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Mary Ann Lent lit a match and blew it out.
"This is like your virginity," she explained to her 13-year-old daughter, Cheyanne. "Once you light it, it can never be lit again."
The illustration came from Passport to Purity, a kit designed to help parents have a fun, memorable way to guide their children on biblical principles for dating, romance and abstinence.
Mary Ann had taken her daughter on a mother-daughter weekend getaway in a one-room cottage to teach her from the Passport materials, published by FamilyLife, a subsidiary of Cru focused on building godly families.
A lot was at stake. Both Cheyanne's half-sister and half-brother became parents at 16, and though her parents taught her otherwise, Cheyanne had secretly thought she might have sex with a boy if she really cared about him.
But she learned so much that weekend by listening to audio sessions and other practical illustrations that she even signed a contract from the kit agreeing not to date unless her parents gave her permission.
"It's backed with Scripture," says Mary Ann. "So instead of just saying 'Mom says so,' I showed her God says so."
Now 18, Cheyanne has a boyfriend. He asked for her dad's consent before they started dating a year ago.
Cheyanne, the former student government president of her high school, showed him the match illustration and recounted other things she learned from Passport to Purity more than 5 years before.
"When you light a match, it burns and it's beautiful," she says, "but you can't relight it, just like you can't get your virginity back once you've lost it."
Understanding why it is God's plan, they've maintained their virginity and set other conservative boundaries in their relationship.
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