I feel it’s important that I begin this post with a caveat: This is written to Believers. If you do not believe in the Bible as the final authority on…everything, reading this may make you irrationally angry. And that’s fine, but you’ve been warned. Additionally, many healthy and happy adults have made it successfully to adulthood without having a proper “sex talk” with their parents. I feel it’s necessary to say that because this type of post could implode into a cauldron of guilt. I get it. Reading articles on cloth diapering and sign language for babies often drags me to the depths of despair. Pinterest is a big problem, too.
Satan would love nothing more than to steal your tomorrow by reminding you of your yesterday! If you’re past the child-rearing stage of life, I pray you will glean from this something deeper than what’s on the surface–whether you’re happy with the way you approached this subject with your own children or not (and whether you’ve had children or not). If you have young children, or hope to someday have children, I hope you will find something valuable to carry with you–and perhaps apply within your own home.
In my talks with Christian parents, I find that most (of course not all) of them fall firmly on one of two sides of the fence. One side seeks to normalize sexual organs and biology, from a very young age, in order to maintain an open door for communication. This is the pe – – s and va – – – a camp; they’re all about the scientific names. The other side (many of whom would have just been made extremely uncomfortable if not for the editing in that last sentence) sweats in silence and prays the conversation never comes up. While I definitely don’t recommend the latter, I haven’t exactly chosen the former. My five-year-old still exists in the land of blissful ignorance where body parts have funny names. And truly, I’m perfectly contented with him staying right there until he learns to keep his aforementioned parts covered (or at the very least refrains from whooping and laughing like a banshee when he decides to streak through the house).
My four older children received “the sex talk” at ages seven and eight. The sex talk is actually a little misleading, as it’s a subject we discuss fairly often. I didn’t sit them down for the initial talk. In a way, they sat me down. I don’t believe this would have happened without carefully cultivated communication. Before premeditated prying into their hearts and minds, I thought they told me everything. I was wrong. And as it turns out, the same thoughts that ran through my mind at their age also run through theirs. These thoughts, emotions, feelings…must all be discussed without shame. Discussion must be purposely and repetitively encouraged. I wish more Christians understood this: One doesn’t cultivate a holy life by merely banning unholy things to the darkness. Holiness starts with openness and truth; only the light can do that. If we pretend things aren’t so, or even banish certain topics or feelings, we only push those things into corners. They will not disappear there; they will grow in silence to rear uglier, more destructive heads later on. But really, I’m getting ahead of myself.
One of my daughters was deeply disturbed by some billboards she had seen along the highway. Five minutes into our talk I could tell it was going to be important, so I called in the other two girls. They couldn’t understand why a woman would stand naked in front of a camera. That led us to our first topic of discussion: love, and our desire for it.
I did my best to humanize the woman who had inadvertently violated their eyes. It wasn’t her fault, I told them. No woman would choose to do that if she felt deeply valued by her Father, the King; princesses wear beautiful clothes. But it soon became obvious that I was going to have to explain something deeper. They needed to know why Satan would attempt to remove her clothing. What was it about her body that the enemy desired to use?
It was time to explain lust to children who hadn’t been given the talk.
“Hold on,“ I told them. “We need tea...and cookies. I’ll put the boys to bed.”
The talk with the girls lasted a little over an hour…with plenty of time for questions. Though abbreviated, my monologue went something like this:
Did you know that when God made Adam in the garden, He actually made Adam and Eve? They were both there…right there in one person. This was not the case with any other creation. Every other creature was created male and female individually. But the entire likeness of God was [compacted and replicated] in one single human being. God soon announced that it wasn’t good for man to be alone (insert joke about talking to oneself). The Father knew that it wasn’t good. He said it wasn’t good. So, why did He create Adam alone? Why didn’t He make man like He’d made the animals. Why did He choose to put Adam to sleep and [surgically] pull Eve from his side? This seems like the harder way!
When puzzle makers make a puzzle, they don’t make each piece on its own. They make a whole puzzle and then cut it with something like a big cookie cutter. This way every piece not only fits perfectly, it actually has an original place. It’s the same way with Adam and Eve. They were one person, and they longed to be one person again. Because He’s good (and because He was painting a bigger picture), God made them like puzzle pieces–able to fit back together.
Ephesians 5:31-32 (KJV) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
I made a hole between my thumb and forefinger to represent the wife, and I used my first finger on the other hand to represent the husband. I didn’t use the terms “man” and “woman,” only “husband” and “wife” because that is what the Creator intended. I used the technical terms for body parts, and I also used “cuter” names that represented a function (i.e. baby door, ingredients, etc.). Once they understood the basics of intercourse and procreation, we watched a few YouTube videos of eggs being fertilized in-utero (way cool!).
Now, we were ready for the lust talk.
You see, when a husband sees his wife’s body, and when a wife sees her husband’s body, they are supposed to want each other. They are meant to fit together and to once again feel one. But you know how puzzle pieces can be made to fit somewhere else in the puzzle, even though it destroys the picture? This is what Satan wants to do! Eve (as we do as women) represents the Bride of Yeshua, and Adam (as men do) represents Yeshua Himself. In the end of time, there will be one glorious and final marriage*. It won’t look anything like earthly marriage; marriage on earth is merely a symbol, the Bible calls it a mystery, so we can try to grasp the real thing that is coming. But that symbol is so important, and the enemy works [tirelessly] to destroy it.
*I highly recommend studying and walking your children through the seven Feasts of the Lord in order to better understand Israel’s betrothal to YHVH and the final wedding that is coming.
With this we were able to discuss modesty and the reasons for protecting one’s body and sexual purity. No man or woman should be tempted by the body of another, because the temptation is then to fit a puzzle piece where it doesn’t belong (thus tainting, blaspheming, and ultimately destroying that mysterious picture given by God).
Each one of them smiled at the wonder of God, and I sat on cloud nine for hours.
I hadn’t talked to “the boy” yet. I thought that would be a year (or more) away. Then, on our very next talking night…
He said, “Mom, I have something I need to talk to you about.” My heart sank. It sounded bad. My best friends will tell you that it always sounds bad to me. Never tell me you need to talk. I freak out every time. The boy (the man) has given me permission to post this. He didn’t even hesitate. His exact words were, “Sure. It could help someone else…so sure!”
“Mom, I have something I need to talk to you about.”
“Yes?” I said in a low, quiet voice.
“I have bad thoughts,” he said.
As it turned out, those damnable billboards were affecting more than my girls. He was seeing pictures of scantily clad women…flooding his mind for hours and distracting him during school-time. He didn’t even know what to do with those thoughts, he just knew that he found them disturbing, distracting…guilt-inducing. He sat in a halted terror and waited for my reaction.
I hugged him tighter than ever before, and I couldn’t stop the tears from falling.
“Oh, honey! I am so proud of you for telling me! We’re going to need tea…and cookies.”
I spent the next hour or more going through basically the same lesson I’d just walked through with the girls. If he was going to fight those thoughts, he first needed to understand their purpose–what they were meant to destroy. Having the talk with girls is fun, but having the talk with a boy is such an overwhelming privilege. I cannot even count how many times he leaped up and shouted, “Wow!” I can’t count how many times I cried.
Grasping his role as a representative of Yeshua (in the mysterious picture revealed through husband and wife) is a powerful, powerful thing. I cannot even imagine how powerful…but he got it. He got excited. He got fired up. Then, he got angry. He was ready to fight, and fight he did. We battled in prayer together, and I checked in with him every night (or he did with me) to talk about strategies of war. He made a list of things to pray for, and putting others’ needs above his own became his primary mode of attack. Within a few days he was reporting victories, and after a few weeks he told me proudly that he never even worried about the thoughts because it had been so long since he’d had one. “But if they ever come back, I know what to do,” he added with a twinkle in his eye. I don’t believe he would have gained ground on the enemy so quickly without understanding what destruction was intended. Someone saw him as powerful, and someone wanted to remove him from the picture.
It’s the traditional line among Believers, but I will never tell my children that they are to save themselves for their spouse. I believe this is a destructive message that has compromised the sexual culture within the church by distracting from the much bigger picture. Instead, I tell them of the mystery. I teach them to embrace their role on this giant stage as we act out eternity for the world around us. What part have you been given to play–Bridegroom? Bride? Protect that role with your life. Be faithful to the mysterious picture. I hope and pray that the result will be purity–a kind that starts from deep down inside them and does not waver based on culture or circumstance.
But whatever comes into their lives, whatever trials, whatever failings, I want them to know two things: They have a Heavenly Father who loves them unconditionally and who forgives a repentant heart…and they have a mother they can talk to about anything. Call ahead, and she’ll bake cookies.