Different kinds of strong
Different kinds of strong
Anne Reed
Anne Reed
AFA Journal staff writer

Article originally published November 2019.

November 2020“I have a lot of skills not stereotypically a woman’s skills. I’m really good at building and construction, and I can wire up a house or build something with all my power saws and power tools. And yet, I’m still a woman.”

— Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian (photo, right, from In His Image) grew up in Canada with five brothers. She was a tomboy and says she kicked against the qualities considered to be natural or characteristic of a woman. But as she grew in her Christian walk, she grew more comfortable with the messages in Scripture about womanhood.

Years ago, when feminism was at its peak, Kassian noticed a running theme among her female peers at University of Alberta, Canada. They seemed to be sincerely interested in knowing what the Bible said to women … about women.

As Kassian sought the answers for herself, she was set on an unexpected path. The subject of biblical womanhood has become her life’s passion.

“It’s probably not a topic I would have chosen,” Kassian told American Family Studios. “But it is a real area of questioning for women in this day and age.”

Kassian has become a popular conference speaker, taught women’s studies and feminist theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and authored or co-authored an array of books and Bible studies. Among them are the True Woman series, Girls Gone Wise, and The Right Kind of Strong.

Christ reflected in gender
“We cannot overlook that God created us differently,” said Kassian. “Genesis is fascinating in its presentation of two distinct stories, the creation of male and female.

“Woman is created in the garden from the side of man. It is a beautiful picture of the redemption that happened when Christ died on the cross. He was pierced in the side, and because of his death and resurrection, the church was born. God created the church, the bride, for Christ.”

Likewise, the woman was created for the man. Man brings strength to the table. A woman can exhibit beauty in strength as well, but she brings a softness and responsiveness that differs from him. And though a man also exercises gentleness, the emphasis is different. He is created with a strength purposed to protect, provide, and lead with love.

In addition to the marital union, fidelity in singleness can reflect the image of Christ and the church. Kassian’s heart was captured by the message of God’s relentless love and purpose in uniquely creating male and female.

“As I embraced it more, I began to experience more freedom and more joy and more wholeness,” Kassian explained. “I began to say, ‘I understand it.’ And then I began to say, ‘I delight in it.’

“The more I submit my heart to God, the more I become the woman God wants me to be” – power tools and all!   

Strong the right way
In The Right Kind of Strong, author Mary Kassian specifies seven surprisingly simple – and biblical – habits of a spiritually strong woman.

Kassian draws from the Apostle Paul’s warnings in 2 Timothy 3, wherein he instructs believers to stay away from certain people (vv. 2-5) who “creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (vv. 6-7).

While Paul’s statement could be perceived as disparaging toward women, “his point was that they ought not to have been weak,” Kassian writes.

By flipping each strength-sapping habit in vv. 6-7 on its head, she affirms, “Every bad habit has a good counterpart.”

Kassian’s thorough study and communication of both biblical and current cultural contexts make The Right Kind of Strong a refreshing rallying cry for Christian women to be all that God wants them to be. Available at christianbook.com.