This is a sad story.
But it didn’t start out badly at the beginning, five or six years ago. At the age of fourteen or fifteen, Papa took me out for dinner to one of the nicest restaurants in town. It soon became clear that this was no ordinary meal, and our conversation began to trend towards a topic we had discussed many times since I first began stringing words together. It was the topic of giving my heart to my father and committing to leave it there until the time I give it to the man I marry. I had graduated in understanding from the time I grinningly sang, “I Want to Marry Daddy When I Grow Up” to signing a commitment that night to mark my vow of purity. As a special gift and reminder of my commitment, Papa strung around my neck a beautiful gold necklace with a delicate heart charm, a heart with a keyhole inside of it to which my father has the key. And I have worn it every chance I have had since then.
Last night, sitting in my room, I unclasped my purity necklace and slid the chain off my neck as I do every night after I wear it. But the chain caught in my hair, and as I pulled it free, the heart charm was propelled into the air, and my own heart sank. I spent half an hour on my hands and knees, getting to know intimately every inch of my carpet, and I shook out everything that could possibly have been the landing place of my little charm. All to no avail. Then came the prayers, then the tears, and then more searching. I finally had to call it a night, but I am not calling it quits. I will continue searching, I will not vacuum until I find it, and I will rent a metal detector if I have to, but you can rest assured that I will not give up!
And as I was despondently pulling at carpet tufts last night, my lost purity necklace suddenly flashed into my mind a reminder of how easy and oh how simple it is for a girl to lose her pure heart. My necklace is a symbol, a reminder, and its temporary loss does not change the fact that you can find my heart securely given to God and to my father. But its loss does flood my mind with the renewed realization that all it takes is one careless, unguarded moment, and a girl’s heart can be lost for years.
Proverbs 4:23 reminds me how constant my watch must be:
“Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
I have friends who at one point had given their hearts to their Daddies, but when the temptation came, they pulled off the delicate golden chain that held their hearts safe and flung them into an unknown jungle by choosing to give their hearts to a young man who can hardly grow a soulpatch much less a God-centered relationship.
I know girls whose hearts never were satisfied with that protection of their father, and the delicate gold is sadly dull from so many painful heartbreaks.
And I know a wise wife and mother at church who, every chance she gets, tells me, “Give your heart to your father and leave it there.”
There are those of you girls who, like me, who have heard this every day since toddlerhood, and we face the danger of complacency.
There are those of you girls whose fathers may not be saved or whose fathers may not think about these things, and you face the danger of indifference.
There are those of you girls who may have already lost your heart before, and you face the danger of giving up.
Mark my words, each one of us faces grave dangers to our hearts in this fallen world. There are charlatans who want to own it. There are novels and movies that want to stealthily filch it. There are philosophies that want to control it. But ultimately, the greatest danger, the most treacherous enemy of our hearts is our own pride.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
When I am queen of my heart, it cannot be God’s, it cannot be my father’s, and it cannot be safe. Any girl who allows a young man to steal her heart dethroned God first and became queen herself, and that is the root problem.
Proverbs 6:20-24 describes the symbolism behind my necklace and any girl's commitment to purity:
And whether I find my lost heart tonight or tomorrow or a year from today, my father’s commands and my mother’s law are still ornaments around my neck, and my true heart is not lost. And whether you began giving your heart to God and your father five years ago or last week, or will begin in two seconds, you can know that we serve Jehovah-M’Kaddesh, the God who sanctifies hearts. Where does your heart lie?“My son, keep your father's command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you. For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress.”