I was given a purity ring at the age of 12. I was told that I should keep it and someday I would be given a talk about what it meant. So I stuffed it away in my jewelry drawer until four years later, when-without having had that promised talk yet- I found out what it meant.
Unfortunately, modern culture is bathed in sensuous entertainment and fashion, and as my childhood years were left in the dust, I began realizing that the world I was living in was becoming increasingly obsessed with looking and feeling “sexy.” It was at this point I realized what purity was all about and why a ring symbolized it.
I immediately dug up my purity ring and wore it religiously. For several years, anyway.
The ring meant something to me. Something more than a flashy piece of expensive metal. Though I was never told directly what I was wearing it for, the influence of my Christian circles educated me well. I lost count of the bible studies I was involved in on waiting for the right person, or how we must first be content with God before He could give us a mate. We got it. We were supposed to wait. It was a lesson pounded into the heads of many church girls my age. The church did an excellent job of making it clear to young women that waiting was the best thing we could do before God. And I wholeheartedly agreed.
But there was one thing that never really hit me until I turned 21, which was the year I removed my ring from my finger.
By age 21 I had already been through three relationships, been engaged, and had the engagement fall through on me. I had seen a fair glimpse of why I must wait and remain pure. And at this point, I was still waiting. And waiting and waiting. Still waiting on God. Still trying to do as I was taught: be content enough in my singleness to honor the pledge I had made in waiting on God for a spouse. But within the past few months, my view of waiting became stale. I felt as though I was waiting on a God who wasn’t going to provide. I was confused. After all, I was always told that if I was content and patient in purity that God would provide!
But then a huge thought crossed my mind: what am I really waiting for?
The thought nearly sent me into a tailspin. All my life I had been taught that I must wait on God in abstinence to remain pure, to keep my virginity, to keep my body covered, to hold in the beauty of what makes a woman a woman, and when God does grant me a spouse, I can finally give all of that to him on our wedding night.
But this view of waiting was destroying my view of God in my singleness.
I’m certain that my Christian leaders and peers didn’t mean to send this message, but in telling me these things, I was focusing on holding back myself so I could ultimately give those gifts to a husband. It never even crossed my mind that I could simply turn those things over to God. Instead, I was taught to work hard to hold on and wait for God to give me the thumbs-up. The result was me seeing a husband as the ultimate goal, seeing myself as the one who determined what God decided, and wearing an accessory to let the whole world know it. And this is the farthest thing from the truth.
Looking back, I sincerely wish someone would have taken the time to tell me over and over again that Christ was the goal, and that falling in love with Him was more important than anything else. True, learning to remain pure is so very important! Every girl needs to be educated on that, but I believe that we need to see purity from a different angle than just waiting. I think we need to see waiting from a different angle than just waiting.
I’m turning 22 in a few days. My finger does not bear the purity ring it once did. Does this mean I’m tossing aside the idea of simple morality and remaining pure for my future spouse? Certainly not! Everyone has a different reason for wearing these kinds of “waiting” rings.
But I have decided to stop waiting.
All of the intricate beauty God has designed in me as a woman will someday be available to the man who takes my hand in his, but until then, I want God to hold on to it. All of it.
My destiny as a daughter of the King is certain, but only He knows the clear outcome of the events in my life. And as I abandon my own attempts at waiting, and all my outward displays of it, I surrender all of who I am as a person, as a woman, and as His child to be fully pure in the timing God has planned, and not in what I can accomplish by focusing on the goal of the wait itself.
As I begin my 22nd year of life, I am no longer waiting. I am starting over by learning to fall head-over-heels in love with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! And to all of the beautiful women of God reading this, I want the same for you. Remember that -no matter what- the love of your life already has your heart. Don’t wait for a goal, fall in love and live in purity with Christ right now. He will take care of the rest.
Luke 1:38a (Phillips)
“I belong to the Lord, body and soul,” replied Mary, “let it happen as you say.”