Memories with a Double Edge

Purity’s Big Payoff/Premarital Sex is a Big Rip-off
The most difficult task in the life of a Christian single today is maintaining purity until marriage. The payoff is perfect love and sex, just as our Creator intended. But if that’s so awesome, why aren’t more people choosing it? And how can premarital sex be so bad if so many people are doing it and loving it? People who were virgins when they married aren’t usually the type to kiss and tell. And when premarital sex goes wrong, no one wants to Tweet it. This awkward silence from both contingents isn’t helping the next generation to decide well on the issue of premarital sex.
Purity’s Big Payoff/Premarital Sex is a Big Rip-off is a collection of 17 first-person narratives about successfully waiting for marriage to have sex – or not. Contributors on both sides of the issue candidly share in face-reddening detail what they learned on their way to the wedding bed. Young people aiming to remain pure will be encouraged and learn practical strategies for resisting sexual temptation. Those who wish they had waited will learn that it’s never too late to restore purity with God’s grace.
The following is an excerpt.

Memories with a Double Edge
By Trina Wright-Courtenay
The winter of my ninth-grade year, while others were hoping for a white Christmas, I was planning a much different event, one that would change my life forever. My boyfriend and I were going to take our relationship to the next level. We were planning because we didn’t want to become parents, so we purchased protection. The awaited day came and went, and with it, my purity.
For the next two months I thought I had made the right decision by giving my most precious gift to a well-deserving guy. After all, we talked of being that couple — the one that dates all through high school, marries and goes off to college together. My bubble burst shortly after Valentine’s Day when he broke it off with me, using some ridiculous excuse about sports which I couldn’t hear over the sound of my heart breaking into a million pieces and crashing to the hardwood floor of his bedroom.
My decision to give away my virginity at such a tender age was the first of several decisions made all for the wrong reasons. I actually believed that a guy couldn’t have sex with me unless he loved me. That’s how my confused young mind processed things. If a boyfriend said those magical words to me, the next step was intimacy — that’s all it took. The next guy who said those words to me broke my already shattered heart into mere flecks.
By my senior year in high school, becoming intimate had become the natural progression of a relationship for me. As natural as getting up every day, dressing, eating breakfast and taking my birth control pill. Except, that is, on those mornings when I slept in because I had been drinking the night before. On those mornings I took the pill later in the day. And thus, at the end of my senior year, instead of shopping for a prom dress in the City, renting a limo and deciding how to do my hair for the prom, I was hunting for my first apartment, working after school and trying to afford a proper nursery on minimum wage.
A poor decision, from which I never turned back, coupled with a moment of forgetfulness, created a new future for me and did away with all the memories I thought I would one day have.
I thought I would have memories of my parents’ joy as they learned they were going to be grandparents. Instead I remember the way my mother stared at me with those sad, haunting, light green eyes. At the time I thought I was seeing shame, hurt and maybe betrayal, but now that I’m a mother of a 17-year-old girl, the age I was when I became pregnant, I know it wasn’t that. What I saw reflected in my mother’s eyes was the future she was envisioning for me and my unborn child — a life she knew would be hard, trying, and at times, hopeless.
I thought I would have the memory of seeing my husband’s eyes light up when I told him he was going to be a daddy. Instead, my memories are of a stomach so tightly wound I would have rather eaten cold vomit than to tell my boyfriend I was pregnant. His reaction was to be expected, “What are we going to do?”
Time revealed that there was no “we,” there was only “me.” We didn’t break up right away, but since I lived in another town, I spent my pregnancy alone, sharing the highs and lows of pregnancy whenever we next saw each other. No one was with me to hold my waist-length hair out of the toilet during my bouts of morning sickness. No one was with me during the hot summer nights when the baby decided to kick up a storm. And, no one was with me when my water broke after a soothing bubble bath. In fact, I drove myself to the hospital while in the early stages of labor and my boyfriend met me there. Our good intentions to stay together lasted until our daughter was nine months old.
As if that whole child-out-of-wedlock experience wasn’t hard enough, I produced a carbon copy of it three and a half years later. The second time I truly thought things would be different. I was older, I thought I was more mature and this time my new boyfriend and I talked of marriage prior to finding out that we were expecting a child. In the end, I found myself alone and once again driving myself to the hospital. Even with different details, I got the same result. I understand now that I was still doing the same thing to produce the results: I was having premarital sex.
My poor choices really hit home when I found myself a young, single mother for a second time. Alone is not what I wanted to be. I never dreamed of raising children on my own! But because I didn’t seem to be able to make the right choices when it came to dating and sex, I decided that alone is just what I needed. It was better to be alone than to be with someone and feel lonely, which is what I felt during most of my relationships. And so, I spent the next four years alone — getting to know who I was and what I wanted for myself and my daughters.
I went off to college. Instead of spending late nights hanging out with the girls and studying while eating microwave popcorn, I was bathing kids and attempting to hold my eyes open with toothpicks in an effort to study or complete assignments. Life on campus was a good experience for my children. It made my daughters want to continue their education but in a way that they would get the full experience. And I don’t mean running children to daycare and school. No, they desire an experience which includes the freedom to study when they need to, not just when they can, which is how it was for me. My memories are not the normal ones associated with college life, but the silver lining was that my children were in the audience during graduation — not a bad memory, but a memory with a double edge.
During those four years, I also learned what courtship was meant to be. Most of all, I learned to respect myself and to treat my body as the gift from God that it is. And that decision opened the doors to some very positive experiences and memories for which I’m grateful.
While at a family Bible camp at the end of my first year of college, I met a divorced father of three. On the last day, he took my picture and, unbeknownst to me, placed it in his Bible and sent up a prayer to Our Heavenly Father. He prayed something like this, “If she’s the one for me, Father, I pray you’ll bring her home when she’s finished with college.”
Two weeks before I was scheduled to move back home after college, this man phoned my best friend to see if I needed help with moving and to see if it would be okay to call me. My best friend passed on the information, and for the next two weeks, we were in touch by phone. When he showed up for the move, not only did he help load and drive the moving truck, but he helped finish the cleaning. He also lined up some men from the church to help unload my furniture into my auntie’s garage, and then four days later, to move my girls and me into our new place.
During a breakfast date a couple of weeks later, he asked if I would consider going out with him. I remember feeling butterflies in my stomach and I’m pretty sure my face turned red as I asked, a bit baffled, “Isn’t this what we’re doing?” I told him that no one had asked me to “go out with him” since ninth grade. A twinkle lit up his warm, brown eyes as he replied that the question was long overdue. He continued to court me in this same fashion over the next couple of months. I could tell he was falling in love with me by all the little things a man does when he’s putting a woman first.
Yes, I did just say “man,” and that was the difference in him and my past boyfriends. He was a man, not just some random guy. This man showed me his love by the way he acted. He took things slow, showing me how love was supposed to feel. By the end of our fourth month together, I knew he was different than others I had dated. For the first time in my life I was able to imagine how we’d look 50 years down the road in the old folks home, side by side on rocking chairs, as he smiles an almost toothless grin with that same twinkle in his eyes and mumbles words of affection to me.
And so, I casually showed him three different rings I liked, knowing in my heart he wanted to make me his wife as much as I wanted to become his wife. One year and one month after he asked me out, I became his wife for better or worse, in sickness and in health, all of the days of our lives.
Sounds like my life experiences brought about a pretty darn good ending, doesn’t it? But this is not the end. It was just the beginning of a new type of struggle. About three years into my marriage, well after the honeymoon was over, I was more convinced than ever that my husband was a loving, caring man and I was more in love with him than on the day I said “I do.” Then wham! Memories of the past started flooding in. The devil was now using my memories to cause me grief — not only from memories I have, but also for memories I could have had.
The past had never been a problem in any other relationship. In fact, I would use it to try to figure out where I had gone wrong. Never had it caused this kind of emotion.
That’s when it hit me, my “Ah-ha!” moment. I realized if I hadn’t given into temptation when I was young, the Devil wouldn’t have any ammunition — these double-edged memories to cause me pain. The Enemy knows just when to bring back those dormant memories to cause the most hurt. Such moments of pain bring great pleasure to the Enemy.
Finally I understood the truth in I Thessalonians 4:3-6, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality: that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God: and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.”
Besides the risk of unwanted pregnancy, I had not understood why it was important to wait for marriage to have sex. My rationale had been, “Would you buy a car without test driving it first? I think not!” As distorted as it now sounds to my own ears, I often used that to justify my behaviors. Now, finally I understood why Our Heavenly Father not only wanted us to remain pure but also warned us against sex outside of marriage.
As quickly as I could, I dismissed the memories of past sexual relationships and the emotions attached to them, and I threw them back into the pit of hell, asking my Lord for forgiveness. However, the Enemy saw how those memories had affected me. He knew exactly the way I’d react and because it gave him pleasure to see my pain, he used it again and again. And I had a seemingly endless well of memories from which to draw — things I had long ago forgotten, but the Enemy hadn’t.
My saving grace is the forgiveness I received from my Lord, without whom I’d be extremely messed up, not knowing how to deal with these memories.
So easily and readily I made a major life decision to give up my virginity, and that single decision has reverberated throughout my adult years, causing waves of poor decisions. If I could have only one prayer answered it would be that others would learn from my experience — for others to understand that the easier road is to learn from someone else who has been there and done that. And in doing so, they just might save themselves from a heart broken into a million pieces and memories that cut like a double-edged sword.
If I could do it all over again, I may still have dated the guys I did, and I can hardly regret the blessing of my daughters, though I wish they had had the benefit of a complete family. But one thing you can bet I would do differently would be to save myself for my husband. All my memories of intimacy would be of him and with him, the only man in my life who deserved my most sacred and precious gift. And, in doing so, I would claim the gift of beautiful memories that our Lord desires us all to possess.

This story was excerpted from the new book Purity’s Big Payoff / Premarital Sex is a Big Ripoff, edited by Donna Lee Schillinger. A collection of 17 true stories about love that waited – or not! – for sex until marriage and the consequences of that decision. Learn more at PuritysBigPayoff.com. Now on sale at major online booksellers, through your local bookstore or for a special price of $12 plus free shipping at www.OnMyOwnNow.com, which receives as a donation half of the proceeds of its sales. Also available in Kindle through Amazon.com.
También en español: La Gran Recompensa de la Pureza / La Gran Estafa del Sexo Prematrimonial. Visite http://www.VivaLaPureza.info.

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