What I’ve Learned About Being a Woman While Trying to Raise Support for Bible School

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.

Underestimated.

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.

Let’s Talk about Purity Culture

**TW: sexual abuse is talked about in this post.

Hello dear readers,

I’m sorry about my infrequent posting, life is getting busier and it’s hard to always gather up my thoughts and get them out of my head and onto my laptop.

Today I wanted to talk about purity culture because even in the Lordโ€™s church, I think we have some harmful ideas and things we say about sex, virginity, our worth, and forgiveness.

I. The Problem With Our Attitude Towards Purity

โ€œWhat are your thoughts about dating someone that isnโ€™t a virgin?โ€ Iโ€™ve asked this question to a few people and a few groups, curious about what answers I would get.

“It’s not fair.

That’s the common theme of the responses.

“It’s not fair that I’ve waited and then am going to marry someone who didn’t wait and can’t share that first time with me.

Another concern people have expressed to me is about the emotional baggage a partner like that could bring.

The attitude in those statements is the real issue.

Let me set the stage for another example:

The lights in the room are dim as the speaker takes the stage, he’s holding a rose up for all to see.

“Who wants this rose?” he asks, arm extended out towards the audience of young adults and pre-teens.

A ton of people raise their hands, and proudly, the speaker leans down and hands it to one of the youth. Then, he tells them to touch it, maybe pull off a petal or two and then pass it to the next person to do the same.

He then stands and begins to compare the rose to purity. Each hand it goes through symbolizes a relationship, a kiss, sex, giving away pieces of your hearts, etc.

Finally, the rose makes it around the room and is handed back up to the speaker, torn, wilted, crumpled, and missing the majority of its petals.

โ€œWho wants this rose?โ€ he repeats like before, but unlike before, no one raises their hand. The room is silent and grim, and itโ€™s full of hopelessness because those kinds of speakers never said what they should have said to us next:

God does.

Our worth has never been found in how pure we have been sexually, it’s found in Christ and in the fact that God made us in His image.

I know purity talks such as the one I described above are to warn us, and overall I agree with the messageโ€“God created sex for marriage, going outside of Godโ€™s design is sin and we are told that in the end, those who are walking in sin will be condemned.

โ€œMarriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.โ€œ-Hebrews 13:4

However, I think so often we focus on the โ€œdonโ€™t fall shortโ€ which should be something we strive not to do because we are told to walk in the light, that we forget the โ€œif youโ€™ve fallen shortโ€ .

Ephesians 5:3 tells us that there should not even be a hint of sexual immorality among us as Christians, and that is true, like Joseph in Genesis 39:12, we need to always flee from sin.

When the adulterous woman in John 8 was brought to Jesus, He didn’t compare her to a torn rose, he didn’t call her dirty water, chewed up gum, or any of the other metaphors we use to make people feel like our worth is merely found in our bodies and physical purity.

Jesus didn’t do any of that, instead, he said to her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

So, with all this in mind, what attitude should we have?

We need to understand that sex is for inside a marriage, not outside of it, and that we shouldn’t be living in sin, including sexual sin.

However, we also need to understand that like all sin, when we repent and turn from it, that God forgives us and others. God blots out our sins (Isaiah 43:25).
We need to get rid of the idea that someone is filthy for having sex in the past because that’s not true. Sin is filthy, and we’ve all sinned, thankfully we know that there’s a way to be cleansed from our sin.

โ€œBut if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.โ€-1 John 1:7

II. The Ones We Hurt With This Attitude

Now that we’ve talked about the wrong attitude that we often have when it comes to this issue, let’s talk about the people we hurt, alienate, and silence with our metaphors and purity talks that only focus on “Don’t do it”. Who do we hurt when we misplace worth with sexual purity?

a. The Survivors

What message are we sending to victims of sexual abuse?

What do they hear when they listen to sex talks or overhear conversations about how it’s unfair to the people who have stayed pure to date or marry someone with a sexual past?

Do they hear that they have lost their worth? That their “baggage” is not fair to their future partner and will be a burden?

It’s terrible. When people compare sexuality to a rose losing its petals or to dirty water, or say things like: “why would you want something stale when you could eat something fresh?” I don’t think we stop to realize how awful, untrue, and damaging our words are, and that we may be speaking in front of a sister or a brother who may have had a lot of things stolen from them.

“I think it goes even beyond fear, for so many children, especially in sex trafficking. It’s feelings of self-worth. It’s feeling like, ‘Who would ever want me now? I’m worthless.’

That is what it was for me the first time I was raped. I was raised in a very religious household, one that taught that sex was something special that only happened between a husband and a wife who loved each other. And that’s how I’d been raised, that’s what I’d always been determined to follow: that when I got married, then and only then would I engage in sex.

After that first rape, I felt crushed. Who could want me now? I felt so dirty and so filthy. I understand so easily all too well why someone wouldn’t run because of that alone.“-Elizabeth Smart, a survivor who was kidnapped and raped at age fourteen

Elizabeth also went onto talk about how purity talks hurt her as someone who had gone through abuse, “I had a teacher who was talking about abstinence, she said, ‘Imagine you’re a stick of gum and when you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed, and if you do that lots of times, you’re going to become an old piece of gum, and who’s going to want you after that?”

How awful and untrue of a thing for her teacher to say, yet, sadly metaphors and allegories such as that one aren’t uncommon and are often used, even though it’s inappropriate and harmful to compare people to gum, flowers, or any other object without a soul.

b. The Forgiven

Sadly, the world is sinful, and most people who didn’t grow up in the church and converted later in their teens or adulthood aren’t virgins.

Sadly, sin and temptation are hard and even people raised in stable Christian households can stumble and fall.

However, it’s not our past that matters, it’s our present. We are not defined by our past mistakes, and I think that’s something we’re all grateful for, so why would we try to define a brother or sister on their past that has been forgiven and forgotten by God?

c. The Silent

Growing up, I knew many “silent kids” as heartbreaking as it is to write. I knew kids who were struggling with being attracted to the same gender, kids who felt guilty and lost for giving in to the sexual pressure of their significant other, and many things along those lines.

When one of my denominational preachers gave us the typical purity talk, my heart broke for the ones I knew were in the sin he screamed about, I watched as they flinched, and I quietly despaired as I realized that a lot of those kids would never speak up to get the help and support they need to go in the right direction. I silently begged the preacher to tell them about how our sins are washed away when we repent, how Rahab, a former proustite, became a direct ancestor to Jesus Christ and was mentioned for her faith in the New Testament.


Sometimes we pounce on issues such as this one and just scream “Sin!” and that is the truth, but we forget the important and needed “if”

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”-1 John 1:9

III. The Conclusion

We have been shown time and time again in the Bible that there is hope and forgiveness, and we should never forget that when it comes to ourselves or anyone else.

If you are struggling with a sin that falls under sexual immorality, or if you have committed one in the past, you are not lost. You are not broken beyond compare. Your worth isnโ€™t gone because itโ€™s always been in Christ.

โ€œDo you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.โ€

This is the message repeated in most of the purity talks and books I have listened to and read and itโ€™s usually the overall tone of the message, but itโ€™s not the end of the verse.

โ€œAnd such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.โ€-1 Corinthians 6:9-11

And such were some of you.

Past tense.

How powerful is that?

โ€œTherefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.โ€-2 Corinthians 5:17

Dear Sister, Wait, Don’t Settle

Hey guys, it’s February and you know what that meansโ€ฆ here comes the onslaught of blog posts about being single and sad.

 Those articles have good points, being single can feel sad at times, especially for us girls because it’s normal for us to have a need to be needed, that’s natural. God created us to be helpmeets, that desire in itself isn’t wrong. God did look at Adam and say: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him”(Genesis 2:18). It isn’t a sin to hope and pray for something good that God created for a reason.

But, let’s talk about the flip side of that desire… Let’s talk about desperation and making sure that we don’t give into that.

No one is perfect, as the twitter quote I read once so beautifully put: “everyone is a mess, pick your favorite train wreck and roll with it.”

However, sometimes I see girls following this advice too much, and with valentines coming up, I’m here to give you my “Don’t Lower Your Standards, RAISE THEM” Ted Talk (I wrote a whole post about my standards that you can read here).

Yes, no one is perfect, I’m not talking about turning someone down because of a quirk or two, a different hair color than what you dreamed of at twelve, or any other superficial thing, but I am talking about the important things.

Things that should be an immediate deal breaker.

Look, I get it. I was single for eighteen years, and you start to feel some pressure to find “the one”. I watched some of my friends meet their “prince charming” even if he only stayed charming for a few months.

It gets lonely at times, and sometimes you wonder if you’ll be alone forever.

You’re watching other couples get married and settle down, you’re watching other people live the dream you’ve had since forever, and now you’re wondering if it will ever come true for you.

Then, you meet a guy.

Finally! You breathe a sigh of relief.

Ok, maybe he’s not Mr. Right, but he’s Mr. Okish or he’s Mr. Potential, and he’s promising you that he’ll get better, he’s promising you that he’ll make you happy. That’s honestly all you really want, you just want to drop the tough act and throw yourself into someone’s arms.

And sometimes, you do just that, against better judgment that you honestly should have had.

Especially if they weren’t a Christian, and I know I just stepped on a few toes, maybe even stomped on some of yours, but here’s the thing:

If he isn’t a man of God, he also isn’t your man.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?”-2 Corinthians 6:14

I’ve listened to enough people vent and cry to me after their breakups, and I can tell you that they all say the same thing when it comes to this:

“But Grace, they were perfect. They were everything I wanted and needed. The only thing was that they weren’t a Christian, but they were so close. They told me they wanted to convert. They were going to…”

No.

Stop clinging onto the examples of couples that were unequally yoked at the beginning that made it through.

Listen to me: we really only hear about the success stories in life.

No one wants to tell you that they failed. No one wants to let you know that they tried something which crashed and burned. You won’t be hearing all of the stories about how painful and terrible it was, but that’s what the majority of these relationships are. I know because I’ve watched it.

Get someone who can stand beside you on your beliefs, you want a partner that can fight with you for the Lord, not against you and the Lord.

The real question is: why would you want to date someone who is not running the race you are running? How discouraging would that be?

I’d rather be alone forever. I’ll invest in ten cats.

Wait, dear sister. Don’t settle for a man that isn’t a man of God.

Also, don’t settle for someone if:

  • He’s where you’re searching for your identity

You won’t find it in him.

One time, I told my dad about a compliment a guy had given me and he told me to next time congratulate them on having working eyes.

My dad had a good point, that compliment was superficial and meant nothing because any random guy can look at you and call you pretty, but as the quote, I saw on Pinterest the other day said, “Art is still art even when someone stops admiring it.”

Imagine what it would look like if everyone just dated the first random person that validated them, things would get messy fast.

Girl, that boy is not God. He’s not even your husband. Stop searching for purpose in other flawed humans. You won’t find it. Another insecure and imperfect person isn’t going to fill the void in your heart.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”-Ephesians 2:10

Seek God first and foremost, that’s where your purpose and identity has always been.

I have a few more posts going more in-depth on this if you care to read them:

You Might Not Get Married, and That’s Ok

Two Truths About Your Worth

Waiting for a Relationship

(this post is funny to me because right after I wrote it, I faced a new obstacle: having options but still choosing to wait because they weren’t good options).

I Know You Just Want To Be Somebody This Holiday Season and I’m Here to Tell You That You Are

  • He’s not transparent

“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”
-Proverbs 10:9

Something was sketchy about one guy I was talking to last summer… I did some digging and found some unsavory things. When I confronted him about what I found, one of the first things he told me was: “I’m so sorry you had to find out that way.”

After a long discussion and a very tearful evening, I ended things because of a still present sin in his life. He told me that he was going to focus on getting his life back together and I pray he’s doing just that.

Trust me, sister, you don’t want a guy to say the words: “I’m sorry you had to find out that way.” to you.

If someone has a past or something they’re struggling with, you don’t want to find out after stalking their social media, running into their ex, their old friends, or when they have a breakdown about it months into your relationship.

A relationship takes teamwork, and teammates need to communicate, and if this guy you’re talking to isn’t doing that and isn’t willing to improve, that’s something you need to rethink.

Before I was dating my now-boyfriend, my mom asked me why I was interested in him, and one of the things I told her was that he is transparent. From the get-go, he’s never wavered from being open and having harder conversations with me. It was one of the first things I noticed and appreciated about him. Truthfully, it would have been easy for him to omit some things when we were talking, and I probably wouldn’t have been any wiser, but he didn’t, even though I know it was very nerve-wracking and hard for him at times to put himself out there like that.

I know that’s the type of guy I want to be with, and that’s the type of person we all should be. Don’t date someone who won’t be transparent and honest with you.

  • He’s not seeking to guard your heart

I am reminded of the woman in Proverbs 7 who gets a man to commit adultery with her. What struck me when I got to the end in verse 27 when it describes how her house is a way to hell and her bedroom to is leading him to death, is how this woman did not care for this man’s soul, only her selfish desires.

This should be a lesson for us too. Girls, not only do we not want to be like that woman, but we don’t want to date a male version of her. We do not want to give our hearts to someone who is going to be selfish and who isn’t going to care about your soul, your relationship with Christ, or your purity. The right guy is going to help you guard your heart. He knows the value you hold as a child of God and because he wants to honor God as much as you do. He will know the preciousness of your heart. Wait for that guy, don’t date guys who are going to try to manipulate you and ask or pressure you to compromise.

  • He’s never wrong

Have you ever met a person who never says “sorry”? That person, who, even if Google says they’re wrong, they’ll call every article on there false? Don’t date him. There’s something to be said for humility and the ability to reevaluate your past beliefs and decisions and admit that you were wrong. That’s how we grow.

A man who is never wrong is also never learning.

  • He’s not headed in the same direction as you

This one can go back to number one on this list especially, but it also applies to many other things. The other day, I was listening to a random YouTube video where they had compiled all these answers that people had given when the question “what do you regret not talking to your partner about before marriage?” was asked. The fact that so many people never talked about children, parenting style, money management, etc. was crazy to me.

In the same way, I would even say getting into an official relationship with anyone before you know what they want in life and what some of their top priorities are isn’t wise. If you’re not dating to get married, you’re simply dating to break up.

I could go on and on, and we’d be here all day.

Girl, you want someone who is going to love you, cherish you, protect you, be honest with you, be dependable, someone who will grow with you, and someone who is already on the same path to heaven with you.

I’d rather you and I spend Valentine’s day and every other day for the rest of our lives alone than with someone who falls short of those things.

It’s not worth it.

Please, don’t settle.

There’s no such thing as the perfect man, but there are godly ones, there are ones who are true.

He’ll make mistakes. You might meet him and discover that he’s made a ton of mistakes in the past, maybe even some that still haunt him. Yet, he will have the character, the strength, and the love for the Lord in him to admit when he’s been wrong and to move forward, and to keep striving to be the man of God he was made to be.

You won’t be left wondering if he loves the Lord or if he’s sincere, he will easily prove it to you with everything he does.

The right guy is going to treat you with honor and with respect. He will protect you because he knows your value as a woman of God, and he’ll want to help you reach your full potential. He won’t pull you down. The right guy will help lead you to Christ daily.

This is a guy worth waiting for, don’t you dare settle for any less.