I believe we need to bring loving and faithful accountability back into the church. And it starts with ourselves. It starts with being willing to take a step of vulnerability towards the members of our church family instead of away. And I will be the first to admit I am not good at being vulnerable. It’s something that does not come naturally to me, and I find it hard and painful. But in addition to being those things, it is also necessary for healing, reconciliation, and sanctification.
I’ve heard so many speakers designed to hype me up about who I am and how that should draw me close to God as a result. You’re a princess, they’ll say. You’re a queen; God made you perfect; He made you beautiful, and so on. That’s all well and good until suddenly…I’m faced with my own sin and struggles. Sure, God did make me beautiful. He did make me perfect…but then I was born into sin, and I let “ugly” things in (Psalm 51:5). So a clichéd phrase about my being flawless does not help me when I look in the mirror, or when I’ve disappointed a friend who comes to me with hurt feelings from an unhealthy moment I didn’t speak from a place of love.
Lucy’s is just one of many stories author Abigail Shrier tells in her book Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters. Although not a Christian book, Shrier analyzes a problem facing a segment of our population Across My Heart Ministries cares deeply about: teenage girls. In her book, she unpacks the gender identity crisis seizing today’s adolescent girls like a viral contagion. For this reason, I read the book, and I am so glad I did!
As a single woman, though I’ve been passionate about the topics of sexuality and purity, I’ve had a hard time understanding where I fit in the puzzle. The church is so good at telling single Christians “no, don’t do that” and “wait.” At times it’s felt like I was in a holding area until meeting my future husband and starting our lives together. Through reading this book, I felt like my passions were reignited.
Intimacy in marriage reflects a powerful truth of the gospel - that we are fully known by God, yet deeply loved. Just as the woman caught in adultery in John 7 stands before the Savior fully exposed yet not condemned, each one of His daughters stands before God, fully known but free.
In her book, Love Thy Body, Nancy Pearcey argues that the Bible has a positive sexual ethic because all throughout the Bible, the body is treated as a good part of God's creation.
Modesty is a hot topic! No one wants to be told what they can and cannot wear. As a ministry that tackles these tough topics, believe me, we know. But the seductive, tight-fitting clothes aren’t the true problem. It’s the heart behind them, the heart that says to God... “I don’t care what you have to say about my body.” But God does care. He wants what is best for us in all areas of life.... even our wardrobe. And modesty is about so much more than the outfits hanging in our closet. In the book “What’s Up with the Fig Leaves?”, Heather Thieneman uncovers the purposes and practices of modesty. I read the book this summer, and it answered so many questions that I, frankly, didn't know how to address. Rather than asking what to wear and where to draw the “hemlines”, she challenges us to consider why we wear the clothes that we do.
Sitting in the church pew, Mo admits that she looked every part “good girl”. She wasn’t trying to lose her virginity before prom night like so many of her classmates. She didn’t even feel the need to have a boyfriend. No. She admits that it all felt beneath her. Like a judgmental prude in her ivory tower, she pompously promoted abstinence knowing she still had her own virginity vow intact. But her self-righteousness lacked the humble reverence for God’s ways. And it didn’t take long for her heart to shatter under the weight of her pride.
From front to back, the authors are candidly honest yet gracefully tactful about the details of their own sexual sin. If there is one thing you’ll get form this book, it’s that you are not alone. We all sin. We all have sexual struggles. And we all have the same solution - Jesus Christ. Written for older teens and college girls, this book includes practical resources for the Christian woman who wants to reclaim purity in her life.
How are we supposed to know we aren’t messing up God’s plan for our lives? How are we supposed to know this is the right person to date or marry? How are we supposed to know this is the right college to attend? Since we are searching for God’s will, we get caught up in an endless cycle of anxiety and indecision because we don’t want to mess up God’s plan. As a result, we sit and wait, hoping that God will show up and do something for us.