Jenelle Williams admits she was boy crazy most of her life. “I pretty much had a new crush every year, leading up to my senior year in high school. Most of my friends were in relationships and I was just looking for that kind of happiness.”Even though it was a requirement for Jenelle to date a Christian, the world of high school dating proved to be heartbreaking when her boyfriend at the time was more interested in the physical than she was.
After high school Jenelle started attending Calvary The Rock in Santa Rosa. “Growing up I always went to church, but I reached a point where I wanted to figure out if my faith was really mine, or just something I grew up with. I had this passion to know God more. Pastor Ross Reinman’s teachings are very practical and motivational, they really inspire me to apply biblical principles to my everyday life.” As believers we learn in the bible that sex was designed by God for 1) the purpose of seal of commitment in marriage, Gen 2:23-25; 2) for enjoyment of marriage relationship Prov. 5 & Solomon 4 & 7; 3) for Pro-creation; and 4) that sex outside of marriage is wrong. Rom 13:13, 14 I Cor 6:13-20.
But the media’s assault on our kids’ innocence has become so pervasive and perverted, that it teaches kids that premarital sex is a “normal” part of everyday courtship–even in high school. From TV to movies to dehumanizing music, our over-sexualized culture advocates that teenage sex is expected and has no consequences. Is it any wonder that, starting at an early age, girls may believe that their value depends on their so-called sex appeal?According to Sadd.org, in 2010 46.8% of all high school students report they have had sexual intercourse. There were a total of 409,840 infants born to 15 to 19 year old teen girls in 2009, and about two-thirds of births to teens younger than 18.
The fight to help our kids stay morally pure in today’s culture requires almost a 24/7 physical, emotional and spiritual covering. “As Americans, we don’t really accept the concept of delayed gratification. Our culture teaches us that if something is good, we should seek to enjoy it immediately,” writes Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye. This inability to wait is one of the key reasons why our youth needs to witness Christian couples who commit to moral purity until marriage.
It was during this time of spiritual renewal that Jenelle decided to “drop guys out of her mind” and wait for an answer from God about dating. One year later God brought Nick Conley into her life. They met in church and started hanging out with friends in groups. From the first day Nick asked Jenelle about her testimony, she liked him. Yet she thought, “God I am waiting and I’m just going to let you show me who the right guy is. I’m not going to make any moves, or flirt to make things happen.”
Since the first day Nick had met Jenelle, he had been praying to God, asking if she was “the one.” God answered Nick’s prayers. “One day on the beach, things just got really quiet and God told me ‘She’s the one you’re going to spend your life with,’ ” said Nick.
When Nick finally asked Jenelle out, he told her “God told me that you are the one I’m going to marry.” She was speechless. Within days they started praying about setting physical boundaries.
Ephesians 5:3 spoke to their hearts. “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity…because these are improper for God’s holy people.” “We came to the conclusion that since we were role models in the church junior high group, we wanted to fulfill that verse and live above reproach.” They agreed not to kiss until their wedding day, to always have a chaperone until they were engaged, and when they watched movies, to keep two feet on the floor. These boundaries were not set out of legalism, but straight from the heart to protect each other and to glorify God.
The couple admits that keeping these boundaries was hard. “We prayed together a lot, we each had our own devotional time, and we spent time each day talking about what God was showing us.” Jenelle’s roomate, Amanda Anderson said “they are quite the example to look up to when it comes to going about relationships in the right way. I have watched them grow closer to Jesus as they grow in their love for each other, and it’s inspiring to see their example of purity in a world that values the opposite.”
Nick and Jenelle were married on May 28, 2011 in Santa Rosa, California. After a radiant ceremony they hosted over 300 people for a simple reception with a country style cupcake tower concession and pink lemonade.
At Jenelle’s wedding, her mother Sherilee Williams said, “It’s a huge blessing to watch your child honor God in their choices. It brings tremendous peace, contentment and I’m encouraged by it that they can make these choices at such a young age. They have tremendous potential because of their walk with the Lord.” Nick and Jenelle shared their very first kiss at the altar.