“Save your kiss for the man you will marry. Never part with it for the sake of a stranger.”
From "The Princess and The Kiss by Jennie Bishop.
Although that book wasn't around when I was growing up, that sentence says perfectly the decision I made for myself as a young girl. I was going to save my kiss for my husband. (and let me add that if you don't have that book, you must get it for your daughters! Amazing!)
If you knew me, like in real life, you would know the odds were stacked against me.
My parents, they only got married so my dad could have a green card, and I haven't seen him since I was 5. My mom, who loves me very much, has much hurt in her life and is still dealing with some pretty hard issues and choices she has made in her past.
Me just being here. Typing this. This is a MIRACLE. I am alive. I've escaped an in-womb death and have lived through the pain and rejection that comes with a father that walks away. I've watched my mom struggle and hurt and strive.
And I know that I know that I don't want to be like that.
Even though life has handed me some lemons, there were always lemonade moments! I was fortunate enough to be raised "in church" and at some point in middle school, the decision was made.
"I'm not kissing any boys until my wedding day."
God has always taken the "Father" role in my life and I've sought after Him hard, found comfort in Him. With Him, I would be able to do this.
I made it through high school staying true to my vow. I never felt like I was "missing out" on anything. I had a great circle of friends that knew my promise to myself and were supportive. I was proud of my decision and made sure any guy that came around knew about it. It usually generated a huge amount of respect and a big laugh. Oh well.
Right after I turned 18 I moved away to join a ministry internship program called "Master's Commission". It's basically a 9 month program that allows you to work in every area of ministry and do a bit of traveling. It was great. The program was a "no dating" program which fit well with my life. My friends joked that this is where I would meet "the one". They were right.
Mr. Nate Mundell. The "cool guy". The lead singer of a band he had just left behind to seek the Lord. All of the ladies swooned. Not me. But deep in my heart "I just knew" he was mine. How? I don't know but I did.
We were instantly paired off by our leaders to work in the youth ministry. Our program director yelled out with a knowing grin "Oh boy...you two are going to get married. Just wait until after this year"...
Me and Mr. Cool Guy. He was the life of the party. I was the quiet, shy girl. He was funny and a charmer. I was sarcastic and said it like it was. Interesting.
Just by nature of getting to know one another, sharing testimonies in our group of students, Nate found out about my no kissing vow. He would tell you it was around this time that he "knew" I was his. He also shared about his past. How he was very much a "christian" but had made some pretty bad choices along the way. One of those choices included having sex before marriage. This was the choice he regretted the most.
I didn't know this at the time, but he would sneak into the sanctuary and listen to me play the grand piano and sing. He said each time he heard, he fell more in love. Isn't that sweet?!
As we were growing closer to God, He was bringing us together.
As our internship progressed, I became positive that Nate was the man I was going to marry. He felt the same way. In an effort to be honest about the "no dating" rule we presented "our feelings" to our program directors (can you say embarrassing!?) and we stayed true to the rules of the program.
I scared Nate. He had never been around a girl who didn't just fall for him. I was guarded, in a good way. I wasn't willing to just throw myself out there. I valued myself more than that and I made sure he knew that.
After our internship was over, we, with a couple of friends, took a crazy long road trip to New York. Nate wanted to visit his family, and without my knowledge, he was going to introduce me to his parents as "the girl he is going to marry".
While in New York we held hands for the first time. Nerdy, right? ha ha ha. Nate told me he loved me and I, of course, said I love you back.
Then I ran in the house and told my best friend all about it. She knew from the get go we were going to get married, too. Strange!
Once back home in Florida, Nate gave me a "promise ring" signifying his love and his promise to wait for me. He honored me and my choice to wait to kiss him until our wedding day. After he so romantically gave me the little promise ring that would soon turn my finger green (don't worry....it's not my REAL ring..ha ha ha) I wanted nothing more than to kiss that man! I started thinking of ways to justify myself. You know, like "well I am going to marry him so I can kiss him!" but Nate knew the promise I made to myself and even though he was certainly ready to kiss me, he made sure I stayed true to my word.
True love is WAITING. This was true love.
A few months later, on my 19th birthday, we got engaged. We often would walk the lake where we lived and pray together. This time, Nate suggested we stop walking to pray. I thought this was odd but just went ahead with it. I closed my eyes and began praying and after I said "Amen" and closed the prayer I opened my eyes to find Nate on one knee. I, obviously, said YES!
From the get-go, our relationship was grounded in Christ. I am so blessed to be married to a Godly man.
7 months later, March 6, we were married. It was the most beautiful day in the world. We were married on the beach. Me, still waiting for the first kiss of my entire life and him, proving that people can change and God's grace is sufficient.
I walked down the aisle (or down the sand) and my almost husband greeted me with a tearful smile. The man doing our wedding, Patsy, was the same man who months ago told us we were going to get married. He smiled, too.
Finally, it was time. In front of about 100 family and friends it was time for our first kiss. I had stayed true to my promise and I was marrying a man who honored me because of it! God is good, my dear friends!
I held my new husbands face and gave him my first kiss. A day I will never forget and one that I look forward to sharing with our children.
We spent the rest of the evening at our reception counting our kisses. Our friends giggled and pointed at us. They too were so proud of our accomplishment.
Through this whole "saving my kiss" so much was accomplished. I beat the odds that were stacked against me. I didn't turn into another young girl with no self esteem because her daddy wasn't around. Nate felt as though he was made new, his past was gone and he had succeeded at the "ultimate purity challenge".
We have been given the chance to speak to groups of young people who are facing the pressures of the world and we are able to present a very real and honest story about what it looks like to be pure in a world that is just filthy.
Next weekend we will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. 7 years of kissing and a few kids later, and we are more in love with each other than ever before.
Not to us, but to God be the glory. He made this possible and has richly blessed our family since day one. What a gift that true, real, waiting, lasting love is.
So this is "our story" in a nutshell. A very long, wordy nutshell :-) Next up in the series : "What is Purity?"
I hope you will continue to read along!