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Bride’s guest blog: Why I saved myself for marriage

tash and kory guitar smile

Note from Jodie: Natasha wrote this last week, a few days before marrying her Prince Kory. I was comfortable asking her to consider writing about purity, because I know she has shared her heart about this with other women, and her words about healing and restoration will also be encouraging. Her mom and I are proud of her. Saturday’s wedding was spectacular. I’ll be sure to say more when the photos are available. Meanwhile, Kelly and I spent Sunday and Monday re-charging. I turned 50 a month ago, but I didn’t really feel 50 until now. About all I can recall about Sunday is that I think it rained.

Now … Natasha’s heart.

By NATASHA JACKSON MYRICK

When my dad asked me to write a post on purity, so many ideas went through my mind on how to write this. I feel like it would flow best writing it just as I would talk to ladies at a women’s retreat. But guys, this is for you, too.

I have saved myself for marriage. Purity is not something that religion and church scared into me. It’s not because I’m scared that God would strike me down if I were to have sex before marriage. There are several reasons why purity is something that I have practiced in my life.

First and foremost, I want to live to glorify God. So many times I fall so short of that. But at least I can try my best to serve and honor the Savior who bled and died for all of my sins and saved me from eternal misery and loneliness. God intends sex to be saved for marriage. In fact, God created sex specifically for marriage. Having sex outside of marriage would be a dishonor to God and His creation of sex.

I want to be a living testimony for other people – women, specifically – in the area of purity. Not many 20-something-year-olds can say that they have saved themselves for marriage. I’m not saying that to make anyone feel condemned or to make myself seem self-righteous or spiritually puffed up in any way. I want women to know that it is possible (even easy and carefree!) to live a wonderful, fun, romantic life without adding the drama of sex before marriage into the mix.

Clearly, I haven’t had sex yet. But I do know that when two people engage in sexual intercourse, a bond is made. Because God created sex for marriage and that is part of “becoming one” in a marriage, it’s clear to me that sex is meant to intensely bond two souls. Why would I want to bond with someone in that way other than my husband? Why would I allow my heart to go through an act of becoming one with another person when I’m actually not “one” with that person through marriage?

I want to say it again: My intent is not to come across as judgmental or condemning. These are just my thoughts and convictions. I want to honor my husband. I don’t want to bring anyone else into the marriage bed. That might sound harsh – but I feel like if I had sex with anyone else before my husband, I would be bringing all sorts of baggage into the first night. Maybe I would have unrealistic expectations, fears from experiences with a previous partner, etc. My husband might be thinking, “Do I measure up to what she’s experienced before?,” and be insecure to be completely open.

My body is not just something to be thrown around at any person who says they love me or woos me with their charm. My body is to be saved for a specific person: my husband. In the union of marriage, I know that there is a mutual trust there that isn’t there with just anyone else like in any other relationship. There is commitment there. True, I’m with you for life no matter what until we get old and gray type of commitment.

I have had girls ask me: “Well, if you know you’re going to marry someone, why wait to have sex?” I want my body to be a gift to my husband on our wedding. That will not only honor him, but be the greatest wedding gift and even the greatest gift of his life. I believe that if you have messed up and had sex before marriage that God will heal and restore. However, I want to bypass all of that hurt and drama, and really give my fiancé something to wait for. I want it to be a surprise and an exciting gift. I don’t want my gift to my husband to be something he has opened up before.

Have you seen that cell phone commercial where the dad gets his daughter her same exact phone for her birthday, just covered it up with a “new phone smell”? She wasn’t too excited, was she? It was something she had already received before. I want my marriage to be the first time he opens my gift that I have saved for him and haven’t let anyone else have. I have been asked a myriad of other questions about purity, but I think that my post would probably answer most of them.

Like I said before, God heals and restores. If you aren’t pure for your future husband, start practicing that now and pray for restoration and healing. God will honor your efforts to glorify him with your body.

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Filed under Family, Guest Blog, Inspiration, Wedding countdown

The Wedding Countdown: 2 days away

Line-in-Sand_3

Five, four, three, two …

Tomorrow will be one: One day until our youngest princess marries her prince. Natasha Jackson and Kory Myrick will tie the knot at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Today was a break-neck busy, dizzying sort of day. As Kelly and Natasha carefully applied swirls of icing to 124 cupcakes, I kept watch over three pork butts on the grill. I’m a charcoal-only guy, sworn to uphold the fine art of grilling by controlling the heat of a briquette – and the smoke of damp chunks of hickory. Once upon a time I thought that barbecuing was simply the act of putting a slab of meat on a grill over flames, with an occasional squirt of lighter fluid to keep the fire raging.

That’s what I now call “desecrating,” not barbecuing the meat. In fact, there’s nothing barbecue about my grilling these days. The sauce can go on the side after the morsels are properly grilled. I can’t even tell you how many years I snuffed out flavor with flame or thick sauce. Grilling is an art form that I seek to master.

A little while ago when I let the dog out I checked the grill – 8:30 p.m. – and the temperature gauge still read 175-degrees. That was exactly 12 hours after I put three pork butt roasts on the grill, flanked on both sides by white-hot briquettes, with a 9×12 drip pan under the meat – about 17 pounds worth of hog heaven. I checked periodically to make sure the temperature was between 225 and 275, turned the meat ever so gently when necessary, and kept the oak chips and chunks smoking after the first hour.

The smallest roast registered 170 degrees at the center just three hours later. The others came off the grill and 12:15 and 12:45, respectively. Given a good half hour for the juices to settle in but not too cool off to noticeably, those butts practically fell apart. The meat either pulled or shredded with ease, and I shared some burnt ends with Natasha as she iced cupcakes. Kelly got some samples of the interior goodness. She’s not a burnt ends fan and not a fan of the spices that gave the outer butt a nice kick: chili powder and cayenne pepper. My rub recipe, which was applied the day before, also includes a healthy amount of paprika (sweetness), salt, pepper, oregano and the primary ingredient: brown sugar.

The pulled pork, my grilled-finished mac and cheese (first time I’ve tried that) and other goodies will be the fare for Friday’s rehearsal dinner.

Tonight (I’m writing this Thursday) is my final entry for “How to Wreck Your Marriage.” Tomorrow’s, on wedding eve, I’ll give some pointers on what to do when you’ve wrecked your marriage.

Yeah. I have some experience. (Guys, I dare you to tell me you don’t).

And tonight, we’re talking about sex. And I’m talking to the guys.

Wrecking ball No. 15 – Believe that sexual purity and faithfulness to your wife is a line in the sand, and as long you don’t cross it, you’re pure.

See that line? You can get right up to it – inch your way closer, closer and right there, just not OVER the line – and you haven’t strayed from your vows. That’s the wrecking ball that will eventually knock you over the line if you keep standing there, toying with your thoughts, fantasies, the thrill of a pursuit or chase that, hey, is just a friendly sort of thing and, besides, all guys do that.

All guys do that: hardly needing to be lured or enticed to the line because they live right next to it. If you’re rationalizing the fantasies that play out in your head, you’re likely connected to others who also have their toes about a millimeter from that purity line. Just stay right there and I promise – You. Will. Wreck. Your. Marriage.

Here’s the thing about that line: It allows for “look but don’t touch,” to flirt and entice without consequences. But, ultimately, it allows for different options. When you’re comfortable enough toeing the line, any marital crisis, unaffectionate moment or indifference from your wife, or the desire to just be “a really good friend” to another woman in a time of need are life circumstances that lead to easy justification for crossing the line.
Every man needs to read “Every Man’s Battle,” subtitled, “Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time.”

See, here’s the deal: What you think you’ll gain in pleasure, approval, acceptance, confidence – whatever – by testing and eventually crossing that imaginary purity line amounts to a grain of sand compared to the pleasure, affirmation, dignity and strength of being faithful, from seeing the sexual connection of marriage as a body, mind, soul and spirit intimacy that comes from honoring and cherishing your wife.

I’m trying to avoid being preachy, but I need to say that my faith and value system is based on the belief that it’s up to each man to redeem manhood. And every man fights this battle. To the guy who believes that monogamy is old-fashioned and unachievable, my advice is to get far away from the woman who loves you, because you’re setting her up for unspeakable pain. Do her a favor and get out of her life now.

Tough words? No, the tough words come from the empty, tear-drained eyes that accompany the question, “How could you?”

So where is a man supposed to draw the purity line?

Nowhere. There isn’t a line that you can see, that if you simply stay on this side of it, you’re okay. Your wife’s hand, your wife’s heart, your wife’s trust and honor are your anchor. (Spiritually speaking, for us Christians the anchor is Jesus Christ, and the words of Paul the Apostle: “Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church.” There’s no line there, no other options. And it means battling to the death for your beloved princess. Not up for that? You’re not ready for marriage).

This sort of faithfulness and purity is possible, especially if you lock arms and hearts with other men who refuse to draw that line. And you’d better find those allies and partners-in-arms in every season of life. Our biological and sexual “wiring” is one thing. Our sexually-charged, anything-goes culture is out to wreck you: your marriage, your dignity, your manhood – your life.

Guys, no one has suggested this is easy. That’s why it’s called a battle. But every warrior headed for or engaged in battle asks himself, “Is this cause worth it?”

Is your wife worth it? Come on, ask yourself that question.

If you can see that line in the sand, you’re not saying, “Maybe not.” You’ve already said, “No.” You’ve answered that question long before you stepped across that line.

Playlist

Casting Crowns, “Slow Fade.” Please take five minutes to see this powerful music video.

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Filed under Family, Inspiration, Kelly, Wedding countdown