At a young age, I found myself in love with an incredible man. I had a singular focus and couldn’t be bothered by the other boys I found myself surrounded by. The only problem was, my sister and I were in love with the same man. Shocking, I know. My poor mother! Before jumping to conclusions, let me explain my unusual behavior.
I grew up in an environment that encouraged open communication, purity and the notion that true love waits. From an early age, I decided that all I wanted to do in life was get married and have the cutest of all babies. Then the man I mentioned came along, and my perspective changed. I realized that love really did exist, and I didn’t want to give my heart away to any young chap. This man, however, was certainly not a young chap. My sister had the same sentiments.
How did this all happen? Well, my sister and I both attended a conference that talked about how dating young was pointless. Nevertheless, we left the conference infatuated with this dreamboat of a man. To be honest, it all feels a bit foggy now. In any case, we left totally, completely and utterly in love with … Jesus. From that point on we both made a commitment to wait to date until we were at least able to consider marriage.
From the sweet age of 12, I made a commitment not to date until I was 16. When I was 16, I extended it to 18. By the time I turned 18, however, I was smitten with Jesus. He was the perfect gentleman, protector of my heart, friend, lover and pursuer. He loved me well, and his grace was astounding. From that point on, I stopped looking for Prince Charming and embraced Jesus. I even went as far as to rip up one of my old journals written to my future husband. Yes, that was probably a bit dramatic, but if you knew me, you would know that I tend to be a passionate person *chuckle.* I sort of wish I still had the journal, because it was really sappy and I’m sure extremely embarrassing, but the remains are now strewn about in some random landfill. Oh, well.
For a brief glimpse into my story, I wanted to share some of my thoughts regarding dating and purity. When I was younger I believed that purity was simply abstaining from sex.
As the years have gone on, however, I have come to discover that purity is more of an attitude of the heart. While I used to wear my purity ring with pride and flaunt my virgin lips with superiority, I have come to understand that, even with my v-card intact, my purity of heart can be tainted. This revelation all started with a friend of mine who married an incredible man, but he had a past. I had considered that this might happen to me, but only briefly. Nevertheless, the whole situation, along with a few other circumstances, caused me to wake up a bit and realize that my thoughts regarding purity had a serious flaw. You see, I waited, but it was stemmed in religion, and it was attached to the lie that if I waited, then there would be some magical prize at the end of the tunnel, and if I didn’t, then I would be in big trouble. Never a big fan of getting into trouble, I lived in fear, and it ruled my decisions.
So I waited.
I waited because I was told to.
I waited to please my husband.
I waited because I didn’t want God to be mad at me.
I waited because I wanted to avoid sin.
I waited to avoid pregnancy.
I waited because I believed the alternative would have caused my parents to have heart attacks.
I waited because it seemed like the logical thing to do.
I waited because I lived in fear and, to be honest, did not get out much.
I waited to have sex, because it was biblical.
I waited because my close friends waited.
I waited because I wanted a good story.
I waited because I thought that if I waited, then my future spouse would wait too.
I might have waited, but I waited for the wrong reasons.
Most of my life I waited upon many things and inadvertently lived deeply within religion. Religion was my god. Doing “the right thing” was my life. Pointless. Religion without relationship is dead.
I have been serving religion and have missed living within relationship. Sure, I have had glimpses of what this relationship might be like—I mean, come on, I practically dated Jesus—but I want more. I mostly want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this relationship, with Jesus, is not because of my own doing.
I want to know that I am so fully embraced by the Father that even though I can make any choice that comes my way, I will choose not to, simply because I am embraced by Love.
I want to make choices from a place of love versus fear.
Would I have waited if I knew all along that I was fully embraced by the Father? Absolutely. But I would have waited because I wanted to, and not because I felt like I had to. I would have viewed my purity as a gift instead of a “right.” I would have thanked the Father for holding me and keeping me within His grasp. I would have responded differently to the pain and suffering of others, because I would have known that He had them too. I would have run toward the pain instead of cowering away in judgment and reaping the fruit of my thoughts. I would have forgiven easily, because like my purity, grace is a gift.
It is a free gift. There is nothing expected by the recipient.
Even a gift, such as virginity, can be restored. Purity can be redeemed. If purity is what matters, I would rather be pure in heart and mind versus just pure in body.
Virginity does not signify purity.
You can still be pure even though you may have made different choices with your nether regions. I hope you can see what I am getting at. I am simply trying to convey that virginity is not the goal, but it is a beautiful gift to give at the proper time. When virginity becomes the goal, chances are there is a bit of religion and fear interlaced. The fruit of this mindset is judgment and fear versus love and freedom.
This is important for parents to hear: Instead of harping on virginity, speak identity to your children and encourage them to get lost in God’s love. If you are unsure of what this is yourself, take some time to encounter God’s magnificent and breathtaking love. In return, this love will naturally spill over into every area of your life.
Quite possibly you have been reading this series on how to share with your children about sex, but your children, or even you, have already made different choices with your sexuality than you would have wanted. There is so much grace. If your kids are still young, I encourage you to implement the things in this series, but do so in a way that focuses on captivating their hearts. Empower your children to make powerful choices, and let them know that you trust them and believe in them. You can give them a purity ring, but without captivating their hearts first, this will merely be a relic. I am so thankful that my parents were open with me about sexuality. If I could add one thing, however, it would simply be to share more about God’s grace. I am still making wise choices, but I am now doing it from a place of love versus servitude.
Personally, I am realizing more and more about how purity is a gift. Perhaps this gift will one day bring freedom to another and demonstrate grace in a tangible way. While I may not know who I will end up with and what their story is like, I know the Author of every story and am beginning to understand, for the first time, what everyone’s story is truly about …
The discovery of GRACE that leads us directly into the Father’s embrace through the Son’s sacrifice.
Perhaps, instead of viewing purity as “saving myself,” I can now begin to let thankfulness rise up in my heart for the One who has truly saved me.
Originally posted at Missional Living. Used With Permission.
Courtney Werner graduated with a degree in Psychology. She is a self-taught artist from San Diego and is constantly looking for new creative outlets. Courtney has always enjoyed art but recently decided to pursue it with a bit more vigor. In addition to painting, she also dabbles with writing, interior design, DIY projects and composing music.
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