I talked to a couple different groups of teens recently about sexual integrity and relationships and marriage and porn and fighting temptation and God’s plan and provision for all of it.
I’ve given this presentation many times before. I know the material inside and out, can give it without barely looking at my notes, even though I’d last given it Feb. 2020.
But something is different now. I’m married.
What was once just a hope, an idea, an educated guess, is now experience and knowledge. I still remember being in their place, a teenager awkwardly wondering how all this stuff worked and having more questions than answers, even with wonderful parents who did their best to guide me. And I remember the years that followed, the season those youth will soon be coming into, that of singleness and searching and waiting. But my experience doesn’t end there, not anymore.
For today, I can share with them the sacredness that is marriage. I can tell them, from experience, that God’s way truly is best. I can plead with them to wait, that it’s worth it, but at the same time that there is forgiveness and restoration and so much grace for those with a different past, that no matter what, they can make the choice starting today to reserve all sexual activity for marriage.
God’s truth hasn’t changed, but perhaps my perspective on it has. How I long for those young hearts to grasp it. I understand better now the weightiness of it all. God puts His boundaries where He does for the very best reasons, and yet how flippantly we like to tell Him that we know better. But oh, the sweet gift that He grants when we do it His way.
Today, I am married. And it is holy ground we tread together, my husband and I, bound together by covenant and vow, made one by God Himself. Tis no light or vain thing, not a thing to trifle with.
You can’t put it into words, not really. Some things are meant to be experienced, not explained. But still, I will plead with those youth to flee sexual immorality, that it is indeed a sin against their own bodies and against others with ramifications they cannot fathom in the moment. I will tell them that God designed sex to be about oneness, to be a knowing of your spouse in a unique and intimate way, to be for the purpose of procreation and pleasure and protection and unity, all within covenant. I will call them to God’s higher standard of not even looking at a woman to lust after her, to turn away from what our culture normalizes and do whatever it takes to have their thoughts be pure and right and good. I will answer their questions, even the hard ones about what if you were abused or how do you determine your boundaries or how do you help a friend who’s struggling.
I will do it because it matters. I will do it because our culture desperately needs godly marriages. I will do it because we’re failing at equipping our youth, even in the church. I will do it because marriage is hard and the journey leading up to marriage is hard and because none of us can glorify God with our bodies and relationships without a complete reliance upon Him. I will do it because purity is worth it, marriage is worth it, obedience to Christ is worth it.
And I will walk out this sacred marriage of mine to the glory of God, for the same reasons. Just as I strived to walk out my years of singleness. Each season has been gifted to me for a reason, and neither is really about me.
My marriage is meant to showcase Christ and the church. How I respect and submit to my husband is telling a narrative, albeit a broken and imperfect one, to all who watch. How I keep my covenant vows sends a message, whether I like it or not.
It is holy ground, this marriage of mine. It matters, that I hold back that sarcastic retort and ask God to govern my mouth with kindness. It matters, that I give myself fully and freely to my husband. It matters, that I ask God to give me a gentle and quiet spirit.
Much of that is done in the quiet confines of my home, where very few will ever witness the specifics. But that matters not. For I am to please God, not man. I am to let Him do what He wishes with my testimony, being faithful to honor Him in the hidden and on the stage.
And it is good.
I am grateful.
No matter what season you find yourself in today, may God supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. May He be glorified forever and ever. And may His grace be with you.