Working in a public high school allows me a front row seat to the moral decline of our modern generation. It has been said that character is how a person behaves when nobody’s looking. Lately, I’ve been watching how young women behave when their parents aren’t looking. School staff members, who are “choosing their battles,” turn a blind eye to the cursing, bare skin and inappropriate touching that have become the norm. Relationships are distorted to the point that children are being “casually intimate” with their friends. Nationally, nearly one million young women under age 20 become pregnant each year. That means close to 2800 teens get pregnant each day. One in 4 sexually active teens becomes infected with an STD every year (Facts in Brief: Teen Sex and Pregnancy, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, New York, 1996). These heartbreaking experiences and statistics have caused me to question what I’m doing to lead my 10-year old “Tween” in another direction. Am I being intentional enough? So began my journey to reclaim purity for my daughter.
After scouring countless books and websites, and sipping iced coffee with ladies who have become my mentors, I discovered a key principle that will be my guiding light in the coming years. In a broken world full of broken people, the best way to shepherd a child into a healthy earthly relationship is to lead her to a genuine Love relationship with her Heavenly Father. I want my daughter to discover that True Love – which frees her from looking to boys and to her friends for acceptance. I want her to love Christ first, and be completely satisfied in Him. To do that, she needs to believe and trust in His love for her. Jesus, who the Bible refers to as the Bridegroom, paid the highest price for His bride (the church). That means that my daughter is valuable enough, precious enough that He would sacrifice His life for her. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) So, I’m teaching my daughter to find her identity in Christ, and to keep herself spiritually and physically pure for her Bridegroom. Preparing for one (Jesus), makes her ready for another. Once a mature and intimate relationship with the Lord exists, she has the proper foundation needed to enjoy the gift of marital intimacy. Jesus said, “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Pouring the footers and laying the foundation for purity will take years of diligence; however, there is no way to measure the treasure that awaits an obedient heart. Matthew 6:33 says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Here are a few important ways to store up treasure by being intentional with your daughter:
- Find a mentor – Some of the most valuable direction I’ve received came from two Godly mothers, Kathy and Leigh Ann, who were willing to share their own challenges and successes with me. These women, who are 5 years ahead of me in their journey, have become my Spiritual Mothers. Sharon Betters said in her book, Treasures of Encouragement, “If you are committed to nurturing younger women, surround yourself with women who mentor you.”
- Help your daughter establish strong peer support – Peer pressure is a significant hurdle. Get involved with your daughter and her friends. The majority of teens today are making unwise choices, including some of the “churched” teens. It’s okay to participate in choosing her friends. The Bible says, “He who walks with the wise, grows wise.” (Prov. 16:20)
- Identify appropriate role models – She gets so many false messages from music, television, teen magazines and peers. Provide her with role models that will fill her with Truth! Some examples include Barlow Girl (Band), Brio Magazine, and Secret Keeper Girl Book Series. Introduce your daughter to some slightly older girls that are seeking God in your church.
- PRAY! – Ask God for physical purity and purity of heart for your daughter and her friends. Ask for wisdom as you teach her to guard her heart. There is probably a young man somewhere in the world right now who will become your daughter’s husband. Start praying for him now! Pray that God will give wisdom to his parents, that they’ll raise him to love the Lord with all of his heart, soul and mind, and that he’ll save himself for your daughter.
In a sex-saturated world in which online dating, My Space, pornography and “friends with benefits” are being offered to our children; it is not sufficient to teach them to “Just say ‘No,” and provide a list of rules. We need to emphasize the “why” of purity, starting with the fact that “God is Sovereign. Jesus is enough.” This Valentine’s Day, will you commit to point your daughter to complete satisfaction in her First Love?