This post raises questions for me as a mom. As a former 15 year old. What if she chooses not to wait?
And I’m a pastor.
What does a pastor do with a 15-year-old girl who now has a boyfriend?
I invite him over frequently so as to keep an eye on them. But then I see too much. His hands are all over her and…oh dear… she seems to like it! ACK! That dress I thought was so cute on her this morning now seems awfully short and revealing. It also occurs to me it could be considered “easy access.”
Do they not see me?
’m on the couch across the room!
I leave them alone together as I go do housework, hoping that if they do get too comfy with one another, they know I could walk in at anytime. This seems to work well, until I remember what I did when I was a 15-year-old girl with my parents just upstairs.
Being raised in a strict Christian home, I had parents who reminded me what would happen if I had premarital sex. I witnessed the shame of those in my youth group who had chosen not to wait. Determining not to make the same mistakes, I made vows to wait. I did this not out of a love for God but out of a fear of being shunned. And although I waited on the actual act of sex, I did plenty of other things with boys unbeknownst to my parents. While they thought I was a chaste 15-year-old girl, they had no idea my 17-year-old boyfriend was sneaking in my room at night.
Once free from my parents and off on my own in college, I chose to have sex. The first time was like a weight lifting off of my shoulders because I never had to worry about protecting my virginity again. I could simply live like everyone else.
Then the guilt came.
For some reason I felt dirty. Was it because I had been told repeatedly how bad sex is? Was it because I had disappointed God? Even in marriage, I had a difficult time with intimacy. I didn’t want to discuss it, just turn off the lights and do it.
After therapy (and there was lots), I chose to raise my daughter differently. I told her what I believe is the truth about sex, that it’s a beautiful gift created by God for two people to share. God hopes these two people will do this after they have made a commitment to one another as a way of celebrating and cementing the agreements they have made together. I tell her, while sex is not bad or dirty or even something to be feared, it is something to be respected. I didn’t want her to have the same negative feelings I had to battle. I didn’t want her to have to hide.
As I sit across the room from her and the BF, I wonder if I oversold it.
What would happen if she chose not to wait? Would that be the end of the world? Would she be any different from so many? Can I trust that God would love and support her just like he did me when I didn’t wait? Would I lose people in my church who think I can’t even teach my own children the “right” way? Will there be grace for her? Will there be grace for me? Will I feel like a failure as a parent, even though I preach that we cannot be responsible for others, we can only be accountable for ourselves? Will they remember what they were like when they were 15?
The hardest part of this journey is to let others be free enough to walk their own path.
Especially when they’re 15.