This past September, my sister and I hopped on a plane to Boston to meet a guy she had been talking to for months leading up to this point. He had tickets to a Kenny Chesney concert and my parents sure weren’t letting my nineteen-year-old sister travel alone to meet some guy she met on Instagram (laughing emoji here), so off we went!
From the second we landed in Boston to the time we boarded our 5 AM flight headed back to Nashville, I had never seen anyone take care of anyone the way that he took care of us. US. I was included in that. LOL. Can I get a heyyy from all the third wheels out there?? “Heyyy!” Just kidding, it wasn’t a third wheel situation at all. I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know him and like it was nothing, he took care of me, too. His brother also happened to be in town that weekend, so we all hung out, had the best time at the concert, danced around, and played games, ‘cause what better way to end a night than a classic game of act it out?
I watched and listened those few days as we all got to know each other better. The way he talked about God, his family, his life… I couldn’t believe it. He was great. They both were, really.
I laid my head on that pillow in their apartment in little town, Massachusetts and felt shame cover me like the blanket I was laying under. God had healed my heart of the hurts I’d felt in the past. He’d made me new, I knew I was forgiven, and His love had made me whole, but I had never felt shame before. Not like this, anyways.
I’ve always been one to know who and whose I am and when it comes to obvious attacks of the enemy, well, the enemy can just go back to where he came from. Shame was new to me though. I’d never felt this before and because it was new to me, I didn’t even know what it was or how to fight it off. I found myself laying in that dark room (don’t we know that dark rooms need light and light brings truth, and truth, freedom) entertaining thoughts about myself that were simply not true. I found myself making agreements to things like, these are good guys, they would never like a ‘you’. Like a ‘me’ had something wrong with it.
I know it sounds silly and saying it out loud really makes it sound silly, but I’ve had sex before and in that moment, for the very first time, I felt ‘less than’ because of it. I felt unworthy of a good man and unworthy of love. Like the fact that I’m not a virgin anymore takes away my value. I found myself believing the lie that a good Godly man was for my sister, but not for me. And isn’t that such a trick of the enemy to tell you what God has for someone else, He doesn’t have for you. El Shaddai. God of MORE than enough.
S-E-X was a dirty word that was meant for marriage. Don’t have it. Why? No one told me and I certainly didn’t ask. All I knew about sex was not to have it. I think in the “don’t have sex till you’re married” talks, we miss the heart of the God. It’s an avoided subject because it’s uncomfortable. Parents don’t always have the answers and kids are afraid to ask. Afraid to ask who they should be asking, anyways. (Your friends in the locker room and at slumber parties are not the people you should be asking/talking about sex with, unless what they have to say lines up with what God has to say about it). The why matters. It’s the very reason to wait.
What I wish 17, 19, 22-year-old me knew, was that no good thing does He withhold. God doesn’t say to wait for marriage because He’s mean or thinks it’s a fun game of survival of the fittest. It’s not punishment, it’s protection. God designed sex, it’s a great thing inside of marriage, but outside of marriage, it’s detrimental to our souls. It creates a playground in our minds and hearts for the enemy to wreak havoc. It gives him a foothold. It steals from us. What was meant to bring life, literally and figuratively, outside of the confinement of marriage, brings death. Death to our hearts, death to our spirits, death to our hopes and death to our expectations.
So here I am, a girl who’s had sex when it “meant nothing” and also when I thought I was in love and it “didn’t feel wrong” and I’m telling you, ohhh my heart, don’t do it… don’t miss God’s heart for you in it. It eventually all comes back around. The hurt comes back around and this hurt is a hurt we were never intended to feel. We were never meant to walk in a room and our hearts drop down to our stomachs because of a soul-tie we were never supposed to have. God has better for us than that.
We have to trust the heart of the Father but in order to trust His heart, we must first know His heart. God’s heart is always always always for us. In every aspect of our lives, especially when it comes to relationships, His heart for us is best. He knows who we need, what we need, and when we need it.
When you entertain and make agreements with lies of the enemy, you hear things like you’re not good enough, not worthy enough, dirty, and used. But when you invite Jesus into the dark, when you invite in truth, when you turn the light on, you hear His loving thoughts towards you. You are covered by the blood of Jesus. You are fully known and deeply loved by Love himself. Not only did Jesus die for our sins, but he died for our shame, too. And because Jesus took my shame, when I feel it being thrown on top of me, my fight back, my declaration is this — That is not who I am.
Because who we are is not defined by what we’ve done, but what Jesus did. It is finished. I am free, I am righteous, and because of Jesus, I am right with God.
For months after that trip, my sister and I would receive group texts from this friend of ours with nothing but words of truth and encouragement. How when he sees us or thinks of us, pure hearts and souls come to mind. That nothing we do or say makes him think this way, but the way Jesus radiates from us.
For a good while, I thought he was just throwing my name in the message line because I was the sister, but time after time, I heard Holy Spirit whisper to my heart, this is how I see you. What this person doesn’t know, and may not ever know, is the weight that his words carried, how they touched my heart, how they led me to His. Those texts sent calling out the good, calling out the gold inside of me, whether I believed it at the time or not, brought healing to my heart and restored my soul. I believe God used this experience, those texts, this friendship, to show me and remind me how HE sees me. He doesn’t see me the way that I see me. He doesn’t love me the way that I see fit or worthy of love. He sees me as His own. He loves me as His own. He gave His own for me, and even still, He would do it all over again.
When I thought, “You’re just saying this because you don’t know who I really am, you don’t know what I’ve done,” I heard God assure my heart. This is how I’ve always seen you, this is who you are.
A year and a half later, sitting on my bedroom floor with tears streaming down my face, Jesus healed my heart again. God showed me this picture of Jesus holding a cup of my tears. All the tears shed over all the hurt that came along with not trusting and doing what I thought I wanted. Taking the cup, Jesus poured them over my heart. And for the very first time, the salt didn’t sting.
Let him touch you. Even in–especially in– the places that hurt. The places that feel dark and covered in shame. The ones that leave you paralyzed feeling everything but the truth.
Jesus’s blood, it covers us. Pure. Holy. Righteous. Loved. Worthy. Treasured. Forgiven. Redeemed.
He sees you. He’s always seen you. He loves you, always has and always will. No more and no less. Let the light in, friends.
He is your redemptive story.
I had to learn it the hard way. I didn’t know the “why” and now I do… My prayer in sharing this, even if it’s just for one of you, is that you don’t have to learn it the hard way. And if you’re like me and you’ve crossed a line you wish you hadn’t, that you leave this page feeling so loved, so forgiven, so worthy, so redeemed.
I hope my story leads you to the Father’s heart for you. That He meets you where you’re at and speaks right to yours. Father I thank you. I thank you for your goodness. I thank you that you use it ALL and turn it into good. I thank you that even when we mess up and turn from your ways and do things our own, that you don’t change. You don’t withhold, you stay the same, your love remains.
Thank you for picking up all of the pieces of this broken heart and redeeming them. For bringing them–bringing me–to yourself. Thank you for the freedom that following You brings.
In all of this, in Him, what I’ve lost is restored.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
Sarah Tucker is the owner of Imago Dei in Franklin, TN, where the heart behind the shop is to point people back to Jesus and serve as a reminder to everyone who visits that they are made in the image of God. She loves drinking coffee, long country drives, and spending time with her friends and family!
Follow Sarah on Instagram @sarahatucker