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
post

Announcing Four New Audio Messages

Well, we’ve got four new audio messages in the store (two of them free! Go download now!) on four topics we’re pretty keyed up about. At the very least, go check out the two free ones, and write and tell us what you thought! (You can reach us at botkinsisters@gmail.com) We love hearing your feedback.

It'snotaboutstayingathome

If you think God’s plan for young women is all about being modest, keeping pure, staying home, preparing for marriage, and waiting for Prince Charming… you will not like this message. But…

  • If you’re tired of a small and fruitless vision for single womanhood, and are wondering if God might want more from you…
  • If you’re frustrated with a lack of fruitfulness, real-world involvement, and opportunities to grow, be stretched, and exercise your gifts…
  • If you’re sick of legalism, idolatry, formulas, movements, bandwagons, Christian-subculture trends and man-made rules, and just want to get back to God’s timeless principles for young womanhood…
  • Or if you’re just trying to figure out what you believe and why…

…take a step back with Anna Sofia and Elizabeth, away from the narrow applications and movement trends, and reexamine the baseline biblical principles that should form the foundation of our vision of single womanhood. Discover a robust vision of spreading the gospel, serving the saints, reaching out to the poor and needy, being full of good works, exercising your gifts, strengthening your arms, working with your hands, making the most of your single years, seeking first the Kingdom of God, and more!

In this message, the Botkin sisters reexamine hot button issues like a father’s authority, marriage, singleness, college, jobs, ministry, giftedness, Phariseeism, pursuing fruitfulness rather than just safety, serving our families vs. serving other people, why feminism is not the big enemy, and of course, “staying at home.” Prepare to be more excited about being a single Christian young woman than you’ve ever been before!

ProblemGuy

You’re a solid young Christian woman. You’re committed to purity and wholesome relationships. You don’t hang out with “bad” guys. And you suddenly find yourself dealing with a guy who’s trying to play you, manipulate you, use you, entice you, or even abuse you. What do you do?

It’s dangerously naïve to deny that predators, manipulators, abusers, playboys, wolves, stalkers, and creeps haunt every circle – as do good guys simply having a hard time mastering their sin nature. And though we’re never responsible for sins men commit, it’s time to know our own power to resist and rebuke evildoers.

Drawing lessons from how Abigail and Bathsheba each responded to the same godly man when he was off the path, Anna Sofia and Elizabeth clear away legalistic relationship rules and formula-based approaches to “purity,” and focus on how to become a woman with the confidence to put the fear of God into men who are in sin. Hear straight talk on self-defense, dealing with a flirt, how not to be a doormat, a woman’s rights and recourses for resisting, combating manipulation, becoming spiritually strong, and the gospel’s hope for moving on from our own past mistakes.

Howtodevelopgifts

Have you ever struggled with purpose and fruitfulness? Yearned to use your single years more fully? Wondered how God wants to see you developing your gifts and using them for Him? Questioned how principles of home-based womanhood can really work out practically in tough financial situations and a failing economy? Then this talk was given for you. In this inspiring, practical, and game-changing message by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, discover the missing keys to a vibrant, fruitful (and economically viable) family life.

Adventurousfemininity

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by a mold of “biblical” femininity that seems small, weak, mousy, or useless, maybe it’s time to re-examine what characteristics God praises in a woman, and the forgotten reason God created woman in the first place — to stand at man’s side in adventure, discovery, progress, dominion work, and spreading the gospel. In this inspiring, humorous, and life-changing message by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin, get challenged to go beyond your comfort zone; be introduced to a handful of adventurous heroines from history; be encouraged to embrace a more full-orbed picture of biblical womanhood; and prepare to have all your stereotypes of femininity smashed (with a tent-peg).

Botkin ProjectsEducationGirl-Guy RelationshipsWomanhoodWork
article

All I Want for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day may be a happy time for couples, but it’s often a painful reminder for single Christian women of what they’re still praying for, hoping for, and – sigh – waiting for. Many of us don’t have a valentine this year because we’ve been holding out for someone special. We have high standards, and we’ve stuck to them, and now we’re having to eat the fruits of this resolve (instead of Godiva chocolates).

High standards and faithful perseverance are noble things. But sometimes we need to re-examine the honesty of our standards, and the whole spirit in which we devise them. Some of us, whether we know it or not, have made lists of suitor-requirements that look like this: … Read more →

Girl-Guy RelationshipsMarriage and Singleness
post

Gratitude for “It’s (Not That) Complicated”

It’s been a year now since we published It’s (Not That) Complicated, and the feedback we’re getting is incredible. God is answering our fervent prayers by using it to change lives.

notcomplicated

A sampling of the notes we’ve been getting:

“Of all the relationship-oriented books, blog posts, and Christian magazine articles that I have read, none have been as Biblically solid or as helpful as this book. Were I to go through this book with a highlighter, the entire thing would be neon yellow.” – P.

“It totally challenged me in the way I relate to young men as brothers in Christ. I have officially made it my favorite book, and have strongly encouraged all the young ladies I am acquainted with to read it!” – Tiana

“…exactly the kind of book I have been looking for for so long! I laughed out loud and took extensive notes. There really is not any other book like it.” – Brydon

“You should know that I finished it in one afternoon. It gave me an entirely new perspective on how I should be treating my brothers in Christ, as I have always struggled with how to love them and come across the right way. I was so blessed by the comments from various young men. It put everything into a new light for me. I have been able to put much of what you shared into practice this year with both my brothers, and my sisters in Christ (encouraging them to do the same!), and the results are simply amazing. May God use this book to bless young men and women all around the world!” – Amanda

“The only book I’ve ever cried over. Every girl should read this. Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin have wisdom beyond their years, and they present biblical truth with grace, but without holding back.” – Emily

“In my opinion, every girl in America needs to read that book. No, EVERY girl needs to read that book.” – Amber

“…my highlighter was thoroughly worn out when I was done reading…and I’ve been trying to get into as many girls’ hands as I possibly can!” – Sarah

“It’s (Not That) Complicated was hysterically funny, incredibly amusing, and properly edifying all at the same time. Anna Sofia and Elizabeth wrote about the Truth of God in a way that we girls who live in the 21st century can enjoy. Their words are accurate, but they use anecdotes that we can understand and relate to. I’m already rereading the book for the second time. (Yes, it was really that good!)” -Cassandra

“I can’t thank you enough for the way you spare no punches and give us the real deal–it shows love in a way no sugar-coated “girly talk” can!  It’s helped me to adjust my goals and ideals of what a good life is… Also, I’m impressed by the way you present salvation so candidly with none of the modern Christianity fluff.  That’s what we need, it’s what everyone needs: a no-frills, Biblical gospel, and I admire the straight and narrow way you presented it.  Keep it up!” – Alaina

Girl-Guy Relationships