I’m currently struggling with the concept of sex and my faith. I suppose I’ll begin by saying that I feel that I have a deep faith, and I am very passionate about it. I love my God and I know that I worship a loving, forgiving, awesome God. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and I only want my faith to become stronger/my relationship with God to be stronger. I have a weird relationship with my parents: we are close but we are not at all. I had grown up in a Christian school and the Dutch Reformed Christian Church (which also was the basis of this school). I was abused by many classmates extensively and finally went into public school freshmen year of high school. I then entered my first abusive relationship with a boyfriend that lasted 5 months, then went into another one for about two years. I have lived an abused life. I lived emotionally and verbally closed off from my parents. That is how I was trained by my bullies. I am someone who grew up wanting to make everyone happy. Now I am someone who just wants to protect everyone around me. My parents do not like most of the relationships I enter: romantically and not. I am treated like a child (I am 18). They do not trust all of my decisions. I love them, and they treat me well, otherwise, but relational decisions are difficult to talk about with them. Both of my parents went to Gordon College and have been married 25 years now. It is their faith that has definitely helped mine bloom. As I am about to go off to college, Gordon College, Class of 2020, my faith is being challenged even more so. I have entered into a secret relationship with someone I met on a dating site. He was raised in the Catholic Church, is five years older than I am, is from Spain, and works in an auto body shop. I tried telling my parents that I was interested in him, but was shot down for every reason I listed above. That was a painful week of rejection by them. I am also stubborn and normally passive-aggressively rebellious against my parents even though I respect them in a lot of other ways. It is hard for me because of how they treat me, and they can’t seem to grow out of it no matter how much we talk about it. I went after this relationship because this was the first time in my life, that I was being offered a chance at love, respect, a man of my dreams, and just feeling accepted for me. My parents say that I need to think about my romantic relationships seriously because I am entering an age where I must consider who I might marry. Yet, when I am knowingly-single and do not bring up boys that I am interested in, they do not mention the thought of marriage, they talk “normally.” They also confess to this, because they do not think I think through all of my decisions. I do, though. One fault on my part, is that I am naïve. My first boyfriend was an atheist, my second struggled with faith, and my current boyfriend and I have not spoken much about it, but he respects me. The thing is, I do not know their faith journey, so I do hold out hope for them. I pray for them constantly and am open about my beliefs when it does come up. I do not hide it. Am I chasing after the chance of finally feeling loved/respected/happy, ect for the first time in my life? Yes, so I want to enjoy it even if it doesn’t last. I do not feel like my boyfriend is a lie given to me. I feel like he is a gift. I feel like I am learning how I should be loved and it is such a wonderful feeling. I want to share that happiness with my parents but again, they will be angry with me. They know they cannot say much when I go off to college, and my parents and I are counting down the days until I move out so that we no longer have to grind our gears together in such a close proximity. We are excited for me to make mistakes freely without fighting with them. I want them to be happy with me, but I feel like I am chasing down my faith while my parents make me feel held back. I know that they are trying to propel me forward, but I feel like I am dragging them. Now for this sex thing. I know sex before marriage is a sin. I have resisted past boyfriends and people in the past and have been abused for it. I do not have a yearning for it. I have a purity ring I am proud of, but lately I have stopped wearing it because I am so conflicted. I am not trying to fight God. Gosh, no. I am DESPERATE to deepen my faith. Oh, I have been to three high schools and this year (my senior year, three days before school started) moved to Massachusetts, one of the most secular states in the United States. I do not have a pastor to go to. I do not have any friends that share my perspective when it comes to this. I want to be challenged and I am alone. I am not in a relationship right now with my parents where I can go to them. We have never spoken about sex because I never thought about having it before marriage, but now it is different. My boyfriend does not pressure me. Again, he respects me and thinks I am wonderful. I am treated like an equal, like a love, like a human being! The other night, we were in his car and I kissed his knee, down his leg and he sighed and looked at me with the most beautiful expression ever. We then laid down in each other’s arms and that was the first time I ever felt so special and loved. When I looked in his eyes after kissing his knee, I felt that I could have made love to him right there. I remember thinking, my God is wonderful, my God loves, I want to love, I want to show the world how my God loves… I felt I could have made love to him the most holy way, with the purest heart and intentions. This topic makes me angry because I feel like I would not be guilty under my God, but guilty under the church. Yes, God wants us to listen to those around us, but I feel like I do not hear truth anymore. I have posed this notion on so many other sites and people answer me like I am a brainless, brain washed, animal. I am excited to be surrounded by Christians of my faith again in the coming autumn. To not be alone anymore. To be accepted as an adult. Goodness, I am so frustrated. I want to share my happiness with my parents – I share it with God. I cry about how happy I get sometimes. I want to know what is good for my faith. I feel like waiting for sex is going to tear me apart and maybe that is my challenge, but I feel like it is destroying my relationships. Again, I am the only one pressuring myself and by pressuring, I mean I am just casually thinking about it. I have never thought about it until recently. I am no longer suffering from Anxiety, Anorexia, and Severe Major Depression. I was not actively looking for acceptance. But I stumbled across it. Maybe not as organically as my parents wish, but I did. I am not trying to be “more mature” than my parents, but I’m trying to figure out my faith walk and I am struggling with my relationship with my parents and my thoughts on sex. The feelings on sex are just that I want to show people (not random people, just my lover(s)), love. Maybe that is silly because I can do that in other ways, but I am such a passionate person, and I believe that God made my naivety and passion both a fault and gift, and I have always struggled with the line. But again, I am so happy, comfortable in my body, ready to start life anew with good decisions, more big mistakes, LIFE. I do not know how to end this. I hope I conveyed enough. Thank you for your time.