I had a moment in our ministry a few months back and I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. I’ve been trying to think about how to share it. I wish I knew how to change the way girls felt about themselves and the way the church talks about sex but I can’t do it alone…that is where you come in.

Here is what happened:

We were in our final week on sex and I spoke on what happens when you have gone too far. I challenged two lies that we believe about ourselves and going “too far.” The first one is that we are damaged goods, I apologized for any words that our students heard in church about being a used flower or a cup of water filled with spit…having sex doesn’t make you those things. God’s grace and love covers us…completely. I also briefly addressed those who were sexually abused…again, just briefly.

After my message we allowed students to text in questions. In EVERY service, at least one student texted in a question about whether or not God saw them as a virgin if they were sexually assaulted. Even typing this breaks my heart, how much have we focused on virginity that these girls (and possibly boys) who were victims of abuse are still worrying about how God sees them and if he is upset with them for losing their virginity? In that moment, I paused and told the students if this is you than you need to hear me loud and clear…Jesus doesn’t see any of us as virgins…He sees us as HIS beloved children. The end. Period. That is it. We paused and prayed. I wish who ever wrote those questions would have found me after the service, but they didn’t.

May this be a warning to us. When we talk about sex, virginity and God’s best for us…our students are listening and they are processing every word we say and they are looking for grace and hope.

Grace for the things we have chosen for ourselves.

Hope despite the things that have been done to us.

1 in 3 girls is a victim of sexual abuse before they are 18.

1 in 6 boys is a victim of sexual abuse before they are 18. {Taken from Parents for Megan’s Law}

We’ve made great progress in the conversation about sex, I am praying that we continue to make even more. May our youth ministries be places of grace and hope, where every student knows exactly how God sees them…as a son…and as a daughter.

Will you join me in a new conversation about virginity?