You know that awkward conversation? When you desperately need to say something but don’t know how to say it? There’s the long, uncomfortable pause. Time ticks. Tick. Tick. Tick. Finally you blurt out words and immediately wish you could pull them back. There’s another long, uncomfortable pause. Just say something. Long painful silence. You walk away. I’ve had a few in my lifetime. Usually a result of something I said, so ‘way out there’ the only thing I could do was walk away. Embarrassment and shame flooding my being with every step. I despise those moments.
I try to avoid putting myself in awkward situations. Especially online. Until recently. I was invited to join a book team. I applied. I was accepted. After the initial “They really like me!” pat on the back I began to feel that pit. Doubt taunted me. Fear questioned my intent. The thought of the awkwardness made me cringe.
I’ve talked about the book before. It set my world on fire. It forced me to be honest with the husband and myself. It took me to the very bottom. At the end of the year, I was still standing. Alive. Loved. Amazed.
What was it about this book that spoke to me the most? It’s hard to just pick one thing. So many issues that needed to be addressed in my life. It came down to this: “Have I made an idol of romantic love?”
When I finished reading the book, I knew that I had to admit the truth: I HAD made an idol of love.
It’s a strange story really. Because girls who are sexually abused shy away from romantic love, especially sexual intimacy. Not me. I wanted to be the sexy woman in all those erotic romance novels I read during my teenage years. I wanted to be pursued. I wanted to be someone I was not. When my imagination and the novels no longer satisfied, I stepped into a dark world of images that both repulsed me and enticed me. It pulled me in like a drug. Once it had a hook in me, there was no reaching my heart or my soul. I began to believe that the relationship I had, the husband I had, the life I had was not enough. I began to pray that somehow I could get out of my marriage commitment without eternal consequences. I prayed that my children, my family, his family and our friends would not be devastated by what I was plotting. I even prayed that my husband would have an accident so that I would not have to actually go through with my ‘plan’. Mercifully Abba didn’t answer my prayer and leave me to destroy my life.
It was difficult to be honest with the husband. After all, I hadn’t even been able to tell my psychiatrist this. I handed him the book. And told him that Abba was going to undo me all the way. And I was willing to do whatever it took to be freed of the shame and darkness. The husband reacted like I thought he would. He was quiet. Then he spoke. He was blunt. A week later we faced the end of a difficult relationship.
When I reached the bottom, Abba did the impossible. He cleaned my heart, my soul and my mind. I asked him to take away the images. All of them. The ones I did not ask for and the ones I did. That was a prayer he willingly answered! There was a point where I knew that I could not recall the images. I was cleaned. He began the process of renewing my identity and teaching me his purpose for love, marriage and intimacy. A process that I’m still working on.
Sharing that you struggle with sexuality is scary for a woman. Especially a ‘Christian’ woman. Especially a woman raised to believe that female sexuality is the very thing that caused man to sin in the garden. I’m scared to death that people who know me will turn away, like I have leprosy. It’s absolutely terrifying.
BUT, I AM REDEEMED
I no longer feel the shame. I feel pure, whole and complete. Loved. Freed. I am no longer that broken little girl who stepped onto a dark path. I am no longer afraid. Intimidated, yes. But not afraid.
I will be sharing over the next month about Pulling Back the Shades on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am just one of a team of brave woman who are not afraid to start the awkward conversations. Pray for us. Pray for Juli and Dannah and their families. As the world awaits the arrival of 50 Shades of Grey movie next month, we are standing for the truth. Our prayer is to set women free. I KNOW it’s possible. Every. Single. Day.