I Can No Longer Say I’m A Christian

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Since I was 9 years old, being a Christian has been a defining part of my identity. My community. It was who I was. I was Krista and I was a Christian.
But this week has been a tough one as I’ve watched professing Christians, “pro-life Christians” defend evil and abhorrent immigration policies. This past year I’ve questioned a lot of things as professing Christians, “pro-life Christians” have defended evil practice after evil practice and have used God to justify supporting evil, or simply done nothing at all.
And I cannot be part of this. I will not be part of this. I refuse to be part of a culture that justifies killing innocent people, ripping families apart, racism, rape, sexism, or just being an awful human being.
Yes, I still believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. But I don’t know how I can keep identifying myself as a Christian. I cannot be part of this anymore.
xoxo
Krista
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Last Chance to Join “The Handmaid’s Tale” Virtual Discussion Groups!

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https://www.google.com/search?q=the+handmaid%27s+tale&num=50&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiklOKsio7bAhUKzIMKHQD7BO8Q_AUIDSgE&biw=1309&bih=751#imgrc=Bh7dCLP2I9VKNM:

Hey friends!

If you’re interested in signing up for “The Handmaid’s Tale” virtual discussion groups, please complete the form of interest by Friday, May 18 at 11:59 CST. I’ll be putting together the groups based on availability and sending out confirmation emails this weekend.

As a reminder, these groups will meet virtually via “Google Hangout” each week for 1 hour to discuss pre-sent questions. This will be a great way to learn from one another, especially from those you don’t normally interact with.

Although controversial topics will obviously be discussed (is there anything about the show NOT controversial?) my hope is that we can have mature, safe, learning-oriented discussions. Here’s the Link to sign up!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe6-NZq2rPzvgi9aRGI1mqc997Hc5p4ssInrY_AB9SScfk7nA/viewform

To Those Grieving on Mother’s Day: Your Pain is Real, I See You

 

Today is Mother’s Day in the United States. As my social media feeds become clogged with individuals sharing about their awesome moms, my heart actually hurts, because I know today, for so many people (including myself), is a day of deep hurt. Hurt that quickly can turn into grief, anger, and loneliness. So, I want all of you who are hurting today to know: I SEE YOU. Your pain is valid. And, I sincerely hope that in the midst of your pain and grief, you feel loved, comforted, and experience the peace that surpasses all understanding.

First, to the infertile women desiring to be mamas: I’m so, so sorry. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to see all of the handprint paintings today as the reality sinks in that, once again, you won’t be getting that painting. Your grief is deep and tough. And I really have no other comfort to offer than to say: I see you, I hear you, and you’re important.

To all the mamas who have suffered miscarriage(s): I am so sorry. Even though you may have never held your baby in your arms (or maybe you did), your child was real. It was loved, it was wanted, and it had a soul. Your pain is valid, and I apologize on behalf of anyone who may have told you that you can “just have more” or treated your situation differently than the loss of a child born alive. I am so deeply sorry.

To all the mamas who created adoption plans for their babies: I hope the grief you feel today is at times quieted by the deep peace and joy, you feel knowing how much you love your child, and how much your child is loved. You made the most difficult and sacrificial choice any parent could make, and I hope today you feel loved and supported.

To all the mamas who have lost a child, at whatever age: I am so sorry. I’m sure today, more than just about any other day in the year, you’re thinking about what your child would have looked like or what y’all would have done. Your grief is real and raw and valid and I hope you have the resources to celebrate the life of your child and grieve well.

To all the children that can’t see their mamas, for whatever reason: I am so sorry. I know, I can empathize, how difficult today is to see photos and stories of your friends with their mamas, to see them talk about their mamas, and to realize you don’t have that, and probably will never have that. I hope you can find the peace that comes with forgiveness, and although this loss will be a lifelong grieving process, I hope you find hope in breaking the abusive cycles you were subjected to. It was not your fault.

To all of the adults considering adoption: thank you, thank you, thank you! All children deserve to be loved, wanted, and missed. Whether you’re currently fostering or going through the adoption process, I want to stand up and applaud you for making the selfless decision to show another the love of Christ, and trusting God to sustain you as your heart is broken, and repaired and overflows with joy time and again.

To all the superhero women (and men!) that have taken on mothering roles to support these individuals: thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! Your love and sacrifices have forever changed the life of an individual. I know loving grieving individuals is difficult, it’s painful, and downright tiresome. But it is so, so worth it. Loving someone deeply is never a mistake.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-8

xoxo

Krista

Why Posting a Picture of Myself in a Bathing Suit Was One of the Best Accomplishments of My Adult Life

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Y’all yesterday I did something crazy. I posted a picture of myself (well, it was a boomerang video, but still). In a bathing suit (I literally just smiled as I typed that line because it is such an important accomplishment for me!). This was the result of years of therapy to overcome lies that I had chosen to believe about myself that I’d heard from culture, the purity movement, and a not-so-great boy.

Before I start this post, I have some important disclaimers.

First, yes, if you’ve been following me on social media, you’ll know that I’ve recently purchased a more “modest” bathing suit that didn’t arrive before my trip. It’s important to note that I believe our standard of modesty should be primarily about our relationship with God and not our relationship with other people. Showing 2 extra inches above my knee because my suit didn’t arrive is not rebellious or sinful, in my opinion.

Second, this is about my experiences. I fully believe that we have to allow negative thoughts into our minds and that we have to allow lies to become truth. I allowed lies to become my own truths, and I’m in no way “blaming” another person or a movement for how I viewed myself.

Why Write This Blog Anyways?
First, I want to break down the stigma that many Christians have about therapy, which allowed me to get to this point in my life.

Second, I want to be authentic as possible and encourage others that may be going through similar struggles.

My Struggle With An Eating Disorder

I remember the first time I forced myself to throw up out of disgust for myself. I was in 6th grade and felt truly ugly for the first time (yeah, 6 grade, I was 12). Many of my friends had already started middle school, and I heard about all of the “dating” relationships. Although I knew I wasn’t allowed to even really consider “dating” until I was at least 16, I still feared that I’d be rejected by my peers. And that, somehow, my ugliness or my “fatness” would keep boys away.

The funny thing about this is that, at 12 years old, no one had ever explicitly told me, “Krista, you’re fat.” I just knew that I was chunkier than my friends, and I saw my skinny friends got attention from boys that the chunkier girls did not.

Ironically, I learned about “throwing up” in health class, a class that taught about eating disorders to prevent them. I realized that I could never stop eating without my family noticing (we had sit down meals every day together) but maybe I could “sneak” in the vomiting. I’m stubborn and fiercely determined, so when I was unable to make myself vomit on the first time, I tried again and again until I succeeded. It was honestly the strangest feeling of my life: on one hand, I felt very successful: I had accomplished something I had set out to do. On the other hand, I felt overwhelming guilt and shame: I knew I’d be in trouble if my family found out, and I also felt strange that I had done something to my body, for no apparent good reason.

Over the next three years, I forced myself to throw up when I felt stressed. When I felt everything was spiraling out of control, I did it to regain control over something. It wasn’t bulemia, per se, becuase it wasn’t focused on binging and then purging, it was all about control.

In 9th grade, I was promoted from JV to Varsity soccer at the end of the season. In 9th grade, I had the best season of my soccer career and I kicked butt as a sweeper (center defender). If I was forced to choose a point in my high school career that I felt the most self-confident, it would be the Fall of my 9th-grade year. I was in 2 gym classes a day (I wanted to get those credits out of the way) with most of the athletic and older kids. We had subs for most of the class and we played soccer every day, and I was always one of the first kids picked. I still vividly remember one of the senior boys on Varsity soccer picking me first saying, “we’re going to kill it on defense.” (Isn’t it weird the things we remember?)

Anyways, when I was brought up to Varsity, all of my insecurities came flooding back. The girls were all so beautiful and athletically talented and I quickly realized that I simply didn’t look like them. My drop in self-confidence caused performance on the field to drop, and I went back to making myself throw up to regain the control. The next year, I was a nervous wreck during try-outs and did awful. Just awful. And I became the only player that had been brought up to varsity the year before to be kept as a swing player, playing mostly on JV. Once again, I became obsessed with control, and I dropped down to the lowest weight in my life and began to hate my body.

Purity Movement = Body Shaming

Around the same time, I got heavily involved with the “purity movement.” Feeling like an “outsider” at school (although looking back, I totally wasn’t) I began attending every church and youth group event. I felt “in” there. The “cool” movement at the time was the purity movement, and I got totally caught up in the broken promises.

There were various seminars or youth conferences almost monthly. And, guess what the topic of almost every conference was? PURITY! That’s right: the broken promise of how not having sex until marriage (and the less physical stuff you do, the more bonus points to you!) God will bless you with a hot husband, beautiful kids, and a perfect life.

Did the purity movement explicitly state this? No! But the authors of all of the purity books (like “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and “The Bride Wore White”) were all married with attractive spouses. Same with the speakers at the conferences. Their silent message was simple: as soon as I “gave my heart to God…He brought me THE ONE” and THE ONE also just happened to be beautiful). I so desperately wanted MY ONE that I bought in. I bought in hard.

And the funny thing about being taught NOT to focus on the physical stuff is how much more important the physical stuff becomes. Like, “you only get to hold hands with, kiss, and have sex with one person ever…for the rest of your life…until you die…” So, of course, knowing this, you want to make sure you’re attracted to the person. Even though we were told “look at the heart” we all knew that since we could only ever touch one boy, he better be cute. Likewise, boys knew they could only ever touch one girl, so she better be beautiful. And to be frank, I didn’t fit that mold. So I hated my body and threw up more.

The Boy That Loved Everything About Me, Except My Weight

When I was 17, I started seriously dating (to be honest, it was closer to a courtship though, since we were both taught that you only date to get married) a handsome, kind, Christian boy. We dated for 1.5 years and never kissed (although I remember feeling guilty deep down for even holding hands…ridiculous, I know). When we would have our deep talks about our “future” or talk about our relationship, my weight would be brought up. Once, he told me that it was “the only thing he wanted me to change about myself.” He always seemed to be focused on my health, telling me multiple times that he just didn’t want me to get diabetes and other things like that.

When I followed him to college, the focus on my weight increased. I was diagnosed with mono (funny, because it’s the notorious “kissing disease”) and was very sick my first semester. I don’t want to say “I let myself go,” but when you have mono, walking ten feet is difficult, let alone making sure your hair and makeup is done, or that I’m working out.

I remember vividly the night I knew something was just “not right.” I knew our relationship was falling apart and was so wrapped up in the lies of the purity movement and afraid to see myself as “damaged goods” that instead of amicably parting ways, I decided to “fight for it.” I was so tired that I couldn’t even do my own hair and had one of the girls in my dorm spend two hours curling my thick, long hair and picking out an outfit. I didn’t eat. When we went to the movie theater, he seemed disgusted that I got popcorn and a soda and wouldn’t touch me during the film. When we got back to school, my aunt had sent me a box of baked goods. When I opened it, he got visibly upset. stormed off, and then came back and told me how he was very concerned about my weight, and offered to make me an appointment with the nutritionist at school to talk about my “weight.” I threw out the baked goods and felt awful about myself. When the inevitable breakup happened the next month, I was devastated. He broke up with me because I was fat.  Even though there were many other good, valid reasons for the relationship to end, I let it fuel my self-hatred. I went back to throwing up until my friends caught me two years later and forced me to therapy. And, for the past six years, I have, wrongly, believed that I’m unworthy of any man’s love because of my body. Because of my ugly, fat, body.

Honestly, this has been fueled by the comments of others, too. When I opened myself to the scrutiny of the public eye four years ago, I have had my share of mean commentators. People who pick apart my weight. Not only that, but there have been multiple friends that have told me if I “really hated being single, I could just change myself to attract a man.” And I allowed those lies to sink in.

The Blessing of Therapy

I’ve been attending both faith-based and secular (with a wonderful therapist who is so supportive of my own religious beliefs) on and off for the past six years, but have really become committed to bi-weekly sessions this past year. And y’all, it’s been a Godsend.

As Christians, we need to remember first and foremost, how GOD, not man, sees us. We are wanted, we are sought after, we are beautiful. Not beautiful in the cultural sense that varies from place to place (what’s attractive in America is not attractive in other parts of the world), but instead, on the beauty that matters to God.

First, I had to recognize the dangerous lies that I had allowed to spill into my head, and that I had chosen to meditate on: my unworthiness for love, superficial values, my looks. I chose to focus on these things, instead of the things that matter to God.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Not only that, but we are reminded throughout scripture how important character is to God (I hesitated posting the 1 Tim and 1 Peter verses, because I know they have been blatantly TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT to suppress women…so please consider them in context and their ultimate meaning: that the heart of a woman should matter more to Christian men than her changing physical appearance).

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. 1 Peter 3:3-4 
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 
but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. 1 Timothy 2:9-10
She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. 
Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. 
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed. Proverbs 3:15-18
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
Before you do anything else or take these verses out of context, go read those verses IN CONTEXT! 
So these past few months, I’ve been working on changing my mindset. Instead of constantly focusing on how I look, I focus on what I’m doing. How am I serving others? What is God doing in my life?
And it’s weird, but my changing in attitude didn’t come overnight. It wasn’t a process of “puffing myself up” but instead, thinking about myself less. Thinking about the non-important things less. Yes, it’s important to be healthy. Yes, making yourself look presentable and basic hygiene are so important, but my looks should not define me. I shouldn’t want to be close to people who are more concerned about how I look than how I’m living. And. Neither. Should. You.
I don’t know your struggles, friend. But what I can tell you is: get the professional help you need to be emotionally and spiritually healthy. Doing this will allow you to view yourself in a healthy manner. Yes, you’re a sinner, but the God of the universe loves you, delights in you, and thinks you’re so, so, so worthy of love. And, so do I. And so should the people whose opinions you care about.
I wish I could tell my 21-year-old self this. My 17-year-old self. My 12-year-old self. It would have saved so much heartache. I can’t go back and tell myself that, but I can tell you.
xoxo
Krista

The Art of Tightrope Walking

Hello fellow tightrope walkers!

For the last two years, I feel like I’ve been walking a thin, wobbly tightrope, constantly fearing a wrong step, a wobble, or an unexpected wind will throw me off and push me to my demise as I attempt to balance my conservative religious upbringing with my more progressive work.

The balancing act is necessary, because to many, I am a first.

In my more conservative circles, I’m the first to go to college. The first woman to have a professional career. The first woman to wear pants. The first to have a nose ring. To that end, I’m constantly walking the fine line of being true to myself and my values, while also being clear that my personal convictions have not changed.

In my professional circles, I’m the first…I don’t want to use the word conservative, so perhaps the slang term “fundie” is more appropriate? I’m not sure how to accurately describe myself within this field. I’ve never kissed, and probably won’t until I’m at least engaged. I want as many kids as I can have. I plan to homeschool and be a stay at home mom. I also have pretty conservative Christian values for myself. I don’t want to hide these facts about myself, but at the same time, I wan’t people to know that I’m not a jerk, that I genuinely love people, and I don’t want to force my values on other people.

Being truthful about my beliefs has caused me to lose “friends” on both sides.

But, at what cost is being truthful worth it? I’ve had to carefully consider this question. Wouldn’t it be better to tell half-truths and keep silent? And by doing so keep the peace and maintain friendships?

If you’re reading this, fellow tightrope walker, the answer is a bold no.

I want to be loved, wanted, and respected for who I am: a Jesus loving woman with a nose ring; a lawyer with conviction; simply, Krista.

I want to show my faith community that I can keep my convictions and have a career. And I want to show my professional community that I can be a great lawyer and keep my personal convictions. It shouldn’t be that tough.

As I said, being true to yourself will often cost you. Communities like cookie cutter people and it’s tough to be the first to break the cookie cutter mould.

It can be scary, but if you’re walking your own tightropes, you need to take comfort in being a trailblazer. Because of me, it’s easier for kids from my church to go to college, for women to dream about having a career. And I know this, because I’ve helped 4 women apply to various forms of college.

I also know, that because of me, some of the stereotypes within my professional circles about “conservatives” have been broken. They now see that a person can. R pro-life and fight for women’s rights, and that a person can have convictions without forcing those convictions on others. I know, because some of my colleagues have told me that I’ve challenged stereotypes.

So if you’re walking a tightrope, I know it’s tough, but it’s worth it.

I also know that the tightrope has to be walked. If I went into one of the churches I grew up in, immediately flashing a nose ring or announcing my beliefs about the election, people wouldn’t listen to me. I first needed to maintain their respect and be tactful in how I brought up controversial topics. I needed to balance.

Similarly, I couldn’t waltz into professional events and announce “I think what you believe is wrong!” First, that would be so ignorant (maybe I am wrong, after all. How do we actually know what I believe unless I listen to others?) Also, it would just be weird if I announced my views of dating, for example, without making sure it was an appropriate time. So again, I needed to balance.

What tightropes are you walking? How are you balancing? I know it can be tough, but it worth it. Above all else, be true to yourself and your beliefs. After all, only you will be forced to look at yourself in the mirror every day, and you deserve to be at peace with yourself.

Nighttime Worry: I’m Not Uncomfortable, and That’s a Problem.

It’s 2:30 AM and I’m up worrying. I worry about everything lately. Rarely do I worry about things that actually affect me directly. Exams are in two weeks and I haven’t studied. But am I nervous? Nope.

Instead, I worry about the big things. The things that are overwhelming because I can’t fix them.

Racial inequality. I just read the story of the two African-American men being arrested in the Starbucks in Philidelphia. They asked to use the restroom while they waited for a friend and were arrested for trespassing. As a white woman who wears suits every morning, I’d bet my bottom dollar that will never happen to me. I’m overwhelmed because how do I fix this? How do I help restore this? How do I bring justice into this?

Socioeconomic Divides. Our country is clearly divided between the haves and the have-nots. I recently spoke with a person in town who is worried her child may never go to college, because Vermont has some of the most expensive in-state tuition in the country and federal loans won’t cover it all. The family doesn’t have good enough credit to co-sign for student loans. Why did I get to have an education and this child may not? How do I fix this? How do I break down systemic greed and capitalistic lies that have penetrated the American psyche so that politicians justify college as a privilege so that generational poverty due to lack of access to education and social resources persists?

Humanitarian Issues Around the Globe. Why do I get to sleep safe in a warm bed tonight while millions of people sleep on the cold ground in tents in makeshift refugee camps? Moving place to place because of corrupt politicians and hard-hearted have stripped them of their God-given dignity and worth. How do I fix this? How do I help break down systemic greed and corrupt? How do I get Christians to care?

Prisoners Rights. How many innocent individuals are on death row? How many innocent people are in prison because they couldn’t afford a competent attorney?

Abuse within the Church. How many churches have forgotten Jesus? How many people are only social Christians and attend church once a week but aren’t living a transformed life? A life of service? How many churches are covering abuse, whether it be sexual, emotional, spiritual, or all three? How many people, today, were treated poorly by Christians and vowed never to return?

I guess I’m frustrated because I feel like the church isn’t acting. If there were really 1 billion transformed Christians on this planet, each living a radical life of sacrificial love and truly believing that all humans are equal, the world would be different. Our families would be different. Our friendships would be different. Our politics would be different. The whole world. Would. Be. Different.

And then I look at myself. Am I radical enough? Am I living shamelessly enough? Am I defending my neighbors enough, because y’all I have been given so much privilege: I have the internet. I’m literate. I’m educated. I’m not a minority in any way, shape, or form. I’m wealthy (by the global standard, at least). I have access to health and dental care. I have a care. I have a stable home. I’m loved. I’m not being abused. Literally, I have the life that people could only dream of, and I can’t help but feel that I’m not doing enough. I’m not loving every person I meet well. I still have biases that creep in. I don’t donate all of my extra money, I still love seamless and netflix.

I guess it comes down to this: I’m not uncomfortable with anything in my life and that’s a problem. As a Christian, I am called to be uncomfortable. I need to give more of my time and money so that I depend on Christ to provide. I need to hang out with “the least of these more” and not care about what my “friends” may think. I need to use my career to advocate for change. I need to post on social media things that stir convictions, not just get likes. I. Am. Not. Doing. Enough.

This isn’t a conventional blog post. I don’t have some wisdom to offer. This post was real and raw, and literally me admitting to the world that I’m a broken, selfish person. Much has been given to me and I have not been using all of my privileges as best I can. Pray for me, please.

xoxo

Krista

 

Ladies, It is NOT Your Life Purpose To Marry And Have Children

Early this week I saw a blog post that deeply upset me. It stated that “God’s will for young women is to marry, bear children, and guide the home” and then it referenced 1 Timothy 5:14. I cringed. I am sick and tired of Christians pulling verses out of context and using them to promote their own agenda. Conservative and progressive Christians do this. But I tend to see it more in Conservative circles, only because those are the circles that I’m part of.

God’s Will For You and Me

So, let’s get one thing straight: we get too caught up in trying to figure out “God’s will for us.” I get it. I’m a planner. And I think too many Christians (myself, too, at times) wrongly believe that there is some big, magical plan that we’re supposed to know (but don’t), and that we need to walk on eggshells or else we’ll mess up this big magical plan. We’ll marry the wrong person. We’ll go to the wrong school. We’ll take the wrong job.

Stop. Stop right there. Because I don’t think any of those things are possible to do.

Shortly before Jesus was crucified, he was asked: “What is the greatest commandment?” Meaning, in all of the universe, what is the greatest rule. His answer was quite simple, yet profound: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Go check out the full account in Matthew 22). So guys, this means that GOD HIMSELF said that the basis for all laws is to 1) love God and 2) love others. 

The more “detailed” rules, if you will, relate back to these and show us what actions are or are not loving. For example, taking the Lord’s name in vain (Commandment #2) is not loving God; lying to your neighbor (Commandment #8) is not loving your neighbor. Literally, every rule can be traced back to loving God and loving our neighbor.

So, God’s will for us is quite simple: we must love him and love others. His will for us is to love Him and love others. Y’all, literally, that simple.

Now, I fully believe God can call people clearly to certain fields (hello, Jonah and Paul!) and in those situations, it’s loving to follow his lead. Take my life, for example: did I experience an audible voice of God telling me to be a lawyer? No. But, God has given me the gifts and talents necessary to do the job, he has provided opportunities for me to do this job, and I have great peace when doing this job. I feel that practicing law is my calling. But, I could also fully serve God has a kindergarten teacher, a doctor, a chef, a stay at home mom, or anything else. So, do I believe that God’s will for women is to only get married or only have kids or only stay home? Absolutely not! The only verse in the New Testament that lends itself to this is severely taken out of context.

The Danger of Taking Scripture Out of Context

We first need to recognize what the Bible is, beyond the Sunday school version of “God’s word.” The Bible is a book. It’s composed of 66 books written by dozens of authors over thousands of years and across continents. The majority of these books are letters written from people to certain people to address certain issues at that time. These letters were then chosen by councils (that’s right, by men) to comprise our Holy Book. There were over 100 other letters and books that at one time or another were considered for the Bible but didn’t make the cut. In fact, different Christian denominations (such as the Catholic Church, the Christian Church in Ethiopia, and the Protestant Church) have a different variation of books in their Bible. Even though the books were organized by men, I (and the majority of Christians) believed that the words were “divinely inspired.” That is, God ensured that the books that were supposed to be in the Bible were in it.

But, here’s another problem: the Bible wasn’t written in English (shocker!) The New Testament was written in ancient Greek. That’s a problem, because as anyone who speaks 2 languages knows, certain norms, words, and customs are very difficult to translate to other languages (the easiest example is that in Greek there are 4 different words for love, meaning 4 different kinds of relationships, but in English we only have 1 word for love but the meaning changes based on context).

So let’s talk about this Timothy verse. First, you need to read verses in the context of the whole book and chapter. What’s the title of the Chapter? “Widows, Elders, and Slaves.” I have chapter 5 of the NIV (modern English) and KJV pasted below:

NIV

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame.Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

11 As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12 Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15 Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.

16 If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor,especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”[a] and “The worker deserves his wages.”[b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20 But those elders who are sinning you are to reprovebefore everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others.Keep yourself pure.

23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.

24 The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. 25 In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not obvious cannot remain hidden forever.

KJV

Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

Honour widows that are widows indeed.

But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.

10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;

12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

1I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.

16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

18 For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

So in context, the WHOLE FLIPPING MEANING OF THAT VERSE CHANGES PEOPLE!!!! 

Paul is writing this letter to Timothy. The letter starts out “I am writing to Timothy,” specifically about how Timothy should handle a church in Greece. “When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus.” (1 Tim 5:3). The church in Ephesus was having a lot of problems, and this is Paul giving Timothy practical advice on how to run the church.
A problem that came up (and still comes up) is: how do we take care of widows? In Greece 2000 years ago women could not work, they were legally property of men. This is Paul explaining how the Church should help widowed women. Look at the verses before 14, Paul is saying how the church should determine who to help. Verse 14 is specifically talking about younger widows in the context of determining aid! Paul is telling women to get married (notice the burning with desire part, so it’s consensual) instead of forcing them to become burdens on the church. This has absolutely nothing, zip, zilch, zero to say about college. Or about how a young, single, never married Christian woman in 2018 should make her life decisions.
What’s the ultimate purpose of this chapter and verse? To explain to the leader of a struggling congregation how to conserve the limited resources of the church, and make sure that the resources are used to help those who are actually in need.
In 2018 women could work. So, if the purpose behind these verses is to reserve church resources, couldn’t it also be argued that young, unmarried women should get jobs or do things to provide more resources to the church? To not be a burden on the church? I’m not arguing that, but I’m trying to show how that verse does not mean what the author tried to make it mean.
So my message to young women is this:
1) Know your Bible. Read verses in context.
2) Determine what gifts and talents God has given you. If you want to go to college (or need to go to college to pursue your calling) AWESOME! I support you. If you have zero desire to go to college and would rather pursue ministries or other talents, AWESOME! I support you.
3) Ultimately, as a Christian, your job is to love God first, love others well, and lead others to a relationship with Him. You can do that just about anywhere, doing just about anything.
If your calling is to be a wife and mom, awesome. I hope to be a Stay-At-Home mom one day, too. But that’s not my ultimate goal in life. My ultimate goal is to serve God wherever I am. And right now, that’s in law school. If you feel called to be a wife and mom one day, don’t just sit home. Passionately pursue your talents in every opportunity God gives you.
xoxo

Krista