“Oh, you go to church? You know what they say about church girls…” is a phrase that I’ve come to despise over the years. Church girls have unfairly been given (and have sometimes earned) some of the worst reputations around town. “Hypocrite” “Holy Hoes” and “Frauds” are only the tip of the iceberg. What many fail to realize about church girls is just because many of us were born into the church does not mean that we were born saints. And just because we’ve been around long enough to learn how to quote scriptures or shout on cue does not mean we’re perfect. For many of us, church has become a way of life, almost like a part of our culture, something that we “do” as opposed to something that we are. From birth church wasn’t actually a choice for us, it was a rule. We had no choice, if our parents were churchgoers by default we were as well. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with this. I personally believe that children should be raised in church. However, I also believe that if you are doing something out of obligation, chances are your heart probably won’t be in it, which is why you have some girls who seem to suffer from bi polar disorder, they profess salvation on Sunday and profess everything else Monday through Saturday. I remember being one of those girls.
I was raised in church. I was taught right from wrong. I was told which lifestyles were pleasing to God and which were not. It was easy to do the right thing when I didn’t have much freedom. The challenge came around the time I was given more leeway from my parents. You know, when I was allowed to have a boyfriend, given my own car, started college and all of that good stuff. It was the time when I didn’t have my parents over my shoulder telling me right from wrong. I had always vowed to remain a virgin until marriage but as my new found freedom came rolling around, my virginity became a thing of the past. Yes, I was taught that sex was designed for procreation and enjoyment between married couples , but when it all came down to it, I had made a decision to do what I wanted to do. I remember when my mother came to me to tell me about these new abstinence classes that my church began implementing for teens and young adults. Outwardly I smiled, inwardly scowled at the thought of taking abstinence classes. Ironically, I prayed she didn’t try to make me sit through those classes. I was far gone. There I was sitting on the second pew of my church on Sunday’s and doing me the rest of the week, fitting into the typical church girl stereotype.
I remember when it hit me that I had made a terrible mistake. It didn’t happen as I was sitting in front of a preacher speaking damnation over my soul because I’d sinned against God. It didn’t happen at some revival or shut in. I was actually alone, driving to class. It was personal. I was genuinely sorry and not merely because someone told me that I should be. It was in that moment that I began to see God for who he truly was. I vowed that although I had made the mistake of giving someone my virginity who wasn’t my husband, I would remain abstinent until I was married. It wasn’t easy, it probably took me about six months from the time that I made this proclamation to actually begin living it, but it was possible. It took a conscious decision from me, myself, not anyone else. I remember when abstinence classes rolled around again. I had been abstinent for one whole year by then. No one had to even have to mention the classes to me. I was the first one signed up. When the classes came to an end and I was presented with my abstinence ring, it actually meant something to me and again, it was personal. On the ring was engraved “I’ll Wait.” Every time I glance down at it I am not only reminded of my commitment to God and my future husband, but also of God’s unchanging love. It wasn’t just something that I did because I had to do it. It was a conscious decision that I made, which made the ring mean so much more.
Church girls are just like anyone else looking to find their way. Yeah, we may have been raised around biblical teaching, but accepting Jesus and submitting to a life which would be found pleasing unto him has to be a personal decision, just as someone who was never raised around these teachings. There are some of us who get it ingrained in us very early and then there are some of us who may need to go out and experience “life” before we come back with genuinely repenting hearts. This is not to justify the lives of those that live like hell during the week and can preach the kingdom down on Sunday, just to tell the story from the point-of-view of a group of women who are often misunderstood. Christian doesn’t mean perfect, it just means that we are striving to be more like Christ.
Jazmine Denise is a New York City based Lifestyle & Relationship writer. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise
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