betrayal, love, women

Ladies: Please do NOT Breathe Fire

September 12, 2015

Girls Do not breathe fire

The drama of it all has died down so I decided to press publish on something that’s been on my heart since the Ashley Madison/Duggar ‘scandal.’ It’s amazing how passionate we can get on a topic and then the following week we’re off to something else more important.

Yet Anna Duggar isn’t somewhere else. She’s still in the same place we left her a few weeks ago. Broken hearted and not ‘breathing fire.’This is my response to the breathe fire article:

We need less fire breathers. I know it’s probably not the popular post, but seriously, it needs to be said. We’ve got lots of these kinds of women already. Breathing fire is not about knowing your worth. Breathing fire is about making sure someone knows they’ve messed it all up.

We need less reactive noise and more relational perseverance.

We need less dependency on ourselves to solve or navigate what’s at hand when we’re angry and hurt. We need truth in the church about all of this.

This isn’t some back-handed anti-feminist article and I’m not asking women to be weak. Oh heavens no. For the love of God this is not about being weak.

My heart in this situation isn’t about fire-breathing though. So what would I say differently to a daughter now that people have rallied as #firebreathers + picked up their pitchforks against these cowardly men of ours?

  • I would teach my daughter if I ever have one (and as a daughter myself) that she is strong + courageous and that she has nothing to be afraid of; even when life smacks you in the face and you don’t feel very brave.
  • I will raise her to know she’s independent, smart, loved and supported not just by the words I breathe but by the actions she sees me live my life by.
  • That she can be a mom, business woman, whatever she chooses and that she doesn’t have to go to college to make grounded and well thought out decisions for her family or for herself.
  • That I support her no matter what + that no matter what she never deserves to be abused.

I will also teach her things the world won’t say are valuable. This statement will not get me on, global online newspapers and it’s not getting shared half-a-million times. This something is not something that will go viral. That’s not why I’m writing.

My hope is that someone reads this and it resonates on a deeper level than just a reactive one. This thing will get me accused of un-healthy submission and it keeps me + other women bound in defiled marriages.

This thing I’m speaking about is:

Strength under Control. Meekness.

It’s the secret sauce ladies.

For those of you thinking “Back the truck up….” Let me go back for you.

For years I hated that word. HATED IT. Passionately. I am a fighter at heart. I was all in. Give me whatever person in a room that’s going to treat me wrong, I will not back down. I was that girl. Mama didn’t play. I’m definitely not one for lack of an opinion and growing up in church, I totally thought meekness was the weak woman’s move.

Whew, Jesus save me because I have thought a many things in the past about my fellow woman who seemed “weak” in the moment.

Why? Because meekness looks a whole lot like weakness if you’re not the person making the decisions. Words like meekness are just words until the day you get to USE them.

The day you have to use them. Then those words become this movement within your soul.

Something you get to choose to do or be when things have been decided for you in ways that are defiling, degrading, embarrassing, hurtful, shameful, and unfair.

In the moments I’ve had to use strength under control, which most times does not feel like a weapon of attack, but more of a shield to guard my wounded heart, I’ve felt more empowered than breathing fire publicly.

So why choose to be quieter versus the louder counterpart?

I became a mom.

Teeny tiny watchful eyes were looking to me to show them how to be when the world crumbles, when a day is more than just not going as expected, when someone wrongs you…they watch. They wait. They breathe slower to take in every piece of that experience.

For me, I’ve learned that quiet perseverance + and the pursuit of healing ALL the anger is valued above catchy phrases like “Dropping the mic” or “Telling in it like it is.”

I would tell a daughter that leaving in this situation at hand is not weak and that staying is equivalently not the weak move if you are seeking help that you’re both committed to.

Breathe fire inside your home, in a therapists office, with a close friend! 100% Do it. Be angry. Get it all out. It will stay inside and eat at your soul if you don’t. However, breathing fire publicly will reward you with increased anger and resentment in an already unstable situation.

I would always encourage her to make sure she has sound-minded and wise voices in her life, not emotionally charged ones. Because people get fired up over lots of things these days; not all those things are worth the emotional investment.

We go to weddings like they’re after parties and watch a commitment between two broken people being made, expecting there to be no major speed bumps. When the lights go out and the party is over sometimes it gets ugly.

Sometimes people leave. And sometimes people stay.

Many of my personal relationships and stories walk similar paths as the Duggars. It’s messy, nasty, ugly and yet, I don’t see this whole thing from a distant lens of judgment. I see the day to day; the heart piece. The fact that people struggle and they don’t want to. Genuinely don’t want to. The fact that this is a thing for our generation, more than it was in generations past.

And then this.

My entire motivation for writing this piece. If you’ve made it this far, God bless you for reading my rambled thoughts.

We not only have women to raise up, but we have men to raise as well.

My men. My two boys.

I have to be mindful as a mother, as a woman raising sons, how not to breathe so much fire that my boys stop listening to me with their hearts. Because ladies they WILL stop listening.

I will have to dive into a world of muck and filth to somehow prayerfully navigate the temptations that will follow their small lives into adulthood.

I’m painfully aware I do not get to choose their choices, but I am seeking to do everything I can to keep their hearts focused, away from major temptations that could destroy not just themselves, but their closest relationships. We pray against it as a Church and then when storms come, we are quickest to jump ship.

Leave that coward. Breathe fire. Why is Anna Duggar not breathing fire?

Is she not breathing fire because she’s not parading her anger in the streets for us to see? I mean sure, she could do that. Not one of us would blame her. But that wouldn’t help Anna.

What happens if she is harnessing her anger for the moment? I’m sure she’s devastated and wounded; So many emotions. Deep cut wounds that will be raw for a very long time. Opening at the slightest trigger she thought she’d healed. She might even feel numb.

My prayer is that she is taking care of herself how she feels most safe.

Maybe some people don’t get that. That’s okay. It’s not about you.

She’s never going to respond how everyone wants her to respond because at the end of the day, people always want things to look a certain way. How they THINK they would respond. In situations like this many people want to tell your story as they want to read it. That you need to respond ‘this’ way and then I will know you are healing, forgiven, breathing fire, whatever it may be.

That’s not real life. That’s not who we are as people. It wouldn’t be our story if someone else were controlling our responses.

So instead of telling Anna she needs to be breathing fire, why don’t we spend the time we’ve devoted to breathing fire online for her and be in actual prayer for their family.

If as many people prayed for Anna specifically instead of sharing her brokenness…. You get where I’m going with this.

So I’ll be praying for some woman named Anna Duggar, whom I don’t know because we’re all the same at some point in our stories. That my prayer doesn’t change the path she has to walk down, but it’s a semblance of support.

That her brokenness, could be yours tomorrow.

Or mine.

Or all of ours.

Would you join me in praying for Anna? Comment below or give this a share if you’ll join me.

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