Category Archives: Purity

My purity ring didn’t keep me pure

The day I discovered that a purity ring doesn’t help young people live purely was a shocking blow. And it changed how I view Christian purity.

I grew up in the Southern Baptist tradition, so I know the ropes well. Campaigns that were intensely popular when I was a pre-teen, such as True Love Waits, promised that if I bought a ring and signed the included commitment card, Jesus would be happy with me, and I would be well on my way to a good Christian life.

So, with sincere intentions and my neatest handwriting, I wrote my name in the blank that said “I, _________, promise to do this and that” and signed my name in cursive. I slipped on the ring bearing a “True Love Waits” engraving and quickly became accustomed to its presence on my finger. And there I wore it, assuming its constant presence as my only guard through high school. When I lost the original in the dirt at a softball game, I bought another one, which I wore so much that it cracked. I proceeded on with my life, resting securely in the notion that I was pure and holy because I hadn’t broken the promises on the commitment card yet… nor had I ever been given the opportunity to do so.

Continue reading My purity ring didn’t keep me pure

Breaking the silence.

Preface: Earlier this year, I battled an ongoing sin in my life and emerged victorious through the strength of Christ. What you are about to read was written in October as I processed through this life-changing time. No doubt, it’s honest – so prepare yourself. This is a part of my story. Welcome.

Go ahead, you can tell her. She will listen. She loves you. She can help.

These words were whispered into my heart time after time as I sat in front of a computer screen, connected to my best friend thousands of miles away via a webcam. A lull would arise in our conversation as we updated each other on the ins and outs of our lives, the struggles and the joys, and I heard gentle encouragement from the Holy Spirit to say it out loud. Confess it.

“I am addicted to sexual temptation.

Help me.”

And every time, I would open my mouth to say it and then press my lips together, saying nothing. Shhhhh, Satan would whisper, drowning out my good intentions. She doesn’t need to know. Once you confess it, you’re going to have to deal with it. It will just be your personal secret that no one knows about. Everyone has a “deepest darkest” secret, right? Keep it in the dark. I made my choice, and I brought up a new subject.

This went on for the better part of a year and a half in countless Skype dates. I knew I needed to get out, and I knew I couldn’t do it alone. Yet I kept it quiet. When I did tell someone, he used it against me and pushed me and himself further into the addiction. I was scared of being judged and scared of the consequences of my sin… and scared I might have to give it up.

My heart was transformed by the Gospel, no doubt, and it desired purification and wholeness and Christ-likeness. I longed for a full, whole relationship with the Lord, with no secrets and dark corners that I hoped He wouldn’t expose. But in a little shoebox in the corner of my heart sat that dirty little secret, only brought out in the dark and in secret. I would run to that box and open it to feel the most temporary happiness, and to fill that innate desire God has given each individual with something artificial and incomplete.

But one day, He poured light into that corner of my life, exposing to me the depth of the sin and the filth of my actions. With glaring pain and discomfort, I saw clearly that I had been acting like a put-together little Christian girl who barely even needed grace because she hardly ever sinned. Sometimes I lied a little bit or said something mean, but I went to church and led Bible studies and knew apologetics like the back of my hand.

And then at night, sometimes I couldn’t sleep until I gave into the lust of the flesh.

Finally, in His timing, the Lord brought me to this sin and pointed it out, in His infinitely gentle and loving way. To see the dirty, wretched sinner I was… it was devastating. The guilt and shame wrecked my heart, and I could barely speak to God.

My heart cried out the same prayer as David after he realized his sin with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God. Have mercy. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.

Then, the simple truth of one verse crashed through the walls:

Romans 5:8

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While I was a sinner. While I walked right past Jesus, standing there with open arms, to go to my computer and find new websites with better sexual images and words to fill my mind with.

Christ died for me.

He knew that I would still reject Him, and that I would say in public that I knew Him and loved Him while going home and deliberately sinning against Him. And, heart full of love for me, He laid down on that cross silently and allowed them to drive nails into His hands. In doing so, He stepped between the Almighty Judge and me after I received a guilty sentence and said, “Give me her punishment.” And on top of that, He will escort me into His kingdom so that I can be there with Him forever someday.

Psalm 51…

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

He is faithful. But not only is He faithful because I acknowledge it and thank Him for it in my life – He has been faithful all along. He is true to His promise. He has said: “I am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” No matter how dirty our sins are, God has taken them away and removed them “as far as the east is from the west.”

What other response can I have to this amazing grace than to do all that is in my power to abandon my unsatisfying fleshly desires and pursue my Redeemer with reckless abandon? Is there any other response that is appropriate? I have no choice but to fall on my face in humility and follow this kinsman-redeemer to the ends of the earth.

Needless to say, after these truths smashed through the walls I had constructed, I was so overwhelmed with the goodness of my God that I couldn’t help but share it in a couple places with the faceless mass of people I call my followers. And just like that:

The silence was shattered.

My best friend now knows about this sin in my life, and she’s helping me set up accountability software with X3 Church. Half a dozen girls have come to me to say, “Me too.” And we’re working through it together.

Chains be broken. Lives be healed.

For five years, I filled my mind and my heart with images and words and emotions that I cannot erase. I want to burn up that corner of my life and throw away the ashes. I wish there was a file in my mind that I could simply delete. Maybe someday, by the infinite grace of God, those images will leave my mind.

But for now, I am resting in His infinite grace and mercy, and He has freed me from my chains – and He will catch me and forgive me every time I slip and fall.

Satan builds his strongholds in the secrets of our lives and reinforces them by our silence. When we break the silence we break the strongholds.

-Jonas Biehler

Continue reading Breaking the silence.

On addictions and being fulfilled.

Addiction. It’s a rough and “personal” topic. No one wants to bring it up; it’s our own personal baggage. Whether it’s an addiction to drugs, an eating disorder, attention, self-harm, or pornography – if you’ve got it, there’s probably a self-help book, an accountability group, and maybe even a patch to get you through it and patch it up.

Continue reading On addictions and being fulfilled.

On Psalm 101.

My Psalm 101 Creed

  1. I will sing of the Lord’s love and justice.
  2. To only the Lord I will sing praise.
  3. I will be careful to lead a blameless life.
  4. I will walk in my house with blameless heart.
  5. I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
  6. The deeds of faithless men I will hate.
  7. I will have nothing to do with evil.
  8. My eyes will be on the faithful in the land.
  9. No one who practices deceit will dwell in my life.
  10. Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in my life.

On being more than conquerors of lust.

Overcoming an addiction is tough. It’s full of ups and downs, victories and failures, and so many good intentions.

If you haven’t read my post on addictions and finding fulfillment in Jesus, read that first, then come back here.

If that post is why you’re here, read on! 🙂 Here are four tips that I can offer you from personal experience and the wisdom of those around me on overcoming an addiction to lust.

Continue reading On being more than conquerors of lust.

Dear Future Husband.

 Dear future husband,

Words cannot convey the joy with which I anticipate meeting you, befriending you, understanding you, and falling in love with you, if you’re even out there somewhere. This is such a thrilling thought to me, and you already give me butterflies even though I don’t know you. I know that when I find you, I will not have to settle for less than a man who will stand by my side no matter what we face in life and cherish me more deeply than I can imagine. I also look forward to being challenged to become a Godlier woman because of you, and I joyfully anticipate being inspired by the way that you take a stand for Christ and strive to daily set him at the center of your life and our relationship.

However, there is a season for everything in life. It is with ambivalence and heaviness in my heart I confess to you that right now, I am not ready to enter into a fully committed relationship with you, because I have not yet invested myself fully into the relationship that I am called to value higher than your love or the love of anyone else. I want to offer you everything I have, even if this means that I must first be prepared and refined as gold in a fire. The sacrifice I must make before I allow myself to love you requires all of who I am, and it requires the first priority position of my life. In fact, sacrificing my life to being a servant of the Most High God essentially requires me to make Him my only priority. Before I commit to you, I want to commit to allowing the words “to live is Christ” to come alive in my life, visibly and noticeably.

Once I have given up my life, my pride, and my own ambitions for the sake of Christ out of nothing but utter gratitude for His grace and mercy on my sinful and imperfect soul, I can begin to allow the overflow of love He pours into me to be poured out onto others so that I can love them – not so that you will see this and love me, sweet future husband, but so that they will see that He loves me and how He loves them. And once others can see that I have sold out to the belief in the knowledge that He loves me through the way that I love them, I will be ready to enter a marriage that reflects the way that Christ has loved the Church.

I have been praying for you, dear man of God, ever since I received my purity ring and simply wrote to you the commitment, “I am waiting for you, darling. Wait for me too.” But this isn’t an excuse to twiddle your thumbs and check out until I arrive. While you are waiting, I pray that you are being refined through the same process, being humbled in the same way by His mercy on you and His great love for you, and being transformed into the man of God who has been set apart to be my warrior-poet. When we have both been refined through seeking the Lord individually, I pray that the result does not stem from earthly love, which does not satisfy or last, but that it stems from patient and kind love, the kind of love that 1 Corinthians 13 sets before us as an example and the kind of love that God has shown to us.

I will know it is you, my warrior-poet, when this is the journey you have taken as well. When God has broken you to the point of desperately needing Him more than the love of a woman or the acceptance of others, and rebuilt you to serving Him first, then others, seeking your own needs lastly. I don’t want to pressure you – I have made more mistakes than I care to admit and I know you have as well. I have strayed, I have fallen, and I have failed utterly and completely, but this only allows me to look forward more to catching a glimpse of Christ’s all-forgiving redemption in our relationship.

Wait for me, darling. I’m waiting for you, and in the meantime I’m running full speed towards the throne of the King. I’ll meet you there.