May 15, 2012 by agirlikemee
In the four and a half years that Jeff and I have been together, I have only seen him cry a handful of times. I remember seeing him cry when I walked down the aisle on our wedding day, and of course, on the day our son was born. But no memory will stick with me as much as the first time I ever saw him cry. You see, those were not tears of joy like the other two, they were tears of pain. Pain that I had inflicted. Pain from hearing about my past.
I never thought I would have been the girl who sought out sexual sin in her life, but I was. You see, I grew up thinking that men were the ones who struggled with lust and that my role as a girl was to keep them in check. No one ever told me that as a girl, I too would lust and desire sex, and maybe the guy in my life would have to keep ME in check. So when I came face to face with these temptations, it was all too easy to let them into my life.
I had been dating my first boyfriend in college for about four months when he saw me naked for the first time. I remember the adrenaline I felt- the conflicting emotions that I knew it was wrong, but something about it felt “so right.” I remember feeling desired, beautiful, and more importantly, loved. But when the moment had passed, I was left with an emptiness that I could not express. Knowing that my behavior was totally wrong, you’d think I would have been smart enough to realize what I was doing needed to stop. And I did know that. But my drive to find approval from the man I “loved” and the sexual desires that I was totally unequipped to handle caused me to move deeper into my sin and not further away. So when that relationship ended, the agony I felt from giving so much of myself to him was completely overwhelming, I felt I would never recover.
What’s more shocking to me was not that I gave myself to a man so willingly, but that I allowed it to happen three more times with different men all following the same pattern as before. We were “in love,” I wanted to feel loved and desired, and now I knew how good sexual sin felt, so it got easier and easier to fall right back into it. And every time each relationship failed, I was back to that place of despair, and eventually, self-loathing.
There’s an old analogy they used in youth groups back in my day when talking to us about sex. They would say we were like duct tape. The more we stuck ourselves sexually to others, the less sticky we became. The analogy is really awful, totally leaving out the option for grace and redemption; but it does hold some truth. You see, once you give yourself to a man in any way physically, he takes that with him and vice versa. The more you give, the more he takes, and the less you have. Eventually, you begin to ask yourself if there is any way a man could ever love you. You are soiled, defiled, and a mere shell of what you could have been. How could any man ever want that?
The night I told Jeff about my past was the most difficult and the most healing moment in my life. I still cry (even as I’m typing now) at seeing the pain in his eyes when I had to tell him that he was going to thankfully marry a virgin, but not a spotless one. The heartache of telling him I was too selfish and too weak to my own sin that I couldn’t wait for God to give me him so that we could enjoy all of those moments with each other. And then to have the agony of knowing that somewhere else, those men were confessing to their future wives about the sins they committed with me; and the pain that I was now inflicting on women I didn’t even know. It was a moment that will stay burned in my memory forever.
Now it would be terrible if the story ended here, but it doesn’t. That night was the first night I saw first hand how the unconditional love and grace that the Lord gives can be poured out to us through others. Jeff did not yell at me when I told him, He didn’t call me names or condemn me. What he did was he forgave me and told me he loved me and that in his eyes and the eyes of the Lord, I was still worthy of that white dress. It was the purest form of redemption I have ever experienced. To know that just like my looks do not define me, neither do my sins. That in repentance, there is forgiveness and an outpouring of grace that is indescribable.
So dear friend, as we take this month to affirm the fact that we are more than what we see, know that your sins do not define you nor do they hold a claim on your future. Do you hear me, dear girl? You are not bound to your sins, Jesus has already payed the penalty for them. With His forgiveness, you are set free from those shackles. And if you are still in the valley, and still living in your sin, take heart-Jesus is forgiving you even now. Hallelujah.
One of my favorite hymns growing up was called Jesus Paid It All. The chorus simply states: “Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin has left a crimson stain. But He washed it white as snow.”
Be clean. Be forgiven. Be set free.