Friday, September 27, 2013

Radiant Purity: Inspiration for the Heart from "Before You Meet Prince Charming"

I hope you are having a blessed and happy Fall day!!
I am so thankful it is the weekend, and excited about plans with my family, doing some fun projects, and spending quiet, relaxing time.  Maybe it will even rain!  That would be even more perfect :)


Today would normally be when I would write my "Faithful Friday" post.  I apologize for missing last week- last Friday got away from me and before I knew it, it was time for bed and I hadn't had a chance to write anything.  Today, I am posting something that I have been writing for awhile.  It is serving as my "Faithful Friday" post for today, because, for me, it has everything to do with faith!  This is something I've just kept adding to since I started writing it, because I had so many thoughts and things in my heart I wanted to share.  All of these things are on the subject of purity and faith, and they are inspired by one book in particular...

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During this Summer, I was blessed to read a book that changed my faith and delighted my heart in ways I never imagined.
It was a joy to read from the first word to the last and, through it, my convictions were strengthened SO much!!  It made me more and more inspired in new ways to serve the Lord and renewed my heart.
Although it focuses on one subject overall, it shot through me a greater excitement than ever for living purposefully in all things.

The name of this book is Before You Meet Prince Charming. 
Before I talk more about it, I wanted to mention that this book talks so much about faith and strengthening your love and relationship with God.  However, the main theme of it is the subject of remaining pure, both physically and in heart, with the focus of young women remaining pure while we wait on the Lord to bring the one He has for us.  The subtitle of the book is actually entitled A Guide to Radiant Purity.

Before I picked up the book, I had heard so much about it already.  I knew a few girls and young ladies that had read it, and I knew of many more. I truly heard nothing but wonderful things about this book... After finishing it myself, I can see why completely.

One of the things I loved about it was the sweetness of having part of a continuing fairy-tale begin each chapter. This was the case in every chapter, following a princess who is coming of age and dreams of being married to her prince someday. It follows her journey through her trials in waiting and her prayers being answered in several ways over the course of a few years. Intermixed with this, and correlating to it, are pages and pages of wisdom on remaining pure and why we should be so excited to live in such a way. In both parts, there are several helpful discussions on thoughts and feelings that every girl or young lady comes across at some point.


As a young woman, purity is something that I think of often, as well as something that I was raised to have convictions about.  I am so thankful for that.  It is also something I think is on the minds of many girls my age and younger or older who have grown up similarly, who are unmarried and waiting for God's best.  Although it is written for this purpose, this book beautifully inspires your faith overall!  It inspires purity and goodness in daily things and living life to the fullest in the sense of purpose.  Reading Sarah Mally's wonderful book multiplied that!

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One of the first things I want to share about this book is the impact of the points that Sarah Mally makes.  She writes about themes of purity that all link together, in chapters with titles such as "Guard Your Heart", "Dangers With the Dating System", "Have a Life Purpose Bigger than Marriage", "Reserved for One", and "Delighting in the Lord".
If you are not familiar with these kinds of subjects, then this book will may change your heart and your outlook and make you look at dating and your walk altogether in a whole different way.  The chapters that I felt impacted me most and strengthened my convictions in this area were the themes discussed about dangers with the dating system and guarding your heart.  Here are a few thoughts that were a powerful blessing to me in this area...

-The world's way vs. God's way.  "Pairing off and breaking up" as you choose to date casually over and over as opposed to allowing God to bring the one he has had for you all along in His plan.

-Now-oriented vs. future-oriented.  Dating is now-oriented because it focuses solely on having a good time and usually no plans for commitment.  Future oriented is just the opposite- looking for the commitment that is honorable and found in just the opposite way.  It saves your heart and your mind and every sense of your purity for the one you marry.

-To date and break up with that person and go to someone new every time something doesn't work is, first of all, setting up the pattern that allows no basis for commitment.  Think of all the heartache and emotional pain that people who go through this cycle endure.  They are "with" someone for awhile, then that person decides they don't want commitment, or decides they are just bored with the relationship and want to break up.  The other person suffers pain and is heartbroken.  Their heart is damaged every time this happens.

-Perhaps most important, an incredible point that Sarah brings out is maybe the biggest difference between the world's way in dating and God's way (presented in her book in the photo below):  The world's way of relationships begins with physical attributes in dating and soon escalates to much more in just a matter of time, starting with the physical things before there has been a sure and true established connection between the hearts of the two people in the relationship.  They start from the wrong end of the spectrum... The pure way, however, starts with the emotional side of things- two hearts being tied together and finding love and joy through spending quality time together without the distractions and impulses giving away a part of yourself that should only be given in marriage.  Focusing on your hearts alone becomes the main focus. ♥
How important this is- a marriage can never be built only on physical love.  Without connection between the hearts first and foremost, there is no foundation for everlasting love. 

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-Going along with that, you guard your heart and your soul largely by abstaining from the physical side of a relationship (even what many of us may look at as small things) until those things can be righteously fulfilled... in marriage.




Sometimes, I feel things sort of hit me in a way they never have before, even if I have probably known them all along.  But sometimes we know something without feeling the true meaning of it.  That was how it was for me when I got to one specific point in the book...  We give pieces of our heart away in more than just physical senses or in choosing to date different people.  You can choose not to date and go the world's way and you can be "waiting" and single for many years, but throughout those years it is still completely possible to give pieces of your heart away.
This was an important realization for me in a way I had not thought of... by thinking too much about someone, or by talking to your friends about him, or even daydreaming about him, you give pieces of your heart away as your mind becomes increasingly fixated on that person.
Sarah talked a lot about this in her book, and I am so thankful for her words... she brought to light the fact that this has been true for so many of us at one point, a common feeling.  You are flattered by someone, then you find yourself talking to them more often, and before you know it you have feelings for them and you are already imagining what your future is like with them.  So, even though you have never even dated them, let alone talked about it with them or even a friend, your heart is still tied to them because you have cultivated these thoughts and new dreams in your heart.



This leads into another amazing point in the pages of this book:
Saving all of your "firsts"!  We can make convictions that we will guard ourselves and wait for these kinds of things until we know God has brought His best.  And how much sweeter something is the longer it is waited for!
Here are some of the ones she lists (these are found in Chapter 10, "Reserved For One"):

-First expression of interest
-First words of affection or love
-First gift given or received
-First trip together
-First dinner date
-First personal letter expressing emotions
-First "I Love You"
-First piece of your heart given
-First kiss
-First special song, place, event, or memory

Those last two really resonated with me.  How could you not want to choose the path of purity?  At least that was how I felt as I read through these... How beautiful to know that you are having your very first kiss with the one you marry!!  And that HE has saved this special kiss to be his first!
And a special song!  How can a special song- "our song"- between the two of you truly be special when you have already had that experience with someone else?
Some may think that this sounds impossible.  Is it really possible that there are young men out there who have the same convictions as you?  This is where we must have faith.  If we have the dedication to keep our standard high, we can put our faith in God bringing us the one He has for us in His timing.  If you give these pieces of your heart away to other young men, all of these things will likely not be firsts for you.  Saving them for the one God has for you is a TREASURE!



The Illustration of the Gift
This brings me back to remembering the concept of a gift that illustrates the beauty of purity.  This is different from the example Sarah gives, but similar in illustration.  I loved her illustration because it was such a beautiful way to think about this...
Imagine that your friend gives you a box.  It's beautifully wrapped and you can't wait to open it.  As you pull the paper off and start to open the flaps, however, you spot the gift inside.  It is a dress.  You can tell it would be absolutely beautiful, but as you look at it you can immediately tell it is dirty, worn, and faded.  You pick it up and take it out of the box, and then you notice that some of the seams are torn and there are buttons missing from it.  Would you want this gift or feel like the person giving it to you respected you very much in giving it to you?
It is the same idea with ourselves when we think about it.  How beautiful to save all of our firsts and save every piece of our hearts and keep ourselves clean and pure.  How would our future husbands feel if we have been used up and become impure and worn in any way... wouldn't you rather be new and pure in all ways and have your best to offer him in your heart!?  Your whole heart?
And wouldn't you want the same from your husband?  Wouldn't you want to know that you were the ONLY one he had ever told his deepest feelings to?  Wouldn't you want to know that he had saved all of his heart for you and not given even small pieces of it to others who came before you?  Wouldn't you be honored that you were His one and only love ever- that there weren't other girls out there who knew his deepest feelings and thoughts?


Although many may share different feelings about it, choosing a way that you know you want to follow to remain pure is a good way to keep your convictions.  When you have been led in the direction of finding someone to spend your life with, a wonderful and honoring way to do so is through courtship.  This establishes goals that both of you share and connecting your hearts and minds through those things rather than through physical connections.  While dating is about having fun and trying new things, courtship is getting to know each other and seeing if you connect with each other with the intention of marriage.  Both the boy and the girl have already established their similar goals, and both are, as it has been called, "dating with a purpose", not just to have fun, but to see if they are led toward marriage.  Think of how wonderful that is... while the world dates freely and one person in a relationship can have hopes to get married and the other person is just "having fun" with no strings attached, heartbreak occurs, while the pure way already has that common goal set between you!  In a courtship, there is a high level of commitment from the start because of this.


For some, deciding on purity may be a matter of worth and self-respect.  Which is great!  We all deserve this way.  For me, it is both that and waiting on the Lord instead of ourselves to bring that blessing into our lives in His timing.
"When God Says Wait" is another amazing chapter in Sarah's book.  But every chapter talks about waiting on the Lord, if not in physical or heart purity, then in other areas of our walk and faith.  I am thankful for each reminder on this throughout the pages of the book.  Another thing I loved were the hundreds of verses she includes to back up her reasoning!  Each one was a blessing and a strength to me.
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Although many of us have dreams of marrying our own "Prince Charming", Sarah also brings out a beautiful point in reminding us that marriage should not be the end-all.  We can make dreams, but if it is meant to happen in the divine plan for our lives, then it will happen.  God sees our hearts and our dreams.  Have faith in that.
But never forget that we all have a calling.  Maybe we don't know what that is yet, or what it is meant to be... just never let yourself forget that though we may have such dreams for the future, our single years now can be used for so much goodness... to joyfully serve others, our families, and God!  Think of ways you can be a blessing to others.  Remember that we can spend our time in these wise ways, and that working in serving in each is also a wonderful way to be busy and productive in our lives as we wait.  Our years of being single young ladies and young women are years we should treasure!



These are my thoughts on this beautiful book and thoughts shared from it that impacted me so much. If I ever meet Sarah Mally, I will not know how to thank her for the mark her words left on me.  Her book emphasized the things I have been taught growing up, but in a new and even clearer way that has made me more and more passionate about purity for God in every sense!

I want to say that by sharing my heart on this, I only mean to do just that.  I don't mean at all to imply that those who have chosen a different way are not good people.  Something else Sarah discusses is reminding girls that even if you have compromised your purity in small or bigger ways, it is never too late to start over and make the conviction to choose the narrow path.
I know girls who I have grown up with who may be pure in that larger sense, but have decided to date and follow the accepted/popular way of doing so.  But they have lost parts of their heart and aspects of physical purity over and over again.  And this has caused them to have thoughts and heartaches that stay with them.  I am compelled to go the other way because I feel it is the best way, and my heart would also be blessed if anyone reading this is encouraged or convicted in radiant purity!




There will probably be times when we feel discouraged and feel that the uncommon, narrow way is so difficult and that we are finding it hard to be patient or to live up to our convictions.  This book helps with that amazingly!  If you have chosen radiant purity and you have any doubts, one thing you also may be encouraged by are the stories of others who have shared your convictions and your heart.
I know I have been. 

Just read these love stories- just a few examples- of those God has brought together and how they chose to save their hearts for one.  And we can find encouragement through the examples of those around us, in our family, family friends, and others.
For both those I share here and those I don't (some who I know don't have their stories shared on their blogs), I am inspired and encouraged by each of their stories and their testimonies, and I think that each one says so much about the gift that purity is and the rewards and happiness that result from choosing that way...
In them, it is so clear that God wrote their love stories!  Wonderful examples of prayer and petition and trusting and waiting.  All of these, may I add, even decided to wait until their wedding day to share their first kiss!  How special.


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I know Stephanie through blogging only, and we may live
far apart, but I feel as though she is a long, lost friend. 
She is a true friend and she blesses me with the sharing of
strength  of her faith and her heartfelt and loving spirit every
 time I read her posts.  Here, on her blog, she shares the precious story
of how she and her husband met, up to when they were married. 
She wrote it so beautifully- in a way that reminds you of
the miracle and gift of love.
I am inspired by her unwavering faith, prayer, and
waiting on the Lord in her story and now the rich blessings that resulted,
of living lovingly alongside the one the Lord had for her,
and being blessed with a sweet son as well.



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  Their story inspired me from the beginning,
and the way they were caringly brought together, and how
much conviction they had in remaining pure.
You can watch their engagement video below.
They also made the choice to wait until their wedding day
for their first kiss.


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Newly engaged, and evidently being blessed with their hearts
 connecting.  Their courtship displays purity and conviction.
You can see the passion of love for God
and for each other that they share even through their photograph.
You can read about the start of their courtship here,
to their engagement story here.
Married for, I believe, about one and a half years with a precious new son.
I have been SO encouraged in my faith through Priscilla (Anna Duggar's sister)
in what I have seen from following their family blog.
She sees the world in a way I pray I can each day... with amazement
at each of God's little blessings, a hopeful and giving heart,
 and a beautiful spirit that just shines when she speaks.
You can read David & Priscilla's story by visiting them, here.

Priscilla also talks about keeping a pure heart and shares about
things that helped her in waiting and keeping a pure heart
 in this video below,
which has continued to encourage me since I first watched it.
I think even her voice is pure and soft and kind.


A final thought I wanted to share that I love is actually a subtitle within one of the chapters of Before You Meet Prince Charming... 
"A purity so bright the world marvels."
We can make a promise to ourselves and to God that we will wholeheartedly pursue that kind of purity... a purity so bright that it shows the world how amazing remaining pure IS and is a witness to others of the joy that comes with living God's way. 
A purity where we give our hearts to God and let Him place it in the hands of the one He knows deserves it.
A thought I hold close in regards to this is that by choosing this way, we should not feel like we are hindered or held back.  No, it is something we can be so excited about.



I highly recommend this book!  I hope that, whether you read it or have read it or even if not, that you will see the blessings and beauty of living for purity.  Those are the thoughts it strengthened and inspired in me.  By the length of this post, you may be able to tell that there were many.

Whether or not you are a girl who already has a heart led toward convictions for living purely, I know there will be so much you will be able to take away from this book.
To some who read this, these thoughts may seem old-fashioned or strange... things like saving your heart and your love for just one, when it is "normal" to do the opposite.  For those of you who share the same feelings I do and that Sarah Mally talks about, being old-fashioned is a good thing in today's world!  It just means that you have a higher standard for your life and that you value morals.  And in a sense, this is strange- but strange in the most wonderful way, because being strange in the world's eyes means being favorable, pure, and lovely in God's.




I hope you have a beautiful day!!



Blessings and hugs!  ♥





~Although this is different from normal Faithful Fridays I post, talking about this is a result of how it has been working in my heart through my faith.  So, this will be my Faithful Friday post for today.
You can join in on Faithful Fridays by visiting Joy at her blog, Doodlebug, and read her post for today as well!





13 comments:

  1. Jazzmin-
    Great Post! I love that book, too.
    Have you ever seen the show 19 Kids and Counting? The family is actually the Waller's in-laws. They have the same beliefs.
    Purity is important. It is definitely awkward being around friends that talk about nothing but guys. Oh well...
    Have a great weekend!
    God Bless!

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    1. Hi Ty,
      Thank you for your kind comment! I have seen "19 Kids and Counting" and I really enjoy it and am inspired by their value and faith. And I have seen the Wallers on there too- I enjoyed seeing Priscilla and David's wedding very much.

      It is nice to talk to girls like you who value purity- and an encouragement also, because having such convictions is alone a way we can be encouraging to each other as young women.

      Thank you again for stopping by and for your comment. I loved reading it.

      Blessings to you!

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  2. Hi Jazzmin,

    What a beautiful post, and such an important message to share. I know that sometimes waiting for the LORD to send that special prince can seem like forever. At one point a couple years ago I had resigned myself to the fact that I would probably never marry and that is just about the time the LORD sent Adam into my life. : ) We both had been praying to meet a Christian who believed in purity, actually we both had prayed to meet someone who had never even dated. When you are in your late 20's this seems a little impossible, but with the LORD all things are possible. I am so grateful that Adam waited for me, and it was a blessing to wait for him.

    May the LORD continue to bless you as you encourage your sisters in Jesus!

    -Sarah

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    1. Sarah,
      Thank you so much for your comment and your beautiful words. They were so uplifting and encouraging to my heart. I am thankful for you sharing your own experience with me. It is so clear that God has blessed you with your husband and rewarded you richly with a man of the Lord, through reading your blog and your words here.

      God Bless you and thank you for reading and commenting- you don't know what a blessing it was to read it.

      Have a wonderful week!!

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  3. Jazzmin dear, thank you for sharing about the benefits of purity in waiting upon the Lord to send that one special man with such a tender heart. You've shared it as only you could and I am so blessed by it. I'm blessed that you are committed to waiting on the Lord...and desiring to serve others as you go along. Hugs to you, my sweet friend. You will not regret your wait!

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    1. Dianna,
      I was so delighted by your comment. Every one you leave me makes me smile, both on my face and inside. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me so much! I am so thankful for each of your kind and strengthening words.

      Hugs and blessings to you!! :)

      Delete
  4. I am not surprised that you have opted for radiant purity, Jazzmin. I sensed that about you from the first post of yours that I read. May God bless you as you wait for His perfect plan for your life.

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    1. Jerralea,
      Thank you so much for the words you left here... your kindness and encouragement give me an even greater peace and excitement about giving my all to God and letting Him take charge and plan my life and future.

      I hope you have a blessed day!

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  5. My dear Jazzmin, I am overwhelmed with joy for you and your desire to wait for that special one God has chose for you - you WILL NOT regret it! The gift of purity is so beautiful in God's eyes and He will greatly bless you for your desire to follow Him and honor His perfect way. Thank you for being such a godly example to other single young women and to married women as well. You have touched my heart this evening with this post and I am honored to call you my friend. Many blessing to you and may you continue to keep your eyes and heart focused upon the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Love and hugs to you!

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  6. I loved this post, Jazzmin! Thank you so much for sharing! I agree with you so much on these things. My mama and I read that book together a while back and we loved it--it's great! You made so many good points in this post--it was great!

    Thanks for sharing and linking up with Faithful Fridays! :)

    God bless,
    Joy :)

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  7. I struggle with avoiding guys at school. Since I learned about the beauty of purity, I've been avoiding guys and have talked to them as little as possible which is probably not good. Today after school it was just me and a really cute (and really, really, really godly) guy waiting by the front door of the school for our moms to come. We were on our phones so we didn't talk. Stupid me had to say "bye *insert his name* " as i walked out the door. He said bye back, not in any certain way implying anything. Just plain old "bye". Well, stupid me has had a crush on him for the last year and we had never talked until now. (if that counts as talking). Now I'm dreaming about our wedding. Im in 7th grade. Im letting a "bye" turn into a "hey lets go our your cute i like you back". How do i get over this crush? Where do i draw the line when it comes to talking to guys?
    Thanks
    Patricia

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    1. Hi Trish,
      Thank you for your comment! I'm so glad to hear that purity has a place in your heart. But I know, struggling with these things is not easy. It is hard to control our hearts and feelings and stay focused, especially being young girls. If you'd like, I'd be very happy to email you about it :) I don't know if you'll see this reply to your comment, but if you do, my email address is on my blogger profile. Feel free to write me and I'll write you back!

      Blessings to you,
      Jazzmin

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  8. Jazzmin,
    I was so blessed by your sweet words and knowing you have purity near to your heart! I have been married since August, and it is worth it to stay abstinent before marriage!
    In high school, I was involved in cheer and cross country. I was in a public school, and I was very popular. I had many guy friends but I never dated. I wasn't trying to not date, but I was so involved that I didn't have time to. As a result, I got to know many different people.
    Each year, my family hosted an international student. My junior year, we got a new host brother from China. His name is Andrew and he was in my grade. Living with him, we got to know Andrew very well. We became best friends and started dating at the beginning of our senior year. Living a room away from your boyfriend is certainly not something I would recommend, but we had enough self control. Each day was wonderful with Andrew. Honestly, I trusted him and he trusted me. Many nights I (or he) would fall asleep close together watching a movie, or we would do homework together sitting on his bed. I had every trust in him that he wouldn't use that as an opportunity for sex or getting too close. Plus, I am the eldest of 7, and my siblings were 3, 5, 6, 7, 11, and 15 at the time, so we seldom had privacy. Our hearts grew together during that year. I could not imagine living the rest of my life without him.
    We went to the same college, and he proposed Thanksgiving of our freshman year. Because we had spent so much time together, we had no doubts that we were a perfect match. We got married in August, and we are juniors. Being married in college is tough, but we love walking this journey together.
    Everything about marriage is so special. Keeping our bodies for eachother is the best decision one could make. His English isn't perfect, and I don't know a word of Mandarin , but we somehow make it work.
    I would encourage you to:
    A- Get involved and meet different men.
    B- Don't get discouraged that everyone around you is dating and you are not. Please don't be afraid to enter a dating relationship. Just make sure it is not to satiate your desires. One problem I see with courtship is that young people do not allow themselves to be vulnerable and fall in love. If you find yourself attracted to a certain young man, get to know him. God gives us attractions to young men, remember. Based off of what I have read in your blog, I think you have the self control to abstain from sex before marriage.

    Prayers & blessings to you! ❤️

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Thank you for stopping by my blog. It is a blessing to read your kind comments. I would love if you would leave me one!

God Bless You,
Jazzmin

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