I teared up when the sonogram tech said the words.
“It’s a girl.”
What I’d dared to name in my prayers was now real. She had a name: Elise.
I looked over at my husband and saw tears in his eyes too. Our two boys sat on the floor, staring at the screen a couple of minutes longer until their attention turned to their video games.
For the rest of the day, I was on an emotional high. We went to Babies R’ Us and I immersed myself in all things girl — the bows, the pink, the dresses, and frillies. I didn’t think I’d be so enamored with it all, but I was.
Our first girl was coming, and I couldn’t wait. But I also knew.
I knew there would be challenges we wouldn’t face with our boys. Hormones and drama and cycles and the need to be loved.
I also knew there would be the temptation to look for love in all the wrong places. And while the conversation about sex was one we would have with our boys too, it would be different. Because we are made differently.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about women’s rights. Social media is filled with articles about a woman’s right to her body, to not be pregnant, and to safe contraception.
Some of the conversation is needed and good. And some of it is disturbing on many levels.
Until this point, I’ve stayed out of it. My goal will always be to love and encourage, and I honestly couldn’t think of anything encouraging to say on the topic.
But then I asked myself, what is at the heart of all this? A woman can claim she has the right to an abortion. She can say denial of access is a violation of that right. But where does the issue start?
Why do so many women need an abortion?
I looked back on my life and the decisions I made. I spent years of my life looking for love.
I’d heard Bible stories and songs about how God loved me, but it wasn’t tangible to me. I’d never felt it or experienced it, so I assumed it wasn’t real.
I remember the first time a boy told me I was beautiful.
I liked it. It meant something to me. I wanted to be seen and heard so desperately I was willing to do anything.
As I type this and I think about the decisions I made, I want my daughter to know: You are worth so much more than your sexuality.
Yes, God can redeem even the most broken story. He can resurrect what was lost and given away because he’s a gracious, merciful Father.
But it affects me even now. It affects the relationship I have with my husband. It affects the way I look at other men.
I hear all this talk about a woman’s right to choose but here’s what baffles me. Here’s what’s missing from the conversation.
A woman’s right to choose will almost always begin with her decision of whether or not to exploit her body.
The exception is when someone exploits it for her, against her will.
But generally speaking, it begins with a choice. We can say it’s consensual and it’s good and natural, and all that may be true. However, when a woman uses her body to gain something she thinks she lacks — love, it is an exploitation.
Yes, sex is good. Of course it is. God created it.
When sex is misconstrued for love, we have a serious problem. And friends, women can’t separate sex from love. They can’t separate sex from their emotions. And if they can, I would argue that they’ve been hardened by the muck of life to get them to that point.
So yes, we have a right to choose. But I would argue that right begins long before the baby is in the womb. It begins with the decision to love ourselves. It begins with the knowledge of a Creator who values us more than we could ever imagine.
When I look at my daughter, I want her to know this:
- You have the right to choose a man who will love you more than he will lust after your body.
- You have the right to love yourself and to believe you are a priceless creation, loved by a Creator who gave himself for you.
- You have the right to choose to say “no” to anything less than what God has for you. A God who created sex to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage. Not as a punishment, but because he knew this is where it would be enjoyed as it was made to be.
It may sound old fashioned. It may sound unreasonable. But as a woman who has experienced sex both inside and outside the confines of marriage, I can say I believe the God who created it got it right.