Isn’t it FANTASTIC when you quit following your own plans, pledge to follow God’s plan for your life, and then God rewards you with your previous heart’s desires?
What started it for me? Where? When?
I grew up in a tiny mountain town in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. My first school contained grades Kindergarten through 8th grade and averaged 200 students in attendance. My graduating 8th grade class had 21 students in it. 17 of us graduating had gone to school together since Kindergarten! In such a small community, there were very few secrets among students. Sadly, that also means I heard tale after tale as classmate after classmate made the poor decision to trade-in their purity for all sorts of “reasons”.
Moving onto high school did not improve things much. Initially, I found a group of girls to be close friends with whom all seemed devoted to remaining pure, but slowly and surely many made the irreversible bad decision to lose their purity. Being aware of the untold number of risks in premarital sex (not to mention my own Mother waited for marriage, and I was the “all-knowing” teenager who could easily do better than my Mother in life!)… I vowed to wait for marriage so I could maintain my health and be an example to other girls (possibly even my own daughters) someday, just as my Mother provided a great example for me. Unfortunately, this prior-commitment eventually caused the termination of my relationship with my first real boyfriend. My commitment to virginity also impaired my ability to find and maintain dates. Some of my girlfriends who did not wait, were kind and openly wished they had waited as I did, others were indifferent, while some just slowly pushed me out of their lives or boldly accused me of being a “snob” or a “goody-goody”.
“Purity”, especially once I graduated high school, was just not a highly valued commodity, it seemed, especially among females. In college, oddly enough, I ended up “hanging out” with guys a lot, as I was “safe” to them. I was undauntedly verbal about and openly lived my unusual moral commitments and they actually appreciated it. I also like to have good, genuine, clean fun. I enjoyed country-western dancing, riding motorcycles, jumping off a tailgate into a river on a hot afternoon, running out “spur-of-the-moment” for all-you-can-eat spaghetti (without needing to do my hair and make-up first), and could certainly be counted on to grab one of my fishing rods and sit silently from midnight until 4am at some abandoned pond to catch a few catfish.
I left that life, (I learned later) just a few days before a large bouquet delivery was attempted to be made to me at the room I rented from a friend. Apparently my happy virgin lifestyle had not gone completely un-appreciated. The sender remains a mystery to this day, but the fact that someone actually noticed me and cared enough to send it, in spite of my moral commitments, was uplifting and encouraging.
After that single semester in college, however, I was given the amazing opportunity to begin traveling the world as a fashion model. I decided to do my best to prove that even in the highly tainted and sinful world of modeling, morals could be adhered to. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I did change my opinion of what constituted “morals” a certain amount, too. I gave up my single-piece swimsuits for miniscule bikinis and had no second thoughts about the large paycheck that accompanied modeling for lingerie catalogs. I no longer was a shirt & jeans type girl, but owned several “mini-skirts” and dresses of similar hemline to wear to castings (job interviews) and “high society” nightclubs.
Even though I did relax and demolish certain guidelines I previously lived by, I remained committed to waiting for marriage. So, though I spent three years traveling the world to places including New York City (New York), Miami (Florida), Dallas (Texas), Paris (France), Milano & Livorno (Italy), and Tokyo & Osaka (Japan), I was not considered seriously for many jobs and never asked back a second time to numerous others, due to my simple commitment to remain chaste until marriage.
Near the end of my modeling career (age 20), I met several beautiful models whom were “retiring” at the ages of 27-32. They had spent 10-12 years moving from country to country according to the fashion seasons and had no more in the bank than I did after three years of doing the same. They worked less and less each season with the regular influx of “fresh” faces into the industry. Slight (permanent) lines were showing on their faces and a couple had prematurely grey hair from consistently living the stressful transient lifestyle of a model. It would be another 10 years before they could hope to model full-time again in the next age category for “Motherly-looking” models. Worst of all, to me, they were around 30 years old and had no college education and no family.
Fortunately, God worked to open my eyes to the years I could waste seeking glory in a career of modeling. He, then, opened my eyes further to show me how I could spend those years more profitably by seeking an education and family for myself.
Thankfully, God had arranged for me to marry a Southern gentleman whom, from our first date, genuinely appreciated my commitment to waiting for marriage. Each time I “informed” him of certain moral guidelines I lived by (and exhaled to myself that I would never hear from him again), he only seemed to call me back for another date even more quickly! He was such a refreshing change from most of what I had encountered for so many years. Though I was not ready to commit to a serious relationship initially, my Southern gentleman was endearingly patient with me. We finally “tied the knot” in September 2001, over 2 years since we had met and just three months before my 22nd birthday.
Shortly after marrying I continued working, but, God led me to focus on raising our family (I was blessed with a young step-son) instead of completing my college degree. I also gave up a formal career as I became a full-time stay-at-home wife and mother shortly before our first daughter was born. As our children and family size grew we quickly decided that education through homeschooling was the best option for our family, so I gave up the possibility of being wife-mother-professional and I committed myself to be the best wife-mother-teacher I could be.
For eight years, that is what I did. However, due to advances in technology, I did formally earn my Associate of the Arts Degree online a couple years ago. At that point in my life, I very happily noted that I was not retiring from modeling at the age of 32, but was blessed abundantly with a fantastic husband, a large beautiful family and a college degree. Yet, God did not stop there!
Now, years later, by supporting my husband instead of seeking a career of my own, I have been rewarded with one of my nearly lifelong desires.
I was recently blessed with the opportunity to speak to my husband’s junior high students a few weeks ago, to encourage them to WAIT for marriage (his school uses the “Worth The Wait” program at the end of each school year). I was able to relate my brief story to his class and then meet separately with just the girls to answer questions and to encourage them to wait for marriage too, no matter which types of situations they may encounter in life. I knew that if I could have a real impact on even one student, it would be well worth my efforts, even if I never knew for sure.
However, God was so gracious, that within 24 hours of my teaching the class, my husband received comments from students and even an email from a parent, appreciating the “class” that I taught for the girls and boys. Wow. God gave me prompt confirmation of my efforts being successful, even though He didn’t have to!
I believe God has given me the opportunity to fulfill my heart’s desire of encouraging girls to wait for marriage as a reward for my setting aside what I thought I wanted (a traditional career and a ministry for girls) in order to fulfill what God wants for me (being the supporting wife of my husband’s career and raising a family for His glory).
As a wife, there is nothing more important than supporting your husband whom God has given to you to be the spiritual head (and, except in odd circumstances, the financial head) of your family. You may have to give up what you have desired or planned for your life in order to be a God-seeking supportive wife. However, when you do finally fully commit and embrace the life God has planned for you instead of still clinging to the last tendrils of the life you planned, joy and peace will finally overflow (and, who knows?, God may just grant you your life’s desire too, he is certainly able!).
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
1 John 5:13-15
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.