Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
There are some writers who love to stir up controversy. I will tell you right now that I'm not one of them. I want to stir up encouragement. I desire to tell you how I see everyday life through the eyes God has given me. And, whether we agree or disagree, I hope to speak life as you read my words.
I'm a little worried concerning what I'm going to say to you today. Not because I don't stand behind what I'm choosing to write about, but because I don't want anyone to think I'm judging them. I'm not.
From the time I began this blog, I've visited the struggles women face with comparison, appearances, and what the word beautiful means. I've shared my own issues with the extra twenty pounds my body loves to wear, and I'm not shy when I tell you how I hate owning that additional weight.
I'm a woman who turns on the television, sees the tiny-morning-talk-show-host and swears off empty calories. I'm also the woman who decides by afternoon that empty calories include Oreos, and I don't hate myself enough to ever say goodbye to anything with a sugar based, cream filling. This leads to a lecture with myself about starting again "tomorrow." And then, with the sunrise, the cycle repeats.
My hat is off to women who ride a different cycle. I've come to find out there are people who actually cycle. Like on a bike. That doesn't move. It's called spinning, and whenever I decide to put the Oreos down, I just might try it. Or not.
I say all this to tell you that women love to compare themselves against other women. One of us wants her face, the other wants her body, somebody else wishes she had her money. Rarely are we actually satisfied when we look in the mirror.
However, It's how we choose to fight the battle of comparison that bothers me the most. I detest the places we are willing to travel in order to receive the things we want. Too often, our escapes, which were originally meant to make us "happy" lead us to captivity.
Last week, I was doing some housework when a talk show came on television. I left it on as background noise until it caught my attention to the point where I had to sit down and stare with an open mouth at what I was watching. It was about a dating site that promotes young women to older (sometimes married) men in exchange for college tuition. One of the young women said she has a great relationship with the man who is helping put her through school. She just returned from vacation with him. He's married.
What in the world are these women doing to themselves? Do they understand how they are hurting the women who are married to these men? Do they realize the long-term ramifications from this type of behavior?
This is taking women one million steps backwards in the pursuit of equality. The little teeny, tiny feminist voice inside me wants to scream at the ruin of our reputations. But even more than that, the Jesus loving voice inside me wants to sob at the loss of purity and true love that is absent from the lives of these beautiful young women.
I know it's about choices, and many would argue that it's their bodies, and they can use them any way they choose to get what they want. Well, I would argue that long after they receive their degree's, they will wrestle with soul ties and the memories of men who paid their tuition in exchange for their dignity.
The talk show also interviewed a therapist that claimed 79% of women fall in love through sex. Apparently, men fall in love through trust. She also went on to say that men don't usually trust women who are "easy." I hate to say the word easy, because I'm not sure anybody is. I think they are wounded and want to feel better about who they are. Sex can easily be misconstrued for love to the heart begging for it.
And on top of all this, 50 Shades of Grey is coming to the big screen this weekend. I haven't read it, and I know to some of you that will automatically disqualify my right to an opinion. In my defense, I've read countless reviews about it. I've had long conversations with women who have read it, and it doesn't change the cry of my heart that says, "This is not the interpretation of love and sex that God wants for us."
The mind is powerful, and if we aren't careful, what we pump into it can work against the heart.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
I can't read the above scripture and in good conscience pretend like 50 Shades of Grey doesn't exist. I spend much of my time ministering to women, and it's important to tell you how I'm feeling.
I want to end with this: I'm not anywhere close to perfect. I wrestle with things I shouldn't say, do , and watch. In my younger years, I pumped lots of garbage into my head when I shouldn't have. I love to read, and I'm a sucker for a good love story. I had to grow in wisdom, and that didn't come because of age, it came because I sought the word of God. As I did, conviction came with it.
If you've read 50 Shades, I'm in NO WAY condemning you. If you are planning to see the movie... well, I hope you will reconsider but again, I'm not judging you. I'm just sharing the passion of my own heart.
If you are struggling with body image or the need to be loved, I want you to know that God has brilliantly designed your life. You were created in His image. I know we often scoff at that, but it doesn't make it any less true. Everything about you was created to fulfill a purpose. And, when we mediate on truth and purity, when we exchange our desires for His will, we receive peace and endless love from the Giver of life.
Don't compare yourself, don't misconstrue what a love story is intended to be.
You have worth because Christ is worthy. You were meant for beautiful things.
To find out about my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, click here.
To get my eBook Mercy Waits for FREE, click here.