Why Do Religious Teens Have Unprotected Sex?

Pregnant TeenAsk the average teenager going to a conservative Christian church to name the most important messages their church gives to teens. You’re almost certain to hear, “Don’t have sex until you’re married.” It may not be the most common message, but it’s certain to be high on the list. And many of them would probably say that’s the same message they get from their parents.

Of course that’s very different from the messages they get from most media, most schools, and most peers.

I will always remember a 15 year-old girl and her very unhappy mother who came to see me a few years ago. Jasmine (not her real name) had just found out she was pregnant. It was clear from the conversation with them that getting pregnant at 15 was deeply frowned upon in their family and their church. And an abortion wasn’t even a consideration.

I pieced the story together over the following months. Jasmine wasn’t “supposed” to be having sex at all. She hadn’t told her mother when she and her boyfriend became sexually involved, and she didn’t use contraception, thinking she wouldn’t get pregnant. Jasmine felt a lot of shame about what she had done, knowing it was “against the rules.”

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4 Things To Do While Waiting

WaitingNobody likes to wait. It’s frustrating. It feels cold. And it’s easy to let a seeming delay mess with your faith.

God sees time differently than we do. When He promises something, He will fulfill it – on His timetable. I believe God understands our frustration perfectly well. But somehow He never lets that interfere with His plans.

“Then why does He promise me something and make me wait? That’s even more painful than if He had not promised me anything at all!”

Perhaps Abraham felt that way when God promised him a son, and he had to wait 25 years before Isaac was born. (Genesis 15:5-6, 21:1-2) Perhaps David felt that way when God anointed him king, but it was about 17 years in coming. (1 Samuel 16:13, 2 Samuel 5:3-4) Perhaps the children of Israel felt that way in Egypt – for 400 years! (Genesis 15:18, Exodus 12:40)

Why does God promise us things, and then make us wait? And more importantly, what are we supposed to do while waiting?

I especially like the story of David in thinking about that question. David didn’t only get older during those years between the time Samuel anointed him and when he was crowned king of Israel. It was during those waiting years that he BECAME a king. It was the running from Saul, the writing of Psalms, the learning to lead his band of followers, and the trusting in God that made David what he was.

God does not promise us things so that we can sit back and wait. God promises us things to give us the faith and motivation necessary to develop into someone who can receive that promise!     Tweet that.

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Knowing God as Your Husband

Girl AloneIf you’re a single woman, “God is my Husband” may be a wonderful comfort. Or it may sound like a cruel joke. If you’re a married woman, it might also seem very confusing. What does that really mean?

I lived as a single woman for 48 years before meeting my husband, and I felt more than my share of loneliness. I asked “Why me?” more times than I can count. Every now and then I’d hear some other single lady talk about the comfort she found in knowing God as her Husband, and I’d wonder what she had that I didn’t. (See Isaiah 54:4-5)

But it really didn’t make much sense to me. I wanted a husband with skin on! I wanted someone to kiss me and hold me, to go to bed with at night and wake up with in the morning, to keep me from being lonely. I wanted someone to talk to when I needed. Although I became very good at taking care of myself, I thought it would be awfully nice to have someone take care of me every now and then.

And although I loved God, He doesn’t have skin on! How could He be those things to me?

My picture of God went through a lot of cleaning up and growing up during those years. And over time I learned what it was those ladies talked about when they said, “God is my Husband.” And I can honestly say that a few years before I met my husband Al, I too learned to know God in that way. It became the most important dimension of God’s work in my life.

And I still know Him in that way. If anything, being married has deepened my understanding of who God is to me. And I’m absolutely certain that this aspect of my relationship with God has made me a much happier and more successful wife.

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Does God Say Things Will Get Better, or Get Worse?

Reading the BibleIf you listen to the evening news, read much on the internet, or have many friends on Facebook you probably have heard a lot of bad news lately. It’s probably always been that way, but with a bad economy, ISIS, and Ebola making headlines right now, anyone would appropriately get nervous. Doomsayers certainly have plenty of material to fuel their angst.

And then you hear some people saying, “Everything’s going to be alright.” You hear that from some politicians, some preachers, and others. “We’ve overcome worse things than this before. God’s on our side! It will all work out.”

So who’s right? Is our country, our economy, our institutions, our church, our world on the brink of collapse? Or are bad people just using bad news to try and keep everybody in line? Are our brightest days behind us? Or are they still ahead?

For example, do we know what to do about the Ebola epidemic, and are we able to do it? Or are we on the brink of a worldwide health catastrophe – from Ebola and a vast array of other threats?

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Don’t Let Premenstrual Syndrome Drive You Crazy

PMSFor some women, the 35 years between age 15 and 50 are a monthly nightmare. And anyone who cares about them knows to stay away as much as possible for 10 days each month. Some husbands mark their calendar in advance so they won’t be blindsided by the anger, irrational behavior, or prickly responses they know will almost certainly come.

For the majority of women the emotional and physical changes that show up before each monthly menstrual cycle may be irritating, yet are tolerable. But for a small group of women those monthly premenstrual symptoms become downright debilitating. It affects their ability to work, their relationships with their husband and children, and their general ability to function in life. These desperate women fit the technical definition of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD.

I had one patient whose husband brought her to see me out of desperation. “It’s like she’s two different people!” he complained. Another patient came in after discharge from the hospital for a “mental breakdown” triggered by premenstrual syndrome. Women this desperate are willing to do almost anything just to feel “normal” again.

A few medical facts about PMS and PMDD:

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