I had my first kiss when I was three and my parents thought it was cute. While unchaperoned, I practiced kissing with my best friend/neighbor (a boy) starting at the age of five. In elementary school, I played with Barbies and fantasized that one day I’d have my very own Ken doll. I designed homes out of Legos and parked Matchbox cars in the garage. I dreamed of the husband who’d come home from work to eat the delicious dinner I’d prepared for him. It was only natural to daydream and seemed so innocent to mimic this adult behavior.
As a teen, I thought of boys every day, all day. To say I was boy-crazy was an understatement. I wanted a boyfriend. If I had one, I wanted a different one. Of course, the goal was to get a husband and I had in mind exactly who that was. Even though I was a good little Christian Preacher’s daughter, I rarely thought about the kind of man God wanted for me or about the fact that my desires would change as I matured in Him. I guess I just thought I’d marry a good guy who’d go to church with me and that would be that.
At eighteen, I dated a guy nine years older than me. We broke up because I was too much of a “good girl”. Later that summer, I was nearly raped by a close friend who I was foolish enough to ask for a ride in his vintage car. I thought he’d take me for a ride just for the fun of it. When the next summer rolled around, the older guy came back into my life. He asked me to run away and marry him because he knew I wouldn’t have sex with him unless we were married. He confessed that probably the main problem I’d have with marrying him was that I wouldn’t approve of his marijuana smoking—duh! Among other things…like the fact that he wasn’t a Christian.
Then I met a preacher’s son! Perfect, right? Not! He wanted me to sleep with him, too. And I just about did. He went away to college and called me collect every other Friday night. He sent me letters telling me what his plans were for us when he came home for Spring break. I wrote him back and told him his plans wouldn’t be happening with me. The next phone call I received from him, he was drunk and sang Freebird by Lynard Skynard to me. It took me a few weeks to figure out he’d broken up with me.
There were a few more frogs along the way and the heart-breaking realization that the fellow I’d liked since middle school—the one I picked out for my husband—never would want me for his own. By that point, I was pretty convinced that there wasn’t a man for me. The non-Christian boys were losers and the Christian boys didn’t seem that much better. (If you’re interested in my happily ever after, you can read my story here: sherrijinga.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/my-perfect-valentine
When my daughter was little, she started the tradition all over again. She got her first Barbie when she was two and instantly began imagining her life with Ken. It was so cute when she fell in love with Beauty and the Beast and kissed the TV screen at the end of the movie when Beast turned into the prince. I have that precious memory on videotape.
When she started Preschool, she had sweethearts. And we thought that was normal. Because it’s just what you did. When little girls started looking at my son with dreamy doe eyes, my hackles raised a bit. Suddenly, I looked at those starry-eyed girls (girls just like my daughter) as miniature harlots and wanted them to stay far, far away from my little man. It hit me that kissing at three years old was NOT normal. Just so you know, I consider your first kiss as part of your purity. I decided it was best not to start talking of love with my children and plotting out who they would marry. When you dream of love, you give pieces of your heart away that belong to your future mate and often you end up losing your purity at an earlier age.
As the kids grew, we saw a trend in society that was different from the cute little dreaming we did as kids. Our world is no longer as innocent as it was when I was a child; the media sexualizes everything. It robs us of our innocence very early and encourages us to be sexually active (while being sexually responsible, of course). Young girls who don’t even know what “sexy” means parade around trying to act like their adult role models. And given the fact that anything we want is available at our fingertips, young children seeking attention by the opposite sex fall victim to bullies, pedophiles, pornography, and sex trafficking far too often.
Today’s average teen has been dating practically since the age of three and has forgotten all about the restrictions of the “no-no square” (the zone between the shoulders and the knees). They know all about “sexting” and think they know how far is too far. Parents have stars in their eyes remembering the past and are all about the prom and homecoming dances. I’m not opposed to these things but let’s face it, by this point many teens are already way past the first kiss and look at the “party bus” as a way to explore the sexual realm while remaining “technical virgins”. Parents must be as shrewd as snakes and teens must guard their hearts and their bodies!
Growing up without a focus on “going steady” (going out, texting, talking) with the opposite sex, no dating until the age of sixteen—at least, no hanging out at homes where a parent isn’t present at all times, no movies with sexuality, and no computers in bedrooms may seem like punishment. But it’s actually a preservative. We all need guidelines to protect us from ourselves and from the messages we are inundated with daily. Growing up without this added pressure helps us seek only the Lord for our edification and not others.
Here’s the thing: It’s human nature to want that special someone. But what we think we want at an early age is not really what we’re looking for. We want acceptance and that comes only through a relationship with God. There’s so much more to life than just finding a mate. God has designed us to be something special apart from a mate. Chances are we’re not going to find a spouse when we’re sixteen and marry as soon as we graduate at eighteen. If we do, we might find ourselves quite disappointed when we mature and find we’re no longer compatible with the one picked out.
As my children aged, the “romance novelist” in me peeked out from behind the curtains far too many times and I began to imagine romantic scenarios for them—which never materialized. Yes, I’m still a daydreamer. However, I’m so thankful that we guarded them when it came to their purity. Their purity is a blessing to my husband and to me and will be a blessing—no, a treasure—to their spouses one day when that happens in God’s timing.
A heart has room for only one lover at a time. It’s best to let that lover be the Lord, the ultimate lover of the soul. He’ll then show you what type of earthly lover He has in mind for you—someone who won’t require Him to move out. God is the best matchmaker and when He joins two people together who’ve made Him the first lover of their souls, it will be a match made in Heaven. So paint yourself with HIS purity and sit back and watch Him work.
Mark 12:30-31(NIV) – ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
“Paint me with Your purity” is the first line of “The Purest Place” by Watermark.