Know Your Boundaries

This is to the young girls, boys, women and men out there.

For those who don’t know my story thus far, I will give a quick summary so you can get to know me and the things I have faced and chosen in life.

In my 7th grade year, I met a boy. The perfect, most cutest boy ever in my eyes. The instant I met him, I was head over heels “in love”! Others ladies will relate that we fall in love pretty easy, especially when young. I new that this boy would be my husband one day. By the grace of God, he is now my husband and all mine after much struggle, heartache, and tears. Our dating life throughout high school was extremely unhealthy and a long story so we will just say that we dated on and off till about 11th grade. We began being sexually active at the age of 15 and I got pregnant at the age of 16. To say the least, that did not go over to well with the folks because I was raised in a Godly home and was taught right. We got married a month after our Cameron was born and have been on the fast track (as we like to call it) since then. We are now very happily married for 3 years, on fire for God, go to an amazing church called Church of the Highlands, have 2 boys and one on the way. We are in the process of buying our first house and my husband TJ is very successful at Verizon Wireless. All of this at the ages of 20 and 21. We are where we are because of God’s grace, forgiveness, and love. Our life would be drastically different without God and us being exposed to some different information early in our marriage.

Lately, the temptations that come our way when single or dating have really been laid on my heart. I have been asked a few times recently what my feelings and thoughts were during those times when I was making those decisions that I knew were wrong but ignored. I have asked myself the same question, wondering why I fell into those traps the enemy sets for us when single or dating. The simplest way to answer the question of “Why?’ is that I thought I was in love, I exposed myself to other sources outside of Gods Word, I was far from God, and I let my emotions take over rather than letting God take over. I have thought at times how different my life would be had I done things God’s way rather than Jessica’s way. I don’t by any means regret having my kids because children are a blessing, I only regret the decisions made that brought them into this world. I was always that little girl growing up that at first said I never wanted to leave home, then dreamed of leaving and having a family but always said I would save myself for marriage and I didn’t understand why people would have sex before marriage.

I know now that the temptations of this world are very strong and if we don’t have something stronger keeping us on the straight and narrow path, we will stray from what we know is right and find anything we can to justify it. A lot of people ask me if I chose to have sex because it assured me that he would stay with me or really loved me and I don’t remember ever thinking that. I can only say that I was far from truth and any truth I heard, I would try to ignore because I felt is was too late to turn back. They were all lies. It is never too late to turn back to God and change how you live.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. – 2 Chronicles 7:14

I am not going to say it will be easy because changing course is never easy or effortless but with God it is possible. I know many will say that I can talk about this now because I am married and don’t face that temptation anymore. Believe me when I say that I may not face that temptation but many others are thrown at me now because premarital sex isn’t something the enemy can come at me with. I tell you single guys and gals my story no matter if you are 12 or 100, giving in isn’t worth it. Our pastor is doing a series on Relationships right now and one of the biggest points that has been on my mind is that if God isn’t #1 in our life and we don’t look to Him to fulfill our needs and wants first, then the temptations out there become that much stronger because we are looking for love in the wrong places. Hollywood has painted these pictures in our mind of what love, romance, and relationships look like and those pictures just aren’t realistic. Movies show that sleeping around is just fun and cool. Our society has excepted this lie and because we watch these movies it is destroying what God intended relationships to look and feel like. This is why girls are getting pregnant younger and younger, divorce rates are through the roof, and many other things that are beginning to be excepted and condoned in our culture that is destroying the wonder that is love!

I want all of single, dating, engaged, and even married to look to God first to be filled and satisfied with true love and devotion, let God be first in your life, and let Him show you what love, romance, and happiness can really be like. One thing Pastor Chris said today is that it isn’t fair to put your total happiness is the hands of another human when that was intended for God to fill and for your significant other to just feed what God has already stirred up. I promise you, there is no better feeling than God being your true love.

I can not possibly stress enough that EVERY decision you make affects everything and everyone! It affects you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually but it also affects others in those areas as well. Whether you see it or not, others are watching you and you can be the light that shows them God’s way or the enemies way. Because of our decisions, we affected our families, our friends, acquaintances, and our children. When our children grow up, I so wish that I could tell them that Mommy and Daddy did things the way God desires and be the light they will be looking for in such a dark and conflicting world. So instead I praise God that I can tell them that what the enemy intended to destroy us, God turned around for good by bringing us back to truth so we could give them the best life and example by understanding what they will face and show them they are stronger than the enemies lies and can rise above whatever comes their way through the strength of God.

People who know us look at our life and think we have such a great life considering our age and situation. When I look at our life, I know and remember all the things we have had to overcome and change to get to where we are and don’t think much about it because I see everything, whereas others just see the outside stuff like our house, cars, success, etc. I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is all God. I want others to look at us and see a family that exemplifies Jesus in every way. I want people to know our true story. We aren’t where we are because we were dealt a lucky hand or things just happened to work out for us. We got here by a ton of hard work, struggle, difficulty, consistency, love, support, some victories but mainly by God’s grace and blessing.

I am not ashamed of where we are, but when some people hear I am about to have 3 kids, married, and only 20, some of the expressions are like the air just got knocked out of them and I am sure they have many thoughts about it. This was not the life I pictured for myself growing up at age 20. This was the life I dreamed to have by the time I was in my early thirties, but my decisions brought me here ahead of schedule and that’s okay because God has taught me a lot and I know he intends to use my experiences to encourage others that God’s way is best, even if we don’t see it in those moments.

To you ladies out there, all I can say is to not let your emotions get the best of you. Keep God first and be patient to see who He brings into your life to be your other half.  Don’t let the enemy whisper those lies in your ear, keep your mind free from the media out there that tells you what love should look like and look to God for the original portrait. Look at yourself and understand that you are special, unique, beautiful, and worth waiting for till you look your husband in the eye and say “I do”. If you have already messed up, then decide today to make God your true love, find a verse or verses to speak over yourself every day reassuring you that you are an overcomer and the old you is in the past and you are starting fresh with a new canvas giving God the paint brush.  Purity is the most special thing we possess and the greatest gift in our power to give to the one we devote the rest of our life to. Guard it like you guard your life. You will set yourself apart to know what man is worth your time by how he respects that gift. The ones who don’t, let them go.

To you men, I know that God has given you a different mindset. You don’t operate off emotions but things you see. I encourage you to keep God number one and to let Him be the one who fills you till he brings that special woman created for you into your life. The enemy knows your weaknesses best and will be like a roaring lion waiting to pounce on the opportunity to use your desires to lead you to fall. Respect yourself enough to limit your open opportunities to fall and keep accountability with someone you can be totally open and honest to keep you pure and safe from those moments. Understand that us women aren’t wired the same and we do truly run on emotions and how people make us feel. Show us love and respect, kindness, and devotion, dedication and honesty.  When dating, look at that woman in the way that she will be someones wife one day, whether yours or some other man. Think about who you would want to marry and how great it would feel to know that you are the one and only and respect her enough that whoever she marries, she will be able to tell him he is her one and only.

The reason I entitled this “Know Your Boundaries” is because it is crucial to know and respect your weaknesses and strengths. We have been given a sense called conviction when we begin to get near a bad situation or decision, some ignore it and some recognize it and back away because they respect the consequences that come with it. What my mom tells me is to “play that tape all the way through.” Look down the road and look at worse case and best case scenarios and of course always keep what God’s word says in front of you.

So play your tapes out! Know the right choice is always best! Know your boundaries and keep them. Honor yourself, God and others. Let God be the painter and you be the canvas. The end result is always more beautiful!

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. – Psalm 18:30