As Joshua began his first serious romantic relationship, we wondered how it would affect Noah. So far, Noah had been diligent in his pursuit of purity through the challenges of adolescent hormones and a healthy burgeoning sex-drive. After seeing other families of victims watch as their children either acted out sexually or withdrew inwardly, becoming as asexual as possible, we have been painfully aware of each step Joshua and Noah progressed through. Would it be normal? Would they be normal? And while we’re at it, what IS normal anyway? Thankfully, closing the door by protecting them from continued outside information overload of sexual images and language bore some seriously sweet fruit, as we saw first Joshua, then Noah, have the typical yearnings, longings and challenges of an adolescent boy.
But this was different. Noah was watching Joshua embark on a journey and yes, it did have its challenges to purity — any romantic relationship outside of marriage does! Joshua’s good choices and desire for accountability made the journey not only look sweet and enticing, it actually was sweet and enticing to Noah. Or, I thought it would be. So, I asked.
“Noah. Does watching Joshua’s relationship make you want to have a girlfriend, too?” Shock. He looked at me in shock. I stared back. I do a lot of staring at our teenagers. It should really be part of the job description! “Mom. I am nowhere NEAR ready for that!”
And then Noah explained what it means to be ready.
- He knows who he is in his faith – what he believes, why he believes it, how to explain it to others and how to apply it to his life. He knows he needs to be filled with his own faith and fervent in his own beliefs – not anyone else’s!
- He doesn’t NEED a woman to complete him. As Noah talked I thought, “Wow! We say that a lot to girls these days – you don’t need a man to complete you. But boys turning into men need to hear it, too!” Even though I never quite said it that way, truth was taught and he knows he needs to be his own person before he begins looking for his forever woman.
- He has his lust under control. The truth is, boys and men (and many women) don’t need a door to be opened faster than is healthy to still struggle with wanting to peek outside! But lust is never satisfied. To be the kind of man who can treasure a woman as she should be treasured for her whole life through, self control over this distraction must be as complete as it can be. And because we’re all human, accountability will likely be a lifelong lifestyle choice.
- He feels ready to give more than he needs to receive. Emotional health is a big topic in our house. We often refer to our cups that need filling. Everyone of us has a cup for God to fill, for an earthly father and mother, for those we love the most. Most issues in relationships arise because of those darned empty cups. The most emotionally healthy among us enter adulthood with cups that are overflowing. The great news is that overflowing cups tend to find other overflowing cups, rather than enter into relationships of mutually unhealthy co-dependence.
- He has made his first steps on the journey to successful adulthood. Noah has nearly gotten the first four down, now. I’m his mother, but I’m a tough mom, and I can tell you he is an incredibly faithful, giving, loving young-man of self-control and emotional security. No small task when you’ve read his story! But, at 17 he hasn’t quite caught a vision for his future, yet. It’s driving him crazy right now, and who among us hasn’t been there? From the time we’re toddlers, someone wants to know what we’re going to be “when we grow up” and Noah is still exploring. He is impatient to find his answer, but I’m not! I know once Noah has a vision for his future, he is going to jettison some unknown direction and make his mark on the world. It won’t happen slowly. He’ll be off like a rocket!
I know, once he launches, he will begin to open his eyes to the world of precious young women out there, and someone will rise to the top and be my Noah’s new partner in life. And I will gain a new daughter.