If you haven't read Ann Voskamp's latest blog post, click here to enjoy it for yourself! If you have, chances are that you were thinking something along the lines of "yes, Yes, YES!" You wouldn't be the only one.
It is quite staggering - and heartbreaking - the number of clients that come through our doors, claiming to be a Jesus-follower, yet actively living in sin. In particular the sin of fornication. But it's not a sin to them, just like excessive spending isn't a sin to other Jesus-followers, or lazing around the house all day instead of providing for your family isn't a sin to other Jesus-followers. My toes are being crushed...are yours?
The staff and volunteers have talked at length at how disheartening it is for so many of our clients to not understand the importance of waiting until marriage. It's an age-old fashion that is so out-dated, it might as well be ignored. Or, at least, that's what they believe. And not because they've told us this, but because it's the way they are living. We, as peer counselors to our clients, are at a loss with this. How do we impress on them that God's plan for them includes an intact heart, one that isn't broken or torn into pieces by multiple sexual partners? How do we get past the eye rolls and huffs?
Back last fall, in November, I had a client come to the Center on a Friday. Thankfully Fridays are normally pretty slow for us, so I had a little extra time to talk with her more than I normally would with a pregnancy test client.
She took the test, and the result was positive. As per usual, I asked her how she would feel if it was positive. I honestly don't remember her answer. The answer I do remember, however, was the answer to this question: How do you think your family would feel about your being pregnant? She said that at first, they would be very disappointed with her; she's unmarried, you see... But after the initial shock and disappointment, they would come around - slowly - and be happy and supportive.
This is not a normal answer. And the fact that she was able to see beyond the end of her own nose shows me that she will be a good mother. She has the ability to see how her choices, poor or good, affect others around her. I told her this, and she started crying.
Well, you see, my personality is quite harsh sometimes, even though I really never intend to be that way. And so, I thought that I had said something that offended her. I quickly apologized for whatever I said, and it was then that she said this, "No one has ever said that about me." ... No one had ever complimented her on being aware of others around her and conscious of their feelings. If that was the only good thing I did that day, I'll take it.
She gets a part of what Ann - just plain ol' Ann without even a fanciful 'e' - is saying. But there's more to what Ann is saying here. And it takes another client-story to help explain our predicament as a ministry and society.
A young girl came in a few months ago, likely a high school student. Of course, her buddies came with her, so it was just me and her in the client room. She is a bright young lady, full of talent and a wonderful future ahead of her. Her test came back negative, so I launched into the abstinence spill...except that what I said next, I had never said before and most definitely had not planned on saying!
There is a reason that God tells us to wait until marriage to have sex. And it's more than just a rule that we have to follow. It's more than just a way of making our lives hard and difficult. It's a way of protecting us. But not just protecting us from getting sick with some STI or becoming pregnant when we didn't want a child. It's about protecting the essence of who we are: our heart and soul.
You see, Jesus didn't die for our bodies. He died for our souls. Our bodies will die and decay, but our souls will live forever in one of two places: heaven (and eternal Life with Jesus) or hell (and eternal separation from Jesus). He came, lived a sinless life, died on the cross as a sacrifice, and rose from the dead so that our immortal souls could be healed from the sin in them and live forever with Him in heaven. This is why God tells us to wait until marriage to have sex.
Because every time you have sex, a soul-tie is formed between you and your partner. A bond that lasts forever...or until God decides to break it, and then it's quite painful. And our souls were never made to bond with several different people. It's more about protecting our heart - that part of us that makes us us.
Her eyes got big when I told her this. She had never heard this before. And regardless as to whether she acted on this new knowledge or not, when she went to bed that night, our conversation was on her mind. She had at least been told once the real reason God calls for abstinence.
And it hurts my heart that the millennial generation and younger don't know this. We've only ever heard the "girls should dress modestly because you don't want to tempt the boys" sermon over and over again. We were never actually told, as young girls, why you should want to dress modestly. That modesty is more than just the way you dress. That it includes the way you act, speak, walk, think, and work. It's so much more than what people see on you day to day.
And similarly, we were never told the real reason why abstinence is so important. Something was lost from past generations to now in the telling.
I am so grateful to Ann for her willingness to be raw and real with her sons on an international platform. As I was reading this post, waiting on my ice cream cone and large grape sprite with easy ice and jolly rancher candy from Sonic, I chuckled a little bit as I thought of her boys being terribly embarrassed by this letter from her to them. But I would rather be embarrassed and hear truth in a real and honest way than go about business as usual and be ignorant of the truth.
What she says in this post is what we are trying to teach our clients. This is something that we are doing daily. If you, as a parent, are getting to the time when you should begin having "the talk" with your children, and you feel thoroughly unprepared, please call us or come visit us! This is why we are here - to help our community know God's plan for sex and families and to educate our community on how to actually talk about it and live it out in real life. Please come see us! And read her blog!