Anonymous: Hi Lauren, I’ve been wondering how to go about a situation with a guy. I was born and raised Christian but I lost my virginity in my late teens. I am now 20 and I want to honor God and both me and the dude, but how can I overcome my feelings of worthlessness? I can’t help but think that a guy that waited for his wife would want a girl that also waited ‘til marriage for sex.
Lauren: Oh, love. I have felt this. I remember thinking that losing my virginity completely destroyed my chance of marrying the kind of man I dared to hope for. It took me years to truly understand that we are all broken in our own ways, and our worth is held permanently in Jesus even when we act in ways that make us feel we’ve lost it. I promise you that the good man who has your name written on his heart will see you not as you once behaved, but as Jesus says you are. You should read this post that went up on Good Women Project today. You would love it:A Letter To My Future Wife: What I Undeserve. I have also asked my friend Shannon to expand upon this, below, as she is one of many unbelievably beautiful women that I greatly admire and respect who also lost her virginity before marriage.
Shannon: Lady, I commend you for being in a place to want to honor God, yourself, and your man with your body. I cannot tell you how much joy that decision brings! The hard part is, that joy isn’t found until you can forgive yourself and understand your value in Christ with every tiny ounce of your being.
Have you told God how you’re feeling? Have you asked Him for renewal of your body, mind, and spirit? Have you asked Him to show you your immense worth in His eyes?
Because you can. You’re His beloved daughter and you’re absolutely allowed. He’d love nothing more than to hear those things from you and replace the lies you’ve been told with Truth. And once He opens your eyes to how beautifully you were woven together and to the hope that exists despite the past decisions you’ve made, you’ll find a freedom you never could have imagined existed. That’s the freedom in knowing you’ve been forgiven. That’s the freedom in knowing that a man loved you so much that he gave his life for you, all so that you don’t have to live in brokenness.
Please believe this: nothing is beyond redemption with God. He makes all things new. Including the virginity you think has been forever lost.
I know from my own story how delicate the conversation can be when it’s time to discuss your past decisions with your loved one. I know that there can be immense pain both in telling him what you once gave to someone else, and in seeing the way it may wring his heart. But sister, any man who loves you for the woman you are in Christ and who understands the power of forgiveness will still see you as whole. Even more, he’ll encourage you in the decision you’re now making to honor your body and your relationships, and he’ll lead you in setting physical boundaries that you both are comfortable with after you’ve each given it prayer.
It may take some time to walk through this, and I encourage you to discuss the situation with other people you trust. Find older men and women who you and your guy can go to separately to seek out guidance and advice, and be sure to choose wise mentors who have the good of both of your hearts in mind.
Grace is a beautiful gift from God. Don’t forget to give it to yourself as well.
Anonymous: I was wondering if you could give some advice or shine some light on the subject of self mutilation or cutting, I have a friend struggling with this and I’m struggling to know how to help her.
Lauren: This is so hard. :( I’ve had several people in my life who are very close to me struggle on and off with cutting, and it’s so heartbreaking. I asked my friend Shannon to help answer your question, as I felt she would have more insight and wisdom.
Shannon: Thank you for reaching out about such a tough issue—your friend is lucky to have you. The reality is your friend is hurting inside, and there are a whole number of reasons why she may be hurting herself on the outside to cope. What you need to remember is that even though you may not understand the what or the why, the pain she is feeling is very real to her. As her friend, offer to walk through this struggle with her and let her know she does not have to go it alone. Tell her she deserves to be happy and healthy, free of self-injury, and that hope and help do exist. Encourage her to find someone older she trusts to talk to—whether that be a relative, pastor, teacher, or counselor—and to embrace the things she loves to do. There is a wonderful organization called To Write Love on Her Arms (twloha.com) that has a great “Find Help” section with plenty of resources on self-injury and counseling that should be helpful to both of you. You or your friend can always contact TWLOHA for further resources in your area or help and advice. And if at ANY point you feel like your friend’s life is in danger, please don’t hesitate to call 911. Sending all my love to the both of you.
Anonymous #1: Hi Lauren, It’s so hard having a best friend that is really beautiful. Boys like her, everyone likes her. I’m so jealous and it affects my relationship with her. What can I do about this? It’s been so many years and the jealousy is not at the least fading. I’m 16 years old and not one guy has ever like me/ever got a boyfriend… And I fear very much that no one would ever like me or be able to put up with me. I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I’ve always been nice and is that not enough?
Anonymous #2: I’m 18 years old and I’ve never been pursued by a guy. I’ve never had a boyfriend, a kiss, anything. I like to pretend that I don’t care, but who wouldn’t? I feel like something is wrong with me; it’s hard not to. How do I deal with this when all of my friends are dating?
Lauren: Sweet girls! I’ve asked my darling friend Shannon to help me answer your questions. You are so loved. Please read her answer below:
Shannon: First of all, I am so sorry your delicate hearts are hurting over this. As humans made in God’s image, we are meant to have relationships with others. Thanks to the Fall though, we’re born with this ache deep inside that we’re constantly trying to fill, and the ache of a woman’s heart is particularly unique. If I could wave a magic wand and give you perspective ten years from now I would, because I know that right now it’s hard to see the long, beautiful life you have ahead you, and all of the people who will walk in and out of it.
Secondly, I want you to find a mirror and stand in front of it. Take a few minutes to look at the young women you are—every curve, every freckle, every color, every pore—and know that every single inch of you was woven together by a Creator who by no means does anything imperfectly. Did you hear that? He made you perfect.
You are neither too much nor not enough, and the man who will one day love you like no other will cherish all of you. And trust me girls, that man is worth waiting for.
Thirdly, believe that God has you exactly where He wants you.
Because while your friends may be experiencing what it’s like to be in a teen relationship, God is saving your heart for something different, something that’s better for you. And for all we know, He is also sparing those sweet hearts of yours from a special kind of pain that relationships can bring at such a young age. He is lacing together a story for you that will forever be yours to own—a story that no one can ever take away from you, and a story that you will be able to use to help someone else one day.
So don’t believe the lies that are making a home in your heart.
There is nothing wrong with you.
You are not something to be “put up with.”
And breathe in deeply the peace that comes with knowing there is a plan for you, far better than any one you could have imagined for yourself.
(Also, check out this blog post by Annie Downs—“A Letter to a Pretty Girl.” We’re not alone in our struggles, girls)
Anonymous: The church I go to is driving me nuts! Everyone there does nothing but judge. I try not to judge, but I have my slip-ups as well. A bunch of the people at my church judge me and my family because we don’t live up to their expectations of living in a fancy house and having lots of money. We’re talked about and shunned a lot. Should I just ignore this and pretend like it’s not a big deal or should I do something else? Thanks!
Lauren: My gut response? Go find another church. Are you in real true community there? That’s the goal of church. Fellowship. If you can’t find true community there (assuming that you’ve reached out and sincerely tried) then go find another church. I’m not a huge fan of “church hopping” simply because you don’t agree with every single thing that’s said from the pulpit or elsewhere, but I’m even less of a fan of staying in a group of people that are not truly seeking Jesus, and making it more difficult for you to do so yourself.
Oh, one more thought. If there are a couple of “friends” that you have are the ones doing them majority of the judging, confront them gently and bring up how it’s making you feel. Always worth a shot.
Anonymous: Thank you for your post on modesty. I’m quite confused, I’ve always been told to never wear bikinis because its ‘wrong’ and will attract lustful eyes and because it is not modest! I’ve also been through the whole spiel on dressing modestly so that our brothers in Christ don’t stumble. I guess my question is mostly what counts as modest/decent and what doesn’t? And while what is in the heart really does matter, how does that translate into dressing?
Lauren: I’m so glad you read the post on Modesty and Lust and that you got something out of it. First of all, bikinis are not inherently wrong. “Wrong” meaning “a sin.” You will never in your life have to fear God because of anything you wear. God will never judge you for what you wear. God does not look at your outward appearance, he looks at your heart. And God does not hold you responsible for other man’s thoughts about you, you are responsible only for your own heart. Each human being has full responsibility over his or heart heart. Nothing that you wear, no matter how modest, will keep every man from looking at you lustfully if that is the inclination of his heart.
Second of all, it is not required of you to keep your brothers from stumbling. Lust is the sin, not the object that “caused” it. Just like envy is the sin, not the object that “caused” it. (If you are miserable because a girlfriend has a pair of $700 heels and you can’t have a pair, is the designer of the shoe responsible for your envious misery? Absolutely not. It is a matter of your heart.)
Modesty is only referenced once in the Bible, and it’s referring to dressing in a way that does not flaunt extravagant wealth - not skin/sexuality. It is not an instruction or requirement that you dress a certain way in your daily life, or to church. That being said, dressing appropriately is always recommended. You wear bikinis to beaches, not to churches. But the primary reason for this is because it’s what you are comfortable in! I’m perfectly comfortable in a bikini on the beach, but I would feel like everyone is staring at me at church. I PERSONALLY don’t wear tiny miniskirts & heels to church because I am only comfortable in that attire when I’m out on a Friday night. I feel like it’s not totally appropriate.
Bottomline? Dress in a way that is comfortable to YOU. If you are comfortable, go in peace. If you aren’t, then don’t wear it.
You should read this letter: A Letter To A 16 Year Old Girl On Modesty & Clothing
And you should also read this: Calling Bullshit On Religious Misogyny
Anonymous: I’ve always been taught that the biggest deal in a girl’s life is how and who she marries. I go to a small Christian college it seems that everyone is marriage focused. students on campus only seem to talk about finding spouses, many professors push it on their students, and it’s even been the topic of chapels. I want to fall in love and get married but I feel so smothered by this mentality. My question is how do we break free from the pressure to “get married” so we can truly fall in love?
Lauren: Is getting married the most important thing in a girl’s entire life? Absolutely not. Her relationship with Jesus is, and living out her purpose is second to that. Your relationship status, whether single or married, comes third. That being said, is marriage the “biggest deal” relationship in a girl’s life? Absolutely. If and when it happens, the person a woman marries will be the most influential person in her life. That’s just the way it works. The person you spend 24/7 with will influence you more than anyone else, so in that regards, it’s a really big deal. But until then, you are neither an incomplete person, or a handicapped woman who is waiting on her relationship status to change in order for her life to become purpose-full.
It’s a shame that small Christian communities seem to breed that type of “marriage is all that matters” mentality. Marriage is absolutely important to discuss, as is learning how to identify men who love Jesus from those who do not, but it certainly shouldn’t be the focus of life. YOUR identity, value, passion, purpose, career, desires, loves, interests…all of that - will remain the day after your wedding. You will still be you. And really, your life will still be your responsibility. So it’s SO important to get comfortable in your own skin first! If you spend all your single time focusing on trying to find a man to marry, as soon as you do, you’ll wake up realizing you don’t really know that much about yourself.
Anonymous: I read your answer to the last question about God being our first priority and fulfilling the heart wrenching kind of loneliness and it was great! But my question is how exactly do you do that? How do you make that step into saying God is my first priority and knowing all the reasons why He should be, and wanting Him to be, to God really and truly being the first priority?
Lauren: Time. The answer is time. Pretend for a moment that God is a person you’re interested in. A girl you’d want to have for your best friend, or a guy you’re starting a relationship with. What do you do to make them a priority?
You sacrifice time on other things and with other people in order to have time with that person. It’s the same way with God. Your heart-wrenching loneliness won’t disappear the first date you go on with a guy. You begin to feel less alone in life as you start experiencing love, intimacy, close-ness and friendship someone over a long period of time. The same way with God. And you can’t begin to experience that without investing time.
Create time in your day. Create time in your week. Determine to find a great worship service in your area and make yourself go, every Sunday, whether you feel like it or not. Make yourself sit down and write love letters to Jesus. Turn off the TV or put down a book and read something that relates to your life with Jesus.
Closeness with God doesn’t come overnight, just like love in a marriage doesn’t come the day you say I Do. Yes, it exists - and you decide to love and commit to someone who also decides to love and commit to you, but you must go through life with them in order for your love to grow.
Anonymous: I just ended things with a guy, but we are trying to remain friends. I’ve been dealing with severe loneliness the past couple weeks, even though I have amazing friends and people I barely even know have reached out to me. But here is my question, because I feel like I had a sort of ephiphany tonight:
Do you think that God is holding off on blessing my life with a male companion because I’m putting it as more of a priority than my relationship with the Lord? I know that my relationship with God is the most important but I long so much for companionship with a man. My head and heart are in a spin. Thoughts?
Lauren: One thing that’s very interesting to me is that if you are lonely when you are single, you will be lonely in a relationship - especially in marriage. It seems impossible, but did you know that our loneliness is really just our mis-perception of reality? Our loneliness is rarely “true.” With God (and his family) we are never truly alone - but we don’t see it that way when we look at it with our eyes instead of God’s - and so we feel loneliness with all of it’s painfulness. It is so much better to resolve our crippling loneliness before we are in a relationship with someone.
That being said, it is so normal and so healthy to fully feel your singleness and to feel alone. But knowing/feeling alone and feeling crippingly lonely/isolated are two very different things. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship with a guy, and wanting it A LOT. I’m not really a believer in God trying to make us into perfect people before “blessing” us with a significant other. It is impossible to know the plans of God, and his heart for You - so I cannot dare speak to what He is or isn’t doing in your life and His perfect reasons - but I do not believe that we struggle to live our lives while God wields a measuring tape and ruler, cautiously determining when we are good enough for certain blessings.
Jesus gave us complete freedom so that we might live and have life abundantly. If you do not see your life as full and abundant now, I would argue that you have a greater problem than being single or lonely. And also that having a boyfriend or husband will not actually satisfy or resolve this problem, but magnify it. Make sense?
It can seem hard to have a healthy desire for a significant other and also complete contentment in Jesus Christ at the same time - but it IS possible, and that, I believe, is the goal. It is the goal, not in order “to be good enough for God to deserve blessings,” but rather because God has already given us everything we truly need, and more, in Christ.
Be encouraged, in a strange sense, that you will fight for the rest of your life to keep God as your priority. (Being single now is not a “punishment” because you aren’t a good enough Christian yet.) That struggle will never disappear, because there are so many forces fighting to throw Him out of first place. Like John Eldredge says in Awaken The Dead, “The story of your life is the story of a long, brutal assault against your heart by the one who knows what you could be, and fears it.”
Keep God first not because you are single, and not because you are married, but because you are a daughter of God - and He is deserving of the first of your heart, your life, and your time.
Anonymous: What do you think is a good book to read in the Bible that really draws attention to this type of struggle women have? (loneliness)
Lauren: It’s really interesting to me that God rarely addresses “topics” like loneliness, depression, etc. Instead, he addresses the holes in our hearts and fills them with Himself. When you seek God fully, he will naturally fill those empty places in your life that feel like loneliness, hurt, brokenness, pain, depression, sadness, etc. He himself becomes our peace. He becomes our contentment. He becomes our joy. We become full and whole and satisfied in our relationship with Him, and THAT carries over into the rest of our life.
Most Recent Questions