A Letter to a High School Girl
Dear High School Girl,
You don’t know me, but I know you. It was nine years ago that I too grappled with the decisions you are facing: Boys. Sex. How far is too far? Should God get a say in what you do with your body? Will the decisions you make about boys and sex in high school affect your future? I want you to know that what you do with your body will stay with you even into marriage. It’s never just physical, and compromising with one guy ensures easier compromise with the next. But you’ve probably heard all of this before, right? Today, I simply want to ask you to listen to a simple story about my life to offer some perspective. Perspective, I hope, changes your life.
I’m on Kiawah island with my husband’s family. I sat on a picturesque beach yesterday morning and my body shivered as I remembered sitting on the exact same beach 9 years ago. I made a monumental decision that summer when I came to Kiawah Island with my friends. I was 17 years old.
We were out for adventure–which as you can imagine included drinking and boys–and one night we met a group of “super hot” guys on the beach (or maybe at the liquor store, I can’t remember). I’d never received a ton of attention from capital H Hot guys, but that night a boy named Pete seemed interested. He flirted with me, let me take a sip from his red solo cup (don’t EVER do this), and even told me I was ‘gorgeous’. I was over the moon with excitement.
After we’d had our fill of the beach, we hopped in SUV’s and headed to a house on the island. One of the guys we just met was painting the interior of the house and gave his cherished keys to a friend to ‘get the party started’. The house was perched right above the beach and enormous oak trees draped in Spanish Moss hung over the long driveway. “This is going to kick ass”, I whispered to my friend, the word ‘ass’ sounding strange exiting my mouth. I was desperate for acceptance.
Pete was in another car and I anxiously re-applied lip gloss and tugged at my frayed jean skirt wondering if he’d find someone else. The music blared and a group was doing shots at the oversized island in the kitchen. We were greeted warmly, drinks thrust in our hands, and so the night continued. I eyed Pete convinced he would pursue the tall blonde or the petite cheerleader that yelled, “I love this song” at the beginning of every new tune and promptly forget my existence. But he stayed next to me and asked me questions about college next year, my parents, sports, and then stated, “You aren’t going to tell me about some boyfriend and break my heart, are you?” I sheepishly laughed and responded, “Nah, I don’t want to be tied down in college” (a popular thing to say at the time). He smiled and his grey blue eyes seemed to make my heart want to leap from my chest.
As Pete got me more and more drinks, my inhibitions slowly went out the oak door we entered the party through just hours earlier. He kissed me. He told me I was beautiful. And then we were alone and he wanted to sleep with me. I was a virgin and had made a commitment to save sex for my husband. But Pete was Hot, charming, and after all does it really matter if I experiment with one guy I’ll never see again? No one will ever know and I don’t want to be the ‘good girl’ forever. What happens in Kiawah stays in Kiawah, right? Couldn’t I just throw my cares to the wind and the intimacy would stay in that bedroom—never to be discussed again? Do I really want to go to college a virgin? What’s the big deal?!
In the dark room, my head spinning from the Bacardi shots, I made the decision. I had a relationship with God and believe He spoke for me at that moment, “Pete, I’m sorry, but I’m going to leave now. I don’t want to do anything I’ll regret in the morning.” The darkness assuredly hid his dropped jaw, and I slid on my shoes and left the room. As I crawled in bed later that night, I honestly wasn’t sure I’d made the right decision.
I could never have known the trajectory that one decision would have on my life—but I do know now. It’s never just one person, one night, one moment to be forgotten. The decisions you make sexually will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Last week, I celebrated one year of marriage with my husband. We’re here in Kiawah, the same beach from nine years ago, with his family. I can’t help but think back to that summer. 9 years ago. One decision.
I’ve not spent this week running from memories of my past, but instead growing in love with my husband. I can’t imagine the pain of walking the same beach I was if I’d chosen to lose my virginity here. If I’d believed the lie that sex is just physical and followed the mantra, “What happens in (Kaiwah) stays in (Kiawah). My decision to wait prepared me for a lifetime of intimacy with my wonderful husband—and I’ve never looked back and wished I’d experimented more.
Dear sister, what will your decision be? I do hope you choose purity. One day in your husband’s embrace will think back to how different your life might have been if you’d chosen a different path. For purity always paves the way for intimacy.
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