article

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 1: Acknowledge the Power of Your Actions

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 1: Acknowledge the Power of Your Actions
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 2: Know What God Requires
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 3: Make Your Action Plan
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 4: Get Ready for War
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 5: Master Your Biggest Enemy
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 6: Fight This Fight

We’ve all experienced that moment of panic, that sense of paralysis, after a man just said something or did something to us that crossed the line. We’ve all faced the crisis of, “Was what he just did OK?” …followed by the next crisis of “What should I do? Should I be smooth and pretend this didn’t happen, or should I do something that will feel very awkward, hard, rude, and uncomfortable for everyone? Should I roll with this, or fight it? Do I have a responsibility to do something? Didn’t Jesus turn the other cheek? What would God want me to do?” And probably the most terrifying moment of all: When we realize the strength we need and thought we had simply isn’t there.

As the hushed subject of abuse is increasingly forced into the open – and as the mountain of sexual abuse and harassment reports grows larger by the day – it’s becoming clear that this problem is both bigger and more wide-spread than anyone wanted to imagine, implicating men in every sphere of society (both secular and Christian). This is not just a threat that lurks far away, in dodgy places where we never go – it’s all around us. And it doesn’t just threaten “bad girls,” “immodest” women, or black sheep who have stepped outside of some sort of “umbrella of protection” – strong Christian women face this evil, even in their own homes and churches. It’s a battle that each of us, at some level, will have to fight. But are we ready? … Read more →

AbuseGirl-Guy Relationships
article

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 2: Know What God Requires

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 1: Acknowledge the Power of Your Actions
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 2: Know What God Requires
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 3: Make Your Action Plan
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 4: Get Ready for War
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 5: Master Your Biggest Enemy
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 6: Fight This Fight

Even when it’s fully in our power to resist or stop an abuser, if we don’t know without question and without hesitation exactly where he crossed the line, and exactly what we should do about it, we often might just as well be bound and gagged. Our ability to resist evil is only as strong as our understanding of what actually is evil, and what specifically we’re supposed to do about evil.

As we explained in Part 1, 100% of the guilt of the abuser’s crime rests on the abuser, no matter what the victim does or doesn’t do. There is nothing a victim can do to “deserve” abuse, and if she fails to stop a crime being committed against her, it’s never “her fault.” However, while God promises that the sin of our abusers will not go unpunished (Num. 32:23, Isa. 13:11, Prov. 11:21), He has also given us specific instructions for becoming a type of woman and developing a type of strength that can make us devastating to this kind of man. But that first requires knowing how to draw the lines. … Read more →

AbuseGirl-Guy Relationships
article

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 3: Make Your Action Plan

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 1: Acknowledge the Power of Your Actions
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 2: Know What God Requires
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 3: Make Your Action Plan
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 4: Get Ready for War
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 5: Master Your Biggest Enemy
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 6: Fight This Fight

Sometimes the biggest challenge we’re up against in a harassment or assault situation is simply that we were not ready for it, in a practical sense. An inappropriate or dangerous overture comes like a bolt from the blue, and suddenly we’re having to make split-second decisions under high stakes, intense adrenaline, and sometimes tonic immobility (the freezing response.) Will I or won’t I allow this? What should I say? What should I do? Where can I run? Is it time to go for my Glock 43? How do you do a stomp kick again? Why don’t I have a gun??

As we explained in Part 1, 100% of the guilt of the abuser’s crime rests on the abuser, no matter what the victim does or doesn’t do. There is nothing a victim can do to “deserve” abuse, and if she fails to stop a crime being committed against her, it’s never “her fault.” That said, the Lord cares about the safety of His daughters, and wants us to be equipped to defend ourselves against evil in every way we can. Not only does Scripture walk us through responses to all kinds of sins, hurts, and offenses (as we saw in Part 2) – it also encourages us to take preemptive action to avoid bad situations. “The prudent sees danger and hides himself,” says Proverbs 27:12, “but the simple go on and suffer for it.” God hates the sins committed against us, but He also tells us that other people’s sin is a reality we have to be ready for. Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves,” Jesus warns us in Matt. 10:16, “so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” … Read more →

AbuseGirl-Guy Relationships
article

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 4: Get Ready for War

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 1: Acknowledge the Power of Your Actions
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 2: Know What God Requires
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 3: Make Your Action Plan
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 4: Get Ready for War
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 5: Master Your Biggest Enemy
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 6: Fight This Fight

“Heed the mantra and never forget: Women. Have. Nothing. To. Gain. And. Everything. To Lose. By. Coming. forward.” 

Amber Tamblyn

Joseph was a young and inexperienced immigrant, eager to do well with his first job, and enjoying great success due to his boss’s good favor. Everyone thought he had the makings of a star, though the vulnerability of his position was always on the back of his mind. When his boss’s wife first came on to him, he was in shock – but the situation got more frightening as she continually refused to take “no” for an answer and increased the pressure every day. He recognized the huge power imbalance between them – the massive support structure behind her, while he had no one; the information monopoly she held, while he knew his word would count for nothing against hers. He knew one word from her could destroy not only his rising success, but his very life. Joseph recognized that he had nothing to gain and everything to lose from angering this woman. But somehow, there was only one thing on Joseph’s mind: “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” So, Joseph did the hard and scary thing; he told her “no” and got away from her. As a result, he lost everything. Scripture records him as a hero of the faith. … Read more →

AbuseGirl-Guy Relationships
article

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 5: Master Your Biggest Enemy

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 1: Acknowledge the Power of Your Actions
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 2: Know What God Requires
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 3: Make Your Action Plan
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 4: Get Ready for War
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 5: Master Your Biggest Enemy
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 6: Fight This Fight

“I realized some years ago that some of my harassment was welcome by me bc I was indirectly taught to enjoy the attention. Now I see the awful.”

Anonymous

Rachel Denhollander, Abigail, Esther, Jael, and the others we referenced in the last article are incredible examples of women strong enough to stand up to sinful men, at great personal risk to themselves. As we discussed in the last article, the strength that can make a woman devastating to a wicked man is exactly the kind of strength God wants us to have. As we said in Article 1, God does not ask us to smile at debasing attention, suffer injustice silently, cover things up, fall down before the wicked, and be ignorant in the face of evil: He has actually given us specific instruction on how to be the kind of person who does the opposite of all these things. … Read more →

AbuseGirl-Guy Relationships
article

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 6: Fight This Fight

Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 1: Acknowledge the Power of Your Actions
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 2: Know What God Requires
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 3: Make Your Action Plan
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 4: Get Ready for War
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 5: Master Your Biggest Enemy
Spiritual Self-Defense, Part 6: Fight This Fight

It’s intimidating to try to tackle even one dimension of a topic as vast and multi-faceted as resisting abuse. As we all arm ourselves to walk through our still-very-present culture of harassment and exploitation, there are countless things we’ll need to study outside the scope of what this series has touched on: practical issues like how to recognize a predator’s tactics, or how to build our own self-defense strategies and arsenals; legal issues like how and when and to whom to report; spiritual issues regarding things like recovery, true forgiveness, and identity; ecclesiastical issues like what to do when your church won’t help.

But where this huge, complex battle starts is with the simple conviction that it is worth fighting, and that, win or lose, there is right that we can do. As soon as we truly believe this, and see this battle as being bigger than ourselves and our abuser, we’re on a good path – for resisting, for fighting, and for healing. … Read more →

AbuseGirl-Guy Relationships
article

My Christian Brother is Struggling With Serious Sin – Should I Say Something?

Here is some of the new material from the second edition of  It’s (Not That) Complicated, Chapter Four: Relationship Bootcamp: How to Be a Sister to Your Real Brothers. Though these thoughts on how and when to give a biblical rebuke are obviously written with the biological brother-sister relationship in mind, they would apply to relationships in general.

In this book, we talk a lot about how women can build up, support, encourage, and affirm their men, but is there ever a time for correcting or rebuking them? Let’s be very clear on this: Loving our brothers means loving them enough to hate the sin that threatens to destroy them. It requires loving them enough to help hold them to the standard God does, not standing by as effectual accomplices when they depart from it. “Building up” doesn’t just mean making people feel better about who and where they are. It means building up the spiritual man, sometimes even by rebuking the “old” man of the flesh. And for that reason, we’re not being supportive sisters if we’re supporting the vanity, worldliness, foolishness, or laziness of our brothers – much less if we’re “covering” more dangerous sins, like pornography, drunkenness, or abuse. Even girls in conservative Christian families can have brothers given to these sins, and choosing to “overlook” them is not love, or biblical womanhood. … Read more →

Family RelationshipsGirl-Guy Relationships
article

Should I Keep Preparing For Marriage, or is it Time to Start Preparing For a Single Life?

“I thought marriage was coming, and soon. I thought I gave up the worldly approach to womanhood in exchange for a beautiful biblical picture that included husband, children, a home to be a homemaker in. And something went wrong. I gave up the world’s picture in exchange for nothing. I have nothing to show for it. I’ve spent 8 years in a holding pattern. I pushed off education, training, work, so nothing would be in the way of my getting married. Now I’m wondering if marriage is ever coming at all. Should I keep waiting and preparing, or should I go back to my previous plan?”

This is not only one girl’s question – this is the heart-cry of many young women today. Whether we swore off higher learning and work to engage in full-time waiting for Prince Charming; chose a college based on which one was most likely to provide an MRS degree; were so distracted by boys that we couldn’t focus on a single productive thing through our whole teens and twenties; or simply let the possibility of marriage coming any day now eat up our mental CPU and distract us from moving full-speed-ahead into anything else, most of us eventually realize this is not jibing with a productive, practical Christian life, and that it’s time to choose between our current track and a different one.

If this is the way we’ve been approaching the single season, yes, something does need to change – but it may not involve either of the options “keep waiting and preparing, or … go back to my previous [‘worldly’] plan.” The reason both of these options may feel wrong is because they are – they’re both missing critical elements of God’s plan for women. And no, the critical element is not marriage. … Read more →

EducationMarriage and SinglenessWomanhoodWork
post

Announcing a new edition of It’s (Not That) Complicated, plus audiobook and eBook formats

Friends, we’re happy to announce a new edition of It’s (Not That) Complicated, featuring over 20 pages of new content. For those of you who already bought the first edition of the book and don’t want to buy a new copy, we’ll be sharing most of the new content with you for free here over the next few weeks.*

We’re also, at long last, releasing it in audiobook format, read by both of yours truly. You can buy it here and hear a sample here. If you’d prefer to get it in eBook format, we also provide it in a MOBI file for Kindles, an EPUB file for all other ebook readers, and a PDF file for your computer.

And while we’re announcing shiny new things, check out the new Botkin Sisters store. From now until February 14th, we’re running a 20%-off-everything Valentine’s Day sale, so shop soon!

*If your copy says “Third printing,” you already have the second edition.

Uncategorized