With over 250,000 copies sold, reviewers continue to rave about And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets To Purity. But the greatest proof of its effect is in the lives of tens of thousands of young women who've embraced the book's message.
Each chapter of And the Bride Wore White begins with a narrative of Dannah Gresh's young love life, taken from her own teenage journals. She transparently shares her struggles and successes, her moments of pain followed by healing, and the moments of triumph. This story-line grips the young reader while they learn statistically proven risk-reduction factors. The end result are usable "how-to-say-no" skills that can reduce the risk of a young woman's heart being broken by sexual sin.
In this update, Dannah and her friends share open letters of encouragement to young women, one to those who chose life and another to those who chose abortion, one to teen girls addicted to pornography and another to girls who have experienced sexual abuse, and many more specific to a young woman's unique circumstances.
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About the Author
Read an Excerpt
And the Bride Wore White
Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity
By Dannah Gresh, Cheryl Dunlop
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2012 Dannah Gresh
All rights reserved.
and the bride wore white
Deciding to Live a Lifestyle of Purity
[God's grace] teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:12–13)
The day I met the man who would become my husband, he had just returned from Florida, where he and the rest of the varsity tennis team had spent spring break practicing endlessly. His white teeth contrasted sharply with the deep tan and his dark hair. His nose was peeling just a bit as he began to flirt with me. That profile of his cheery countenance is etched in my mind forever.
On my wedding day and at my request, his tan was there to contrast with the clean white shirt and bow tie we had chosen for him to wear under his long black tails. He was the man of my dreams, and this day was a fairy tale come true. And me? I wore a white hand-beaded dress with a nine-foot train. I marched across fresh rose petals as violinists, stretched along both sides of the sanctuary, played the wedding march. At the front of the sanctuary, we faced our guests so that they could see the joy on our faces as we exchanged vows. The kiss was sweet and simple, ending with a knowing glance. There would be more time for tenderness that night.
At the reception, guests munched on hors d'oeuvres as an orchestra played in the background, pausing only for the announcement from the master of ceremonies, "Ladies and Gentlemen, our bride and groom have arrived. I present for the first time in public Mr. and Mrs...." I was a Mrs.! Applause filled the room as the strains from the orchestra ushered us to our head table. I waltzed beautifully with my father, who returned a bow to my groom a few minutes into the waltz. As my new husband and I started to dance, we succeeded in royally ruining the graceful presence my father had established, but it didn't matter. We were the prince and princess of the ball, and anything we did would charm the guests.
Hours later, the princess found herself locked in the bathroom of a honeymoon suite, trying to decide how to make her grand entrance. (If I had it to do over again, I would claim the room for myself and lock him in the bathroom to decide when and how to enter!) Was it too soon for the lacy negligee? Were the full-length satin pj's too modest for tonight? Should I put my hair up? Would it seem too vain to freshen my makeup? We had not discussed lights—would they be on or off when I came out? In the end, I opted for the modesty and the vanity. (And hoped the lights would be low!)
But when my eyes met my husband's deep blue ones ... full of compassion and true love ... the nervousness was replaced with a knowing. We had waited. We had made it through the maze of temptation, and now a warm and comforting Presence was with us, assuring us that this covenant into which we were about to enter would be blessed.
And the blessing was more than we had hoped for.
* * *
How did we make it? God knows that I was not perfect. How did I wait for the wonderful gift of being one with a man I so tenderly loved? Well, it's a wonderful, romantic story that includes moments of critical decisions ... some I am proud of and some I wish I had made differently. I am going to share it all with you. Through it I learned seven special secrets that gave me the strength to make it through a lot of temptation.
It all started with the truth of Titus 2:12–13. Those verses say that God's grace does not automatically keep us from worldly passions. In all of your love for God, you could be blindsided by worldly passions. When I realized how difficult the path of purity can be, I stood before God and I said, "OK, teach me to say no. I know these worldly passions exist, but I know the only way I will be able to say no is if You teach me!" And from that moment on, God worked in me and gave me a resolve that I did not even know that I could have within me. The path ... and the waiting ... were much easier. The difference was that now I had placed myself in God's presence to be taught how to say no to worldly passions.
If you didn't go to class, your teacher could not fill you with all of the knowledge that he or she had to give. The God of the universe won't teach you either, unless you place yourself in His presence. I have been praying for you. I want so desperately for you to stand before God and to ask Him to teach you to say no to worldly passions so that you can live a self-controlled, godly, upright life.
You cannot attain purity all on your own.
I cannot unveil to you some formula of protection.
Your parents cannot tell you something that will keep you innocent.
Only God can do that!
Won't you stop right now and ask Him to teach you as you read this book to say no to worldly passions?
WRITE YOUR STORY. Now, here is the most important part of this book. You need a journal or notebook to really make this book change your life. You see, it's not what I write that is important and can protect your purity. It is what you write that will knock Satan between the eyes.
Get out your journal and write a letter to God. Explain to Him where you are in your struggle to stand pure before Him. It could be any area of your life—sexuality, substance abuse, language, anger—anything that is causing heartache in your life. Give each part of your history over to Him. Tell Him you are sorry if you have failed. Pray that He will keep you shielded from worldly passions. And specifically request Him to be your teacher while you are reading this book.
Go ahead. Write!
I have prayed for you and for this very moment in your life.
If you feel God telling you to ponder what you've written or what you have heard Him saying, then just be quiet for today, but come back soon! You and I are going on a complete journey of our sexual lives—that is, yours and mine. For me, we're going to go back a few years, and I am going to tell you about some of my most intimate moments—some shameful and some quite beautiful. For you, we are going to build a complete godly vision of your love life to come. Let's go!
As you will soon see, not every choice I made about my sexual purity was governed by God's plan. I never dreamed of having a ministry to encourage young girls to treasure their purity. God pushed me into doing my very first purity retreat when a conflict arose in my church over whether or not a junior in high school should attend a women's retreat dealing with sexual healing. Since I was a corporate trainer, the women of the church asked me to put together a purity retreat specifically for the junior and senior high girls. I have to admit, my pride pleaded with the Lord for another assignment, but I eventually gave in. I did not share any of myself on that first retreat, but I saw women who did, and I saw how incredible the response was to how "real" they were. I cautiously walked into the arena of exposing myself and found junior high, senior high, and college-aged girls who were incredibly challenged by my story, much to my humility. It made them eager to explore God's heart on the matter of sexuality. And so, I offer you my story in these pages. It has been rewritten through meticulous retrieval of my memory through sixteen years of diaries and journals. I present it in a narrative format at the beginning of each chapter. Not one detail written about within these pages was made up. They were all carefully recorded within my journals. God must have known they would be used for this book.
Laced throughout this book are many short stories about friends I have known for years or have met at my purity retreats. A few are noted as "Celebration Stories" for the great work God has done in their life through this very book! In many cases, I use just a first name or I have changed the name to protect the person's privacy or the privacy of someone else who may have been involved in the person's story. Most of these stories were submitted by the young women who've lived them. A few are my favorite memories from the past few years!CHAPTER 2
Satan's big fat sex lies
Learning to Recognize the Truth
The devil ... was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Hot, thick air engulfed the camp where I had gathered with dozens of other Christian teens to be trained as a "summer missionary." We would be spending the summer teaching Bible classes in underprivileged neighborhoods. We eagerly dug into stacks of visual aids and endless pages of mandated Bible stories, hoping to impress our teachers, who would rigidly scrutinize our delivery and memorization.
Laying my chin down on the picnic table, I pondered the others studying among the trees.
Good thing I'm not lookin' for guys here, I thought, reflecting again on the near absence of them. Anyway, I've got the greatest guy of all waiting for me at home.
I reached into my pocket for the letter, which I'd already read a dozen times. I hoped another letter would come today. As if God were monitoring my distracted devotion, thunder rumbled in the distance.
Moments later, the clouds burst suddenly and quickly flooded the tiny stream that ran through the camp. Dozens of us frolicked and romped in the water up to our hips. We played football, tackled one another, and floated in the gentle current as the fresh June rain poured onto the ground and into our spirits.
When the sun authoritatively returned, our soggy clothes suddenly weighed us down, and we gave in to the cries of our sponsors to come inside. As I stepped onto the dorm steps, Jenny gasped. I looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
"You're bleeding," she said, pointing to my foot.
Lifting my foot, I could see a small piece of glistening glass.
"Doesn't hurt," I assured my tenderhearted friend as I pulled the glass from my foot.
Within hours, I had a red line climbing my leg—the beginning of blood poisoning. Much like an undiagnosed, growing deadly cancer, it did not hurt. I spent the next twenty-four hours soaking my wound to extract the poison.
I did not know it at the time, but that day would be a portrait of the next few years of my life. Those years would prove that the most blissful moments often have deadly potential—even if it doesn't hurt at first.
* * *
I was channel surfing and was stopped dead in my tracks by a program called Guys and Sex. It was a string of interviews with young men talking about sex. I was intrigued. I have often wanted to get into the heads of guys to see what they were really thinking.
Two handsome brothers seemed to be the hunks and sexual bravadoes of the program. Their shoulder length, wavy hair gave them a casual-yet-finessed Orlando Bloom sort of look. They spent the nights prowling for women. Their goal? To have a new "lover" every evening. And with their looks and charm, they did.
They talked of their conquests with laughter and freedom. They were having fun. But the last take was what intrigued me.
As they sat in a hot tub sipping beers, the interviewer asked, "Do you think you'll ever marry?"
The brothers laughed. "Yeah, whatever," said one.
"Doesn't everyone?" boasted the other.
"But, seriously," pushed the interviewer, "will you marry?"
The laughter stopped. One set his beer down and ran his fingers through his hair nervously. He then looked pensively into the distance.
"Yeah, but not for a long time," he said.
"Who will you marry?" asked the interviewer.
"Not any of these girls," he spoke with assurance. "I want my wife to be pure."
The beauty of sexual love is being camouflaged by big fat lies. That, of course, is because Satan has entered onto the scene. John 8:44 tells us the true character of Satan. The devil "was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." What is Satan? He is a big fat liar. And I think his favorite lies relate to your sexuality because of its powerful symbolism. (We will talk more about that later. For now, know that the true meaning of sex is so far beyond the pitiful meaning this world offers that it'll blow your mind if you've never heard about it!)
I like to compare the way he lies to you and me about sex to the way he lied to Eve about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why? God's Word tells us that everything in the garden of Eden was created by God's own hand. It also tells us that He is incapable of making anything that is not good. So, it is very possible that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would have had quite an interesting and noble purpose had Eve simply waited for God to reveal it to her in His time. Interesting thought, don't you think? My friend, sex is like that. It is such a good and wonderful thing that God has created if we wait for God's timing to enjoy it. Satan knows that one of the most beautiful things in our world is the sexual union between a husband and a wife when they wait to enjoy it after their wedding. He wants to rob you of that, so he lies to you.
I think he told those brothers on TV that it would give them power and fulfillment. But you can tell that deep down they have some sense of the deception. Why else would they need so many conquests?
He told my friend Aimee that a sexual relationship with her boyfriend could heal the pain she felt from not having a good relationship with her dad.
He told my Christian friend Jennifer that she would lose her boyfriend if she did not provide for some of his sexual needs—though she told him she would not have sex with him. He raped her.
He told my Christian friend Leeza that if she did everything but actual intercourse, she was still "pure."
When I was fifteen, he told me that I was protected in a strong Christian dating relationship. I did not feel that I needed to be watchful. I lost a great deal of my innocence through that deception.
One of Satan's lines is "everyone is doing it." What a lie! Not everyone is doing it. In recent years, only 46 percent of high school students surveyed had engaged in sexual intercourse. That's a majority who haven't!
Here's another big fat lie that he has made many well-intentioned parents believe: the risk of sexually transmitted infections is so great that we have no choice but to throw the option of "safer sex" at them. Satan decided there were not enough teenagers sacrificing their innocence, so he came up with a grand scheme. He got their parents to think, If everyone is doing it, and there is something awful like AIDS out there, I had better give my kids tools to do it safely. Now he has parents and mentors saying, "We hope you don't have sex, but if you do, use a condom!" What a double message.
Satan's lie is that to keep you safe, we have to equivocate on our message. In truth, I'm not offended at the thought of teaching teenagers about contraception, any more than I'd be offended about factually presenting other issues in an anatomy and physiology class. I am offended that we water down our resolve to encourage you to live a life of purity and abstinence in the process. So-called, safe sex is one of the most dangerous activities that exist.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease circulating today. If you get it, it's unlikely that you'll ever even know you have it. Only a minority ever experience telltale symptoms ... until it is too late. At that point, many women who have it experience pelvic inflammatory disease, which leads to infertility. No babies. Ever.
A condom will help to prevent chlamydia, but not all the time. Hope this isn't TMI, but there are thirteen steps to using one of the things correctly. The end result is that they have a controversial failure rate in preventing any sexually transmitted infection. You can research it yourself on the Internet to see how varied the estimates are, but I'm going to go with the conservative estimates that they fail about 50 percent of the time. Those just aren't good odds when you're talking about the risk of never having babies.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is another common viral STI. It is so common that at least 50 percent of sexually active people get HPV. HPV is incurable and can be uncomfortable and embarrassing—it sometimes causes genital warts—but more important it is recognized that HPV is the only cause of cervical cancer. While other factors may make the risk of cervical cancer greater, HPV is considered "necessary" to acquire this type of cancer. Guess how much protection a condom provides against HPV? None. HPV is not spread by bodily fluids but by intimate skin-to-skin contact. How safe is that? It simply isn't safe at all.
Know this, friend! Satan looks at your sexuality much like he did Eve's Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He is threatened by it and will do anything to see that you misuse it.
Of course, Satan uses many lies, and he customizes them each time to be just right for the person to whom he is lying. But as I listen to women tell their stories about their road to purity, I hear three distinct lies that Satan tends to use. They are much like the lies he told Eve in the garden. I want you to know what they are so you can see them when he throws them your way. Here comes the first of Satan's biggies!
Excerpted from And the Bride Wore White by Dannah Gresh, Cheryl Dunlop. Copyright © 2012 Dannah Gresh. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 And the Bride Wore White
Deciding to Live a Lifestyle of Purity
2 Satan’s Big Fat Sex Lies
Learning to Recognize the Truth
3 Satan’s Biggest, Fattest Sex Lie
Resisting the Lure to Sin
4 Satan’s Second Big Fat Sex Lie
Hiding Behind the Fig Leaves
5 Breakin’ Up Is Hard to Do
Breaking Off Sinful Relationships in Three Steps
6 Secret #1:Purity Is a Process
Defining Innocence and Purity
7 Secret #2: Purity Dreams of Its Future
Envisioning a Godly Husband
8 Secret #3: Purity Is Governed by Its Value
Part A: Discovering Your Value in God’s Eyes
9 Secret #3: Purity Is Governed by Its Value
Part B: Demonstrating Your Value in the Eyes of Others
10 Secret #4: Purity Speaks Boldly
Preparing Your Tongue for Dates
11 Secret #5: Purity Loves Its Creator at Any Cost
Pursuing a Love Relationship with Jesus
12 Secret #6: Purity Embraces Wise Guidance
Inviting Your Parents into Your Love Life
13 The Truth About Sex: It’s Out of This World
Understanding the Heavenly Purpose of Sex
14 The Truth About Sex: Getting Down to Earth
Preparing to Enjoy the Earthly Gift of Sex
15 Not You Again, Satan!
Facing the Consequences to Find Healing
16 Secret #7: Purity Watches Burning Flames
Finding M.O.R.E. to Help You
17 The Payments on the Pearl Continue
Using the Seven Secrets After Your Wedding Day
Appendix : Letters from the Heart: Seven Burning Flames Tell Their Stories and TheirSecrets
What People are Saying About This
One of the biggest concerns our readers face is how to talk to their daughters about sex and sexuality. I send them to Dannah's book without hesitation. She's the wise big sister so many of these girls long to hear from. Her warmth, compassion, and vulnerability make her words matter for young women trying to live pure lives in an impure world.
Editor, Christian Parenting Today
Human sexuality is at the center of most of the bitter cultural struggles being waged in our day. Far too many young women don't know right from wrong when it comes to their bodies and their minds because they have bought into the low moral standards promoted on television and in contemporary movies and music. In a friendly, personal manner, Dannah Gresh helps her readers understand that sexuality is a beautiful gift from God and that He intends it to be reserved for marriage. I highly recommend And the Bride Wore White to any young woman who wants God's best for her life.
President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
Host, For Faith & Family Radio
Dannah has a fresh way of sharing important truths we need to hear. In an age of moral decline even among our church youth, this message is needed now more than ever. Give Dannah your ear. You won't be disappointed.
Host/Producer, Midday Connection
As a mother of two teenage daughters, I cannot think of any book more beautifully inspiring than And the Bride Wore White. My daughters loved Dannah's insights, her humor, and her call for a life without regrets. I am deeply grateful for the realistic role model she is for my daughters...She has changed their lives, and in doing so she has changed mine.
- Tammy Maltby
Author and Co-host of emmy-nominated Aspiring Women
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great book for all women young or old. I'm almost fifteen years old and I found this book very motivating, helpful, and inspiring. Dannah Gresh is one of those writers that just gets it. She knows how to put it down on paper and make it come across just right. It had a lot of scripture which is so helpful to turn to when you finish the book. I loved how Dannah put her own personal story in the book. Laid it all out so we could learn from some mistakes she made in her life. I hope and pray to stay pure until marriage, and Dannah's book is next to the best for reading on purity. I loved it and I hope you do too.
Absolutely amazing! I am14 years old and this book really sealed the deal as to why we shoud wait until we are married to have sex. And it really encourged me that i dont have to give my first kiss to some guy i will never see agin, but to save it for my wedding day. Absolutely inspiring. Two thumbs up!!!
i highly recommend this book for anyone even if you are married and have kids. this book is so down-to-earth, dannah is exactly right about the way sex is in peoples minds today! and when i write in the journal sections of this book i feel totally overwhelmed by God. if you only read one purity book in your life this is the one to read!!!
I loved this book i read it when i was sixteen and i loved it it helped me alot and now im seventeen and im taking a stand for purity now that i went through the process and recieved my purity ring at sixteen and im still wearing my ring today
I only read the sampler, but I want to read the whole thing! What a great pep-talk for women struggling to keep their purity in our loose culture!
This is one of my all time favorite books. Dannah is so real and honest. I eant to find bob greshes book for men.
I havent finished the book yet but soon as I started reading It I fell in love I think its a book every teen girl or even older women should read. It has affected my life
i haven't gotton to read this whole book yet but what i have been able to read is outstanding. Dannah really puts all of it right there for u to reflect on.
This book provides young girls with not only the reasons for striving toward purity, but also tools to help them achieve it. It's easy to say, wait for marriage, but not so easy for girls to understand the why and how behind it why it matters in the first place. This book provides alternatives for them to strive for, steps to help them on their journey, and simple techniques to extricate them from sinful relationships. I thought this was an excellent book for girls and their mothers. I love the simplicity of breaking off sinful relationships: Tell God, Tell a Friend, Make a Fast Strategic Exit. I think the writing exercises would be very helpful, especially compiling a list of qualities your future husband should have. A lot of women come up with these qualities by trial and error; how much better is it, to have it thought out and in black and white before dating at all? I think the theme throughout the book of each girl having value is another excellent message. Not only are girls given tools to strive for purity, but they are also given tools to accept the value they have in the eyes of God. I keep thinking about the phrase I read in the book - everything has a cost and some things cost everything - I could chew over that for days! It is not inevitable that girls fall for Satan's lies and enter into damaging relationships prior to marriage. This is an excellent book to use in starting a dialogue with your girls, especially if you have a difficult time broaching the subject. Now we just need some books on this topic geared for the boys! I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
I only read the sampler, but I really wish I could buy the book. Every church needs to do the retreats she describes, not just for the women but for the younger girls. I love the writing style, and hopeto be able to read it al soon.
My inspiration :)
Ladies, truthful insight. I wish that I had this book when I was young
Im the girl tht said this book suks for the headline n srry it only has 32 even worse god