In Need of True Love Waits Advice
I’m terribly excited that beginning this Sunday, I’ll be working alongside a wonderful team of women teaching a True Love Waits class to our teen girls at church. I’ve read plenty of Scripture and several great books on the topic of purity but now I’m in need of some practical advice since I’ve not done this type of small group before.
Luke and I have talked to several other pastor/ministry friends who’ve started us in a great direction, but I would negligent if I didn’t ask all you girls because I KNOW there’s a gang of you out there who have done this thing many times over. I’m all about pursuing things with excellence so, NO, I’m not ashamed to be asking for help!
I guess what I’m looking for here is how to best approach the one-on-one aspect of reaching the girls. Did you do small breakout groups? (We have about 20 enrolled – mostly 7th – 10th grade) Did you find that the girls overshare? Did you find that LEADERS are tempted to overshare? Are there certain activities they enjoy more so than others? Discussion starters they are more likely to respond to? Give me the nitty gritty! I want to know what to be alert to so I can best prepare and also help the team of women who will be working together on this.
Okay, I’ve got to run out the door. A new baby cousin has arrived and I’ve got to go kiss his sweet face! I hope to have a ton of email from you when I get back! :)))
When I was in middle school I read through a book called “Lady in Waiting” and i LOVED this book. I gave it to all my girlfriends as gifts and they all loved the book as well. It’s about waiting for the man God has for you, and remaining pure. It talks a lot about ruth’s story.
It’s short, but it would be a good reference.
I have not done this yet but I am anxious to find out how it goes b/c my hubby and I are considering leading a small group on this topic as well
Definitely a MUCH needed Study!
Actually, I think the big group forum works best. It creates enough anonymity for those who might've already "messed up" and are embarrassed/ashamed and want to hide.
By forum, I mean having a Q&A time with the "leaders," where they write in anonymous questions. You can also plant your own questions in there as well.
A few testimonies thrown in there – one of someone who waited. One of someone who didn't. College/mid-20s girls are also a VERY smart way to go here. They're seen as "cool" and in-the-know and use modern slang without sounding too old, but are old enough to set an example for the teens.
Possible topics to cover:
*Draw the line before there's someone to cross the line (in other words, don't wait to decide what's "too far" in the heat of the moment.)
*What if you've already gone too far? (emotional, physical issues along with that. And spiritual purity/forgiveness/redemption. And, "Just because you HAVE messed up, doesn't mean you ARE messed up for good.")
*Is it ok to cohabitate if you're not having sex?
I also asked my readers to share similar wisdom with me a few weeks ago… You might find some of the insights helpful in "wording" things with a modern feel: http://mandythompson.com/2009/03/06/the-girls-want-to-know-about-cohabitation/
*Here's a nugget: A dear friend of mine (who just got married – grin) told me recently that she's never heard anyone say they regret not "going farther" before marriage – but she's definitely heard a LOT of people say how far they did go before marriage. Good point.
I'm gonna stop there. Sorry. But seriously, I could keep going. I've got lots of stories.
I don’t know but I sent the link to your bloggy to a few friends of mine in ministry who might be able to provide info. I’m interested in this, being the mom of 2 teenage daughters!
I remember going through True Love Waits with Mrs. Huber. It was an incredible study… My biggest piece of advice would be to keep the girls split up into small groups. A 7th grade girl & a 12th grade girl are on completely different "levels" of life, as well as maturity. And I can honestly say I truly know that now, through teaching my high-schoolers on a daily basis.
Lisa, I’ve not posted before, but I’ve recently been following your blog. This is a topic dear to my heart as I have a soon-to-be 20-year-old daughter at college who mentors several high school girls, and I have the blessing of having been the “hub” for all of her friends when she still lived at home. It’s one of my favorite things when they come in from out of town and call me for lunch! Because I have been through an excruciating marriage and divorce, these girls somehow feel comfortable coming to me, and we all know how we like everyone’s mom but our own when we’re in middle/high school. I had one sweet girl say, “My mom and dad met in high school and they’ve been perfect ever since, so I can’t talk to her – but you’ve been broken.”
So I’d say that it would be valuable for you to have someone who has been “broken” available for the girls. Also, I do think that leaders tend to overshare and girls that age (especially middle school) tend to undershare IN GROUPS. I’d highly recommend that you allow them the opportunity to write you letters that you emphasize will NEVER go farther than your eyes and God’s ears. It will pour from them when they feel safe. The younger ones are terrified of being different more than anything else, and many will follow peers right off a cliff rather than be noticed as different.
I’d start with a very hands-on activity for icebreaker. I’ve found that many girls that age have moms who don’t cook or don’t have time to cook. They used to flock to my house just to bake and eat, bake and eat – or to cook whole meals with me. There’s something very safe about a kitchen, so if you can incorporate that, even with two sets of 10 girls or all 20 in a church kitchen, you may enjoy the results.
Also, Beth Moore posted a precious story on her blog sometime last year – she had just been to a friend’s daughter’s wedding and it was a lovely story about a princess and the edge of a cliff. It really stuck with my girl. I don’t have time to find the link, but when is it not fun to scroll back through her blog!?
Hope this helps –
Sadly I think that our culture has forgotten what purity really means. As I was thinking about this, the following statement came to me. Before you are married, do not touch in private what you would not touch in public.
As the parent of two that did not wait and one that is, I am often left to wonder what my kids really consider what true purity is.
Just my two cents worth.
Well, I was feeling a bombardment of thoughts over this life/death issue, and then I scrolled down to read that my Mandy Lu had already commented the things I could have thought, and in a better fashion!
DO seek to maintain some anonymity, and as time progresses, individual girls may then feel the freedom and trust to approach you one-on-one. (We don’t want to create gossip, comparison, or insecurity amongst girls who ‘have done’ something and those who ‘have not.’)
DO try to have a night where you can bring in those godly 20 something year olds.
DO be honest with personal struggles W/O the specifics…they need to be able to feel as though they can share their own wit someone.
And BE PREPARED for the generational enduring question of “How far is too far!!!???’ ahhh! lol! Tell them if they’re having to ask that question, it’s likely already too far! Trust me :)
I think Mandy has given you some wonderful suggestions, particularly bringing in some older girls. My college aged daughters volunteer with Young Life near their university and its amazing how easily girls confide in them. The key there is relationship and I am wondering if you already know these girls well. If not I’d say spend some time initially developing that because I think relationship is the key to girls feeling they can share on this topic with you.
I think the opportunity to ask questions and/or write letters anonymously is important.
I also agree with Wendy’s suggestion to have another comfort activity going (she suggested cooking)…takes the pressure off and kids feel free-er to talk if they’re doing something else.
Also, I would just add that while you don’t want leaders oversharing they should be prepared to answer the question, ‘Did you wait?’ if asked. I’ve been asked this question by teenagers and I think it’s good to have a clear idea of how you’ll respond before you’re asked.
Sorry for the long comment-as the mother of two daughters this topic is near and dear to my heart. Blessings to you and your team in this..it’s a minefield out there for teenagers.
Just to encourage you, True Love Waits changed my life in high school. My parents did not become Christians until I was in high school, so they were ill-equipped (at the time) to teach me about purity. TLW was my first experience that you waited til marriage, not just when you were in love.
As above readers said, I think testimonies are awesome. But if you have someone who did not wait, obviously make sure they are healed, forgiven themselves, etc. (Which I know you would).
A huge point to emphasize is that there are many others things that are impure, not just sex itself.
I also agree about making sure they understand forgiveness, etc, if they’ve messed up.
One big thing, to me, is not so much to focus on NO SEX, but to glorify the joys of waiting. Hormones are powerful, but if the girlies can see the reason for waiting, then it helps.
We do a girls thing like this, and at the end, they have a man speak on the father heart of God….what God truly thinks of them. That is powerful to hear they are valuable to their Father.
I know it may be a girls’ weekend, but even having a testimony of a young married man (or single would work too maybe?) sharing from his heart of the joys of waiting is powerful.
Sorry so much! Best wishes :)
Woohoo!! I am so excited that you are doing this! I work with youth and have done quite a bit with the girlies…
Lady in Waiting is a good book. The top two books that I have found to be good resources are: Every Young Woman's Battle by Shannon Ethridge & Stephen Arterburn. This focuses more on the physical issues with young women (sex, clothing, even masterbation. Is that okay to mention?) along with the mind and heart. It also has a workbook that helps with questions. It is a bit more on the serious side, but you could use it as small group guides.
But face it, most girls like to talk about boys, whether they do it in front of adults or not. But there is a great book called For Young Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn & Lisa A. Rice. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I read For Women Only and I thought I knew my husband until this book. It's small and short and it talks about boys and what they expect from girls. It's obviously good to know your boundaries and to protect yourself, but we have found working with youth if they don't understand how the opposite sex thinks in regards to themselves and YOU, you are basically going to battle with one eye closed. Half of boot camp under your belt. And when you open topics about boys, they will talk. TRUST ME! It makes it easy to transition when they have opened up a bit. But this book is great and you may already know that it was written out of a survey taken from guys.
Let us kow how it goes.
I did His Girl this summer with about 10 jr and sr high girls at my house. They seemed to like the coziness of a home and loved lunch afterwards!
My girls didn’t share to much. At times it was like pulling teeth.
But I also think that because I was the preachers wife and a friend to most of their mothers they didn’t want to tell ME too much. Afraid that I would run and tell.
I think the idea of writing the leader a letter (even annonymously) is a great idea. Wish I had thought of it, it would have worked in my group.
I agree that the leaders should know how they will respond with the “did you wait?” question. It will come up and you need to be prepared to answer it.
I had even thought of taking a survey of our youth guys (stealing the idea from Shaunti Feldhahn) so that our girls could see how the guys they know think.
Keep us updated.
I agree that for more generalized talks and response the age span you have may be okay, but for nitty gritty details and heart-to-heart, it needs to be broken out into younger and older.
Cool, God-pursuing young women in their early 20s are an excellent buffer and transition.
The female portion of our Youth Leaders have recently been reading and presenting The Technical Virgin and Sexy Girls, by Hayley DiMarco
I have enjoyed reading your comments. I am excited about being part of the team. Especially since my baby girl (who is going to be the oldest in the class) is attending. As I have spent time with many of these young girls I am amazed at what is going on in their young lives and pray that we can be some kind of help for them.
We had a 5th and 6th grade retreat for boys and girls last year at our church. I got to have “the” talk with the girls. One visual aid I used: gift wrap two small boxes, one in Sunday comics and one in gold foil paper. Tape the comics with duct tape and then run over the box with your car, in general, make it as unappetizing as possible. Place a large gold bow on the gold box. We can take the gold bow off the gold box and put it on the “used and abused” box, it makes it look okay on the outside. But, our past choices stay with us and God can’t change that. Keep the gold box ready for your wedding night!
This is a great subject. Currently I’m a pastor’s wife, prior to him taking the pastorate, we worked with youth from a group home. Talk about a double whammy, modesty and purtity were on our list as well as salvation. The relationship is key. They have to trust you.
I am also involved with the local Sexual Assault Center. The age group with the most assaults is 12-17. This age group needs to know that it is okay to say no. It doesn’t matter how they are dressed or how far it has already gotten. They also need to know is is okay to tell if they are assaulted. That is a huge burden to try to carry for the rest of her life. I can send some more resources on that, scenarios, topic startes, etc.
Lisa — as the Mom to two girls (16 & 22) we've been through several True Love Waits programs. In fact my youngest calls Feb. the sex talk month, because our youth pastor focuses on relationships in Feb. Here's some advice from a Mom who's been there:
1. Build the trust with these young people. You may have it already, but if not build relationships first.
2. Don't overshare. I've seen leaders (not you, of course), mostly young adults who will use this forum as a way to get over their personal guilt over bad decisions. (ie, I've messed up and let me tell you exactly how so you won't do it. See how God is using my mistakes to bless you with knowledge, now, let's pray. AMEN).
And yes, this happened to one of my girls. She learned more from that leader than she ever knew before. I was thrilled with that little happening.
3. I think we're really good at telling kids to wait, but we need to tell them the reason Why.
4. Be available for talking after class. That's when you'll learn more – in the down time.
THANK you for investing in these young adults. I adore this age group! Teens are fun!
Lisa: I am so blessed by this post and I KNOW you will be awesome and use your discerning heart and it will be a time of great ministry for these girls. I pray it goes well.
As the mother of boys, I’ve never had the girl-time-talk, but I’ll tell you this – my husband and I taught them that purity is a precious treasure. We gave both our boys purity rings, went out to dinner and presented them, it was so special. They also “wrote up” their dating standards before they started dating, and we reviewe them. It was so great!!!
My men were both pure on their wedding days, as were their brides…it doesn’t get any better than that.
Lisa: Here’s the poem that came with our boys’ purity rings (they were gold with a cross in the middle) for purity.
This is from a guy’s standpoint. Talk to the girls about dressing with modesty…it matters!!!
The Rugged Cross
By James Louviere
Manly was His virtue.
Steady was His gaze.
“Who is this that even
Stormy wind and sea obeys?”
Heavy was His burden.
Rugged was His way.
It hurts to know my sins increased
The price He had to pay.
In full, indeed, He paid it;
So now I can be free.
To live the life He carefully
Selected just for me.
I know it won’t be easy.
I’ll feel the push and shove
He, too, felt it, so I’d feel
The power of His Love.
I wear a rugged cross to show
His love is tried and true.
He’s won the fight and earned the right
To tell me what to do.
Now when I’m tried and tempted
I’ll remember, He is Boss;
And lovingly remember
He too, wore a rugged cross.
I have not done this but I just heard something on the radio recently that I found very interesting. They were talking about how the Church often still subconsciously presents sex, even married sex, as something dirty. As an example – the phrase “keep pure until marriage”. It implies that you will not be pure AFTER marriage. You know? We need to keep pure until marriage – and beyond!
The most powerful thing I ever saw as a single girl was when a guy came and talked to youth and had a FedEx package, and he said, what if you got a FedEx package from God, and inside was a framed photograph of a guy. A note from God said, this is your husband, you will meet him in about 10 years. If you had that picture on your nightstand and saw it every day, how would that change the way you behaved with all your boyfriends between now and and when you met him?
The point being, of course, that God has already chosen your mate, he’s still invisible – but he is real.
All other analogies I have ever heard have been pretty cheesy – the duct tape, the licking the peanut butter sandwich, etc. Dorky. But that one, that one hit home.
I really, really think you need to discuss p*rn as well. It is just so prevalent nowadays, to not discuss it would be naive.
Hey- I don’t think I’ve ever commented; I’m delurking :) My husband and I are youth pastors and I’ve been a part of several purity small groups with various teaching materials. In my experience, the girls were at first reluctant to share, but once we got rolling they participated, but usually with prompting – the leaders, at one experience in particular, tended to overshare. Hope this helps! I really enjoy your blog.
Wow, I am so behind in blogworld, but I ditto all of these comments. And, it is far too late for me to go into detail of my opinions. This is when I just wish we could talk over a cup of coffee. You’ll do great, friend! Love you much.