“Quivering” is a word used to imply fear, as well as a twist on the term “Quiverfull.” Many authoritarian families utilize forms of fear-based control to influence the behavior and performance of their offspring. On the other hand, we as Christians are to have a reverent fear of God. So it is a loaded title, but appropriate for this context. The “Daughters” are adult women who are 1) daughters of God 2) daughters of parents 3) wives 4) mothers 5) sisters. Hillary and any other contributors do not presume to address minors.
Hillary McFarland is the primary contributor to QD. Her book, “Quivering Daughters ~ Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy” is available now. Eric Pazdziora is featured on Thursdays. Other contributors are identified on a per-guest-post basis.
We have observed a lack of Biblical, grace-based, Christian support for women who struggle with different aspects of their upbringing within fundamentalist or patriocentric families. Many of these wounded souls yearn to find healing and discover the true nature of God, His Son, His love, and grace.
We are the broken, in a family of broken. Through our stories, the stories of others, and showing what God has done for us, we hope to encourage and inspire others to continue along a path to wholeness and the heart of God. It is our hope that the resources shared through this website will be used by Him. In His wisdom and infinite grace, God has set His hand upon our aching places and brought forth healing and beauty, while continuing to refine and transform us unto His likeness. It is our prayer that He will do the same for you.
For a general definition of abuse, I mean: consistent behavior—intentional or inadvertent—that has a toxic, hurtful effect on mind, body, heart or spirit, and has at least one of two primary effects: first, it can cause the victim to stumble; furthermore, it can withhold that which is healthy and necessary for life. Abuse is also misuse ~ the misuse of authority, for example.
For a more in-depth definition of abuse, here is how the United States Department of Justice describes abusive behavior, which I also include in Quivering Daughters: Hope and Healing for the Daughters of Patriarchy:
Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.
Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.
- Physical Abuse: Hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair-pulling, biting, etc. Physical abuse also includes denying a partner medical care or forcing alcohol and/or drug use.
- Sexual Abuse: Coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent. Sexual abuse includes, but is certainly not limited to marital rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence has occurred, or treating one in a sexually demeaning manner.
- Emotional Abuse: Undermining an individual’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem. This may include, but is not limited to constant criticism, diminishing one’s abilities, name-calling, or damaging one’s relationship with his or her children.
- Economic Abuse: Making or attempting to make an individual financially dependent by maintaining total control over financial resources, withholding one’s access to money, or forbidding one’s attendance at school or employment.
- Psychological Abuse: Causing fear by intimidation; threatening physical harm to self, partner, children, or partner’s family or friends; destruction of pets and property; and forcing isolation from family, friends, or school and/or work.
Because only the Lord can see the heart, we do not feel it appropriate for us to assume critical attitudes towards the real people behind movements, ministries, organizations, churches, or within families. We acknowledge that many of these people are sincere in their efforts to do as they feel God has indicated, which includes taking a stand for or against specific religious or familial practices. We trust and pray that wherever they, and we, are in error, God will reveal it and lead us along a path of righteousness and humility. We trust and pray that He will reveal truth and healing to those affected, and endeavor to make restitution where we are responsible. We are all fallen, and yet all created in the image of God. Judgment belongs to Him.
Our primary concern and calling is towards women wounded, hurting, and confused through spiritual teaching and practical application within the family dynamic. Emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, psychological, and even physical and sexual abuse are widely prevalent within many patriocentric families. The rampant misuse of the name and nature of God has left debilitating scars on the lives of many quivering daughters. Fear, shame, guilt, confusion, low self-esteem, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic fatigue, and many other emotional, spiritual, and physical repercussions, we believe, can be direct results of this lifestyle. However, it is important to note that we are not members of the medical or mental health professions, neither are we pastors, teachers, leaders, or anything other than followers of Jesus who wish to proclaim Him and His ministry to those to whom He calls us. We beseech you to use what you find here as a starting point. Research these things on your own, fall before the Heavenly Father, and seek the guidance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit.
Sadly, many men have endured spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse as well within aberrant Christianity. However, we feel our personal primary calling is to other women. This is not a statement regarding “roles”, for we believe in Christ, there is neither male nor female, and truth and healing are available to all who call on His name. But to streamline our focus and in keeping with what He has placed on our hearts, we address women in our writing and ministry. We do suggest Norm Wakefield’s Elijah Ministries as a balanced alternative for men.
We respect the authoritative position of parents within a family. We decry the principles of authoritarianism. While this may appear to be semantics, in actuality they are quite opposed. Jesus, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, is depicted as the ultimate authority, yet He was found on His knees, washing the feet of His disciples. For an extensive exposition on authoritarianism, see my post, “Spiritual Abuse in the Family.”
We fully support and appreciate home education when principles of godly balance are in force. For more, see Karen Campbell’s “The Basic Tenets of Relationship Homeschooling.” However, we also refrain from claiming that it is the only way that godly parents should educate. We believe that there is freedom within a family, before God, to make choices how and where to instruct their children.
Again, we fully support and appreciate large families when principles of godly balance are in force. It is not our intention to convey that it is “wrong” to have many children or a large “quiver.” Children are a blessing and solemn responsibility. We do advocate grace-based parenting and believe it is vital that each child be parented as a unique individual created in the image of God, with respect to various gifts, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses. And when mistakes are made, that parents provide true examples of humility and the sanctifying work of a Christ-centered life.
We oppose any family system which utilizes the name of God to manipulate or control through thought, fear, shame, or other grievous means. We oppose the heavy emphasis on works practiced by many fundamentalist families. We oppose the extreme levels of control placed upon adult children and believe that it is often a stumbling block to the truth of Jesus and the convicting role of the Holy Spirit. We oppose anything centric to family other than Christ Himself, whether this means husband, pastor, father, religious practice, etc. We oppose teaching which communicates, verbally or through practice, that women cannot have a direct, one-on-one relationship with God through Jesus, that is effective for growth, sanctification, transformation, salvation, and purpose.
We have found many resources addressing issues of spiritual abuse within churches and other religious organizations. A book by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen, “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” references this wonderfully. In addition, there are many books geared towards issues within dysfunctional families. However, we discovered serious lack of resource designed specifically for these issues regarding women and the effects of aberrant religious practices and beliefs within families. God has laid it on our hearts to attempt to meet a need in this area.
Fundamentalism is strict adherence to basic principles and actually can be a good thing (if the principles are founded on truth, of course). However, most modern Christian fundamentalism is a reaction to growing depravity by becoming “extreme” in belief and behavior, often adding to the messages of faith and the Christian walk through questionable application and interpretation of Scripture. A fundamentalist is one who practices this form of extreme, religious Christianity.
My audience is very niche. The struggles I address are not applicable to everyone, but those who have grown up within the environments I describe understand the alarming nature of these issues. I have found many resources dedicated to helping women from all kinds of lifestyles, harmful patterns, abusive tendencies. The quivering daughters (see above) that I am called to write for and to have very little Christian support.
We are Christians who believe that we are all ~ men, women, children ~ created in the image of God; that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female; we believe that we must in humility consider all others as better than ourselves, and to submit to one another in the fear of God, and that we must love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength, and to love others as we love ourselves.
We try to address the teaching itself, and may on occasion use specific names to illustrate ideology in question. But our goal is to remain focused on aching souls and feel that for us, it would be a distraction to ‘go after’ those with whom we disagree or who perpetuate errant philosophy. In other words, it’s nothing personal. To have a merciful heart towards those who promote hurtful teaching is not mutually exclusive to bringing awareness to said teaching and addressing the effects and wounds they cause. Again, it is try. There may be exceptions.
- cultivate an environment of humility and grace.
- incorporate non-formulaic methods of parenting each child, i.e., not “one size fits all” where one method is used for all of the children in the family. They take time to discover each one individually ~ discerning his or her needs, strengths, weaknesses, and what makes that person, who is created in God’s image, so unique ~ and parent them accordingly. God makes everyone different, and this needs to be reflected in parenting.
- follow Jesus and encourage their children to do the same ~ both in word and example. Not a lifestyle that claims to follow Jesus. Not a movement, teaching, pastor, or anything else but Jesus. Sometimes it’s a very fine line, but there is a line. Jesus says: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)
Adult daughters raised within authoritarian, patriarchal families who struggle with the effects of spiritual abuse and emotional abuse.
Not every Quiverfull, homeschooling, or patriarchal family is authoritarian or abusive but some are, with varying degrees; and the adult daughters from these families which bear fruits of authoritarianism and spiritual and emotional abuse are my direct audience as specified by the Lord who has called me; in obedience to Him, regardless of the cost, I continue until He releases me; please do not take any of my words as authoritative for I am not a teacher or professional or anything other than maidservant of the Most High God; compare all of my writing to Scripture and seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom, for He gives it to all liberally and without reproach.