New Year’s Day 2008 was a day that forever altered my perception of forgiveness and grace.
Shivering beneath the warmth of a blue fleece blanket I stare at a man, a man I suspect to be the man I am supposed to marry. Mysterious as the thought was, I knew within my heart that he deserved the truth. This man sitting Indian style on a couch facing me deserved to know that this woman did not wait for him.
I always knew this day would come. I pondered the thought each night I lay staring at the ceiling after being with a man who was not my husband, and I would think of him, of the man sitting now across from me and wonder if he would love me anyways. Would he forgive me?
Sitting across from this man, this man who waited, waited for me, my moments of darkness flashed across my mind …
- A dirt road by light of full moon
- Plates shattered by a father who knew and couldn’t reach his daughter
- Emergency rooms
- The feeling of not being able to get out, of being forced
- The desire to be wanted, to be loved
- Feeling as though this is all I am worth
Tears begin to stream down my face. It was then that I knew without doubt this man waiting patiently for my story was the man God had intended for me. How sweet it would have been to instead of filth and pain, I could sit before him pure and excited that one day I would be fully his. Instead, I am about to embark on the hardest conversation a woman recently saved by the grace of God would ever have.
I told him everything. Everything. He deserved to know. I needed to tell him.
I told him I would go, if he wanted me to. I would understand if he needed space … forever.
Instead, he explained to me the vow to never marry a girl who didn’t wait for him. He confessed his pride and self-righteousness. He looked at me and saw a woman who was pure and holy – a woman for whom Christ had died. And then, he said, “I forgive you – freely and fully.”
It wouldn’t be until years later that this truth would settle in and the scars of my past would begin to dissipate. That’s the nature of sin –it has consequences. I don’t know if the scars will ever fully fade, but God says that He can restore what the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25), and I believe Him. I’ve seen Him begin to restore that which I defiled (Romans 4:7-8).
On the cold day of a New Year, Mark and I knew in that moment that God had made us one for the other. God showed me the character of a man that He had made just for me. I mourned not waiting for him. I mourned not trusting God. I experienced a godly sorrow that I had never known before (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Sex within marriage is a beautiful thing. Not many people make it to their wedding day without sexual pasts. I want you to know that, in Christ, you are forgiven – freely and fully (1 John 1:9). It has been nailed to the Cross and cast as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
I am learning this truth slowly, but surely, as I seek to surrender my marriage to God. When I shared with you yesterday to pray for your sex life, I meant it. It has only been through prayer that my wounds have begun to close, and my heart has been opened fully to my husband. It is through praying honest with God and pouring out my heart to Him that I have experienced grace and forgiveness time and time again. It is a process, a journey. Yet, God has been faithful, and He is not ashamed to be called my God.
Be encouraged, friends. Whatever your struggle, God wants to help. We’ve only to ask Him (Matthew 21:22).
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