Why This Teenage Girl Doesn’t Kiss Her Boyfriend

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I couldn’t help but share this post a senior friend of Trevor’s posted on Facebook. We all know how our society has become so sexually promiscuous. When it’s time for my second and third child to get married, I want them to have someone to choose from who has saved themselves for marriage. I’m not belittling those who have already chosen to have sex, and there is a very real concept called “reclaimed virginity.” It’s not to late to change your lifestyle because God is a forgiving and merciful God. By dying on the cross he’s already overcome all of our sins. But if you can know God’s intentions for sex before you are in a serious relationship, it will make life much easier, and you’ll be honoring God above all else.

If you are a teenager, read this. If you have a teenager, have them read this or read it to them. What Ashley is writing here is from her heart…the heart of a 17-year-old girl. I know she has one proud mama! It takes an huge amount of courage to not just hold tight to your beliefs, but to profess them on the world wide webb for all to see. Incredibly brave.


“God has really been placing this on my heart to talk about and discuss
lately. As many of my friends know, I have been dating Brandon for over a
year now. Early on in our relationship, we decided that we wanted to set
“guardrails” and “boundaries” in our relationship as far as physical stuff
goes. Now, we had these set, but honestly, neither of us really understood why.

We thought “Well, we aren’t having sex, so what’s the big deal?” I’ve found that this is the mindset that many of my friends have towards their relationship. After Brandon and I had been dating for about 6 months or so we sat down and discussed our relationship. I had been doing a bible student called, “The 7 Lies of Teen Dating”, and through the whole study, the same question kept popping up in my head, “Why am I asking the question ‘how far is too far?’ When I should be asking ‘how far is not honoring God?”

A verse that Brandon and I really looked at and prayed about was 1 Corinthians 6:20 “God owns the whole works.So let people see God in and through your body.” We both decided that we wanted our bodies and physical aspects of our relationship to demonstrate our love for God.”

I’m jumping into the middle of her post here to share the entire passage of scripture from 1 Corinthians:

16-20 There’s more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, “The two become one.” Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never “become one.” There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for “becoming one” with another. Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.

Now back to Ashley:

“Originally, we decided that the only physical contact we would have is a peck, and only once on an hour. Now being a teenager in a world where that is the complete opposite of the social norm, we were definitely laughed at. Now a little over 95 days ago me and Brandon decided that we wanted to eliminate kissing all together. As far as physical aspects in our relationship, we wanted to limit ourselves to hugging and kissing on the cheek. We wanted to go 95 days with no distractions, and we spent those 95 days getting closer to God and building our relationship on a God foundation. Obviously, this was not something that was easy to just tell my friends or classmates about at school, and when people found out, it was usually just laughs and side comments.

I want to address some of the questions and statements people say to me in regards to what me and Brandon do. Keep in mind I’m only 17 years old, and Brandon is my first serious relationship, so I am definitely not a relationship expert by any means, and I’m still learning from my mentors how I can better and build my relationship on a God foundation. Hopefully, this will give people some light on the subject or give someone the courage to make changes in their current or future relationship.ashleyavila

1. “Do you really love Brandon if you don’t kiss him? And does he really love you?”
The answer to this question is really simple to me. Yes, I love him, and
yes he loves me. I didn’t wake up one day and say “kissing is gross, I
don’t want to do that anymore.” It took a lot of strength and courage from
God for us to make this decision. But I promise you girls, it’s one thing for a guy to say “I love you” and it’s another for him to say, “I love you, but I love God more so I’m putting him at the center of our relationship, and I will put him before you.”
2. “Are you even in a relationship if you don’t kiss?”
Yes. A relationship isn’t suppose to be about physicality. My dad has told me ever since I was a little girl that dating is just an interview before marriage. Somewhere down the line our society has gotten this social norm that relationships should be based on physical things and that’s just normal and “being a teeanger”, and those who chose other wise are viewed as weird. But honestly building a relationship on physicality is one of the most unsturdy foundations. The only sturdy foundation to build a relationship on is God, so you should honor God in your relationship.
3. “You’re only a teenager once, and you’re wasting it.”
Again, I have a simple response. I may only be a teenager once, but I only get to live my life for God once. Nuff said.

(What an awesome perspective for everyone!)

4. “If you’re gonna marry Brandon, then why does it matter how far you go?”

Well, as much as I love Brandon and hope that I will marry him one day, I don’t know who I will marry. Only God knows who I will end up marrying, and until I am at my wedding saying “I do,” I don’t know who my husband will be. But as a christian, it is my job to stay as pure as possible for my future husband.”

Incredible post Ashley. Thanks for letting me share. Ashley has started her own blog now on Christian Dating and I wanted to share that link with you: https://heleadsifollowweb.wordpress.com/

Please share this with anyone you know who has teenagers…let’s make her post go viral!


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When we wonder “Why?”




In my last post, I wrote about a book I was reading called, “Fly a Little Higher” about a teenage boy diagnosed with a difficult type of cancer to cure—osteosarcoma. His mom wrote the book and even though Zach died, his mom’s prayers were answered. The death of her son through this cancer was for something much, much bigger. I also indicated that I hoped God never chooses to allow that opportunity for my children.

Then Friday night Miranda comes in and tells us that one of her best friend’s little brother, Josiah, has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia—ALL is a common abbreviation and his is the T-cell type. Josiah is Trevor’s age, so this hits quite close to home. Josiah’s family is one of the most kind and Godly families I know. They truly radiate the light of Jesus. I couldn’t help but ask myself ,”Why?” As a mom, I can’t imagine what his mom, Lynette, is feeling right now. I’m sure Satan is doing his best to put doubt and fear into her heart, as well as those of her family. Why this family? Why Josiah? 

Tomorrow, the doctors will put in a port, begin chemo, and begin to decide how they will approach the bone marrow treatment. Josiah undoubtedly will have to endure some pain through this treatment, and his family will be right by his side going through it with him. Satan has chosen the wrong family to pick on. 

Satan’s going to fail. God will prevail.

Josiah has been on my mind since the minute Miranda told me about his diagnosis. She went to the hospital yesterday and said everyone is being very positive. Just what I would expect. Not to mention that yesterday was Josiah’s birthday. This post hasn’t been well thought out, or rewritten several times as I tend to do. It’s just straight from my heart.

We need an army of prayer warriors for Josiah. We don’t need to give Satan even an inkling that he might have any satisfaction through this diagnosis. Here’s a link to a Facebook page created to keep people updated on his condition and for the prayers needed: Pray for Josiah

This is a picture of Josiah with his brother, Ben, and his sisters, Brooke and Hannah. (Josiah is on the far right)



God has a plan. We need to pray to keep Satan’s army suppressed and allow God’s perfect plan unfold before our eyes. Let’s watch as God destroys the cancer and Satan’s evil plans as well.

Please share this post and like Josiah’s Facebook page. In this case, Like = Prayer.

If you want more on why bad things happen to good people check out another recent post HERE.


To be whole…check out the GRAFFITI on the other side of the street


How can you understand what it’s like to be homeless if you’ve always had a roof over your head?

How do you know what it feels like to starve if you’ve always had food to eat?

How do you know what it’s like to be thirsty if you’ve always had clean water to drink?

We  take for granted the things we are used to having every day. (Tweet that Smile)

     Would you appreciate staring at your beautiful daughter more if you were once blind?

     Would you be more anxious to listen to the sound of wind blowing through the trees if you lost your hearing for a period of time?

     Would you hug your husband more if you knew he would never walk through the door again?

Goodness knows I’m as guilty as anyone. We get so wrapped up in our lives…it all becomes about us. I, I, I, me, me, me.

We stay so busy in our own shoes, we don’t think about what it may be like in theirs. (You can tweet that too Wink)

My new internet buddy over at Positively Alene has challenged us to step out of our comfort zone. Step “over the tracks” so to speak to meed people we wouldn’t otherwise encounter. She has a great new book out on the subject, GAFFITI~Scribbles from Different Sides of the Street,graffitibook which she cowrote with a homeless man. Talk about perspective! And now she is offering a free Bible Study the book, GRAFFITI Study and Do, that you can download by clicking HERE.

In all honesty, I stumbled into this study before I really knew what it was all about. I read a blog post from one of my favorite blogggers, Susan Stillwell about “sharing my summer story.” If you read lots of blogs, you know it’s common to skim titles and first paragraphs and then go back and read them later. Only I signed myself up for the GRAFFFITI challenge before I went back to read.

Well, this summer is going to be very busy, and it has already started. While I may not get headed to Guatemala or even to the soup kitchen anytime soon, I will be headed to different sides of the street…and the world.

Just this week, we moved out of our house for our floors to be redone because of a leak and we are staying just off of a very busy intersection. One of the ones where we see men with the “will work for food” signs on each corner almost daily. As a woman with my children normally in the car, I say a prayer for them and move on. I hate it…every time. But unfortunately, we don’t live in the most trusting society. Thursday afternoon however, in the midst of 5:00 traffic on Woodruff Rd., Marlee (my 9-year-old) and I passed a family on the side of the road with a sign that read, “Lost My Job, Please help, I have two children to take care of. God Bless You.” And his wife and one of his children were sitting on the side of the road with them. I wanted to help them, but had no cash. Traffic was ridiculous, so we had to pass them by. But neither of us could get them off our mind.

We then pulled into the IHOP (which was packed with graduation celebrations) and purchased a $50 gift certificate, which also came with two $5 coupons, and fought the traffic to get back to them. They were extremely appreciative. I thought I saw the wife tear up.

As I said, we are certainly not in a third world country, but we live in a society where people still need help. I wish we could trust everyone we saw, and know that we are not being scammed. But here’s the thing. Marlee and I gave in the spirit of love. In the spirit of Jesus. I have no idea what happens to most of the money that I give…whether it’s at church, sponsoring a child, or handing it t someone on the street. But I do know that God nudged me to take action. He will take it from there and that’s all I need to know.

So I suppose this is the beginning of my GRAFFITI summer. Please don’t hate me, but my other side of the street will be the other side of the world in Prague in July. But you know? People need to see the love of God just as much there as anywhere. They might just not always know it.

Have you found yourself out of your comfort zone lately? Intentionally? Or without even realizing it?

What did you do to make a difference?


Do you remember the American Idol runner up Chris Sligh? He passed one of those men with the “will work for food” sign right here on this same intersection. He passed the fellow with the sign and immediately wanted to turn around. Only if you know the traffic on Woodruff Rd, you’d understand that it took him thirty minutes to get back to the intersection and the man was gone. He pulled over on the side of the road and wrote this song: Knowing the story behind it makes it that much more powerful.

God-Sized Dreams~Pay it Forward



I’m linking up with Holly Gerth today on the subject of Paying it Forward. Back in the year 2000 a movie titled, “Pay It Forward” opened in the box office and made a huge impact on my life. The concept of paying it forward, though not a new concept, was introduced in this movie in a way that brought new attention to it. Especially for me.

Enjoy this short clip before we continue…

I’m not going to spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it (but if you haven’t, you really must), but hold onto your heartstrings…there will be some serious pulling going on!

I’m not sure if you noticed or not, Haley Joel Osment plays the little boy, and his character name is “Trevor, ” which also happens to be my sons name. Also, I haven’t told you that my son was 18 months old when we saw this movie, and was very sick. He’d had a fever of 103-104 for just over seven days and the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with him.


His eyes were blood red, and the skin on his hands, feet, and lips peeled off in sheets. He loved his paci but gave it up because it hurt too much to have it touch his lips. It was breaking my heart. And then I had to go and watch this movie.

As much as I hate for my heartstrings to be pulled, it’s good for me, and I guess the combination of the two “Trevors” really made this movie—and it’s message—stay with me.

I’ve always tried to “pay it forward” any way I could…sponsoring children through World Vision and Compassion International, tithing and offering to my church, sponsoring a family at Christmas, etc…but what I’m doing right now may be my biggest “pay it forward” yet.

My daughter, Miranda, became friends with a guy she worked with, whose name just happened to be “Trevor.” I won’t go into all the details, but just after Christmas, he ended up basically homeless. So we let him move into the little apartment above our garage. His dreams of college had long been taken away.

So we are trying to help him reclaim his dreams…getting enrolled back in college and possibly a coop program through a local company here. It might not be his ultimate dream, but it’s a start.

Shortly after he moved in, he expressed to me how grateful he was for our help, and that he would repay us in any way that he could. My immediate response was, “Just pay it forward.”

We don’t need to be repaid. Thankfully, we are in a position in our lives right now that affords us to help others. And it’s as much a blessing to me to be able to help as it is for the person receiving it. But someday when he is in a position to help someone else who needs it, hopefully he’ll remember to just pay it forward.

There must be something about those Trevors and my heartstrings!

What are you doing to pay it forward?

Check out Holly’s blog and see how other’s are paying it forward!


Seven Ways to Stay Passionate About Your Passion

Are you passionate about something? How did that passion arise in your heart? Is it a hobby? Is it a calling? A labor of love? 
Satan loves to discourage us. To make us think our passions—our dreams—are insignificant, or downright foolish. Don’t let him have the satisfaction. Here are seven quick tips to keep your passion alive: (Click here to tweet this Smile)

1. Stay connected to it every day, one way or another~No matter what your passion is, I can almost guarantee there are others who share you passion…and some of the probably blog about it! The internet is a great, easy way to nourish your passion a little every day.


2. Fellowship with others who share that passion~Since I began writing, my writing group has been a lifeline. If I hadn’t connected with them when I started writing, I’d have surely quit long ago. They encourage me and remind me that what I’m doing is important…it is my purpose.


3. Remember why you have the passion in the first place~What drew you in? Remind yourself what led up to your passion. I became passionate about photography when my friend Patty committed suicide and I had almost no pictures of her. I’ve been snapping pictures of everyone since. I became passionate about writing when God gave me a miracle. It compelled me to write…I was so excited I wanted to shout it from the rooftops!


4. Make sure your passion is in line with God’s purpose for your life, and always talk to Him about it~God has a purpose for your life. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that point blank. Then Romans 8:28 says: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. We tend to forget about the second part of that verse. Christians love the first part…all things work for good…but there’s a catch: to those who love him and are called according to his purpose. If your passion is in line with God’s purpose for your life, it will be a blessing in your life. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy, God doesn’t promise that. But it will be good.


5. Read about your passion~Seek out books from the experts. Continue learning new aspects of your passion.


6. Teach it to others~Share your passion with others. Teach what you love and you will keep it alive.


7. It’s okay to take a break~I realize in #1 I told you to stay connected to it every day, but you don’t have to go full force. It’s okay take a step back when you need to. You can get burnt out on anything, no matter how much you love it.


What is your passion? Is it in line with God’s purpose for you life?




A letter to moms whose dreams have been shattered by addiction~Time to reclaim your dream!


This letter is to all of those moms who are hiding, imprisoned by their addiction to prescription drugs; longing for a freedom they don’t believe is possible.

Dear Friend,

Being a woman is hard. I believe we have Eve to thank for that! No one tells us all of the many hats we must wear as a woman. Let’s see if I can name a few:



  • Friend
  • Daughter
  • Sister
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Housekeeper
  • Cook
  • Chauffer
  • Launderer
  • Mediator
  • Room-mom
  • Home accountant
  • Tutor

That’s only the beginning of the list when a career is added.


As young, ambitious women, American Dreams in sight, we are invincible. Until the unthinkable happens.

  • Breast cancer or other serious disease
  • Death of a spouse or child
  • A pregnant teenager
  • Loss of a job
  • Infidelity of a spouse
  • Severe car accident, leaving injuries

You get the picture. Does anything sound familiar?

When things start going wrong in our life, and we get older, we often end up seeing our beloved physician more often that we ever thought we would. And visiting the pharmacy even more often than that.

Medications for insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain…they are a lifesaver. At first. Before you realize it, dependency becomes an issue, then addiction. That lifeline you thought you’d been thrown has now become your own personal prison.

The American Dream…shattered, right along with your soul.

I know how you feel. I’ve been there. Grand-mal seizures started the avalanche that turned into depression, insomnia, and prescription drug addiction to narcotics. And I’m a pharmacist! Genius. Satan can be sneaky, and he knows just how to use the suffering in our lives to get a stronghold.

But here’s the thing. Jesus says, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33 NIV)

Think hard on those words for a minute. Jesus has already overcome the world. In our weakness, He is strong. He has a purpose and a plan for your life, and will use every experience, sin, tragedy and failure to shape you for that purpose.

To understand what it means to be free, you must first be imprisoned. To truly understand being whole, you must first understand being broken. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have full effect, that  you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4ESV)

You are not alone. You may panic at the thought of not having that lifeline of pills you’ve been dependent on for so long, but now’s the time to reclaim your dream. Not the original American Dream you once had. God has shaped you for a much bigger dream now...a God-sized dream. 

Today is the day to begin claiming your God-sized dream of freedom. Freedom from addiction will give you freedom from everything. Through addiction, you’ve realized you aren’t perfect—though it may be hard to admit ;)— and you don’t have to be perfect anymore. You can be a weak, imperfect human saved by the mercy and grace of Jesus. 

I can promised letting go of the pills will not be easy. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. You’ll feel like crap when you wake up in the mornings for awhile. But don’t lie in bed and wallow in your pity. Get up, get dressed, make up your bed, and go do something. And pray.

Go outside for a walk. Breathe in the beauty that God created.  And pray.

Cuddle up with your daughter and read a book. And thank God for your beautiful daughter.

Call a friend for coffee and share your struggles with them. Be real. What you think might push someone away will actually bring them closer. No matter how pretty we are on the outside, we all have some ugly on the inside. Transparency brings friends closer. Thank God for that friend.

Go take a hot shower…hot as you can stand it…letting the water flow over you like the peace of Jesus Christ. Literally imagine it. And pray.

Take one minute, one hour, one day at a time. When you want to take that pill as much as you want to take a breath when you’re stuck under water, just breathe. Go into your closet, lay down, and breathe. Watch your stomach rise and fall as you take deep, cleansing breaths. And pray. 

Go do something for someone else…an act of kindness. When you look outward to help someone else, you might just forget about your own problems long enough to get some relief. Pray and be blessed. 

Life is hard. Stereotypes cannot be avoided, but the stereotype of addiction must evolve. It’s not just for junkies anymore. Addiction happens to good, Christian moms just trying to get through life the best way they can. Prescriptions drugs aren’t illegal, and sometimes that’s the problem. Because they are “prescribed” they’re okay.

Be brave. Be honest. Be transparent. Seek God with everything you have to fill the void of leaving the pills behind.

God is ready to give you your God-sized dream of freedom from the pills that are keeping you imprisoned.

I’ve been where you are. And I know personally it’s a dream that God will deliver.

Because I’m free.

You can be too.










Linking up with Holly over at God-sized dreams today. Check out all the other encouraging letters linked up. One might be written just for you! Just click on her button to hop on over there!


God-Sized Dreams: Taking a little time out to play…and live a little-girl sized dream

I’m linking up with Holly Gerth at God-Sized Dreams, and when I saw today’s subject (taking a little time out to play) I knew I had to tell you about my trip!

In the midst of a writer’s conference, a speaker’s conference, and a blogger’s conference I’m attending this year (yes, all three in one year…I think I’ve lost it), I’m headed to Europe for the first time in my life. My very first time out of the country. One of my closest friends, Betsy, is a missionary in Prague, Czech Republic. I’ve wanted to go visit since she left in September 2010 (the same month as my miracle, btw), and I’m finally going. Had to actually get a passport for the first time and everything!

Disney - Magic Kingdom (Explored)

In addition to sightseeing in Prague, Austria and Switzerland,  we will be visiting parts of Germany, including the Neuschwanstein Castle—the castle that inspired Cinderella’s castle in Disney World.  

I’ll never forget my first trip to Disney World and seeing that castle for the first time at nine years old. It really was magical! I desperately wanted to see inside, but it wasn’t allowed at the time. It could only be a dream, not a reality. 

But now, 34 years later, that dream is becoming a realityand so much bigger of a reality than I every could have dreamed on my own. Sure, I could imagine I would get to see inside the Cinderella castle in Disney World someday…now all you have to do is schedule a character breakfast with Cinderella. But to actually see the real Cinderella castle? That’s a God-Sized dream.

The only reason I’m getting to go to Germany is because if Betsy and Bob’s obedience to enter the mission field…and the only reason I’m getting to visit the original Cinderella’s castle. They have God-Sized obedience. 

Now, in the midst of working on my God-Sized Dream of writing a book and becoming a speaker, God is fulfilling a childhood dream in a God-Sized way!

Here’s the real Cinderella castle—the Neuschwanstein Castle—in Fussen, Germany. Don’t worry, I’ll post pictures when I go so you can enjoy it too! Wink

Neuschwanstein, Bavaria