Archive | June, 2012

Something That Terrifies Me…

30 Jun

First off, I want to tell my readers not to get me wrong. 

I love my mom dearly.  She grew up in a broken home and many of her siblings and their children continued that cycle, but my mom broke it.  She came to Christ in her late teens, went to college (despite being told by her guidance counselor that she was too stupid for college), found a successful career, married my dad, and eventually gave up her career to raise my brother and me.  She has been married to my dad for 37 years.

That being said, I don’t always LIKE my mom.  She micromanages.  She can be rude and tactless.  She judges people and gets jealous over the most ridiculous things (including my dad showing me any sort of affection).  Just before I finished middle school I was invited to an awards ceremony, and when we got home she made a point to tell my dad that we needed to keep the awards program and make sure I was “associating” with the kids that had earned highest honors that night (even though I had NOT earned highest honors myself).  Never mind that some of those kids had cheated to get there or that some of my other friends had busted their tales just to earn C’s, that some of these honors kids had gotten all of their studying done in the detention hall and me and my friends didn’t even know where the detention hall was…it was all about a measly piece of paper with A’s on it, according to my mom.  That was one small incident in junior high, but I think it gives a good glimpse into what my life felt like.

And then there’s the way my mom treats my dad.  Since I was in middle school my dad has handled most of the housework- meals, cleaning, home maintenance, grocery shopping.  He’s retired now and my mom is still working full time, but he did this pre-retirmenet, too.  He built the house we live in when I was in first grade.  Does my mom ever show any appreciation?  Not that I can see. In fact, she criticizes my dad for the dumbest things (like putting the groceries he brought home in the wrong “space” in the refrigerator (correct shelf, but wrong space).  She never likes the meals he prepares (they taste fine, trust me.  I eat them, too) and makes fun of him for being a horrible handy-man (…our house is still standing, isn’t it?).  I can’t remember the last time she thanked him for anything.  She talks and talks his ear off, and the other day when I was standing off to the side he interrupted her by saying (very gently), “Sweetie, just a second, Laura needs something-” and she stormed off immediately. Just trying to be dramatic and make him feel bad.

What’s terrifying, is that psychologists say you WILL take on traits of your dad if you’re a guy, and of your mom if you’re a girl.

What traits am I going to take on?  Will it be my mom’s ability to overcome every obstacle that life threw at her?  Or will it be her insensitivity, her high-maintenance, her need to micro-manage, her jealousy and insecurity?  Will I treat the man of my dreams the way I’ve seen her treat my dad (and will he have the patience of my dad, or will it destroy our marriage?).  I think of classic horror stories of werewolves or vampires, where someone gets bitten and knows they are going to turn into a hideous, evil monster.  It’s worse than knowing a monster is coming from the outside and they will have to protect their loved ones; it’s knowing that they are going to be the ones wreaking havoc upon them.  Is there a monster laying dormant inside me that will come out after years of marriage and tear down my husband and children?  Will I be “a crown to my husband’s character,” or “decay in his bones?” (Proverbs 12:4).

God, I have lifted up prayers for my future husband to You since I was 13 years old…now, I see the prayers I need to lift up for myself, as well.  I don’t know what You have planned for me between now and my wedding day, but I ask that during that time, You would flood me with Your Holy Spirit and make me a bearer of His fruits- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  I want my husband and children to look at me and see not an example of a supermodel or a domestic goddess, but to see Your Fruit flowing out of my life.  I need to You to break through my sinful human nature so that I won’t rely on my own strength to be a good wife and mother; I know that that will only fail and the ugliest parts of me will take over.  I have prayed all these years for a man after Your heart, a tender warrior who will lead our family with both love and with strength…but I want to be a woman deserving of such a man.  Please, shape me into the kind of woman that will be a sustainer beside a warrior for Your kingdom, who will bring him honor and pull him closer to You.  I know this might be a painful process at times, but I would rather experience the pain of You making me into Your vessel now, then experience the pain of causing my own family to suffer later. 

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What I’ve Noticed About Being A Virgin

3 Jun

“It’s tough to stay a virgin until marriage.”

When I first became old enough to know what a “virgin” was, I thought this statement was bogus.  When there were no adults around, my peers would mock each other by saying things like, “You still wet the bed,” or “You pick your nose.”  A few of the meanest started throwing in, “You’re NOT a virgin!”  (Now we realize that this could have made them liable for sexual harrassment…ignorance was bliss).  But the idea of loosing our virginity had no appeal to us- we would tell each other that even after we were married, we would only want to kiss our husbands (but we still planned to have kids…not sure how that would work).

Then, we started turning 16 or 17- some of my friends started experimenting with sex.  Some of them claimed, “He’s the one I’m going to marry, anyway,” (Out of my almost 400 classmates, I know of one that married his highschool sweetheart.)  Some of my peers bragged about their sexual experiences and seemed almost to be defending themselves to me, even if I wasn’t questioning them.  Even so, the majority of my peers where whispering things like, “easy,” and “desperate,” behind their backs.  Virginity was still the way to go.

Then came turning 18, graduating high school, and heading off to college.  We could be sexually active without our school guidance counselors or healthcare professionals ratting us out.  We could go to the vending machine in the basement of our dorm and buy “protection.”  We didn’t need to sneak our boyfriends into our bedrooms- we just had to wait for our roommate to leave the dormroom overnight and we had free reign of the place.  Suddenly, society seemed to assume that we wanted to be bombarded with sexual content, ranging from soft porn ads in the side columns of facebook to being expected to watch hypersexualized clips from tv shows in class and discuss them.

Now, I found myself a minority as a virgin.  If I told friends I couldn’t figure out why I felt nauseous or tired, the first response was often, “Ooo, you might be pregnant!” followed by confused or even disgusted stares when I explained why that was impossible.  Wearing my true love waits ring was about as cool as wearing buckle shoes and a jean jumper with a cat embroidered on the front of it.  I listened to lectures from peers and a few older adults about how I needed to find someone “sexually compatible” and how “unrealistic” it was for me to expect someone to be willing to stay with me when I wasn’t going to have sex until I was married.  I was “reminded” that I didn’t live with my parents anymore (oh, they don’t live in the dorms with me?  Huh, I never noticed…) and didn’t need to follow the rules they had set for me- and, if I tried to explain that it was God who had set those “rules,” they would respond, “Well, you think that because your parents taught you that God got to make all the rules.”  (How do you even respond to that one?!)

My mom had warned me many times that saving myself for marriage wasn’t going to be easy.  In addition to the peer pressure and the repeated dateless weekends, I found myself so overloaded on sexual innuendos and images that I began to wonder what I was saving myself for.  Sex was beginning to seem more like an animal act than anything else; so why couldn’t we just experience it with whoever we wanted, like my peers were doing?  Wasn’t the whole point of sex to have fun and feel good?

Thank God for the instruction I had had from my parents and church as a child and teenager- I had had more purity talks than I could count, and, more importantly, I had been taught to obey God, even when I didn’t understand why He made the rules that He did.  I continued to wear my True Love Waits ring and let the world know that no, my virginity was not available to anyone except my future husband.  I ended up graduating college without ever having a dating relationship, but I also graduated without needing any STD tests, without ever having to spend money on birth control, and having never had a pregnancy scare.  I guess that was worth it…

Now, as a college graduate, I am watching more and more of my friends enter into marriages- and I am hearing those that saved themselves talk about the beauty and the sacredness of a sexual relationship within marriage.  God has given me a glimpse into the truth about sex- society might make it out to be something dirty and animalistic, but, in truth, God created sex to be a small taste of His passion for His bride, the Church.  I have a feeling I won’t fully know this truth, though, until I experience His gift with the man He has chosen to be my husband.

Something else has changed, too, though.  My peers, married or not, no longer laugh at me for wearing my True Love Waits ring.  They no longer lecture me about needing to get experience and find someone “compatible.”  Recently, I ran into a friend from high school- one of the most beautiful, popular girls in her class.  Being girls, our chat topic eventually turned to weddings, and we lamented the cost of bridesmaid dresses we had both had to purchase recently and how much people spend on weddings in general. 

“As ridiculous as the cost of weddings are, I hope you’ll go all out on something nice for your honeymoon,” she told me.  “Especially for the night of your wedding- that night is going to be amazing for you.  I can’t believe you’re 26 and still a virgin; I wish I had been strong enough to do that.”

I won’t lie and say it’s all going to be downhill from here- I have a feeling the biggest battle will be the final days before my wedding, when I am so head-over-heels in love with a man and know almost-for-sure that he’s the one for me.  But, for the most part, the taunting, the ridicule, and the disgust from my peers seems to be behind me.  I only shared one conversation I had- many of my friends are experiencing the results of premarital sex (and not just STDs or unplanned pregnancies- there is no contreceptive or “protection” that protects the heart and soul).  I’m sure I will fully appreciate God’s plan for sex and marriage on my wedding day, but, even now, as a 26-year-old virgin who is saving her first kiss for the altar, I think I am getting a taste of it.