I grew up in a very loving and Christian (in the best sense of the word) home. My parents never sugarcoated or lied to us about life, especially not sex. I can remember very vividly sitting with my mom and having “the talk”. She very honestly told me that although sex was meant to (and should) feel good, it was God’s will that it be shared between and enjoyed by married people. I looked around at all of my peers who were having sex and had gotten pregnant or were in tumultuous relationships and her advice and the God’s will seemed pretty logical to me. Trust me, I was curious and I definitely wasn’t immune to the typical teenage vices (i.e. making out in the back of movie theaters, cars, etc.) but because I was blessed to be around some really loving, ordained marriages and wanted that for myself, I was cool with waiting on my beloved.
A date rape when I was 17 stole my virginity and my faith in all of this.
For years, I told only two people and processed the pain and confusion on my own. My shame manifested itself in low self-worth. I was lost. I’d have these epic soap opera-esque relationships with men that I believed I loved and wanted so desperately to love me. Sometimes I’d make them wait and other times I’d just go with the moment because it “felt right”. As a result, I held on with a white-knuckle grip to some of the most ridiculous men in the history of life. Liars, womanizers, cheaters—you name it, I dated it. I believed that if I could make them love me by any means, I would prove myself worthy.
When sex for the sake of love wasn’t working, I’d do it for the name of fun. When fueled by alcohol and clouded judgment, it’s amazing what you can convince yourself of when you are desperate for a connection. I told myself that because it was my body, I could do with it what I pleased to whomever. I can admit now that my “free” thinking was really to mask the disappointment and frustration caused by my lack of real intimacy with anyone, especially God and myself. Every situation ended the same; “we” dissolved into just me, left confused, hurt and alone.
It was at the end of one such “relationship” that I finally hit rock bottom so-to-speak. I was at my lowest and knew that something had to give. God (through a good friend) helped me see things for what they were: way off. I embarked on an intense journey to refine and redefine my walk. The new me was confidently celibate and waiting for marriage. I prayed for forgiveness for my past and to be able to forgive those who hurt me. I put dating on the shelf, get my life in order, and wait on God to do the rest…and He did.
I had to learn to see my worth outside of what men and everyone else thought of me, and trust me, when you’re a life-long people pleasers, that ain’t easy. It’s a daily process to live life in terms of first pleasing my heavenly Father and then myself.
There will be people in your life that constantly remind you of who you used to be. Sometimes the person will be you. Remember that a renewed relationship with God doesn’t make you perfect; it just helps keep you real.
Your past is just that. Your PAST.