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Monday, October 08, 2007

True Love Waits- But How?


We went to an adoption training at New Life over a week ago. It takes days upon days to process all the information you get, and sift through the emotions, even though this was our fourth training. (It's a spectacular training! I wish every adoptive family could experience it!)
One question keeps hovering in my mind and it won't go away. There was a beautiful, Godly woman there who spoke to us as a birth-grandmother. Her teenage daughter had become pregnant, and she shared the anguish she felt, as a Christian family, having had prayed for her daughter's purity all of her life. Her description of her brokenness and heartbreak was so moving! She shared about their process of choosing adoption, and the beautiful thing God morphed this heartbreak into. But there was one question I really wanted to ask her, even though it was not the appropriate place or time. My question would have been:

"What would you have done differently to shepherd your daughter's heart towards God's perfect plan for her life concerning sexual purity, and how would you have protected her differently?"

Does any other mother of young children want to know this? I'm not just curious. I'm desperate to know. Of course, #1 will be for our children to know and love the Lord with their whole hearts! I know this! But there are plenty of good, Christian young people who are falling into the deep slippery slope of sexual sin. None of us are above it! So as a parent, what can we do, starting now, to wisely guide and protect our children. Not in fear, but in true, Godly wisdom.
I want to hear from Moms. I told my Mom today she has incredible wisdom to share on this. She promised to write about it soon on her blog for us all to read. My Mom is not only a mother of 5 grown children, but she has been working with New Life for almost 20 years, and has helped countless (I wish we could count) women through crisis pregnancies, from all different spiritual backgrounds. She really gets to know them and their families, so she sits in an incredibly unique position. Of course, add to that 30+ years in the ministry alongside my Dad. Wow! So she will speak to us soon about this, but I want to hear from anyone who has Godly wisdom to share on this topic!
Speak up! What are you doing, or have done, or have done all wrong, that we need to know! Young women, what do you wish your parents had done differently? We need to know! Please don't bash your parents, or shift blame, but will you help us learn what would have been beneficial to you concerning dating and sexual purity? I have four precious little people in my house that God has entrusted to me. I have been clinging to God's Word on this topic, and have begun to draw some conclusions about what we think this should look like, emulating God's Word and not the world. But I want to hear from others. I want older women to speak into our lives! If you know an older woman, send her this link so she can share with us. If you have a spectacular Mom like mine, e-mail her this link. Thanks!

11 comments:

Stephanee said...

Jennifer, hope you don't mind me posting since you don't know me all that well. I just checked your blog today and saw this and had to post! I been really encouraged by many of your blog entries :)

I guess as one who did go through a crisis pregnancy at 19 and through which I was humbled and broken and the Lord was able to draw me to Himself. But it was more painful that possible to describe with far reaching consequences. Only the incredible grace, mercy and power of Christ could have turned my ashes into beauty - and it truly has been turned into beauty - a beautiful marraige, a beautiful child (2 more now), a beautiful family, and the beauty of knowing the Lord. Praise the Lord for all that because it was His work not mine.
That said - I have thought and prayed much about this topic of how to raise these precious children the Lord entrusted to me to not fall into the same traps. I was raised in a Christian, loving home, and it was because of that that I had the foundation to come back to. I was also told to wait for marraige, to not have sex before marraige, etc. I believed this and decided with all my heart that I would wait. And the amazing thing - my husband believed the same thing and made the same decision. So how, you're asking, did we end up pregnant at 19? Amazingly, no one ever told me HOW to protect myself from falling into this trap. No one told me why God wanted me to wait either. I honestly believed that I could fool around (sorry I tried to think of a more proper way to say that and just can't think of one right now) and be quite intimate but not actually have sex. I actually didn't know that all of intimacy is meant for marraige and that what I was doing was giving away myself even if it didn't reach the point of intercourse. I had NO idea how men and women are wired and that the whole process is not designed to be stopped half-way. I was never told any of this - just to wait. How? Why? That I didn't know. Would it have helped me? Maybe. Maybe not. The second part of the problem is really all wrapped up in the Why? part. Although raised in a Christian home, I was not discipled much or told what it really meant to live to glorify the Lord. I did not really know Him - just about Him.

So I guess it is two-fold. One is that we pray that our children are surrendered to Him and choose to seek Him in parenting them to know, love and obey Him, Two, we talk openly about this issue and share verses about the goodness of God ("Guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life" - He gives us commands out of love), and teach our children how to not enter into that slippery slope of intimacy before marraige. And how to not put themselves in compromising/tempting situations. Tommy Nelson's Song of Solomon is a good resource.

Anyways, I look forward to more wisdom on this post and pray for such as our children grow older. Sorry this is so long!
Stephanee

Hope Road said...

I hid boys from my parents, i used late night phone calls from my room to talk to boys i shouldn't have. looking back i wish my parents would have barred acess to boys except through them. ( aka : no personal phone so my parents would know when i talked to a boy, and i wish they would have more activly persued meeting these boys and building a relationship with them.)i kept my partents from being activly involved in my relationships with boys. I wish they would have taken control in their role as parents, instead of letting me control them. or more simply put by my proff "little people should not be in charge of big people" Just my two cents.

Jennifer Bacak said...

Thanks for sharing Amy. That is practical advice!
And Stephanee, thanks so much for sharing your story! I agree wholeheartedly: the why? and how? are the parts of this I want to break down. You are definitely not the first youth group kid raised in a Christian home, committed to "wait" for marriage that ended up in your situation. As I recall, there was emphasis put on waiting for sexual intercourse, but not much specific instruction on what it means to wait for all sexual intimacy. I actually think we need to be embarrassingly specific with young people about this! And letting our kids date, have serious relationships, have alone time, aren't we just setting them up to fail in this area?
I hope to hear lots more from others on this!!!
jenn

Kathryn, Michael & Alex said...

This is definately something that we need to start talking to our kids about now...when Michael was in kindergarten he asked me "when do I get to kiss a girl" I told him "one day God will bring you a wife and you can kiss her"
Fortunately both of my boys are "why" kinda kids, they want to know everything about everything.
This is definately something worth a little bit of embarrassment, but if we talk about it enough it doesn't have to be.
I am hoping that with enough conversations and explanations to their every day questions it will help them to understand their bodies and the true gift of purity.
And lots and lots of prayer!!!

Stephanee said...

Oh one more thing - A great resource is a book called The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop. This is a great book to read with pre-adolescent girls (I think there is another one for boys). It also has a study guide that goes with it. I found it after hearing about it on Nancy Leigh DeMoss' broadcast Revive Our Hearts, so you could probably get it from that website. If you haven't heard of Nancy Leigh DeMoss - she is awesome. I am planning to go through it with my nine year old daughter very soon.

Anonymous said...

This is a topic very close to my heart and one I have often pondered. I was 19 years old when I got pregnant and 20 when my precious daughter was born. I, too, planned to wait for marriage and I even had the true love waits ring to prove it. Where did I go wrong? My very supportive parents and grandparents were devastated and I'm sure they have asked themselves the same question.

When pondering your question tonight, what came to mind was..."role model". I had all of these people in my life tellling me to wait, but where were the role models? I remember hearing gossip about the youth leaders in my church...hearing about their promiscuity before marriage. Not good. Young girls need to see purity being lived out!! Let's talk about the details, no matter how embarrassing they might be!! I would've loved to have had some practical, real advice.

I'll never fully understand why I compromised my beliefs. However, I know without a doubt that He who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it. I echo what Stephanee said about God's grace and mercy. The Lord truly made beauty from the ashes of my broken life.

One more comment...

I love that you say no one is above this situation. I get so disgusted by Christians who judge families going through this trial. If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.

Thanks for bringing up this topic and for being such a beautiful example of God's love.

Ky

Jennifer Bacak said...

Thank you so much for sharing Ky! You are absolutely right, it can happen to anybody, and I want to make sure that we are doing all that we can to protect our kids, and not only tell them to wait, but to show them HOW to wait, and teach them what is WISE and what is unwise in waiting.
What is the real point of letting high schoolers date?
Does any good come from it?
Is anyone super glad they did it?
I just continue to feel like we are setting kids up to fail, and giving them mixed messages.
I think we are emulating the world when it comes to dating, and not the Word.
Just a few of my thoughts, but I am thankful for you guys for sharing.
I want more!!!
jenn

Hendrick Family said...

This IS something that can happen to anyone.

I guess where we are right now, is of course, teaching and praying for our kids to love the Lord more than anything else.

I'm desperately asking God to show me how to model that before my kids...to model purity...whether it's sexual purity or just purity of my heart before them.

I'm convicted every time I do something wrong in front of my kids and don't stop and talk to them about it.

I know I'm either teaching them to have a heart that is right before the Lord...or I'm teaching them that sometimes, what we do doesn't have to glorify God.

I know they will pick up on that...and it won't matter to them that they saw their mother disobey God with her temper, or her tongue...they may choose to disobey God later with their bodies in the back seat of a car somewhere.

Purity matters...but purity of my heart modeled before my kids matters just as much before they are ever old enough to know about sexual purity.

That terrifies me.

For us, we don't have a real clue about this...but the one thing we do know, from looking back at our own lives is that our kids will have to CHOOSE to disobey us...rebel against us...but we will NOT ever do things that set them up to fail...like dating.

If they sin, it will be their sin...not their sin plus our sin for not doing our jobs in their lives. We are ready to be hated, persecuted and to have them generally dislike us...but word up, we're praying that does not happen!

So many of us can look back and think, "I should have never been allowed to do that. Why did my parents trust me so much?" My kids aren't going to be able to say that...because we're not going to trust them...and we've started telling them that now...and our oldest is only 8.

So...I guess I'm clinging to shepherding their hearts towards the Lord, having a desire to please Him in everything they do, because He's worthy of our lives...AND shepherding them physically...being constantly watchful, never letting them out of sight when danger is in the way.

Allen Duty, youth pastor at LH wrote some great stuff for his volunteer training on teen dating.

Here's the link:

http://teensanddating.blogspot.com/

Good stuff, Jenn...

Come on Mrs. Cindy...nothing I have to say really matters. I'm young and stupid. Help us!

Heather

Hope Road said...

I am going to 2nd Heather, my parents never shouldn't have trusted me and shouldnt have been allowed to do what i did!

Laurie said...

Jenn,

Great topic. One that I, too, think a lot about, don't have figured out, and feel anxious to learn more about. I would appreciate hearing from your mom, too. I think she would have great advice.

I write knowing that you understand my background and ideas regarding waiting for marriage for sex. I feel completely the same, if not 100% stronger.

But, with respect, I disagree with some of the ideas suggested here. I do not agree with the idea that allowing your child to date in their teens is setting them up to fail inherently. I feel like allowing them to date within the confines of your own family’s appropriate boundaries is allowing them critical discovery into self as it applies to relationships, which will help enable their future success, I think. Granted, I think you mean “fail” in terms of sexual intimacies, and you are probably right, but then again, I think some intimacies are appropriate among dating couples. Of course, like everyone else, I wish I would have been wiser when it came to dating, but I think that whatever wisdom I did eventually have when I met my husband was born of the small experiences I had leading up to that time.

Likewise, I do not agree with having an understood and/or automatic “distrust” of children and their potential behaviors. Frankly, I really feel that this approach could do more damage than good. I understand and respect that most of our own ideas derive from life experience (been there, done that, don’t want that for my child), but I believe wholeheartedly that my parents belief and trust in me was critical in developing my self confidence and self respect, and therefore, helped guide me in my decisions, including sexual ones.

Also, I want to stay away from discussing sexuality with my girls in terms of “purity and impurity,” which seems to be the most common reference among Christians. We are all sexual beings; God made us that way, and I would have done well to understand that earlier. I think it is important for my girls to know that their sexuality has been God given (it is not impure), and with that, it deserves the utmost respect. I understand that mostly the term “impurity” was referenced here as “sexual intimacy outside of marriage,” but again, I just shy away from that word when it comes to this discussion because I think it could give off wrong and damaging implications.

I do wholeheartedly agree with shepherding your children with a full investment into who they are, who their friends are, and especially their romantic interests, and I think this is best accomplished by the open and very specific discussions that are mentioned here. I absolutely think kids need SPECIFICS and discussions of not only WHAT but also HOW to abstain from relationships that do not respect their bodies, mind and soul. I grew up in a family that never mentioned sex AT ALL, and I pray that I will set a very different example for my girls. I am part of the Oprah generation, and I intend to capitalize on that :) Finally, I absolutely think that protecting your child involves setting specific limits for them, which include ones that they themselves may not agree with.

Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion.

brickmomma said...

One thing I have learned as I have been married and to various marriage conferences, etc, is that I am going to change the emphasis when I talk with ym children about sex and marriage. I only heard that it was 'bad' before marriage. I never heard how 'good' it is supposed to be in marraiage. I always planned on waiting. My husband planned on waiting. When we were 18 and freshmen in college we were sure we were going to marry each other so why not give this gift to each other a little early?

Thankfully, we did get married, but that doesn't often happen with first boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.

My pastor said recently that no sex is bad sex. When you introduce that into a relationship everything else just looks rosy in the afterglow. Makes sense.

I want to impress in my children what a gift sex is and how valuable it is in a marriage covenant. Not how bad it is, how terrible they would be for desiring it and not as one more thing to use in rebellion.

As to the no dating policy...how is that lived out? I read the dating link. How does one decide one is marriage material and move in that direction? I agree that I was given lots of space and not enough detailed boundaries as a teen and would love to fix that for my children. This would include drinking, sex, etc. Of course, there will be much more Jesus in our lives than I had growing up.

Looking for real life!!