The Right Kind of Strong

Mary Kassian’s new book releases today! I love it. And I highly recommend it. I confess, it was uncomfortable at times, but it was well worth the pain. But mostly, I was cheering Mary on through the entire read. It felt like she was sitting across the table from my twenty-something Fierce self (a few decades ago) and giving me some much needed counsel on the “right kind of strong.” Even now, my fifty-something-year-old self is deeply encouraged and challenged by the truths she presents.

Do you consider yourself a strong woman? Do you understand what true strength looks like on a woman? Mary challenged me with this paragraph:

“Sadly, a woman who thinks she is strong may just be headstrong. A woman who thinks she is brave may just be rash. A woman who thinks she is bold may just be aggressive. A woman who thinks she is confident may just be arrogant. A woman who thinks she is independent may just be standoffish. A woman who thinks she is smart may just be foolish. Many women have embraced the wrong kind of strong.”

Would you like to know what the right kind of strong looks like? Mary’s insight and practical teaching provides women with a beautiful picture of the strong woman, one who is courageous enough to live for God’s glory, no matter the cost. She invites us to walk in that strength.

“God does not want you to be a weakling. He wants you to be a steel magnolia: a soft, feminine woman with fire in your belly, courage in your heart, and steel in your spine. He wants you to have the strength to say no to what’s wrong and yes to what’s right and to live your life for the glory of Christ.”

Mary is one strong woman herself. She’s gutsy enough in the book to be painfully honest and tackle some tough issues head on with theological truth. She doesn’t back away from the hard stuff. She’s not afraid to call us out, but she does so in a winsome way. Thankfully, she doesn’t beat us up with truth, but provides a helpful approach to recognizing where we might be off-base in our perspective on what a strong woman looks like and how to express that strength.

The reader benefits from Mary’s meaty teaching, but she also couples the theology lessons with practical help. Did you know you might actually have some destructive habits that are holding you hostage and sapping your strength? Mary uses 2 Timothy 3:6–7 as an outline for seven unhealthy habits:

“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions . . .”

She contrasts those strength-sapping habits with these strength-building habits:

  • Catch the creeps.
  • Master your mind.
  • Ditch the baggage.
  • Engage your emotions.
  • Walk the talk.
  • Stand your ground.
  • Admit your need.

Mary writes “True strength is a paradox, because it occurs when you reject the wrong kind of strong and embrace the right kind of weak.” She doesn’t promote a silly, frilly, weak-willed womanhood at all, but she challenges us to consider where we find our source of strength. “The world encourages you to be strong on your own terms, in your own way, and in your own power. Being strong means you do you. You love yourself and put yourself first. You are your own god.” But Mary makes it clear, that even though that is the rampant attitude of our culture, “the Bible has a radically different perspective.”

Scripture presents a much more beautiful and true strength.

Do you want to discover what true strength looks like? Do you want to experience the joy and freedom from living in this kind of strength? I want every woman I know to have this resource. (I’ll be buying a lot of copies! And it’s a great investment.) I encourage you to find a friend, or a younger woman you can come alongside, and work through this book together.

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