Monday, June 3, 2013

Not Just for Nuns


I want to start by saying that if this isn't your story... that's ok.
We all weave a different tapestry based on the thread we are given in life.
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Some of us just didn't know. Some of us didn't care.
Some of us were victims. Some of us want to start over again.
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Wherever you are, God loves you and He sees your heart. He knows the truth.
He knows where you are/were at. And He is always in the business of redemption.

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It was my 13th birthday. I remember the lights were dim and candles were lit in the church.
A quiet, holy sanctuary - the perfect setting for a ceremony that would impact the rest of my life.
My dad handed me a little, blue box and then slipped a perfect, sterling silver, chastity ring on my left hand.
There it stayed for nine years, reserving the place for my wedding ring. My promise to save sex for marriage.

My parents have always held my heart. They invested well and so the return was always in their favor.
They didn't give me the "sex leads to STDs" speech that day - they didn't encourage chastity with threats or
scary stories. But they empowered and inspired me... painting a picture of what I could have.

"Chastity is a GIFT... and if you really believe God is preparing a man just for you...
then save that treasure, store it up, guard your heart..."


My dad also showed me a little key that he had - symbolizing the key to my heart.
A heart that he wanted to help take care of until I gave it away to my spouse,
or to God if I was called to be a religious missionary, sister, nun - you get the picture!

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It wasn't about the rules and regulations for me. I found that a lot of sources were promoting:
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"Leave room for the Holy Spirit." "Stay vertical." "Chastity rules!" "Pet your dog, not your date."
"Don't do anything you'd be ashamed to do in front of your parents."

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But it was more than just those cute, little, one-liner reminders...
It was a way of life. A promise that I knew was going to be in my favor. I knew that I wouldn't regret
saving myself for my husband. It was about living my life as far away from the "edge of the cliff" as possible.

So reality check. It wasn't like my chastity ring gave me super human powers. I still had desires for intimacy.
I wasn't immune to my sex drive. To sum it up, it wasn't a leisurely stroll in the park all the time.
Helloooo, my love language is physical touch for crying out loud. There were times I had to walk away from a
situation - moments I had to avoid all together... because you can't dance with fire and not get burned.
You can't walk off the edge of a cliff and not expect to fall to your death.

I found power and grace in writing letters to my future husband - it made the idea of him real.
It made saving myself for "the man of the letters" almost addicting... it was what I wanted! I poured all of my
imagined ideas and desires for a husband and marriage into God through prayer.

Focusing on God - running after His heart -
letting my desire for HIM be greater than my desire for myself or any other man was key.
And this is exactly why Psalm 37:4 is my life verse. "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will
give you the desires of your heart."
It's the story of my life! He has not let me down.

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Our wedding day was special.
I don't know how to tell you in words - the joy there is to be had in saving yourself for marriage.
I can't even begin to describe to you the fireworks that are produced - the delight to be had
in the graces that come from a life of chastity. This stuff isn't just for nuns, people.

I write this not to take pride in this accomplishment. Boasting about my chastity choice is not my goal.
God made the desire we have for each other as man and woman and it is a GOOD thing!
You hear me? GOOD. Like holy-crazy-wow good. God alone helped me stick to my promise -
helped me tame the desire, the desire HE gave me - goodness gracious, for intimacy...
and save it all for marriage.

I write this to encourage others that are on a similar path... and to inspire those who may
have fallen off but want to get back on! I write this even for the wounded - those who lost their
gift not by their choice. God heals - He wipes clean - He lets us have second chances out of
His infinite mercy. God can take any brokenness and make it into something beautiful.

If you are carrying baggage, there is a drop-off point. The man running the counter is Jesus
and He's really good at losing luggage. He's also into gift-wrapping and can wrap and re-wrap
like it's His J.O.B. Check it out. Don't miss the boat. The Jolly Roger is setting sail to a place
that I promise brings - JOY - PEACE - CONTENTMENT - HEALING - GIFTS -
it's unimaginable until it becomes your life. Then you will know. And you'll never go back.

So I toast to chastity and to God's brilliant plan for marriage, sexuality... and all the little
gifts (we named ours Isaiah and Judah) that come from that.
Sending you all, including the nuns, virtual champagne bubbles.

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14 comments:

  1. Daniele O'TooleJune 3, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    loved every line of this one :)

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    1. Thank you, Daniele!!! This was hard for me to write, believe it or not. I wanted to share my testimony, but I know that it is not always received in the best way. Thanks for reading!! XO

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  2. This came at a really good time for me to share with one of my friends who has a teenage daughter. Thank you for sharing your story!

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    1. God knows! So glad the timing was perfect - may it bless your friend and her daughter <3

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  3. I LOVE THIS. I LOVE THIS. I LOVE THIS. PRAISE JESUS!!!!

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    1. YES, praise Jesus!!! I want to meet you for real, Miss Cara Howard!!! That would be awesome!

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  4. You are so awesome! & what great gifts God has given you!! Kiss those sweet boys for me :)

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  5. you know i'm twelve when i laugh at the 'pet your dog, not your date' one liner. in all seriousness though, it's great that you found the desire out of love for yourself, your future husband and God to stay pure rather than out of obligation or fear. it's beautiful girl!

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    1. haha it IS pretty funny! i had friends in high school that had pins that had that slogan on them. wish i still had one! yea totally - never out of obligation or fear... maybe a little holy fear though?! definitely wanted to honor God!!!

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  6. I loved this post! I've been thinking about writing about this (different stories, same goal), but I am not quite so brave...yet. ;-) Thank you for sharing how the Lord worked in you, for His glory. PS. Your pictures look so fun and beautiful!

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    1. DO IT, Gabriela!!! crazy - i felt like God was nudging me to write this... and then it was HARD. but here it is... thank you for your sweet compliments!!!

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  7. Love this!! So awesome how your parents set you up to succeed and showed you the value of God's best. Thanks so much for sharing this, so sweet!

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    1. You are most welcome! I hope to do the same for my kids... "set them up to succeed" like you said. Empowerment is powerful!!! Thanks for stopping by, Emily!!! XO

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Thanks for leaving some comment love! I enjoy hearing what you have to say... and others do too! XO