I was raised in a family rooted in Christian values. I knew who Jesus was and understood well the concept of Him dying on the cross for my sins. However, living in a manner that put Christ in control of my actions took a back seat to my personal needs and desires. I’m sure my mom spoke to me about the importance of waiting to have sex until marriage but that was a lesson in one ear and out the other. When I was in 8th grade my parents went through a rough divorce and all of the stability I once knew, was gone.
At age 15, I viewed sex and physical activities with the opposite gender like a game. I always seemed to be in this intense competition with my then best friend, struggling to keep up with her in the race of sexual encounters. Each day my younger, prettier, thinner friend would tell me about all her escapades with guys…Oh how I burned with jealousy. As a consequence, I rushed all the important first sexual experiences a girl is supposed to value highly and wait patiently to have.
But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. -James 3:14-16
Deep down I knew I was supposed to cherish my body & my virginity even though I was living to the contrary. I continually hushed the still small voice that told me not to get involved in sex acts. The autumn of my freshman year, my best friend made a bet with me that she could lose her virginity first and I knew at that moment I wasn’t going to let her “win” this time. So when the opportunity came about where I could lose “it” before her, I jumped at the chance without blinking twice. It was, of course, all about bragging rights. But I remember the day I gave away the gift of my virginity, and I say it like that because I knew after everything was said and done, that a part of me was gone forever. I might have had boasting privileges, but inside I was torn. I felt deeply ashamed of the hasty decision I had made. In fact, I remember crying because I knew I betrayed myself, my mom, and God.
If you asked me if I was a virgin, I would have lied to you. I didn’t want to own up to the realization that I was one of those girls. As high school progressed, I had a somewhat steady boyfriend, the “love of my life.” He knew I had previously had sex and together we chose to wait. We waited well over a year before deciding to have sex and sometimes in my mind I pretend that he was my first. We developed this love/hate relationship and quickly became co-dependent. We were careless and reckless with each others’ hearts and bodies. He always came first and I continued to put God on the back burner. One day during my junior year we had an accident while having sex. At the time, I chose to go against everything I stood for and everything I was raised to believe as truth. I let his sister drive me to the local Planned Parenthood and the decision to take the Morning After Pill was done in haste, just like most of the things I did back then. I knew my firm stance on the sanctity of life was shattered, but in those moments… all I knew was that I did not want a child. In my mind I tried and tried and tried to rationalize with God about the decision I made. I kept telling myself it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, but it was and I knew it. By senior year, sex was the demise of our relationship. In a thoughtless moment he had sex with my best friend, ending both my friendship with her and my relationship with him. During my agony, I in return, had sex with someone else for revenge.
Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. -1 Corinthians 6:18-20
High school ended and I quickly headed down a sexually, emotionally & spiritually destructive path. I went out to night clubs and bars regularly. I gave out my phone number, exposed myself freely, and hooked up with guys I didn’t know. I joined practically every online dating site just so I could exchange nude photos, chat inappropriately, and eventually meet up to have a good time. I learned to exploit my sexuality in different ways. I took nude pictures of myself and sent them to guys I was dating at the time or occasionally sent them to strangers just for compliments. I craved attention and figured that even negative attention was better than none at all. The entire time my heart was hurting. I knew that I was not like other girls who were so easily able to go about doing the “no strings attached” deal. God had created me for more and I wanted more, I wanted commitment. I yearned to feel appreciated by the man I gave myself to, but I didn’t know how to go about it the correct way.
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; -1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
I figured if I was only being intimate with the guy I was dating then having sex with him was okay. How could I possibly get hurt if we were being faithful to each other? But God knew what He was talking about when He said that sex was made to be honored inside of marriage. The only One that has your best interests at heart is Jesus. This is why we are told countless times in Scripture to abstain and to flee from all sexual immorality. God knows what’s best for our sex lives and our hearts and what is really at stake when we disregard these warnings. To be honest as I sit here and write this I’m sad to tell you that before things got better, things did get worse. As the saying goes… if you play with matches you’re going to get burned. I only tell you this to warn you! It never matters how long or how well you think you know someone… waiting to be married before you have sex will save you from pain and situations that Jesus never had planned for you. God stated in His Word that He only wanted good things for your future.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11
I had been dating this guy I met in a bar pretty regularly for about 7 or 8 months. Every Friday night we would play cards games, drink, and fool around. Who knew this night would be different? …I actually hardly remember much of the evening at all. In the morning as he cooked me some eggs, I asked him what happened the night before. He said I was pretty out of it and callously smiled when he told me I had begged him for it. After hearing those words, chills ran down my spine because I knew it was a lie. Never in my right mind would I have consented to what he did to my body that night… but sadly, I hadn’t been in my right mind.
That situation left me feeling disgraced and a depression overtook me. Instead of rightfully repenting and turning to God for help, I sought out drugs for comfort. Heavy into my addiction, I began to close myself off from people, pain, & reality. I refused to own up the choices I had made that resulted in my current mess. So I withdrew more, and slowly stopped socializing all together. I spent the next few years purposely avoiding the Lord instead of seeking Him out in my anguish. It was only by His grace and many different circumstances that lead up to the breakdown in my kitchen the evening I finally stopped running and surrendered my life into His control.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.. -Romans 8:13
Up until that time I didn’t realize how invigorating it would be to allow Christ to be the ruler of my life and my decisions. For so long I fought the idea of God having total control because I thought He would never understand my wants and needs. But in those moments I was tired of making the wrong choices and continually causing my own pain. I knew that if I allowed Jesus to enter into every corner of my life it would prevent any more hurt, and with time, heal the deep wounds I was inflicted with. I’d like to tell you that getting off of drugs was easy, but it wasn’t. I’d like to tell you that it all happened fast, but it didn’t. However, I was headed in the right direction. And due to my lack of socializing while on drugs, I had already gone a long period of time without any sex, so I figured I should continue. I chose to publicly re-dedicate my life to Jesus and was Baptized. During my Baptism I made a pledge before God and before my church congregation that I would remain abstinent until marriage.
Today, as a single female in her 20’s, I’m still working on that pledge. Some days it’s easier to stay chaste than others. Purity requires more than just keeping away from the physical act of sex itself. It means being careful of the way I portray myself. It means guarding my eyes and heart against impure images that could negatively affect me. Being a single woman has challenges, and a major frustration I deal with is that most of my friends are married, some even with children. There are days when I get discouraged with God and I cry out to Him, “When am I going to meet my husband? I thought You told me You had good plans for me! That if I wait on You, You’ll fulfill the desires of my heart…” In 2.5 years of taking a step back from a sexually promiscuous lifestyle, I’ve slipped up one time in a moment of lust and weakness. And although I felt ashamed, I knew that time was different because I was different. I knew I could go to Jesus, receive forgiveness, and continue moving forward.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9
What I’m learning throughout my journey of abstinence and waiting and patience is that it’s not about my timing, it’s about God’s. I spent so many years trying to define myself in ‘what a man says I am’ and ‘what I can do for a man’ that I forgot ‘who I am in Christ’. I now fill my days with Jesus, He is the Man of my dreams. I read books on purity, abstinence, how to be a good wife (for when the time comes of course), and most importantly I read the Bible. Instead of focusing on my selfish wants, I’m learning to look past them and seek God’s Will for my life. It’s so cool to watch how quickly His desires for my life become my own. I haven’t forgotten that I would like to be married one day with children… and I know God hasn’t either. But living for Christ each day gives my life meaning like it never had before. I look forward to the day I will be able to experience the sexual intimacy of the husband/wife relationship that God speaks about in His Word. But somehow I know that it will never come close to the intimacy I have with my Savior right now.