Let's Talk About Purity Culture

Can we talk about the negative effects of Purity Culture for a bit? 
As a recently married woman who grew up in the height of the modern Purity Movement and choose to remain a virgin until marriage, I am beginning to see even more reasons why this culture and its teachings are SO SO dangerous.
Here are just two core..
Read more...

The Modest Files Podcast -- Part Two

Part Two of my interview with The Modesty Files podcast is live! 
In part one I explained how I got involved with my cult and my personal experience with the cult leader, Bill Gothard.
In this final episode things gets a bit more raw. I briefly explain how I got involved in a lawsuit against Gothard, how I found my way...
Read more...

Freedom Day 2020

Five years ago today, I began my journey out of a cult. 
I walked into a counselors office for the first time in my life and asked for help. 
I didn’t fully understand what kind of trauma I had endured; after all, it was my “normal”. 
I began the incredibly hard work of facing the reality of my trauma. I got angry. I grieved. I accepted. I healed. 
I then began to deconstruct everything I had been taught about God. Was He a God who only loved me if I did...
Read more...

The Modesty Files: A New Podcast on Toxic Fundamentalism

I woke up just a touch nervous today. This morning a podcast episode has been released where I talk quite frankly about the messy details of my trauma story. 
A few months ago I received an email from a group of three sisters who run a new podcast called The Modesty Files. They found Thriving Forward on a whim while doing research on the Christian Fundamentalists culture and they began to read my story.
Read more...

The Power of Changing a Tire

Yesterday I blew out a tire on the highway and decided that instead of calling for roadside assistance, I would figure it out on my own.  I may not have known how a jack worked, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t learn.  After watching a couple of YouTube tutorials, I hiked up my dress, knelt down in my stilettos...
Read more...

National Denim Day

I grew up in a culture where women only wore long skirts.  If that’s your personal preference, and long skirts float your boat, than by all means, go for it!  But if you were taught, as I was, that long skirts protected you from abuse, or that a woman wearing jeans is just asking to be assaulted, then that’s dead wrong...
Read more...

Umbrella of Authority or Abuse?

Today one of my FB friends posted this umbrella picture. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this graphic, in fact, I usually see it every month or so.  
 
Today one of my FB friends posted this umbrella picture. It’s not the first time I’ve seen this graphic, in fact, I usually see it every month or so.  
 
On one hand, it looks innocent enough.  It’s dripping in Christianese and it seems to support a complementarianism view of marriage where everyone has a role to play.  I’m all for *healthy* complementarianism (almost never seen anymore), but that is not what this graphic supports.  Instead, this graphic is quite dangerous, and even heretical.  Here’s why...

Read more...

Coming Out of A Cult: The Honest Truth

Some people ask me what it’s like coming out of a cult. Well, here’s the honest truth:

One day you feel completely empowered. You are cruising down the highway with your freedom songs blasting away, singing your heart out, and feeling invincible.

The next morning you are crumpled in a heap on your bedroom floor, gasping for breath, desperately wondering how you’re going to make it even one more day...

Read more...

Telling My Story

Ever since I announced on my Social Media that I am writing a book about my #cult and #metoo story, I’ve received a lot of criticism. I’ve been told that I must not really be free, or that I haven’t really forgiven, or else I wouldn’t be so stuck in the past.

But here’s the thing, just because I write about my past doesn’t mean I’m stuck in it...

Read more...

Fierce Woman

Today I discovered I am a fierce woman.

In therapy today I came face to face with another lie that I had been believing — the lie that my unwillingness to submit to an abusive, toxic relationship several years ago was actually an “ungodly” response on my part. I shouldn’t have fought back. I shouldn’t have been so stubborn. I should have submitted...

Read more...