A year in review: Across My Heart is bringing clarity to purity

PC: On the Heights Photography

Purity… what does it mean? Why is it important? And why does God care? There is a lot of confusion surrounding the word.

Many see it as old-fashioned, oppressive, or even “cringy”. The word elicits feelings of shame and anger toward Evangelical churches that explained sexual purity poorly.

So how do we define such a hot button topic? We believe that “purity” means passionately pursuing the heart of God with our whole lives (sexuality included).

Over the past eight years, each one of us have dedicated our free time to exploring what that means. And just last year our ministry was infused with new branding, new team members and a renewed passion to bring clarity to what the Bible actually says about purity! We read. We write. And we speak to anyone who will listen. We don’t get paid. We don’t get praise. And it definitely doesn’t make sense to the culture in which we work and live. Yet we recognize the importance of equipping girls to live holistically pure and holy lives. Why? Because we believe God’s ways are the BEST ways to live and that loving Him means living for Him. 

Why do we use the word purity?

We value purity because God values purity.

“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 in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God. . . . For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life” 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5, 7

When we were still in high school, we realized a lot of purity ministries were missing the mark. They were equating purity with abstinence. They were making purity about rules instead of a relational dynamic with the living God. Instead of focusing on helping women cultivate a pure heart, the church emphasized the physical markers that are easy to see.  Sex before marriage is wrong.  Make a commitment to save yourself for marriage.  Slip a purity ring on. This will help you to have successful relationships.

While abstinence before marriage is absolutely biblical, purity isn’t just about the physical aspect. It’s about the redeeming love of God that cleanses all aspects of our lives so we can be made whole. And we aspire to show young women that larger biblical narrative of purity.

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

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Purity is for everyone

It would be my hope that our teaching would never be insensitive to the realities of this broken world, that we would make room for the single woman trying to understand how she can express her sexuality, the homosexual who doesn’t know what to do with their same-sex attraction, the wounded girl at our purity retreats who was a victim of sexual assault, and the teenager who regrets sleeping with her boyfriend who said he loved her. The message of sexual purity is for them just as much as it is for the virgin because purity isn’t just about abstinence. That belittles the overarching message of God’s purifying love for all sinners. And it belittles the sexual struggles of pornography, poor body image, homosexuality, and lust among other things. Honoring God with our bodies is about every sexual issue we face, not just saving sex for marriage.

God doesn’t just want us to passionately pursue abstinence. He never asks us to chase after goodness for goodness sake. So what does He want? He wants us to passionately pursue Him as the lover of our souls and the love of our lives. When we love Him, we will want to live as He designed.

After all, what is the greatest commandment?

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27).

Holistic purity is a reckless abandonment of selfish pleasure for the sake of something greater – God’s heart

He pursues our hearts. And we pursue His.

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Victories this past year

3 new team members: Emmarie, Alyssa, and Kaela for a total of 7 amazing women who we are so blessed to work with

90 new blog posts for young women to read on our website

11,706 total views on our blog and 5,859 unique visits

Hosted a successful fundraiser that turned into a powerful night of worship.

Attended Sexual Theology Training with Dannah Gresh’s Pure Freedom Ministries

Designed t-shirts and sweatshirts you can purchase to support the ministry

Spoke at Res Life Church One Hearth Youth Conference on the topic: Simple Purity

Led a Bible study group through “Confessions of a Boy Crazy Girl” by Paula Hendricks

Developed High School Curriculum on the physical, relational, mental, emotional aspects of our sexuality

Scored new head shots and some photo shoot fun with On the Heights Photography

Spoke at the Born to Be Women’s Conference on the topic: Pure Purpose

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A look back at our blog series

Got some reading to catch up on? Check out one of our blog series below:

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The Fantasies and Fairytales Series takes you into the heart of every girl’s imagination… the fairytale! From the time we were little, we’ve been taught to dream big, wish upon the star, and just keep believing. But what does God’s Word have to say about the fairytale messages we’ve been receiving?

Popular Posts from the series:
Can I have this dance? Feeling loved and delighted in the presence of the Lord
Happily ever after… will there be marriage in heaven?

AMH FB GRAPHICS (1)

Summer is a good time to slow down, soak up the sun and soak in the truth of God’s Word. This summer, our blog series was more devotional in nature, inviting women into our quiet time and diving into portions of scripture together!! So grab your Bible and read along.

Popular Posts from the series:
When Life Gets You Down John 16:33
The Power of a Positive Word – Proverbs 18:21

AMH FB GRAPHICS

Curious to learn more about our sexuality and why God calls it holy? Our May blog series launched a new conversation on the blog. And it was all about God’s good design for sex.
We covered objectification, temptation, and God’s holistic design for purity.

Popular Posts from the series:
Guilt, Shame, and Jesus: A letter to those who have lost their virginity
More than abstinence
Why sex with your boyfriend isn’t love

29683596_10211412236722143_6382531879573803579_nGrowing up isn’t easy. Sometimes lessons are learned the hard way. The AMH team shared some of those life lessons in our April blog series – Growing Pains. We believe following Jesus is the BEST WAY to live… but sometimes it’s hard to know how. Follow along with us on the journey!

Popular Posts from the series:
Not everybody wants to be my friend
Love at first sight? More like no love within sight

lies we believed

This March things got real. Satan’s lies are everywhere and we called them out one by one, shedding the light of God’s truth on our lives! Inspired by the book Lies Young Women Believe, each of us shared a lie that we’ve believed. We hope this blog series opened women’s eyes to God’s truth in a murky world and encouraged them to passionately pursue the heart of God!

Popular Posts from the series:
Everyone says I’m a good girl
People don’t like me

love

We live in a culture obsessed with love and romance, but what are the priorities of our heart? Is true love really about chocolates and roses, or does true love look more like Jesus? Loving the unlovable. Balancing truth & love. Speaking different love languages. Those were just some of the things we talked about in our February blog series: Putting Love in Its Place.

Popular Posts from the series:
Love, respect, and guy friends: one single’s perspective
Speaking different love languages? A life lesson from total opposites

wordtolive

The AMH Team challenged you to ask God for a word for the New Year, a word that would resonate with you in quiet moments of reflection, challenge you to think in a different way, and even show up throughout your scripture readings and tie into your daily encounters.

What else? Listen to videos on youtube

Alyssa challenges us to rethink how we speak.

This summer, our director, Ashley, shares how she learned about her personal limitations and the power of God’s greatness.

Amber encourages us to keep an eternal perspective even when this life gets you down.

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