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Sex Talk :: First Things First

Wednesday, May 29, 2013  ::   3 important comments

If you want your kids to grow up with the healthiest possible view on their own sexuality, you better have a healthy view of your own sexuality. Have you thought about that? How can I teach my kids something about who they are if I have no idea who I am?

If I want to teach Esther to drive a stick shift, then I must know how to drive a stick shift.

If I want impart my baking skills to Morgan and Carah, then I should know how to make delicious cookies.

If I want Kyle to excel in his crazy difficult school studies, then I better get him a tutor. Ha!

Of course all of my kids can learn wonderful skills without my influence, and they do! But when it comes to their view on sexuality, Chad and I want to be their main teachers and influences. I will not leave it to chance, others, or their own exploration. They are too valuable. Becoming the best teacher for them in this area is not an option.

As I shared in my last post, I had some personal work to do in my view of myself. I felt shrouded in shame and because of the unfortunate and unintended message of the church, I felt liked damaged goods. Thankfully, I experienced God's all-sufficient grace to me at a very young age. Some of the first healing he spoke into my life was through a perfect white rose in a beautiful rose garden. His words brought comfort, whispering to my heart that he saw me as pure as the rose I held in my hands. The difficulty came in the years of struggle, confession, and mind re-wiring of forgiving myself. Looking back I can see all the work sown into finding freedom and health enabled me to speak freely, openly, healthily about sex to my kids.

Each of us has a story in this area. The personal discernment of your own thoughts is a great place to start. Are you aware? Have you thought through your own upbringing and exposure to sex? Did your family talk about it? How? Openly? Discreetly? With confidence? With purity? What is your view on modesty? How did this view form? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Do you know about brain development in children and adolescents and how to talk to them with age appropriateness in these areas? Are you a question asker not only of others, but also of yourself? Think. I mean, thiiiink about these questions and others deeply, for your sake, for your kids' sake, and for the glory of God.

Once you've established a healthy growing desire to learn and mature with your family, you're all set. Notice I did not say, "Once you've got it all figured out you can start having conversations." Friends, I learn new ways of communicating deep things to my kids all the time. A good parent is not someone who is the perfect expert at everything. A good parent is someone who is on a journey of learning and growing to impart truth, wisdom, and understanding to your children. Knowing the difference is freedom.

It frees you to say, "I'm sorry, child."
To say, "That is a great question and I do not know the answer, but I will find out."
To say, "You are going through some whacky changes that I do not understand, but I will research to see what I can learn and not hold these changes against you or make fun of you or punish you out of my frustration."
To say, "I don't want you to behave in this way because it is destructive towards you and those around you. I want the very best for you."
To say, "I love you. I'm not the expert, but I'm your parent and God entrusted you to me to steward to the best of my ability and the best means I will read, study, pray, learn, grow with you."

As you journey in sharing very deep concepts with your kids, check your heart to make sure you've wrestled these very deep concepts for yourself. First things first! It is the same idea we hear on airplanes whenever we fly. "Please put on your oxygen mask before you assist those around you." Fresh oxygen gives you the perspective and ability to help. If you are still breathing in wrong thinking and ideas of sexuality, you will be unable to help your kids develop and grow with extreme health in these areas. Note: This is why the questions above are so very important. You do not have to have a story like mine to have an unhealthy view on sex. If you know nothing of biblical sexuality, but try to teach someone about it, aren't you trying to put on their oxygen mask before you've taken care of your own? Come to a place of ease, peace, beauty, healing, contentment in these topics so that you can communicate with your family without fear, prudishness, inappropriate humor, ignorance, or scientifically wrong information.

Is it a huge assignment? Yes. Absolutely. But, look around! Look at what the world is telling our sons and daughters about their bodies! I will take the assignment and do all the extra credit I can to give my kids the view that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, that God has purposed them to worship Him with their bodies, that He has called them to live a pure life that pleases him.  

Some of you may want to ask me if I may be over-thinking all of this a bit. Well, yes. I am. That's the story of my life. But, I hear on a fairly consistent basis what great kids I have...God's grace, prayer,  intentionality, and over-thinking, my friends.

Do any of the above questions resonate with you? Do you have a close friend or confidant with whom you can discuss these ideas? Have you considered seeking biblical counseling for areas you may feel stuck in your own healing process? If first things first is true, what is the first (or next) thing you need to do to continue to walk towards health in talking with your kids about sex?

Talking Sex :: A New Series

Monday, May 27, 2013  ::   8 important comments

I walked blindly past my family who sat in the living room. Sitting on my bed, staring at the wall while a tune from the top ten radio songs of 1988 filled the silence. Maybe it was George Michael's Faith.

"But I've got to think twice, Before I give my heart away, And I know all the games you play, Because I play them too...Cause you gotta have faith, faith, faith."

My heart longed to be noticed, to be valued, to be loved. The year was filled with personal turmoil. My friends had changed their minds about being my friends. I had unknowingly made some bitter enemies who worked tirelessly for my demise. An older boy pretending to be a man continued to force his way into my space, my regrets.

But this boy was different. I talked on the phone with him late into the night almost every night, hidden under my covers to disguise my disobedience. He shared his dreams and his dark thoughts with me. I felt noticed, valued, loved. Because I assumed I was so utterly alone and despised by all who knew me, the attention he gave me was intoxicating. If I couldn't be physically smashed by the alcohol I consumed on the weekends, then I created space to be under his influence in my emotions. His urges for more than I was willing to give him were flattering at first and easy to deny.

But now I sat numb in my room. My life was changed. I was a lonely, shattered girl pretending to be a woman.

This journey towards exploration and confusion started with kids in our neighborhood when I was in primary school. They had magazines full of nakedness and we all drank it in. I saw perfectly sculpted women and believed beauty to outward, manipulative, sexual. My thoughts sunk to levels that I had no ability to understand. These thoughts plagued me and followed me into desperate places. Sexuality became soap operas and magazines which were left to the interpretation of me and my childhood friends which only grew into what a boy would want, what I was strong enough to deny, and how long I could manipulate and avoid the reputation of being one of those girls, even though I already knew I could be the leader of those girls.

As I became a mom I found myself begging God for purity over my sweet new baby girl. My motive for her purity and her future siblings was based in fear, not in holiness. I longed for my precious treasures to escape the pain and work of walking towards health and wholeness in their sexuality. As the years have gone by, my motives in desiring to raise them up in the way of Jesus so they can walk in freedom and know for sure that they are noticed, valued, loved have matured.

I'm sure you've thought about the sinking sand of sexual turmoil that surrounds our children. Do you realize they are constantly bombarded in ways that make my childhood temptations look small? Commercials, store fronts, jokes, the internet, magazines at grocery store checkout lines, and peers at baseball, drama club, or school speak of situations and scenarios their young minds have no capacity to translate.

Speaking of the culture and world around us, 2 Peter 2:14 says, "They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed." On Sunday Chad taught about this verse. He explained to us that Peter warned that culture looks at every woman considering them as a candidate for adultery. I wanted to puke and weep all at the same time, thinking through my own story and all I've sown into my own kids to protect them from such heart break.

Most of you know I am passionate about raising up my kids to honor God, to walk in freedom, to know they are purposed to act justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with Jesus. They are treasures God gave Chad and me to steward, so I strive to steward with action and intentionality. I pray, read, research, talk with others, and seek to understand so we can parent them to the glory of God. This most definitely includes discussing sex and sexuality with each of them. These discussions continue to grow and mature through each new stage and situation my kids face. I draw from the Spirit in my life, my own experiences, and helpful resources to do the very best I can to point to health and Jesus with each question and concern they have.

I've wanted to write a specific series about talking to kids about sex for awhile. The message Chad preached coupled with the age of my family spurred me to action. While I'm not sure how many posts I will write, I am sure this is necessary and some of you have asked me to do it.

Thanks be to God that He makes all things new. He continues to speak His love and value over my life. He loves me, of that I am sure. He makes beautiful things out of us, doesn't He?

These guys? They slay me. They are so worth the effort!  

If you have specific questions you would like me to address in this series, please leave a comment or send me an email.