I’m a 30 year-old Evangelical Woman Without Kids- What am I thinking?!!

keep-calm-when-turning-30  I have to admit something I’ve denied for three months now. I’m 30. As an    evangelical woman who is married and doesn’t have kids this is the worst    possible age to be. I refused to acknowledge I had a birthday this year.  Telling family and friends to just ignore that day and insisting for six months  before my birthday that no one dare tell anyone I was turning 30. I was “29  and holding.”

However, over the past month I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am no longer in my 20s. I’ve accomplished a lot in the past 10 years, but many of those accomplishments aren’t considered what a good evangelical woman should aspire to. I hate cooking, and you really don’t want me to attempt to make you a dinner. I hate cleaning; I would rather do yard work. I have no children, and I’ve put my career first. I also really don’t like working in the children’s ministries department at church. If I’m offered a baby to hold I normally politely pass the little one on to my husband who is great with kids.

Turning 30 in evangelical culture is horrible for women. We need to develop a sensitivity to other’s life choices and circumstances and realize that not every person is going to follow the same path. People cannot understand  when you get a Ph.D., like I did, it puts your life on hold for at least 10 years. I’ve had people ask me, “So, are you going to stay home now that your husband also has his Ph.D? When are you going to have kids?” I usually respond by saying I didn’t spend 10 years of my life getting a degree I don’t plan on using; I also emphasize that God gave me the abilities to get a doctorate degree and I would be denying  his purpose for my life if I didn’t take the harder road. I usually get confused looks because what woman wouldn’t want to stay home, have kids, and cook, clean and home school? Me.

(As a disclaimer I am not saying women who take the stay at home route are wrong- it just shouldn’t be the “only” option for women.)

So, in honor of officially coming out as 30, I’ve composed the top 5 things many working evangelical women aren’t great at doing. Plus, my top 5 list of why I’m proud to be 30.

The “You Don’t Fit in Evangelical Culture Because…” List:

5) You can’t go to women’s events on weekdays at 11 a.m. because you work. It’s suggested that you can get time off to attend.

4) You never bring a potluck dish and can’t engage in the “favorite recipe” conversations at church.

3) You hate gender specific Bible studies by Beth Moore.

2) You have stopped going to baby showers for two reasons. First, you are uncomfortable how children are gendered at such a young age. Secondly, you are always asked when you’re going to have a little bundle of joy.

1) You have lost the ability to be docile and compliant because you work in a field where you have to compete with men for raises. Thus, other evangelical women think you’re too blunt and not feminine.

The “What I’m Proud to Have Accomplished” List:

 5) Having a fulfilling profession that provides security for my family.

4) Completing my Ph.D. before I turned 29.

3) Publishing several book chapters and peer reviewed journal articles

2) Learning that I don’t have to live up to evangelical expectations or even the world’s

expectations about appearance and gender roles.

1)  Being able to say “I don’t care that I’m not a traditional evangelical woman,” and being able to brush off comments that are unintentionally hurtful.

Evangelicals need to learn that there is not a “one size fits all” mold for men and women. Some women will want to be homemakers; others will not. The conscious or unconscious preference for traditional roles for women needs to change.

Look around your churches- do you wonder why so few professional women attend? It might have something to do with the fact that many women’s ministry activities are geared to homemakers or retirees; the Bible studies are not in depth (aka Beth Moore), and the pressure on all women to behave exactly the same way is something professional women can’t do. We’ve worked hard to get where we are in our careers, and we expect to be treated equally with men. Added to all these small concerns, is the fact that there are few visible women leaders in most churches. It’s no wonder evangelical culture has stayed pretty much in the 1950s.

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6 thoughts on “I’m a 30 year-old Evangelical Woman Without Kids- What am I thinking?!!

  1. I hear what you are saying Christy. I worked while attending my last church. I also was taking classes for my drug and alcohol counseling cert, teaching at overcomers one night a week, teaching at the rehab ranch on day a week and helping with my grandson. We also were mentors for the drug and alcohol program and had addicts live with us for 3 months at a time. It seemed most stay at home moms were going to bible studies during the day, which is great and I don’t have a problem with that at all. Good for them, BUT I was looked down on because I wasn’t part of that “club” which I have always referred to as the coffee clutch crowd. They did a lot for the church too but looked down on what I was doing. I also did the maintenance of home and the cooking. I was finally worn out and decided that God had not given me my wonderful husband to be so busy that I had no time for him. People were upset that I stopped doing all the extra things. It was thought they thought I had lost the Lord. The pastors wife said I was irresponsible and she had always told him to get someone else. The pastor and I were great friends and I know he was disappoint and to this day he does not realize why I stopped. I always wondered why they didn’t do more in the program since they did not have full time jobs out of the home yet they were great at pointing fingers. I feel each person has their own walk with the Lord and their own gifts. If you stay home, which I did when my children were younger and they liked that, that is great. If you chose to work and you have or don’t have children that is also great. Pointing fingers at others is not great. I admire you a lot for what you are doing. Do what God calls you to do….it is no one else’s business.

      1. You are truly an amazing Christian. The Lord and your husband is all you have to answer too. God is good….ALL the time. Just keep following the Lord.

  2. i have found myself in the same situation as i am 35, never married, no kids. i feel like i have nothing in common with many of the women in my church who are all wives and mothers. i am happy for them, but that is not my life. i am working on my second masters degree, and i am working towards ordination. here is a hurtful example of my inability to “fit in”: i signed up to be part of a 30 somethings women’s bible study. there are three other women in the group (all wives and mothers of multiple children). when the topic came up of which study to do next, they all wanted to do one that focused on being a pastor’s wife and fulfilling the role of a pastor’s wife. smh. i just left. i also hate that people always want me to teach elementary age kids at church. i used to be a teacher, but i taught at the university level and at the high school level. i really do not care for little kids. i would rather be with senior citizens! it hurts me so badly when people ask me if i plan on getting married or say “don’t worry. God has the right man for you.” i just wonder why they seem to think that i am worried about it or that my life is incomplete without a husband. if i met the right man, i would probably marry him, but i am content as a single woman too! be encouraged. you are not alone!

    1. I sympathize. One of biggest frustrations in Christian pop culture literature is how stereotypical the books are about gender. These gender roles are so entrenched and exclude so many people. It’s no wonder so many books are being published with suggestions on how to increase attendance at church. However, I feel so many people in evangelical culture have surrounded themselves with only these stereotypical books that they can’t see the problem right in front of them.

      1. For me. I don’t look at gender, color or anything else. Just people. I think we all get too caught up in the gender issue. We are Christians. God doesn’t see us as woman or men, I don’t think, but followers. What are we doing for Him. It doesn’t matter what others think. They are just people. Our witness is what matters. We don’t follow people we follow the Lord.

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