I don't write this to step on anyone's toes or sound like my life is perfect, but I do write this from my heart...a heart that is truly thankful for the ways God has blessed me, shielded me, and protected me throughout my life.
Some people have a testimony about a night and day change or experience that caused them to find faith and turn everything around. My story is a little quieter than that. But it is a story God has written. One he has allowed me to experience and grow in. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home. My parents are both Christians, all four of my siblings and their spouses are Christians, both sets of grandparents are and were Christians, and a majority of my extended family - aunts/uncles/cousins are as well. Wow. Just reading that really blows my mind. Unfortunately that is not a statistic that holds true for a majority of people.
So - I write this, not to say that my family is perfect. I don't want to give the illusion that living a life surrounded by strong Christian heritage makes things easy or lovely all the time. We are all humans, and we are all faced with the many issues, temptations, and challenges of the world. But the eyes I have...the heart I carry, the values I hold...these have all been instilled in me because of my Christian upbringing.
That is why, today, as I sat listening to some other ladies discuss parenting, siblings, and values...I was truly thankful. While one woman talked about having unreliable parents and helping to raise her sisters, she mentioned how proud she was of her "open" relationship with her younger sisters and the "sense" she has instilled in them to have "responsible sex." She told them it is important to discuss with their boyfriends up front that they are not ready for this, and when they are, they will know because they will be old enough to go and get birth control and understand possible consequences. She said plainly, "I know teens are going to try it...it's whether or not they try it again that matters."
Another woman spoke of teenagers who try drugs and alcohol. Teenagers who wear very "little" to school and crave negative attention. They talked about kids whose parents allow them to try things so they are not "sheltered."
So...I'm not a parent yet. I don't know everything about life. I am not perfect, and I have definitely been faced with a lot of opportunities and temptations in life. But...because of the strong values my family instilled in me - because of the love God has for me, redeeming me of all my sins...I am thankful. Sure I was taught about "safe sex" outside my home. Of course I had peers who "tried" alcohol at a young age. Of course I sometimes feel a little discouraged that I have never had a serious boyfriend, and I don't have many of the experiences that others my age have.
But - I think God has shielded and protected me from many of the mistakes I could have made in my past. I know He has a perfect plan for me that is unfolding day by day. I realize that remaining pure and abstinent throughout my life is not something to be discouraged about but something that makes me unique. I guess these are odd topics to talk about - and I didn't really mean to ramble around them...my real point is that I am thankful. Thankful for parents who cared enough to teach me it's ok to be different than the world. Family who encouraged and continue to encourage me in my walk with Christ and my desire to be like Him, walking fully in His will. I am thankful that God has given me a testimony that may not be full of dramatic changes, but is still full of Him. And I pray that one day, I will be a parent who continues the generations of Christian heritage my life has been so solidly built upon. Thanks, Mom and Dad, my family, and the many others who have taken time to invest in who and where I am today!