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Archive for August, 2013

How SPICE-y Are You?

Monday, August 26th, 2013

By: Vincent Weaver

In scanning through online news articles today, I ran across a fascinating story of a young engineer in NYC who frequently passed several homeless people on his way to work.  One man, in particular, the engineer found to be “a smart guy” – someone who was often found reading books or writing.  The engineer said, “I was trying to think of a way to engage him and help him.”  Ultimately, the engineer came up with a couple of intriguing, helpful options for the homeless man to choose from, if he was so inclined.  (Rather than spoil the ending, I’ll let you click here if you want to read the full story.)

Although this point may have not been immediately obvious, in considering how he was going to engage the homeless man in a helpful way, he was developing several dimensions of his sexuality.  That’s right – he was developing his sexuality.  “Huh?  What are you talking about?”, you might be saying.  Let me explain.

At Family Honor, we present programs designed to unpack the meaning of Blessed (soon-to-be-“Saint”) John Paul II’s teachings on human sexuality known as the “Theology of the Body”.  One of his many key points is that sex is not about what we do – it’s about who we are – and we are each a person with many dimensions.  Those various dimensions of our sexuality can be summed-up with the acronym S-P-I-C-E.  These 5 elements stand for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative, and Emotional.  (To get an idea of one way SPICE is discussed in our programs, click on this video link.)  It’s important that we each continually strive to develop ourselves in each of these aspects of who we are. 

Spiritual – What can you do today, this week, or this year to develop spiritually?  This all comes down to spending time building that relationship with God.  Just like you’d do with a good friend, it takes time to nurture that relationship.  Going to mass once a week or only praying once in a while isn’t enough for a fruitful bond with our Lord.  Prayer, frequent participation in the Sacraments, Eucharistic Adoration and  reading the Bible all are good ways to spend time strengthening that relationship with our Creator.  Regular, every day efforts go a long way in this regard.

Physical – Our bodies matter.  It is only through our bodies that others come to know the other dimensions of who we are.  In the Bible, we hear that our bodies are like “temples”.  Do we treat them that way?  Do we treat them with sacred respect? How are we utilizing our bodies to reflect genuine love for others?  This was one way the engineer at the start of this blog was developing his sexuality.  He was physically approaching the homeless man to see what he could do to help.  God gave most of us the physical ability to do an awful lot of loving things for others in this world.  Are we making the most of those talents?  What would this world be like if all of us did that?

Intellectual – What goals are we setting for ourselves?  Do we think of the consequences of our actions?  What are we doing each day to stimulate our brains – to learn and gain from the wisdom of the Church and from others with more life experience than us?  Once again, the engineer was using his intellect to figure out ways to be helpful.  What a good way to develop intellectually!

Creative – All of us have talents.  Many (if not most) of us keep them locked up inside because we’re too busy, too distracted, too afraid to fail, or too concerned with what others may think of us doing something different.  God has a plan for each of us.  Seeking Him and listening to Him so we can know what He has in mind will help us discover those hidden talents and be the person He intends us to be.

Emotional – Our emotions can send us in many different, sometimes volatile, directions.  However, our emotions are gifts from God.  They give us the energy and the enthusiasm to step in when we sense an injustice, to help someone who’s down on their luck (like our engineer with the homeless man), or to simply express love.  Our emotions are God-given tools to help us do the right thing.  How can we better channel that energy each day to be more loving?

The key with each of these is to find balanced ways every day to work on all of these dimensions of who we are as a person – to become a sexually-mature person.  A person who takes the time to do this will find genuine love to be at the center of who they are, and they will more easily see God in themselves and in others.  Did that engineer “see God” in the homeless man?  I don’t know, but I’d say his “eyesight” was becoming clearer with each step he took in developing his SPICE.

Cohabitation – A Poor Strategy Choice

Monday, August 19th, 2013

By: Vincent Weaver

Besides doing whatever I can to spread the good news that is “chastity education” all across America, I also teach some business classes at a local college.  The funny thing about business is that it has a lot in common with marriage and family.  Does that sound odd?  Well, let me explain.

First, long-term, successful businesses rarely happen by chance.  They involve an honest, realistic look at the circumstances, good communication among all involved, and crafting strategies that fit with both the internal and the external environments with which the organization is dealing.  Also, such businesses are successful usually because the founders have a passion for what they do and a vision for where they are going.

Now, think about successful marriages.  A couple can greatly increase their chance of not only a lasting marriage, but a happy, satisfying one by doing these same things.  Honest, thoughtful conversations about anything and everything before entering into this lifelong commitment are critical. Most people know how to talk to each other, but few know how to truly communicate well listening being the chief component of quality communication that gets short shrift.  Finally, a couple should work out good strategies to decide; 1) how they will help each other reach their goals (and set goals that are helpful to the relationship); 2) how they plan to pay their bills (and invest in their family); and 3) how they plan to raise their children, should God bless them with such gifts.

Back to business.  One strategy that businesses will occasionally use to move into a new geographic territory or to capitalize on unique abilities and resources that another firm possesses is to engage in a “Joint Venture”.  This strategy involves each party bringing specific skills and resources to the table where each can “get something out of it”.  It is typically a temporary arrangement (with perhaps a bit of hope that it will be ongoing).  The peculiar thing about Joint Ventures is that they rarely last and aren’t nearly as successful as “Mergers”.

You see, in a Joint Venture, both parties only go so far into the commitment.  They hold back for fear of not being able to completely trust the other.  Over time, this often leads to poor (or dishonest) communication, manipulative behavior, and nasty break-ups.  A “Merger” is where both parties fully commit to each other and literally “become one”.  Are Mergers always successful?  Of course not.  The two organizations getting used to each other’s norms, values, and expectations can be challenging.  It takes work.  But, in the end, that level of commitment seems to be the deciding factor in predicting greater success for Mergers versus that for Joint Ventures.

Cohabitation is widely seen by many (especially young people) as a wise “strategy” and a helpful step on the way to marriage (or long-term relationship).  In fact, more than 60% of all married couples today began with some form of cohabitation.  However, all moral factors aside, this is probably the single worst decision a couple can make if they’re really interested in being together for the long haul. The data on this is legion.  For example, in an article by Glenn Stanton (Baptist Press) entitled “Cohabitation and Divorce – There Is a Correlation”, Mr. Stanton says this: “… if a couple wanted to substantially increase their likelihood of divorcing, there are few things they could do to so efficiently guarantee such an outcome than live together before marriage. In fact, this is such a consistent finding in the social science research that scholars have coined a term for it: ‘the cohabitational effect.'”

So, if a guy lives together with this woman he says he loves, he’s saying, in essence, “I’m not sure if this is going to work or how serious I am about this relationship.  Can I use you for a while and see what I think?”  That’s got to be a pretty exciting prospect, huh ladies?  Dignity, anyone?  A couple who cohabitates increases their likelihood of divorce by 50 to 80%.  Now, think about the “Joint Venture” strategy and success rates – any surprises here?  (To hear an excellent audio podcast on ‘cohabitation’ conducted by Family Honor’s own Brenda Cerkez, click here.)

Marriage isn’t always easy.  It takes two grown-ups who are committed to one another on every level and who are willing to work through struggles and trials together.  They realize that to harm or use the other is to harm or use oneself because they have “become one”.  So, they’re much more likely to choose “us” rather than “me”.  If that’s not a commitment both parties understand or are willing to make, then “joining” together in any way, shape, or form is clearly ill-advised.  Marriage.  One could even say that it’s a strategy “made in Heaven”.   Cohabitation?  Let’s just say it may have come from somewhere with a higher average temperature.

Strong Fathers in Challenging Times

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

By: Paul Robertson

 

(Family Honor Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the website of the “Center for Parent/Youth Understanding“.  It is being re-posted here with permission.)

 

We live in a time and culture when the importance of fatherhood is very much maligned. The media has gone out of its way to portray fathers as unreliable, silly and spineless. Can you name even one television program where a father is portrayed as he should be? Not since The Cosby Show has fatherhood been presented as the noble calling it really is.

 

There is an endless stream of research to show the significant impact an involved father has on the lives of his children. Children with caring fathers who are involved, nurturing and playful are more likely to do better linguistically and cognitively. Even toddlers with involved fathers can be expected to begin school with higher levels of academic readiness. These children also cope better with stress and frustrations in school than kids without involved fathers. The trend to academic achievement continues into the teen years. Teens are likely to have better verbal skills and do better in school thanks to fathers who stay involved. One 2001 study found that highly involved biological fathers had children who were 43 percent more likely than other children to achieve mostly “A” marks and 33 percent less likely to repeat a grade (The Importance of Fathers in the Healthy Development of Children – Rosenberg and Wilcox, 2006).

 

The same researchers show children with involved dads are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surrounding, and have better social connections with peers as they continue to mature. These same children are less likely to be getting into trouble at home, school and in public.

 

Fathers who simply spend time in unstructured play with their children will find that their children are adjusted both emotionally and socially. For example, fathers who spend time wrestling with their kids can teach them how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact without losing their tempers. Fathers also teach their children the importance of achieving and accomplishing tasks that often lead to teens who are more likely to exhibit self-control and be well-behaved.

 

In order to stay connected with their children, fathers have been required to play a variety of roles. In light of the complicated and challenging youth culture our kids face, these tasks take on an even greater sense of importance compared to prior generations. We have focused on the five roles outlined by Garret Evans and Kate Fogarty (The Common Roles of Fathers: The Five Ps) from the University of Florida as they apply within the current youth culture.

 

Participator

 

In the distraction of our daily schedules, we have forgotten the importance of simply being there for our kids. Some children learn that dad only will show up in crisis situations when mom can no longer handle things. Participating fathers are there to help their children with the everyday issues, which in turn leads to more meaningful relationships. It is a great way to teach basic life skills, such as making good choices, choosing good friends and learning to discern the important issues of life. The culture and all its temptations make a father’s involvement crucial. Dad leads the way by being an example of what he wants his children to become. We all know that “more is caught than taught” and it were never truer than in issues of parenting.

 

Playmate

 

Fathers tend to engage in more physical play than mothers, who tend to be nurturers. Roughhousing has a number of benefits—builds muscles and coordination, is a place to teach rules and self-control, teaches taking turns and how to play physically without hurting others. It also is a wonderful time for meaningful conversations and building deep emotional bonds. Dads often underestimate the benefits of simply playing with their kids.

 

As children turn into adolescence, the physical fun side of life can be carried on into organized sports and recreational activities that offer even more avenues to continue to grow together.

 

Principled guide

 

Given today’s youth culture is permeated with an indifference to morality, perhaps the greatest role a father now plays is that of principled guide. It takes a great father to guide his children through their media minefield. Kids are looking for direction and guidance, which need to come from the home. Fathers help young people to see the dangers ahead and how to set boundaries for healthy living. Proper discipline teaches socially desirable behavior and builds character. It enables children to understand the consequences and reality of their own decisions and actions; something that is often missing in the media they watch.

 

It is important for fathers to catch their children doing something good. We have a natural tendency to only notice our kids when they do something wrong. Guiding fathers recognize and reward the goodness in their children. True discipline is as much about reward as it is correction. Building reasonable, consistent boundaries in a youth world of “anything goes” will pay great dividends in the future for loving parents.

 

Provider

 

Society still values a father who provides tangible resources for his family. Some fathers believe that if they provide enough material things for their kids that they will be happy. If possessions made one happy, this generation of young people should be the happiest ever. However, most long for relationships more than resources. Dads can provide time helping with homework, attending school activities and caring for their children. There is a nurturing side to fathers that all kids long for. He sets the character example for what he wants his son or daughter to be when they grow up.

 

Teenagers are dying for relationships. The popularity of such Web sites as Facebook and MySpace are evidence. When surveyed, most young people agree they would rather have interaction with real people. For these young people, time with their father can be a life-changing experience as face-to-face guidance on a variety of life issues can be provided best through real interaction. For example, most kids learn most of what they know about sex from the media. Is there a less trustworthy source than their music and movies? Young people need to hear the truth from dad … and mom.

 

Preparer

 

Many teens and young adults are struggling in the real world because they were never properly prepared for the real world; somehow life is much simpler on TV. Fathers need to help their children discover their God-given gifts and passions and guide them into developing those passions into a God-glorifying vocation. Direction on values, morality, integrity and character also are part of the preparation. Parents want their children to grow up to be responsible citizens and it doesn’t happen by chance. It takes an involved father to assist them in making the right choices in a world where cheating, bullying, intimidation and lying have become the new life-skills to get ahead. The ultimate goal is to prepare them to live life on their own with honor and Christ-like compassion.

 

In my own research, I’ve asked a number of young people what they expect their father to be in a world that is changing quickly and that often fails to provide positive direction for them. Here is a sample of what I’ve heard.

 

First, they expect their fathers to ask them how they are doing, how their day was and then take time to listen to their answers. They need to know their father cares about them. In one survey, 73 percent of our teens said having someone to listen to them is “very, very important.” The Internet may be a great place to chat, but is anyone really listening?

 

Second, they expect their fathers to be consistent and to model the behavior and beliefs they talk about. Fathers are expected to teach moral beliefs and standards, and to be an example. Teens hate hypocrisy and double standards. They want authenticity in their media world of shallowness and lies.

 

Third, young people long for fathers to love them unconditionally. They need to know that regardless of how stupid they can be, their dad will love them “no matter what.” Teens want to see the emotional and compassionate side of the man they look up to. It makes their fathers human in a rather impersonal, technological world.

 

Fourth, girls want their fathers to treat them with respect both verbally and physically. Dads need to set the standard for what their daughters should expect from the other men in their life. Honoring your daughter makes her feel worthy and loved and helps her get beyond the simple notion of being an “object” in her youth culture.

 

Fifth, as much as they need guidance they also need freedom. Freedom is earned as they prove they are responsible. Preparing your teens to live in the real world is a long and complicated process but very rewarding when done properly.

 

No doubt we live in a busy world where everyone’s schedule is more than full. Fathers feel the pressure—often feeling no one else understands—of providing for the family while juggling a hundred other important issues. However, in the end, dads only get one chance to raise their kids properly. If as one mother said, “When you die, the only thing you take with you is the love and memories of your children,” then the question becomes, “What will their memories of us be?”

 

©2008, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding

What Are the Rights of Donor-Conceived People?

Monday, August 12th, 2013

by  Alana S. Newman
within Bioethics

August 2nd, 2013

Family Honor Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, NJ.  It is reprinted here with permission.

Third party reproduction corrupts the parent-child relationship and disrespects the humanity of donor-conceived people.

What are the rights of donor-conceived people?  To ask this question is to suggest that we have different rights from everyone else—and so we do, because we’ve allowed it.

We’ve created a class of people who are manufactured, and treat them as less-than-fully human, demanding that they be grateful for whatever circumstances we give them. While fathers of traditionally conceived human beings are chased down and forced to make child support payments as a minimal standard of care, people conceived commercially are reprimanded when they question the anonymous voids that their biological fathers so “lovingly” left.

The crimes against the donor-conceived bend time and space. The adults that betray us do so before official personhood, which is the loophole through which this new form of human trafficking is made possible. Is gamete-selling all that different from baby-selling?

I recently discussed third-party reproduction and “the rights of donor-conceived people” at a debate at the Institute for American Values. My opponent was an older gay man, who with his male partner hired two surrogates and one egg donor in the generation of three children. He was there to argue that it’s okay to dispose of mothers and manufacture children as long as it’s done the “right” way. I was there as a representative of donor-conceived people.

It is difficult to know how to pitch yourself as a donor-conceived person during these conversations. If my opponent displays gentlemanly behavior, intelligence, and sensitivity, his argument is made stronger and the audience has a hard time disentangling good manners from immoral deeds. But when I speak, my argument is that we are damaged and pained. If a donor-conceived person like me displays charm and intelligence it can work against our efforts in that they suggest we are able to achieve normalcy—therefore no harm, no foul.

Must every donor-conceived person develop into a violent, drug-addicted, and deranged adult in order to convince the public that his or her family structure is by definition problematic? If so, I’ll graciously illustrate scenes from my challenging past in my next essay. But for now let’s just say I hope not, and take a look at what history has taught us about human rights. It’s clear that often in the case of donor-conceived people, these rights hardly apply.

It is illegal to buy and sell people.

When slavery was abolished, with it went the notion not only that you could own another human being, but also that you could separate a person from his biological kin. Countless historical examples teach us that human beings deeply desire connection to their biological kin, especially their biological parents and siblings. If we recognize that it’s wrong to displace human beings as if they were products, not people, then we should also see that a concept like donor-conception is wrong in principle.

Does anybody remember the Cambodian adoption scandal involving Lauren Galindo? Galindo was the facilitator in one of Angelina Jolie’s adoptions. She is also a convicted felon who reportedly paid vulnerable mothers to relinquish their children for as little as a bag of rice.

This March an Oklahoma woman was arrested for trying to sell her two young children via Facebook for $1,000 so she could bail her boyfriend out of jail. An unprincipled economist might look at these situations and ask, what’s the problem? The buyer wanted the children, the mother didn’t. Isn’t this a more efficient system for raising children?

Most of us ache a little in our hearts when we witness children being raised by their incompetent, desperate, or even disturbed natural parents. But we don’t allow the market to correct for supply and demand in these cases because we believe it is unjust for children to have price tags. Why should we then allow the market to have a say over the future of some children just because their parents can abandon their responsibilities through sperm and egg donation?

It is illegal to impregnate a woman for the purpose of taking her child.

This April it was discovered that a UK woman bought sperm to impregnate her fourteen-year-old adopted daughter because she wanted another baby. She wanted the child badly—isn’t that enough? Life is good, right? Babies make the world better, right? Yet there is something deeply wrong with creating new life this way.

Also this spring, seventeen teenage girls and eleven babies were rescued from two baby factories in Nigeria where the girls were raped by human traffickers who would then sell each baby for up to $6,400. Most of the babies were destined to become child prostitutes. But let’s say some of them would have ended up in nice California homes with two doting parents and a robust college fund. Would the means by which they were conceived be justified? Common sense tells us “no.”

San Diego’s Theresa Erickson was a fertility industry darling, a surrogacy attorney, and a serial egg donor who crossed the line and was convicted of trafficking babies last year. Erickson went from being considered an angel helping others to a deviant human trafficker because of subtle legal distinctions that permit surrogacy if all the paperwork is completed and checks are signed before conception, but punish the same process as baby-selling if parenthood is officially transferred mid-gestation. But what is the difference for the child?

It is illegal to neglect a child, even if the child was conceived in a one-night stand and was unplanned.

We discourage sloppy sexual behavior not because we’re anti-fun, but because most taxpayers don’t want to pay for other people’s irresponsibly made children. When John Doe drinks too much Guinness and finds himself in Jane Smith’s bed, and Jane Smith finds herself pregnant, we hold the two accountable for their choices and make both parties responsible for the child. If needed we even hunt down and force the father to make child support payments. It is common knowledge that humans reproduce sexually, and it is fair to expect people to limit their risky behavior according to how many hungry mouths they’re prepared to feed.

All of these examples should serve to inform our views of third-party reproduction, especially commercial third-party reproduction.

But I feel bad for infertile couples. What’s so bad about helping them build families?

There is nothing wrong with seeking legitimate cures for infertility and helping people overcome obstacles to conception. The problem with third-party reproduction is that it corrupts and perverts the parent-child relationship. The child becomes an asset to be bought and sold, rather than a precious begotten family member who deserves intimacy, protection, and inclusion. She enters the world as a tool for personal satisfaction.

Recognizing that third-party reproduction is unjust requires legislation that blocks the very first stages of the process. We legislate against the distribution of uranium, for example, because we have laws against private distribution of atomic weapons. When single people, elderly, or gay couples (demographics that are by definition non-procreative) tell you they’re not buying children, just “tissue,” ask them why they’re converting their offices into nurseries. Do vials of sperm require crib mobiles and changing tables? No, babies do.

Right now in California, Democrats led by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano are pushing bill AB-460. Labeled as an anti-discrimination measure, the bill will force insurance companies to pay for fertility treatment for inherently sterile parties. They argue that it’s unfair and discriminatory for insurance companies only to assist heterosexual couples (below a certain age) with fertility treatments. If it’s okay for one kind of person to buy sperm or eggs, so their logic goes, then it should be okay for all people to do the same, regardless of age, relationship status, or sexual orientation. Their logic is fair.

But it’s not right for any person to buy or sell sperm or eggs, because to do so is really to buy and sell a person. And people should not be for sale. Parenthood should not be for sale. All children deserve the love and care of the two people that made them: their biological mother and father. Children are safest in the nuclear family. There they can develop a sound and complete identity.

Stories of gross abuse of children who were manufactured via third-party reproduction are now emerging. Two Australian men hired a Russian surrogate to deliver their “son,” who they began sexually abusing just days after birth and exploited in a pedophile network that authorities described as one of “the most heinous acts of exploitation this office has ever seen.” Then there is the Israeli repeat sex offender who gained sole custody of a little girl he procured through surrogacy.

Paris Jackson tried to commit suicide after discovering that she and her brother Prince have different sperm donor fathers in the same month it was revealed that Michael Jackson paid over $35 million in hush money to two dozen boys he molested.

The industry turns a blind eye and fails to properly screen “intended parents” because there is too much money to be made. I once interviewed Teri Royal, who owned what was once the world’s largest egg donation agency. I asked her how many clients she rejected of the thousands she served. She admitted to only declining one potential client. Any adoption agency will tell you their rejection rates run much higher than that. But when conception is commercialized and fertility industry entrepreneurs can earn over $100,000 per child born, these astronomical sums corrupt and should be seen as major conflicts of interest in providing for the best interests of the child.

Today, human rights do not apply to the donor-conceived child because her humanity has been deconstructed and she is a product to please adults, a thing to service others and be consumed. She does not have a father like other people, nor a mother. She only has donors and “intended” parents. If she complains about the discrepancy, the world will ask her threateningly, would you rather not exist?

She fears what they’ll do if she answers honestly.

Alana S. Newman is the founder of the Anonymous Us ProjectAnonymous Us: Volume 1, A story-collective on 3rd Party Reproduction will be released by University of Chicago Press later this monthFollow her work and blog at alananewman.com.

I Don’t Wait Anymore

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

(Family Honor Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared as a blog on the “Grace for the Road” website in February, 2012.  It is re-posted here with permission.)

When I was 16, I got a purity ring.

And when I was 25, I took it off.

I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it — it wasn’t a statement or an emotional thing. I just slipped it off my finger that day and, before tucking it away in a box, ran my finger around the words on the familiar gold band.

“True Love Waits.” Waits.

What’s it “waiting” for, anyway?

*****

I had my reasons for deciding not to wear it anymore. Other people might have other reasons. It’s a graveyard of hearts, this place where single church girls crash into their late 20s and early 30s. Churches see the symptoms. They scramble to reach out to the ever-growing young adult singles crowd who feels alienated by family-oriented services.

But there’s something bigger behind it than that.

Much bigger.

There are a lot of girls out there who don’t know who God is anymore – the God of their youth group years just isn’t working out. Back then, that God said to wait for sex until they are married, until He brings the right man along for a husband. They signed a card and put it on the altar and pledged to wait.

And wait they did.

*****

And waited and waited and waited.

Some of them have prayed their whole lives for a husband, and he hasn’t shown up. They’ve heard the advice to “be the woman God made you to be, focus on that, and then the husband will come.” They’ve read “Lady in Waiting,” gotten super involved in church and honed their domestic skills.

And still they wait.

More than a decade ago, a youth leader handed them a photocopied poem in Sunday School written to them from “God” that said, “The reason you don’t have anyone yet is because you’re not fully satisfied in Me. You have to be satisfied with Me and then when you least expect it, I’ll bring you the person I meant for you.”

And the girls see it posted on their bulletin boards from time to time.

“You’re right, God,” they say. “We’re not satisfied in you yet. We will put you first and then you can bring us a husband in your timing.”

But many of them – if they’re honest – will tell you that time has passed, and it’s wrecking their view of God.

If this is who God’s supposed to be, then He’s tragically late.

So some decide to chuck “Lady in Waiting” out the window … and possibly their virginity with it. Church goes next. God might go next, too. If He doesn’t answer these prayers after they’ve held up their end of the bargain, why would He answer any others?

Whether it was the fault of the leaders, the fault of us girls, or both, a tragedy happened back then.

A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior.

*****

I had that poem on my bulletin board all through high school – the one where “God” was telling me to fall in love with Him first and then I would be able to fall in love with a husband later.

Who wrote that poem anyway?

Pretty sure it wasn’t God.

When Jesus was here on the earth, the crowds would follow Him because they saw He gave good things. But that’s not what He wanted. He wanted their hearts for Himself. So He would turn to them and say things like, “If you don’t love Me so much that every other relationship in your life looks like hate by comparison, you can’t follow Me.” (Matthew 10:34-39, paraphrase)

That sounds a lot different from the poem.

Christ is the source of everything we need and the giver of all good gifts … but in telling people about Him, it’s possible we’ve sold them on a solution for life’s problems and not life itself.

What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.

If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.

If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.

If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute. It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

It shows that while marriage is good, He is the greater goal.

*****

Don’t think I’ve done this perfectly.

I’d be deceiving you if you thought that. I’ve had relationships where I made major mistakes. I’ve gone through angst-ridden phases where I met with friends to plead together with God to bring us husbands. I’ve planned major life decisions around possibilities.

I lived like I was waiting for something.

And that’s why I slipped off my ring that day. It wasn’t that I wanted to sleep with people – I haven’t. It wasn’t a slap to True Love Waits, or to anyone who wears a purity ring – saving sex for marriage is good and is His design.

I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here.

I already have Him … and He is everything.

“Follow Christ for His own sake, if you follow Him at all.” – J.C. Ryle