Sunday evening, just as I anticipated, I found myself surrounded by beauty. Glistening legs, sparkling eyes, thick, alluring hair of various textures and styles. Beautiful brown women donning dresses ranging from cute cocktails to elegant formal wear. Brothers in fine suits and attire with crisp, clean locks or heads freshly cut were a site to take in for this single women of God. The dim evening lighting set the mood as sweet jazz floated through the air from the live band present. And yet that only describes the outer beauty. The inner, eternal beauty was radiantly emanating from all in attendance. Hundreds gathered at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Maryland for this very moment. To proclaim that, “we are abstinent, not because we are afraid of sex or disinterested in it, or even because we’re ugly! But because… “we are worth the wait”.
As mentioned in my previous post, Dr. Lindsay Marsh Warren founded a nonprofit called Worth the Wait Revolution, Inc. She shared her own journey in sexual purity in her first book “The Best Sex of My Life” where she transparently shared the ups and downs of practicing abstinence as a 30-year-old woman. She married her now husband a few years later as a virgin and they are now both leading this ministry to encourage this generation to wait for God’s best.
Although I knew God had ordered my steps for this night and that it was going to be great, my expectations were still exceeded. During a 3 course meal concluding with the most divine cheesecake I’ve ever eaten, Dr. Lindsay called those up front who had submitted their testimony in “Confessions of a Sexual Purity Revolution”. I was no longer able to eat as she read off the names in alphabetical order and said something nice about each person. My heart beat faster and faster and fear crept in as I worried about having to go up front in front of all those people. I prayed fervently I wouldn’t do something awful like fall (it was a good 20 steps to the front). I was so grateful my best friend would be called before me. Even still, I couldn’t shake my nerves. I had to remind myself, “Nicole, this isn’t about you, it’s about Yeshua and He is getting the glory from your testimony”. I made it through the 20 minutes of standing up front and the round of applause in the room blessed me abundantly. I knew that God was honoring me. He was honoring us. Those who took the road less taken.
And this road is not always taken because it is not the easy way.
I wish I could say I stayed a virgin. I wish I could say I’ve resisted temptation at every turn. I wish my testimony was different than it is. But it’s not. And what God was saying to me was that no matter what your experience or testimony is, He will use it and get the glory. For me, my testimony is being a MESS. A HUGE, BIG, MESS. Not knowing who I was and whose I was. Having engaged in sexual activity even as a child, I was exposed to too much too soon. Not having a father figure in my life. Not being protected or having much needed boundaries on what I was watching and what music I was listening to while growing up. Not to mention a host of generational curses…I didn’t stand a chance. These items all played a role in my poor decisions to engage in sex outside of marriage. I was trying to grow up too fast. I was trying to find love… And then, LOVE found me.
Even having been found, I’ve reaped the consequences of my disobedience. Consequences such as extreme heartache and addictive behaviors. For me, this path has been a BATTLE. For others, because love was not awakened, it is not so much of a battle. But for me, I have fought for the ground I’ve obtained. And not alone. No battle can be won alone. Each step towards God resulted as a step of surrender. And as I surrendered, I looked up and found that Christ had surrounded me with a community of like minded individuals to run this race with. People to hold me accountable to uphold the standard God had called me to. I looked up and realized, He had made me new. He had and still is, revealing the REAL me.
Funny thing is, I never set out to be celibate. But it’s been 8 years now and my celibacy has been more of a fruit of my obedience as opposed to a goal I was trying to reach. My goal was to reach Jesus, not celibacy. And in reaching Jesus, one must develop a heart of purity. Purity is not just limited to physical intimacy, but is all encompassing.
While sitting at the dinner table at the gala, I proceeded to open my own copy of “The Best Sex of My Life: Confessions of a Sexual Purity Revolution” personally given to me by Dr. Lindsay. I should not have been surprised when it flipped right open to my testimony, but I was. Again, Jesus was speaking. “Is this really a testimony for You Lord?” “Yes, Indeed child, yes indeed”.
Christ is not only saying that to me, but he is saying that to ALL of His children. No matter your story, no matter the path you’ve taken. Give it to Him and He is sure to make beauty from ashes.
The evening ended the way it began…phenomenally. We laughed at the comedian, asked questions during the panel discussion and weeped in intercession, ministering to those who requested prayer. A number of pictures were taken under chandeliers that hung high, casting just the right lighting for the night to be captured forever.
As I continue in this journey with the Lord, I’m learning my value. I’m learning that my behaviors do not define my identity. I’m learning that my past does not dictate my future. I’m learning that God LOVES to give His children beauty for ashes. So if I fall, if for some reason I lose my mind and forget who I am and wake up so desperate that I am willing to partake of pig’s food just as the prodigal son did in Luke 15, that doesn’t change the fact that I am still the King’s Daughter. I am still royalty. I am still worth the wait.
Me and my bestie…
If you’re interested in hearing a guy’s perspective on celibacy I would suggest: http://mycelibatelife.wordpress.com/
Oh, and if you happen to purchase a copy of this book, make sure you read page 46 🙂