I became a Christian at 21, which unfortunately left me with a good few years prior to that to really mess up my life. I started drinking in high school, and by college was a full-on alcoholic. It was a mechanism for fitting in, something I had never been able to do well while being myself. It was during one drunken night that I lost my virginity to a classmate. I remember very little about it. I hated myself for it. Although I was not a Christian, I knew the right way was Jesus; I just didn’t want to live my life for Him – yet. I figured I’d live as I liked, and in a few years would be baptized, marry a good Christian guy and start my real life. This period, in my mind, was a “fun” detour.
After I lost my virginity, I felt worthless. What good Christian guy would want me now? I thought. I decided I couldn’t be a Christian after that, and spent the next year and a half sleeping with whoever I felt like, drinking excessively several nights a week (during which time, I nearly died from alcohol poisoning). Those days are a black mark in my life – the kind that overwhelm me with regret when I think of them, even though they led me later to some great things in my life.
When I was 21, I decided I couldn’t live this way anymore. I had recently moved to a new town to start a new job, and it seemed easy to make the switch to the right life at that time (I know it doesn’t sound genuine, but as anyone who has lived as I did will attest, it is very hard to live a new way when you are surrounded by people who believe you are a certain kind of person). I became baptized, traveled a bit once my job ended, hooked up with YWAM (Youth With a Mission) in Australia, came back home to Canada, and became a Young Life leader. I had surrounded myself with Christians – how could I possibly fail?
I met this guy at church – what better place to meet a good Christian guy? He was also a YL leader, and we had a couple of mutual friends. We became friends too, and after 3 months began dating. I loved him. He was everything I was not – even-tempered, stable, strong. We dated for two and a half years before we started down the slippery slope of physical intimacy. We didn’t exactly cross the line, but we definitely walked it. We eventually did cross it and began a sexual relationship at about the three year mark. He was so upset. I was not really upset, surprisingly. See, I have the ability to rationalize just about anything. And in my mind, I knew that we would be together – it was a given for both of us. We had been talking about marriage for a long time, and had even decided on wedding details (including the pastor who we’d like to marry us) and the post-wedding plans (where we would live, etc.) And so it was okay, I told myself. We “laid down together” so I figured that in God’s eyes we were married and we would follow it up and be married in man’s eyes in a year or two. Sigh. I know how wrong this is. I even knew it at the time.
After one more year, I was so frustrated that I still had no ring, that I broke up with him. I regretted it almost immediately and asked to reconcile. He said he didn’t know if we could. So we tried to patch things up and went on dates and well, kept sleeping together. I was scared to initiate that conversation about getting back together officially, because the result would be so final. I could not cope with the idea of really being finished. Another year later, and I was pregnant. As soon as I told him, a fortress was built around him, and there was no chance to make amends. He did not want to marry me because of that, and could not be sure that my intentions were genuine and not colored by the little life inside of me. I kept on hoping, despite his very clear words, that we would work it out. We slept together all through the pregnancy. I fooled myself into thinking we were still close and had a chance. The things he said confused me. One day he’d say he liked his life just the way it was (as a single guy), and the next, he’d take me for a walk through his neighborhood to show me the house that he thought we would both love. He wouldn’t hold my hand in public, but he’d wrap his arms around me at night. I even planned a last-chance getaway for myself, to enjoy being babyless for the last time before I became a mother, and he invited himself along. I really thought deep down that he would eventually see I wanted him for myself, and not just as the father of my child. Then my sweet boy was born, and my world was crushed. Eight days after he was born, he started dating someone else.
Three years have passed since then. Three years of raising my son alone, of detesting this man that I am now forever tied to. He is not the man I thought he was, but I am not the woman I thought I was either. The result of my actions is that I have to do a two-man job alone. I am forced into a position of having to be consistently responsible (no more globe-trotting for this girl), to watch this man I loved more than any other love someone else and begin a family with her, and to live in fear of trying again. My “ex” has fallen away from his faith in all of this – believing (I think) that he is unworthy of grace. Of course all of us are.
There are many lessons I’ve learned from this, but I think the most important is simply to live the life. To do it the way God intends, and that if you have to rationalize what you’re doing, or feel the need to justify it, you’re likely not doing it right.
Kuya Kevin’s Comments:
Your story illustrates many important points. Here’s the first one that struck me: sometimes one sin can lead to other sins, taking our lives down a destructive path.
There’s something else I’d like to point out from your story: the longer we are in a relationship, the greater the temptation to become sexually intimate. This is another reason to avoid spending months or years in a relationship when there is no clear commitment. Allow me to share something from a man’s perspective: if it has been over six months and he’s still not talking about marriage, it’s a very bad sign. It’s also not a good sign if he talks about it but never follows through with a ring and a vow.
Something tells me you are a great mom to your son—keep up the good work! I can’t imagine the trials of being a single mom. I’m glad you are involved with a good church that can help you raise him (this was something we discussed in a private email).
It also seems that you’ve forgiven the father of your child (or at least you’re working on it). This is very important for you to heal and move on.
Maybe one day you’ll meet a man who is worthy of your trust. And maybe you’ll allow him to earn your trust. Be patient—we never know just what God has in store for us.
Thanks so much for sharing such personal details of your life. I pray that many young women will read your story. I pray they’ll think twice before becoming sexually active outside of the protective boundaries of marriage.
This testimony and others like it are available in Learning the Hard Way: True Stories of Heartbreak, Healing, and Hope.
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