As I begin to write today, my mind is spinning with a dozen ideals of where to go next. I know I will continue the Purity series just a little while longer. Although I could trail off to discuss marriage and our experience resurrecting our near miss with divorce, I believe this is an entirely different series. Because my husband and I have taken a road less traveled with our relationship, I know for a fact there is an immediate need to encourage couples in the same boat.
For today I want to speak to the heart of the person who can relate to having their innocence taken and the person who gave away their purity because they didn’t know how precious it was.
Life isn’t hopeless.
You are not helpless.
God can take broken pieces and make them beautiful!
The choices I made in my early adult years were a product of the unfortunate events of my childhood. From that vantage point, I couldn’t see hope or a happy ending. I felt pain and mistrust. I wanted to feel loved but kept falling into bad relationships. I was convinced I was a bad seed that would lay dormant in the ground for the rest of my life. I wanted to end my life. I tried. I failed.
In high school I tried to get help for my hopeless feeling. It was a sort of Band-Aid that patched me until I fell deeper than ever. When I got to that hopeless place, I looked up but couldn’t see light on top of the water. I felt like I was drowning. I didn’t tell anyone I had tried to end my life and failed. In fact, no one knew about my failed attempt for many years. When I did open up, it was only to a few trusted friends.
I’ve heard that people who talk about suicide are calling out for help. When someone succeeds and people are caught off-guard, those are the people who were serious. Obviously they succeeded at the ultimate failure. Even though I had been taught suicide was a straight ticket to hell, I felt no way out of the reoccurring cycle of pain. I cannot speak for anyone else and we cannot speak to those who have carried out a suicide. I knew for a fact I wanted to die and I didn’t leave a note to explain why. Why? I seriously didn’t think anyone would miss me.
He would have missed me.
I had been talking to Him for years.
On that day, He spoke back.
Right off the bat I need to say—don’t read about my experience and test God for yourself. If you truly feel like you are in that dark mire, call a hotline or go anywhere you can to seek help. There are many resources of caring people who will talk you through and follow up. Sometimes our well-meaning friends or family cannot feel our pain through audible words. That is the way evil works—it prevents us from connecting to a lifeline.
God didn’t use a voice like Moses and the burning bush. I vomited the sleeping pills I had taken and heard a gentle, inaudible voice say, “I’ve got more for you kid.”
What did I do? I got out of the situation I was in. I moved away from the boyfriend that was cheating on me with the girl that cheated on him with the guy who cheated on me. Did you follow that? This wasn’t an ordinary love triangle; there were four people involved in this craziness and I seemed to keep getting the short end of the stick. I won’t go into further detail because it isn’t really necessary. What you might care to know is the original guy I was with is the one to whom I gave my virginity. I longed to have the happy ending but it wasn’t meant to be.
Years later I learned what sovereignty means as it applies to our relationship with God. It took me years to wrap my head around it. But now, from where I’m at, I can see so many places when God had to painfully allow me to make poor choices so I could learn valuable lessons. If He didn’t create us with freewill, we would merely be robotic beings rather than unique children of a living and loving God.
Yesterday I was anxious to keep writing to you. I drove my daughter to school but an untimely snow fell on SE Wisconsin. It caused rush hour delays everywhere. As I drove the best route I could to get her to school on time for her ACT test, I ended up on a path I normally wouldn’t take with a schedule totally behind my normal routine. But I love how God puts me where I need to be. I heard a program on the radio by Charles Stanley in which I heard this message:
“He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles.” 2 Corinthians 1:4
I knew exactly what He and Mr. Stanley were trying to convey to me at that moment! I had peeled back some layers of my life I hadn’t thought I was ready to share. I am so ready to be used by and for God but didn’t quite expect to be talking this week about sex and purity on the Internet. But God…
… but God knows exactly when He needs us. I am so grateful to have this opportunity so I am willing to put myself out here for you who are finding a voice and healing by reading about my past hardships. For this reason I will keep writing.
The series started because I was running out of opportunities to talk to my own daughter and her boyfriend. We have had so many conversations about the reality of dating in high school and their desire to save themselves, not just for each other, but also for marriage.
It’s not that she isn’t speaking to me. You can only say so much before your words become a muddled mass of sentences. There comes a time when a parent needs to simply let their child take ownership of their actions. I cannot ‘own’ her purity; it is hers just like yours is yours. Once couples are in college, they need to learn how to be apart when they want to be together because being together is too tempting. Parents cannot chaperone every moment but we should be visible during high school. This generation has a great deal of unmonitored time with texting, Skype, IM, Facebook, and many other electronic methods of communicating. While it is in our ability to spot-check, you have to know what is too far, too much, too close. You have to own your own purity.
It seems like I have taken a diversion from my point but I haven’t really. Well, sort of, but not totally. Here’s what I’m thinking– as I was navigating my way through the snow-covered roads I was using the skills I’ve learned over time to get to where we needed to go. I checked the traffic conditions before we left home, I applied the brakes and gas carefully, feathering and pumping them to keep the car from slipping or skidding, I kept a safe distance from other cars, I looked for alternate roads rather than taking the path everyone else seemed to be on and modified my route as we made our way through the city. I wish my new-driver daughter knew these skills for herself so she could drive through the snow without worrying. She is going to have to learn for herself as time goes on. That’s my analogy.
Parents can send kids to the best schools, have great relationships with their children, do all the right things… in the long run, you have to take ownership of yours choices. You won’t do everything perfect right out of the gate. You will make mistakes. You will need to learn how to say, “I’m sorry”, “I was wrong”, “help me”, to navigate your way through life. A fundamental part of life is forgiveness. That is where I was heading when I started to write this afternoon.
It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are, you have the ability to forgive so you can keep growing through life. Not going through life; growing through life. You see, if we cannot forgive ourselves, we aren’t going to grow. It will be like a branch trying to grow around something immobile. It will curve and contort to modify itself but will not grow as it should. For many years I could not forgive myself for my choices because those who hurt me offered no apology. Often times, life offers no apologies and it doesn’t seem fair. It is imperative we learn to confront what we can, gain wisdom from what we are able, let go of what we cannot, and to carry on freely even without the apology we have never gotten.
I wish I could climb right through your computer and put my arms around you and tell you everything will work out in the end. I am hopeful my true confessions will prompt someone holding a painful secret to seek recovery. No matter what it was, you can be made new again.
“His grace lasts a lifetime. The deepest pains may linger through the night, but joy greets the soul with the smile of morning.” Psalm 30:5
As I continue to write this blog, you will read notes of encouragement, optimism, and overcoming. I hope you will seek joy in life. If something is oppressing your joy; seek recovery. On days when I feel down-trodden, I turn to Psalm 37. I’m not sure if you’re in a place to fully appreciate it’s meaning and depth. It is my hope that anyone reading this will know the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding. It is for real.
Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.
Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. Keep to the script: whatever you learned and received and heard and saw in me—do it—and the God of peace will walk with you.” Philippians 4:5-9
I love the mantra of this song as an encouragement to press on and to see yourself through God’s eyes. He knows your heart. If you don’t feel like it can ever be pure again, remember… He can make all things new again!
[YouTube link: Beautiful Things, Gungor]
Yesterday, the day of the snow storm, I stopped in at a Christian book store after hearing the In Touch Ministry radio message mentioned above. I saw this mug. It is perfect, don’t you agree?