In our sex-saturated culture, it’s easy to assume that most young women are “doing the deed.” Sitcoms depict it, pop stars croon about it, and magazines offer tips on how to do it. Sitting in a waiting room recently, I picked up a recent edition of a teen magazine I read in high school. I remember loving the fashion column, hair advice, and embarrassing stories. To my surprise – or rather, dismay – I realized that a significant portion of the magazine now featured articles with sexual content not suited for the 12- to 17-year-olds who read it.
As a 31-year-old virgin in a committed relationship, I understand the battle women face while waiting ’til marriage to have sex. Although it’s not easy to go against the grain of society, I would never want to change the path I’ve taken. I know that the journey can get weary for those walking down this road, so whenever I see encouraging stories, I have to share them.
Lately I’ve been amazed by the dedication of the women in a movement called Pinky Promise. Pinky Promise is a ministry that was started by Heather Lindsey. I first discovered Heather when I read a blog post she wrote about waiting ’til marriage to kiss her husband, Cornelius. I was happily surprised that a passionate, beautiful, Christian couple took such a strong stand in their relationship.
Heather’s early life is a picture of grace. She shares her personal story in her blog:
I was adopted at the age of 5 months by a Caucasian family. My birth mother (who was Mexican/German) and my father (who was African- American) didn’t think that my mother could get pregnant. Then while she was in college she found out that she was pregnant. Thank God that she decided against abortion. She took the unselfish route and gave me an opportunity at life. So as soon as my birth mother gave birth to me, she gave me to a foster home right away. I know that had to be hard for her. I couldn’t imagine….
Heather received lots of love from her adoptive parents, whom she praises:
I wasn’t the first child my parents adopted. I was actually number 10. I have 24 sisters and brothers ALL of different nationalities–my mother gave birth to only one of them. About 40% of my family has some type of physical or mental disability. (cystic fibrosis, down syndrome).When my mom was little, she lived across the street from an orphanage and she would visit there everyday and tell them that when she grows up–she’s going to go back and adopt them all. .. amazing right??! What blows me away is that my parents always wanted to adopt the child that NOBODY else wanted & that the world rejected. What amazing, unconditional love. I DO want to highlight that my PARENTS are amazing. I was SO loved, so cared for, SO taken care of. I’m BLOWN away by the love they have for me. My father has passed away – but my mother is still here & is STILL a huge ball of LOVE. I adore her & she’s one of my best friends.
Growing up, Heather faced temptations typical to young women. In her blog, she shares the trials she’s endured and mistakes she’s made. In college, Heather’s desire for God led her to give her life fully to him. For the next few years she sought to find her identity in the love of God and not relationships with men. Years later, when she began courting her husband, they both committed to not kiss until their wedding day. They wanted to honor God and each other. It was a challenge for them, but by grace and with carefully set boundaries, they saved themselves for each other.
As a newlywed, Heather desired to help women who struggled with temptations like she had. On Jan. 27, 2012 she began to sell jewelry in an online store called “Pinky Promise.” The bracelets had messages empowering women to love God and themselves, and to stay abstinent ’til marriage. The jewelry was a big hit, quickly selling out from high demand. Heather knew there were many women out there who wanted to remain faithful to their convictions. While jewelry was a helpful encouragement, she knew they needed more.
Heather began to create a network for women to meet in groups and hold each other accountable in their decision to abstain or be loyal to their husbands. Pinky Promise now comprises over 6,000 single and married women in 300-plus groups across the U.S and the world. The ladies meet together in biweekly/monthly meetings, encourage other in prayer, hold Bible studies together, and spur each other on in their commitments to God and abstinence. Their motto is:
Pinky Promise is a promise to honor God with your body and your life. To refuse to give your body to anyone that hasn’t paid the price for you called marriage. It’s a promise to stay pure before God in EVERY single way. It’s a promise that says, I won’t test the boundaries in my relationship to see how far I can push it sexually–but instead—I want God to have my heart. It’s a promise to God that you will honor your marriage covenant. It’s saying that I promise not to step outside of my marriage, cheat on my spouse and that I’ll work through every issue.
What’s especially moving about this group is its high number of black members. Statistics show that black women are two thirds more likely to get an abortion than any other race, as well as the least likely to get married. Women who’ve never been married also account for two thirds of the abortions in the U.S. These numbers sadden me because I know that many black women desire marriage and family. The Pinky Promise ministry is essential in helping women make good choices that will positively affect their futures. This movement brings hope to women, helping them believe they can be great wives and mothers, as well as preparing them for those roles.
Heather’s blog is a constant source of wisdom and encouragement. She even gives advice on healthy eating, vitamins, and taking care of your body. In addition to her writings, she still designs jewelry and clothing for the Pinky Promise movement. She recently released a gorgeous silver ring that women can wear as a “purity ring,” reminding them of their commitment to abstain ’til marriage. Her husband Cornelius has a similar ministry for men called “The Oath.” Cornelius has also released a helpful book, titled So, you want to get married?: An alternative to dating and perfecting the journey to marriage.
Pinky Promise will be having their first conference, called “Heart to Heart,” this Jan. 24-27 in Atlanta, GA. It will be a time for women to gather together, hear uplifting messages, and grow in their faith. If you are like the 6,000-plus women in Pinky Promise who could use some motivation in your pursuit of purity, check out their site or join the movement.