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Purity 101

About the Editor

 

     Welcome to the Purity Post! Here's a little info about me and why I want to help teen girls understand and choose purity:
     From my earliest memories through tenth grade, I was raised in a very strict Christian setting. I was sheltered from ungodly influences in every way. My television viewing, music, reading and clothing were pre-screened and selected for me by my parents, who took their cues from the church where both were staff members. I attended a small church school, and my friends were all church members. During this time, I can remember listening to sermons on soul-winning and thinking, "Who could I witness to? I don't know any unsaved people!" And, other than a few relatives that I visited only on holidays, this was true. Everyone that I interacted with thought and believed as I did.
     Outwardly, I modeled every church rule but not by choice. Although I knew the Bible quite well, I had not learned to apply it to my life. I didn't think I really needed to, since everyone else seemed to exist just to apply it for me. After all, I read my Bible daily and went to church it seemed at least once a day. Wasn't that good enough?
     My parents' position gave me the perfect opportunity to see the ins and outs of the church and its leadership, and I became a quick student of the hypocrisies I found. Without a close relationship with God (though I'd been saved at five years of age), my disillusionment grew. Outwardly conforming but inwardly rebellious, I was ripe for Satan's attack.
     And it came, the summer between tenth and eleventh grade--the summer we moved from Michigan to Maryland. That summer, I found out that a lot of the restrictive rules that I resented were not put in place by my parents' heartfelt convictions, but by the leadership of our old church. I was relieved when some of the restrictions fell away but angry because I felt they had been unneeded all along.
     Then, I was enrolled in another Christian school, this time not a school at the church we attended. This school had a more open enrollment policy, and far fewer rules to follow. Some kids were enrolled there because of the status of attending a private school. Some were sent by their parents as an attempt to curb bad behavior. Suddenly, I was not surrounded by people who believed and thought as I did. I felt like I'd just arrived from a foreign country, and didn't understand the local culture. I became a target of ridicule by a few very vocal students. Remember, I still didn't have the close fellowship with God that I needed to face this kind of rejection. I felt completely alone.
     In response to my misery, my parents allowed me to switch to public school mid-year. At least there I was not made fun of, but my bad experience and the feeling that I was a social outcast made me too shy to attempt to choose friends. Instead, I just sat quietly with whoever would reach out to me. Exposed to

 

conversations about partying and sex, I often felt completely clueless. It was becoming apparent to me that the small group of church friends I'd left behind were the only other teens that practiced even the most explicit biblical commands, let alone the endless list of standards I'd been taught.
     I was sure I was defective. I didn't want to go back to that small church in Michigan, and I was clearly too warped to fit in anywhere else. I didn't feel I was better for following God's standards, just weird. I'd have chucked them all just to be accepted, and when given the chance, that's just what I did.
     Later, at a Christian college, I realized my mistake, but there are unfortunately no "do-overs" when it comes to life decisions that you regret. Now the tables were turned, and I wished to fit in with the godly girls whose "glow" I saw and envied. I wanted to be found attractive by the Christian guys who seemed to be doing something with their lives--some of whom were quite good looking, I might add--but I knew better. I'd heard plenty of sermons about how these good guys aren't interested in girls who've dragged their reputations through the mud, so I didn't even want to run the risk of certain rejection.
     I could go on, describing my attempts to fit in with "middle-of-the-road" Christians, and how I ended up dating a guy who skillfully portrayed himself as a Pastor's son and good guy who'd made a few mistakes, but actually ended up being a player who used me, negatively influenced me and made me feel even dirtier and more wicked than I already did. By the time we broke up, I can honestly say I hated myself. I guess like the prodigal son, I really had to end up in the pigpen before I learned to value my relationship with my Father.
     Thankfully, just as in that story, He lovingly reclaimed me, but I still bear the scars and loss of testimony that I thought would be "no big deal" back then.

     Forgetting the sin I've stored in my memory banks is still a daily struggle for me, and it makes my current life as a purity girl extra hard. If you heard something familiar in my life story, and especially if you feel friendless or like you're the "only one" who's trying to do right, I encourage you to read the following archived study, "Elijah the Loner." I also encourage you to take a long hard look at what you believe and why. It's not enough to follow the rules laid out for you by adults--if you don't know why you're doing them and if you don't choose them for yourself, you'll quickly give into temptation, just as I did.
     Please don't feel that you have to make the same mistakes I did. Your choices right now will influence your happiness today, ten years from today and for all eternity. The stakes are too high to gamble on sin.
     Choose purity. You're not alone.
                                   Purity Post Editor,
                                        Amy Schafer

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