How Far is Too Far

Often students will ask me – how far is too far?

What they really want to know is – how far can I go physically without having sex while still enjoying the physical benefits and satisfaction?

In other words – I want to have sex. But my parents will kill me.

To all the Christian parents out there doing the hard work I want you to know – I have talked to these kids. They want to live a life honorable to the Lord. They want to figure out ways to navigate and overcome this sexually saturated culture. Everywhere they go our culture feeds their sexual appetite. As soon as they walk out of the door of their homes it’s as if they don’t stand a chance. God made all of us to enjoy sex within the precious, sacred, and safe walls of marriage. Let’s be honest!  Most of us didn’t wait until marriage for sex, but our transparency with our kids may be the very thing that God uses to save them from some very heart breaking mistakes.

Our culture has exploited sex so much that when our kids – HECK, when all of us – open our eyes every morning, sex is in the commercials and television shows we watch, the music we hear, and in the images we see all around us. Our appetite for arousal is constantly being fed. It is no wonder our boys (and girls) struggle with their thought life.

So how far is too far? How far will our kids let their relationships go physically? How do we prepare them for these moments? Our kids often look for someone to hand them a set of rules.  They have grown accustomed to this especially on the issue of sex. However, if we think back on our generation and the generation before that and the one before that, rules did not prevent much. With most other parenting issues rules restrict behavior, but when it comes to sex our attitude and our approach have to be different. Just like rules didn’t stop our generation they won’t stop this generation either.

Our kids’ behavior toward their sexuality and the way they choose to honor God with it will be born out of their relationship with Jesus Christ. When our kids find themselves alone with their boyfriend/girlfriend and they are now faced with the proverbial question – how far is too far? The answer is – tell them to go as far as they feel comfortable going as if their own father were sitting right there in the room with them. I know! This idea may sound hilarious!  But why is this important? Because fathers are the protectors and guardians of their virtue, honor, and dignity. Single mothers?  The concept is still the same.  For those who have poor earthly fathers as examples?  Again, the concept still stands.  Why?  No matter what, our kids have a Heavenly Father.  Whether they know it or not, and whether they feel his presence or not, he is there.

The emphasis is on the importance of a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is with them.  He is with all of us who have put our trust in him to direct our lives.  He is going to be what guides our kids through the tough times, through the trials, and through the temptations. We can’t always save our kids but we can point them to their Savior.

“Our YES to God produces a NO to sin.” – Greg Matte

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Our Deepest Pain, God’s Greatest Tool

When I was a little girl, only 10-years-old, my father was pastoring the 4th largest Baptist church in the state of Louisiana. We had just moved to New Orleans and not long after my father had taken the pulpit at his new church, my world completely changed as I knew it. Because of a combination of some poor choices made by the adults in my life, and some very personal things taking place between my mother and father, my church life and family life became a total wreck and source of devastation.

 

As all of this was unraveling in our lives, I was still attending school at the church where my father pastored. Unfortunately, some of the most hateful people in my life have been the very people I have sat next to on Sunday mornings. As I played in the courtyard at recess during my 5th grade year, someone had strategically placed a very hateful note near my lunchbox, so that when I sat down to eat my lunch that day, I would read how much they hated my father and how he didn’t deserve to be in the position he was in as a pastor.

 

While the feelings of the person who left that note near my lunchbox that day may or may not have been justified, for a child to be caught in the crossfire, to have to pay for the consequences of the decisions of her father is not fair. It is not right. But it happens every day. You see? As adults, we sometimes don’t consider that our poor decisions will affect those around us. But they do. And the affects can last a lifetime.

For me that painful moment as a 10-year-old girl, marked the beginning of a very long, and painful at times, journey with the Lord. But it also marked the beginning of what I now see was the road to my purpose in this life – my destiny, my ministry, the reason for which my God created me. See? Only our God can use our deepest hurt and our most shame-filled moments for good and for His glory.

Are you at a place, yet, where you can see that God can AND wants to use the good AND the bad in your life?  I do not believe that He wills painful things to happen to His children, but I DO believe He can use them to create us into something beautiful.  That is just who He is.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

 -Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)

Quit Playing It Safe

There are lots of things I am terrible at doing. Like baking, for instance. Or cleaning. Oh, and math. I’m terrible at math. But some things like writing and organizing, I’m not too shabby at doing. Oh, and talking – I’m great at gab – especially when it comes to mindless things. But you get me going on something I am passionate about?!

 

Not too many people I know say, “When I grow up I want to talk about sex.” Honestly, that is not what I said either. But as things would turn out, that is exactly what I am doing with my life. And I could not be more excited, more thrilled, and more in love with my job than I am in this moment right now.

 

I remember hearing someone once say, “You cannot amputate your history from your destiny.” It made zero sense at the time. But as I sit today, in this moment and realize what God has brought me through, that statement makes perfect sense.

 

Recently, God called me to start a ministry with the purpose of helping people find freedom from sexual sin. Specifically, God has asked me to help men and women find freedom that only comes from the redemptive power found in Jesus Christ when they surrender their lives to Him. Surrender means letting go of those things that have them, all of us, by the throat – lust, pornography, adultery, divorce, addiction, abuse, bad habits, prostitution, promiscuity, SIN. Initially, I felt very overwhelmed by the call, by the task. I still do at times. But then I remembered exactly what my God has brought me through and redeemed me from.

 

No, I cannot amputate my history from my destiny. BUT…

 

My history and my future, and therefore my destiny, share the same root – Jesus Christ.

 

God has a calling on your life, as well. And it is beyond your wildest dreams. No, I never could have imagined being in this place for such a time as this. The journey has been long and painful. But so far, it has been worth it all. The risk IS great. The cost IS high. And wouldn’t it? And shouldn’t it? After all, Christ gave His life for me and for you. Shouldn’t there be some cost, some risk for following Him?

 

Over the weekend, while America watched 50 Shades of Grey, 21 men lost their lives for the cause of Christ at the hands of ISIS. While men and women (yes, CHRISTIAN men and women) paid for and viewed pornography, Jesus welcomed (stood in their honor, I bet) 21 brave men as they entered Heaven.

 

YES, the cost is high. The risk is great. The choice is hard. But the reward is GREAT. His Glory – our reward.

 

You have a calling. You have a God-authored, Jesus-ordained calling on your life.  Don’t play it safe.  Our world has enough Christian people playing it safe.  Jesus is so worth the risk.

Now, go fulfill your beautiful purpose.