Tay's Purity Ring Letter for 13th Birthday...
As it is with most special things I’ve done with you and your sisters over the years, you’re the last one I experience it with every time. I remember the same feeling with the daddy-daughter dances when you and I were taking that last dance and I realized I would never have this opportunity again. I suppose that makes it special in it’s own way and I kinda like that we share that together.
I’ve thought a lot about this day for a long time…and when I say long time, I mean ever since you were born. From the first day I laid eyes on your little 4 pound body, I began thinking about your whole life. I thought about what your personality would be like, what your facial features would be like, what you’d grow up loving to do, what our relationship would be like and how it would be different from your sisters, and especially this day when I would take you out and give you your ‘purity ring’ spending some time telling you how much I love you and my dreams for your future. It’s finally here.
What makes a purity ring special really has little to do with the ring. I mean, it costs money and it’s made of gold and all, but it’s what it symbolizes that makes it really, really special. Whenever you look at it, you’ll hopefully be reminded that your mom and I pray for you all the time. We pray for your heart to be protected from sin and hurt so that it can be a pure vessel for God to use to help others in this world. It’s so easy for your heart to be damaged along the way and destroyed by things you see, hear, or experience. You need to know that we, as your mom and dad, have always prayed for God to protect you from anything that would make your heart hard and cause your heart hurt.
That’s why when the battle with fear overtook your life when you were little through Nathan’s accident and all the events that surrounded that, our heart broke for you and all the pain and heartache you were experiencing at a young age. I remember wishing I could take it away from you and experience it for you if only to see you free from fear. But for some reason, God allowed you to experience that and I believe it’s made you more sensitive in life, which turned what Satan meant to harm you into something God is using to help the world around you. I say that to remind you that even if things don’t go perfect from this point on (and they won’t), that’s ok, God can forgive and heal and use you in spite of that.
This is not a “perfection ring”, it’s a ‘purity right’. I feel like I need to tell you that because you are a pleaser and you long to be perfect…and Satan can use that to really mess you up. That’s why God has given us grace, so that when you fall down or fail, he is there to pick you up, brush you off, and give you a second chance. I just don’t want you to feel like you have to be perfect…but I do want you to strive to guard your heart and keep it pure. Your mom and I are still striving for that to this day and our parents are still praying that we will want to seek righteousness and holiness and purity and truth, instead of giving into peer pressure and temptation and sin. I’m telling you that the pure life is the free life. There isn’t any guilt or shame when you fight to stay pure. It makes you feel alive and clean…that is more than money can buy…it’s priceless.
This ring is primarily to remind you to keep your mind and body sexually pure for your husband someday should God bless you with a man that loves you deeply and wants to marry you. Our world says it’s no big deal to have sex before marriage and that you’re stupid to wait, but love waits…lust doesn’t. I want your relationship with your future husband to be one that isn’t build on physical lust, though it’s ok to have crushes and be attracted to guys. Lust is selfish and when you give into it, it ruins what love is, which is pure and selfless and sacrificial. If there comes a time when you feel drawn to cross a line physically with a guy (which probably seems a little gross now), I hope this ring will remind you of your commitment to stay pure and to not have sex before marriage. Your mom and I waited to have sex and it was probably one of the best decisions we ever made. I remember looking at your mom’s purity ring her dad gave her and it reminded me to not cross boundaries with her even when I was tempted to. I felt like I wanted to honor her by keeping her pure so that she could honor her parents and God. So it was good for her to talk to me about her dad giving her the ring and what it meant for her…it guarded her until our wedding night.
There’s one last thing I want to say…and I really want you to hear this…ok? There is nothing you could do to make me love you more or love you less. You could mess up and break this promise to stay pure and I will not love you less. You don’t have to hide from your mom or I thinking we will reject you. We will ache and feel hurt, but we will never abandon you or heap guilt or shame on you. We will hug you and remind you that God can cleanse you and purify you with his love and grace. I have made many mistakes along the way and one thing I love about God is that he died for my sins…he doesn’t rub my face in them or hold them against me, he forgives and forgets…that is grace. You need to know that if you break this promise, it’s not over. You are not damaged goods. We will forgive you and God will forgive you with an even more pure love than we could ever show you. I just don’t want this commitment to be built on guilt…this ring is given to you as a token of love and protection. You could never do anything to make us not love you…you will always be our beautiful and tender daughter and nothing you could ever do will change that. Period.
And if a day comes in the future when you are married and you find yourself hurting or rejected or abandoned by the very people you trusted, whether it’s friends or even a future husband, I want you to know that we will always be here for you. Even more than that, I will drive as far as I have to in order to find you and take you in my arms and hug you so that you know that you’re not alone, everything will be ok, and that God will bring you through your sorrow and suffering. Wherever you go, you will never be far from our hearts. Whatever you do, you will always be our little girl and we will do anything we can to be your biggest fans whether you experience exciting success or devastating failure. We are only a phone call away and we will drop everything to be there for you. No matter who comes and goes in your life, you will always be our daughter and nothing will ever change that. Nothing.
I’m so proud of you and I hope this day that we get to spend together and this ring that your mom and I got you will be something you never forget your whole life. You can’t believe how thankful we are for who you’ve become and who you’re becoming. I feel like the luckiest dad alive and I love you with my whole heart. I pray that your purity will give you a passion for God and the power to do anything you put your mind to. Just know that your mom and I will be cheering you on as your biggest fans your whole life long. You’ll always be our baby girl. We love you, Tay!
With great love and pride,
Your Dad and Mom