Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On Purity and Abstinence

Something that has been weighing heavily on my heart to write about is the topic of purity and abstinence. I have hesitated in writing about this topic for two reasons: one, it’s an uncomfortable message and two, I am not exactly the most “qualified” person to be talking about it.

Almost a decade ago, I gave away something I can never get back – my virginity. I was only 15, still just a girl in so many ways. To be honest, I am not even entirely sure how it happened. You see, I had planned on remaining a virgin until marriage. But, somehow along the way, the world seduced me. I believed the lies that sex is not that big of a deal and everybody’s doing it. I wanted to feel beautiful and desirable and to be loved. As the song goes, I was “looking for love in all the wrong places.” There are many things that led to the loss of my virginity. Only recently have I been revisiting those years and God has been revealing hidden hurts and reasons as to how and why it happened as it did. I may share more about this later, but as of right now, I am still processing.

A point I want to make is that I was a “good Christian girl” who wanted to remain a virgin until marriage. Sexual temptation can happen to anybody; any living, breathing human, even Christian teens in youth groups and young adults at Christian colleges. Don’t be so prideful as to think it could never happen to you or your child. That is why it is so important to talk about and understand the reasons for abstinence and purity.

Modern culture glorifies premarital sex. It is seen as something that “normal” young people do. In fact, if you don't have sex before a certain age deemed appropriate by society, you are scoffed at and ridiculed. 

As media portrays sex outside of marriage as something desirable…

You aren’t told how you will be haunted, tormented, and anguished by your sinful choices.

You aren’t told that in your temporary pleasure, you will gain lasting heartache.

You aren’t told how you will battle with the agony of guilt and regret, and the bitterness of shame.

You aren’t told how these choices won’t just affect you in the moment, but for many, many years to come.

You aren’t told how wounded, used, and worthless you will feel.

You aren’t told how the memories won’t fade and the faces and experiences won’t be forgotten, even though you want them to be.

When you do marry the love of your life one day in the future, you aren’t told how the past will still be a part of you.

You aren’t told about the dread that’ll sweep over your heart when thinking about one day sharing with your spouse with a tear-stained, puffy face the mistakes you made and how you didn’t honor and love them all the days of your life.

You aren’t told how you’ll feel like tattered rags, tainted, like you’ve “gone too far,” and that you’re undeserving of a spouse who loves Jesus.

You aren’t told about the possibility of unplanned pregnancy, abortion, and all the pain and heartache that comes with that.

You aren’t told about the possibility of STD’s and how horrible they are (I am thankful God protected me from this possible consequence of promiscuity). 

You aren’t told how your body, your heart, your soul, are all making promises to someone who you were never meant to be tied to, whether or not you intend to keep those promises.

You aren’t told about the confusion that will invade your heart and mind.

You aren’t told how you are sinning against your own body (1 Corinthians 6:18).

What you are told is that sex outside of marriage is a liberating and fulfilling experience.

I am here to say that something the world says brings pleasure and satisfaction in actuality brings heartache and regret, when not in God’s proper context of a covenant marriage. Yes, sex outside of marriage can be pleasurable and fun. But the pleasure is fleeting when it is not how God intended it to be.

With all my heart, I wish I could go back and do some things in my life differently. I wish I knew what I know now without knowing the heartache of it all. I wish I could think about wearing a white dress on my wedding day without feeling like a fraud.

I know that God is working even in the midst of my sorrow and regret. I know that He works all things together for His glory and for the good of those who love Him. He will bring beauty from the ashes of my sinful choices in the area of purity and abstinence, just as He has brought beauty from the ashes of my abortion and unplanned pregnancies, as well as the loss of my little Lily.

Out of the greatest sin and sorrow, He can birth the deepest passion and purpose. I believe I can speak about purity and abstinence in a way that I never could have had I not made the choices that I did. I can speak about it in a way that those who have always lived in purity and remained abstinent until marriage cannot. I can speak about from my own experience what comes when you don’t live a life glorifying to the Lord. I can also speak about His amazing ability to restore and redeem in this area.

I may not be the most “qualified” to speak about abstinence and purity, but God has a way of choosing the weak ones, the least likely among us. He says I’m qualified. He says I am washed white as snow. He says I am cleansed of my sins and redeemed. He has given me a new heart, with new desires. He says I am pure, I am whole. He says I will wear a white dress on my wedding day with grace and dignity, unspeakably and undeservedly grateful for what He purchased for me on the Cross at Calvary.

As I continue to walk through the healing and restoration process, I believe the doors will open for me, as unqualified as I might seem, to share about the beauty and importance of purity. And how He delights to redeem us, our merciful and loving Jesus. He can bring renewed purity. My Lily is a symbol to me of my renewed purity in Christ. Her name means "innocence and purity."

I want to share the truth with my generation, that living a life of abstinence and purity is beautiful and God-honoring. It also honors future spouses, and keeps hearts from years of heartache and regret.

Many young people who hear about purity and abstinence may think if they have already fallen into sexual sin, that it is “too late” for them. That there is no point in being pure because they’ve already given themselves away. That is a lie! When we repent and turn from our sins, the Lord is faithful to forgive and wash us white as snow.

As Corrie ten Boom said, “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Thank You, Jesus, for turning one of my biggest heartaches and regrets into one of my greatest passions, sharing Your truth and bringing glory to Your Name.

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This post left me:

4 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Hannah! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Oh dear Hannah, I think you are the PERFECT person to share this very important message!!!!

    Though I am grateful on so many levels that I didn't fall into this trap, my husband did and he has been the more effective witness and discussion partner for our children as they wrestle with the teenage years. He speaks from a place of understanding and compassion that breeds trust because of his honesty.

    I can speak grace and mercy and compassion to them as well (because I have seen the storms he has faced as he has moved through adulthood.) But I cannot relate on so many levels because I have not been there.

    What satan has meant for destruction, the Lord will use for your witness and ministry to the hurting masses!!! You can speak love and encouragement to so many. :)

    Grace and mercy to you as you navigate these waters.... and don't EVER forget that a man who doesn't show you mercy/compassion/grace and loves you not just in spite of but BECAUSE OF your needs/hurts/wounds is not worthy of the precious creation that you ARE!!!! And, :) you ARE worthy and beautiful and above all adored by your Creator! YOU are amazing! YOU are worthy! YOU are beautiful! YOU are precious! YOU are a treasure! YOU are loved! (((hugs)))

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  3. Exactly what we were discussing the other day. thanks for having the courage to share. Your post are always written so perfectly! Like many I also wish I could go back and change some of my past decisions. The heartache I experienced and the heartache I brought to others is never forgotten. So thankful for my faith and knowing all those choices can be forgiving. Prayerful for those who don't know Christ! I can't imagine not having Him to release me from that pain. Praying you through this time.

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  4. Praise God for making all things new!

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