Monday, February 14, 2011

A Very Valentine-y Post

I volunteer as a small group leader for the 8th grade girls at our church. My girls are amazing. I love them. I will miss them a whole bunch when a new baby and their middle school graduation end our weekly meetings this August.

This month of February, the month of Valentines when everyone is thinking and talking about L-O-V-E we're doing a series on sex which our pastor is calling simply, "Boys and Girls". I LOVE doing this series. We go through something similar each year at this time, and I always look forward to it. Because I have such a strong passion for teaching young, Christian girls about sex and intimacy the right way.

Last year when we were in this series, I asked my girls to tell me what they would think sex is like if they knew only what they've learned in church and at home. They used words like "wrong", "dirty", and "sinful" to describe it. "What about if you knew only what you've learned from school and movies and songs?" Their words then changed to "fun" "free" "passionate".

It broke my heart. For real. Because it's completely opposite of what they should be hearing!

I read this post today and thought That's what I'm fighting against for my girls. This married lady talks about the shame and guilt she associated with sex even inside her own marriage.

One of my lofty, dreamy, probably-ain't-ever-gonna-happen goals in life is to address this issue on a much larger scale. As an author, or a speaker at girls' retreats. Because I think, as a church, we're doing it all wrong.

I thank God for my family, my amazing parents who somehow managed to raise me with three very basic principles in regards to sex:
1. It's for marriage.
2. It was God's idea
3. And it rocks. (Although, I admit, I don't think my mom actually ever used that term exactly)

That's what young kids should be hearing from the church. Why do we use lies and shame and fear to try to keep kids from having sex outside of marriage? Are we doing kids a favor by teaching them that sex is wrong and that the consequences will tear them up? I don't think so.

Here's what I want my girls to know:
Sex is great. It's worth waiting for. You will reap the blessings of waiting for the rest of your life.
You were created for sex with your husband. There's nothing wrong or guilty or shameful in wanting to be physically intimate with someone. That means your body is working right! And if you practice a little self control now and avoid temptation as much as possible, you get to enjoy that all the more later!
Fidelity is a habit. You do not instantly gain the ability to be faithful to your spouse the day you say "I do". When you practice saying no to going "too far" with a boyfriend now, you are building into your future marriage. You're practicing the faithfulness that will safeguard your marriage in the future.
No one is born pure, so there's no "losing" your purity, a phrase the church is fond of. We're all born sinful. To desire sexual gratification outside of marriage is the way we're wired. We don't keep our purity by crossing our legs, we gain it by being in the Word, by drawing as close to Christ as we can, by seeking out Godly accountability, by being cautious about the messages we take in about sex through movies and music. And we learn about sex the way God created it and strive to keep it that way.
And, yes, there are consequences to misusing sex. I don't want to sugarcoat that part. There are consequences, there are risks of disease and pregnancy. There is guilt and a loss of the perfect plan God had. And there is also grace to restore.

What I long for, is for my girs to know that sex is good. That it adds a depth of intimacy to a relationship that is beautiful. And that it is worth waiting for. Not because of the shame and guilt and consequences you'll suffer if you don't wait, but because of the blessings you reap when you do. I don't want them to think that sex is wrong or dirty or sinful. I want them to know that it's great and when the time comes they're gonna love it :)


grandpa said...

WOW! I am 71 years old and have never hear a young Lady write as you have here. The follow phrase is not of my generation, but you 'Rock Girl'. Love you.

Cyndee said...

Tara, I definitely think you should publish and/or speak your thoughts at some point in your life. You are a great communicator. (However, if you could leave me out of everything, I'm pretty sure I could go through life feeling just a little less embarassed to be me. Thanks.)<3

Shannon said...

Can I repost this? It's REALLY good! I have similar conversations with my youth group girls. The best parts are always when I talk about how sex only gets better with time as you learn more about each other and how I imagine that sex in my 80's will be better than in my 20's. That always makes the girls cringe with the grossness of picturing 80 something George and I but they are also always blown away that I feel that way and it seems to really make an impact.
Love you!