Thursday, January 23, 2014

....But then there was LOVE

I must admit, like one of the men said in the video clip, I, too, believed this story must be fiction.

In case you are too inpatient (like I am sometimes) to read the article that I posted above, it is about a woman who died in her home watching television and was not discovered until THREE years later watching the SAME television station. No one seemed to have reported her missing, no one seemed to even realize she was dead.

Many people asked during this clip: 'how does an attractive, popular, successful woman die and no one notices?' 'How does a woman like this, with so much going for her, die alone?'

More importantly, I wondered about her soul.... was she lost, was she hurting....did she know Jesus?

Her story brought up many emotions for me. I work in Mental Health by day and spend much of my time listening to the stories of others, the agony, loneliness, and heartache. The people who I come into contact with everyday want to feel needed, desired, attended to, and/or loved.

The Bible speaks to the lonely heart, to the lost soul:

Isaiah 41:10 directs us to, "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand".

Sometimes, it gets so challenging to wake up every morning knowing you may not know where your child is, you may wonder if anyone is listening to your concerns, you may feel as if no one cares about your well-being, or you desperately desire a spouse to make you feel complete.

God knows these things because He knows your hurts, and He desires that we cast all our cares upon Him. He will uplift you, and hold you firmly in His hands. We must submit to the Lord, and give Him these issues of our heart.

The Bible speaks to the hurting:

1 Peter 5:7 speaks, "Give all your worries to God, for He cares about you".

We don't always have the answers to our problems. There are great days when things seem to go right: we made the perfect pot of coffee, we drove through every green light on our way to work, we got everything on our task list completed, and dinner didn't burn. However, there are some mornings where we automatically wake up on the proverbial 'wrong side of the bed'. We wonder if today will be the day my boss fires me, did my child make it to school at all, or is my relationship (with the person who really loves me) over?

What does one do when their lives are being tested, when they feel unappreciated, when their daily struggles go unnoticed? the famous words of the late Whitney Houston, "where do broken hearts go"?

To Jesus.....

Trust that God knows each and every situation that we are going through and He wants us to run to Him. Rather than sitting around worrying about  every little thing we cannot fix, give it to the Lord. Rather than become so consumed that we won't get everything done, turn it over to the Lord. Instead of feeling lonely, sorry for ourselves, and unloved, focus on Jesus, who was sent because He loves you.

We don't have to die alone on our couches watching Showtime like the shocking story from the beginning of this blog. We can find peace in knowing that there is a love so great and so amazing that we can call upon at anytime and trust that He is listening....

So, after we buzz around town all afternoon, make a few mistakes, sit in front of our televisions, and get that sudden urge in the pits of our stomachs to sulk or complain about how our lives could be better, remember His love and lean on Him.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Losing My Virginity

My first time was unusual, scary, and virtually the most life-altering experience of my life! I made the personal choice to decide that I was ready to give someone the item I loved the most. Like my research on Google suggests :) a person chooses to have sex because they think:

1) Everyone is doing it
2) They are emotionally ready
3) They are in love
4) Curiosity
5) It feels good

I even asked my mother about it and she did what any God-fearing mother would do: FREAKED OUT!!!! Although she did not condone my behavior, she did not judge me. She gave me scripture and warned me that "...once I opened the door to sexuality, it would be hard to close...".

I bounced along and didn't give her warning a second thought! Why don't we listen to good leadership?

I found that my first time was scary and I did not realize the door I opened was a downward spiral. I found out that I was feeding my flesh with food that was harming me. I was gaining weight and that fat was promiscuity. I didn't know how to cut the fat and I knew people could see it. The more doors I opened, the more opportunity I thought I had, the sexier I felt, and the more important I thought I was.

However, when the truth set in, I was left many nights with tears on my pillow, dejected, and ashamed.

1) My issue of FITTING IN: Everyone is doing it!!!
Proverbs 13:20 states, "Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble"

I began to find myself keeping up with all the other women in my life who were sleeping around and making it look desirable. I was jealous of my friends who were getting flowers, going on dates, and maintaining steady relationships. I didn't understand why their sex outside of marriage seemed prosperous and mine was met with no reward! Because I am a child of God! I was not walking with wise counsel, but instead was looking in the wrong direction for temporary satisfaction. I found myself meeting men who did not respect me and flowers were not sufficient for the emotional overload that such interactions created.

2 & 3) I was emotionally ready; "Momma, I LOVE HIM!!!"
1Thessalonians 4:3-5 reads, "God's will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor-not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways".

Let's get real! I was 18 years old, what did I know about love? My emotions were mingled in with desire, passion, and lust. Those were the emotions I experienced, yet I lacked the experience to know how to adequately control those emotions. I was lost and wanted to be loved. I didn't know what love looked like from my partner because, at that time, I didn't love myself. I tried so desperately to be accepted by this earthly man that I failed to recognize the unconditional love of an heavenly Father. Had I come into spiritual intimacy with the Father, I would not have yearned for the physical intimacies of this world, which are temporary.

4) Curiosity
Genesis 3: The Man and Woman Sin

No story of curiosity comes easily to mind than that of Adam, Eve, and that desirable fruit. What a price paid for temporary satisfaction. As I reflect on my own experience, I thought I just had to have sex. I thought I was missing out on something, and I wanted to know what everyone else was talking about. I wanted to be popular. I wanted to KNOW...... Eleven years later, I look back on each curious encounter I had and realized that as much as I was filling myself with each new encounter, I was in a dark place, and I was spiritually empty. I was so caught up on D, that I failed to realize my tank was on E. :) Quips!!!

5) It Feels Good
Galatians 5:16 quotes, "So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won't be doing what your sinful nature craves".

I've never been pregnant, but I've heard that one's appetite is insatiable at times. They crave certain foods. I had a craving for attention, for satisfaction, I held a desire for sex. It meant something to me. I had power and unlike most women who feel guilty about promiscuity, sex felt really good. I enjoyed myself and many of my encounters, but I cannot say that I have experienced true love.

One morning, last year, I decided that I was tired of waking up under someone else. I was tired of looking for love in all the wrong places. I wanted to know what it meant to truly be loved. I was looking into the eyes of a man who didn't love me and a stranger in the mirror. I didn't recognize both persons in the room because I was lost and my importance didn't seem to matter. But I remembered the love of Jesus.  I remembered what it felt like to be close to Him, to know His loving arms surrounded me, that He whispered sweet nothings in my ear, that every flower I pass on earth is what He created for me to enjoy.

I realized that I wanted a Christian man to love me and I realized that I needed to develop a vertical relationship before I could fathom what a horizontal relationship could look like. Regardless of the partners on my belt, I knew I could still be made whole, I could still be washed white as snow, I knew Jesus still loved me in spite of my behavior. Because I began to talk to Him, I trusted that, in time, He would provide a partner who would respect and understand all that I had been through.

I rededicated my body to Him, as a living and acceptable sacrifice. I couldn't take back my virginity, but I realized that I lost something else: a bad habit, an addiction. Letting go of myself and my discretion has opened the door for the Lord to reveal who He is to me in such amazing, unusual ways. For that, I am thankful. As I embark on a year of celibacy, the Lord and I could not be closer, because I have put Him as my focus. Being filled with God's presence every day has been a scary journey because life with Him is unexpected. However, I find peace in knowing that every road I travel with Him will work out for my good and showcase His glory.

Thank you for reading my first blog! I may have lost my virginity, but I gained an unbreakable bond in Christ because He has forgiven me and shown me grace.