Sips & Scripts: Christians, Talk to your Teens about Sex

This is Brenna.

Her drink is a matcha blueberry latte.

Though the cross-country time difference made it tricky to schedule (and my swirling #momlife didn’t make that any easier), Brenna and I finally found a pocket of time to sit down in our respective states (Pennsylvania and California) and chat about something very near and dear to her heart: informing teens about sex.

Brenna found it easiest to tell her story chronologically so no event would be left out.

Every step of the way she would add a phrase like, “I wish I would have known” or “I was never taught about…” and she concludes with the idea that hard conversations can really help prepare our youth for issues of sex.


“In fourth grade, when my school had the first class on puberty and the developing body for girls, I was the only girl who was not able to attend. My mom pulled me out and I had to go watch a dinosaur movie with the boys.

My mom was well-meaning; she wanted to be the one to teach me about sex. But my mom underestimated just how early kids learn about sex from peers these days.

Before she got a chance to teach me anything, a classmate showed me her ‘sex bracelets’— meaning, she earned one for each different act of sex she had performed.

So though my mom had the best intentions, I still ended up learning about sex from school.

I love my mom and I understand her reasoning, but I wish she and I could have had honest conversations about sex at that age.”


“Years later, as a teen in high school, my mom and I were watching a show about a sexually active teenager.

I asked my mom point-blank if she waited for marriage to have sex.

What followed was a long, uncomfortable pause when a parent is trying to figure out how to respond.

She finally revealed that though she only had sex with my dad, they did not wait for marriage.

I was so upset that I ran to my room and slammed the door. She was telling me to do something that she didn’t do herself.

Of course, my mom’s rationale was that she didn’t want me to repeat her mistake. But by hiding the fact, I felt betrayed.

I wish she would have told me her story and then told me why she wanted something different for me. If she brought me in on the guilt that accompanied premarital sex, then I would have understood her decision so much better.”


“Without any information, I went into relationships with boys with the understanding that only traditional intercourse was sex and everything else was fair game.

So I engaged in the other ‘bases,’ like 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, as long as I didn’t make it to ‘home base,’ if you know what I mean.

I had no concept of the idea of purity, because I never had discussions about it and how I should honor God with my sexual purity.”


“In my early twenties, I had a Christian boyfriend who intended to marry me. Our physical relationship progressed to the point of having sex. He asked me if I wanted to, and I said yes, and we did.

But what followed was a palpable guilt, like a fly buzzing around my ear—it never left me.”

We inevitably broke up because I was seven years younger and not as ready for marriage as he was, and I left that relationship feeling damaged.”


“Once I felt like the damage could not be undone, I just leaned into sexuality.

I had a one-night-stand.

I was confronted with intense feelings of arousal that I had no idea how to navigate.

I had no tools or information at the ready for what to do with these powerful sexual urges.

I wish someone would have talked to me about temptation and the struggle of sexual desire— it is really powerful.

People in the church, or at least my church, don’t talk about things like sexual temptation or masturbation.

I felt entirely pinned down— Satan had his leverage on me. He filled my head with lies. He told me that I chose sex instead of God, and that it was too late. I lived with these condemning thoughts.

And strangely, once I found myself in victimhood, I just kind of stayed there.”


“In one of my final sexual relationships, I had a boyfriend who pressured me to have sex with him often.

I was hearing that fly buzz again— the Holy Spirit telling me not to do it— and I told him I was wanting to pull back on sex.

His response was that he expected sex, he needed sex, and he deserved sex from his girlfriend. When I told him I didn’t want to do it, he would respond that he was going to resort to porn if I didn’t.

I asked him if he wanted to go to a Christian counselor with me. He refused.

And the conviction of the Holy Spirit just kept getting stronger to the point in which I couldn’t ignore it. The Holy Spirit would even send me the verse from 1 Corinthians 6 as I was having sex ‘flee from this! Flee from this!’ This issue with sex finally broke us up.”


“I wanted to never have sex ever again. I was traumatized. Was my ex right? Would every guy I meet need sex to be in a relationship with me?

My experience was not aligning with the famous verse on love being patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13).

I sought Christian counseling through my church, and I was starting to gain insight on sex and relationships.

I also found some incredibly helpful books on sex, and finally I was getting the information I wish I had received as a pre-teen.

The first book that really helped me was Christian Sex Ed by Dane Fragger who used to struggle with porn and masturbation and how he found his way to purity. He includes lots of psychology in his book in addition to scripture.”

Christian Sex  Ed
Note when using these book links that I am an Amazon affiliate

“The second book that really helped me is Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom who discusses her own experience with purity and what she learned in her own sexual relationship with her husband.”

Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot
Note when using this book link that I am an Amazon affiliate

Finally feeling equipped with the information and spiritual guidance to accompany the Holy Spirit’s nudgings, Brenna wants others to avoid the mistakes she made.


“Parents, talk to your kids early. Earlier than you think you have to.

I know many parents think their kids don’t need to know about sex because they are certain their kids will wait for marriage. This is a noble, Godly goal and I hope the number of youth who make it to marriage increases.

But temptation will still occur even for those who are determined to wait.

Misinformation can still harm those who are determined to wait.

Teens need spiritual equipment on what to do if they are pressured or tempted to have sex.

Information is key no matter the intentions.”


“To the young people out there, I want to say: sex is not love. Sex outside of marriage can have so many damaging results and God is trying to protect you with his law.

Talk to your parents about your sexual feelings and experiences no matter how awkward it may be. Those conversations have power. Pray together.

When you enter a relationship, be honest and upfront at the beginning about what you expect and where the lines are drawn.

If you mess up, deal with it in the right way with repentance and counseling. Don’t pretend it didn’t happen or live in a state of victimhood.

Ask tough questions in church. If your church isn’t willing to talk about it, find a pastor who will.”


Brenna has just launched a podcast called “Beyond Just Christian” with an aim to help bring more candor and honesty to the world of Christianity. Here is the episode where she talks about her experiences with sex. You can also find her on Instagram.


Brenna is comforted by Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.

“In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul writes, ‘Let love be your highest goal,’ though American culture might try to teach us to ‘Let sex be your highest goal.’ Sexual feelings are temporary and not long-lasting. Love is. If you replace love with sex, it will absolutely back-fire on you.”

Brenna left me with the a final verse that the Holy Spirit whispered to her in her darkest moments of temptation:

Run from sexual sin. No other sin clearly affects the body as much as this one does for sexual immorality is a sin against the body. Don’t you realize that your body is a temple that the Holy Spirit lives in and was given to you by God? For God bought you at a high price so you must honor God with your body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

Indeed we were purchased for a high price, dear friends. And one way to honor God is through our sexual purity— though that means different things for the unmarried versus the married— we all can choose to honor Him with our bodies.

with His love,


Here I Am: the Curious Phrase in the Abraham and Isaac Tale

“Mommy, the juice spilled.”

I’m here.

“Mommy, I need help with my Lego set.”

I’m here.

Mommy, I can’t find my other shoe.

I’m here.

Mom, I am feeling confused about something my friend said and I need to talk to you.

Here I am.

Do you see the shift? “I’m here” is literal: I am present.

“Here I am” is something more. Yes, the physical presence is indicated, but a willingness, an offering of self is also swelling in that phrase.


I discovered I’m here/here I am difference when the Holy Spirit had me pause in my reading of Genesis in chapter 22.

Parents, you know the one.

When Abraham has to lug his own son—the one rightful heir who was meant to father multiple nations— up a mountain to be slaughtered by his own hand?

I don’t know about you, but every time I read this, I silently pray, “please, God, never test me to this extent.”

Something leapt out at me (again, through the Holy Spirit) as I was reading this passage:

Abraham repeats one phrase three times: “Here I am” or hineni in Hebrew.

I did a little digging online, and I found the distinction I mentioned earlier: hineni is not merely presence. In Hebrew to indicate mere presence, someone says Po ani (I also saw this phrase as ani Po).

But hineni carries connotations of submission: I am ready, willing, and able to serve you. To use an idiom, hineni means “I am at your service.”


Let’s examine the three mentions of hineni.

Rightly, Abraham uses hineni when God calls his name to give him this test:

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him ‘Abraham!’ And he said ‘Here I am.’ He said ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall tell you.

Genesis 22.1-2, ESV

When God calls Abraham’s name, Abraham is ready and willing to do whatever comes next.

And what came next was absolutely heart-wrenching. Take note of how many qualifications are used in that phrase: your son, your only son, whom you love.

God is emphasizing just how great of a sacrifice this will be for Abraham.

If you are a parent, you know that this request is as unthinkably as it gets. As if the stakes could get any higher, there is the added sacrifice of Abraham’s legacy. If Isaac dies, so does his progeny.

But Abraham does no hemming, no hawing. The offer of hineni, or “Here I am” means— I turn myself over to you.

The offer of hineni, or “Here I am” means— I turn myself over to you.

If a mark of obedience is the haste with which it is performed, then Abraham scores the highest marks in obedience.

The very next verse tells us that “So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac” (22.3).

Can you imagine the tightness in Abraham’s chest? Was his stomach flipping itself this way and that as they silently walked up a mountain in the early morning sunlight? But he forged ahead.


A curious interchange happens between Abraham and Isaac before they reach the top.

Isaac breaks the (implied) silence with “My father!” And Abraham responds with hineni Beni “Here I am, my son.”

He uses the same phrase that he would use in respect to God. Not “what do you want?” Or “be quiet—we are almost there” or “well, you should have gone to the bathroom before we left!”

No. He speaks to his son with the tenderness and respect that this phrases carries.

Why is this notable?

The use of this phrase indicates how much he loves his son.

For anyone who might try and argue that this experience for Abraham is the same as schlepping a goat up the mountain — just a means to an end— is sorely mistaken. No, this is deeply personal. Even in what would be Isaac’s final hours of life, Abraham speaks to him with the tenderness and honor that only a loving father would.

This phrase emphasizes the sacrifice. He loves Isaac so very much, but his love for God is even greater still.


And to give this tale beautiful shape, the resolution holds one final Hineni.

As Isaac is bound, and Abraham is holding the knife (is it poised for striking?), an angel appears and calls Abraham’s name twice in a manner that suggests frenzy: “Abraham! Abraham!”

And what does he respond? Hineni. If the first hineni were out of submission, and the second out of tenderness, I have to imagine this final utterance is brimming with hope and relief.

The angel calls Abraham to a halt, and in a nearby thicket is a ram to be offered instead of Isaac.


I couldn’t help but scan my recent callings from God to see if I was responding in a manner of hineni: I am yours for the taking, Lord.

Did I respond with hineni when He asked me to bring up the gospel to the young mother I just met?

Did I respond with hineni when He asked me to stop advertising during Lent?

Did I respond with hineni when He asked me to send a tee shirt to someone I know is struggling?

My answer is often, “okay, God, soon I will.” But I can’t imagine that God is pleased by the answer “soon.” He wants the complete offering of hineni— the abandonment of self-centered comforts, desires, and timeline.

Again, it was the immediacy and the no-looking-back dedication with which Abraham responded that makes him such a faithful servant.

And we know how the story ends. Isaac is spared, and God declares to Abraham:

I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand on the seashore… and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.

Genesis 22. 17-18, ESV (emphasis mine)

God values obedience. God rewards obedience. Here I am, Lord.

with His love,


Non-Candy Easter Basket Gift Ideas

Now, don’t get me wrong, my kids’ baskets will have candy in them. I just don’t think kids need only candy filling their Easter baskets.

Why not add some items that will fuel their love for the Lord, get them outdoors, or give them something fun to do Easter afternoon?

I’ve put together this guide to help parents find some healthy additions to tuck into the shredded grass form Easter morning.


  • Amazon prices aren’t fixed. The prices drop and rise a little from day-to-day, so the price I have included was the price listed on the day I visited each item. Also, don’t ask me why the toddler items are more expensive than the rest— seems backwards to me!
  • When I polled my audience, most people indicated they like spending $20-40 per basket. Please keep in mind that I offer several items per age, but I am not suggesting that you purchase all of those items (that would be pricey!) I am hoping you find one or two things that would bless your kiddo.
  • I am an Amazon affiliate, but by no means do you have to use my links. If you are grateful for the curation and recommendations, using the links I provide means I get a couple of pennies kicked into my blog fund at no additional cost to you. In other words, shopping my links means you are getting something for your child and supporting me at the same time.


Its never too early to teach little ones about Jesus’ sacrifice. Have your toddler learn the phrase “Jesus is the lamb” as they squeeze this little guy. Click here to shop this plush lamb.

I love blending practical items into the basket. This soft, neutral set looks like the perfect romp-around outfit! Click here to shop this sweet little set.

Song is one of the best ways to ingrain something in the mind. Get those little voices singing along to “Jesus loves me!” Click here to shop the little song book.

When my boys were toddlers, this was a favorite! The egg shape is good for little hands to grip when they don’t have the dexterity for regular chalk pieces. Click here to shop the 12 pack of egg chalk.

Okay, how cute is this? I wish I had known about this when my boys were tiny! It’s Biblical, snuggly, and fun all at once. Click here to shop the Noah’s Ark plush set


I love that these coloring pages have the large images and thick lines for little hands! Click here to shop the coloring book,

and click here to shop the rustic coloring pencils.

Give those kids a reason to get outdoors! We have all been cooped up enough this last year. These warm-weather-themed wands require nothing but bubble solution and kid energy. Click here to shop the bubble wand set,

And so you don’t blame me for not reminding you, consider grabbing some bubble solution to go with it.

We loved Priddy books in the preschool years! Some of them are touch-and-feel books, and others like this one have colorful, minimal images for little ones to learn terms. I’m thinking of adding this to my cart for my littlest. Click here to shop the First Bible Words book.

The smell of Play-Doh takes me right back to childhood! What I love about this set is that if you have multiple kids, they can each get an egg of Play-Doh! Click here to shop Play-Doh filled eggs.


Are you traveling to see family for Easter dinner? This is a perfect little travel item!Click Here to shop the Water Wow Bible story activity pad

Okay, this might be my desire to shop for a girl coming through, but fun chapstick is an inexpensive basket item and the egg shape is right on theme! Click here for the egg chapstick,

and click here for the Lipsmackers in the fun flavors.

We have loved The Jesus Storybook Bible in our home for years (in fact, we may need a fresh copy!) but I just learned that there is a companion coloring book. Click here for the Jesus Storybook Bible,

and click here for the companion coloring book.

Uno is one of those rare games that is truly fun for a bunch of ages. We recently played an epic game of Uno that included an age span from my 4-year-old all the way up to his 70-year-old grandpa. This particular set is made of paper instead of plastic! Click here to shop the paper Uno set.

If you have kids the same ages as mine, you know that elementary-aged kids love slime and gak and all things gooey (it defies logic). This slime is iridescent! Click here to shop a 6 pack of eggs with slime.

Glitter tattoos that identify your kids as Christ-followers? Score. Click here to shop the Easter tattoos.


As a companion to The Action Bible, or perhaps to be enjoyed on their own, this set of 54 “hero” cards give information about the Bible’s bravest. Click here to shop these Action Bible cards.

Do you have an outdoorsy one? One who has a green thumb? This collection of six may mean you have a couple leftover to gift to Sunday School teachers! Click here to shop the 6-pack of mini terracotta grow pots (you may need to make the 6 pack selection after clicking on the first link).

This is an item I might get for myself this Easter! Straight from Bethlehem, this olive wood cross is meant to be held during prayer. As your pre-teens and teens develop their prayer life, this could be a fitting addition to their basket. Click here to shop this olive wood cling cross.

I mentioned practicality, right? If your pre-teen is anything like my eldest, having a fun mask makes them feel like they are expressing themselves. I love the washable masks that reduce waste. Click here to shop this tie-dye mask in Jade.

It’s getting sunny out there! Equip your kids for the spring and summer with some classic aviators. Click here to shop this pair (you may need to select “Gold/Mirror” to get the exact shade I have pictured here).

I didn’t forget your artistic pre-teen! This set has 44 cards with scripture and messages to color and share. Click here to shop the color cards.


The poll revealed that you all wanted to see some cute baskets as well, so here we are!

Now, for wicker/straw style baskets, you are better off going to a dollar store or Target because they are much pricier online.

But here are a few cute non-straw baskets I rounded up if you are in the market:

This burlap tote may be my favorite! It’s deceptive in size because it’s actually closer to a reusable bag size. This one clocks in at the least expensive. Choose this one for kiddos who want to dig for their prizes on Easter morning rather than have them on display.

Click here to shop the burlap tote.

This minimal woven basket is good for little ones who are likely to need room for a larger item like a stuffed animal. Plus, I love that this one can be emptied out after Easter and used as storage in the house!

Click here to shop this woven basket (they also have pink and other colors!)

On a budget and need to get several baskets? These woven bread baskets can be purchase three for $18 and offer that understated foundation for your goodies to really shine.

Click here for the woven bread baskets

These little knit baskets have clip-on ears that can be removed! The ears are cute, but I would maybe remove them and attach a little wooden cross on the front for a truly Easter-centered basket.

These are on the small side, so save for baskets with tinier items. Click here to shop this basket.

I hope this guide leaves you inspired to stuff those baskets with items that delight without the cost of cavities!

with His love,