When I was twenty years old, I attended a youth group at my church. Instead of preaching, the pastor chose five different people to share their testimonies. The first brunette girl talked about how her parents gave her up for adoption as a toddler, where she spent her childhood in different foster homes. One of her foster parents physically abused her. After finding God through a friend from high school, her life was never the same. The second speaker was a young punk rock dude addicted to drugs as a young teenager. One night, he overdosed. When he was about to die, he called out to God and said, “If you spare my life, I’ll believe in you.” Within a second, he sobered up and his body fully recovered.
People were cheering them on, and some were crying, including myself. But, as our pastor invited the fourth person to grab the mic, I thought, “do I have a testimony?”. My life seemed “basic” and “boring” relative to theirs. It would only take one minute for me to share my testimony, and I'm pretty sure the applause would be weak afterward. I felt ashamed of my story.
As the fourth person shared about being addicted to porn, I calculated everything I had never done. I had never been drunk, had sex, done drugs, or gone past first base with a guy. Does that mean I had no testimony?
Do you remember the game “never have I ever”? Well, I am really good at that game. Or bad. It depends if the motive is to get drunk. 🤪
I grew up in a loving, Christian home where my parents would dance in the kitchen together. Almost every night, my dad would kiss me on my forehead and tell me, “Riley, you are intelligent, beautiful, and special,” as he closed my bedroom door. I would fall asleep holding my bible and share the gospel with students during lunch break (haha yes I was “that girl” 🤦♀️🤷♀️). I hadn’t tried the things of “the world” because they didn’t seem appealing. The naughtiest thing I had done was make-out with my ex-boyfriend in the shower with my clothes on.
As the final person grabbed the mic, I continued questioning my testimony's legitimacy.
Suddenly, I heard the voice of God say,
“Riley, your testimony is one that I wish more of my children had.”
The more I replayed God's words in my mind, the more tears flowed from my eyes. I had never considered my story as one that God would want more people to have.
So, this journal is for the fellow “never have I ever”s of this world,
for the girls who have never had a boyfriend,
for the guys who haven’t gone on a first date,
for those who haven’t kissed someone,
for the ones who drink water at parties,
and those who say no to weed.
God is so proud of you.
I know how difficult it is to say no to the things of the world. You have walked the narrow pathway in life. You have been an outcast and mocked for some of your decisions. People call you mean names, and you can feel their laughter behind your back. You believe you’re falling behind on your “life timeline”.
I can say with full confidence that you’re not missing out! Some people will wish they had your story. Your “no”s are some of the most important choices in your life. Your “no"s have led you to freedom, purity and protection. You have protected yourself from heartbreak, hangovers, and addictions.
Also, I know it's embarrassing to mention your "lack of experience" to someone you are dating/interested in. I remember thinking, “what will he think when I tell him I've never kissed anyone? Ahhh what if he thinks I suck at kissing and so he won’t kiss me?”. Yet, my experience was a surprising delight. My first boyfriend was in awe that I hadn’t kissed anyone. And you want to know how my first kiss happened?! 🤫 While a full moon was shining on a deck lit by candles overlooking the ocean as he taught me how to waltz and kissed me at the end of a song!
I promise you that the people who are a good choice to date will value your purity and think your testimony is awesome. I told a dude I was a virgin at a party, and he said, “that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard! I’ve never met a virgin before. It tells me you hold your standards high and live out your values well. That sets you apart from all the other girls. You’re so freaking cool!”.
When I realized my list of never-have-I-ever’s was special, I started to feel really proud of myself. I would openly and loudly tell people at university parties that I hadn’t had sex, been drunk, etc. It was always such a surprise to people, and they had a lot of questions to ask. I took this opportunity to share my reasons and to explain how God's rules are amazing safeguards for your heart. I had girls tell me they didn’t sleep with him cause they were so inspired and would think, “what would Riley do?”. Or people who wouldn’t drink with me because I looked like, “I was having more fun than everyone else anyways.”
Be the reason your friends question what is “normal” and “acceptable” in the world. Be confident in your “no”s and determined to inspire others not to give in to social pressure!
My friend, one day, you’ll smile at yourself in the mirror on your wedding night cause you freaking did it. Despite all odds, you waited (or re-waited) to have sex. One day, you’ll be sitting at the kitchen counter telling your daughter that you have never been drunk or done drugs, and she’ll say “wow” and look at you like you’re her hero. One day, you’ll discover heaven was applauding you every time you chose God’s best over the ways of the world.
God is proud of your list of never-have-I-ever’s.
Now it’s time for you to be proud of yourself too!
👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏 👏
Journal of a Virgin