September 27, 2005

A 26 Year Old Virgin

Does such a thing exist? Since I lost my virginity at 15 years old, about 6-8 months after attending a ' Why Wait' rally, I can't lay claim to that title. I will say, that I do regret being so young and not waiting. I now have the job of raising four sexually healthy kids that will hopefully remain pure until marriage. It's not easy with the normal hormonal urges one experiences, and the constant bombarding of sexual images kids see at very young ages, even when we censor music, movies and TV.

Rebecca St. James is proof though that 26 year old virgins do exist. She has a passion for talking to young people about saving sex until marriage. She is involved with the True Love Waits group. There is more information about this movement at Love Matters. When I was 15 it was called "Why Wait". In my group of friends that went, I think only a few kept their committment to remain virgins until marriage. Just from the friends I kept in contact with from El Cajon Christian Junior High, I think there was at least 3 of us that were teen moms. I have often wondered, why I went the direction I did, while others didn't. I look back and try to see where I went wrong. I do know that I didn't have a plan for abstinance and in realizing that I know how important it is to have a plan rather then just an ideal.

One thing Rebecca writes in an interview with Decision publication, which is put out by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is how much her family has helped support her in her faith and decisions. There was a lot of open communication and support in her home. Now, I'm not going to blame my choices on my family. However, having been from a broken home at the age of one, made fatherless at the age of two, only to end up being raised by an emotionally abusive mom and neglectful mom, I was definately lacking in support, a feeling of being love and accepted. I was also asked to leave the Heritage Christian Junior High for my grades after attending only one semester of 8th grade. So I watched most of my friends go on to the high school. Since my mom was lukewarm about her faith then (after having gone to my grandparents church, Shadow Mountain Community Church for about a year) I was pretty much cut off from any source of Christian fellowship and support. My mom did her own thing, let me do what I wanted, go where I wanted, and she wasn't interested in my life. She wasn't plugged in at all.

At that point, a matter of fact, I saw her as nothing more then a hyprocrite. Even when I had gone to the youth group at SMCC, then called Scott Memorial Baptist, I just felt invisible. I think my getting kicked out of 9th grade at a public high school for truancy was a cry for help in subconcious way. When will she behave like a mom? When will she act like she cares? When will she be engaged in my life? Want to listen?

I ended up going to a continuation high school, where some of the kids were kicked out for much worse things then I. That is where I met my husband, both of us were 15. I know there are some young people, that regardless of abusive households and a lack of a church family, go through high school without involvement in drugs, sex, and all the rest, but by the time the end of 9th grade had come, I wasn't one of them.

Frankly, there aren't many kids at all, regardless of their faith and homelife. I do appreciate what singers like Rebecca St. James are doing though, and groups like True Love Waits. I think however, to maximize effectiveness, many pieces have to be in place, the most important being the family atmosphere. Another support group is Girls Of Grace which is a wonderful organization conceived by the Christian music group, Point of Grace. My girls are currently reading their book, Girls of Grace - Faith, Family, Friends, and Boys.

I will try provide the family environment for my kids that I didn't have. Covering them in unconditional love, prayer, acceptance, and support. I will also talk, talk, and talk about sex. As well as love, marriage, self esteem, and learning to love who they are early on. When it comes down to it though, they will make their own choices.

All I can do then is cling to the promise of Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Does this mean they won't rebel, test the limits, experiment? No, I am sure they will. I can almost bet on it. Do Adolescents: Run Amuck? Yep, it seems so. Preachers kids are often known for being worse then other teens. I enjoyed reading Those Adolescent Preacher's Kids by Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A I think speaking the truth can help relieve some of pressure parents have when they work in the ministry. Being a ministers family is like living in a fishbowl and their children are going to make mistakes too and test the limits, or even the faith of their parents.

I was friends with a Preacher's kid in 8th grade. She was definitately out there, pushing it, even doing some really dumb things. I remember when my mom was so proud that I was friends with this PK who was visiting her dad for the summer. Years before, her father had an affair with a woman he was counseling. He resigned as Pastor and her mom divorced him and moved back to Ohio.

When my friend stayed over, she whined all night about sneaking out. When I finally gave in she lit up a cigarette, then walked right up to the car of about 5 college-aged men that were heckling at us. She had a potty mouth on her for sure, and was beyond boy crazy. I practically had to drag her away from the car, asking her if she was trying to get us hurt. That was the summer before 9th grade so I can only guess how her high school years went.

Lord help me, because He knows I need it with a 15 year old boy and two girls, almost 13 and 12. My youngest daughter is already pointing out the 'hot' guys already. I just keep praying, talking, listening and trying to help them develop a plan to not only maintain physical and mental purity, but also self respect. Even when they groan, "Mom, please stop. I don't want to hear anything gross."

Even though they may groan about the subject, children do need and want to know it's OK to ask questions about sex. It's OK to be curious. It's OK to have feelings. As a mom, I need to remember I'm not raising kids, I'm raising future adults. Yes, I do want my children to remain sexually pure before marriage. Yet, I don't want them to develop a complex or negative view of sex like so many people I've known. I want them to have a very healthy attitude about their God given sexuality. This is why I'm so happy to see organizations that are trying to keep it real, help young people develop a sense of self worth, respect for others and a plan for sexual purity and healthy living.