Interview by Editors
Russelyn Williams said she knew at an early age she needed to wait until marriage to have sex. Fast forward to today and she’s a 30-something-year-old woman still a virgin. She spoke with us about her reason for writing a book geared toward young Christian girls, the stigma of adulthood without sex and it’s effect on dating and what she hopes people will understand about her decision to wait and in the process encourage other young ladies to do the same.
The book you wrote “The Single Christian Woman’s Guide – WISDOM IN GETTING TO OUR GOD-ORDAINED MAN OF PROMISE” comes from your story as an adult woman who is still a virgin. Why was it important for you to write this book for single Christian women?
It was extremely important for me to write this book for single Christian women because I have actually lived through the many pressures that we are faced with as Christian women to let our standard down. Our standard as Christian women brings a lot of opposition because we are going against the norm. Anything that goes against the normal wave of how things are done will not be easy, and because of that many women need support.
Not giving it up, often leaves a woman alone, but the good thing about that is that she remains available for the real man of God who is secure in his identity in Christ enough to value her. Many single Christian women are left alone for so long that they begin to question themselves with thoughts such as, “Is there something wrong with me?”, “Am I doing something wrong?”
One of the worse things that happens as a result of this life is many women see the examples of the women who have begun to compromise who they are in Christ, and often the picture that is painted is that those women have someone and end up okay; while the woman seeking to do things God’s way ends up alone.
I love the way Pastor Tony Evans (who is also a speaker and author) said it. He said that yes, ladies men want the easy girl to play with, but that isn’t the one that they want to marry. They want to marry the one who has stood her ground as a woman of God. Many of these women stand with little to no support and that makes it hard. I wanted to reassure women and let them know that they aren’t alone. As a matter of fact, God’s word says that because we are virtuous women; we will be hard to find. Thus, it may take a little longer, but there are men out there who do value godly women, and if we continue to stand, we will be recognized by the right one.
You made a choice as a child that you would not have sex before marriage? Where did this come from so early on?
Well, I cannot take any credit. It came from God. I became a Christian at age 12. I cannot remember the age that I looked in my Bible and found that it was not just preachers who said not to have sex before marriage, but it was God himself in his word. Because I began to gain a respect for God, I decided to be obedient to his word.
My respect for the Lord came from some things that I had to experience as a young person, and the Lord himself ministering to me and drawing me by his Spirit. I took God very seriously because he considered me, and showed his love toward me first. The least that I could do is obey what I knew to be God’s wishes, but of course, this would not always be easy.
I had to learn to depend on God for his grace and allow him to teach me to value his way beyond just obedience to the point of having an understanding that God’s way is the best way. The Bible says that wisdom, which is knowing the right thing to do, is the principal thing; however, in all of our getting we should get an understanding. As I grew older, I began to appreciate what God’s word says about sex more; because it protected me from a lot of unnecessary pain. God’s laws are set up not to grieve us, but to protect us, and cause us to enjoy the abundant life.
What is the stigma of being single? What are some of the labels associated with any woman remaining a virgin?
The stigma of being single is undue shame placed on a woman or a man because he or she is single for an extended period of time. It is assumed that there must be something wrong with him or her. Because of this, many men and women find themselves in unhealthy relationships in an attempt to remove the stigma from themselves. However, God does not ascribe shame to those who refuse to settle for less than his promise, hold up God’s standard above his or her own, and essentially give up their current wants for the purpose of the kingdom of God. As a matter of fact, those who do so will be blessed beyond their personal comprehension. In many cases, God uses those who are single for extended periods of time to show that we do not have to compromise because we don’t currently have a spouse. We often show that God is enough to sustain in any life circumstance even that of adult singles who have sex drives just like everyone else. Our sex drives are just submitted to the Lord. The Bible promises us that those who choose to lose their lives for the kingdom of God’s sake will find it.
Assumptions about virgins are that we don’t like sex, don’t have a sex drive, or are stuck up. Of course, these all depend on the person and could relate to any category of people not just virgins. We have sex drives like everyone else and many are not stuck up.
How do you guide the women in your book to handle rejection? What happens during the wait? Please share the pros and cons of dating.
Handling rejection can be difficult when it’s something that a person has to face over and over again in their lives. It’s especially difficult when the rejection comes as a result of something that we cannot change such as the color of our skin, gender, or identity in Christ. A person could easily begin to despise themselves and feel as though she needs to alter herself to be accepted. In order to avoid allowing rejection to alter who God made us to be; we have to press even deeper into God depending on what he says about us above how others perceive us. We have to allow our identity, value, and worth to come from God’s word. We should guard our thoughts against negative thinking, and be careful not to entertain those who would put us down, but rather hang around those who value and lift us up. This will act as a reminder to us affirming our value and worth again and again instead of the opposite.
Many things happen during the wait. We grow in our identity. We have opportunities to serve and to enjoy our lives without the distractions. We become developed and polished in our faith through many trials and tribulations. We have the opportunity to press into our purpose. We can have as much alone time with God as we desire. We learn patience, and steadfastness in hard situations.
As far as the pros and cons of dating, I believe that dating has its place and should not be used frivolously as something to do because we are bored or lonely. Dating should be the prelude to courtship. Courtship is essentially intentionally pursuing someone for marriage. Dating is for the mature. Those who are ready for marriage. If it isn’t the appropriate season for marriage then the main con of dating is that it is simply a distraction. The way that we know whether it is the appropriate season for marriage is whether an appropriate person is pursuing us as a woman. Appropriate person means he is saved, mature, submitted to the Lord, submitted to godly authority, employed or has consistent honest income, and he is willing to love and cover us the way that the Bible teaches. If the suitors are only projects, worldly, have religious spirits rather than a personal and evidently fruitful relationship with God then we aren’t in our season to date. God has his best for us, not distractions.
Have you witnessed a healthier self-love in women who decide to make their relationship with God priority? How does that make you feel?
I’ve witnessed both a healthier self-love in women who make Christ a priority as well as the lack of self-love in the same. It is truly determined by the woman’s focus.
When a woman has Christ as her primary priority above the desire to be married and anything else, It protects her. Even though she may become broken due to people not understanding her or men rejecting her assuming that she thinks she is too good because she has high standards; she doesn’t become broken to the point of absolutely no stability or good judgment at all.
That part makes me feel thankful to God for being true to his word in that no matter what we go through if we can shift our focus back to him; he will make everything alright. It may take some time, but it will be well worth it.
Are there any support groups for women outside of ministry for those who struggle to live in a society where sex sells everywhere?
There is Heather Lindsey’s Pinky Promise Movement out of Atlanta Georgia. Her ministry is founded upon a woman making a promise to God to remain pure until marriage. If readers visit her website, they may be able to find a local chapter of women who meet regularly to encourage one another www.pinkypromisemovement.com I just began attending the Chicago chapter of Pinky Promise. Also, there may be local groups at your church or a friend’s church.
Social media is a huge way now for women seeking to please God with their bodies to stay connected and encourage one another. I would encourage readers to start their own group if there is no group available near them. For about 4 years I ran an encouragement group for those who need encouragement in walking with God. The group also ministered to me.
Utilize tools such as GroupMe, Meetup, and Facebook groups to plan events, send daily encouragement, hang out, and pray with one another. Also, there has been some great Christian blogs out there encouraging both women and men such as BLISS4Singles.com, Intercession4ageneration.org (This is my blog), Married and Young, and others. Take advantage of every form of support provided.
Have you gotten a lot of feedback from parents who want the daughter they’re raising to remain a virgin until marriage? How do you invite this conversation?
From the book, all of the feedback I’ve gotten has been from adult women in their 20s and 30s. They have focused more on the relief of not being alone and the confidence the book gave them that they can to stand and endure the hardships of doing things God’s way, and still expect his promise.
Formerly, when I did abstinence education in public schools, I’d rarely get a parent to sit in on the class. Each time a parent did sit in, they would thank me for giving the presentation or tell me what I was teaching was correct. They really did not discuss their kids personally. I am open to talking about anything appropriate and thus would welcome any conversation on how to stay abstinent until marriage.
What nuggets do you want the readers to take away?
I would hope that the book would balance out some of the ways that we as single women look at things. It is so easy to look at things from a negative perspective when some of these things that we are assuming are negative are really good things or great opportunities to cause us to grow and to depend on Christ more. For example, I mention in the book how a male friend of mine shared that it may not be rejection on why so few guys approach mature single women of God, but the fact that they may have such respect for us that they do not want to approach us if they aren’t matching the required standard that a mature woman of God naturally carries. The man will wait until he gets himself together to approach a mature woman of God because we are keepers. That is a positive not a negative.
Going long periods of time without dating because no quality men have approached is a positive not a negative. This book helps women to renew our minds according to God’s word, and having the right mindset is something that will keep a woman prepared to receive God’s best.
Russelyn Williams is the author of “The Single Christian Woman’s Guide” and the visionary for “Intercession For A Generation”, an award-winning young adult blog and ministry website. Her content focuses on life and relationship lessons from a Biblical perspective, with a special reach for singles and single women in particularly. She has had her various struggles on her way to wholeness in which she continues to overcome through her intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
She has taught abstinence education and healthy decision-making skills in public schools, juvenile detention centers, and churches for the past four years. She has her B.A. in Communications Media Arts & Theater from Chicago State University. Outside of writing, Russelyn enjoys reading, fellowship with friends, watching a good movie, and cooking. She resides in the suburbs of Chicago, IL.
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