My Faith Journey

What I Wish I Would Have Known as a Younger Woman

It’s so easy to see it in other people’s lives: the foolish, naïve, senseless choices they make that will inevitably lead them down the path to destruction. But when I was an eighteen-year-old tasting independence for the first time, I couldn’t see past the immediate — and I didn’t want to.

If I could go back and have a heart-to-heart with my younger self, here are the insider’s-tips I would share:

  • Think about your future: where do you want to be five years from now? ten? twenty? If you don’t know where you want to be, that’s a sign that you need to think really hard about it. Don’t believe that if you just drift along life will somehow magically sweep you into the perfect spot — it won’t. Yes, God has a destiny for you; and you aren’t going to help yourself get there if you just go about your life mindlessly. Figure out His will for you, or at least be working on it; He will guide you through the process with each step you take. But nothing will happen if you don’t pick up your feet and start walking in the right direction!
  • Guard your body. You can lose your chastity in about five seconds, but for the rest of your life you’ll never be the same. Keep careful watch over your body (and your thoughts) as if you’re worth a billion dollars. Don’t let anybody treat you cheaply. If they take your purity without “paying” for it with a wedding ring, they are thieves — alike to those who break in where they don’t belong to steal what isn’t theirs to take. Don’t let them. Your future self — and your future husband — will thank you for it.
  • Keep your faith. Without it, you have no anchor for your soul. You will drift aimlessly, without hope and without true joy. Jesus Christ is the only Answer to all of life’s problems, and you have to keep close to Him if you’re going to be successful in life. Keep going to church, no matter how hypocritical you think they all are (probably not as much as you think). Keep reading your Bible — every day. Keep singing in your heart to the Lord, and keep praying. Look for friends — and you’re really going to have to look, because they’re not easy to find — who will assist you in becoming the kind of person you want to be. Who will accompany you in walking the upward path of God’s will for your life? Who will encourage and support your yearning for truth and true meaning? Who will be that kind of friend that won’t let you get away with being any less than what God meant for you to be; who will tell you your faults to your face — and will take you out to coffee afterwards to ease the sting? Stay away from people who aren’t going anywhere, even though you feel sorry for them: “Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33) and “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (Proverbs 13:20).
  • Listen to your parents. They’re not as lame as you think they are. Forgive them for not listening to you, and for not trying to understand you as much as you would like. It’s just as hard to be a parent of a teen as it is to be a teen. Have grace for their faults, as much as you think they’ve failed you when you really needed them the most. Accept them as they are, the good with the bad; treasure the good, let go of the bad. Don’t be afraid to ask them what they would do in a particular situation, and study their answer. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for their help. If they don’t want to help you, don’t give in to frustration; keep looking for answers, and believe that they have your best at heart (they want you to be more responsible, self-sufficient, etc.). If you have differences of opinion, work them out patiently; you don’t have to agree with everything, but at least give their advice fair consideration.
  • Be excited about your life! Treasure this amazing gift that God has given you; it was for a reason that He created you, that He set you in the family you were born into, that He made you a girl and not a boy, that He gave you certain abilities and certain dreams. Don’t be complacent about your life, don’t be lazy, and don’t be careless. You only get one life: live it the best that you can. If you make mistakes, with God’s help you can clean up the mess; but you can’t ever go back and erase what’s been done — it will affect you for the rest of your life. So be wise. And know that God wants what’s best for you. If He hasn’t yet led you to the right man, or the right path of study, etc. consider whether it might not be because He already has you right where he wants you to be for this season of your life, and use it to the best possible advantage.

Though I sometimes find myself wishing I could go back in time and change my history, the truth is, I can’t. I made some really dumb choices, which led to some very painful outcomes. God did help me clean up the mess, for which I stand in awe every day. But you know what? Why stop there — why look back and wish it had been better — why not look forward to how I can apply what I’ve already learned to a future that’s yet to be lived? My journey’s still not over. What waits in store for me?

~~~~

What about you? What advice would you give your younger self?

What important lessons have you learned that you wish other young people would know?

How can you apply what you’ve learned to impact your future for the better, to be the best you can be, with God’s help and for God’s glory?

I always look forward to reading what you choose to share!

~Jessica

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28 thoughts on “What I Wish I Would Have Known as a Younger Woman

  1. A very lovely picture !

    I wish I had been more confident in my faith and that I had known more of the Biblical principles of a traditional Christian life.

    On a practical note I wish I had been much more conscious of the importance of modesty and had shown a lot let flesh.

    My parents are not as conservative as I feel drawn to be but nevertheless had I been more obedient I would have done better in following God.

    I went away from home for University which I don’t believe is appropriate. So I would have spent more time at home and learnt to cook better !

    I absolutely and completely agree with your comment on purity and chastity. I was incredibly lucky but I think it is SO important and SO easy to fail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Susanne, for the compliment! And I really appreciate your sisterly openness in sharing some of your life lessons with us.

      I agree with your points, and especially with your take on going to University — how does it help young women learn to take care of the home? Perhaps there is a way to be well-educated without being exposed to the evils at college, and without wasting so much time on things that don’t have much/any value when it comes to learning how to be a good wife and mother…

      Thank you,
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t so much have a problem with university in terms of education although I do think that girls education at all levels should have a more domestic focus.

        But I don’t believe it is at all appropriate for young women to live away from home in an unsupervised mixed environment. Aside from the very real risks of sin, I believe that as a point of principle girls and women are meant by God to live as part of a family under the authority and guidance of parents and husbands not as independent individuals.

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  2. When I was a university student,some of my friends were so popular among boys.Two of them always had boyfriend who hope to marry her in the future.Multiple men asked my close friend to marry.My friends were pretty and smart.

    I had heard their troubles often,knew that love is not always rosy,nor easy.But to tell the truth,sometimes I felt lonely,envied them still.Having no boyfriend made me feel often that ‘Nobody want me to marry
    and I cannot make anybody happy as a parter.’at that time.

    God asked me to let my dream ( hoping to marry )go several years later,and I accepted to live as a single christian woman,and rejoice in it.

    I married at the age of 27.Several month after the decision,my husband proposed me to marry.

    This marriage has been blessing to me,but I can say surely,if I had been single until now,I could be happy-because I knew that God made His best plan for my life,as I see in my daily life now.

    I want to tell younger myself.’You don’t need to envy others and fell miserable.If you stay in God,you can live in His best plan for your life.Being popular among boys is not so important for godly marriage.And being single is not bad.Even feeling lonely,He can use the experience to understand others.That’s true.’

    Jessica,reading your article and writing this comment,I feel that what I can share with young girls is this.
    ‘Be true always to God and stay in Him.If you feel lonely and miserable,cry to Him.He will listen to you.Do not compare yourself to other girls.His plan for you and for them are different.Do not believe what dating culture says.Some may say to you that having no boyfriend means that you are not charming,and that being a virgin is old fashined and boring.They are wrong.Please keep yourself for your future husband,for your life mission.’

    Jessica,isn’t it so fine that we can still share our experience even of failure for other christian girls? Thank you so much for being there-this is also precious for me to have this opportunity to share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I met my husband at 25 and married at 27. I agree 100% first just to be relaxed as a single Christian woman and not crave popularity with men or other women. But also with what you say about realising now that I would have been happy to stay as a single, celibate woman if I had not met my husband. Perhaps easier to say as a wife and mother !

      I am not a fan of dating culture I think a more controlled courtship is better in many ways. Particularly because I think that we are so vulnerable as young women to society and our own weakness and because sadly virginity is not seen as valued as it always was in the past it is so easily thrown away. And I think the absolute importance of purity to Christian marriage is a lot easier to understand looking back.

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    2. Thank you, Sanae.
      I truly treasure the story you shared about your life. It seems to me that you did much better than I did in the area of accepting singleness. I was desperate to have somebody like me — which was so bad! I wish I would have cried out to God, as you suggest.

      Such poignant lessons. I too, think that it is wonderful how we can share what we’ve learned with each other, and with younger Christian girls.

      Thanks!
      Jessica

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  3. I think that I needed the process so as not to idolize marriage in His eyes.

    I also agree with you that more controlled courtship is better.Dating culture is getting popular now also in Japan.I’m worry about young christian girls are more influenced by it now,can be hurt by it than my youth.I shared part of what I wrote on my former comment with one Vietnamese Cathoric neighbour girl living in Japan before.

    Thank you for your comment,Suzanne.So encouraging to me.God bless you and be with you
    always!

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    1. I think ‘dating’ is very dangerous especially in our highly immoral and sexualised culture. Ideally I do think that Christian families should do everything possible to educate their daughters, protect them and ultimately actively save them from sin

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      1. Oh yes, I agree! Dating usually includes going to a movie (bad — it’s dark, they’re sitting close to each other, there may be sensual scenes in the move, etc.), eating dinner (not so bad) and driving alone in the car together (really bad). There is so much temptation there!

        A courtship model in which the couple never meets alone — much less sits together by themselves in the small, intimate space of a car — would help shield them from the element of physical temptation, so they could focus more on the intellectual and spiritual aspects of getting to know each other.

        Thanks!
        Jessica

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      2. Because we were older and my husband was very committed to our relationship and marriage following God, we had a sort of self chaperoned ‘courtship’. We did not spend time together alone accept in very public places and didn’t have any even vaguely intimate physical contact.

        But I don’t think younger couples can be expected to be so virtuous and in my view Christian parents and ideally Christian society has not just a right but a duty to protect girls from sin in every way possible.

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  4. Im thinking of asking the pastors if i could read this text at the confirmation of my daughter in tree week. Would that be ok for you? It contains such a lot to value especially for young women.
    Jessica, my son 17 has now a girlfriend and im afraid they are taking the relationship much further than we d like them to. We warned him and explained to him as we did before but i dont think we get trough. Maybe its allready to late and he might have to learn the hard way, but what would have helped you to listen to your patents back at 18

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    1. What a lovely idea !

      What is sad is that your son is not only taking the wrong path himself but is also (very likely with her active agreement if not encouragement) bringing down his girlfriend in a way which can never be undone or repaired. This is why dating is such a bad idea.

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    2. Thank you, Ruth, for suggesting it — how sweet of you! Of course you can read this text at your daughter’s confirmation, if you want.

      I sympathize with your concern for your son. You know what? When I was 18, I resented my parents’ interfering in my life; but now that I’m older, I kind of wish they had interfered more! Maybe they needed to “snatch me out of the fire” before it was too late, by being a lot harder on me than they were. I would have hated it then, but I would have understood it, and appreciated it, later.

      I hope and pray the best for the situation with your son. Open, honest, patient communication is always very important! Let me know how things go, please (if that’s okay with you).
      Jessica

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  5. This is such an interesting topic! It’s interesting in itself, and it’s also interesting in a cause-and-effect sort of way. In other words, I learned some lessons the hard way, but could I have learned them so effectively any other way? Lessons learned the long-hard-painful way tend to be the most permanently and passionately learned and retained.

    That said, I wish I’d known:

    – That children were a blessing, rather than a curse. I regret using birth control.

    – More about dating, courtship, and sexual purity. I didn’t learn ANY of that until it was too late. I hope and pray that our children will make better choices than I did.

    I always read your posts, though I’m not always able to comment. Thank you for writing!!! 🙂

    Diana

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    1. Thanks, Diana!
      I’ve often considered your first point myself: was it necessary for my growth to go through what I did, or might there have been another, more wholesome way to learn those same lessons — a way that didn’t include sinning against God?

      Because as much as He makes everything we’ve done in our lives turn out for our good in the end (if we truly love Him), is it ever His will for us to sin? I think the answer is no; and in that case, I tend to think that yes, there must have been a better way for me to have learned those life lessons. In other words, I didn’t HAVE to go through what I did in order for me to become what I am now.

      As an example, a woman is able to see how having an abortion made her develop as a person, however painful the choice. So, she says that in the end, she doesn’t regret her decision. Wait a minute — was it really necessary for her to kill another person in order for her to learn what she feels she learned as a result of it? I think that helps illustrate how the end doesn’t justify the means when it comes to personal growth.

      Thank you for sharing your own regrets; I can totally relate! And I always hope and pray the same exact thing for our children, too.

      I really loved hearing from you!
      Jessica

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      1. You are absolutely right and the sad thing is that although you can repent of birth control ( even if sadly many women do then struggle to have the family they yearn for), however much women may repent of fornication they cannot go back to being as God intended them to be be.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, Susanne, I agree that we end up losing something of what God had intended for us when we choose the wrong path.

    Here’s an interesting piece of information from the book The Light and the Glory, which I am currently re-reading:

    “As in the rest of their living patterns, the Puritan courtship gradually evolved into a code of conduct which they felt was pleasing to God, and which when adhered to, resulted in stable, fulfilling marriages. Certain evenings were set aside for ‘calling’–and there were strict ordinances against ‘night-walking’–couples wandering down inviting country lanes. As a result, the premarital birthrate was negligible, and sensual temptations were deliberately kept to a minimum. Modern writers have made this constraint a point of ridicule, but when one stops to think about it, nothing clouds the wisdom and clear discernment of two people beginning to consider marriage more than the red haze of imminent sexual gratification.

    “Contrary to popular opinion, the Puritans did not arrange marriages between their children; they did, however, exercise their veto. If either set of parents felt that the marriage was out of the will of God, they had no compunction about withholding their permission. For they knew from hard experience that if the marriage were not in His will, and the couple went ahead and got married anyway, they could be in for a great deal of misery and suffering. Sometimes the parents simply felt that they were ahead of God’s timing, in which case the betrothal might last several years–while the boy and/or girl matured to the point where they were ready to take on the responsibility of raising a family.”
    [page 179, The Light and the Glory, by Peter Marshall and David Manuel]

    Jessica

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    1. That sounds a really interesting book I’ll have a read. It also sounds like a very sensible approach to courtship. Not just sensible in leading to sustainable and Godly marriage but also in placing very firm limits on young people to protect the chastity of (especially) young women.

      It’s highly significant isn’t it that in the days before the evils of contraception the success of such a social norm was judged by the fact that pretty much 100% of pregnancies were as they should be, within marriage.

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      1. I agree; contraception breeds promiscuity, it doesn’t limit it, as some seem to think. What people need is not contraception; what people need, first of all, is to humble themselves before Jesus and receive Him as Savior — with the whole heart — and second of all, to practice restraint and self-control, with a healthy respect for authority.

        The book I referred to is about how God was involved in the founding of the United States. It begins with Columbus discovering the New World, and continues up until the end of the Revolutionary War. A portion of the book is dedicated to describing the beliefs and history of the Puritans, which is what I drew from when I made the comment.

        It is indeed an intriguing book. There are, in fact, three books total:

        I am currently reading the original from ’77. If/when you do read it, please let me know what you think. 🙂 I’d love to hear your opinion.

        Thanks,
        Jessica

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  7. Hello!
    I’m a 17 year old girl, newly saved. I came across your blog via your video on head coverings (strange for a convert to believe in head covering, I know) and I would just like to say I admire your nature and all you’re doing with this blog! While I’m still generally liberal, I’ll be continuing to read your work as I progress in my journey in faith. Keep up the great work!
    God Bless ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The term liberal means different things to different people and especially in different countries. We live in the U.K. and from a political point of view would be considered very liberal by an American audience.

      But in terms of faith, family, gender roles, morality and what is Godly dress and behaviour for myself as a woman I would consider myself as a conservative and traditionalist because I believe in taking the Bible and the age old teaching of the (Catholic) Church as my guide.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing these things, Jessica.

    I would like to add: don’t chase guys. I did that in middle school and it lasted even beyond college, because I was so desperate for love and attention. I believe that a lot of it stems from not feeling accepted and loved by my parents, especially my father. That’s a whole story that I could get into, but I won’t right now. However, I was rebellious in various ways, and I do regret my bad attitude toward them.

    Do you have any advice for a soon-to-be 30-year-old?

    May God bless you. I appreciate your writings! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree with that. Honestly I think it’s a shame that society has so little control of young people and that feminine virtue is so under valued that girls are able and almost feel forced to ‘chase’ male attention and as a result are often lead into immorality.

      I met my husband at 24, married at 26 and had 2 children by 30 so not sure what advise I can add accept to say that there is no justification or excuses to compromise your principles and there is nothing to be gained from doing so.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Catherine,
      I can totally relate to what you shared! That was me, too, to a certain degree.

      My advice? If you’re not already part of a local church, and are not already plugged in to a Bible study group, DO SO. Make friends with godly, single (or married) young women who share your values. Go places, and be involved in activities, where you are most likely to meet the type of man you are looking for (I seem to remember that you had said you were not married, correct?)

      Read God’s word daily. Listen to godly music. Watch and read godly material. Pray all the time. Stay close to your parents and your siblings (if they are following after God).

      Hope that helps!
      Thank you for your comments, and for your liking what I write! It’s so encouraging to hear that.
      Jessica

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I very much agree about making friends with other Godly women, either single and committed to following Christ in waiting for marriage or married woman who are committed to marriage and family not to career.

        If your parents are committed Christians then you should stay close to them and submit to their leadership and authority as you will your husband’s if you marry.

        Oh and one final point, you don’t have to look like a nun but you should dress modestly and in feminine clothes.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you so much, Jessica and Susanne! I appreciate your advice. I am already doing most of these things and I do serve at my church in a few different capacities. The Lord has changed/has been changing me a lot (attitude-wise, mindset, values, etc.) these past few years (I just got saved almost 3 years ago).

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      3. So glad to hear that, Catherine!
        I would encourage you, then, to keep up the good work!
        And we are all here to motivate each other, so if you have any further questions or thoughts to share, please go right ahead. 🙂
        Jessica

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