We live in a world that paints the picture that very few people are abstaining from sex until marriage, but as I travel the nation with the Silver Ring Thing ministry sharing this message of Christ centered abstinence, I have noticed that this picture is false. Not only are people making this decision to abstain, but there are many that are in support of this message and are willing to sacrifice much to paint a new picture of sexuality in America.
For me personally, waiting was not always a part of my plan. My parents were both teenage parents; my mom was pregnant with her first child at age 17 and had two children by age 19. My father began dealing drugs when I was a baby to provide for the family and continued up until he was murdered when I was only nine years old. Growing up I did not hear “wait until marriage,” I heard “wait until you’re ready,” so naturally I viewed my virginity as something that belonged to me and not something that belonged to God.
In high school, I was one of those girls hoping to lose her virginity after senior prom. I had been in the same relationship both junior and senior year and despite how draining, verbally and emotionally abusive, and immature our relationship was, I thought that ultimately having sex after senior prom would have been a great reward for our longevity. However, at the beginning of senior year, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans causing my family and I to move to California, which forced me and my boyfriend into a long distance relationship.
I was extremely devastated! Not only was I losing my home and my life as I knew it, but I was separated from the person I felt closest to. At the time, I was not mature enough to understand that this was apart of God’s plan to bring me closer to His will; hence, I tried to make the distance work and we prolonged our plans of having sex until after graduation. Overtime, the distance began to reveal the truth in my relationship. It became a lot worse and it ended.
Being in an unfamiliar place with few friends became great grounds for cultivating a relationship with God. Instead of planning to give away a precious gift after graduation, I found Christ and found my worth. I went to college on fire for God and during my sophomore year, I made a vow to follow God’s plan for sex. Later after making the vow, I made a very unwise decision. I decided to restore my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, which caused me to struggle even more as I was now trying to live pure and he was not. I began to compromise in many ways, crossing every physical and emotional boundary except sex. Later, I realized the only way I could truly walk pure was to surrender all to God and end my relationship with this person once and for all. That was four years ago and although removing my ex from my life did not put an end to all of my challenges, God’s grace has allowed me to walk away from every tempting situation.
Making the decision to wait has blessed my life tremendously. I don’t have to be concerned about the physical consequences of having sex, such as STDs, pregnancy or the emotional consequences, but most importantly, the spiritual consequences. I can go after God without restraint; I can worship him without the guilt of sexual sin on my heart. I’m human, so I do face sexual temptation just like everyone else, but the important thing is leaning on God to get me through those moments.
One of my biggest struggles is probably sticking to boundaries, but what’s helping me is remembering to set up boundaries in the smallest areas like touching and kissing because crossing small boundaries can lead to sex. I have even taken my emotional boundaries a step further in guarding my heart by taking my feelings to God through prayer when I am interested in a guy and waiting for His guidance. When people ask me why I am waiting, I say, “because I have decided to live for Christ and that means honoring Him with my body.”Although I do believe that this decision to wait will bless my marriage, I choose to focus more on the fact that I am not having sex outside of marriage because I LOVE GOD and it is truly my heart’s desire to please him in everything I do.
Often when I look at myself, I say, “Wow, statistically, I was never supposed to be this girl. By age 25, I should have been a teenage mom, with more than one child, perhaps looking for my father’s love in a drug dealer’s arms or addicted to drugs to numb the pain, and never graduated high school. I shouldn’t be a woman of God, a college graduate, a role model to other young women that come from where I come from, or a virgin! This is why I believe there is beauty in waiting.