Saturday, September 15, 2012

Confessions of a Harlot in a Prude’s Clothing.

After recently having a moving conversation with a close friend of mine, I offered her a spot on my blog to write about her struggles because I know that she is not the only girl that has gone through this. I know I have at some point in my life. And I can testify through my own experience that there is redemption, forgiveness, and healing through the Lord Jesus Christ for my friend who I know is seeking it and for you who may think that you're too dirty to be forgiven. You're beautiful and you are made pure through His hands. I'm not going to say her name to protect her confidentiality, but I really would like everyone to think deeply and be open about the words that she has written. This is a safe place, I will not judge you. I will pray for you or try to help you find the resources you need. I am going to open the option to post anonymously on this blog, but please no attacking anyone else. 
Thank you,

What you are about to read is a true story.
A twelve year old girl with an active imagination sees a movie scene in which a couple sleeps together.  She sees another.  Her parents had standards of what was appropriate but Dad thought “it’s not that bad, they don’t show anything graphic.” So he doesn’t fast forward.  But this girl is already beginning to experience the inevitable changes and growth that puberty brings.  Her hormones rage and the scenes leave large impressions on her creative mind.
On her own time, she imagines stories of grand adventures and great heroes.  They will someday be written down into famous novels, she thinks.  But soon her stories take new turns.  The princess falls for the knight and they find themselves alone.  Reality and imagination begin to intertwine and our twelve year old girl finds that she can finish the story on her own.  Over and over again.
One scene from a movie, I don’t even remember which one now, was all it took.  The images were burned into my twelve year old brain.  For over ten years I have struggled with the beast that youth pastors and purity conferences imply belongs to men.  I didn’t need to return to the images; watching films like “A Walk to Remember” or “Titanic” at girlish sleepovers and talk of the latest crush was enough.
It didn’t matter how many sex, dating and relationship series’ I heard in junior high and high school youth groups.  It didn’t matter how many times I heard clichés like “guard your heart.”  How could I guard my heart from the pervasive infection that had already taken hold?  Not one of my leaders, women of wonderful faith, ever suggested that my sin was something that women struggle with.  In truth, I loathed our annual dating discussions at youth group because I felt the overwhelming shame of being freak.  “Normal” girls dealt with self-image, knowing her boundaries if/when she started dating, and attributes of good, Christian men worth dating.  The Boys (I assumed) covered issues of sexual urges and porn.  I actually longed to be a part of their conversation, believing that they addressed ways to not objectify the opposite gender.  They were learning how to fight the beast.
They all knew that they were affected visually and they could keep each other accountable.  I was alone.  I continued the façade that I was committed to purity.  I wasn’t like “those girls” who slept with their boyfriends even after they’d made the “true love waits” promise.  I had never even had a boyfriend or been on a date.  But the thick and putrid tar of impurity still covered my heart.  I may have blushed at innuendo or been shocked by public high school exploits, but I turned an even deeper shade of red when I heard verses like Romans 1:24, I Corinthians 6:12-20, or Ephesians 5:3.  In the presence of many Christians, I felt the burning shame of the woman caught in the act of adultery and I wasn’t even exposed.
I saw more movies, more images burned into my brain that I could not escape.  Still cannot.  Friends got older and silly little crushes turned into deeper infatuations that only fed the disease, no porn required.  I hated myself when friends got together for pool parties or games of ultimate Frisbee and all I could see were the shirtless men.  I dressed as modestly as I could, knowing that I did not dare wish upon my guy friends the same impurity that I possessed in spades.
I wish I could tell you that at some point, I have had an incredible encounter with the Lord and experienced complete freedom from the bondage in my body and soul.  I can’t.  I do have an amazing relationship with my Savior but it is tainted.  I give up and give up and give up my sin again and again.  But like a dog returns to its vomit, I return to the dark crevice wherein my beast resides.  I pray hard and long about freedom, earnestly desiring to surrender to my God, and am then distracted by the impeccably dressed, attractive man playing guitar with the worship band.  But I don’t confess it to anyone.  I suffer in silence.
You know me.  I am your roommate, your sister, or your best friend.  I might even be you.  I agree that some actor is attractive.  But I don’t tell you that the conversation or the poster on your wall, or the movie you want to watch is feeding my beast.  I don’t admit that I avoid eye-contact with my guy friends because I don’t want to objectify them or that I fear having ruined myself for any potential relationship in the future.  I doubt that you will remain with me if you learn the extent of my depravity.  I know that my beast, my sin, will only be eradicated when it is brought into the light.  But I feel like there is no one to flip the switch.  Will anyone let this harlot confess?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Some Thoughts on Women and Church Culture

     When I was young, I attended a church that only allowed the men to open in prayer. It confused me at the time, but I never thought much of it. Until recently (in the last couple of years). It all started when my friend told me about the class her college offers called "How to Be a Pastor's Wife"...I will admit that at first, I thought it was pretty funny.
      But the more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became. Although that is probably a useful class for some ladies, is that all the college thinks that we're called to do? To become pastor's wives? To become wives?  Christian culture has (perhaps unintentionally) persuaded us as young ladies that our one aspiration should be to become wives. It teaches that we are nothing  without our husbands. It teaches us that if we're not married, we have very little capability We are taught that if we accomplish A, B, and that order, God will have a husband in waiting for us. If He doesn't, then we're doing something wrong. This is ridiculous. Christian culture twists the Scriptures to allow us to be oppressed and oppress ourselves, using the excuse of submission.  I don't think that there's anything wrong with marriage in itself, I know plenty of husband/wife teams that God uses in amazing ways. I plan on getting married one day.
      I do think that there's something wrong when ladies don't think they can do anything for God unless they're married. I do think that there's something wrong when young ladies seek after their potential future husbands than they seek after the face of God. I do think that there's something wrong when beautiful young ladies' self esteem is shot because they're taught to find their worth in how many guys pursue them rather than finding their worth and identity in God.  I do think there's something wrong when ladies have to suppress their God-given gifts in the church because of their gender.  I do think there's something wrong when we put God in a box because of church culture. God is so much bigger than church culture!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hello World!

I had a little bit of a hiatus from my blog since April. Partly just because I didn't have regular internet access, but I'm back! I am going to make an attempt this semester to blog a lot more consistently than I have in the past, so bug me to post if you have to. I'm off to class so I will talk to you all later! (And hopefully get a chance to post a blog with substance sometime today or tomorrow.)

God bless you all!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Whom then shall I fear?

I walked into the sanctuary alongside my good friend with a large hot turtle mocha (basically, liquid sugar)  in my right hand surrounded by a sea of unfamiliar face in an unfamiliar place. Every introvert's, well maybe just my, nightmare. I honestly had a terrible attitude walking in, this has been my third time going to church in the last two days and I was tired of it. I just wanted to relax. Maybe work on some homework. The worship team started to play a song I didn't really know...I looked around and nobody was raising their hands or really doing anything, something I definitely wasn't accustomed to. I was definitely uncomfortable in such an unfamiliar environment.

 Then came the sermon, my defining moment for today. The head pastor began to preach on finding things in your life that we need to bury (let go of)...and at the end of the sermon, we were told to write on a piece of paper one word that we need to let go of.

My word? Fear.

I am afraid of the unknown.
I am afraid that my life won't go the way I expect it to.
I am always afraid that something bad will happen or that an obstacle will come up.
I am afraid that I won't have the support, material, or skill to do what I want to do.
I am afraid of being rejected.

Most of all, I am afraid to trust in God completely.

I want to be in control of my life.
I want to be the one to make things happen.
I want to be able to continue on a straight path until I reach my life's calling.
I want to be secure in who I am.

But let's be honest.
I can't do ANYTHING on my own strength.
The only reason I can do anything is because God gave me the ability to.
He knows what He's doing.
I don't.

Monday, March 12, 2012

5 Reasons Why Being a Good Student is Important

God has been putting this blog on my heart for quite a while, how important it is to be a good student as a Christian...this is written from the perspective of me as a college student, obviously it's important to be a good student no matter where you are.

I'm not claiming to be the best student in the world, I have my moments where I get lazy or I complain about having too much homework. I'm not sure if I know any student who doesn't...but the fact is that right now, studentship is my calling and I need to be faithful with that, by trying my hardest and putting my best effort into every single one of my classes whether or not I feel like it would be useful in my future career. This is why:

1. Yes, I go to a Christian university but despite that, I am representing Christ wherever I go. Maybe I am representing Christ to Christian professors but it is still important and I'm sure there are students among me that aren't strong in their faith, have been hurt by Christians or don't yet know the Lord. It's good practice for representing Christ in the professional field to supervisors and clients alike. And let's be honest, whether or not we agree with their teaching methods, every single professor deserves the utmost respect .Whether I like it or not, people are watching me. I could set a good example or I could set a poor one.

2. As I mentioned before, studentship is my calling right now. I n the parable of the talents, a man entrusts his possessions to his servants...he distributes his wealth on the basis of their abilities, 5 talents to the first, 2 to the second and 1 to the third...the first two servants invested the money and the third buried it.The same concept applies to doing well in school, God trusted me to be a student and has given me the ability to be a good student, I have a unique opportunity to go to I should work with what I have instead of being lazy and not seizing the opportunity to be a student and learn eagerly. It is not my calling to be lazy, it is my calling to be a student and to be faithful with the little.

3. I am in college to learn about my am I supposed to apply the concepts I learn to professional practice if I don't learn them in college or how to apply them? As Dakota Fanning's character says in the movie "Uptown Girls", "Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun"

4. College is expensive. Why waste money if I'm not going to try?

5. The more I learn, the more you realize how little I know and there's always more to learn. This helps me to develop humility, wisdom and a hunger to learn more and become knowledgeable in whatever subject I am learning.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cliché February Blog Topic: Love and Insecurity

Over the weekend, someone I trusted really hurt me. It's not wise or remotely beneficial to me to explain the situation in such a public place but it is necessary for the purpose of this blog to say that I was hurt and still am.
When this situation happened, I was up all night in shock why someone would do such a thing to me. Yes, maybe I was focusing too much on myself, but it hurt(s). A lot.

The pain that I felt brought to surface a lot of my insecurities...."Am I not good enough?" "Am I not pretty enough? (cue every single physical/personal thing I'm insecure about)" "Is this person trying to one up me?" (I don't even think this person cares as much about this situation as I do.) "Why does nobody even care about my feelings?" "Why does everyone take advantage of me?" "Why doesn't anyone respect me?" Obviously, a lot of these things aren't necessarily true but they are questions that came to mind when this situation happened and since. I know that I need to find my security in God and Him only but these are questions that I really have struggled with the last few days. It's hard to receive compliments right now because my self confidence has been shot. I could not help feeling extremely unloved but I still have learned a lesson and learning how to put it into practice.

Security is not found in ANYONE but God. 
Nothing else matters BUT Him.
My identity is in Christ, NOT in what other people do to me or say about me.
ALL of His creation was good, this includes me. 
I AM worthy to be loved.

Getting to the cliche part of this blog, it's almost February 14th. Last year, my friends and I jokingly celebrated Anna Howard Shaw day. (She was a leader of the women's suffrage movement, a physician and the first ordained female Methodist minister in the United States); much less popular than "St. Valentine's Day" or for a good majority of us, "Singles' Awareness Day". It's difficult not to get caught up in whether or not you have a significant other around this time of year. People tend to pair off and then life becomes really awkward. Everything is covered with cheesy pink and red hearts, which doesn't actually count as a legitimate color combination any other time of the year. Yes, I realize that I sound really cynical right now but that is not my intention.
 I love the idea of love; I really do but we put so much emphasis on romantic love and to an extent, that's totally fine. I'm not against romantic love at all but after all of these insecurities have surfaced, I am really not ready for it yet.  So instead of focusing on some punk (I mean, awesome and handsome man of God.), I am going to let God pursue me and I am going to find my identity in Him. I am going to replace all of the lies I've been believing with His truth about me. I'm going to learn how to love Him with EVERYTHING that I am and I mean absolutely EVERYTHING that I am.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You're your own worst critic.

“To make it quite practical I have a very simple test. After I have explained the way of Christ to somebody I say “Now, are you ready to say that you are a Christian?” And they hesitate. And then I say, “What’s the matter? Why are you hesitating?” And so often people say, “I don’t feel like I’m good enough yet. I don’t think I’m ready to say I’m a Christian now.” And at once I know that I have been wasting my breath. They are still thinking in terms of themselves. They have to do it. It sounds very modest to say, “Well, I don’t think I’ good enough,” but it’s a very denial of the faith. The very essence of the Christian faith is to say that He is good enough and I am in Him. As long as you go on thinking about yourself like that and saying, “I’m not good enough; Oh, I’m not good enough,” you are deny God – you are denying the gospel – you are denying the very essence of the faith and you will never be happy. You think you’re better at times and then again you will find you are not as good at other times than you though you were. You will be up and down forever. How can I put it plainly? It doesn’t matter if you have almost entered into the debts of hell. It does not matter if you are guilt of murder as well as every other vile sin. It does not matter from the standpoint of being justified before God at all. You are no more hopeless than the most moral and respectable person in the world.” 
― David Martyn Lloyd-JonesSpiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
(This quote has something to do with this blog but nothing to do with this blog at all. It just really spoke to me and it relates to the subject of this particular blog entry.)

So I'm a writer. I know that it's not necessarily evident in a lot of my blogs; I usually write what's on my mind and don't take the time to word it eloquently but I promise that I am. In my writing classes that I have taken, I've learned that every piece of writing is different and just because someone's is different than yours doesn't necessarily mean that you did it wrong or you're a terrible writer. It just means that you have a different writing style. But we're all critical of ourselves which could be either a good thing or a bad thing.   

It's great to be self aware and know what you need to work on. It's unhealthy to never be able to see anything positive about yourself. Hence the phrase, "you're your own worst critic." Today, as I was spending time with the Lord, He revealed to me that I tend to struggle with always feeling that I'm not good enough or not good at anything. For example, last semester I had a difficult time writing a couple of my final papers because they had to be about myself and I didn't know how to talk positively about myself. I can always see strengths in other people but not necessarily in myself. I used to really take it to heart if someone criticized something that I did. I still do unintentionally sometimes. I like to make people happy and I hate failure. I hate it. I like to do things that are expected of me and I hate to disappoint people. Even more, I hate to disappoint myself.

However, God is my healer. He is my redeemer. He is the Creator. How in the world can I have this attitude? I have been created and redeemed by the God of the Universe! The Creator of all! HOW COOL IS THAT!? God created me with my own unique personality, gifts, and talents. You too. I declare in the name of Jesus that I am good enough because I am His creation and I am in Christ Jesus. So are you. Don't let your own criticism of yourself hold you back. I won't either.