Love makes it okay to have sex. I’ve heard that line more times than I can count. But, no matter how good it sounds, I can’t find it anywhere in the Bible. In fact 2 Timothy 2:22 urges us to flee from youthful passions so we can pursue love instead. "So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).”
It was a Friday night and my mom and I were going to be the only family members at home, so we decided that it would be a good time to watch a chick flick. I grabbed my phone and pulled up my notes app where I had a list of movies that people had recommended. But before picking any random movie off the list, I looked up reviews about each movie to see if their content was wholesome (I’ve learned by now not to trust just any suggestion!). I read review after review and wasn’t comfortable with what I saw. I finally gave up and asked myself for what must have been the millionth time, are there any good chick flicks without a slew of sexual innuendos, dirty language, and scenes where women are portrayed as sex objects?
This month we set out on a journey to explore the rocky road of each other's life lessons. We shared the heartache, the embarrassing stories, and the things we wish we had known when we were younger. As women, we have a lot of pressures surrounding us and a lot mistakes to be made. But we also have a lot to learn from each other if we only take the time to listen.
This is one of those growing pains every women remember, getting their period for the first time. Without going into too much detail, I knew what was happening when mine first started, but I was too embarrassed to tell my mom about it. I was actually out of town and my Great Aunt (amazing woman) helped set me up with all the necessary feminine hygiene products, and after that I kept it a secret. I stored my newly acquired pads in the closet and didn’t say a word to my mom when I got home. This burned me up on the inside. I felt like I was keeping some deep dark secret, that my mom should know about.
Warm, winter light filled the little Chinese restaurant with its golden glow. As my family enjoyed their lunch, the sun wasn’t the only thing in the room beaming. I was deeply engaged in conversation with my parents about the upcoming science fair. I was in 8th grade, in love with everything science, and thrilled to be able to show off my knowledge at the school fair. The question of whether I would place in the competition wasn’t even a question in my mind. The actual question was where I would place: First? Second? Or maybe third?
I wasted so many hours striving after things that ultimately led to heartache. I spent so much time, effort, and energy on my desires, but thing after thing would fail. I wasn’t able to live a life full of joy. Instead, I was bogged down by seeking things that the I thought would bring happiness. And the truth is, what I wanted would bring me happiness--temporarily.
As an unapologetic optimist, I used to assume the best about people which made me an unfortunate judge of character. Sometimes I honestly couldn't identify fake friends from real ones. But the sarcastic words? The little insults? They were the hundred paper cuts that eventually made me bleed. I had to learn the hard way that not everyone likes Ashley. And some people never will.
I’ve always been good at being self-sufficient. If I had a problem, I’d find a way to fix it. If I were feeling sad, I would realize it was my responsibility to make sure I stopped feeling that way. Essentially, I’ve always had the logical sense to realize that nobody else could fix my problems; I knew I had to be responsible and take care of them myself. In many ways, I applied that to my relationship with God. He had good works prepared for me to do, so I’d better get my act together and get them done, right?
For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to become a wife and mother. In my mind, the ideal scenario was to start dating in late high school, get married fresh out of college, and start a family not long after. The only problem was that there was never a guy in the picture. I finished high school without dating anyone, so needless to say, things didn’t start out the way I had imagined.
I remember crying myself to sleep in high school because of a joke some boy I barely even knew had made about my weight. I was about seventeen at the time, but my struggle with the way I looked had begun much before that. I had always been a “normal-sized girl” growing up, until I hit puberty. That, plus all the junk food I consumed when I went away to boarding school, caused me to put on a lot of weight. It wasn’t until people began to notice that I realized what a large part of my identity was formed around the way I looked and even more so around the way that people saw me.