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Birds, Bees, and Purity
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It started out like any other school day. You know, where you’re running around wondering why your gym clothes aren’t clean and your hair has that funny sticky-up thing going on, and you just remembered you had a history paper due. One of those kinds of days.

As the mother of a 15-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, I was glad I was not the one having to prepare for a day at school; instead, I was the chauffeur – a job I was going to give up as soon as my daughter Joelle got her driver’s license. We piled into the car; Joelle in front next to me and Scott slouched in the back trying to catch a few more Zs on the way to school. Joelle usually carried on a one-sided conversation during the a.m. commutes having a naturally sunny morning disposition. Scott and I, on the other hand, tended to wake up a bit more slowly.

She chatted on and I was lulled into making monosyllabic responses until I heard the word “sex.” Hey, wait! What was I missing? “Could you repeat that again?” I asked. “Must have been thinking about something else.”

What Did You Say?

“I just said that Jennifer and I decided that we won’t take drugs or have sex with boys because we don’t need to,” she repeated. “We feel too good about ourselves so why should we do something that could hurt us? Plus, it’s not what God has in mind for us before we get married.”

I stuttered a bit and actually started sweating, although the morning air was quite cold. If you ever want to see your parents sweat, just start talking about sex. “Do you and your friends talk much about sex and drugs?” I asked.

“Yeah, sometimes we do. One of the girls in our class is pregnant and so it’s kind of a popular subject now,” Joelle responded.

“Did you know that she was having sex?” I asked.

“Some of us thought so,” said Joelle. “She’s been having a hard time at home and has stopped being involved in after-school programs. I tried talking to her and invited her to be on our worship team, but she said she really wasn’t interested, so I didn’t know what else to do.”

As I pulled into the school parking lot – much too soon for our conversation to end – I struggled with something to say. Scott woke up and both kids piled out of the car shouting quick good byes. I just sat there letting the car idle as I thought about her classmate’s parents and what they must be feeling and about the young mother-to-be and prayed that Joelle would always feel too good about herself.

Of course, I’d had THE SEX talk with her many years ago, as did Scott’s dad with him, but I had only dealt with the negatives about having sex outside of marriage: the possibility of pregnancy and disease. I hadn’t stressed how good it feels to be doing the will of God when caring for your body, mostly because at 15, I had learned the opposite side of it. It was a long time ago, but the memories came flooding back of how lost I had felt and how far it seemed I was separated from God. Nothing seemed to be going right.

Feeling Pressure

My parents and I weren’t getting along, I was failing some of my classes and my boyfriend – the only person in the whole world that I thought really loved me – was pressing me to have sex with him. And why shouldn’t I? No one really cared – not even God who had these impossibly high standards set for me that only caused me to fail and fail. Since I was already so bad, what’s one more thing?

Two 15-year-olds. Two different Gods? No. The difference was in the message that the two 15-year-olds received ABOUT God – the two different messages they heard. I heard the legalities and the rules and Joelle had heard the freedom of believing in a God that had her best interest in mind. I grew up with the “Wages of sin is death,” and she grew up understanding Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT): "And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God."

Sure both of those are legitimate Bible texts. The one I heard and believed dealt with how God feels about sin. The one Joelle heard dealt with how God feels about his children. Imagine believing that God loves us so much that we’ll be filled with life and power? The power to make the right choices knowing that no matter what we do, we’ll be loved. Fantastic!

Those two 15-year-olds certainly took two different paths. Can they possibly end up at the same place? Certainly! It’s just that one path is less painful and less harmful. Why wallow in the mud if you can just step over the mud puddle? Because God loves us so much, he has promises for those of us who don’t always do what’s best for our minds and our bodies. “Where is the god who can compare with you--wiping the slate clean of guilt, turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You'll stamp out our wrongdoing. You'll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean” (Micah 7:18-19, The Message).

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By Dee Reed. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE ® and the NEW LIVING TRANSLATION ©.

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