Emma’s Decision

Over the years I’ve thought about the day when I could finally share this story.

It’s a seldom mentioned topic.


Because it is so rare and unheard of.

And it’s so very contrary to much of the world’s view.

The kind of thing that many dismiss as “old-fashioned”.

But truthfully, this story must be shared.  And our Place Called Simplicity
is the perfect Place to share it.

Here’s why:

For those who have been hanging around our Place, you will remember that each time
we have passed another million visit mark, I have invited those who log on and are
the millionth {whichever millionth we’re celebrating} to please take
a photo of the counter with the millionth mark and then send me the snapshot as
well as a selfie to announce them as the winner.

Each time we have done that, there is one thing that really stood out… many,
many of those stopping by our Place Called Simplicity were high schoolers,
college-goers, young adults and there were even some middle schoolers!!

What a beautiful surprise that is and what an enormous privilege to speak
God’s truths into young lives.

And so it is with each of you in mind, our sweet young friends, that I questioned 
Emma on her wedding day, to see if it was okay to now share her very personal story….

Emma eagerly responded, “YES! Share it mom!”

First though, let’s be perfectly clear:

Emma’s story is a story of Hope!  It is definitely not 

meant to bring condemnation or judgment in any way!  
Lord willing, the sharing of her story will provide 
encouragement as you write your own story.


Unbeknownst to any of us, when Emma was very young she made
a monumental and very personal decision, on her own.

I didn’t hear about the decision until 2008.

New Years Eve day her friend Josh texted her to ask if he could call her.
Emma came to me puzzled.  Because although they texted often about the little
things in life, they had not ever talked on the phone.   I will never forget the day
in our little log home…Emma came to me,

“Mom!  Josh wants to call me!! 
What should I say?  Should I let him?
What do you think he wants?”

I told her that my guess was that Josh had a pretty good idea that she was extra special
and he wanted to be sure “to get in line early”….in anticipation of her 16th birthday
since we had a long standing rule in our family:

No Dating Until 16
{And by the way, the Rule has since been changed.}

Emma texted him back, “Yes, you can call.”

A few minutes later she was heading back into the kitchen with an even
more bewildered look on her face, “I think Josh just asked me out on a date.”

I questioned her as to what she meant and she explained, “He wanted to know if I
was doing anything the week-end after my birthday next July.   He wants to come
from out of state to do something with me!”

I laughed, “Yes, it sounds like Josh thinks there will be a line once you are 16 and
he wants to jump start all the other young men!”

To be sure she understood him, she texted back,

Did you just ask me out on a date?

“Yes” was returned via text.

It all made me giggle.

Such innocence.

And then Emma told Joshua this:

“Before you take me out, Josh, you need to understand 
two things.  First, someday my wedding invitation is 
going to say, ‘Come see me kiss my best friend for the 
first time’.  I will not do anything with you or anyone else
for that matter.  Nothing. No kissing or otherwise.  If 
you have any other plans, then I am not the girl for you.  

And secondly, I know God has called me to be a missionary to Uganda.  I don’t know if He’s called you, but I know for 

certain He has definitely called me.  I am moving there 
when I am out of school.  You need to understand both 
of these things to be sure you still want to take me out.”  

The parameters had been clearly defined and spoken
emphatically by our sweet girl.  She meant every word.

Although these two things hadn’t been part of  Josh’s plan, he undoubtedly knew
that Emma was a rather unusual and special girl.  He decided both of these things
were okay with him.

And so it was that after their first date and over the next 3.5 years that they dated,
not once did they compromise in any way.   She had set in stone a standard and she was 
not shrinking back!  There would be no waffling.  There were be no slippery slope.
With dogged determination she kept her eye on the prize:

Honoring God with her body, keeping herself pure in every way and a rare and uniquely worded wedding invitation awaited her final destination!

Over the years I have actually heard some say about Emma’s decision, “Well that’s just unrealistic!”

Actually, Emma and Josh are living proof that it is not unrealistic nor is it impossible.

It is entirely possible!

In fact, think about it, one of the fruits of the spirit is Self-Control.

Why wouldn’t each of us want to express our love for the other through complete

Not surprisingly, when Josh and Emma broke up after 3.5 years together,
Emma commented to me,

“Oh mom!! I am so grateful we never did anything.  
I have no regrets!”

Sadly, today’s society and even those within the confines of our churches will scoff
and make purity into a silly sounding, pathetic laughing matter – as though the physical
aspect of relationships and virginity is an old-fashioned thing of the past and that
giving away any of this precious gift is not only expected, it’s assumed and
accepted with “it’s just a matter of time”.

Such notions are so contrary to God’s best plan for each person!

In fact some time back, I happened on Facebook and saw many sharing a
link written by a popular author.  I don’t read this blog, but was intrigued, so I
clicked on the link.  As I read my eyes grew wide.

This very popular Christian author was addressing the topic of birth control with her
teenage child.  It was written with an in-your-face shock humor while making a big
joke of waiting for marriage to enjoy God’s beautiful gift of sexual intimacy.
I came to the comments from the readers and became even more sickened…
the comments were agreeing with the author and cheering her on…for her “hysterical”
view to this whole topic.  I was tempted to write and ask what scripture
she was using to base her “hysterical” conversation on, but I didn’t.  

It’s no wonder so many children and young adults make choices that are contrary
to God’s best and downright painful – their parents have no Godly expectation for them!


Let’s just set the record straight – God’s view of intimacy, sexual pleasure and
marriage is not a “thing of the past”, it’s not “old-fashioned” and it’s definitely
not something He thinks is hysterically obsolete.  In fact, He is the same yesterday,
today and forever.

God set the standard, because of His own purity, 
His own holiness and His own reverence.
His plan for each of us is good.  
He doesn’t withhold pleasure because He wants to
ruin our day!!

Instead He instructs each of us to live a life of purity 
so we can live without regrets, without guilt and without painful consequences.  

His best is purity!  

He is not a God of compromise!  

He promises to bless those who obey Him! 

On Emma’s wedding day I shared through tears with her how proud I was of her decision many years before.  She smiled as she gently whispered, “Well Mom, every day during family Bible study you would pray aloud, ‘Lord please give my children the courage to 
be a virgin in every sense of the word until their wedding day.’  Mom, I never forgot your prayer!”

I melted.  She had never told me that before!!

Oh how we long for our children to take to heart God’s best plan for them.
Heed the principle fellow parents – pray aloud over your children.
Do not be afraid to let them hear your heart.  Encourage them daily to stay the course!

I truly had no idea that my daily prayer would be taken to heart in every sense!

True to her word, Emma stuck to her guns in every way!!

So it was that on Emma and Josh’s wedding day, 
every person who knew the backstory could not wait 
for their first kiss!

We giggled and giggled with anticipation!

Emma had actually shared with a few of her staff the decision that she had made many
years before and how this would be a monumental day on so many counts!
They were shocked!  Just like the US, this is not something that is heard of in their
culture either.

Later we would laugh as we talked about the events of her wedding day…how the word
had spread among her staff that this “first kiss” would be quite the celebration!
So much so that basically all 25 of her staff flooded to the front, gathering
like a pack of driven paparazzi, cell phones positioned perfectly,
waiting to catch this extraordinary event!!

As Pastor John began the grande finale symbolic pronouncement,
he explained that they had waited in every sense of the word for everything,
even this first kiss.  He continued,

“Joshua, you may now kiss your bride” 

and he laughingly added,

“and take all the time you need!”

Emmy and Josh did not disappoint the crowd gathered!

We cheered and celebrated!

God is a faithful God!


If you missed Josh and Emma’s love story…it’s here. 

PS.  Should you be one whose path has been a different one, it is not too late.
You can decide today that you want a fresh start.  Talk to Him about your failures.
Then pray with a trusted accountability partner who also believes in purity.  Ask
them to hold you accountable.    Our God is faithful and He is the God of 
new beginnings and fresh, clean starts!  You can do it!!

49 thoughts on “Emma’s Decision

  1. This gave me chills!!! What a BEAUTIFUL story!
    I can only pray and hope my children will be able to stand up and be different from the culture around us, and around them. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Lissa, thank you for your sweet comment. Emma's story is so precious and meant to bring Hope! Others can do it too – it just takes the 'want to'! God plan is not to ruin our lives – He loves us so much, He shows us what is Best to bless us!!!! I trust your children will stand firm – share Emma's story when the time is right! There are others as well of course!

    1. You are so right Jenni!! I share with my kids all the time about God's promises are for those who obey Him. And His plan is *not* burdensome…it is for our best. It might be hard work, but what that's worth it, isn't hard work?? Emma has been abundantly blessed with ENORMOUS favor as she founded the Gem…I can't help but believe even THAT is because of her unfaltering desire to HONOR Him! And now they will be exponentially blessed because of their decisions! May God be glorified!!

    1. I will pray and write a blog post about it. It's probably not what anyone would necessarily think. But it comes out of watching 5 kids navigate the "dating" scene and then reached a new decision after receiving input from some of our now-adult children. And if you think of it, pray as I write it in the days ahead.

  2. Linny! Thank you for sharing and thank Emma for allowing you to share this story! It is encouraging because well, I appreciate knowing I am not the only one who has made that commitment! When I was 12, my mom told me that she had heard the story that former first lady Barbara Bush had never kissed another man other than President Bush. I pondered that story in my heart and just thought it was so precious for her to be able to say that. Then I began to think…wow how special would you feel on your wedding day to know that your new spouse had not only saved her body…but had even saved her lips! Just for you! I knew it was very different than our culture today and I think that's what made the thought so special and I decided then that that is what I wanted to do – wait until my wedding day for my first kiss. And I am proof that you can have self control …I am 34 and still not married! But I hope that God still has a wedding say in store for me although I have to admit that I do not like being the center of attention and have considered the thought of having a bridesmaid hold up a poster board that says "censored" or something funny like that so my first kiss will be a little more private! Lol 😀

    1. I am so proud of you skitkat19!! It is such a rare but oh-so-beautiful thing to be able to say!! And I laughed out loud on the bridesmaid idea!! Emma is very modest and private and does not love being the center AT ALL…but they did very well. They had talked a day or two before of which way they should each lean so as not to bang heads. And if you were watching you could see them pause for a split second {obviously both thinking, 'lean right"} and then dive in! Made us all cheer and laugh!! xo

  3. This post is perfect for me at this stage in life. I can't thank you enough and I totally respect your daughter about this decision. I too made a decision not to kiss until my wedding day when I was around 14 years old. Now at 17 I've come to learn more about relationships and such. With some of my friends getting married I'vd learned a lot. I belive in courtship. And how important it is to practice self-control when in a relationship. And to always keep God as the center of that relationship. It makes a beautiful love story to let God lead in every aspect of ones life. Congratulations to your daughter and thank you for this wise words. God bless!

  4. So precious. I hope you tell Emma that so many of us are encouraged by her decision. Although I had not been taught that precious truth, God had very carefully looked after me. And then, when after years of writing across the ocean my now-husband and I became engaged. He suggested this very thing. It was so wonderful to be around a man who valued and respected me. So our first kiss was also at our wedding. And it got much laughter as well!

    To be honest, if you are counting, we had only known each other in person for less than 4 months! around 1 1/2 months when we first met and I was on a mission trip to England. Then another 1 1/2 months 6 years later when the missionaries decided this needed a bit of matchmaking help. 😉 and I came to England again where we got engaged. Then a week at Easter that year when he came to meet my parents and then the week before the wedding! Other than that it was letters. No Skype or even email then!
    And God helped us as we learned to know each other in the beginning and I was so very ill. The most wonderful thing was to learn that he really was the sort of fun person I wanted to know… not who others thought he was. (Being very British and not wanting to offend or make a scene!)
    I think God's fairy tales are much better than the ones in books!
    Love from Sandy in the UK

    1. Wow Sandy!! What an amazingly beautiful story! I love stories like yours. Have you written it? It could be a movie!! You should write it out and publish it on Amazon!! For real. People need to hear the stories like yours and that they WORK! thank you for sharing my friend across the pond!! xo

  5. Awesome and so beautiful!

    My husband and I were virgins when we married, but unfortunately not in every sense of the word as you put it. Our prayers for our children are the same as yours. My 13 year old son has stated to me a few times that he wants to kiss his wife for the first time on his wedding day. We've had these conversations many times, but after watching the Duggars it seemed to make more sense to him. I think I'm going to read this to him, or have him read it for himself as a reminder that God is pleased with us when we honor him with our bodies.

    Thank you for sharing this. We will begin praying out loud for this over our kids. It's never too early.

  6. Linny,

    This brought tears to my eyes. There are so many parents….and therefore young people who don't realize that God's Word stands forever, and is unchangeable. Thank you for being steadfast in praying that your children will be virgins til marriage. God answered your prayers in Emma's decision. What an example of Biblical Christianity. Jesus is smiling!!

  7. Thank you for this post. I regularly go to Ch*na to teach young people what the Bible says about purity and waiting for marriage. I'd love to share Emma's testimony, not only with my young students, but also with their parents. More parents need to pray that their children can remain virgins in every sense of the words until their wedding day.

    1. I am so thankful for your diligence in going to Ch*na to teach young people!! Praise the name of the Lord Zanmei!! It is so true that parents need to pray God's expectations over their children.

  8. At 37 (and single) I've been kissed but my standard for purity has ended a relationship. I made the decision young and haven't waivered. I know the promises of the Lord over my life and can't wait for the huge celebration my wedding day will be.

  9. When people wait, it makes the wedding day seem so much more special! I think it's so romantic and wonderful. Congrats to them!!! {And kudos to them because I did NOT wait! LOL! But I totally understand their position and think it's respectful! What a testimony of faith and as you said, self-control!}

  10. A powerful message needed in today's culture. How cool is it that you have such young readers. Keep up the amazing example of seeking God and following His ways. I am so blessed and encouraged by you and your family!!

    1. THank you Diane for your kind words. God has given us this platform…and although our family is far from perfect…we seek to honor Him with our lives…and obey Him in all things!

  11. As a fellow saved-my-first-kiss-for-the-marriage-altar girl this post reminded me of once, when I was telling a group of teenage girls about my experience, I was asked, "But what if he was a horrible kisser and you didn't know until your wedding day? You couldn't back down then!" To which I replyed (blushing), "Well, I don't think he is a bad one!!" I am so thankful that I don't other guys kisses to compare my husband's kisses to. So to any of you girls out there, reading these comments and thinking we are a bunch of crazies, consider saving your first kiss! Or, if you have already given it away, consider a do-over, we serve such an awesome God who lovingly gives those! You will be blessed!

    1. Haha! That fear of any future husband being ahorrible kisser gives permission to "try them all out!" Oh me. I have heard that argument as well. But for Josh and Emma and you and your husband – there are no comparisons. And as a counselor who has had more than one young woman sit in my office with frustration cause her husband keeps comparing her to someone in his past – ugh!!

    2. Well, not to judge, but really if they would back down over kisses…they really need to be asked if they have noticed there is more to life! I mean, how about the sickness and health thing…or the rich or poor part?
      I was so ill when we married, I think my husband wasn't actually sure how long it would be. (I wasn't well enough to even think that far! We had to go back to the Doctor during the honeymoon for more tests.) Poor guy, when I finally got better, he had to learn who I was all over again!
      Sandy in the UK

  12. A beautiful post. I've never had a boyfriend (I'm in my mid 20's) but I too hope and plan to save it all for my future husband, should God's plan for my life include marriage. I';m really interested to know what your current dating rules are since you said it's no longer wait until 16 if you don't mind sharing.

    P.S. I've read here for years and don't think I ever commented before, but I love your blog and your family. 😉

    1. Hello Lurker Vivielle!! I am going to work on our new dating rules post…but will need to pray {as I do with my posts} and then write…believe it or not this post about Emma's decision was tweaked over several days and took over 10 hours total to write! I pray that the words I type honor Him and convey the message He has…so it is quite the process. Pray for me as I write this very important post in the days ahead.

  13. Linny, I, too, am very intersted in your new dating rule. I just prayed for the words for you to share. As always, your wisdom and Godly insights are much appreciated. Blessings, bloggy-friend! Julie

    1. Julie, I am happy to write it…although it will take me some time…as I said to Vivielle above: " believe it or not this post about Emma's decision was tweaked over several days and took over 10 hours total to write! I pray that the words I type honor Him and convey the message He has…so it is quite the process. Pray for me as I write this very important post in the days ahead." So Julie, pray for me as well…

  14. Thank you for sharing Linny! My niece Lashae saved her first kiss for her husband too and I am INCREDIBLY grateful to have these 2 girls as examples to my Ashton (15 years old). Thank you for sharing and thank you Emma for standing in obedience all these years! Loving you all from afar! Shauna 🙂

    1. It is such a blessing to have such wonderful role models for our kids coming up..Liberty has already made the same decision! She has watched her BFF and they are so close! Praise God for skype!!

  15. I just love that sweet Emma – as well as all of your other precious ones. I always loved seeing Emma and Josh interact. What a beautiful story for her younger siblings to hear and experience. Looks like the wedding was beautiful. Love you guys!

  16. Love this and a thousand blessings on your daughter and her new husband! Marriage is a tremendous joy! I and my husband too had committed privately and personally as young people to wait. After 9 years of a long distance relationship, we too celebrated our first kiss "in the presence of God and these witnesses" I don't condemn those who chose differently, but I feel a little sad when Christians say it is impossible to wait…oh dear ones, God is so loving to strengthen us and to focus our energies on what is important during the waiting. "The blessing of The Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it"
    Now we are blessed with 5 boys and two more paper pregnancies 😉
    Love being married. 🙂 Love being a mom. Love our faithful God! So blessed to be reminded by your precious daughter!
    Sent from my iPhone

  17. My husband and I also saved our first kiss for our wedding day. In order to help keep myself pure both emotionally and physically, I did not do any recreational dating and didn't get a boyfriend until I felt that I was somewhat prepared to get married. I love our story and I'm so blessed that the first man I loved is the first man I kissed and hopefully he is the only man that I'll ever love or kiss.

  18. This was my parents prayer for me. However,I chose to make many bad choices and this did not happen for me.
    I am thankful for God's mercy and forgiveness in my life.
    It is so encouraging to see young couples still holding on to their committments.

  19. This is a beautiful thing! Not something I ever thought about when I was younger, but very impressed with Emma's principle and fortitude! I'm sure the fruit is very sweet.

  20. Awesome post! I was yelling preach it! This is something we have taught our boys and girls. In fact my daughter is in a serious relationship and they both agreed to wait to kiss. I'm so encouraged to know that young people today are being wise with their bodies. It gives me hope.

  21. I have tears! How I wish I had a different story and someone had spoken God's truth to me while I was growing up and a young woman. I am so happy for Emma and Josh! Such a beautiful story. What a blessed marriage. Thank you for sharing this Linny. I am encouraged by it as I raise my own children to know God's truth and to know He wants something special for them with no regrets. I pray for all of your young readers to be touched by this story and to be encouraged by their example.

  22. Thank you for sharing! My 19 year old daughter has made the same decision and has chosen not to date until she's ready to get married. She has had many people tell her it's impossible, but I know she will do it! I can't wait to show her this post, I know it will be an encouragement to her!

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