Processing the Injustice


Today I have been unable to process my thoughts without getting emotional. So much hate. So much death. So much misunderstanding. So much injustice. So much pride.

I have seen way too many people say things like,

“I have black friends and no one treats them any different than they do me. Racism is some hyped up issue the news has created.”

“Women are being treated as equal to men. I don’t know any women who aren’t making as much money as a man, or are treated badly by their husband, or not allowed to teach at their church. I also don’t see any women being prostituted by men. They chose that life.”

“Well, I have gay friends and I don’t ever see them being treated badly by anybody, much less Christians.”

Wake up. Just because you don’t see it or it isn’t happening in your perfect circle of the world doesn’t mean racism, gender inequality, homophobia, or whatever else isn’t real and happening. I don’t personally see (hardly any) racism in my life because 85% of my family and friends are white. I don’t see gender inequality very often in my own life because I go to a church and have friends that believe in equal opportunities for men and women in church, marriage, and society. I also don’t know anyone personally who is gay and being targeted by a religion and being hated.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

This week 2 black men were murdered by police for no reason other than they were black, these are only the ones that made the news…who knows how many more there are. This week women all over the world are being treated as sex slaves, as subservient to men, not being allowed to preach in churches, being stuck in unhappy marriages to men who treat them like servants. In the last month, 50 gay men and women were killed in a religious hate crime. An unconscious woman was raped by a white male and the dude walked away with a 3 month prison sentence. Hatred, bigotry, racism, gender inequality, homophobia, abuse of women, white privilege, and hatred of Christians and Muslims is real and none of it is okay. Saying these things are not a big deal or made up because you don’t see them in your small part of the world, is not okay. Jesus did not and does not close His eyes to the injustices of the world.

Today my heart aches. It grieves. I feel all the things today. My heart goes out to the black community and longs for the day when we will all truly be considered equal by everyone. My heart is saddened for the gay community who feel terrified because of what happened in Orlando. My heart grieves for the women who are being abused, mistreated, and/or pushed down by men, even men with good intentions. My heart aches for the religious people who keep getting silenced and called hateful things for believing what they believe and mocked for believing in someone they cannot see.

This world needs more love. This world needs us to come together and take care of each other regardless of race, gender, or social status. We should be mourning with those who mourn. Rejoicing with those who rejoice.

So, today I mourn with the multitudes. I ache for the injustice.

Win 1 of 3 Copies of “God’s Feminist Movement” by Amber Picota


51ir8Wi7s8L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Time for another giveaway! The book is God’s Feminist Movement by Amber Picota with Destiny Image Publishers. 

This book does not hit bookstores until mid-July but I am giving 3 copies away before the book releases! If you would like to enter to WIN 1 of the 3 copies follow the directions below.

Winners chosen on June 22nd.

(I ask that if you win the book please read it and write a review for Amber on Amazon)

  1. Like my Facebook Page Here or over on the facebook box on the right sidebar. If you have already “liked” my page please comment on either this post or on the page and let me know you would like to enter)
  2. Like Amber’s Facebook Page Here

Note: I will be pulling the winners from my Facebook Page likes (It shows the likes in order so I will know who entered or you can comment on the Facebook post! 

       That’s it!

Below is the back cover text so you can understand more of the books content:

Has Christianity kept women trapped in the stone age? In many ways, yes; but this is not by God’s design. As society offers women opportunities to explore outer-space and govern nations, the church often stifles and limits them.

The tide is changing, though.

Amber Picota’s God’s Feminist Movement is a new covenant manifesto calling women to embrace their true identity in Christ and fulfill their destiny as revolutionaries who shape the course of history with the Kingdom of God. There is a powerful new feminist movement emerging in the body of Christ. It’s not politically driven and it’s not being championed by an uprising of angry “man-haters.”

Based on an intense study of Scripture, factoring in historical and contextual hermeneutics and original languages, Picota shares a practical, non-legalistic, and non-traditional (yet deeply Biblical) look at topics that women commonly face, such as:

  • Dating and Modesty
  • Female Leaders in the Church
  • Submission in Marriage
  • Beauty and Self-Image

Celebrate the power and beauty of womanhood. God has given you permission to change the world—by being you!

Break off religious traditions that keep women trapped in “old school” legalism and move beyond Christian clichés that minimize a woman’s true position in Christ!

 

I am Not Sexy.


made in His image

Sexy: sexually attractive or exciting, sexually arousing

Synonyms of ‘sexy’: seductive, desirable, alluring, tempting, provocative, stimulating

Personally, I don’t want any of those words associated with me.

We live in a society that uses the words “sexy” and “hot” to describe women, define women, and determine women’s status. As early as middle school we see girls starting to get their periods, develop breasts, and curves. At this point they are realizing boys aren’t icky anymore. Boys also start noticing these things around the same time. They are trained at a young age to desire ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ girls, and to determine a girl’s value based on her looks. Girls are given numbers between 1-10 that determine their worth based on their looks and sex appeal. Girls are taught by this system that their looks, body, and sex appeal determine how valuable they are. Girls who rate low on this demeaning scale tend to get bullied, and are made to feel ‘less than’ next to the “pretty” girls.

There is a group of 16-year-old girls I know very well and have had conversations with about their value, worth, and self-esteem. One day I was talking with them and one of a man viewthe girls ended up in tears. She poured out her anger about how she wasn’t one of the pretty girls at school and people were mean to her because of that. Another girl shared a similar story, that she was bullied because she was on the heavier side. The next girl shared that boys (and even other girls) told her that she was too skinny and needed to get some curves. I felt sick. These sweet, innocent, intelligent, amazing girls were so wrapped up in their looks and having a boyfriend because society had taught them that that was the most important thing about them.

Hollywood, and media in general, have created this culture. To say that I hate it would be an understatement. How many times have you watched this movie: the stunning, flawless popular girl has boys flocking to her while the plainer, less fashionable girl is an outcast. The plain, frumpy girl’s life only becomes complete after a top to bottom makeover and the boy of her dreams finally notices her. This is the message women have shoved down their throats: if we want men to notice us then we need to be sexy and wear clothes that show off our bodies. It is only when men start to notice us that life feels complete. #Gag #Lies

Our society is saturated in an inescapable sex culture. You go to the mall and Victoria’s Secret has barely covered models with flawless bodies all over their windows, there are signs advertising anything and everything using women in seductive poses, and there are scantily clad women selling everything from chocolate to shoes. Men are immersed in this lie that women are sex objects from the day they start puberty and realize girls aren’t gross anymore. Boys as young as 10 (maybe younger) are watching pornography and being influenced to believe that women are objects, something to acquire and use. Men are taught that they can manipulate a girl into doing what they want by calling them ‘sexy’ or ‘hot’ and get away with bad behavior by feeding a woman’s need to feel attractive, valued, and wanted. 

At a young age girls are taught by society that looks are everything. Music and movies teach women to “use their womanly wiles” (aka sex appeal/looks) to get ahead in their jobs, get men to do what they want, etc. This is a disgusting and degrading practice that many women play into because they don’t understand that their value doesn’t come educated womanfrom a man. We, as women, are taught by society that our only power lies in our looks and sex appeal. Our society is not teaching and empowering women to use their intelligence and their education to obtain their goals. An educated, smart woman is a rare thing to see praised in our society and that is a shame. God gave women brains and intelligence that is equal to that of men and we are just as capable and just as deserving of respect. Women in the workplace should never feel that they have to use their body to get ahead in their careers. Women are so much more than than high heels, a low cut shirt, or a short skirt.

When I was in 8th grade there was this boy named *Nick. Nick was 2 years older than me, and the most attractive thing my 14-year-old brain could imagine. Our classes were on a field trip to Ellis Island and we ended up sitting across the aisle from each other on the bus. He flirted with me for the entire bus trip and made a few comments about my body, which was pretty curvy. I was a young teenager and was soaking up the attention. I felt like I was worth something because such a good looking guy was paying attention to me. While walking around Ellis Island, Nick kept putting his hands around my hips and trying to hold my hand. Thanks to my half Puerto Rican genes, I had some pretty defined curves for a 14-year-old girl. Throughout the day he mentioned a few times how ‘sexy’ my curves were. I didn’t understand what the word ‘sexy’ really meant but I knew that when guys used it in the movies it always made the girl feel really good…so I was pleased with the word being used to describe me. On the bus ride home Nick and I ended up sitting together, in the dark. I remember Nick trying to touch me inappropriately. I was too scared to let anything happen, thankfully he respected that. It was partially because I was super innocent and had never had a boy notice me sexually before and partially because purity culture had hammered into my head the importance of virginity and not letting boys touch me lest I lose those imaginary flower petals wherein my value was held. Luckily, a teacher noticed how uncomfortable I was and made him move. My young, teenage brain thought attention like that was not just normal but what every girl wanted – to feel pretty and sexy and to have a guy notice.

Fast forward to 10th grade. I was attending a Christian school and there was a boy named *Jack. Jack was popular, an athlete, and we had become good friends that year. After a school program, Jack and I were talking and he said to me, “Sier bear (his nickname for me), if you were thinner I would totally date you.” That one statement devastated me and the repercussions of that one comment followed me well into my adult life. I felt disgusting and I hated my body even more than I already did. I struggled with body hatred and self-image issues for years all because of that one comment. From that day on, until just 2 years ago, I began to define my self-worth based on whether or not a guy found me beautiful.

Jump forward 11 years, to age 27. I was at a local bar celebrating a good friend’s birthday. I had just gone through a really terrible break up and wasn’t really following Jesus at the time. One guy in particular had been talking with me all night and at one point he said, “Da** girl, you are sexy as hell”. While part of me wanted to slap him in the face, the other part of me enjoyed being noticed. ‘Sexy’ to me was a word I had always associated with models and girls who were incredibly gorgeous. It sounded like a compliment but felt degrading. I felt good on the surface but inside I felt gross and objectified.

Objectify: to degrade to the status of a mere object

I had spent most of my life believing that my self-worth was tied to how men saw me. How many women believe that? How many women spend their lives feeding off what men think about them? Sexy is one of the most degrading words a man can use to describe a woman.  Why? Because, if you read the definition above, it implies that our value is attached to how sexually appealing we are.  Our value and worth have nothing to do with whether or not a man finds us sexy or sexually appealing. I don’t ever want a man to look at me like that. It is not a compliment to be viewed as a sexual object, which is exactly what the word ‘sexy’ implies.

A while back I posted a selfie on Facebook and a man I don’t know very well commented using the words “sexy and hot”. He genuinely thought he was not complimentscomplimenting me. However, I felt awkward and slightly disrespected. ‘Sexy’ and ‘hot’ float in the same pool of words that I hate men using to describe women. Again, those words are used to sum up a woman’s worth in her sex appeal and I ain’t all about that life. Not even kind of.  A friend saw the comments and texted me, “By the way, you are beautiful. And you deserve to have men treat you with absolute respect. I felt like cyber punching someone today on your behalf. That was so inappropriate and disrespectful.” I was glad I wasn’t the only one who read that and felt it was degrading. Yes, the comments were deleted.

As a teenager and young adult I felt stuck between two ideas. I had tied my self-worth to the purity culture teaching of virginity being my ultimate gift and I spent years protecting that. (You can read about that journey here). I had also tied my value to how appealing I was to men, if they found me attractive or not. I was a full on mess trying to figure out what in the heck defined me. Thankfully, Jesus has brought me to a place where I know whose I am and where my value truly lies.

Don’t hear me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a person sincerely paying you a compliment by telling you that you are beautiful, pretty, or gorgeous…receive the compliment, but don’t let that determine how you feel about yourself. Do not let that define your worth.

Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

fearfullyMy worth comes from the fact that God created me with His own hands. He took the time to form me and knit me together. The creator of the universe, the galaxies, the heavens…He made ME! My value is found in the fact that God says I am priceless. He calls me daughter. He calls me wonderful. He says I am accepted. He says I am a temple for His Spirit! I must be pretty valuable to Him if He sent His Spirit to live inside of me. David refers to himself as “wonderful” because he is one of God’s works, and so are you. It is good to have a healthy view of yourself. You SHOULD love yourself, you should value yourself – God sure does!

1 Corinthians 6:20, “For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I don’t think it is glorifying to God to use our bodies to gain attention from men. It was never in God’s plan. My priority should never be to dress a certain way or use my body in such a way as to gain a man’s attention. I am far more valuable and worth more than that. But, so many women believe that that is all they are because our culture has told them that since they were young! I was never designed to be an object, but a woman with feelings, a soul, a heartbeat, a brain, and talents…my outward beauty is just a bonus. I want a man (my future husband) to see my outrageous love for God, my heart of compassion, my love for people, my brain that is wired to love learning, and my heart for worship all before he focuses on my outward appearance.

It is time we teach our daughters and the women around us that they are more than a pretty face and a nice body. That having a man does not define them. Too many women look to men to tell them how valuable they are. Too many women are sleeping with men in order to feel wanted or desired. That makes my heart and God’s heart sick. Women were not created for men’s pleasure. Too many women are being used, raped, trafficked, prostituted, and enslaved by men. Too many women are dancing on poles and selling themselves on the street because they don’t understand how much value they have. Too many women are staying in abusive relationships because they don’t think they deserve better. Too many women are being date raped by men who just want sex. Too many women are being sexually assaulted by men who think women are here to satisfy them. Too many women are being sold into sex slavery by men who have sickening views of women.

Enough is enough. We have to begin teaching young girls to love and respect themselves, to cherish themselves, and to look to the One who created them and who so much moresays they are incredible, wonderful, and special. We have to break this mindset that teaches men that women are here to serve them, that women were created as subservient to men. Men who view women as subservient or inferior tend to believe that women were created for men and even warp Scripture to back that claim up.

We have to teach girls that they are allowed to be strong, independent, and opinionated women.That is it okay to have a voice, to be smart, and to be leaders. I have seen too many women believe the lie that society has taught them that they NEED a man. I am all for marriage, seriously, I’ve been asking Jesus for a good husband myself. But, I don’t believe in marriage defining me as a woman. If I never get married I will not be any less valuable, I will not be any less worthy of love.

I am not saying living in this culture is easy for men. I wouldn’t want to be a man in our American culture. Men, now more than ever, have sex in their faces at every turn. Movies, music, and advertisements tell men that women are for sexual pleasure, to boost their ego’s, and to serve them. We live in a society that praises a man for “bagging” a girl. That in itself makes me want to vomit. “Bagging”…like she is something to be added to a man’s roster, another number on his list of sexual conquests. Men are taught that they have a sex drive that is uncontrollable and that women are here to help satisfy their need and desire for sex. I wrote in a past post a little about this. I stated, If a man is objectifying a woman wearing a short skirt we are told that if the girl hadn’t worn a short skirt the guy wouldn’t have looked–this puts all of the responsibility on the woman (like she was asking to be objectified) and makes men look like brainless, sex driven sheep (which, they are definitely not)…this scenario says less to me about the woman than it does about the man. “

I write to the fathers…I implore you to love, cherish, and adore your daughters. Tell them they are beautiful, talented, special, and worthy of love. A father’s love and adoration, or lack thereof, can make or break the way a girl sees herself and even how she will let boys treat her. Fathers, you are the most important man in your daughter’s life. Don’t check out when they hit puberty and start developing into a woman. Stay connected; teach them the difference between a good man and a guy who just wants to use them.

not flowersWe need to teach boys that girls are people, not objects.

We need to teach boys that girls are their equals, not subservient.

We need to teach boys that they ARE in control of and responsible for their sex drives, their minds, and their eyes.

We have to teach girls how valuable and worthy of love they are simply because they are human and made in the image of Almighty God.

We need to tell girls they are more than enough just as they are.

We have to stop shaming women into being skinny or into getting procedures to change the way they look so that men will find them more attractive.

We need to tell girls that outward beauty isn’t lasting. Their mind, their strength, their humor, their hearts…those things will last; those matter more than their outward appearance.

We need to teach girls that God created them perfectly. That their beauty isn’t determined by whether or not a man says so.

We need to teach women that their value and worth do not increase or decrease based on a man’s opinion.

We need to teach girls to respect themselves and to love themselves, flaws and all.

My challenge is this…how can you, as a man or woman, help? How can you be one who helps break the lies society has placed in men’s minds that they are slaves to their sex drives? How can you help break the mindsets that women are sexual objects? How can you help young girls understand their value and worth? How can you help young boys learn how degrading words like “sexy” and “hot” really are? How can you teach men and women to mutually respect and honor each other’s bodies?

Think about it…leave comments in the section below or on the post on social media! I want to hear what you think!

appearance

*Special thanks to my best friend Sierra Irizarry for spending almost 3 hours helping me with the proofing, editing, and writing process. You are my favorite.

 

WIN a FREE Copy of Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey


JF

I am giving away 2 copies of Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey.

This is a book that has changed my life and I want to get it in the hands of other women and men!

How to enter:

  1. Like my Facebook Page HERE or over on the right sidebar.
  2. If you already follow me on Facebook please comment on my Facebook page under the post about this giveaway!
  3. Subscribe to my blog (over on the right side of your screen)
  4. Share this post on your social networks
  5. On June 9th I will choose 2 winners and notify the winners via Facebook message.
  6. After receiving the winners addresses I will send each winner a copy of Jesus Feminist via Amazon Prime.

Note: I ask that you please be sure to do all 4 steps.  I will be pulling the winners from my Facebook Page “Likes” and my Blog Subscribers!

Here is a brief summary of this incredible book:

Written with poetic rhythm, a prophetic voice, and a deeply biblical foundation, this loving yet fearless book urges today’s church to move beyond man-made restrictions and fully welcome women’s diverse voices and experiences.

Gender roles have been debated for centuries, and now Sarah Bessey offers a clarion freedom call for all who want to realize their giftedness and potential in the kingdom of God. Through a thoughtful review of biblical teaching and church practices, Bessey shares how following Jesus made a feminist out of her. (From Amazon)

My Experience with ‘Purity Culture’ and what I Have Learned


flowers and boxes_Fotor.jpg

We live in a culture that is drenched in sex…it is EVERYWHERE. And, it is mostly women that are used to sell anything and everything with sex/sex appeal. Huge billboards with women seductively eating chocolate, women music artists wearing little to no clothing to sell their CD’s, magazine covers with scantily clad women. Women singers sing songs about using sex and their body to keep a man interested. We live in a society that teaches women that our value is determined by whether or not men find us sexy, if a man wants to sleep with us. Our identity as women gets wrapped up in men– finding a husband, not being a temptation to men, saving our virginity for our husbands, dressing modest to not cause men to sin, being a good wife, etc etc. Our value and self-worth are often found in men because we have been (indirectly) told that’s where it will be found.

Please stay with me and hear my heart…I urge you to not check out as you continue reading. I absolutely believe in the importance of, and Biblical idea of, saving sex for marriage. I completely believe in modesty. I understand why we teach girls that sex outside of marriage brings baggage and that it can cause unwanted pregnancies, disease, and other things. I am a believer that sex IS a big deal. What I want you to consider is the idea that our value as women has absolutely nothing to do with virginity or sex, and has nothing to do with this “ultimate gift” for a husband…which is an idea purity culture has tried to impose on women. I want you to consider a different approach to talking with girls about sex, worth, and virginity. Purity culture promotes virginity, saving sex for marriage, dressing modestly, and being a Godly example of a woman (all things I am for) but a lot of these teachings are centered around reasons I don’t agree with.

menIf a man is objectifying a woman wearing a short skirt we are told that if the girl hadn’t worn a short skirt the guy wouldn’t have looked–this puts all of the
responsibility on the woman (like she was asking to be objectified) and makes men look like brainless, sex driven sheep (which, they are definitely not)…this scenario says less to me about the woman than it does about the man.  I understand modesty and believe in women dressing in a way that is honoring to God, but who sets that standard? Who decides what is modest? What may be OK for me to wear may not be OK for the next woman. It is not my job to control a man’s thoughts or his eyes or to tell another woman how she should dress. Men are fully capable of looking and not allowing it to go past that in their minds, that is called SELF-control. Maybe society has taught men that their sex drives are uncontrollable and men have been manipulated into believing they are slaves to it. Your value as a woman is not placed in how you dress, how much of your body you can cover, or the label of being a modest woman. The subject of modesty is one I am praying through/seeking Scripture on right now and will be posting a blog on at a later time.

While our American culture pushes sex and wraps a woman’s identity in it,  we have the Christian community going hardcore trying to teach women the opposite. But, are we really? Are we really teaching girls their identity has nothing to do with sex and virginity?

Purity culture puts a lot of pressure on girls. Some common beliefs are:

  1. It is a girl’s job to not be a temptation for a guy
  2. It is a girl’s responsibility to dress modestly so as not to be a stumbling block/distraction for boys, or (my favorite) keep them from sinning.
  3. It’s the girl’s job to say “no” to sex because boys are wired differently and it is harder for them to say no.
  4. If you have sex before marriage you will have nothing to offer your husband on your wedding night.
  5. It is your job to value and protect your virginity from boys.

As a teenage girl in the early 2000’s I grew up hearing talks and attending youth conferences where I was taught the importance of purity and virginity, dating and boys. I remember teachings comparing purity to flowers…where I was taught that the more a girl lets a guy touch, kiss, (or God forbid do anything further than that) her that it was like a flower whose petals were being ripped off and dropped and eventually, if the girl kept on that path, she would have either a flower missing half of its petals or nothing at all to give her husband on her wedding night. I also heard the gift box analogy…that my virginity was like a treasure wrapped in a box that once unwrapped could never be wrapped up again and I would have to give my “gift” to my husband already opened. This idea basically taught me that a man wouldn’t want a gift another man had already used. So, while the world feeds us this idea that our value as women is wrapped up in sex and our sex appeal, a lot of purity culture teachings do as well.

Value: the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something

Worth: the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

I remember being 17 and feeling like it was my mission to protect myself and other girls from boys and felt it my responsibility to ensure that none of my friends in relationships were “giving their petals away” or letting any boy have access to her “gift box”.  I read books like, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “Lady in Waiting”. I was taught it was a woman’s duty to dress modestly so as to avoid distracting men or “causing a brother to stumble”. I was taught that sex was a huge deal and should be saved for marriage (which, I still believe in). I was taught that girls who had given their virginity away before marriage had less value and a true, Christian man is less likely to want a woman that had had sex with another man.

When I was 22 I met a guy at a friend’s wedding named “Brian”. Brian was a stud, he followed me around the entire night, and texted me the next two days incessantly. So, I
went out with him. We had a decent time but I was terrified to make any physical contact with him because of the “flower” I was picturing in my mind. However, we ended up kissing on the date and I was so angry at myself because I knew I wasn’t going to date him and felt like I had let myself, and God,  down. I felt the invisible petals fall off of me and the ribbon on my gift box loosen. I sat under guilt and shame for weeks, all over a minute or two of kissing…a minute or two I felt had decreased my value as a future wife.

When I was 26 I was in a relationship with a guy I was convinced I was going to marry and after being together for a while we ended up being  sexually active and eventually had sex for our entire year long relationship. I believed that since I had sex once there was no reason not to keep doing it since I had already ruined my “gift”. I believed that having sex with him showed him that I loved him.  I will never, ever forget that night. I remember telling myself I was fine. I told him I was fine. I told my best friend I was fine. 2 days later it hit me what I had done and I was keeled over in a parking love equalslot shaking with sobs and pouring out my feeling of failure through my tears. I cried for hours, feeling like I had no value or worth, and feeling as though I had broken God’s heart and disappointed Him for not waiting until marriage. I didn’t realize it until later but I had been a participant in a culture where we teach girls that sex = love and love = sex. I had fallen prey to the purity culture that taught me that my value was wrapped up in saving my virginity for only my husband. While I knew I was against sex before marriage I believed that sex was the ultimate way to share love with somebody. I had put love and sex as the same thing. Because of the various “purity culture” teachings I had grown up being infused with I had attached my value and worth to my virginity. When my “ultimate gift” was gone I felt devastated, worthless, and that I had nothing to offer my future husband anymore. I kept seeing that flower, petal-less. I saw that gift box, opened and useless. Shame, guilt, and condemnation were my constant companions for 2 years of my life.

Fast forward to the present, age 30. I have finally come to a place where I realize that my value and worth has absolutely nothing to do with sex, virginity, or a man. I have spent the last year and a half healing from a purity culture that made me feel like I was of less value and worth for not saving sex for marriage, for making a mistake I couldn’t take back. The “petals” and “boxes” I was taught about created fear in me and a performance driven relationship with God. I found my identity in being a virgin amidst the numerous girls I was friends with who were not. Purity culture did not give me a sense of self-value or self-worth, and rarely pointed me back to Jesus —the One who holds my identity, my being.

My value and worth come completely from my identity as a daughter of a King, a beloved child, a woman who was created by hands that lovingly and carefully formed me. My value and worth come out of the knowing that nothing I can do can separate me from Christ and that He is always for me and never against me. He is my source, my heart’s One true love, and His desire is always for me.

The idea that a girl’s value and worth has anything to do with sex is a lie. My value hasvalue.png not decreased one iota because I had sex outside of marriage. Yes, it created some hardships and baggage, but my worth and value has NEVER decreased. Purity culture teaches the importance of virginity, which is great. But, what I see lacking is teaching girls their worth and that it has nothing to do with sex, virginity, boys, or any of that. We teach about the flower petals and gift boxes, and teach impressionable girls that the more they do with boys the less valuable
they become. This is an absolute lie that I believed for most of my teen and adult life. It is time we stop comparing girls to flower petals and gift boxes and teach them how strong, capable, worthy of love, and valuable they truly are just because of who they are and not what they have to offer a man.

I have met a lot of teen and young adult girls who have had sex and nothing to do with.jpgregretted it. Many of these girls lost their self-worth with their virginity. Many of these girls picked up the idea that they had already given their ‘greatest gift’ away so it wasn’t a big deal anymore. This makes my heart extremely sad. We need to let girls who have had sex know that their value hasn’t changed and that there is a wonderful Father who created them perfect and loves and adores them as is.

So, my conclusion is this:

I will never teach my daughters, or other girls, these flowers and gift box lessons.

I will teach my daughters, and other girls, how amazing, valuable, and worthy of true love they really are.

I will teach my daughters that their value and worth have nothing to do with a man.

I will teach them how much God adores them and that He created them to change the world.

I will never make my daughters feel that their value is attached to sex or their virginity.

I will teach them the importance of why sex should be saved for inside the bonds of marriage and what Scripture says about it.

I will allow them to fall so in love with Jesus that they choose self-respect and self-love.

I will teach my daughters that they have more to offer their husband, so much more than just their virginity.

My daughters, and any other girls I can reach, will never be scared or guilted into waiting for marriage but will, hopefully, choose to wait because of their relationship with Jesus.

I want women to wait until marriage because they recognize their own value and the worth that God has placed on them.

You are priceless. You are valuable.

Sex, virginity, and men have absolutely nothing to do with it.

 

 

 

 

 

Why I am a Christian Feminist and Honor and Respect Men


50.jpg

Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Egalitarianism: of, relating to, or believing in the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities.

Equity: the quality of being fair and impartial.

Recently I have been doing a lot of research on feminism and egalitarianism. The more I learn the further I lean toward both of these ideas and I am pretty nervous to post a blog (my first) about this subject. 

created to change the world.jpgAs women we are working toward equality but I think we sometimes forget (in our passion and longing for change) that that doesn’t mean dominating or trumping men or thinking less of our husbands or men in general. About a month or so ago I started posting about my beliefs in feminism and egalitarianism…Within a week of me starting to post on Facebook and Twitter about my belief in equality of men and women in marriage and church, I started to see an increase in other peoples status’ about honoring and respecting their husbands and their place as the head of the marriage, and women not being allowed to be pastors or over a man in any way. Obviously this is a touchy subject and one many women misunderstand. Feminism and Egalitarianism is not about disrespecting or belittling husbands or men in their roles in marriage or the Kingdom. Not even a little.

However, in my studies I have come across a lot of blogs of women calling for equality, yet, spend half of the blog belittling and talking down on men. I have seen women, in the name of feminism, walk all over men to make a point. I have seen women standing for equality and equity, in marriage and church, demean and disrespect men. This makes my heart sad. That is not true feminism, nor is it pleasing to God’s heart.

respect.jpg

This blog is not to yell at women, not at all, but to remind women of the importance of respecting, loving, and treating men as equals just as we want them to treat us. The loudest voice in the room is rarely the most respected, normally the most obnoxious. In our fight for equality we must remember to be honoring and kind, we must remember to treat men the way we want to be treated. If we are going to fight for gender equality then we have to treat men as our equals, not something to dominate or overpower. I believe Jesus would want us, as women, to honor and respect His sons just as He wants His sons to respect and honor His daughters. I think a lot of women don’t even know how bitter their words sound, or how angry their comments come across on Facebook. Why would men want to join a “movement” fighting to bring women  equality if they don’t feel honored and respected by women? If women are spouting off in anger and bitterness we will have a very hard time getting men on board with us.  Feminism has such negative connotations associated with it and it is our job to destroy those negatives that a handful of angry women have imposed on the rest of us. 

I see a huge shift happening in feminism and I see some incredible, Christian women on the frontlines. I see some strong and brave voices emerging from the woman camp, women who speak truth with honor and love, women teaching on feminism from a Godly perspective. Women who teach on feminism but don’t tear down men in their posts, rather talk about their importance to the cause.

I have a heart to see the feminist movement headed up by Christian women. I want to see these negative words associated with feminism erased: angry, men haters, and disrespectful. Let’s work together to bring feminism back to what it is supposed to be and speak out for equality!

I know some of you reading this may be offended or put off by the ideas of Christians being feminists and egalitarians so here are some of my favorite resources that will help you understand why Christians CAN be a Christian and a Feminist/Egalitarian and why I am both.

http://juniaproject.com/

https://charlieolivia.wordpress.com/

http://www.jorymicah.com/

http://sarahbessey.com/blog/

 

created to change the world.jpg