Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Rose

In so many ways I am that rose...for years the idea of anyone wanting me...let alone Jesus wanting me was as foreign to me as Mandarin Chinese.  Someone once told me with disgust seething through his teeth..."Who would want someone like you?!" 
Even now as I watch that clip I am awed and amazed that Jesus wants me.  His love for me just totally blows me away...

Purity... is a hard word for me to grasp... After reading part of my story you'll understand why. Yet, I longed for it, deeply desired it...but couldn't relate.  Who of us doesn’t long for purity?  We all long to be pure, not just physically pure, but emotionally and spiritually pure as well.

I imagine that my life started out like so many of yours... hard-working family with strong values and morals... but somewhere along the way things got messed up...I got messed up... innocence was stolen; purity was lost.  

I must have been 6 or 7 at the time… A group of older neighborhood kids cornered me one day, pushed me up against the metal siding of a tool shed, and fondled and kissed me. I didn’t know what to do.   I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t.  I didn’t know why, but I knew what was happening to me was wrong.  I broke free and began to run home. The closer I got to home the more afraid I became.  I wanted so badly to tell my mother what had happened...but I was afraid that she would be mad at me.  I never told anyone what happened that day.  

It was my secret…shame lies in the secret

Shame is a powerful tool of the enemy... in my secrecy and shame I felt alone and unprotected.  

As a little girl  - really well into early adulthood I was not able to look people (especially adults) in the eye.  Something deep inside of me told me I was dirty, and if anyone looked too long they would see just how dirty I was.  

During my middle school years, I was introduced to pornography. The words read and images they produced in my mind stole away my innocence in the blink of an eye.   The enemy opened the prison door to addiction and bondage, and I naively walked in - staying there for many years. 

From an early age, my view of sex was completely warped.  The bondage I was in led to sexual activity and addiction to alcohol. I used my body to get the attention I wanted. I used alcohol to self-medicate. I didn’t care that I was being used - couldn't see that I was being used. 

I just wanted to be accepted and feel loved.

I totally turned my back on God. I figured He had done the same to me.  I warmed many a church pew, but I failed to grasp the concept of relationship with God. I failed to understand what forgiveness really to receive it... how to live as one who had been forgiven.   I lived under a blanket of guilt because of the things I was doing...filled with shame because of what I had become.  I hated who I was...who I had become.  Suicide was always in the back of my mind, with one unsuccessful attempt under my belt.  

My life continued to spiral out of control - an abortion, a child out of wedlock, and affair with a married man, a flailing marriage, several more affairs, a divorce, a live-in boyfriend and finally another pregnancy out of wedlock which brought me to my knees.  I was 25 and at the end of myself.  No, purity is definitely not a word with which I could relate.
So much sinfulness...and so much of it directly relating to sexual sin.  

Overcome with sin-sickness, I didn’t have anywhere to turn...I was at the end of myself.  

That’s when I began hearing the loving voice of my Father God calling me to come back home.  ..."Jami , I love this really how you want to spend the rest of your life...let Me heal you...let Me make you whole."  

Change seemed impossible...there had been so many attempts on my part to "get it together" and "live right"...times when I was on fire for Jesus, but then one mistake, one mess up and I was back in the bars punishing myself for being such a failure.  

Purity seemed out of reach. I did not want to continue on as I was, but for the life of me I didn't know how to do different or be different. Every attempt in the past met with complete failure.   I told God – change me or let me die.  That was my cry for mercy and healing and forgiveness.  And, that was all He needed to hear.  So began the long and hard and painful journey to finding healing and wholeness in Christ.  

Brad (the live-in boyfriend) and I married soon after we found out I was pregnant...We began going to church together as a family.  God was working in me.  God was working in him.  From all outward appearances we looked like the family who had it all together.  But...I was still in bondage.  While I had turned to God and was pursuing Him, I had not relinquished any of my past into His hands. Our marriage was suffering.  Intimacy was difficult.  

The past was constantly with me and I didn't know how to overcome it.  I felt like a failure as a woman and as a wife. I wanted to give up, but I knew something about what God was doing in me was different this time.

God began prompting me to deal with my abortion and past sexual sin.  A weight of heaviness fell over me.  I didn’t want to go there – these were things that I had always swept under the rug.  These were things I didn’t talk about.  These were things I wanted to keep hidden from my new church friends. These were shameful things.  

I really think this is why so few people ever really experience true freedom in's hard to look the past in the face and's painful and often times we are fooled into thinking that the pain will cripple us. We are convinced that wearing a mask and going it alone is much easier.  Nothing could be further from the truth...  

I was led to book (Intimate Issues) that dealt with both abortion and sexual sin. As I began going through the process of breaking sexual soul ties and overcoming past sin I was overwhelmed to the point of brokenness.  I was literally on the floor before the Lord.  I felt so dirty and ashamed – so impure.  “Oh, God how could you love me?”  “How could you ever make me clean and pure and holy?”  

God was giving me the grace of seeing the totality and awfulness of my sin (which I had never done before) in light of His holiness.  It was hard...ugly... I wanted to look away, but God was THERE!  HE WAS THERE!  And He wasn't looking away.  I felt the weight of my sin lift...the heaviness... gone... the words FREEDOM began forming on my lips.  “Freedom – Freedom – Freedom... God you have set me free.”  For the first time in all of my memories I felt pure. I felt clean. God set me free that day. I was totally released from the past.  

The chains that shackled me and held me prisoner for years were broken; the root of impurity was pulled out and destroyed.  I am still in the unmasking process. I believe the journey to complete healing and wholeness takes a lifetime...but I have been forever marked by that day of brokenness before the Lord.  God gave me beauty for ashes. The soiled rose restored. 

Jesus wants the matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done in thought or in deed...

Jesus Christ loves us and wants us.  

I don't know where or what your empty places are...don't know if you've maintained purity or feel like you've blown it and it's just too late for thing I do know...We cannot outrun or out sin the love of God in Jesus Christ.  He sees me...He sees you... every detail of our lives...yet, He loves us still, and desires for us to come to Him and find complete love and acceptance.


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