. Thank you for this series and I can’t wait for the rest. I’m 54 and only forgave my father a few years ago for the “wrongs” I thought I could never forgive. Only through the power of Christ and His love was I able to. Imagine my surprise when my marriage turned a corner as well. Who would have thought. Thank you again for your servants heart because that’s what you are doing. Serving us food we need.

  5. I’m so interested to read the rest of this. I’ve got The Flipside of Feminism on my Kindle. I’ve been a little afraid to start it because I don’t know what kind of a can of worms I’ll be opening….mabe this will push me towards that.

  6. Oh, how I know that feeling of a post sitting in draft for weeks while you pray and soul-search about posting it! I’m preparing a series now that has been on my heart and coming together in bits and pieces for months. I’m so glad you decided to go ahead with this one. Thank you for sharing your heart. I love the conclusion to this post…and I can’t wait to read parts 2, 3, and 4!

  7. Thank you for sharing these important parts of your life… important parts of your own sanctification. Gives the rest of us (me, at the very least) the courage to examine those things we keep pushed aside…I have seen lately how the Lord wants me to examine some of my own deeper issues…things that habitually keep me from regularly sharing my brokenness with Him…which is so ridiculous to think! I have seen my heart become a “lurker”, keeping Him at bay, not wanting to walk into His redemption on some things…some of these same types of issues…
    Looking forward to hearing more of your heart about this subject….thanks for blessing so many with your faithfulness to the Spirit’s leading…

  8. I just want to put a plug in for Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Mary Kassian’s True Woman Bible Study. (http://www.truewoman101.com/) Our church just finished up this study and it was simply fantastic! It really opened up my eyes to how indoctrinated we are in feminism, even in the church. Can’t wait to read the rest of your posts on this subject!

  9. This is incredible and honest and I loved every word. We need to see and show others that we are not perfect but God can make us and grow us that way.
    Living in a confused broken home is really hard, I was there too. We moved 23 times before I was in sixth grade and school was a challenge. No wonder.
    Life was a series of trauma and chaos and living alone, as children.
    We survived so we can tell the stories. So others can hear and see that what was supposed to devastate and ruin us, actually became a part of the redemptive story of hope and healing. I love your line… “Contrary to what I always believed, just because you grow up doesn’t mean you fully heal. ”
    That is SO true. Ask any survivor and ask any therapist who has worked with the wounded ones, you don’t fully heal till you are ready and until the moment God allows it to happen.

  10. YES!!! ,,and Yay God!!!,,,so glad you posted. I told you we were ready : ) ,,from my fb post. So many of us, including me, could actually type the same words you typed in our backstories. Such a time as this!!,,, George Jones passing, brought memories to my mind also of the late 60’s and 70’s(I’m a bit older than you) and you are absolutely correct, that just growing up, and chasing after and doing all sorts of good, doesn’t heal. But Praise God, we know the one that does! God has blessed you with time, to search for truth, that we all need, in a generation that has altered truth. I am sooooo proud of you for being who you are now! More than (how,when I first followed you,and felt I could have done more, like be a doctor), all your higher education and accomplishments before. God has used all that training for good, and thank you so much for sharing it with us. Love you, June

  11. I’ve heard Alice von Hildebrand on Catholic radio. Wonderful.

    Can’t wait to read posts 2-4. In fact, my throat has been tight every time I checked lifeingraceblog posts the past two days. This is ultimate issues stuff. My take can be broken down into 4 words, but I’ll refrain until you’ve had your say.

  12. I honestly do not think I have ever loved someone so much that I have never met. 🙂 I am SO looking forward to these posts. Thank you for having the bravery to post these words. Love your thought-provoking, creative blog posts. Good stuff!!

      • My thoughts EXACTLY Renee! Thanks for putting it into words 🙂
        Edie- Thank you for always writing your truth AND hitting publish-
        And Peace to your Dad, George and all others that have died from untreated alcoholism. And especially wives, husbands, friends, employers, parents and blameless children who have been devastated as well. It is a disease that destroys like no other-
        Waiting on the additional posts and Rhonda’s four words too…

  13. Thank you. I hope to come back to go through your lists of resources a bit. I appreciate hearing your position since I don’t have tons of time or a desire to research, and I appreciate seeing which resources you used to arrive at where you are today on the topic. My heart resonated with what you wrote.

  14. Life can be very hard for some of us. It makes us witness another’s pain, and feel pain, even in childhood, We were never promised it would be easy. We are so lucky when we learn the lessons we’re meant to learn. What might force one person too far down can make another person stand, and take control, and not let go of until we know we’re okay, we’ve made it through, we’re now where we’re supposed to be. And, then, we thrive. With healed scars. But that’s okay. They’re part of us too. And, they remind us of who we really are, who our people were. Deeply flawed, but, if we were and are now lucky, also very much loved. And ready to acknowledge the blessings this life has shown us. Thank you, Edie, for the reminder that everybody carries their own scars, that we are all somebody’s baby, and that we should never, ever give up on God’s lessons and blessings. I know there is more to your message, and I look forward to reading more about why you’re not a Christian feminist!

  15. Edie, thank you for sharing your heart here. I can tell that you put a lot of thought, prayer, and study into what you wrote here, and you have been vulnerble and honest in a beautiful way. I look forward to reading the rest of what you have to say about Christian feminism. It is a topic that I have been thinking about often as well.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story and writing about this even though it’s hard for you to put yourself out there and fear the criticism that might come from sharing opinions on this subject. I am looking forward to a few quiet moments to do some reading this weekend with all these links you shared. I love love love how you consciously work so hard to make the family life you have….owed in part I’m sure to your childhood.

  17. Edie, I’m so glad you decided to hit ‘publish’. I know it feels risky but I think it will be worth it. We, as women, need to be educated and consider our current culture.

    As for your story, it is yours. God-ordained, yours. It is beautiful. Beauty from ashes in so many ways!

    Thank you for sharing. You initial thoughts struck me. I was at a counseling intensive after what I call “my emotional breakdown” where I closed myself off from the world for my sadness over my crappy relationships with men and inability to be IN relationship. Blah, blah, blah. Anyway, in that intensive, we had to draw our family relationships. Certain lines had certain significance. Aunts, uncles, parents, grands, all of ’em. I dutifully did my posterboard sized drawing and didn’t think much of it. Another attendee pointed out that every single one of my familial male relationships were strained or jagged or painful. Pornography from an uncle. Neglect and abandonment by my father. Verbal teasing by my grandfather. The list goes on. With the women? All healthy relationships. Women who cared for me and probably worked hard to make up for lack in other areas. It was a smack in the head for me. I don’t blame that but it is my story. My God-ordained story.

    He cares for me.
    He loves me.
    He SEES me!

    Same for you. Can’t wait to read the next parts!

  18. I can only imagine the butterflies in your stomach as you hit “publish,” but thank you for being brave and doing so. Thank you for sharing your story, because I am confident that God will use the brokenness and pain you have experienced to bring healing and joy to many.

    Thank you for being brave enough to tackle the topic of Christian feminism–and to disagree in a winsome and respectful way. I have long thought that Christian feminists tend to believe that they have the corner on pain and that, surely if we all have experienced the pain they have experienced that we would all land in the same place. I am looking forward to reading your series!

  19. This is a beautiful story and a courageous one at that, especially in your willingness to share it with others.

    I avoided feminism for years because I thought it was a group of men-hating women. It is so much more simplistic than what so many people think it is. All being a feminist means is that you think men and women should have equal rights politically, economically, etc. Being a feminist means fighting for human rights, not just the rights of women. It is sad that is an idea so scarcely followed that it had to be given a name; shouldn’t wanting everyone to be treated equally simply be called being a respectable and fair human being? I think that the use of the word is simply confusing to many people, and is tied to many radical ideas that bring distaste to its cause.

    I was raised to know that people are different and no one person is necessarily wholly better or worse than anyone else. We all have strengths that make up for someone else’s weakness. That is what binds us together as couples, families, friends, communities, nations, a world. It is how we progress and function best as a society; everyone should attack the tasks they’re best suited for and that make them the happiest. I do believe motherly instincts are real, that women are mostly built to be mothers, and that men have protective and provisional instincts, and I hate when people seem to feel ashamed by those things or that they are somehow stereotypes and not scientifically engrained into our being. I’m a very domestic and nurturing woman, and I have every right to be a secretary, a wife, and a mother, and adhere to what some may think is only a tiny step above “housewife” but I refuse to see that as a dirty word. I get to make that decision for myself, just like stay-at-home-dad cousin, or gun-wielding protecting-our-country gal pal. The right to do those things is all feminism really is.

    • I think a lot of feminists would agree with you, and I’ve heard many make similar statements. I also think feminism is generally motivated by good intentions. Like you, I also puzzle at why–if feminism is just as simple as equality and treating people well–does it need to be called FEMINism. Why not humanism? Or really, treating others with love and putting them before ourselves is what Christianity teaches.

      On the flip side, I’ve had feminists mock me to my face by saying things like, “Have fun being nothing more than a helpmeet to your husband.” True story. I’ve read many recent articles on power women Marissa Mayer & Sheryl Sandburg and their statements on how women can, and should, “have it all” like they have. No pressure there, right? And finally, the famous French feminist Simone de Beauvoir called housewives “parasites” and that women should not have the choice to stay home with their children. Seriously, google it, she said those things.

      I just say this to point out, while I think you’re right about a LOT of feminist’s views regarding their movement as simple, those of us on the other side of the fence haven’t always seen it as a “simplistic” drive for equality and respectful treatment of all. If it were just that, I’d have joined the cause a long time ago. Instead, I’ve felt personally degraded–ironically, not my the men in my life, but by feminism. I’ve felt a lot of pressure to prove myself and do things I didn’t feel called by God to do, and all for the good of feminism, not me or my family.

      You said it very well, and I believe that is what feminism is to some, though I do respectfully disagree on the whole. Feminism is not that simple to me, and I know it’s not for many other women who’ve felt it’s pressure.

  20. You’re a wonderful example of what a Christian woman should be. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your personal life and such an important topic.

  21. Your blog title says it all – for you and for all of humanity – that with Him we can live a life in His grace, regardless of our circumstances. You have been a blessing to me and continue to be. I get it that is was (and will be) hard to share your story and experiences but that is why we love you – you are real! May God continue His work through you.

  22. Beautiful & Brave. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am still trying to wrap my head around some of these things even though I’ve been a believer for years. At the end of the day, it’s just the Lord and me and that can be very uncomfortable. Appreciate your honesty and putting your conflict-avoidance self out there! May the Lord bless the labor of your heart and hands daily.

  23. I look forward to the rest of your story. And on a side note, my first favorite country song was “He Stopped Loving Her Today”…”placed a wreath upon her grave”… Ok, I’ll stop now;)

  24. My story, too, is similar but oh so different. My father committed suicide when I was only 7. So I really didn’t get to figure out that he did love me. I am so glad that the Lord loves us though. I am not anywhere near close to where you are in your story. I will anxiously wait for the rest of it.

  25. My sweet sister in Christ. . . what a beauty-full story. I totally get and understand every ache and pain your heart has/had, the demons you yourself had/have to fight, and having my eyes opened to the understanding of the deep love our Heavenly Father has for us. Oh, our stories are so eerily, eerily similar. Seriously, we could share coffee and talk for hours. I, too, grew up with an alcoholic father. I remember growing up i was so embarrassed of it and I tried to hide it as much as I could (all of my friends were from seemingly “perfect families”). My Dad still struggles with his alcoholism. But as my deceased Papa used to say (my Dad’s Daddy and was like a Father to me), “Shugah, as long as there is breath in the body there’s hope.” As painful as what my story has been and can still be at times, I wouldn’t change one dot or tittle. For I know the author of my story, and with Him and in Him and through Him I know He uses all these things for my good and His glory. You are precious. I can’t thank you enough for sharing. I’m sure I will read and re-read this many times 🙂 Sending you a BIG cyber hug!!

  26. I love every post. I do. Cabinets, homemade table cloths, cowgirl boots… but when you pour out your heart? I feel a connection to you on a whole other level. This was an amazing post and I relate to your words somehow, although our stories are also different. Your timing was crazy good for hitting “publish”, and I want to thanks for being who you are-brave enough to put yourself out here for all to read. Love you Edie!!!

  27. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my husband about “Edie, the girl who was a dr?, her house fire, ….” He always nods like he knows who you are, too. I have adored you from afar for a long time and like so many others, love ALL your posts, but these spiritual, life living ones really strike a cord. Thank you for your honesty and for turning ashes into beauty and sharing it with us all.

    Bless you, Edie.

    Devon (a fellow Tennessean)

  28. Edie, I just discovered your blog about a week ago and have been continuously fascinated with it. This post sealed my growing adoration for you! Something I struggled with greatly in my early years as a Christian but feel much more free to embrace Biblical Femininity than ever before. I am an avid reader (high school English teacher) and can’t wait to explore some on your list. The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer is a great read also. Looking forward to the remaining posts and then hope we can all join in prayer as to how to convey this message to our daughters in a society that teaches just the opposite.
    Your story of your dad was so moving. I often say I feel I finally started to grow up the day I realized my parents were just imperfect people too trying to do the best they could. We All need Jesus. Where would we be without Him?
    Thanks again and I’m so glad I found your blog!

  29. You are right, it is not the story I would have expected as I read your blog, but it makes you even more amazing than I already thought. Life in Grace is the perfect title, and how you live your life.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  30. A breath of fresh air! My husband and I have been discussing this topic over the past week, I love your well informed approach and can’t wait to read the rest. You’re an inspiration to me, a full time Physician Assistant, wife, and mommy.

  31. Thanks for this post, Edie. Obviously, you are still doctorin’ in this stage of your life. Healing is just part of you. I can’t wait to read all the parts of this insightful post, and I really hope I don’t miss seeing Rhonda’s four words! You have a beautiful story and I appreciate your honesty in sharing it.

  32. Edie, thank you for sharing this. I admire you so much and I love that you share you heart in everything. I could write a lot in this comment, probably a whole post of my own, but I’ll just say Amen.


  33. Amazing. Looking forward to the next 3 parts. Thanks for the resources; I think this topic is so intriguing and difficult to live out in our culture–though necessary for less strife and more success as viewed through the eyes of God.

  34. Wow! I am waiting with bated breath for your next installment. I just read the CS Lewis article and it was absolutely wonderful. He’s like Paul, isn’t he? God gave him such an incredible talent for skillfully and beautifully explaining truth. And perhaps you are not so far behind?? Thanks for including this extensive source list. I really want to dive into it!

    Also, my dad was telling me his intricate and convincing theory about how and why Tennesseans and Texans are a whoooole lot alike. And I said I read a blog by a girl from East Tennessee who just loves Texas. He asked where in East TN and I said Oh, it’s on Cherokee Lake… uhm… Bean Station? He said he knew right where it was, he used to go fishing there. 🙂 And he concluded coming from that part of Tennessee, you were intrinsically required to love Texas. 🙂 Grace and peace.

  35. What a brave thing to write AND publish. More people than you will ever know share similar stories…including myself. It is when we learn to forgive that we become mature. My husband comes from the most “typical” family ever and although it is great to see them and never have a conflict, but man are they boring 🙂
    My sisters and I all have our own issues, but we all agree on one thing, we knew we were absolutely loved. Unfortunately, before I was 8, my dad died in an alcohol related accident. In many ways that spared me some of the more traumatic experiences the older children had, but I also missed memories with him.
    I look forward to the rest of your series. No one tells a story the way you do.

  36. OK, well you are my soul sister on the George Jones thing. I grew up in a close web of Dad, George, and Merle as well. I called my dad on Friday to tell him George passed, and I felt so sad all day. My favorite song of his was “The Grand Tour” and it always reminds me of us 3 kids piled into the back of his Buick, listening to 8 tracks. Edie, I just want to say that I respect you so much. I think this may be one of the best posts you have written. It broke me open with its honesty. I look forward to reading the coming posts b/c while I avoid labels like the plague, I have never considered there anything wrong with being a feminist. So I look forward to reading your parts 2, 3, and 4. Thank you for being brave and sharing yourself with us.

  37. Edie,
    This has touched so many where we are broken. This is why I come here & what I love about you. You are such a gift.

  38. This is wonderful. Much of your journey is similar to mine, (minus the doctor and the scholarship :-D) our families similar, my forgiveness of my daddy similar, our love for country music similar. Unfortunately my daddy was killed by a hit and run driver in September and I didn’t get to say goodbye, but we loved each other, I know he loved me, and I miss him so, even though I know he’s in heaven and will see him again. I can’t wait to read the rest of your story. I’ve had interesting conversations with female friends about women in ministry.

  39. Oh, Edie, I just want to give you a big ol’ hug! I’m older than you (51) but my Mom’s story is similar to yours and (thanks be to God!) my Mama made sure my story is completely different (as your children’s will be/is). That’s sort of grammatically convoluted, but do you know what I mean? Also, you have the heart, the history, the voice to give to this story. Can’t wait to read the rest!

  40. Well. I’m hooked. 🙂 I will be back for Parts 2 and 3. Thank you SO much for writing on this topic (you know full well why I am passionate about it :)) Bless you, and praying for you Edie.

  41. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people, yet it is still so easy tomlook at someone else and pass judgement. I’m not talking about harsh judgement but rather the judgement that makes us believe that a person has it all together or has always had things easy, everything served on a silver platter. But in reality we all carry pain and burden in our hearts. At times, we would prefer to not face it, forget about it and move on, but our heartswin’t let us. God is calling us to cast our cares upon Him. So many of us struggle with our pasts, and even our present circumstances. We truly need to set our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
    Your stor is heart wrenching and I pray that as your words are read they will be healing and encouragement to those who need it most.
    Truly wish you could come for a visit to the Northeast and we could sit and talk for hours over many cups of good strong coffee. Although we have never net I completely admire you. You always share your heart so openly.

  42. We live in an imperfect world, with imperfect people, yet it is still so easy tomlook at someone else and pass judgement. I’m not talking about harsh judgement but rather the judgement that makes us believe that a person has it all together or has always had things easy, everything served on a silver platter. But in reality we all carry pain and burden in our hearts. At times, we would prefer to not face it, forget about it and move on, but our heartswin’t let us. God is calling us to cast our cares upon Him. So many of us struggle with our pasts, and even our present circumstances. We truly need to set our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.
    Your stor is heart wrenching and I pray that as your words are read they will be healing and encouragement to those who need it most.
    Truly wish you could come for a visit to the Northeast and we could sit and talk for hours over many cups of good strong coffee. Although we have never net I completely admire you. You always share your heart so openly.

  43. Wow. The redemption in your life that allows you to show grace and love to your daddy is beyond beautiful. I love that you are willing to share your story, I love that you are allowing God’s grace in you to spill over into your telling of this story, and most of all, I love how good God really is. Even in the ugly, beauty is always waiting. Thank you for this. Praying fo ryou as you write the rest of this.

  44. Edie,
    Thank you for sharing your heart, your true heart. It is wonderful to see how God has used your story and turned it into His glory. Being vulnerable is scary, but with vulnerability comes more and more healing.
    I hate that you had to go through what you did. But grateful you are using your past hurts to glorify Jesus.

  45. Is the main gist of feminism “I don’t need anyone”? It’s in direct contrast to how desperately we need a Savior in Jesus Christ.

  46. Oh, Edie. I’m so grateful that you’ve decided to share your heart about this issue. Since seeing you wonder aloud about it on facebook, I’ve been hopeful that you would contribute your voice to this conversation.

    I’ve been knee deep in surrendering my wild heart to learning contentment. Knee deep in rest and margin and filtering my aspirations through His provision. God does not lie when He promises that there is beauty and freedom within the lines He has drawn around our lives (both generally and specifically). I wonder if our pushing back against these lines is exchanging a greater freedom for a lesser one? Lots of words to say that I am hungry for more voices like yours.

    Thank you for sharing the rough and the raw of how you got to right here.

  47. Oh Edie, I’m so pleased you decided to share. And that you took such a prayerful and researched approach to it. I can’t wait to read through your list of resources and the next few parts. This needs to be talked about.

    Your words in this part made me cry. For you, and for me, and all the other women who have similar backgrounds. I see similar, yet different come up so many times among the comments, and it is exactly what I was going to say too. Love you.

  48. I am forever grateful that you shared this side to your story today. I”ll be honest, when I look at a lot of blogs, I feel inadequate. I feel like their homes, families, life is so perfect. I know deep inside that no one leads a perfect life but its so refreshing to hear about your roots. In fact, it makes me appreciate you all the more. I love your blog and have followed for awhile now, but have never commented. This post is for me your most meaningful one yet, although I do love to look at pictures of your home (love your style to pieces…very inspirational for me). My own mother comes from a very similar background and I have watched her for years feel the tug towards femininsm – like you largely due to her past but she has always gone back to the scriptural role of a woman. I can tell that it is with great struggle to bring herself back to this place…the place where there is nothing to prove and that Jesus himself is not asking her to become lower than man…just different somehow. I cannot wait to absorb parts 2 & 3. You are a gifted writer Edie…thank you for sharing the innermost hurts and yearnings of your soul. I plan to share these posts with my mother. I think it could bring healing to her. Blessings from Alabama!

  49. Hi Edie,

    Loved hearing this part of your story and thank you for sharing. I always find it interesting how one’s family story contributes to the life they lead as adults.

    My story is similar except that my father and the men in my life have been the ones I could count on. My father wasn’t perfect, but he was there for us while my mother battled her daemons of alcohol and prescription drugs. We lived in a normal house in a lovely neighborhood. My feminist mother was a driven registered nurse who was never meant to raise a family. My parents stayed together. I got better once I got away from her, but she is still quite the mean narcissist. I have the sad feelings that I wouldn’t trust a woman as far as I could throw her. My father should have stood up to my mother and protected us from her, but he was the stability of our dysfunctional family. I was determined in my own life to do it right and thumbed my nose as my mothers choices. I was a stayathome mom by choice. Together, my husband and I have raised three wonderful, educated and productive sons who are contributing good to the world. The men in my life have been loving, loyal, responsible, ethical, and sober. Wish I could say the same about my mother. She scares me to this day.

  50. Thank you for your authenticity and courage in sharing your past story and your daily story with each post. I’m so looking forward to the next installments !

  51. These words are so precious to me-
    “I am blessed with the gift of time and I’m privileged to use that time for lots of reading and writing. It seemed selfish not to share what I’ve learned along the way.”
    How grateful I am that you share your abundance with me – with us.
    Thank you for recognizing the power of that gift, and for being hospitable (over and over) with your heart, your words, your time, and your story.
    This is a place of rich learning, deep love, and gospel testimony.

  52. B.R.A.V.E.
    Conflict is not just uncomfortable for some, it can be downright paralyzing. Working through the conflicts of your life’s journey and choosing to prayerfully lay them out for others to read, learn, and find healing for themselves is no light decision. I am praying for you as you continue to share this with any and all who will read. Seriously taking the time to be an unashamed, knee-praying sister who is holding you up to our Heavenly Father for continued strength, grace, and courage to tackle such subjects. I’m just sitting here looking at the list of references with my mind kinda blown….in a great way. Anyone who reads this must take pause to consider the pain, prayer, and internal struggles you’ve dealt with in attempting to organize such thoughts much less publish them. This is so much work but so worth it. It doesn’t seem adequate to say its going to help so many, but is really will. Praying for you. Xoxo

  53. I’m sitting at my father’s hospital bed today due to a massive stroke he suffered. While reading your post I felt my heart learch up in my throat and tears run down my face. All I have been able to do over the past week is recount all the things I wish had been different. Thanks for sharing such a profound post!

  54. Edie, I have loved your blog for so long! I’m drawn to your story, career, and the intentional choices you make as mother and wife. I’m an attorney who often feels like I live in two worlds. The first is my career path that I’ve worked so hard to obtain, and the second is my creative world that consists of my home, family, and friends. I was raised by a mother who stayed at home with us during our entire childhoods and never seemed satisfied in that decision–often even saying so–pushing her 4 daughters to do something “more than she did.” That upbringing led me to believe that in order to achieve fulfillment I needed to look to places other than marriage, children, and home. Over the last year, I’ve been so convicted by my pride and have worked hard to understand my feelings towards feminism, equality, and God’s purpose for my own life. I look forward to reading the remaining parts of this series. Your thoughts and words are a blessing in my life. The mere act of writing this comment has proven to be therapeutic.

  55. Thank you for sharing, Edie. I can’t wait to read more.
    I always told myself that ‘time heals everything’. But as much as I want to
    believe that – there are permanent scars. Things that only the
    Divine Healer can make new… So I continue to pray for healing.
    You are truly using the talent God gave you by writing this blog!
    I appreciate it. Much love.

  56. Can you feel the love radiating from Texas?!? May the Lord richly bless you for sharing your story, Edie! I, too, grew up with alcoholism in my family. It is amazing how God can use the negative things in our lives for His Glory. Thank you for being so transparent and for offering hope to those in need. I look forward to reading more. Praying for you, my sister, and your precious family as you faithfully serve our Lord in word, deed, and blog.

  57. Wow, reading through the comments it is apparent that so many of us have been affected by alcoholic parents. Thank you, Edie, for the well-written lesson. Peace be with all of us. Amen!

  58. Thank you Edie for sharing. My father passed away this past December and I am still struggling with what I never had or will have. I always had hope that some day my father would be able to say he was sorry for the lost years and acknowledge love for my brother, sister, and me. He was an alcoholic who could not overcome his demons or establish relationships with us even as adults. Oh, how I tried. God is using this to remind me that He is my Heavenly Father and my Hope comes from Him. I still don’t understand or see the big picture, but I rest in knowing He is my High Tower. He is my Father! Thank you again for sharing your story and testimony!

  59. Edie, I don’t comment often, but I wanted to leave a note to this post. We are ten years apart, but we have very similar stories. Except to this day I haven’t spoken to my father in 20 years… not because I haven’t forgiven him, but just because I don’t think of it until I read a story like yours and remember my own. I spent my whole 20s trying to “prove” myself without really knowing I was doing it. I have a minor in women’s studies and feminist theory. I work a cut throat job in NYC. And honestly all I want in life is to let go and just love and stop proving my worth all over the place. Thank you for sharing this and I can’t wait to read the rest of it.

  60. Wow, Edie! What an awesome, straight from the heart post! Have I told ya lately that I love ya? No. But I do. 🙂 Tears shed for this sweet story, your wonderful story! You have been blessed and chosen to bring His message.
    I too have been grieving over George. I loved George too. Even though I never told him. 🙂 His song says a lot! I was looking forward to seeing him this Aug., at MB. his final tour. I am sure he is glad his final tour came earlier. <3 So funny how people that are not directly in our lives still touch our lives. Also. I love the baby picture of you and your Daddy. Thanks for sharing. I know that can be hard and I know it can heal too. <3
    All the best to you, sweet Edie!

    • Also wanted to add….you are cool. Just like Waylon, Willie and the boys! And cuter than Tammy Wynette and June Carter too. <3

  61. Edie….what a brave heart you have to share yourself with your friends in computer land.

    Now I know why my heart feels so connected to you….I have a similar story…many memories of taking care of my daddy while he was drunk bc my mom was too mad to do it. The need to feel responsible that attaches to our hearts when we grow up in homes like this is almost too much to bear…were it not for God’s grace that comes in and swallows us up.

    I got such clear pictures of some of my own childhood while I read your words. Lots of drunk men hanging around old pick up trucks in our backyard…lots of wiping my mom’s tears on long walks in the pasture…lots of cigarette smoke…lots of crying…lots of backing down the driveway with my mom because we were leaving him again..only to drive back up the driveway on Sunday afternoon, just in time for another week of faking it at school. And, like you, I learned how to master anything I set out to do…all those things seemed in my control.

    Just know that I cried as I read your story but I also rejoiced…in the love that I know your dad had for you…and in the love that Jesus has shown to you. His grace in you is overwhelming in all the most beautiful ways.

    What I wouldn’t give to meet you someday….what an honor it would be to sit with you and thank God for his mercy and love in the middle of all the chaos.

  62. Oh Edie, Thank You so much for your words. My story is so similar and yet different. I am learning to forgive and trying so hard to be gracious despite my memories. The outside world saw my parents as perfect. My Mom the PTO president whom cooked up a storm, and had the perfect home. My Dad wore suits daily, traveled, and drove fancy cars. What the world didn’t see was my Mom passed out from too much whiskey that she drank from a coffee mug so no one would know. The screaming, harsh words, and names. The constant party with the neighbors that lasted from Friday night til Monday morning. The brawls my parents often had and the 2 little girls crying upstairs. The horrible things my Mom would say to us as teenagers and not being perfect enough for her standards. The things we witnessed and had happen to us. We were the reason she drank, at least that’s what we were told. My Dad traveled and when he was home he shut himself in his office with his music, often emerging drunk and ready for the next round. We almost always lived in rural small towns between Wisconsin and upstate NY. I was the sober driver from 13 on, yet wasn’t aloud to get my license till 18. My Mom claimed I wasn’t mature enough. Willie, George Jones, Dolly, The Mandrels, every word is etched in my memory. They were often the background of whatever was going on. I love my parents with all my heart and I know they loved me but it took having my own children and a husband that I adore and cherish (who has his own story, and it makes mine look storybook) to realize it wasn’t me I don’t need to be perfect, I was NOT their issue nor am I now. I will love them despite the demons they both still fight and they are both so friggin stubborn that they are still together making each other miserable. The Lord has a plan for me and although I don’t always understand just what it is I will trust in him. Thank You, so much just writing this all out has been therapeutic. Most of this I’ve only ever shared with my husband.

  63. I’m going to have to chime in and say that your childhood read like my childhood. Amazing how many of us have posted that … and I once thought my dysfunctional family was the only one. The cry of my heart as a kid was, “I just want to have a normal life.” I finally realized I’m never going to achieve that because there is no normal!

    I’m anxiously awaiting the rest of your posts as well. God bless you!

  64. I finally started reading this series Edie … it has been on my list! I wish I could give you a huge hug for your courage, honesty and love. Do you know how many readers you have touched???? AND, since I am late in the game here and have read part 2 as well I wish you would reconsider writing the book. 😉 XOXO

  65. Edie, I’ve never read this part of your story before. You have inspired me in so many ways. Thanks for telling your story. I hope it is as healing to you as it is to me. I’m believing that He will restore the years that the locusts have eaten. Yours and mine.

  66. you are such a gifted writer. i am in awe. the last thing particularly struck me. ‘he’s not content to leave us as we are.’ as a parent, the parallels between the Father’s love for me and my love for my children have been a tremendous faith building experience. we are not content to leave our children as they are. we want them to grow and mature and learn. it pains us when the fall but we never leave them. they may step away from us but our prayers and our love stay with them and we wait for them. sometimes they resent our efforts and we search for ways to gently guide rather than nag and criticize. what a gift to have a Father in heaven who loves us and teaches us to love so well.

  67. Wow. I have tears. I too was raised in a tumultuous home. And you summed me up as to why I have been pushing myself so hard for so many years to be perfect: “I grew up believing that the world is a hard place and that if you’re gonna make it, you have to find a way to take care of yourself.” That has been my life. I worked hard and tried to be the best at everything because I was taking care of me, when no one else did. I didn’t know Jesus then, but He has been with me all along. My grandparents raised me and when I lost them both within two weeks of each other, I panicked. I had taken time off from my career to raise my kids, I was still working on a Master’s degree and I just wanted to prove to them, that I could do it, I could be something to be proud of, not someone, but something, because I didn’t care enough about my well being to be someone.
    I’ve been married for 15 years and I left my career to be at home with my kids, clean my home, cook and take care of my family. I don’t think I made a bad choice, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think after serving God, my main purpose is to serve my husband and kids and this is how I choose to do it. I don’t want to be a feminist and when I was striving for so much, it was never to prove a point, it was just to survive and get out of the life I grew up in. I have never been so happy as I am now, living and serving like my grandmother did in the 50’s. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

  68. I’d just wanted to add that I wish Stay at home moms and working single women could get over this divide and respect each other equally to know that they may feel God’s impact in their lives in different ways. I’m the second generation of this thought process. My dad works for a company where the owner was the son of an overworked mom and because of religious reasons and having an overworked mom he opted to make his company not hire women and hire men and require them to have stay-at-home wives. This hurt growing up, and I mean no disrespect, but perspective is a very powerful thing and seeing how this affected an entire company and families makes me cringe every time I think about it. I would highly recommend God’s Word to Women by Katharine Bushnell to further your perspective and this scripture study.

  69. While I sincerely respect your view and your right to have to it. I think it’s worth noting without feminism you would not have the right or privilege to voice your opinion or have your blog. I don’t mean to say this in a argumentative way because like I said I respect your views! Just a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *