This morning a friend of mine shared a link to this incredible post. Now I'm not much of a blog follower, but I have read some of this blogger's posts before and I have loved every one of them. She writes likes I talk, but am afraid to write.
Perhaps I run in a more conservative crowd. One time I posted on Facebook about how I always seem to miss the bony ankle area when I shave my legs and end up with a perpetual fringe of fur around my ankles and I got some "TMI . . . too much information!" feedback. Sheepishly, I began to refrain from sharing too much of my earthy self in writing. Perhaps I am too shy or lack backbone or just care too much about what others think. I don't know.
But Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary, tells it like it is and what she says in this post just has to be said and said and said again.
In contrast to Jamie, somehow. . . somehow. . . SOMEHOW—by the grace of God—my husband and I made it to marriage as virgins. Back then in the olden days, the sex-laden culture was more of a lazy river but the biology was good old biology. But by the grace of God, and thanks to a short engagement, we got to our wedding night without a clue as to what we were doing. An adventure in itself.
When it came to our kids, I always thought I was so good about being open and honest about sex. I started the conversations early and was very frank. I waxed long and intense about the pressures and the need to hold out for marriage. I used the fire and fireplace analogy that I learned from my college pastor, Brother Bob, in 1984. We set limits for physical intimacy as our daughters began to date, things like "If you want to kiss him, only do it standing up" knowing that makes it at least a little more difficult to get into compromising positions. Hands were to stay off of any place underwear went. We thought these were reasonable and balanced rules. Realistic to know that there would be some smooching going on, yet giving them the freedom within boundaries.
Now, I know many of you courtship types are shaking your head that we did it wrong. You know what? Maybe we did. But that isn't what this post is about, so please keep that in mind.
Anyway, we figured we had done a good job. The books and articles and Powers That Be all said that if your daughter feels secure enough in your love for her she will not go looking for it elsewhere. They said that if you parent right she will come to you will all her questions. We were so certain we had done it right and, to be honest, would shake our heads when word trickled in about classmates at their Christian school who were romping in the hay, so to speak. I even defended my daughter to the MD who offered to prescribe her the pill, saying that the doctor should have respected my daughter's convictions rather than viewing her with such skepticism.
Then the world caved in. I will not go into details, there is no need and, out of respect for my daughter, I would not go into details even if there was a need, not unless she wanted me to. But suffice it to say that we came face to face with the two lies that Jamie mentions in her post: The lie from our culture that sex isn't a very big deal and the lie that can come from the church, that sex is the the biggest deal of all.
About the first lie. There is no restraint out there at all. None. It amazes me. The movies. The TV shows. The music. It absolutely blows me away. It is like the guys are nothing but walking penises. As for the girls, I don't know. My husband has this theory that one of the biggest myths that movies perpetuate is that women are always, always ready and eager to hop in the sack with whoever, whenever. This totally baffles him because, having been married to me for almost 25 years, he knows that is not the case. But I digress.
The truth is, that what was a slow stream of cultural sexuality in
the 1980s is an all out tsunami of eroticism and sexual freedom. Those
of us who are working so hard to protect our children from the damages
of sex outside of marriage really do have to understand this. Wherever
your child goes, whether to college or straight into the workforce, it
is highly likely that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is doing it and
sees it as perfectly normal and thinks it is really, really weird and
unnatural NOT to do it. Couple that environment with the teenager or
young adult who may be lonely and confused and working to find his or
her place in the world and what he or she believes is true. . . It is easy to jump in to that alluring river of fun and "freedom" and "love." It is
easy to get swept away.
The second lie is the one that
concerns me even more. The lie that sex outside of marriage is the
worst sin ever. Why do we do that? Because it is so defined? Because the consequences can be so visible and life-altering? Because
there is such a cut and dry boundary? Because if Tab A went into Slot B,
then you are doomed? I know that the Bible talks about maintaining
sexual purity. I understand that God created sex for lots of important
reasons and all. But the Bible talks about a LOT, I mean A WHOLE LOT of
other sins, both external and internal. Yet this one tends to get
singled out. Why? That is another post in and of itself. Later.
I see as the biggest danger of this "biggest sin ever" approach is the
all-or-nothing nature of it all. That whole virginity thing. My concern,
and I can certainly see that I was as guilty of this as the next
parent, is that we make such a big deal about sex in a "There's this
thing called sex—don't do it" way and never, ever teach them how to
respond if they DO do it. I wrote about this in my blog post Class VI Rapids and Sex.
It is my concern that, especially for girls, once they give in to the
actual act of sex, they may see themselves as damaged goods. I have known
way too many women who were actually TOLD by their jerk boyfriends that
they were damaged goods and nobody else would want them since they were
no longer virgins. This is a cruel lie and the worst tragedy of all.
don't see my daughter as damaged goods. I see her as beautiful. . .
older now, wiser, and maybe even full of regrets, but beautiful. And
she is the mother of the most wonderful little girl on the planet.
isn't a sin out there that cannot be forgiven. There isn't choice that
cannot be redeemed. Jesus is in the business of making all things new
and healing the brokenhearted and binding up wounds. No matter what
mistakes we make, sins we commit, failures, train wrecks, you name it.
Nothing is beyond the reach of the arms of our loving and redeeming
If you have fallen to the overwhelming lure of
sex and suffered its consequences, know that you are NOT damaged goods.
You do not have to be dirty and broken. Go swimming in the river of
God's grace and use your experience to the glory of him who washes you
clean. Read the truth below or listen to it here. (Thank you, Jars of Clay, for your healing words.)