By Erin McNew | Guest Blogger
When I was thirteen, I decided to be chaste. But it never stopped there. Because it begins again every day. I wake up and make that decision anew every day. Because every day it means something different to me. Every day it gets harder. Every day that decision expands as I add an increasing amount of knowledge concerning life, love, human sexuality, redemption, desire, faith, etc. into the mix.
When I was thirteen, chastity was like living a fairy tale. But it isn’t anymore. It’s living a life with someone who has yet to enter my life constantly on my mind. And I’ve never for a moment regretted it. It isn’t my identity, it’s the way through which I express my love and appreciation and respect for someone who I am yet to know. It doesn’t mean that I am in any way superior to someone who isn’t chaste. It just means that I made a choice and have chosen to stand by it as I go through life.
When I was thirteen, I chose to be chaste least of all for myself. And now, as I’m twenty, I continue to make that choice least of all for myself. I make it for God that I might become the person He’s calling me to be. And I make it for my husband that I might preserve the best of my existence to be bound to him in spirit and in body.
When I was thirteen, I didn’t consider the awkwardness of my wedding night. And I still don’t. Because the goal of chastity is not to ensure good sex. It’s to ensure a pure heart.
When I was thirteen, I didn’t know the man I was going to marry. But now, after writing nearly eighty letters to him over the period of two and a half years, I do in some ways. He doesn’t yet have a face. And he doesn’t yet have a name. But he does have a heart. And it’s a heart whose place is now reserved in my own. It’s that heart that swells inside of me in the face of temptation. It’s that heart that whispers to me in the aftermath of rejection. It’s that heart that keeps me laughing in times of awkwardness. And it’s that heart that helps foster forgiveness in the presence of my own mistakes or the face of other’s.
When I was thirteen, I dreamt of marrying a chaste man. But now I dream of marrying a man whose qualities are not necessarily limited to and do not necessarily include that particular feature. Because I learned the concept of a dynamic and forgiving love. A love with imperfections. And a love that may not have known what it would one day grow to encompass. I know that a person’s past does not always define their future much less their ability to love another. I know that all people deserve the best of my love. And that one day I’ll be deserving of the best of another’s love.
When I was thirteen, I was provided Biblical evidence to prove the validity of chaste living. But I’ve come to believe that the Bible isn’t always enough to keep me going in the right direction, nor is church. Because God’s story is still being written. His miracles are still abound. His Son’s sacrifice still stands. And His church isn’t limited to a building. Sermons are present in our everyday lives. They may not always be spoken by a priest. They may not be spoken at all. But God is spreading lessons of love throughout our existence.
“She holds onto hope for he is forever faithful.” – 1 Corinthians 1:9
P.S. You are enough.