- “Where were you when I was growing up…?”
- “Wish I’d have heard you when I was raising my kids…”
- “Can you come to my house and tell my teenagers that…”
- “How do I tell my kids to wait when I didn’t wait – they’ll think I’m a hypocrite…?”
These parent comments from all over our country, and from other parts of the world, make me more passionate than ever to keep spreading the word. I realize that my message is vitally needed and desperately desired by parents. Parents can’t give their teenagers something they didn’t get – you can’t give what you don’t have. Now we have 30 years of relationship research and thousands of years of Biblical wisdom. It behooves us to share this with our preteens, teenagers and college-age children. We need to turn things around like the teen pregnancy rate, the STD rate, the media & porn’s influence, the abortion rate, the depression/suicide rate and the divorce rate among others.
For the last 20 years I have had the honor of traveling all over America helping moms, dads, teachers, coaches, youth pastors, grandparents — anyone that loves teenagers – to promote purity on purpose so the teenagers in their sphere of influence have a better chance of reaching their hopes and dreams for their future.
And….in the middle of all that, parents, teachers, administrators and pastors have invited me to speak to teenagers across the country with the message of waiting. It is such a privilege to have a high school senior boy wait for me at the end of a student assembly and ask, “Hey Tall Lady, are you coming back?!” WOW! I’m asking teenagers to delay sex until they get married and they like me!! Such fun!
If you’d like to read more about how I got here, you can read my story below.
Or…get started! Order the 90 minute Parent and Teen videos on the Resources Page!
I grew up in the Midwest in the best All-American loving family – Dad, Mom and 2 kids. My life was perfect in every way except one…..I was a girl and I was tall……very tall…6’2” and 125 lbs. on Graduation Day. I was a great student and would have been a great athlete but Title 9 hadn’t been passed for girls to compete in Illinois when I was in high school. I had tons of friends, but never a boyfriend. I had one date and it was to the Senior Prom only because I was nominated for Prom Queen. My parents believed in my potential and my father and I made visits to several colleges showcasing my natural athleticism although I had no statistics to show for it. I came away with a basketball and track scholarship to a major university. Let the games begin! There were tall good looking college men everywhere! I was always a “good girl” in school but now I had no adult accountability, no experience dating, and a crooked moral meter. I did well in school and participated athletically, all the while partying my way through college. I spent all 4 college summers at Lake Okoboji in northwest Iowa and lived with my wonderful grandparents who were chefs at a prominent resort.
The best decision I ever made…
On my first “real” date in the summer of my freshmen year at age 19, Dave asked, “Do you know Jesus?” I said, “Yes, a little Baby in the manger.” He laughed. He shared his salvation story with me and Holy Spirit started to stir my heart. I returned to college that fall with a new status – I had a boyfriend for the first time in my life. Thinking I was now in love, I attended a “How Is Your Love Life” meeting in the student union. It was a 3D presentation of beautiful scenery with the story of Jesus Christ and how much He loved me woven throughout. I signed the card that asked, “Would you like to know more?!” I wrote “YES!” in 2-inch letters on the top of the card. The next day a Campus Crusade for Christ volunteer, Merry (“Just like Christmas,” she said), visited my 10th floor dorm room and asked if it was my handwriting on the yellow card. I invited her in to hear the plan of salvation. Every week Merry would visit me and share more of Jesus’ love for me and every week I would put her off. I didn’t want to stop partying with my boyfriend. In March of 1977 she firmly stated, “Shelly, today is the day of salvation.” I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior that day before heading to track practice!
Moving to the mountains…
In the fall of 1979 I married the first man that had said, “Love ya Shel” and moved to Colorado to bask in 300 days of sunshine and to pursue a PE/Health Education teaching and 3-sport coaching career in the mountains. I believe that because Dave and I didn’t begin our relationship with a foundation of Biblical purity, we never connected heart-to-heart. We had sex – we didn’t have intimacy. We struggled. I read many “how-to” books and we attended every faith-based marriage enrichment seminar I could find, desperately looking for the one thing that would fill that hole in my heart. I would bring the relationship ideas back to my health education classroom and make them into kid-friendly lessons. In the fall of 1995 I met Joneen Krauth Mackenzie, an Air Force nurse. She had the medical background and I had the educational background. I handed her my lesson plan book and the WAIT Training (Why Am I Tempted?) curriculum was forged. I used this abstinence and relationship curriculum in my high school health class for 5 years until a 10th grade student raised her hand in class and asked, “Mrs. Donahue, why don’t you take your show on the road? Why do you stay here and just teach us? Why aren’t you teaching 30 teachers that all have 30 students?” She was prophetic! That Spring I resigned from teaching and coaching and took the show on the road! From 1995-2014 I was the lead teacher trainer for WAIT Training and presented to 48 states and 7 foreign countries with the message of abstinence and healthy relationship skills.
Moving to the Plains
After a successful 19-yr. teaching/coaching career in the mountains, two amazing children and 22 years of marriage, Dave left our family for the greener grass. The kids and I moved east to a small town that looks and smells like Iowa – Eaton, CO. In the Spring of 2006 I lost 21 pounds in 37 days – every time I stood up I threw up. The neurologist saw 2 dime-sized growths on the right side of the cerebellum of my brain – it was a job for God! I was invited to attend a Charismatic church service in Denver on June 4, 2006 and although I was a conservative Christian at that point, I would do anything and go anywhere to get healed. David Herzog stood in the pulpit, stopped preaching, pointed at the congregation and stated confidently, “Someone here has a brain tumor and its being dissolved as I speak.” It was me! I received my healing miracle and from that night on all of my symptoms ceased – no more throwing up, no more slurred speech, no more staggering gait, no more spells! HALLELUJAH! I was healed in the Name and Authority of Jesus Christ! That miracle changed my life forever! I started to pray for the sick and they were healed in the Name of Jesus. I became a SOZO (a Greek word for healed, saved, delivered, made whole) inner healing ministry leader at Resurrection Fellowship Church in Loveland, CO and people I ministered to were delivered from emotional bondage and addictions and were set free in the Name of Jesus. My world was alive to Christ and my mission became Isaiah 61:1-3, “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…”
TALL Truth is born…
I am passionately committed to Jesus Christ as the ultimate answer to ALL things, including teen sex. My new outreach to parents and teenagers is called TALL Truth. At 6’3” (I know – I grew an inch in college) people might not remember my name but they remember me as “The Tall Lady.” After speaking, adults will say, “What you said is so true.” Hence, the name TALL Truth. Plus we know the Bible says in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is my heart’s desire for parents to be educated, encouraged, empowered and equipped to parent for purity so their kids will be free to pursue God’s destiny for their hopes and dreams for their future!