Set Free

DISCLAIMER: brace yourself because this is a touchy subject but one that has tugged at my heart a lot in the past few weeks. The only reason why I feel confident in sharing this testimony is because of the healing I’ve gone through to overcome the shame and guilt I felt for so long.

I am a virgin. Shocking, right? At least that’s what I’ve been told. Yes, people have actually told me that my virginity is a shocker. Yes, it does hurt. See, I had to learn the hard way that virginity does not equate purity, and shame is a lot harder to shed than a coat.

If you live in the Bible belt, you’ve probably heard about how your virginity is a gift meant for your spouse. It is a highly emphasized matter, even when we live in a sex-obsessed culture. It’s like the sin you can commit and be “forgiven” for but one that, once committed, can never be rectified. At least that was what I thought. To me and many others, it was the dirt you can’t wash away. I was so focused on this label of virgin that I stopped believing in any other virtue. It was like, if I didn’t have sex, I was good. But I wasn’t.

Sexual sin is not a joke. It is such a tricky weakness to overcome because it’s so easily surrounded by shame. No one wants to talk about it. You don’t want people to know it is something you struggle with. You just feel so dirty, but one becomes dependent on the gratification. You rely on it for different things – whether that is self-confidence, comfort, emotional stability, or maybe a cure for loneliness. But with every mistake, the feelings you run from only intensify.

After a very rough break up, I went through what is now referred to by close friends as my infamous Tinder Bender. Yep. It has an actual name. I made many mistakes. I was seeking comfort in all of the wrong places. I felt so unworthy and unlovable. I just wanted to be loved – loved for real this time. I was willing to settle for the counterfeit version to satisfy the desires of my heart. I feared that God never would.

The more I allowed this to become a part of who I was, the more I let myself think it was all I’d ever be. I wore the shame like an uncomfortable wool sweater that no one could see. I just assumed it was just as tangible and visible to the entire world as it was to me. The beautiful, Godly marriage I dreamt of began to dwindle. The shame colored every aspect of my life from my ability to lead to my relationships.

Even when I deleted tinder, stopped dating or looking for men, even when I leaned solely on God and my community for comfort and joy, I let this shame dictate what I deserved. I wasn’t good enough. And the worst part of it all was that I didn’t actually recognize just how much pain I felt. I was completely numb to my brokenness.

Healing has been a process. It began with God’s prompting me to confide in my friends about my fears. Through them, He revealed the bondage of my past. The fear was very apparently weighing me down, even if I didn’t want to admit it.

It wasn’t until I was faced with real temptation that I recognized just where I was and how far I'd come. The temptation to go back to the old me stood tangibly before me, and for once, I felt nothing. I had no desire to give in or crumble or embrace the identity that I held onto for so long. I was completely healed.

See, the presence of God in my life had changed me. The person I used to be wasn’t even my past anymore. It was a different person. God had cut all ties with her. I was pure - not without faults -but renewed. God made me worthy. He made me clean once more, and I didn’t have to hold onto the past. I have a future now. I have conquered and overcome in His name, and my weakness is now a display of His strength.

The greatest part? I’m not alone. My testimony is not a singular occurrence. It is the testimony of many, and it is a story that can and will be told time and time again. It can be your story. Today, you can walk away from whatever weakness you may struggle with and never look back – whether it be sexual sin or addiction or shame or fear. No sin is too great for the Son of God. Virginity does NOT equal purity, and it does not disqualify you from a spectacular relationship/marriage with a Godly person (if that is the desire of your heart). You can cut that tie to your past and be made whole again because our God is a God of grace. Grace is not just forgiveness and mercy. It is blessing. It is the promise of a future and the erasing of the past. It does not mar you. It does not stain you.

You are made pure in Jesus’ name.

"He said to her, Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." (Mark 5:34)

Rose DudleyComment