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>Abstinence, not having sex, has been important to me since childhood. My mom plopped my sisters and me in front of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and pointed out how “the boys sleep in the barn and the girls sleep in the house because boys and girls sleep separately until they’re married” at my tender age of three. Boys sleep in the barn, check!

Only in the last year have I realized “abstinence” is not enough. Chastity and the deep love of self that comes from understanding it have been absent from my radar.

The Everts’ book, How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul, fills the void often left open by the traditional “abstinence” teaching. The book is for women of all stages of life and I hereby recommend it to all women.

Check the records, Totus Tuus Press, I was one of the first 100 people to order this book on its debut day. Jason and Crystalina joined Brian Butler to write the Theology of the Body for Teens textbook we use for class, so I continued to refresh the page until the “Add to Cart” icon appeared.

When the beautiful book arrived, I dived in and hardly came up for air. The Everts broke up five years of first hand female accounts, advice, and reasoning into twenty-one short chapters outlining the importance of chastity.

Chastity: this is not your mother’s “abstinence” talk. This book peels away the layers of justification, insecurities, excuses, and settling that all women use and face. The Everts compiled a book that walks through the mindset of a woman, trekking through her darkest thoughts on the subjects of romantic love and self-love.

Right off the bat, reading the title of the first chapter, “Missionary Dating,” made it clear this was not going to be a softball read.

The chapter followed the air of the Bright Maidens‘ posts about dating, picking out and detailing ten “types” of guys to avoid dating. Among the no-nos were “The Control Freak,” “The Smooth Criminal,” and “The Fixer-Upper/Problem Child.”

It’s so easy to let the camouflage cover those red flags when we get attention we’ve been craving from a guy. This list helps us see A) if we might be settling and B) why it’s not worth it to eat from the dumpster instead of waiting for the banquet.

Jason actually uses this dumpster metaphor in a more elaborate description of how this world convinces us to “just do it” and dive in now without consideration for our decisions’ consequences. Later chapters like “Grow a Backbone,” “Hang Up on Hookups” and “Wear Something Revealing — Be Modest,” weave this concept into the importance of valuing oneself.

Women are not often convinced of their value, at least not until they change X, Y, and Z.

Mirror, mirror on the wall
  • “Once I’m thinner, it will be easier to be comfortable around people.” 
  • “When I clear up my skin, I won’t be as embarrassed to draw attention to myself.” 
  • “If I could just be a better singer, I know guys would like me.”

The Everts spend the entire book attempting to realign the damage done by these mindsets. Each chapter builds upon the other, teaching lessons of love, value, and constructing a relationship with God.

All the junk filling our minds separates us from the One who created us. Raking out the junk isn’t going to happen in the time it takes to read 300 pages, but reading the tough questions and hard pressing examinations in those pages aims to make us ask: Am I getting all that I can out of my life? Am I free?

Jason and Crystalina gave women the authentic version of Feminine Mystique we’ve been missing. Near the end of the book, they quote Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste and a woman I had the distinct pleasure of meeting. She wrote:

“A woman with the courage to step out into the unknown, risking temporary loneliness for a shot at lasting joy, is more than a “single.” She’s singular. Instead of defining herself by what she lacks–a relationship with a man–she defines herself by what she has: a relationship with God.” (Eden, 22)

“Abstinence” really means nothing if we don’t balance our choices with reasoning. It is too easy to fall when we’re standing on a pile of sand. Choose to stand on a rock.

As the Venerable John Paul II once said to an audience of students at Eurasia University in 2001, “Be courageous, fear nothing, and you will not be disappointed.”

Consider buying a box of 44 books. Don’t faint, the publishers are selling this book individually for about $25 or by the case of paperbacks for $2 per book. The $88 box of books could be a fabulous evangelism tool for any girls, young ladies, or women in your life. I know I will find more than 44 girls who need to learn to love themselves, some for the first time.

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