A Woman's Place By: Katelyn Beaty

“Christine, why can’t you be like the other girls? Why don’t you play with dolls instead of spending so much time reading? That can’t be healthy.”

“Christine, stop playing soccer with the boys. You should be in the kitchen learning to cook”

“Why do you spend so much time on schoolwork? Boys don’t like girls smarter than they are. No boy will want to marry you.”

The message I heard as a young girl was loud and clear: A good Greek girl should want to learn to cook and play with dolls because her real purpose, her ultimate future, was to grow up, get married, and have babies.

When I turned 17, my family introduced me to a nice Greek man who owned a small grocery store. We fell in love, and he asked me to marry him. Then it was time to have the conversation with his parents. We Greeks like to keep everything in the family.

“Christine, if you go to university, you cannot marry our son,” his mother said. “A woman cannot be more educated than her husband because she will not respect him. You must put away all of these foolish desires for further education and come and work full-time in the family business until you have babies, and then you can work part-time and I will look after the children for you.”

So, it seemed that my mother had been right after all. If I wanted to fulfill the purpose for which I had been created, I would have to quench my passions and minimize who God created me to be. I could of course work as my own mother had, as long as that work did not involve any kind of career or vocation that would take me away from getting married and having children. Work was a necessity to help the family budget, but it could not be a sacred calling or any part of my identity.

Needless to say, I did not end up marrying that man, and I spent many years trying to reconcile who God created me to be and the options I was offered. I could not understand why God would give us as women so many gifts, talents, abilities, and desires if he had no intention of us using them for his glory in the world. Surely he did not derive joy from frustrating us?

I could not understand how we were supposed to reach the world with the gospel if we were not in the world and the workforce where we could share the gospel. Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt. 9:37–38).

I could not understand how unpaid domestic work within the home was in any way more sacred than work outside the home. My understanding was that, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Col. 3:23–24).

I could not understand how women could be the salt of the earth and the light of the world when we were confined exclusively to our homes and church buildings. Did Jesus not ask us to let our light shine before others, that they might see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven? (Matt. 5:16).

Surely God would want as many people as possible, not just our immediate family and friends, to see our good deeds? This was about his glory.

At 30 years old, I ended up marrying a man who has relentlessly pushed me forward and encouraged me to be all that God called me to be and to do all God called me to do. Today, I lead the A21 Campaign, a global anti-trafficking organization with offices in 11 nations, and Propel Women, an organization I founded to help women internalize a leadership identity and fulfill their passion, purpose, and potential.

I have come a long way from the girl trapped in a culture that severely limited my options as a woman, but it has not been an easy or smooth journey. The book you are holding in your hand is the book I wish I had when I was trying to understand why I did not “fit in” to my culture when I was growing up, or in the Christian subculture, when I became a follower of Jesus. I discovered that it was not only my possible mother-in-law who thought a woman should only want to marry and have kids, but that much of evangelical Christianity felt the same way.

In the 50 years I have been alive, there has been a cataclysmic shift in attitudes toward women, work, and vocation. We now find women thrust into the marketplace but without a roadmap, trying to find their way through trial and error. Women are holding more leadership positions than ever before, and yet still wrestle with identifying themselves as leaders, owning their passion and purpose, or feeling empowered to operate with their full potential.

Katelyn has written a powerful and prophetic book that speaks to the angst that so many women feel. In it, she provides a strong theological foundation that encourages us all to step into all that God has called us to do. She shows us the sacred value of work and that Biblically and historically, women have always been involved in God’s mission.

She addresses the infamous Mommy Wars, the misunderstood and often-overlooked single woman, and the married woman with children who believes there is still more for her. We can no longer ignore the fact that 57 percent of the US workforce is female, and that 83 percent of women raising children work outside of the home.

A great social upheaval in the 20th century propelled women into the marketplace, and there is no going back. A Woman’s Place elevates the conversation that must happen if we are to reach and engage a generation of young women with the gospel. Women have always worked, will always work, and are included in the work of God on this earth.

With that being said, I would be thrilled to see this book in the hands of every woman, no matter what sphere of life you occupy. When we get a hold of the value we have as women, and the high calling placed on each one of our lives, we will begin to celebrate one another. And this is exactly what this book is all about. Follow the link below to pick up your copy today!

This excerpt from A Woman's Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World is the foreword written by Christine Caine.   

Katelyn Beaty

Katelyn Beaty is the author of A Woman's Place: A Christian Vision for your Calling in the Office, the Home and the World, and is managing editor at Christianity Today magazine. Katelyn is the youngest managing editor in CT’s history, as well as the first woman to serve as managing editor. She is the cofounder of Her.meneutics, a daily website covering news, cultural trends, and theology from the perspective of Christian women. A graduate of Calvin College, Katelyn currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois.


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