I love how God uses the stories of our past to make a difference. I especially love how our personal stories can impact the lives of others. Today I asked my friend Melissa to share a story of why she (like me) has a passion for young people and purity. Melissa co-wrote a book, “Nobody Told Me: What You Need to Know About the Physical and Emotional Consequences of Sex Outside of Marriage.” Despite my busy week I found myself picking this book up over and over. I even read parts of it to John when we went to bed. “Just a minute honey, don’t turn off the light yet, you have to hear this.” I’m excited to share this book with the teen moms I mentor and my own teens. I think you’ll want to do the same, especially after you hear Melissa’s heart.
I’ll never forget the day I was sitting in church and noticed her swollen belly. Only a junior in high school and from a well respected family, shock set in as I considered the possibility that Heather was pregnant. Although our interactions to that point were limited to a youth trip the previous summer, I imagined how frightened she must be feeling and how brave she was for attending services despite being obviously embarrassed.
Lord, show me what to do?
When the service was done, I had God’s answer. I needed to be present. So, after the closing song, I turned her direction only to find her head down, quickly rushing away. Once I caught up to her, I invited her to meet at Dairy Queen where my suspicion was confirmed and words spilled from her mouth that broke my heart, “Most people are ignoring me. I’m so scared.”
She needed encouragement.
In my own life, I’d committed to abstinence until marriage. Dating (my now husband) at the time, I’d set clear boundaries and was living them out. I knew that my body was a temple of the Holy Spirit and that any boy I’d potentially marry would need to love God, family, and honor healthy boundaries. Charlie was fitting the bill!
As we started college, some couldn’t believe that we’d dated since 16 and still hadn’t had sex. Naturally, the shock grew over the years. (We didn’t marry until a month post graduation). And, even though we were standing strong …
We appreciated encouragement.
Thankfully, I had this in the support of my loving parents, my youth pastor, and my close friends that were living out the same choice. Furthermore, I was volunteer, counseling in a crisis pregnancy center, and the pain I saw in well-intentioned young people who bought the lies spoon fed to them by common culture made me confident I was making the right decision.
Wanting to dedicate my life to helping others understand God’s powerful love and experience His very best, I continued volunteer work in the crisis pregnancy center. Beyond that, God connected me with Internationally known speaker, Pam Stenzel.
We both know that every young person needs encouragement and that every young person (regardless of their past) has the ability to make wise choices for their future. With this in mind, we recently wrote “Nobody Told Me: What You Need to Know About the Physical and Emotional Consequences of Sex Outside of Marriage.”
This book is perfect for every student regardless of the choices they have made. For those who have abstained, this book will offer a window into the heart of their peers, provide answers to difficult questions they still might have (and be afraid to ask), strengthen them to remain pure until marriage, and offer for them suggestions to help them live that out.
For those who have made mistakes, this book will give them the opportunity to hear stories of young people struggling right along with them, but within that commonality our words will:
• provide clarity where there was confusion,
• hope where there was pain,
• experienced forgiveness from a loving God,
• understanding that their past choices don’t have to define their future ones,
• and practical steps to redeeming their future.
To effectively deliver the message, Pam and I took years worth of teens’ shared stories and questions about God’s design for sex, Scriptural encouragement, media influence, peer pressure, abuse, pregnancy, STDs, emotional heartache, recycled virginity, and choosing abstinence until marriage and uniquely formatted into a fun Facebook-like format.
Using this creative style, this book meets teens (and all who love them) where they are at and provide them with accurate answers to today’s tough questions so that they aren’t the next to tearfully say to God, their parents, a physician, or a future spouse, “Nobody told me. I didn’t know.”
Okay, I had to admit my eyes teared up when I read their title. As someone who had an abortion at 15, I can honestly say, “Nobody told me.” It wasn’t that no one didn’t tell me that if you had sex before marriage you could get pregnant. I knew that. What nobody told me (not my parents, my teachers, my pastor, my youth leaders) was that wait was such a beautiful gift and I didn’t need to give my body to get love.
While the book is written for students 12 and up, it is also very helpful for parents, youth workers, crisis pregnancy workers, mentors, etc. because we live in a rapidly changing world. The consequences that today’s adults faced as a teens are no longer the same as the teenagers of today. The number of STDs has risen, media exposure delivers wildly different messages, and the people in the home and church haven’t always known how to effectively deliver an abstinence-based message that is both glorifying to God and yet honest and powerful enough to pack a punch with the students who hear it.
This book will bring you and the teens you love up to speed and effectively communicates a message that empowers young people to choose self-respect and Godly choices from this day forward.