This past Sunday I had the incredible privilege of participating in the crossover ceremony for my church's rites of passage ministry. I was thrilled to be asked to be a part, so thrilled in fact that I didn't pause long enough to totally take in what was being asked of me. It wasn't until the day of rehearsal that I realized my role was to present the girls with purity rings... huh? I'm sorry, what? Lol. Anyone who knows me knows that the raging feminist part of my psyche had an enormous problem with the idea of "purity rings." It smacks of sexism, and to me the idea of a young woman pledging her virginity to her parents or presenting her husband with her purity ring on her wedding night is kind of creepy. After all, will the boys also be presented with purity rings at their crossover ceremony next week??? Probably not.
This is not to in any way suggest that I do not believe that sex should be experienced in the context of the covenant relationship of marriage... of course I do. That is God's perfect will and God's best for our lives. Yet I have a huge problem with suggesting to young girls that if they step outside of God's will that they are somehow no longer "pure." That's ludicrous. So is this to say that I can love God, but making a wrong choice sexually makes me "impure," yet I can be mean and dishonest, with a nasty attitude without having sex and somehow I'm still pure????
After praying and asking God to show me the right way to present these rings and the importance of the moment, God elevated my perspective and gave the right words. The Lord helped me and ultimately the girls to understand that these purity rings are not about promising your parents that you will stay a virgin until you are 35; nor are they about proving to your future husband that you are still a virgin on your wedding night. Keeping yourself sexually is not about what you cannot do until you are married; it's so much more than that. Ultimately these rings are about being completely available to God for God's ultimate use without the guilt, shame, or distraction of having made wrong choices or having stepped outside of God's will sexually. More importantly these rings are less about the girls' purity and more about God's pure and unconditional love for each one of us, regardless of our choices. They are also a reminder that no matter how far you stray outside of God's perfect will, you can never go so far that God's love can't bring you back. My prayer for them is that when they look at those rings they will always know that they have a call and a purpose on their lives that transcends any human desire or decision.