"your heart is my heart"

     When I first began this blog, I knew I wanted to write about sexual purity. It's something very close to my heart and I felt compelled to share my passion for purity on this platform called the Internet. Yet, I wouldn't be honest if I told you I wasn't a little scared. I remember the night I wrote my first post on purity - Wait For Me. I pressed "publish", turned out my bedside lamp, and laid my head down on the pillow...but I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking about what I wrote... you bloggers know what I mean - sharing your heart honestly for the whole world to see is not easy, but when you feel convicted, compelled and at peace about sharing your life and heart with others - then you just jump in and do it. I remember lying in my bed that night thinking. I would be lying if I told you I didn't get up at one point, turn on the light, open my computer and almost pressed "delete" on the purity post. But I didn't....I couldn't. I knew the Lord wanted me to share my story and heart... and I knew He wanted me to do it bravely as I trusted in Him. I knew He wanted me to be willing to stand alone. To be faithful to the commitment I made and to fearlessly stand up and speak what I believed...because maybe...maybe someone else would be encouraged by it, and maybe I wouldn't be alone after all.
       But I was a little scared. Sure, some close friends of mine have made the same commitment, I'd read several books on the topic, and been mentored by multiple Christian leaders who had modeled the fight for purity. Yet, I wondered - what if no one agrees with me here on the Internet? What if I'm really one of the only ones? But I did it anyway. Because, at the end of the day - I don't care what people think - I only care what God thinks. Yet, I still wondered. Wondered if I'd be standing completely alone.

       As a 13 year old girl I made a life-changing choice to save sex for marriage and to live a set-apart life. To wait and pray for my future husband (whoever he may be) and to strive to live a life of purity. I knew at the time I was choosing a path less-traveled, a narrow path: a path I may walk almost-alone. Even though I was a young girl with little life experience, I understood that choosing purity meant saying "no" to the things people my age indulged in, I knew it meant doing hard things instead of taking the easy way out, I knew it meant a possibly long wait for God's perfect timing, and I knew it wouldn't always be fun. I knew I may feel alone in my choice at times. But I also knew - the Lord would be with me and in the end, it would be best. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." - Matthew 5:8

       When someone makes a choice - to stand alone and go against the flow, it requires bravery and fearlessness. It's been 12 years since I chose this narrow path - it's not the easiest way, the most famous way, or the most fun. But it is best and it is worth it. And though there have certainly been times through this journey when I felt alone - those times are far outweighed by knowing I am not alone. 
      I pressed "publish" on the purity post that night standing strong in Christ and linking arms with just a few close friends who shared my beliefs. But since that day I began writing openly on this blog about purity, I have been absolutely overwhelmed with the sheer volume of people who share my same convictions. I cannot even tell you the number of times I've sat by the light of my laptop screen as I wipe tears from my eyes - moved by story upon story - "Amen's" shouted, God-written love stories shared, young brides telling me: "Girl, it's SO WORTH THE WAIT", couples who have waited or did not wait and wish they did - who encourage me to keep on keeping on. Mothers who teach these truths to their children, teenage girls who are thankful to know they are not alone, guys who are faithfully waiting for their future wives in a culture that tears true manhood down. It's been about 9 months since I began this blog and wrote candidly about purity, and I've been blown away and encouraged by the many people who came alongside me, took my hand, and told me - "you are not alone."

And friend - I want you to know this too: you are not alone.
    Hundreds of e-mails, comments, messages, tweets, and conversations later - I am nothing short of encouraged. And grateful for the incredible people who have gone before me, share the same heart, and are incredible examples of those who fight in the "trenches" for a pure life. And though on a much smaller scale, I believe this is a tiny piece of what Heaven will someday feel like. When the weight of traveling singularly falls off our shoulders and we are surrounded by millions of souls who refused to deny Jesus Christ - people of every race, tongue, country, generation, and from every decade - joining hands and standing together, basking in the joy of promises fulfilled and waiting culminated in beautiful peace.

   Earlier this week, a precious woman I'd never before met who blogs at Simply Beautiful shared this comment on my "Purity and Waiting" post and it simply took my breath away. I asked her permission to share it with you today - her words and testimony encouraged me, inspired me, and made me smile. Thank you, Leanne, for shining so brightly and sharing your amazing story - you reminded me that I am not alone. May her story encourage you too - 

 Friend, my message to you today is this: 

if you are striving to pursue a pure life, you are not alone.

 // if you're a single person who is saving sex for marriage 
//if you are praying and waiting for your future spouse, wondering if it's all for nothing.
// if you are married and fighting to maintain faithfulness to your spouse.
//if you're a parent trying to teach your children the value of sexual purity.
// if you've made lots of mistakes and given away your virginity - it's not too late.
// if you struggle with keeping your heart and mind pure in a dirty world.


   This world will tell you that you are most definitely alone. But be careful who you listen to, dear one. The media will scream at you, "you are alone and crazy for choosing purity!" and it's message is shouted through songs, TV shows, magazine covers, and movie scenes. People around you may whisper words that tear you down. But do not listen to them - our Enemy desires to destroy our purity, to keep us from being close to God, to distract us from seeing Him, from being like Him, and from living the beautiful, pure life He gives. Stay strong, my love - don't believe those who tear you down, don't buy into the lies that say you must go with the flow and sell yourself short, treating sex like it's meaningless. Sex is precious - and should be treated with respect, because purity is a priceless gift.

      May you be encouraged and inspired today  - to keep running toward a lifestyle of purity, to keep waiting and saving sex for the beautiful joy it is in marriage, to protect purity in marriage and to trust Jesus with your purity. No one is perfect and we all fail often. But in His grace, we can safely rest and trust - knowing His timing is perfect and that if we do not have something we want, it is because it is not good for us - for He withholds no good thing from those who walk in integrity (Psalm 84:11.) 

You are not alone.
Not only is God on your side,
 but thousands of other young people are standing right here with you.
I know... I've met lots of 'em. 
And man, are they amazing.
May you be inspired and your hope in the beauty of purity freshly renewed today.
And may you hold fast to Jesus - 
who lifts sinners when we fall, redeems our failings, 
gives us everything we need at the perfect time.

Trust Him.
He won't let you down... or me... or any of the many, many precious souls who stand with us.

I am thankful today. 
Because I asked God for the strength to be fearless and press "publish."
Because He graciously gave it to me.
And because I am NOT alone.

 As beloved Anne of Green Gables used to say,
 "Kindred spirits are not as rare as one may think." 
I'm thankful tonight for you many, many kindred spirits. 

Love to you - 
and strength, grace, and fearlessness.