1 year. I have hit a very important (to me) 1 year anniversary, but I have no one to share it with. My church here doesn’t know my story. My church back home is so far away. And my non-church friends here or there probably would not understand the importance of this time to me; in fact, some would find it utterly ridiculous. So today, I sit here and write about it and share it with strangers. 1 year ago was the last time I had sex. For some that may not be a big deal, but 1 year ago, I never would have thought it was possible. I would like to say 1 year ago I chose to remain abstinent, but alas, I hadn’t yet made that choice. In fact, 1 month later in December I came very close to having sex yet again with a man who meant absolutely nothing to me, but God slammed the door shut on that relationship real fast. And that’s how it happened. I didn’t make a choice. I wasn’t strong enough to make a choice. I didn’t want to make that choice. I had sex simply to fill a void. And I feared that without sex, that void would expand and consume me. I thought that not having sex would mean no one really did want me. With sex, I could at least pretend these men desired me. I could pretend for just a moment that I mattered to them. For a moment, I would not be quite so lonely, quite so unloved, quite without the one thing I desired most. But that moment never lasted and the despair would return with even greater force. Because I knew, no matter how much I tried to pretend, I knew that sex and one night stands did not equate to love. But I still wasn’t strong enough to make that choice for myself; something was better than nothing – or so I thought. For a year and a half (between the break-up with my long term boyfriend and the start of my abstinence) God had been protecting me even when I wasn’t protecting myself. For that 1.5 years I had a series of short term, unhealthy relationships (It’s hard to consider any of them anything more than extended one night stands). I was with a man who was not yet divorced, and he eventually went back to his wife. I was with men from my church. I was with men who simply were incapable of loving me. I was with men who I damaged as much as they damaged me. These relationships got increasingly shorter as time went on: 3 months, 2 months, 1.5 months, 3 weeks, till finally last December it was a whole 5 days before God closed the final door. Shortly after that, I heard a song. It was a song I had heard dozens of times before, but this time it meant something entirely different: The song is “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillian, and the lyrics that broke me were “He is jealous for me”. Those five simple words changed my life, and that was when I made a choice. All I had ever wanted was for someone to want me, to love me, to be jealous for me. And here it was. God was, God is jealous for me. He never stopped pursuing me, no matter how many times I turned my back on him and gave myself over to other men. He never ever stopped loving me. He never stopped chasing after me. I was a faithless whore, and he was still jealous for me. He still wanted me . He wanted me no matter what I had done or how I had betrayed him. He wanted me. (For greater understanding of this amazing love look at the prophet Hosea or the fictional story created from him Redeeming Love.) 1 year ago, the very thought of being without men (and I believed that to keep a man, for a man to want to be with me, I had to have sex with him, so also being without sex) was unimaginable. But God made it possible. I didn’t do it. I wasn’t strong enough to make that choice. But God was my strength. He wanted me for himself. No matter how unfaithful I was, he still wanted me. I will never ever get over that kind of love. It was that kind of love I was searching for but never found. I say that I didn’t make a choice, but true love is always about free will. God closed doors, God opened my eyes, and God gave me the strength and the courage to choose abstinence and to say goodbye to men. I still battle against the desires of my flesh, but I know there is so much more out there than meaningless one night stands. I know that sex will never equate to love. And when someone comes along who loves me the God intended a man to love a woman, I won’t feel I have to have sex with him to keep him. I never ever thought I would experience the peace and contentedness I have in the past year. Peace was a concept I never understood. Contentedness without the love of a man was impossible to imagine. But God’s love is so much more than I deserved and more fulfilling than I ever dreamed. Over the last year, I have also learned that being content with my singleness doesn’t have to mean I lose the desire for the love of a man, marriage, and family; it simply means that those things won’t make or break me. I still desire all I have ever desired. I still long for my happily ever after and true love. But I have learned that God’s will, God’s timing is beyond perfect, and I will never again settle for anything less than everything. I’m not perfect. I’m still learning to trust. I still struggle with my own will. But everyday I once again surrender that will to his. It has been a struggle because sometimes I don’t know what is my will and what is his. But then I surrender it all and say “in your timing”. I still fight against sadness and anxiety and fear that it may never happen for me. I still wonder if the consequence of my past are that I can’t trust and can’t love. But I have faith that God can heal all wounds, soften all scars, and make all things new. Even at this very moment I am struggling against fear and anxiety that the someone I have recently met is a passing visitor in my life. But in the midst of that anxiety and fear, I hear the whisper of God telling me “In my time. Have I not always protected you? Have I not always taken care of you, my child? Look. Look back and find my fingerprints and doubt no more.” His fingerprints are blazing markers of the truth of his promises. And so I wait. I wait on him. I wait on his plan for my life. It is not always easy, but I know it will be worth it. Thank you for sharing this 1 year anniversary with me.
1 Year (my testimony #2)