"I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you in with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt...and go out to dance with the joyful." - Jeremiah 31: 3-4

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Last night, I was unashamedly among millions of giddy and overly dramatic Twilight fans around the country at the midnight release of the third movie in the saga - Eclipse. I will not hold back in admitting that I was really excited to see this movie. I've been a lover of the books since they first came out and credit Edward, almost single-handedly, for being the catalyst in ending an unhealthy relationship. I know, it's pathetic but God works in mysterious ways, right? So as silly as this may sound, this story does hold a special place in my heart. :)

The theatre was packed, obviously, but we got there early enough to get pretty good seats. As soon as the movie began you could honestly feel everyone holding their breath, praying that this movie would not let us fans down as the first and second ones had. After the first scene, I was pretty confident that it would not disappoint! It was already head and shoulders above both Twilight and New Moon in acting, directing, special effects, lighting, camera work and just about every other thing that goes into making a movie! For the first time, you actually felt like Edward and Bella were really, truly, desperately in love with each other. Something that lacked in the previous films due to poor acting. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart are actually dating now in real life, but who knows. That's really not important.

But wow, before I got into a scene by scene description of the entire movie (which I could easily do because I really did enjoy this film), I want to get to my main point.

Towards the middle/end of the movie, there is a part where Edward and Bella have the house to themselves. They are sitting on a gorgeous bed that Edward bought simply because Bella would be staying the night (vampires don't sleep so there was never a bed in his house before). Edward reminds Bella of his request for her to marry him. An institution that Bella has little faith in due to her parents marriage and divorce at a young age. Bella has refused multiply times before, but this time comes prepared with a "compromise."

She tells Edward that she will marry him, under one condition. "Anything you want," is Edward's response. Bella proceeds to move closer to Edward and to keep it somewhat PG rated ... seduce him. After a short, sensually charged kissing session Edward pulls away. Bella is upset and Edward notices. He assures that he does indeed want to... but is trying to "protect her virtue." He tells Bella that he knows it's "not a modern thing" but he wants to marry her first before having sex. Bella next line brings me to my point --

"No, it's not modern. It's ancient."

At that... BOY! Did some sirens go off in my head! What the heck kind of message is this sending to all of these young girls watching this movie?!!? I'm currently working with a group of middle school girls and it APPALLED me to think that they may watch this and get the impression that saving sex for marriage is an ANCIENT idea!

Well, apparently someone else in the audience was having the same thoughts because not a second after those words left Bella's mouth I heard a mother (from the sound of her voice) call out "No it's not kids!" The whole theatre started laughing so much that we missed the next few lines. I replied with an "Amen!" along with others who were both agreeing and mocking the comment, but most were in agreement with some quick cheers and clapping. I must admit, it was pretty hysterical and I was honestly glad that someone had to guts to proclaim truth in front of nearly a hundred people.

Ultimately, Bella does agree to wait until they are married and Edward officially proposes, very romantically if I do say so myself, puts a ring on her finger and lifts her up off the bed to twirl her around while accompanied by the uber romantic soundtrack which makes every girl in the theatre let out a collective "awwwwwwwww." I'm not usually one to fall for the cheesy movie romance but I was all smiles. I couldn't help it, it was just one of those magic movie moments like when Rose jumps out of the lifeboat to go back to Jack in Titanic or when Noah exclaims "It wasn't over! It still isn't over!" and runs to kiss Ali in The Notebook. I'll stop now, but you get the point. Moments like that touch the hearts of women because it's what we were created to desire! God created us to be captivating in the eyes of our husbands so when we see things like this, it grabs at us in a way that not many can even explain and most men will never understand.

But unfortunately, out current culture has been slowly but surely crushing the true nature of romance. Even in the examples I gave, Jack and Rose, Noah and Ali - neither were married and both had sex. I can't even recall a movie right now where a couple actually gets married before they have sex. All of the romance we see in our current culture is romance outside of marriage.

In some way, I'm very happy with the Twilight series and with Stephenie Meyer for actually following the proper timeline of a relationship. Yes, of course it's not perfect and there's many flaws with the Bella/Edward relationship but ultimately, they do wait until they are officially, legally married before they have sex.

It's sad to me that I have to mentor these young middle school girls and constantly battle against what they are seeing on T.V., watching in movies and hearing in music every single day. There was a time when it was looked down upon to sleep around. Not so much anymore. I was watching a show on abc family recently, who's new slogan is "a new kind of family," and a new kind of family they are! Every one of their shows is based around terrible morals and no boundaries. In the show I was watching one of the characters, a 15 year old girl, actually said to her 15 year old friend "If you haven't been together in that way, then how do you know you're actually together?"

Really? REALLY?! I was disgusted. I'm actually getting angry writing about it now. How dare these producers try to convince these girls who are barely more than children that having sex is just what you do when you're in a relationship?!

I'm aware that I can become overly passionate about things like this, but this is an issue that I have zero tolerance for and refuse to defend in any way. It is 100% wrong.

What happens when these girls do have sex and find out the harsh reality that it's not all sunshine and roses! What happens when they are destroyed by the boys that they give themselves to and don't understand why they feel so empty, alone and confused when they were led to believe that sex would complete them and make them feel loved and worthy. What happens then?

It's something that's been bothering me a lot lately, especially since starting this job and being around these incredible young women. I hate to think that any of them will be seduced by our culture and begin to believe these lies.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone. If you know me well enough, you should know that I'm not saying this because I'm perfect and judging others who aren't. You know my story. You know where this passion comes from and you know that I am fully aware of the hope and restoration that Jesus Christ provides!

Girls -- realize what you're worth and don't settle for anything less than everything God has planned for you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Living for Jesus.

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."

I remember when I first came across this verse in Philippians. I meditated on it for quite a while, trying to figure out exactly what Paul was saying. It's one of those verses that sticks with you, probably for good reason.

I'm currently reading a book called "Back to Jerusalem" about the Chinese church and their vision to bring the gospel to all of the unreached nations between China and Jerusalem, most of which are nations that persecute and directly oppose Christians. It's an incredible story of faith, determination and the power of our Lord. But perhaps the most amazing part of the Chinese church is that they are fully prepared to die for Jesus Christ. Most even expect to die! They take what Paul said thousands of years ago and live it daily! They find no other purpose in their lives other than to share the good news of Jesus with people who have never heard His name. If they die along the way, it was for Christ and therefore gives more glory to His name!

At church on Sunday, I heard something that seemed to explain this verse and the faith of the Chinese church. In so many words, if you wouldn't give up everything for Christ (your home, car, money, zip code, etc.) and if you're not willing to die in the name of Jesus Christ, then you have no idea what it is to LIVE FOR CHRIST!

If you won't die for Jesus, then you're not living for Him! It's really that simple.

That's not to say that we should all wish death upon ourselves. Quite the opposite actually. We should all wish for ourselves a life so filled with the love of Christ so we can share His name! But if God wants you to uproot your life and move to another country, another state, even just to the next town over... would you? Would you die to yourself and allow God to live through you? Would you accept His will for your life or would you refuse because you don't want to give up your country club membership? More extremely, would you say "yes," if asked if you believe in Jesus even if the result was death?