::NOTE: I wrote this in the wee hours of my wedding day. The wifi at our hotel was on the fritz, which is why I am now just posting it.
As many of you know, today is my wedding day. I am currently wide
awake while my bridesmaids are sleeping so soundly in nearby beds of our
hotel suite. My mind is racing with the promise of the day, and my
heart has never been so full. When your heart is full, you become more
grateful and clear-headed, and right now, since I cannot for the life of me find slumber, I want to give those reading
some pretty sound advice:
Listen to your mother.
When I was about 5 years old, I got my bottom bruised while at Vacation Bible School. The bruise was ugly, and what was even uglier was how I got it. It was formed by the hands of a boy in class who actually pinched it pretty hard. I remember it seeming like something so fierce. What I remember even more than that is the conversation that my parents had with me on the way back home from the church. My parents are the best teachers I have ever had, and they taught me a lesson that night that I never forgot. My mother said, "Jordan, you are in charge of your body. No one touches you without your permission. Even your booty, you are in charge." What happened next is one of my favorite memories and something I have yet to live down with my family. I sat in the back seat and said with an assured but tearfully cracking voice, "I'm in CHARGE of my booty!" Of course this caused giggles from my parents. But right then at age 5, I made one of the most important decisions of my life: I chose to be in charge of my own body.
Let me say, I was always one of those kids who tried to be a pleaser. All it took from my parents was a look of disappointment, and every white flag I had was waved. I took everything literally and most of the time, my faith was the cause of it. I was the kid that hurried my parents to our hotel room in the Bahamas because I hadn't read my Bible that day, and it was getting close to 11:00. I lived in fear for a while of disappointing my parents and disappointing the Lord. I like to think it was out of respect. But a life of fear was not for me. After taking and then later teaching a True Love Waits course, I felt like my promise to the Lord was a signed contract in my mind. There was no backing down. Once I got to college, I took a few health courses and learned more about sex, disease, and the likes. Then my choice to abstain from sex not only was spiritual but also a health-concious decision. There are so many things going on out there; I just didn't want to be a part of it. I didn't want to invite any of it in my body.
Many women do find empowerment in their bodies. They use their sexuality to get things they want. They flaunt, they conquer, they eventually hurt others, and often-times, themselves. I witnessed this a lot growing up with some of my schoolmates. Girls gave their bodies freely, and while at first it was fun for them, the fun died away and the happiness they thought they had was short-lived after they were disposed of after the deed was done. Witnessing this and hearing my mother's voice in my mind, I never gave anyone control of my body. The advice I received 22 years ago helped me get to this point in my life, and I couldn't be more grateful for my mother's words. While some find power in giving their bodies, I have, thankfully, been of the opinion that self-control is empowerment. I am humbled and so blessed to say that I have saved myself for my wedding night, and Heath is the first and only man I will give that part of my body to. What an incredible gift it is to me. I hope it is the same to him, as well.
This choice I made cost me some relationships in the past. I had some major relationships in my life. There were some guys who were very blunt and said, "Jordan, you're really nice and everything, but you know...I am going to want that so...maybe this should end because if you aren't going to do that, then I'm not sure if this is going to work out." It wasn't a hard choice for me, really, to say, "well, ok, then. It was fun. See ya later, dude." Sometimes there would be a shocked expression like the guy couldn't believe that I was ok with things ending, like he expected me to say, "Oh, no! I can't imagine not being with you, so yes! We can have sex now. I changed my mind." Silly men...
When Heath and I first started seeing each other romantically and it was obvious this wasn't going to be a fling, I dreaded having "the talk" with him. I prayed, "Dear Lord, please let him be above this. Please let him be different. Let his reasons for wanting to be with me be more than this, and if they aren't, let me have the strength to walk away with my head high." And I am happy to report that he was and is. Heath has encouraged me in my choices and has been so supportive of me and respectful of my body in ways that I just can't even describe. He is the only man that I have been romantically involved with who didn't try to push the envelope when it came to my body and sex, which made my attraction to him grow, which made my choice at sometimes difficult. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to be marrying him in about 12 hours.
I don't want this to sound like a public service announcement or anything. I write this not to say anything about people who share a different belief than I do. I write this not to boast. I write this to get these thoughts out, so I may rest my mind. I also write this to encourage. I encourage you, young ones, to listen to you parents. Listen to their wisdom. Absorb it, appreciate it. You can live a very fulfilling life that doesn't involve sex, if you don't want it yet. I played sports, travelled, was Homecoming Queen, lived overseas, taught, loved, and lost in my life. I have no regrets, including my choice to be in charge of my body. The choice wasn't easy, I will say. It was difficult and taught me a lot about myself and self-control. While we live in a world that tells you that your body is yours to do with as you please, we tend to only see that as a way to encourage our sexuality. Just remember this also goes the other way. I am no expert, but I will share with you that I never had a friend who shared with me about a guy that she regretted NOT having sex with. Usually, it went like this, "Now we aren't together anymore and I just feel like such an idiot because we had sex a couple weeks ago and now we're through." (It was never, "Oh, Gosh. Now we're through. If I had JUST had sex with him...") Being dumb to the subject, all I could do was hold her hand and say the words "I'm so sorry you're hurting." Any time I did this until now, it solidified my choice; it made me grateful.
Live the life you love with no regrets.
P.S. I would like to thank my mother, Karen, for being my crazy cheerleader all these years. I cannot believe I am on the brink of marriage. I wouldn't be here and be so happy without your love and support. Thank you for giving me a set of values to follow and for making it clear that even if I stumbled, you would be there to love and help me. Thank you for showing me what character and integrity are and their importance in life.
I love you,