29 September 2006

The Lord's Mercy

22 Through the LORD's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I hope in Him!"
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear
The yoke in his youth.
28 Let him sit alone and keep silent,
Because God has laid it on him;
29 Let him put his mouth in the dust --
There may yet be hope.
30 Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes him,
And be full of reproach.
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever.
32 Though He causes grief,
Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies.
33 For He does not afflict willingly,
Nor grieve the children of men.
(Lamentations 3:22-33)


This morning the Lord burdened me to pray for an acquaintance I have not seen in years (since my freshman year of high school). I had recently heard news that she was pregnant (out of wedlock) and living with her parents again. The news grieved me, but sadly enough, did not surprise me. As I prayed for her, I began thinking of other high school friends and acquaintances that had given away their virginity (and most of them got pregnant as a result).

None of them lead really great lives now. One had a shot-gun wedding and was disowned by her family. She originally had plans to be a missionary, but now lives in obscurity with her husband (many years her senior) and has baby #2 on the way. I haven't heard from her since we graduated from high school. Another isn't pregnant (probably will be), but she leads a very sad life with cigarettes and alcohol as constant companions.

It grieves me no end to think about these young women who had so much potential and threw it all to the wind by compromising their purity. Every time I think of them, I feel as though someone has kicked me in the stomach. Piece by piece, they gave themselves away.

What is so humbling is that could have been me, but the Lord has been faithful to hedge me in and protect me -- simply because He wishes to use me for His glory (1 Corinthians 15:10, Ephesians 2:8-9). The thought brought me to tears this morning as I marveled at God's goodness. Every step of my journey I have seen His hand guiding me, but it can also be a lonely road.

Last week, Danielle and I were having one of our many discussions that lead to dating, guy/girl relationships, and personal purity.

"I'm saving my first kiss for the altar," I said. Danielle's jaw dropped to the floor.

"Whoa... how... what... I could never do that," Danielle stuttered as she tried to regain her composure. She was utterly flabbergasted and stared at me with the deer-in-the-headlights look as we walked down the hall to our different classes.

"I know it sounds old-fashioned and Puritanical, but I really want to save that first kiss for my husband on our wedding day," I explained. Danielle continued to stare.

"That's kind of sad that we think it such a novel idea," said Daniel, her boyfriend.


"That takes a lot of self-control," said Danielle.

"Yeah," I sighed. Truth be told, I don't have the self-control. If I tried by my own will-power, I would miserably fail, but I pray daily that the Lord would guard my eyes, my heart, my mind, my lips -- everything. I don't have self-control, I have God-control and a passionate commitment to my future husband. I want to be faithful to him before we're ever married.


Purity is not something you gain by becoming a nun (or a monk), locking yourself in a room, beating yourself silly in attempt to purge your mind. Purity is a state of heart and something that must be constantly sought. It is a minute-by-minute commitment to God to present your body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).


One of my favorite verses, Psalm 138:8, brings me great comfort...


The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.


I am convinced the Lord will not forsake me, the work of His hands, and He will continue to refine me to present me as a spotless bride to my Beloved, Jesus Christ.

15 Comments:

At 29 September, 2006 10:21, Blogger Barbara said...

Okay, I confess. I was wiping tears from my eyes as I read this.

 
At 29 September, 2006 13:45, Blogger Carey said...

Why am I not surprised? Sorry, Mama. I always succeed in making you laugh or cry (I prefer to make you laugh).

 
At 29 September, 2006 16:03, Blogger ~*Joyzey*~ said...

Yep, saving that first kiss. But I'm doing it even more than just for my husband, I know that if I start, even with just a kiss, that I will never stop! So best only start with someone I know it will be fine to never stop with.

 
At 29 September, 2006 18:55, Blogger Antonio said...

You are going to have such a great marriage. Your husband will be the luckiest man on the face of the planet. I plan to raise my daughter with the virtues you hold dear.

Surely God is to be thanked for your passion.

But, don't be so humble. Sanctification is a co-operation between God and man. God supplies the power, promises, Spirit, etc. You must actively appropriate the grace and reckon yourself dead unto sin. You must continually present your members as instruments of unrighteousness.

God be blessed, but you be blessed as well.

If the friends you speak about were Christians, what was the difference between you and them?

Not more faithfulness toward you from God!

The same power, promises, Spirit, and grace was available to them!

The difference was your faithfulness to God!

This testimony of yours was beautiful! I am going to link to it on one of my blogs:

http://unashamedofgrace.blogspot.com

I am touched!

As Matthew C. says,

Every blessing in Christ,

Antonio da Rosa

 
At 29 September, 2006 20:00, Blogger Redeemed said...

Praise God for virteous women as you, Carey. I agree with Antonio, the Lord will bless your marriage. Amen, and Amen, thanks for sharing this!

God will bless richly, Carey!!

 
At 30 September, 2006 04:59, Blogger Carey said...

Wow, thanks Antonio. I am so glad that served as a blessing for you and am absolutely thrilled to hear you plan to raise your daughter that way! She will thank you when she is older.

Sarah, thanks. *blushes* I want the Lord to use my marriage for His glory.

 
At 30 September, 2006 10:54, Blogger Antonio said...

oops,

it should have read "present your members as instruments of righteousness"

 
At 30 September, 2006 15:49, Blogger H K Flynn said...

Hey Carey,

Thanks for sharing your testimony that so honors God's work in your life. I'm going to have my teenage girls read what you wrote yesterday...

Beaautiful truth and beautifully honest :)

God bless you :)

 
At 30 September, 2006 18:14, Blogger Carey said...

Thanks y'all (as we say in Texas)! I also wrote a post on another blog back in March...

Wait for Me

 
At 01 October, 2006 13:10, Blogger Hannah Beth said...

I'm glad you're saving your kisses, Carey. A point that I think is worthwhile to make is that it's not just physical purity that matters. I've heard several girls say, "I'm saving my kiss for the altar," but purity doesn't start there. True purity begins with the heart, and includes both physical and emotional purity. Emotional purity--where the heart is saved to be given to one's husband on the wedding day--is a lot more difficult for girls to maintain, I think, because we are such emotional creatures. We give the most precious gift--our hearts--to guys when they have no right to our affections.

 
At 02 October, 2006 05:45, Blogger Carey said...

You're right, Han, true purity does start with the heart. Our primary goal should always be to seek Christ and place our affections in Him.

But I do not know if "emotional purity" is attainable. An admirable goal, yes, but I personally think that is going a little overboard. No one can go through life and be "emotionally pure." That is something we have to struggle with daily and will frequently fail at.

Baseline is: seeking the Lord needs to be priority #1 - everything else will fall into place, mistakes and all.

 
At 03 October, 2006 07:15, Anonymous shieryl said...

I am glad to hear that you are seeking after purity. May you be a light to the women around you, and may God guard your heart and your mind. Amen.

 
At 04 October, 2006 06:40, Blogger Carey said...

Thanks, Shieryl.

 
At 09 October, 2006 15:25, Blogger Tim said...

Just curious: why do you think should kisses be reserved for marriage?

A kiss, as far as I can tell from the biblical and personal observations and experience, is a very potent expression of affection, but by no means is it limited to married couples. In some cultures, a kiss is as common as a handshake or a hug is in ours, and used to express much the same things.

A kiss has various shades of meaning, but I think universally it means "I love you." In practice, "I love you" means as many different things as a kiss. The question is, should it?

When a man says to a woman (or vice-versa) "I love you" I think it takes on a meaning unique to their relationship, and their use of those words. If it's just something that they say each to the other without feeling in stead of "goodbye" when hanging up the phone, then that's what it means: a mostly empty expression of generic affection. When we use words to mean anything we want, they come to mean nothing: just like the F-word means almost nothing to those who use it too much.

What I want to mean when I say "I love you" is charged with very specific meaning. I do not use those words casually, and so I do not use them early in a relationship, until that relationoship has come to the level of what I want to mean when I say those words. As a result, the words "I love you" convey a much more powerful, much more specific meaning forever: hearing them conjures up the true mature depth of the relationship, in stead of just something nice you're supposed to say to make the soundtrack music swell.

When Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, it was known by both parties to be the worst kind of falsehood, and it must have broken Jesus' heart to know that Judas didn't care.

A kiss can be a lie in the same way that "I love you" can be a lie, and for excactly the same reasons. Too often, I think, it is a lie that we use to deceive ourselves: hoping that if we make a profession of love in a physical way, that the love will magically materialize. Just because people use kisses in so many ways doesn't mean that they should. I think that the nature of a romantic kiss is such that it should not be done casually: it is a very efficient transfer of pheremones, and as such carries with it an element of physical attachment: it stimulates hormonal reactions that encourage feelings of intimacy.

Unlike an expression of words, a romantic kiss cannot take upon itself a casual nature: its meaning has been defined for us by the emotional reactions that it facilitates.

My question then is: is a romantic kiss, by its very nature, something that should not be done before marriage?

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this question. The principles of Christianity lead me to flee temptation, and therefore obviously if I know that kissing will be a slippery slope into temptation to sin (including lust), I should not do it. Christianity is not about rules, though, it's about freedom, and we should not be governed by the weaknesses of others.

At this point, I am not ready to make the blanket statement that there can be no chaste kisses before the wedding day. For myself, "I love you" means all the same things as "I want to be married to you" and so does a romantic kiss.

I'm interested to hear what others think about this.

 
At 09 October, 2006 17:58, Blogger Carey said...

I don't think kissing before you're married is evil or a sin, but like you said, if over-used it becomes meaningless. My reason for saving my first kiss for the altar was to make it more special and less "cheap." I'd want to share kisses with a man who wouldn't take them for granted. My kisses come at a price of commitment. Really, for me it's a matter of personal preference. I'm not going to be legalistic about it.

 

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