The title of Sierra’s Post “When Dreams Become Promises” stirred thoughts in me of another Dream, of other Promises that have brought their own dose of pain and disappointment and reality into my life: Dreams of an enduring, godly marriage and the Promises I made to God and myself in order to lay hold of that dream.
I made my first promise at the age of 14. “I promise to never date a non-christian”. It was the call to action given by a speaker at the summer church camp I attended that year. I knew it was right, I knew it was what God expected of me. How can “light fellowship with darkness”? Why would I build a life with someone I couldn’t hope to spend eternity in heaven with? What a heartache that would be! What a burden to bear, to be “unequally yoked”! I knew that God wanted what was best for me. I knew I could trust him. I knew I would never “compromise” my walk with God by dating a non-Christian.
The second promise came only a few, short years later, at the age of 16. “True Love Waits” was the name of the campaign. It was pretty popular that year in various area youth groups and on a national level. I still have the card that I taped to the inside cover of my Bible that year: ““Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.” Signed and dated. For my 16th birthday I even asked my dad to buy me a “purity ring”, a ring I would someday give to my husband to show him how I had saved myself for him, and him alone.
Then as I went through high school and built friendships with other “like-minded” and “strong” Christians, we started talking about “casual dating”, why it wasn’t good, the emotional repercussions and so on. We really believed it was important to only consider dating someone who we believed we could actually marry. By this time I knew I had a call to foreign missions so this drastically reduced any dating “options” for me. Not too many guys I knew were interested in heading off to live in the jungles of Africa!
I believe it was also around this time that Josh Haris’ book “I Kissed Dating Good-bye” started to appear in Christian circles. I had pretty much already concluded that casual dating was not for the “mature” Christian. My father had no interest in “choosing” my spouse for me. (Not that he was unconcerned, he just always said “you’re the one that has to live with him, not me! ) So while I never committed to courtship, in the purest sense, I was, nonetheless, convinced God would lead me to the “right man” at the “right time”. This was something I was leaving in his hands. I didn’t “trust” myself with a decision this weighty, I definitely knew I needed God’s guidance, direction, and seal of approval.