Mom, Did You Wait?

I was driving down the highway listening to the familiar voice of Dr. James Dobson. Suddenly the host asked his guest, “What is the most common question a young girl will ask her mom about sex?” Without delay the woman responded, “Mom, did you wait?”

I pulled my minivan to the side of the highway and allowed ten years of tremendous denial and grief engulf me. I reached for my brand new baby girl in the back seat and held her as I cried. I would not lie to my little girl…

My heart’s desire was, is and always will be to live a lifestyle of purity, but in high school I detoured from that pursuit long enough to get tangled up by lust. Like no other sin, moments of unbridled passion had intertwined my life painfully into another’s.

The evening that I heard Dr. Dobson’s program, it took me three hours to tell my husband in the darkness of my bedroom. Satan had me cornered into a prison of blackmail until the very moment that my lips uttered a long-awaited confession. Oh, how I wish I had done that sooner! Christ’s forgiveness finally verbalized in the midst of my husband’s warm familiar embrace suddenly began to heal the deep tear in my heart.

Within a few weeks, a woman in my church—unaware of my new healing—was asking me to do a purity event for a few teen girls. Since that day, I’ve been using my healing to equip teens to live lives of purity and heal from moments of past impurity. The Lord has expanded my ministry to coaching moms to raise pure, whole daughters! I’m so thankful that you stopped by to be a part of it today. A great first step would be to bring your daughter to one of my live events.

-Dannah Gresh, founder Pure Freedom

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  • I admire your truth and candidness of your past pain. So many of us have been lied to by the enemy, robbing us of our purity and igniting shame an misery in our souls. I experienced devastating effects of premarital sex, which sent me in to a whirlwind of seeking to protect my own children from those same consequences. I spent years in spiritual recovery and healing. Praise God I have been redeemed and set free from their imprisonment and and can shine for Jesus today; and PRAY for my own daughter as I seek to live out a life of example and freedom before her.
    God bless you!!

  • thank you very much. you’ve been an inspiration to me. i’m a teen and i can really relate to your experiences. thank you. please pray for me. i will really appreciate it. God bless you

  • I love that you confessed to your husband, but what did you say to your children as they asked the question. This is the answer I am struggling with. Unfortunately, I chose the wrong boy to have my first time with too and thought as a result I had to marry him and stayed with him much longer than I ever shoud have. Thinking if I married this guy, as long as he was going to be my husband, it would undo the “premarital sex thing.” How do you handle that?

    • The Church has such different opinions on this, Lisa. Some say, “Don’t tell them. it will give them an excuse to sin.” Others say, “Be honest.” I fall in the later camp. TELL THEM! The number one risk reducer to teen sex is talking to your kids. And they can smell your secrets from miles away. If you are not honest, you will find that they are fearful in talking with you about their struggles. There is no greater trust than having them tell you what their thought life and relationships are like. All three of my children have heard my story from me. I do not share details, but I do share what happened in my heart. That I wish they would choose to live differently than I did because I know the heartache that can come from having sex too soon. All three of them have appreciated this and open up to me and their dad (my man) about their own struggles. Much prayer needs to go into talking to your kids. When? What to share? But God will guide you, sweet one!

      • I agree…Tell your daughter. Be honest. How can we expect our daughters to be open with us, if we are not open with them. I also choose to tell my girls about the heartache and that a piece of my heart is gone and my whole heart should have been for their dad and that God’s plans are best.

        With my daughters were younger and they asked a question that I felt they were too young to handle the answer, I recounted the story from Corrie Ten Boom about her father and his briefcase full of watches. It was too heavy for her to carry so he had, but one day she would be strong enough. In some cases, I would say “that’s too personal to discuss -maybe when you are an adult.”

        God will provide the timing of when you should share with your daughter. It usually begins with “Mom, I have a question”

  • While you had told of giving up the most precious thing and regretting it, I,too gave up my virginity at 15.However, I continued to believe the lie that if I gave myself to this person he would fall in love with me and marry me one day. Truth is, I ended up pregnant by this person and he did break up with me. He broke up right before I found out I was pregnant with our daughter. I ended up in even more turmoil because his parents took me to court to take her away. I found your site because I was looking for something to help me to teach my daughters and son about staying sexually pure until they married. Right now, I am facing a rebellious daughter who desires to be with a boy no matter what it takes to be with him. So now, I want to find a way to reach out to her because she needs to hear how God feels about sexual sin.

  • I’m really blessed wth ur truth dis morning, God bless you. I will love to keep my virginity till my weddin night. pls pray for me

  • for your honesty. I am 35 years old, single, and I have waited. The enemy tells me almost daily that it has all been for naught and that I will continue untouched and alone. I say this to point out that the enemy uses both our victories and our failures to torment our steady. He wants to sidetrack us from the promise. You from what you have now and me from what I will. We focus so many times on our failures but they be so strengthening when overcome.

  • I just stumbled to your site from charisma magazine and i am glad that i did. I lost my femininity long ago, long before i knew what i had and God has been leading me to rebuild and to heal in that area of my life. Thank you for sharing with me that you were not a virgin when you met your husband. That is so refreshingly honest that you cannot imagine. Long ago, I tried convincing myself that he was the right one, even though it meant living in premarital sin and i could not live with that feeling of guilt and hurt that kept ripping my soul apart. My relationship with God suffered as result but i am glad for the healing process.

    Today at 34 years, i am still single and I am presently holding myself accountable to maintain a lifestyle of purity and femininity to be a lady in a society that is rapidly losing its morals and i am so glad that i am.

    Thank you Dannah, I look forward to receiving your posts

  • What if you ended up with the man you had premarital sex with? I want to be honest, but we have a happily ever after story. We have been forgiven of this sin.

    • Hi Lisa. I think that it is great that you ended up with him and have no memories of sharing your body with anyone else. You may be fully healed and forgiven and that’s fantastic! Many adults in this situation report that it’s healthy to take some time to pray together and also to confess to each other and ask forgiveness. Sometimes this helps heal in a deeper way!

  • Hey Dannah my name is Gracie May and i was at your get lost tour in Millersburg OH and it changed my life i made the same mistake too and 1 month after i told the closest person my coach and about 2 months after i told her i gained up the courage to have her come over and tell my mom and she took me to your conference and i helped me understand why not to engage in premarital sex anymore and help me to start living a life of purity and i would just like to say thank you because you really helped me to not be so boy crazy and for me to start living a life of purirty and helping me to understand that its ok and i can still live a life of purity and your love feast id like to thank you for because i told my boyfriend that i was going to take it and now afterwards we have a more godly and faith based relationship and i would just like to say THANK YOU!!

  • What total rubbish!

    Being “pure” and “whole” have NOTHING to do with being a virgin on your wedding night. This kind of patriarchal nonsense is entirely about allowing men to control women’s bodies and women’s lives through the notion of purity.

    Satan didn’t keep you cornered in a prison of blackmail. Bad theology and the spiritual abuses so pervasive in conservative churches did!

    Perhaps instead of teaching girls to wait until they’re married to have sex, the church ought to be teaching them about how to make choices for themselves about what they want to do with their own bodies; perhaps the church ought to be teaching them how to decide when THEY want to have sex; perhaps the church ought to be teaching them how not only to say “No” to sex, but also how to say “Yes” to sex, so that they might have full, satisfying, and fulfilling sexual experiences when they are ready, as they are ready.

    A church that tells women they are only pure if they’re virgins on their wedding night and that the right to touch, experience, or even look at their bodies is a church that teaches women to give up their sexual and bodily autonomy to men. Such teachings can only leave women LESS empowered, not more.

    Wake up! Your daughters’ bodies are not yours, not your husband’s, not the churces’ and certainly not their future husbands. Your daughters’ bodies belong to your daughters and to them alone. Teach them THAT and they’ll be far better equipped to make the right choices about their bodies for themselves.

    • Actually, I don’t subscribe to much of what you write here. I was not a virgin on my wedding night but I was pure. This teaching is clearly and biblically chronicled in my first book, And the Bride Wore White. None of us are born pure. (Psalm 51:5) A woman does not have to be a virgin on her wedding night to be pure, but I would tell her that choosing virginity will help her to avoid physical pain, medical problems, untimely pregnancy, and emotional trauma as well as honoring her Lord and Savior since the Bible instructs a very exclusive view of sex.
      What is also incorrect in your comment is the fact that this something that is important only for women. Men should also be restrained in their sexuality and come to the marriage bed free of sexually transmitted diseases, emotional aftermath from sexual addiction, the complication of having fathered children to other women, and other challenges. They, too, must seek to honor Christ in their sexual choices.
      All of that being said, your comment is wrought with the anti-thesis of what you argue for: choice. If you are going to wave a banner of tolerance over sexuality, you must allow virginity and abstinence to be one of the choices. As I share in my Ted Talk, there are a lot of benefits to waiting. And a woman who chooses them is wise.

      • I’ve watched your TedX talk and at no point in my comment did I ever indicate an intolerance for virginity. I argued for teaching girls bodily autonomy, which allows for any sexual choice that is right for them – waiting until they’re married or not.

        • Appreciate your support for virginity! It’s the healthiest medical and emotional choice for a girl or a guy! Or course a girl gets to choose. I said that in my TedTalk! 🙂

          • Hi Dannah- Your book “Raising Body Confident Daughters” was recommended to me by a friend. I’ve read through most of it and plan to start my conversations with my 9 year old daughter in a few weeks. I feel prepared with what I will say except for the part about me (if she asks). When I was 14 my boyfriend raped me and then told everyone I was a slut. This situation combined with other things led me to become very promiscuous . I did not become a Christian until I was married and 26 years old. Now I have this beautiful little girl and I’m trying. I read here that we should be honest, but how much does she really need to know? The other people have shared that they confessed they had sinned and made the wrong choice, but for me I was robbed of that choice. Please advise….if she asks me if I waited for her dad, what should I say?

          • I would suggest that your nine year old doesn’t need to know anything. If she asks, you can simply say “Our conversation about sex is going to be an on-going one and I want to make sure we talk about things in the right time. Can we talk about that in the future? For now, we’re going to focus on this topic at hand….” When she is 14 or 15, you need to tell her given God’s direction in your spirit. If he seems to guide you to say you should share, I would suggest no details. Though our circumstances are quite different, I never told my children details. I simply said, “Let me tell you why I love Jesus so much. He has forgiven me a great deal and healed my heart. The reason I want you to live a life of purity is not because I did, but because I know how much it hurts when you don’t.” That’s about all I told them. It was honest, but not graphic. They don’t need details, but they do need transparency. I’m so sorry for your pain. You were a baby when you faced this horrific act of violence. I pray God’s Spirit continues to be deeper and deeper levels of healing to your heart.

    • Hi Mary. I just wanted to give you some biblical perspective on this situation. God says numerous times that sex is made for a man and his wife. 1 Corinthians 6:13 says “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord the body.” So is a girl’s body her own? I firmly believe it belongs to the Great I Am who created her and so generously sent his son to die for her. These women have shared the pain that premarital sex has caused them and they are trying to prevent young girls from making the same mistakes. And their bodies are for their future husbands as their future husband’s body is for them, the two are joined and become one flesh. My suggestion to you is to dive deeper into the word of God and pray that he opens your eyes to what he intended for sex to be. And one last thing, I don’t know what you mean by the “conservative churches”. The church itself is Jesus’ and therefore should not be divided especially on issues like this. And girls do have the right to choose whether they have sex or not. God gives us free will. But we do have to endure the consequences of the choices we choose.

    • I don’t agree at all with what your saying. To me its rubbish. Our bodies are not ours to do with what we want. It IS to be saved for our future husband that God alone intends for us, whether we choose to marry or not. On here is a 35 year old virgin who follows God’s law to wait. That’s the choice we have, and Lord willing, we teach our daughters how to respect themselves 100%, which in return will help them to make the right decisions.

  • A life long Journey walking in God’s Grace
    A love story

    It was 1961 when I was born. My parents were real child hood sweet hearts. Meeting at 12 yrs old on the neighborhood streets of New Hyde Park Queens. They went to different high schools. He was at an all boys private high school. Something he wanted to go to and paid for himself. His parents were of polish descent and not educated past 8th grade.
    His father an AT & T pole climber in Manhattan providing telephone service. A simple strong athletic man of great humor charisma and innate mathematical abilities. His mom a loving woman of polish descent with a quiet sense of humor who had a big heart for her two sons creating a warm and loving family. Money was always tight but there was always food and good laughter.
    Mom was a knock out brunette 5’7 with a better body than Marilyn Monroe .A personality of innocence, humor and charm that made life all the more fun. A twirler, dancer and full of life. She was voted for Home Coming Queen at Dad’s all boy high school. They made a great couple. He was hard working driven to succeed at what ever he did. Always working, always studying making it his business to be the best at whatever he did completely in love with mom at the tender age of 13!
    She came from a divorced family in the 1930’s. Her dad had a secret affair with a German spy while working for Standard Oil in Washington DC. Her mom was a single mom working in the construction business as an owner of a boutique clothing store in the local Queens area of New Hyde Park. No one was rich by far. Hammy downs were a part of life.
    Those were the days when there was no day care and a divorce single woman with kids was ex communicated from life not to mention church. She was the girl no one could play with. That did not stop my father. She was welcomed into his parents house and their love story continued. By junior year of high school my father had plans. Big plans. He was going to college on a football scholarship to Villanova. My mother was devastated she thought for sure they would get married and someday start a family. In those day pre sexual revolution the idea of sex before marriage certainly wasn’t discussed nor was any form of birth control. It was my dad who was the disciplined one. The one with incredible motivation to wait. To have a plan. You see someone has to have control. Someone needs to be in the driver seat.
    Well, moms plans were derailed. She even had names picked out for kids already at the age of 17! But no go. Dad was dead set on going to college and getting a degree to be a doctor! She decided last minute April of her Senior year if she did not go to college, she woud lose him. She left for school in upstate NY while he went to Pennsylvania.
    The first summer after coming back from college he worked in construction to continue to pay for his schooling and car.
    It was that summer he literally was run over by a huge construction front loader. While leaning up against the wheel someone started the engine and he got caught under the wheel just above his neck line. By some miracle the operator was able to stop it. Dad ended up with a broken back 47 bone chips in his fee 2 broken legs that put him in traction for the entire summer. He was a man with intense motivation, tenacity and tremendous faith in God. That fall he recovered with the 47 bone chips and an uneven gait in his walk but ever determined to play football and continue on his path to success.
    They mad a special shoe for him on the football team to accommodate for the shortage in length. There was never full recovery but pain became part of life. No drugs just pure amazing God Given driving purpose for a greater place in life.
    They married shortly after graduating college. Starting together. Dad never stopped working creating opportunities wherever he went. Early on after working through high school studying then working all through college he decided to switch majors junior year doubling up on business and finally majoring in Finance. This proved to be the best of all directions. Shortly after graduation in 1959 and securing a jobhe bought their first house and then got married as soon as mom graduated. They were a year apart.
    I was their honey moon child. It wasn’t their plan at 21 to start a family. The dream was to save money while both worked. Mom just got her first teaching job as a physical education teacher in Manhasset Long Island. Dad was in a training program with a company he would end up working for during 35 years of his life. The excitement of finally getting married and a new house was their dream. But……. I came along on that honeymoon day.

    It was 1961 a hot day in May at Cornell medical center in Manhasset Long Isand – Several weeks too early at less than 4 lbs I was born with some freaky genetic disorder called ichthyosis. A collodian baby they called it. A 2% survival rate. A freak of nature wrapped up in a twisted embedded cremaster of cocoon like skin covering every appendage, inside and out with a grotesque hard shell that makes an appearance of snake like skin. All over- presenting with slanted eyes like the alien pictures we see in todays movies A mere pupus stage of a caterpillar. A living human chrysalis of 4 pounds. Eventually shedding skin like the skin on a snake but waiting patiently forming a hard shell and then eventually emerging as a butterfly.
    The prognosis was grim. The doctors explained they do not have the answers. This is a rare disease that cannot be fixed.
    Life would be in a bubble. Exposed to infections and a life of misery. To ugly for society. A cost that would put my parents in debt for their life. Perhaps, the doctors said ” Maybe the best solution is no solution” We will simply put your daughter in the incubator and let her find her own way. They whisked me away from my mother in a desperate call for information.
    There I layed in intensive care ready to die. It wasn’t long before the night mare became a reality and my father with all his faith and tenacity begged the doctors to see this through. He would find a way for round the clock nursing, plastic surgery,
    God loving faith, anything. To simply walk a way was no solution. Needless to say the fight began and I emerged alive and sick but alive. The prognosis for hair, teeth, hearing a normal life. Well lets just say when your born and your fighting for life that isn’t the main objective………………
    The road to recovery was long and arduous for my parents. Mentally, physically and financially. Prayer, faith incredible strength in character and God like motivation. A fund was started to contribute to the round the clock nursing required to stay alive. I came home 3 months later to my mom and dad at their new house. They were 21 & 22 yrs old. Far to young to take on the seriousness of life.

    Over time…………………… the once caterpillar pupa wrapped in a chrysalis emerged eventually as a butterfly.
    That journey took me through a life time of transformations. No surgery, no plastic surgery. But by scientific miracles little by little the disease manifested itself disappearing on different parts of my body. There were secret places and my heart was heavy with my own mental madness in the idea of beauty as a young girl. I held hands with angels in my sleep. I spoke with God from the time I could speak. Often speaking out loud when no one was around. I think it was cathartic looking back. No……. I didn’t get anyone talking back. Noooooo I often was angry and hurt I was on this planet earth.
    People are hurtful. They say things. They say things to my parents. I can take it. ” They know not what they say….
    forgive them anyway was my mantra. Time progressed, many doctors later, hearing impaired, creams, lotions, prayer,
    salt baths, more creams yearly shedding of skin……. humiliation…… hurt that follows you like a shadow….. a never ending pang in your stomach. Time moved on. The skin shed. Hearing was impaired. But I felt a never ending light inside. A beauty of personality of pure love- A secret inside. A life that some how there was purpose- I felt it. My parents with all their love told me I was beautiful- The mirror was my worst enemy. I danced- i had music in my head. I wrote, The words came easy…. Friends didn’t- I was attracted to the hurting, the unwanted, the needly the poor, the mentally ill, the homeless……
    the unloved……. It followed me as my skin shed disappearing by the age of 20 leaving remnants in places- secret places.
    A life time of hurts and insecurities. The thought of never dating, marrying or being loved. That does something to you.

    I am blessed. A walking miracle with a purpose. I say to all you women- Love and Sex- There is alot of in between-
    A passionate kiss and ache that never leaves for desire and lust. A touch- a fantasy of desire and giving. A romance of beauty and love notes. Respect yourself demand more from your self and your boyfriend. Savor the moments……
    There is more to sex than sexual intercourse- A chaste mind and body does not leave when your married.

    My story does not end. As we move in our journey in life through hardships, temptation, joy, desire, loss traveling through careers, single hood, married, divorced widowed, orphaned or single for life……… We all have something to offer.
    Yes, after spending my 20’s and early 30’s in NYC meeting the rich the famous and all kinds of men….. I often thought it was because I became this ugly duckling to a soaring butterfly. But no I was no PIN UP MODEL No I said no to every man along my path….. I was made fun of in college after college in my office at work…….
    I had my reasons………………

    But noooooo ended up having an opposite affect- I concentrated on an electric loving personality with no judgement with pure joy of loving people in the ministry sense. I met my husband from while on a blind date.
    I told him my story. I was 28. Looking for tall good clean – no drugs, no male whores, just a good man- but you gotta know
    I got some hidden secrets of tough going…….. and yes I was a virgin.

    I am now 54 with 3 children- Two boys 20, 18 and a 14 year old beautiful daughter. My stories are many. Men of all kinds all types. Had I opened pandoras box I would surely not be here today. Diseases are rampant.
    I invite all you women to qualify your potential boyfriends bring back COURTING DEMAND YOUR FLOWERS TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR SEXUALITY AND DON’T GIVE IT AWAY…..


  • Hi Dannah! Thanks for all the wonderful work you do for the kingdom everyday. The Lord uses you & your talents in amazing ways! My daughter & I have actually been to 2 of the “Crazy Hair Tour” live events & had a great time. My daughter just turned 13 & is our only child. I have preached about abstinence & waiting until marriage ever since I sat her down for the infamous “sex” talk. Luckily & suprisenly, she has not yet asked me the dreaded “Did you wait?” question but I just know it’s only a matter of time & I’m so dreading it so much! The reason I dread it is because regrettably, I did not wait… Not even close. In my teen years I was very wild & rebellious & “partied” with my friends all the time. I had been raised in the church & felt convicted during those years. I even tried giving it (alcohol & drugs) all up & living for God on many occasions but was never successful longer than about a day. My dad was a pastor but had got called into the ministry late in life and in his younger years he had lived a very wild life. He was a hippi in every sense of the word. He got into drugs & alcohol very, very heavily for a few years and then his mothers prayers were answered & he turned his life around and started serving the Lord. The reason I’m telling you about this is because during my teen years my dad told me all the crazy stories about his time on drugs & alcohol & it made me look at my own life and just say to myself “I’ll be ok to party now while I’m young & ‘get it outta my system’ and then when I’m older I’ll be able to turn my life around and start really living for God just like dad did.” I looked up to my dad so much that in a way, I almost kinda felt like it was cool that we would have the same testimony about our wild younger years and how we turned our live around for God. So it’s always been a huge fear of mine that if I tell my daughter that I had sex before marriage, even if I tell her how much I regret it, I’m so afraid the same thing will happen with her & she’ll see that her dad & I have a great marriage now so she’ll think she can give herself away and then repent later & it won’t really affect her. Its for that reason that I have not been honest to her about my teen years already just concerning the partying. She doesn’t know about my wild past because I don’t want her to think the way I did with my dad. I don’t like being dishonest to her at all but I just feel like it’s for her own good. I don’t want her making all these horrible mistakes just because I felt I should be honest with her. And this is how I’m feeling about the dreaded “Did you wait?” question that I know is coming anytime now. I feel like I want to lie again & tell her yes I waited until I was married to dad because I don’t want her to think “well, mom didn’t wait and her life turned out just fine.” What do you think?

    • Hello Brooke. You are a woman after my own heart. Well, I think you’ve answered your own question so let me just point out what you’re telling yourself. You use the word “dishonest”, so you have a sense that what you’re currently doing isn’t the best choice. It’s not honest. So, that’ calls for an adjustment so you can be in integrity FOR YOUR OWN SAKE as well as your daughters. I counsel so many teenage girls who say “my mom won’t tell me she waited, so I know she didn’t.” The absence of telling her your story, actually does tell it. (Unless you lie outright and I don’t think you’ve done that.) A girl knows. Take into account the fact that “parent/child connectedness” is the number one risk reducer, you have just shut down the greatest avenue of her pathway to purity. Open your heart to her so that she will open hers to you.

      That said, you have also said that you don’t want her to know about your “wild past.” That’s wisdom. Your daughter doesn’t need to know details and play by play. She doesn’t need to have a picture of what you did in her mind, but a sense of what happened in YOUR heart planted into hers. When I told my son, I said, “I want you to know why I love Jesus so much and what he’s done to rescue my heart. I’m not the poster child for sexual purity. I teach others to live in purity because I know how much it hurts not to chose that.” That’s it. That’s all I told him. No details.

      Pray. Ask a woman you know to pray with you. God will guide you, friend.

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