A few weeks ago, I posted this post which started this conversation. I said I would be talking about it over the next couple of Sundays and then promptly allowed life to get in the way. I wanted to share with you some more of my testimony and what God did at the Women's Retreat six weeks ago.
No, let me start much earlier. I have shared before that I was raised in a Christian home. In regards to sex and religion, I was properly taught that sex was best saved for marriage, because that is what God created it for. My mother, a nurse, first had the conversation with me when I started my "monthlies". My youth pastor talked about waiting until marriage annually, exhorting, encouraging and scripturally directing us and our hormones to wait.
I promised to wait. I told my mom I would wait. I signed a little card and sent it to Washington DC which got stuck in the White House lawn that said I would wait.
I told God I would wait.
I bet you could guess what I'm going to tell you. I didn't wait.
I met a boy during my Junior year. He wasn't a Christian, but we fell "in love", and ultimately I chose to have sex. It wasn't in the "heat of the moment", and it didn't "just happen". I made the decision and worked very hard to justify the decision.
At the time I was being mentored by a young woman name Alicia, who was very pure. My sexual forwardness, and the willingness to talk about it embarrassed her, but she still encouraged me to stop, I am sure I depressed and discouraged her. I had a daily battle with guilt and shame, I struggled with a sin that became so powerful that I discovered I couldn't stop.
I knew what I was doing was wrong, but I would look God in the face and do it anyway. During this time I was heavily involved with church and youth group, I was in leadership with youth group and I helped with the worship team. I was leading a double life. I hoped my non-Christian boyfriend might become a Christian and somehow that happening and maybe us getting married in the future would make it all okay. It wasn't okay.
Each summer I would go to summer camp and rededicate my life to Christ, I would vow to turn away from sin and I would come home and break up with my boyfriend. We were best friends, not just boyfriend/girlfriend. We would continue being friends, and eventually we would get back together and resume our relationship.
It was a stronghold, a fortified place. I couldn't get out. I was terrified I might get pregnant. I was terrified that my parents would find out. I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame. I was sure that God was not happy with me. I couldn't escape. I couldn't make the changes in my life that needed to be made that would have saved me. For four years, we dated (on-again, off-again) and I struggled.
This is enough for this week. I forget how long this story is. Next week I will continue, and hopefully get to the point.
Sin is such a powerful thing. Certain types of sin destroy us, and our relationships. The scripture talks about sin... on a search of my favorite Bible site, Biblegateway, a search of the word "sin" finds 433 results. (BTW - a search for "love" gives us 508)
From Genesis 4:7 - "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
To 1 Corinthians 6:18 - "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body."
Reflect: How do you help someone who is trapped in a stronghold of sin? 1 Corinthians literally says "Flee from" sin, what do you think this looks like?