28 May 2010

Flashback Friday - Washed and forgiven

Today I'm taking a trip back to a time when I wandered down a slippery slope and needed to return to the love and cleansing only Jesus could provide.

The need to be wanted shouted strongly in my head and heart, so loudly, in fact, that as a new born Christian it still lead me to do foolish things.

I went back to a habit of chatting with strangers on the computer and even on the telephone. I was able to convince myself that it was okay to play with them, even sexual type games, as long as it never became real. I rationalized that doing so would keep me from seeking out true physical pleasure. I even told these men that I was a Christian and would not become sexually involved with anyone but the man who would be my husband, and then only after we had married.

One of them, a twenty nine year old who lived in Las Vegas called himself sincity as a screen name. That should have been enough to send me running in the opposite direction, but instead I was drawn to his dominating style. I was still longing to be submissive to something greater than myself, and this got confused in my mind as the need for a man who would take control of me.

We lived out a fantasy via keyboard and telephone, although with God's hand protecting me even then, I would only pretend to do some of the things he would ask of me. I found myself more anxious to get home to his phone calls than I was to read my bible. Though I knew I was walking a dangerous line, following down a road that felt wrong, I never stopped attending church or the Tuesday bible study.

We spoke about meeting in real life. I could go there for a visit. Perhaps we would marry for that would have been my preference. There would be no physical contact until that time. Plans for traveling were discussed, words of love were exchanged and the games continued.

One night he was angry that I had not obeyed him and called at exactly the time he had asked me to. Then he said that it would never work between us, for he would eventually want children and I did not. My heart was broken once again, and I found myself begging him to reconsider. His silence was like sticks and stones cast open my open wounds.

I would call but he would not answer. One morning, he finally picked up the phone.

“When you have a broken heart, you go talk to your best friend” I said to him. “What am I supposed to do since you're my best friend, but also the very one who broke my heart.”

What he said in reply was the wisest advice he could have offered, and it must have been the Holy Spirit speaking through him, so unlike him were the words.

“Go talk with the women at your bible study. Tell them everything. They will help you.”

“I can't” I answered. “I feel dirty and ugly and wrong. How could I? I can't.”

“Yes, you can.” he said firmly “and you will.” With that, he hung up the phone. Those were the last words I ever heard him speak.

I knew I had to do as he had said. And I realized with a start that it was Tuesday. That very day I would have to face my friends and admit to the games I had been playing in secret. I was dirty and had to ask God again to wash me clean. Had I gone too far from His forgiveness?

I walked into the room where the women met for bible study, pale, and with dark circles rimming eyes that were swollen and red. I didn't have to say anything at all for them to know something was wrong, terribly wrong.

“I need to talk to you all.” I began. “I need your help.” I began to weep and could not continue as sobs moved through my entire being. The women gathered closer around me. They passed the box of tissues. They rested hands upon my shoulders. They waited. I cried. They waited, with great patience, never once saying the “get on with it.” I would have expected. They waited and prayed quietly in various tongues. They waited.

“I feel” I began again “so dirty and so wrong and so far away from God. And I know I have to tell you and I hate myself right now.”

“Go on, we're listening.” said Rebecca.

I told them about the games I had been playing, how I tried to convince myself it was okay, how my heart had been broken.

“What feels the worst is that I turned my back on God and what I know is right, and that I kept it all a secret. I kept coming to church and meeting with you, but never said a word about what I was doing. I think I knew all along that it was wrong.” I began sobbing again, but could feel that much of the pain had already decreased.

“You just did the right thing” said Peggy, another of the ladies who had been guiding me, mentoring me. “When we confess to God and to each other, He is faithful to forgive us. I'll bet you are already starting to feel better, right?”

I had to agree. “How did you know?” I asked.

“We all fall short of what God wants from us” Peggy said. “All of us, in one way or another. You're not as alone as you think you are.”

They all placed a hand upon me and prayed that I would feel the forgiveness of the Lord. They prayed for strength for me to remain pure in His sight. They prayed that I would continue to seek His will, and His will alone. Only then did they begin their scheduled lesson for the day.

My journal entry that night began:

“Dear Father, let me not be too proud to admit when I have made a mistake. I can only be in error when I have stepped away from Your will. When I handle things the wrong way, it's from bad choices I've made, and the blame is mine. Let me remember that, and not be disappointed in You. My connection with you seemed broken, not by Your hand but mine. You don't turn away, ever present. But you allow me the power to choose and I chose to step down a slippery path. Faster and faster I slid, each step moving farther in the wrong direction. You watched. How much did that hurt You? How can I say I'm sorry, Lord? As You welcome me back to Your arms.”

I truly did feel cleansed by the tears and confession and my sleep that night was deep and warm, wrapped in the love of the forgiveness of God.

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18 NIV

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Duane Scott said...

This is an honest blog post.

I admire your courage.

But I also wonder where you took this picture? I'm ready to book my flight now. Such beautY!

Daughter of the KING said...

Thank you for sharing your story of forgiveness and God's grace. I too know first hand of that loving grace only God can give.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having the courage to share this. It is so intensely personal. It is a beautiful story of grace.