By Willow Sanders, Director of Student Services
Last weekend I attended the wedding of a young lady I used to mentor. It was something I’d seen happen many times in my decade of ministry. Young people fall in love, they get married but this one was different.
Stuck in my head was the unique devotion and downright commitment to not compromising no matter how hard the fight was to do so. Now, that doesn’t mean things were perfect for them, I can say in almost assured confidence they were not. You’d never have been able to tell if the ceremony and reception were the standard. It was beautiful. Flawless. Inspiring. Tears flowed of course. Tears for them. Tears for the past forever closed. Tears for their future bright ahead of them. Tears for the dozens and dozens I wished could have taken a peek inside to hear the vows spoken. Tears for the “it” I soon heard God reveal to me.
Let me explain…
Two days after the event I was driving to work and heard the Lord speak. Really more of an idea, that’s just how it goes between us.
Young people often get the misunderstood message that saving sex for marriage releases some ‘happily ever after’ vapor into the atmosphere. The honeymoon will be great, the arguments will be few and life will just be pretty near perfect from here on out. Not so much the case many find out and often say they felt like somebody left a few things out.
He reminded me of the many times I’ve spoken on the topic of saving sex for marriage. How it is such a hard concept for our young people to grasp these days. They’ve seen many examples of marriage but not all shining examples. Some come from homes where marriage was never represented only something to dream of. Some lived in homes where the example was there but nothing they planned to take part in. Ever. You add to that culture’s biased view on the effectiveness and weight of the marriage union and it’s a recipe for disaster.
Students, often intrigued by our message of marriage being the goal of carefully pursuing a set apart lifestyle, can miss the point. They strive to keep the standards God (and we as educators) lays out for them but often arrive disillusioned that all that saving didn’t make things perfect. He wasn’t promising perfect, He was promising protected. This is what God began to unravel for me.
I was struck by a picture I had seen of the happy couple…and BOY were they happy! Smiles as wide as a river! Just cheesin’!!
As stated above, their road wasn’t easy to each other and then once they committed their path, to their future. There were temptations and sacrifice and decisions to be made along the way. It took dedication in their walk to live a pure lifestyle before their family, friends and their God. And there “it” was. That was the “IT” factor. Captured in one picture. The JOY of knowing they had made it. No matter their past choices. No matter the strength to live a life set apart sexually.
The journey we each take to the altar (if that is what God leads us to) will be varied. It’ll have chapters of varying stories, each special to God, you, and the ‘whom your soul loves’. The importance we put on the choice to be set apart for purposes greater than ourselves is life changing. And lest you think I forgot, if God never calls you to marriage, God will STILL give you those big cheesy smile moments knowing you honored Him above all else!! “I DO” mean it!
Here’s the happy couple after saying their “I Do’s”.