Sunday, May 07, 2006

Jepthah's daughter: Intense purity

I was reading this passage in the Old Testament not long ago, and I was struck by the purity in Jepthah's daughter. Read this passage before I continue. (Jepthah has just defeated the Ammonites)

When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter--his only child--ran out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. "My daughter!" he cried out. "My heart is breaking! What a tragedy that you came out to greet me. For I have made a vow to the Lord and cannot take it back."

And she said, "Father, you have made a promise to the Lord. You must do to me what you have promised, for the Lord has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites. But first let me go up and roam in the hills and weep with my friends for two months, because I will die a virgin."

"You may go," Jephthah said. And he let her go away for two months. She and her friends went into the hills and wept because she would never have children. When she returned home, her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin. So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah's daughter.


Wow, it amazes me how someone would treasure their purity so much as to be willing to die without compromising it. She mourned 2 whole months because she would never marry or have children and then willingly submitted herself as a pure sacrifice. What would you have done in her shoes? Run away? Gone out and lose your virginity to the first guy you find? Our world doesn't make it easy for us to value our purity. But it is possible if we follow Jepthah's daughter's example and guard it fiercely.

I'm going to write from my heart, even though it's personal.

Jamie and I have come through quite a journey with the whole physical temptation thing. We decided we weren't going to have sex until we were married, so we had to fix some firm boundaries that we've kept to this day, such as keeping our clothes on. But we somehow managed to get around them and still arouse one another, which is when we realized it's not just about not having sex, it's about living in purity. We've had to go on "lock-down" several times, which means that we limited it to hugs and short kisses. When we got engaged, the initial response was to be more physical, but we realized right away that it wasn't good at all and that in fact, the opposite needed to happen or we'd go crazy. So now we're on lock-down and very much looking forward to 53 days from now. It's been hard, but the sacrifice every time to hold back has been worth what will surely be sublime.

I know it might be shocking for some to read this, but I believe that so many fall into sexual sin and get burned by it because we don't talk about it. I think we need to talk to each other about our stories and our struggles so that we can encourage and build one another up.
If anyone would like to talk about this more, you can email me or we can get together.

A couple great books on this subject are "Every Young Woman's Battle" by Shannon Ethridge and "Authentic Beauty" by Leslie Ludy (see link on the side)


At Wednesday, May 10, 2006, Blogger Karen said...

what a beautiful post. thank you for sharing MH!

At Wednesday, May 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am blessed by that post. Awesome stuff...yeah- it needs to be talked about and openly discussed, our culture is consumed with questions of this nature. Thank You

At Wednesday, May 10, 2006, Blogger Jessica said...

Hey Marie-Hélène,

I love this post...and I am very proud of you and Jamie with the decisions you have made. We need to walk in complete purity. Set our eyes on Jesus! Have Jesus be our strength and help us wash away every HINT of sexual immortality. You and Jamie are great! God is really going to bless your marriage. I am very excited for the two of you.

Ephesians 5:1-3

Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people.

I know Christian and I have made some very serious decisions on purity and we both left God was raising the bar even more on us. I am very excited. We sat down and talked about purity. We both left that kissing was something we didn’t want in our relationship. We want to walk that line of purity. I am really happy for you and Jamie with everything God has been showing you two. It’s been great seeing you guys grow together as a couple. May God richly bless you always.

~ Jess

At Wednesday, May 10, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well then...I guess I didn't open up as much as Jessie did in my last comment...but YEP. I'm in the same boat. haha. You spoke deeply into our relationship. Thks again.

At Wednesday, May 10, 2006, Blogger Marie-Hélène said...

Jess and Christian, I am really proud of the two of you for choosing to set the bar high. You will save yourself much useless frustration, confusion and heartache. I think God will honour you for what you've chosen. Not many people will understand, but go for it!

At Thursday, May 11, 2006, Blogger Jessica said...

Hey I hope you don't mind but I made a blog from some of things you mentioned in your blog.It was really burning on my heart. So I felt I should share it. Feel free to check it out.

At Saturday, May 13, 2006, Blogger teeno said...

I wanted to thank you.. a lot of thanks.. for sharing this. You're right when you say that it is not talked about enough.. and it is something that needs to be. I know that when Phil and I were together.. and struggling with stuff similar to what you and Jamie were, I felt like we were the only ones having trouble.. seriously.. I really didnt think that you and Jamie had any problems like that at all! Oh my.. Thank you MH-face! *hug* I admire that you guys are able to talk about this stuff and set boundaries together. God is with you!

At Sunday, May 14, 2006, Anonymous Katie D said...

man, i completely agree with you. i'd never heard that story, but yeah, a lot of girls would probably go out and lose their virginity before they died. i have so much respect for you and jamie,(jessie and christian too) because i know how hard it is for some people. God must be put first in relationships for it to be successful, i guess i know how it can go wrong if it isn't done right!
p.s- i really really want to read authentic beauty, can i borrow it from you?


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