In 1999, while in high school, in Terre Haute, Indiana, I met my future husband. My mother and step father had recently relocated our family to this tiny city, when I was 15 years old going on 16.
At that time, I had never had sex with a boy and in my mind, sex was something I would not do until marriage. At 16, when Shelby and I started dating, I held onto my commitment to remain a virgin until I was married. It was important to me to know that whoever I gave myself to would be the one I spent the rest of my life with.
At the age of 17, I was still holding on until I allowed my friends to convince me that I was missing out on something by being in a relationship without sex. They told me that I needed to at least give sex a try. I started feeling very overwhelmed inside, by my friend’s opinions, so I fell into this thought and had sex with my boyfriend. Afterward, I remember feeling very ashamed and sad inside. I realized in that moment that there was a possibility that I may not spend my life with this person and I had just given him something sacred and special.
Going into my senior year of high school, my family and I went through a hard time and had to be relocated again. This put me and my boyfriend in a long distance relationship. We only saw each other a few times after I moved away. With the relocation, many life changes, a long distance relationship, I realized that we were each choosing two different paths in life. At this point in my life, I chose to give my life to Christ and live completely for him and at the time Shelby was not ready to make that same decision. My life changed and it led to our break up. I did not understand what God was doing in my life so the break up was very painful. I felt like something was being taken from me. I could see that the break up was what was best, but because I could not see where my life was going from there, I took it very hard.
I was now living in Savannah, GA and my life was turned toward God and his plan for me. I spent a lot of time studying God’s word, in prayer and just spending time with the Lord. I learned that giving my life over to the Lord was something I had to be fully committed to. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to go about doing this, however, before you can give a man your heart, you must give God first place, and that is what kept me going. If a person does not know how loved and valued they are in Christ, then they will not understand how they are supposed to be treated by a man, or even how to treat a man. I learned that true fulfillment cannot be given to anyone through a human being, but through knowing Jesus and his purpose for you.
It was in my brokenness that I was driven to God. God never condemned me for my past mistakes. Now that my life was new in Christ I would choose to wait until marriage to engage in any sexual activity again. God made me feel as if I was a virgin again. I felt no more shame because he made me aware of his forgiveness and ability to make all things new. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
While on my new journey, I learned a lot about purity and what God’s design is for a relationship. I learned that you can never be driven into a relationship by just an emotional feeling. There are so many feelings and emotions that we go through in relationships that we can become confused and deceived on what real love is. The reason God created sex to be between a man and a woman who are married was to protect us from the emotional pain and ties we can become entangled in when we are misdirected in our lives. We all have the desire to be connected with someone and to be loved. But connecting to someone through sex without marriage only brings shame and emptiness. It can cause you to be paranoid and anxious because your desire becomes stronger, yet there is no real commitment between you and the person you are giving yourself to.
In 2004, I was planning a big move to New York City when God interrupted everything and sent me back to Indiana. This was definitely by God’s plan. It was just when I thought my journey was headed in one direction that God ended up detouring my path. After being apart for three and a half years, Shelby and I were reunited. It was totally not planned for us to reunite when we did. But this time, we were no longer those two high school kids, but adults who were heading down a different path. During the time we were apart, he had given his life over to God as well. It was a slow process, but now our new journey could begin in Christ together. I would not have dated Shelby without him completely turning his life over to God. I was at a place in my life that I could not be in a relationship unless we were both seeking the Lord. I did not have to convince him to wait. He remained respectful throughout this process and never even asked or tried to do anything with me. Waiting until marriage was the priority. We prayed together more, we spent time in the word together, and we rediscovered who each other was. God was first place and it made sex easier to resist. We had our moments when it felt tempting, but we refused to put ourselves in the position to go that way.
It made me feel so free inside to know that here I am again with Shelby, my high school love, that I lost my virginity to and we are getting a second chance, now in Christ to do this differently. I loved being with him without sex being our main focus. Together, our focus was on God. It drew me closer to God and placed our relationship in the right perspective. I remember on our wedding night when we did become one it was like I was a virgin and having sex for the first time. I knew God had restored what was once lost. The beauty that God created sex to be was not experienced until our wedding night. The wait is worth it. I will say, there was an awkward feeling when we came back together that night. It really did feel like I was a virgin again and it took my body some time to adjust. Although I was trying to adjust, I was able to feel more at peace knowing that I was connecting with my husband. I was able to relax, knowing that having sex with this man was a part of God’s purpose. There is no shame or feeling of guilt when you are becoming one with the man God has given you. The blessing is in the freedom to love and become one with your husband. It is a beautiful feeling knowing after time apart, patience and time with God, that although it was pre-mature, I gave myself to the man that God had chosen for me.