As most of my readers probably know by now, I am going to a Bible school starting this August. I’m super excited to learn all that I can during my time as a student.
For those who don’t know, the school I’m going to is tuition-free, however, I must pay for living expenses and supplies while not being able to work because the school is four years put into two. This meant I had to raise support, and I did! I’m so happy to have made my support.
Raising support as a girl was so stressful at times that I felt sick and went many nights without sleeping.
I’m going to share a few of the comments and remarks I’ve come across while working to find people who would support me.
I hesitated to share these because I don’t want to shame or point a finger at anybody and say “these types of people are the problem!” that’s not what I’m trying to do. I understand the point of some of these questions. I understand that most of those remarks weren’t meant to be demeaning. I understand wanting to put money in someone’s journey that will become a preacher because they’re right, I will never be a preacher or an elder.
I share these to show the discouragement I did face, even though I know the hearts of everyone who made comments along those lines were good.
I’m very grateful for the support that I have been given. My current congregation, a few other congregations, and a lot of wonderful people have come to my support. Knowing that there are people who do believe in me and my goals is encouraging and motivating to do my best as I enter the school year.
Today, I wanted to talk about what I’ve learned from trying to go to a Bible school as a girl, something that I didn’t know was looked down upon by a lot of people until I decided to become a student.
Sorry, we don’t support girls.
My first thought was, “Why?”
You would think that me saying I wanted to be the strongest Christian I could be and seeking to gain more knowledge and teaching skills would be a good thing, after all, women still teach Bible classes for kids and they teach other women, isn’t that important?
A lot of people think my ultimate goal is to be married, they are wrong, marriage is merely a side goal in the grand scheme of life, yet, wouldn’t these people want me to be ultimately equipped with Bible knowledge to teach my future kids?
Women are the main teachers of the next generation in their most impressionable stages, doesn’t that matter?
We see over and over again in the Bible how an ungodly woman can bring so much harm to her husband and the church, think Samson, Solomon, and the “Jezebel” woman harming the church in Thyatira.
Being a strong, faithful Christian is a command to all, even to women.
In light of all these things and even more, why would you discourage a girl to go to school to learn more about God’s word and how to rightly divide and teach it? Wouldn’t you encourage everyone who had the opportunity to go instead?
There’s no need for you to go to school.
To which I would ask, “Have you ever gone to a women’s class at an event?” The answer would be no because I’m talking to men and they have no clue, but trust me, there’s a need.
Going to a women’s class is typically the biggest letdown. You sit there wishing you had just snuck into the men’s who are currently having an in-depth study in the other room, as the poor, shaking woman up front reads one verse, make a surface-level application, and ask the age-old question of, “Are you usually a Martha or a Mary?”
Once again, I am not trying to shame anyone, I know a fair amount of wonderful speakers who are women, I think application from the story about Martha and Mary is good even though I’ve heard it a lot.
Yet, sadly, it’s very expected for women’s classes to be bad, and it shouldn’t be.
I’m lucky to be in a congregation where the women in it are strong and are talented speakers, but I’ve gone places where I leave thinking, “I have to learn how to speak so I can help the next generation to not sit through that.”
A negative way I would describe my experience in the church as a woman (there are MANY positives, don’t get me wrong) would be being told that I have potential, that I have a purpose, that I can be as strong of a Christian as any man, and then every class I go to directed towards my gender is about being a good wife and mother. Yes, those are important and good things that I want to learn about, but there are other things such as being faithful that I think are even greater. To be a good wife and a good mother one day, I first have to be a good Christian, but that is forgotten.
One time I was with my boyfriend and there was a stack of doctrinal books (I’m keeping this vague), and I pointed to the one book on the table that said for women on the cover, and I said, “Open that book.”
He did, it was a recipe book. Among books that gave tips for effective teaching and for studying the bible deeper on your own.
He thought it was really funny that the only book directed towards women on that table was a recipe book, and there’s nothing wrong with recipes. I think cooking is an important skill for women to have. I didn’t learn how to cook on my own until I was around sixteen and luckily my mom realized that we needed to fix that problem so I started cooking dinner at least once a week that summer if not more, and that’s how I learned to cook, it is a needed skill, don’t get me wrong.
But, I told my boyfriend that the recipe book for women alone up there among all of the deeper books for men was how it felt sometimes in the church.
Yes, this is good that I can do, but do you realize that there is even more that I’m capable of?
You are just going to be a wife.
I don’t like this one, this is probably my least favorite one because suddenly I feel so ashamed to ever want to be a wife and a mother at all.
I’m not sure if that makes sense, but sometimes marriage and motherhood feel so demeaning to me because of the overall attitudes of, “That’s all you’re good for.” and “That’s falling short on your potential.” that I am constantly torn between.
It’s the older generation’s overall attitude of,
“Only a wife and a mom.”
And my generation’s attitude of,
“Just a wife and a mom.”
Both of those are demeaning to women, and neither are correct.
I think that’s a big thing with my generation of girls, we’ve felt like we are going to be confined to only a wife and a mom, so we’ve started saying things like, “I don’t want to just be a mom.”
Yet, there’s not one person who is only or just one thing.
First and foremost, I am a Christian, I will be a Christian whether I get married or not.
Yes, one day I hope to get married, but credits don’t start to roll when you say “I do”, this is not a movie. My life and my purpose doesn’t start or end at marriage.
So, what have I learned?
I know up until this point the majority of this post is just me responding to the common remarks I get, but truthfully, these did get to me.
I have been fighting two parts of me that were supposed to be harmonized and equally important.
When I first started planning to go to Southwest, I had reached the conclusion that I would be single forever, for one, there aren’t a lot of good guys and there weren’t any in my life that I could see a future with. Another reason was to prove a point, I am valuable, whether I am dating, engaged, married with kids, or single. I have a role to play in the church no matter what.
Here’s the thing though, I like being a helper and I do want to be a stay-at-home mom one day, I’ve wanted that since I can remember.
So, here I am. There have been times that I’ve thought, “If only I was a man.” and times where I wondered if people were right and that I should just get married instead of going to Bible school, maybe they’re right that it’s a waste of time.
I suppress one part of me for the other. I leave out wanting to be a wife and a mother one day when people ask me my plans for my life because I don’t want anyone to look down on me.
I want to write books. I want to speak to fellow women. I want to reach the lost. I want to be a strong Christian. I want to be a person people know they can go to for help and prayers. I want to make an impact, a difference, to be someone who makes the world a better place even if it’s in a small way.
Yet… who said raising godly children isn’t making an impact or a difference? Who said you can’t be a strong Christian and a wife?
Who made us think that we can’t do both?
Why do I think I can’t do both?
I am not one thing.
No one is.
This year, I’ve learned it isn’t possible to just be one thing, you cannot fit in a box or a stereotype, and that’s a wonderful, beautiful part of being human, isn’t it?
God made us with so much potential and hope.
Jael, Deborah, Rahab, Esther, Mary, Priscilla, and many, many more women in the Bible prove that women aren’t just or only wives and mothers. There’s so much more to us.
Obviously, you don’t have to go to Bible school to be a strong and knowledgeable Christian, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to.
We are here to glorify God and point others to Him before anything else, and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure I am equipping myself to do that to the best of my abilities.
I’ve learned that I can be a woman and, hopefully, a strong Christian leader and a good example in my own right one day.