Friday May 28th, 2010

We left Kemmer WY as early as we could drag ourselves from bed and began the 9-hour drive to Mesa Verde CO. I’ve decided I really love YW! There’s real cowboys’ herding sheep and cattle in the fields with gorgeous ranches everywhere! The song home on the range is very fitting “where the deer and the antelope play…” We also crossed into Idaho and Utah. Idaho reminds me a lot of Oregon with the beautiful rolling plains with a backdrop of majestic mountains.

We made a detour to visit Arches National Park. So glad we did! It was beautiful!

The Lord used the Balanced Rock to remind me that He is balancing the world and essentially my life – not me! There is so much peace in that. I forget it so often and try to juggle everything on my own. “He’s got the whole world in His hands He’s got the whole world in His hands….”

I drove through the winding park and the hairpin turns and loved every minute of it! Guess I like living or “driving” on the edge more than I thought! We also passed through Moab Utah, which brought back a lot of memories from when I went there on the Ultimate Adventure trip 3 years ago with work. It was a slightly different experience this time! Last time I was a group leader with 12 teens and a 15-passenger van. J It was still a blast!

We arrived at Mesa Verde CO around 7pm and chose a campsite. We actually got a really nice one with a view of the mesa. Yeah for real food! We grilled chicken strips and made rice for supper!

I found out mummy sleeping bags were not designed for women with hips! I was just slightly claustrophobic much to Christine’s amusement! J I finally realized I had to move the bag with me – not try to move in the bag! I do love camping though!

It’s amazing to think we traveled through 4 states in one day. I’m on sensory overload. The majesty and beauty of the constantly changing landscape makes my jaw drop. Our Creator is rightly named. Creation screams in worship to Him! It was really neat to see the bigger picture as we drove through.

Jackson YW

Thursday May 27th, 2010

Jackson Hole WY – Cowboy town. I had no idea before we came here last night that Jackson was an old west town! I was thrilled! We stayed in the Historic Wort Hotel (Beautiful wood furnishings/carvings) Funny thing was my Pj’s matched the décor -complete with the teddy bear on the bed J! We got in really late from Yellowstone starving and nothing was open. The only thing in the room was a coffee pot so we got creative! Ramen noodles cook quite well in a coffee pot actually! Tonight was the same – only we had a microwave to work with so we cooked mac & cheese and hot dogs. (Sherrie if your reading this – yes I’m going to need to go on a cleanse to get rid of all the junk I ate on this trip!)

We slept in this morning, (which was wonderful!) - and then explored Jackson. Such a touristy but really fun town! All over the town are arches made of elk antlers. Christine and I got new cowboy hats – The only color I didn’t have yet was white so I figured why not?! J Christine, the wonderful friend that she is, knows how much I love cowboys so she found me one – only I’m afraid he’s a bit too old for me!

We also both bought teddy bears for the fun of it – shhhh it’s our secret!! The little girls hiding inside of us! We did however name them Smith and Wesson to make them seem tougher!

After lunch we went back to see the Tetons in the daylight – so Majestic.

We arrived at Fossil Butte National Monument, WY, later than expected but were still able to hike 4 miles before dark (barely!) It started getting dark when we were on the top of the butte surrounded by mountain lion tracks and a good mile + from the car. We made a funny pair hurrying down the Mt side. I kept furtively looking behind us and into the sagebrush while Christine’s bear bell rang loudly from her pack! I’m sure we gave Fredrick and Lucinda (the two mule dear that followed us along the ridge for the whole hike) something to laugh at!

It was a lot of fun hiking the buttes! It finally feels like all the running is paying off – 4 miles in high altitude desert and I was still raring to go. Is this what it feels like to be in shape? Wow it’s a first for me! J now to stay this way….. (no more ramen?)

Leaving bright and early for Mesa Verde, CO.

May 26th, 2010. 1500 hours - Deep in Yellowstone National Park we are sitting bumper to bumper in construction traffic – what better time to blog! The car behind us is full of guys wanting to know where we are from, in front of us sits a tired old man. The wind is whistling through the trees.. It’s so beautiful and peaceful here! So far we have seen Old Faithful, Midway Geysers and Painted Pots. We are on our way North to the Mammoth Hot Springs! Old Faithful is a favorite! It just reminds me of God’s constant faithfulness to me! It’s not predicable when Old Faithful will erupt or for how long or high it will spew water into the sky – but it will erupt! The Lord is like that, I can’t predict how or when He will work or move in my life but I know He will! The splendor of these mountains screams of their Creator – it’s like nothing I’ve seen before and God’s peace lies here.

1900 Hours and we are leaving the north end of Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs, beginning the slow winding decent to the south entrance and our hotel for the night – oh wait – detour, Christine is pulling off so we can see the falls!
Ok that was definitely worth the detour! It’s the prettiest thing I’ve seen this trip! Artist Point Falls.
I’m on sensory overload at this point! There is no way to describe the majesty all around! I’ve taken over 600 pictures and seen hundreds of buffalo (one almost charged our car!) Elk, a grey wolf, blue and red herons, chipmunks, squirrels….
The song “Majesty, Your glory and Your splendor, holy, Majesty, You fill my soul with wonder and unspeakable delight at Your holy majesty” is the closest I can come to describing today. He is SO good!

It’s hard to put this into words, but the last few days I have felt so free! I was driving around yesterday and was like wow I feel different – and then it hit me, no stress and I wasn’t multitasking! It was an incredible feeling to simply think of nothing! No wonder guys like their “nothing” boxes! I need to find out how to untangle my spaghetti brain more often and climb into that box!

Poor Christine, It’s like I’ve released a goofball whirlwind! I don’t remember the last time I was this goofy, free, and crazy. I’m having a blast! I didn’t realize how much the stress from work and school was weighing on me. Pray for Christine – 6 months of pent up goofiness just got released!
I’m praying that this trip will continue to be a time of fleshing and that I’ll be able to come back to work and normal life with renewed purpose and vision!
Tomorrow we plan to visit Fossil Butte and possibly the Grand Tetons.

Unrequited Love –The Living Sacrifice: My Story/God’s Story Part 1

If “slow obedience is no obedience” than I’ve disobedient of late! Since January, I have felt the Lord telling me to blog on this topic. I have managed to push it off with tons of excuses; “it’s too hard, I don’t want to go there, no one will read this or care about it, maybe I’ll just write it from an observers perspective, I don’t have to get personal…” 5 months later the nudges from the Lord are more poignant than ever and the unrest is growing! So it’s no longer about who reads this, or how I feel about it and my insecurities, – it’s about being obedient. I’m going to get down and dirty personal and write about everything the Lord has taught me on unrequited love and sacrifice. I don’t know the reasons, but God does, so I’m writing this - here goes!

This is a story of God’s goodness, and how it is nothing remotely like mine – it is better!! Last September, I broke up with my first and only serious boyfriend. I was devastated and had no idea how to deal with the pain, so decided to turn that pain into the power of prayer. How to pray or where to even begin was a mystery to me, so I whenever I would think of him (which was with great frequency) I started praying God would make him into the man that He created him to be. Not what I wanted him to be – but who God made him to be. It was here that I prayed two VERY stupid prayers. I used to think that there was no such thing as a stupid prayer – well there is!!!

Prayer #1 was asking the Lord to allow me to see my ex through His eyes- to see him as God sees him.
Prayer #2 was that God would take the love I had for him and change it into the love God had for him!

God is serious and answered those prayers in ways I never imagined, which emotionally, took me on the toughest journey I have ever experienced. The Lord did two things in me; the first was He gave me a love for my ex that I can’t begin to humanly explain. I loved him more AFTER we broke up, than when we were together. And secondly, the Lord allowed me to see my ex, as He saw him - not for just who he was, but for his potential, everything he could be in the Lord.

The Lord began to purify that love, until there was no part of Katie, no selfish love in it, but pure, holy, unadulterated, unconditional love.
We didn’t talk for 4 months after the break up, and during that time the Lord burdened my heart and I prayed as I have never prayed before. I thought I was praying for my ex, that God would mold, make and change him, but through it God was actually changing me! Making, molding, and changing my heart to see the unseen and grasp different aspects of God I’ve never seen before. At first, I prayed because God told me too, than I prayed cause I wanted to as God gently whood me to Himself.

During this time I learned to see and view my ex as unto and complete in himself. Appreciate him for who he was, not what he could do for me. God became my all and enough for me! I heard you should be perfectly satisfied and complete in the Lord before perusing a relationship. I thought Lord was my all until we broke up and I realized how dependent emotionally I was on him. But God is so good and faithful! I often couldn’t see it through the pain but He was working in me breaking down pride, self-sufficiency, and every conceived notion I had about relationships.

Our relationship in its entirety was centered strongly on the Lord. We did everything right and “by the book”, yet it still ended. I learned a hard lesson in humility as I realized I was the elder son in the story of the prodigal son – “But Father, bless me! I did everything right!” – So? Duh! We are supposed to have God honoring relationships. Yet I had a lot of (unrealized) righteous pride. I was trying to be justified by works here and no better than the Pharisees. Who’s getting the glory in this story anyway?

Right before Christmas we talked and I found out God was doing incredible things in my ex’s life. I was blown away! I had no idea God was doing such a great work! It took God getting me out of the way to work in him. He was becoming everything I knew he could be! I was thrilled until he told me he was seeing another girl.
I wasn’t purified enough! Here’s an excerpt from my journal:

…got really mad at God. I wrestled with things before Him for most of the Christmas week. I felt like Jonah…. Thanks for saving the City God! What about me? I prayed and prayed for him! Then God asked me, did I pray for him so that I could be with him or did I pray for him because that was the right thing and God told me too? It was the later of course. I should be praising God for the miracles in his life, even if another girl was reaping all the effects of all the payers and heartache I had on his behalf. I have since come to the conclusion, that who am I to tell God where He can & can’t use me? If I was in my ex’s life for a reason, to pray for him unceasingly and sacrificially, than thank God for that!
After 2 straight, intense weeks of wrestling with God, I came to my knees in repentance and ask God for another chance, I did want to be humble and used by Him in whatever capacity He had for me. That was stupid prayer #3.

Again, God took me seriously and gave me plenty of opportunities to practice that prayer, right down to the irony of sharing with him some of the things God taught me when we broke up, when it didn’t work out for him with this other girl.
It still hurt every time I talked to him for a while and I begged God for a release, but over and over He made it very clear to me I was to stay in contact with him. Loving someone that doesn’t love you back isn’t easy to do without becoming bitter, I found out! One time while arguing with God about it, He gave me Luke 6:32-36 :

“ If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that!..... But Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.”

Time and a again I would struggle, and every time He would send a reminder along to obey Him and offer my ex the unconditional love of Christ. Here is where I learned a lot of things about unrequited love!

Unrequited love just plain hurts! The Lord used Oswald Chambers to speak to me a lot through this time:

“Most of us collapse at the first grip of pain. We sit down at the door of God’s purpose and enter a slow death through self-pity....He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, as if to say, "Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine." If God can accomplish His purposes in this world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?

I am blown away by God’s gentle, tender grace and mercy to me through this time, while He nudged me along. I struggled quite a bit and questioned Him a lot! “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7! And I learned in a tangible way what it meant to “…not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor 4:18. Being in the grip of the pierced hand of God, is painful, and I didn’t understand, but when I surrendered to it,- trusting Him for the unseen, He filled me with an unexplainable hope;

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us… for we are saved in this hope, but the hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But is we hope for what we do not see, we early wait for it with perseverance.” Romans 8:18-24

Waiting to see hope involved more than I ever would have thought! Unrequited love ties closely to sacrifice.

Blog part 2 is the cool redemption part… keep reading!!!

Unrequited Love –The Living Sacrifice: My Story/God’s Story Part 2

When you love someone with the Lord's love, it requires sacrifice! Being a living sacrifice, means a day in and day out laying down of your wants and rights. To die once to self would be easy! To die daily is another matter entirely! There are 5 basic things to sacrifice, and I got to practice a lot!

(1). You have to give up.
This means giving God complete control of your life, your dreams, and your desires. You no longer care what’s to benefit you- you care about what’s best for others and the common good.
(2). To let it go.
You quit hanging onto something that is very dear to you! – what should scare you the most is holding so tightly onto something that you miss God’s best.
(3). Forfeit
Relinquish your rights to power, position, and personal gain. Ask yourself what is God’s call on my life? What is HE telling me to do. The biggest sacrifices are the ones no one knows about or the ones no one understands.
(4).Offer up.
Give away something only you can until it hurts! – No pain, no gain, if it doesn’t hurt it’s not sacrifice.
-is the act of giving control to someone else.

I had to give Jesus compete and total control of every area of my heart and life, Oh I had done it many times before, but this was on a much deeper level and then I had to WALK in it! You can say you forgive someone and you’re over it and all cool with it until you have to actually act on it! :D

Somewhere along the way, the pain in my heart morphed and it was no longer about my ex. Very hard to explain, but it was almost like the Lord saying, see it’s not about him anymore, it’s about ME. This is the way I feel about you and everyone else. I love you so much it hurts! You reject my love time and again, yet I never leave you and am always there for you. The Lord showed me a glimpse of how He feels about us and it literally blew my mind and it has radically changed my life. On a very small scale I know understand the book of Hosea a lot better! I am also amazed at the understanding it has given me for some of the other things ppl go through.

Again Oswald Chambers puts it best :

“If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a number of experiences that are not meant for you personally at all. They are designed to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what takes place in the lives of others. Because of this process, you will never be surprised by what comes your way. You say, "Oh, I can’t deal with that person." Why can’t you? God gave you sufficient opportunities to learn from Him about that problem; but you turned away, not heeding the lesson, because it seemed foolish to spend your time that way….Are we partakers of Christ’s sufferings? Are we prepared for God to stamp out our personal ambitions? Are we prepared for God to destroy our individual decisions by supernaturally transforming them? It will mean not knowing why God is taking us that way, because knowing would make us spiritually proud. We never realize at the time what God is putting us through— we go through it more or less without understanding. Then suddenly we come to a place of enlightenment, and realize— "God has strengthened me and I didn’t even know it!"

He did strengthen me every step of the way. I would beg Him to take the pain away, but I knew it was also something He wanted me to go through and I didn’t want to miss that lesson! This became my theme song:

“I admit there is a yearning, for this hurting to subside, but not at risk of missing, what your doing in my life, all I know, I know to do is lift my hands to you, take all of my life, all of my life, and make something beautiful, I’m lifting my hands trusting your plans to make something beautiful, so all will see your work in me, as you make something beautiful. Make something Beautiful, cause all I know to do, is lift my hands to you!”
– Laura Story

I’m an only beginning to see the very edge of how God is going to use all these experiences for His glory, but I know He will. This is only one chapter in the long story He is writing! He is a God of redemption! Selah put’s it this way:

“ Life breaks and falls apart, But we know these are places where grace is soon to be so amazing It may be unfulfilled It may be unrestored But when anything that's shattered is laid before the Lord Just watch and see It will not be unredeemed”

I’m just starting to see that redemption and He has filled me with hope – not hope in circumstances, but true hope in the very character of who HE is (that story’s a whole other blog – titled Even Now)

Eventually the Lord did heal my heart and lift the burden to pray I had for my ex. It happened suddenly and unexpectedly – poof! I’m very thankful that season of my life is over, but I treasure all God’s done in me and shown me.

Currently my ex is very happily and seriously dating a godly woman, which I pray makes him happy and draws him closer to the Lord! As for me, well I’m me!! I am more in love with my Lord than I have ever been and I have come to the place where I am not only thankful for the Lord allowing my heart to be broken, but I also wouldn’t go back and change anything either. It was a long winter of the soul, but spring has brought healing and new life and release! There is spring in my heart and I feel full of new life that is just waiting to bloom. I can’t wait to see what God has next- bring it on baby!!! – That was probably stupid prayer #4! Oh well! LOL.

So if you ever want to see God work in crazy ways, I dare you to pray stupid prayers and then fasten your seatbelt; cause God will take you in directions and on journeys you never imagined!- But it will be GOOD!

To Wait or Not to Wait - That is the Question.

Sex -Why Wait?

It’s late at night, everyone is overtired and getting to that really silly, carefree, state of mind, and someone suggests the age old game of Truth or Dare. Remember those old school days? During the game, when asked a question, will you take a risk and accept a dare, or will you reveal the truth? The truth, which often bares the lies of who others perceive you to be? Waiting until the confines of marriage to be sexually active will challenge you to a similar game of risk. Are you daring enough to look at common lies and truths on how the majority of people view sex, through the contexts of education, cohabitation, and divorce? Many studies and facts show that waiting to have sex until marriage produces healthier people, families, and more emotionally and financially stable people in general. For instance, “Annual rates of depression among cohabitating couples are more than three times what they are among married couples” (Driscoll). When deciding whether or not to wait for sex, it’s not just a moral choice it’s a logical one as well. The truth found in examining these lies should be life changing!

The argument of when people should become sexually active starts at a young age in our school systems. It’s the ongoing war of what should be taught to our children – comprehensive sex education or abstinence education.
In comprehensive sex education, there is a strong emphasis on teaching teens to substitute intercourse with outercourse (outercourse- any sex play without vaginal intercourse including anal and oral sex) and use protection (by assuming the fact teens have already chosen to be sexually active). The argument for comprehensive education is everyone should be given the opportunity to decide how and when to be sexually active, as well as given the tools to do so. It teaches students how to use condoms, prevent STD’s and where to get inexpensive or free birth control without the parent’s knowledge.

It fails to address however, the fact that kids are kids. What teen do you know that on a consistent basis, is responsible to come home on time, or regularly clean their room? Are they trusted with the family car? Yes, adolescence is a time for learning how to manage those responsibilities, but if teens struggle on those levels, how do we expect them to properly use protection or not go too far in outercourse? If teens are consistently using protection than why is there so many teen pregnancies? It only takes forgetting a condom one time, to have irreversible consequences. “Teenagers are the least likely age group to practice contraception. Equally troubling is that the annual pregnancy rate among teenagers 14 and younger continue to rise” (Trad). If they can’t remember to pick up their dirty socks, do think teens will remember to use a condom in the heat of the moment when their emotions and hormones are raging?

Teaching abstinence from all forms of sexual activity is best because outercourse often leads to intercourse; it is part of the sex play in the natural order of things, which is not meant to be stopped. The National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA) puts it this way,

"These suggestions [outercourse] represent blatant advocacy for "gateway" sexual activities that create arousal for the very intercourse they are purportedly designed to prevent. This approach ignores the natural momentum such intimacy produces and fails to teach students reasonable and safe boundaries within relationships."

Adolescence is a time when teens should be taught how to have and maintain friendships and healthy relational boundaries without sexual tension. This will be beneficial to them their whole lives at home, but especially in the work force.

Picture the scenario of a child driving a car. Most kids want to drive long before the legal age and are confident they have the ability to do so. But everyone knows what disasters would happen if 13 year olds drove. There is a legal driving age for a valid reason. The child may not understand at first, but later they will see why it was so important to wait. Equate abstinence to children waiting until 16 to drive. It isn’t that they should never have sex; it’s just not the right time for it yet.

Abstinence education is based more on the values in waiting to have sex, (as alluded to in the car scenario) and looks at the emotional and physiological aspects of it. Even if protection is used, how does sex affect the person?
"Teens who become sexually active often express regret over their decision [to have sex] indicating that sex is more than a physical act that one can separate from the emotional or psychological dimension[s] . . . recent studies document the emotional effect of sex on teens . . . [Indicating] that emotional distress associated with teen dating experiences is minimized when sex is not part of the relationship." (NAEA)

Teens are healthier and more stable when they are not sexually active. “Physiological problems have also been correlated with early and frequent sexual activity. Depression, drug abuse, and mothering difficulties have all been associated with early initiation of sexual behavior” (Trad). When sex is taken out of the equation it frees the teen emotionally to make better decisions in regards to their future education, employment, financial success and families. When teens abstain from sex until marriage or adulthood, they don’t have to deal with unexpected pregnancies and STD’s. No protection is fool proof and no teen consistently uses birth control- if they did we wouldn’t have 400,000 teen births annually in the United States that cost the public more than $7.6 billion dollars a year (Teen Motherhood). The only protection that is fool proof is abstinence.

What about sexual choices in adulthood? Is it still best to wait for marriage to have sex? Look at it this way, there are three main reasons for people to be intimate sexually: for physical pleasure, emotional closeness, and to procreate.
In adulthood casual encounters, “hooking up” or one night stands, are a ways to quickly and conveniently fulfill those physical needs, without being tied down to a committed relationship. The consequences however are sobering, “those who engage in premarital sex have a high risk of contracting an STD. Each year there are 1.5 million new cases in the U.S. and more than 65 million people currently have an incurable STD” (Maher). Is it worth the risk?

Casual encounters may work for a short time, if STD’s are avoided, but what about long term? What happens when a person is ready to “settle down” and wants a committed relationship and marriage? They now play another game in their minds - the comparison game. Imagine what it would do for a person’s self-esteem in a relationship, if the only other person they had sex with were their spouse? If sex were kept only for marriage, would there be any wondering about measuring up, or keeping the other partner satisfied? What would happen if the spouse became the standard for beauty?

Casual encounters don’t meet a person’s emotional needs. Causal sex and fast food go hand in hand; they are both cheap and easy, but don’t sit well with the body long or short term. (Fryling) It leaves a person craving for the meat of a real relationship.

Craving touch and closeness with others, in world of epic family dysfunctions, is natural but it leads to the fallacy that sex creates intimacy.
“Is having sex really making love? Modern case studies . . . suggest not . . . to love a person productively implies to care for and feel responsible for his life, not only his physical powers” (Williams).
Sex does not create intimacy; it is meant to be a beautiful expression of it. True intimacy is built on commitment, trust, and love (not lust). “A prostitute may expose her body, but her relationships are hardly intimate” (Fryling). True intimacy and connection comes from knowing and loving a person for who they really are- not just for their bodies; a deep intimacy cannot come through casual and convenient sex, or open relationships.

Even so, the bridge of cohabitation is the compromise a lot of couples come to between a committed marriage and a one-night stand. It allows couples to test drive their relationship, while contemplating marriage. Cohabitation fulfills the immediate physical and emotional needs while at the same time appearing to be the economical and financially smart choice as well. Sounds like a perfect, all around, winner, until the facts are more closely examined. Dare to look at these facts, and the lies and truths behind them:
"1. Most couples believe that their cohabitation will be short term ending in marriage – Only 30% of cohabitating relationships end in marriage.
2. Test-driving the relationship allows for a better shot at marriage – But there is an 80% higher chance of the marriage relationship dissolving when people cohabitate first.
3. Partners assume they’ll have more harmony after marriage – but 35 out of 100 couples cohabitating experience physical assault, doubling that of married couples.
4. A jump-start on their finances - but studies show men who live with their girlfriends, more often than not, are under employed before and after marriage, and consequently women usually work full time to compensate for their boy friends or husbands after marriage.

If couples are serious enough to cohabitate than they should be serious enough to get married and not risk the 70% chance that their relationship will end in failure and heartache.

Divorce is also becoming more widespread, and it is now more socially acceptable to marry and divorce for different stages of life. Why is divorce so common? “1 out of 3 couples that marry have at least one divorce. Out of all Americans 18 years an older 25% have been divorced” (New Marriage). One of the major reasons for divorce is the foundation the marriage was built on. Cohabitation and divorce rates are directly linked as stated above. When and how sex is utilized drastically affects a relationship.

Furthermore a big reason for divorce occurring is infidelity or cheating. Marriage doesn’t change people, if people are willing to fool around before marriage, they will after. As an extreme example, our cultural views on dating and breaking up set a precedent for divorce. “Furthermore, couples who have sex before marriage, especially couples who cohabit, are more likely to experience difficulties in their marriage” (Driscoll). Premarital sex habits affect martial sex habits.
Divorces create a lot of emotional turmoil in families proving marriages are inductive to more happy and emotionally stable children and ultimately adults.
"Overall, children raised by single parents are five times as likely to be poor, twice as likely to drop out of school, and two to three times more likely as adults to commit crimes leading to an incarceration. These children are also more likely to be victims of crime, especially child abuse. (Gallagher)"

Children need both parents in the home to help them become mature well-adjusted adults. Sexual decisions never affect one person; they always affect two or more.

Divorce also puts a huge financial strain on families and single parent homes. This causes the parents to work more, resulting in less involvement in their children’s lives leading to the children making poor choices and seeking emotional support elsewhere which leads back to teen pregnancies, and single parent homes – and so the sick cycle continues.
"The net effects of non-intact family structure on child development outcomes are negative and strong . . . associated factors such as low income, children growing up in such [father-absent] households are at greater risk for experiencing a variety of behavioral and educational problems . . . smoking, drinking, early and frequent sexual experience, a cynical attitude toward work, adolescent pregnancy, and, in the more extreme cases, drugs, suicide, vandalism, violence, and criminal acts." (Gallagher)"

It all comes back to sex - teen pregnancy, sex education, hooking up, cohabitation, divorce, family stability, and emotional turmoil, can all in part, be traced back to the discussion of when and how to have sex.

Why does it all come back to one decision? Sex is fun; it shouldn’t be such a deep choice right? People want to experience it with multiple people multiple times. Everyone knows sex is pleasurable and desirable. No need to argue that, because if it weren’t enjoyable there would be no need for boundaries with it. Sex, like candy is good if it is balanced with boundaries. “The release from orgasm does much to calm people. It helps with sleep” (Alexander) Sex is also known to comfort people.
So if sex is good, is it than harmful resist those urges for a time? Isn’t it always a bad idea to resist natural urges, such as the urge to use the bathroom? We all know how that ends! Not so with sex.
"In sublimation the processes of sexual and aggressive energy are displaced by nonsexual and nondestructive goals. But guilt, unlike sublimation, can produce devastating results in human behavior. It is anger turned inward, producing depression, a lowered self-esteem, and fatigue. Further, chastity and virginity contribute very little to sexual problems. Unsatisfying relationships, guilt, hostility toward the opposite sex, and low self-esteem do. In short, there are no scars where there have been no wounds . . . the fun syndrome forces us to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate. (Williams)"

Sex is a natural urge that actually benefits from being controlled and focused.

What of morality? Up until 50 years ago sex outside of heterosexual marriage was considered wrong. Ask any grandparent why and they would reply that it is because God said it was wrong! So what does God have to say about sex? Well, He has a lot to say about it! There are over 200 references to sex in the Bible.

The Bible (God’s instructions and love letters to man) states that He created sex for procreation, (Genesis 1:26-28), strictly for marriage, (Hebrews 13:4 and Exodus 20:14) and for pleasure (Song of Solomon). According to the “Song of Solomon” God created sex for our pleasure. He is far from a prude as most would think. The “Song of Solomon” is all about delighting and divulging in the physical expressions of love. If it were a movie it would be rated R.

The Bible also makes it clear God intended sex for marriage and anything outside of that covenant He commands as wrong (sin). “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”(1 Cor. 6:18) Could this possibly be talking about STD’s? A monogamous relationship started between two virgins eliminates STD’s.

God doesn’t give people the desire for sex with no outlet. “If anyone thinks he is acting improperly toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if she is getting along in years and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married.” (1 Cor. 7:36) When tempted to have sex in a relationship, God says get married and have that sex! The desire for sex isn’t wrong- it’s what is done with it that matters.

Is sex just a moral choice, or is it a logical one too? Could God have had reasons for His said “rules” when it comes to sex? It seems scientific findings are lining up with the reasons that the old-fashioned morality view presents. But regardless of morality, it is healthier for a person (and family) on the whole to wait until marriage to be sexually intimate.

It all does come down to a personal choice. In America it is our right. This paper isn’t long enough to address all the other issues related to sex (homosexuality, abuse and a host of others). But in regards to heterosexual, mutually, consenting sex; the choice is - to wait or not to wait? How will a person really know what’s best if they don’t try it? Well, it isn’t possible to try it both ways with sex. Either wait until marriage to have sex or don’t. Yes, people change and after doing the hooking up lifestyle (especially in their younger years) they may choose to stop looking at sex casually and start keeping sex to the confines of marriage; but they will still have things to work through from past choices. So what is the logical choice?

Every aspect of daily life is inundated with misconceptions and half-truths about sex. For centuries we have believed different lies, only to have them be proven wrong later. Could this be the case with how we view sex? In history the early scientists thought the world was flat! It was perceived you could fall off the edge of the world if you sailed too far in any one direction. When scientists started to prove the world was round, they were labeled as crazy. The lies believed about sex today, are a direct parallel to this situation of old. Free sex is thought to be ok, but scientists are proving it wrecks havoc on the family unit. We can laugh and call them crazy, because it’s easier to believe in what is familiar and fun. But the world of emotion, sex and intimacy, is not flat! It is so much more than that – if we open our eyes, we will “see” there is a better, more rounded view. This view will heighten the adventure of our relationships, not stifle or toss them over the flat edge of reason!

In the face of these truths, will you take a dare and consider waiting for sex until marriage? (No matter your stages of life or what you have done in the past?) Don’t compound the consequences of not waiting, because you’ve already had sex outside of marriage. Each day is a new day and a fresh start. Stop before you become a statistic.

Works Cited
Alexander, Brian. “Not Just Good, But Good for You” 2009. Web. 4 May. 2010

Driscoll, Mark. “Religion Saves and Nine other Misconceptions”. Crossway Books Wheaton, Il. 2009. Print.

Fryling, Alice. “Why Wait for Sex? A Look at the Lies We Face” 1995 Leadership U. Online. 10 Feb. 2010

Gallagher, Maggie. "Unwed Motherhood Is a More Serious Problem than Teenage Pregnancy." Opposing Viewpoints: America's Youth. Ed. Roman Espejo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Corning Community College - SUNY. 26 March. 2010

Holy Bible. New International Version. 1984 International Bible Society. Print.

Lewis, Brad. “Ending the Test Drive” Focus on the Family 2002 Web. 10 Feb. 2010

Maher, Bridget, “Why Wait: The Benefits of Abstinence Until Marriage” Family Research Counsel. Online. 4/27/2010
National Abstinence Education Association. (NAEA)"Comprehensive Sex Education Is Inappropriate and Harmful." At Issue: Do Abstinence Programs Work?. Ed. Christina Fisanick. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Online. Corning Community College - SUNY. 31 Mar. 2010

“New Marriage and Divorce Statistics Released.” Barna Research Group. 31 Mar. 2008 Web. 22 Feb. 2010

“Teen motherhood: celebrity buzz belies it’s cost.(first things first)(Brief article).” Policy and Practice (Dec 2008) Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Corning Community College- SUNY 26 Mar. 2010

Trad, Paul V. "The Disturbing Consequences of Teen Pregnancy." Contemporary Issues Companion: Teen Pregnancy. Ed. Myra H. Immell. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2001. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. Corning Community College - SUNY. 26 Mar. 2010

Williams, Jimmy; and Solomon, Jerry; “Why Wait till Marriage? A critique of Contemporary Arguments for Premarital Sex.” 1994 Leadership U. Online. 27 Apr. 2010

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I'm a fun loving, people person, with a passion for ministry and the Lord. My greatest desire is to see people come to realize who they are in Christ and how that effects every area of their relationships and lives.I want to know Him more.