Somewhere Over the Rainbow: One Christian’s Worldview on the Same Sex Marriage Dilemma.

Today I saw a rainbow.  It was flying on a flag outside a public business, drawing attention to the current bill for “equal rights.”

And I can’t help but think back to the original rainbow. The one that God placed in the sky to remind Noah that He had made a promise to not destroy the earth with a flood again. (Genesis 5)

See, that’s what we believe, as Christians. Well, most “Christians”, but biblically, that is how the story reads. This is the one I am inclined to believe: the story that God; uncreated and triune, Divine and Sovereign, Spirit and without gender, spoke the world into being and then created man to inhabit it. Then man fell so far away from what God originally intended for Him, that He sent a flood (and a rescue from the flood that only Noah and his family took advantage of), and promised to not do that again.

Enter: Rainbow. The rainbow reminds us of His redemption for Noah and the redemption that is available to us.

I’m not talking from a “religious” stand point (as I’ve heard some people ask why this whole “same sex marriage” issue affects the religious people).  You see, 20 years ago I traded in religion for an actual relationship with this Jesus who met me in my sexual brokenness, moral inadequacy and emotional destruction and told me I could be His friend and (as I accepted His offer of friendship) redeemed me by His love.

As I’ve gotten to know Him over all these years and gained a better understanding of His nature and His heart, I seek to emulate that to the world around me.  And His heart is for love. And His heart is for relationship. But He has set up some guidelines that keep us from harm and heart break.

Now, you have to know this about me also.  I’m about to file for divorce. Marriage is something still that I believe in and I believe it can be done in the right way if we get it started with the right motives and make vows to the right person that God (not ourselves) has appointed for us to be with.  I also had been living in Ethiopia (where BEING homosexual is a crime worthy of jail time) and watched bills pass in my home country of New Zealand and then in the USA for same sex marriage.  I never entered the debate as I had my own debates going on at home, in working with women with their own sexually broken problems that landed them in prostitution and in my own mind. So, I write this and speak out now because I’ve read the rhetoric and believe we Christians can explain ourselves a bit better.

So…

Going back to the rainbow and when it was first placed in the sky, or a little before that actually when God created man in Genesis chapter 1.  In verses 26-27 of that chapter it says

“And God said, Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.” (KJV)

Here, God creates the completion of man or mankind: Male and Female. He said that THEY together were the expressed image of who He was and is.  It was when they were BOTH made that the fullness of His image was expressed.

In light of this, we see the purpose of marriage, as God intended it. It was to express His image to the world. Male and female both display within themselves, different aspects of who their Creator is and what He is like. We see them biologically joining together in this sacred act called “Sex” after they enter into a covenant relationship called “Marriage”. It’s meant to be a promise relationship, like the promise that God gave to Noah- one that wouldn’t be broken or retracted.

The issue that most of us Bible-believing Christians have then, (when it comes to same sex marriage) is often birthed out of these two contending factors: 1. That marriage is an actual expression of the Creator of marriage Himself. 2. That when we limit marriage to one sex being involved, we only get half a representation of who God is.

Maybe that hasn’t been expressed well by well-meaning believers who don’t know how full of love and grace our Father is, and haven’t themselves yet experienced the fullness of His mercy.   “They” are just trying to bring truth to life in this day and age where verbal and social media diarrhoea is highly contagious.  What they may sense is a righteous indignation but lack the empathy for what the implication of their statements may arouse.

If we take a biological example of how this looks, I started to think of a baby born with a missing chromosome.  Where there is deficiency, there is often a malformation or mutation within the baby’s make up.  The baby still lives and breathes but we know it doesn’t have the fullest experience of life that it could potentially have.  It may bring life to those around them but essentially, this baby is lacking a chromosome and it’s inability to achieve certain activities in life reflect this deficit.

The same thing (in light of what we believe of God, the Bible and how it applies to science), we are taught in school even that in order for a couple to reproduce, they need to be of the XX and XY combination.  So we see that something is missing in this union of XX and XX or XY with XY and we feel uneasy about it.  Our minds haven’t taken in what our hearts know is deficient yet deep down we know that it isn’t the best and ALL of what is meant to be.  It’s like a baby who cannot achieve certain things in it’s life because it’s deficient of what was meant to be a part of it.  If marriage is meant to be for a man and a woman and all of what that entails and is able to produce (and the list is long), then we get that sense of injustice.

If we believe that God created marriage and He IS love, then Love expressed fully is through both a man and a woman joined together in covenant.  God is love.  Reads our Bible in 1 John 4:8. The originally intended, authentic essence of Love is expressed in a male, female union called marriage.

But the debate says “Love is love.”  I understand there are desires for people to get together in relationships with the one they love. My stand would be that; we all make choices and we’re not trying to make it for you. Our stand is to protect an institution that was created for more than just “love”, it was created to bear the image of the One who WE love because He first loved us.  Even while we were still sinning and deficient of all that was meant to make us essentially “good”- He made us good by paying the price for our sin.  Sin is essentially a choice to do what’s counterfeit of what was originally meant to be-that malformation and mutation that we are all susceptible to.  It’s the worship of something else, rather than the worship of the One we are only meant to worship.

We Christians still fail, as do you, and we’ve maybe failed in expressing the deep desire we have to protect this sacred covenant of marriage as it was originally intended.  We want to conserve it’s existence so that it continues to display the glory it was created for- like a heritage building that marks land and time and significant events, marriage marks for us, a sacred union not just between two people but between God and humanity.  Jesus is coming back for His Bride.  He, essentially wants to marry us and take us home with Him.  But that’s for another blog…actually my next book.

He loves you. And so do I. But I would still vote No.

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When it’s time to take back the keys!

 

For two weeks now, our car has been sitting out on the driveway, waiting to be fixed.

*insert rolling eyes emoji*

There’s an older man across the road who has his little “Mechanic on Duty” sign outside his house, so in an effort to support this local small business and also save the hassle of getting the car towed, my mum went and asked him to service the car…

For A WEEK, he’d been coming over and slowly looking under the bonnet, getting under the car, ordering parts then disappearing for a day or two then coming back and still not having any solution for what he was trying to achieve- just starting the motor.  The whole time he is holding on to the keys of the car so that he can work on it at his own convenience.Â

Yesterday, needing to get into the car, I made my way over to his house to take the keys off him.  He frivolously explained that he was waiting for parts and wasn’t sure what was wrong with the car, that he was sick and hadn’t had time to come over as he had promised. Yet he assured me he had another mechanic working with him now that would come and fix it with him…”tomorrow morning.”

Well many mornings had already passed.

•Mornings where my mum had to get up an hour earlier to catch a bus to work. (This is her car that she’s been allowing us to use with her for the last year!)

•A morning where my son needed to be at school at 7:30 to go to a sports event. (A twenty minute drive away that meant one of us having to catch a bus with him at 6am instead.)

•One morning where I had to get across town to go to my second job interview.  (Which meant I had to walk 5km to pick up a friends car and use that instead.)

•Mornings where we needed to be at church early hours and had to search far and wide for a ride when time didn’t allow for walking there.

#thestruggleisreal

Frustrated at all of this and not understanding why we were waiting so long, I took the keys back and told him that if he wasn’t there in the morning, that we would find another mechanic. To which he replied “Why would you call another mechanic when you have two good ones here?” Hmm.

Morning came and I called another mechanic our friend had referred to us.  He’s over here for thirty minutes and he gets the car started.  Music to my ears!  But in that, he diagnoses the real problem which was that water had gotten into the engine and it is going to need replacing! The good and the bad news.

But sometimes, good news is what we need to make us shock resistant to the bad news…

Sometimes, just having the keys in our hands so we can find out what the problem is, gives us power to resolve and restore what needs to be done…

Sometimes, all we need to do to get things started and get back on the road to our destination, is to take back the keys!

IT’S TIME TO TAKE BACK THE KEYS PEOPLE!

Here’s some lessons we can learn from my experience…

  1.  Keys belong in the hands of the One who Loves you, not the one who doesn’t.  The guy across the road clearly didn’t care enough about my car or the inconvenience it was to our family, yet the guy I gave the keys to in the end cared enough to get it working and find the problem in a short amount of time.  Even though his wife was about to have a baby that day, he offered to help get it all fixed too when he was back at work.  Now, this may sound pretty “savage” (young people’s term for “harsh”) but the keys to my life lay in the hands of a man for 21 years. That was my choice and it came as a result of a commitment I made as a broken teenager.  Who I was as a person, what I thought about myself and where I thought I was going, were all determined by a man who confessed to me implicitly and expressively over and over again that he didn’t love me.  Once we separated and I was able to be fully loved by a God who showed me what Real Love looks like, I was able to diagnose the problems in the depths of my soul and find the path to recovery.  He was my recovery.  He took me aside (to the city where we now dwell), placed me in a workshop (Bible College) where He could work on my soul engine and almost fully replace it to show me who I am and what my purpose is.  Then He assigned the right people to work on the parts of my soul that needed extra attention- good friends, counsellors, and my family.
  2. Keys in your hands have greater power than keys in another’s.  As the mechanic tried to hold onto the keys of our car, he hesitated and asked me “why would you need another mechanic when you have two right here?”  He was not only trying to stall the whole process of fixing the car, but he was trying to cause doubt in my mind about the decision that I was making to take the keys back.  Toxic people in your life will not only make you feel like you’re okay the way you are, they will make you doubt your own resolve to make things better.  We are ALL in need of change.  None of us are perfect, and we all are subject to a broken world that causes brokenness within us.  Yes, that mechanic was “right there” but he wasn’t doing me any good!  He was just there.  He became the barrier to my solution.  Doubting your own ability gives the power of your life to another, but the only person you actually have the ability to change is yourself!  At least we can work on ourselves and change what’s going on deep down inside our engines if we take the keys back off those who are masquerading as our helpers and fixers.
  3. “Keys” (plural) implies that there is more than one door that needs to be opened.  Do you know that when you take back the keys to your life, you don’t just take one single key- there’s a whole bunch on there.  Each key opens different doors of your being:  Your physical health, your mental health, your spiritual health, your relational ability, and your generational legacy.
  • Physically I’ve taken back a new key this week.  For years I’ve suffered from allergies and all sorts of ailments that I know come as a result of my sugar intake. I’ve decided to take the keys back off sugar and given the power to my body to withstand and restore the damage that sugar has done.   There have been many disciplines I have put in place this past year to help me restore my physical strength so that my body doesn’t sabotage the destiny God is calling me into.
  • Mentally I’ve taken back the keys from depression and given those keys to joy.  I choose joy every day.  It’s like when you change direction on your GPS because there’s a road block and you need to re-route.  We have neural pathways in our brain that cause us to think one way as our default path.  But we need to renew our mind (Romans 12:1-2) and set our minds to a different destination.  I could be depressed and feel sorry for myself but I don’t.  Jesus is our great “Re-router”.  He creates new pathways for us and He does it so kindly, showing us the best way to go to get to our destination. He doesn’t just take us to a dead end street when our life meets an unexpected road block, He makes a new way- in our mind, in our behaviour and in our whole view of life!  I love my life genuinely and am thankful for all that God has done in, with and through me.  This gratefulness causes joy to rise up from the depths of my soul and spins the wheels of my life.  I don’t look back in regret, I look forward with HOPE!
  • Spiritually I’ve taken my keys back off the enemy of my soul and I’ve given them to True Love.  There were many areas in my life that I had submitted to the things that are not of God and He’s teaching me more about His great love in those places.  In areas where I doubt, He reminds me that “Love believes ALL things” (1 Cor 13:7), when I have been bound up in fear, He tells me that “Perfect Love casts out all fear” (1 John 4:18), when I’ve been tempted by the enemy to feel rejected and abandoned, and to feel like I’m in lack of things, I read in His Love letter to me, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.  The resilience I have in my spirit is because of the Word of God I put in there every day to fuel my tank for the journey I go on each waking morning. It’s the best Oil- the Holy Spirit.
  • Relationally, I’ve taken back responsibility for my own reactions and responses in the midst of conflict and celebration.  For many years I withheld love, I felt insecure, I worried about what people thought but now I take control of each of those areas and love freely.  Loving freely means placing boundaries around the relationships I have so that I don’t get burnt or burnt out.  Loving freely also means forgiving and releasing judgment to God.  Loving freely means letting what I love (cooking and writing) be the means whereby I do LOVE.
  • Generational legacy means taking back the keys to your destiny and the destiny of those who will come after you.  This, I feel, we need to take more seriously.  In a world where compromise is sneaking the keys out of our hands, we need to securely place those keys in the hands of “Conviction.”  Howard Hendricks describes conviction like this “A belief is something you will argue about. A conviction is something you will die for!”  It’s those things that we know that we know and hold to dearly like a set of keys that determine the destination of our children.  When I was faced with the choice to stay in a marriage that went against my values and convictions, I had to choose to end the marriage to keep my convictions- convictions about living a life full of light and love and void of the things of darkness that entered our family through compromise.

Taking back those keys took courage on my behalf.  It meant I had to go into a conflict and be assertive.  It meant being graceful and still having a heart that saw the best in the one who held the keys.  I don’t get it right most of the time, but I learn from my mistakes and hope that you will too..that’s why I write these blogs. But be mindful of the power that you have to take control of your destiny and to find healing for your brokenness.  Take the keys back and allow God to be that loving partner that comes alongside and shows you what needs to be worked on…and work on it.

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If Sex was an App

If Sex was an app, wouldn’t we all be going out there to get the newest apparatus to download it onto? We wouldn’t just want the app but we would want the best experience of it-so most likely we’re going to download that app on our biggest device- the laptop. I mean, that’s where it happens right? Our lap top?? (Bad pun, I know).  But seriously, it’s not a hand held device that is going to satisfy the opportunities this app will create.

 
We would need to know we had the latest iOS that had the capability to upgrade that baby as soon as we needed to. We wouldn’t short cut the processes we needed to take in order to make sure we had the latest version, the fastest access, the best features.
We would put that baby in our “favourites” folder and have it on a special password so no one was able to see what we were getting up to on that app: I mean, that’s how we want sex right?  Convenient, anonymous and discreet.

 

Like all the other apps on our phone, this app would start consuming our thoughts- while we were at work, having coffee with our friends, or even while we were taking the kids to the park…that app would be at the forefront of our mind MOST of our conscious and potentially our unconscious state.  It would keep us questioning our addictive tendencies…yet we continue to throw those thoughts into the trash folder of our mind.
Can you imagine all the features that would exist on that app? The other players we would invite, the scenery we could pop into the background, and the…well, you can use your imagination here. This app would be most frequently used of all the apps on our phone or mobile device, I’m sure.

It would top Facebook or social media app downloads by far, because while we all have an innate desire for connection like Facebook offers, we also have an innate desire for intimacy.

The thing is that sex isn’t like an app on a laptop but, it’s more like a component within the hard drive that keeps it running. We were born with a sex drive. We don’t need an app- we’ve already got one inbuilt into our own operating system – it’s called the reproductive system. It’s as real as the digestive system you need to process the food you eat and the limbic system that causes your heart to pump blood around your body. That baby is real! You don’t even need to download it, upgrade it, search for it… it’s already found you out!!
You just need to learn how to operate it and understand why it was installed by your Creator in the first place.

It’s not like any other component of your hard drive- it’s the one that opens up complete access to your very soul.

See we know the value of sex and I’m pretty sure we understand the importance it plays in every day life (none of us would even be alive if it wasn’t for it). Little attention do we pay, however, when it comes to protecting it from the many virus’s that can destroy the effectiveness it was created for – the procreation, the intimacy, the covenant.

He who sins sexually, sins against his own soul.  1 Cor 6:18b

That word sin implies that it’s something that can be misused and necessitates that we take precautions.  In other words, the way you apply that sexual desire affects the operating system of your soul.

It’s not just an app.

It’s not just an act.

It’s a spiritual connection.

sin1
noun
1. an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.

I don’t know what you’re like with virus protection on your computer but I’m pretty bad. I slack off when it’s time to upgrade the package I got for free online – it takes time and it takes effort. But the results are laptops and memories that have been completely lost for all eternity.

I’m not talking safe sex here people- I’m talking safe souls- because at the end of the day, (or the night) it’s your soul that’s getting tethered to the soul of another in the process of this amazing act. The act that was created for a marriage union- a tethering of two souls that strengthens the existence of one: a Divine synergy.

synergy
noun
 1. the interaction or cooperation of two or more organisations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.

Untamed desires that counteract the moral, divine law that’s set up to give you abundant life, seem like fun until the consequences start to pop up on the screen of our souls. Oh, those pop up screens drive me crazy!  They’re unrelenting and if you don’t know how to deal with the source of that thing popping up, you know we need to take it to the IT doctor. In the end, those viruses will have to be dealt with.

What do those pop-up viruses look like? (Other than the physical viruses that are transmitted sexually?

 
They’ll look like INSECURITY- because what security is there in a physical act that’s not associated with a committed relationship?

They’ll look like CONFUSION- because we thought that getting the Sex app meant it came with a feature called “Love” but we can’t find love in a physical experience.

They’ll look like FEAR- because fear of rejection likes to pop up when settings were saved in your value system that aren’t erased by downloading the newest imitation “acceptance” sex tries to offer.

They’ll look like LONELINESS- because your worth somehow got mixed up with your ability to perform for a man/woman who ended up getting an upgrade and leaving you in the dust.

See what the manufacturers forget to tell you when you settle for the app and don’t use the real deal?

The application that actually needs to be downloaded into the hard drive of your heart is one called “Purity”. Apply purity to the sexual area of your life and you’ll enjoy life a whole lot more. Purity doesn’t expire once you become married but it gets an upgrade. It means that you’ve already set it up as part of your operating system so it’s more likely to function within the framework of your marriage. Sexual purity within marriage installs a firewall against adultery and cheating. Purity guarantees that there will be a reward for your sacrifice.
Not only are we sexual beings but we are spiritual beings. There’s an element of the sexual desire that can be tethered from a source other than your own – it’s in the room but it’s not within you. It’s within the atmosphere. It’s spiritual.  Your senses pick it up when you come into contact with another person.  (This is something I’ll go into more detail about in my book.)

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. Psalms 119:9

This may seem like an unattainable goal but so does losing 80kgs when you weigh 160kgs like my cousin did. How does a person with that much weight to lose achieve such success- they take one day at a time.
Today, read the word and apply what you learn to your daily life. It’s good soul food and it’s living water. It helps you to renew your mind so your body stays pure. Feed your spirit instead of gratifying your flesh and the bible promises that “you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh”…

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  Galatians 5:16-17

Like you would get the newest and best apparatus to download your “Sex app,” so too is there a better mode for operating the “Sex act”. Marriage doesn’t just play an important role in providing safety in displaying vulnerable intimacy but it proves to be the best way to experience sex. Don’t settle for second best.  Don’t get ripped off from having sex the way it was designed to be.  It’s actually not too late to start again.

Get Purity.  Walk in the Spirit. You can do it!

Love,

Michelle

Winning the War on Wegret

We all make mistakes.

So cliche, I know…

But if we learn from our mistakes, then mistakes are actually our greatest teacher. Like any great teacher, however, lessons are prepared and presented but at the end of the day, WE decide how we apply those lessons to our every day life. The problem is that all too often, instead of allowing mistakes to be our teacher, mistakes become our traitor. We feel like they are the thing that has sabotaged our original purpose and plan.  From this place we find ourselves in the land of regret.

Wegret.

It’s a word I just made up to make the title of this blog sound poetic. But it’s a portmanteau (or blended word)- we & regret. See, we regret far too often. I have regretted so much in my lifetime that I have denied the things that I have regretted, the ability to teach me and to turn my situation around.

We need to wage a war on wegret because as long as we continue to regret, we fail to find freedom…we stay in the place where the regret holds it’s greatest power- the past.

For example: When I became a Christian and understood Gods plan for sex, I started to regret all the sexual immorality I had allowed in my life up to that point.  That regret kept me thinking that sex was sinful (which it was BEFORE I got married but was no longer within the marriage relationship I was in.). Maybe after reading my last blog post too, you felt the same way.  Regret produced condemnation and condemnation produced fear- fear that I had missed out, fear that I would never be pure, and fear that I would never be good enough.

But this is not the heart of God. He MADE me good enough when I became a Christian! In that very act of believing in the Death, burial and resurrection of His Son, I was allowing the price for my sin (past, present and future) to all be paid- for His goodness to become mine. In reflecting on the sin that I had committed, a fire was ignited for the righteousness of God that had the power to purify me.  But sometimes fires don’t just burn away the unnecessary evils, if we allow them to, they burn up the good in us too.

Why do we do this?  Burn up the good? Throw the baby out with the bath water? I believe it’s because we don’t see the important role the “baby” has to play.

Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time. Daniel 11:35

Ashes are what is produced when wood is burnt up.  Back in the Bible days (not sure if people do this somewhere in the world these days), people would place ashes on their head in times where they were exposed to their sin and felt so much grief for what they had done, that it led them to repentance.  In their repentant state, they showed their remorse by putting these ashes upon their head.

They reflected, they became remorseful and they repented.  If repentance ruled my heart instead of regret, the ashes that came as a result of that burning process could have been traded in for a crown of Beauty.  But I don’t regret that lesson I learnt.

Even your regret can become your teacher.  Stop now.  Take regret and turn it around for your good.  How do you do that?  Let me give you some ammunition…

The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword, so let’s use it to help us wage this war.  It tells us what God is like and in understanding what He’s really like in regards to regret, we can get a better perspective.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4

The believers in Rome had the same problem I did back in those days.  They were caught up in legalism and didn’t understand the grace of God.  They disregarded the kindness that God had shown towards them up until that point.  But today’s a new day… Let’s just look at this one verse and get to know what God is REALLY like (putting aside all of the perceptions you had of Him up until this point).

  1. He’s Kind.  In His Kindness, He reveals our sin to us because He knows how damaging it is to us (not to Him or His Kingdom as some might lead you to believe).  He doesn’t expose our sin to push us away from Him but to draw us closer (The Hebrew term teshuvah (lit. “return”) is used to refer to “repentance”) He knows that in Him, we find the mercy and grace that empowers us to overcome the sin.  I love these synonyms for kind that the dictionary gives us:  good-natured, kind-hearted, tender-hearted, warm-hearted, soft-hearted, good-hearted, tender, caring, feeling, affectionate, loving, warm, gentle, mellow, mild.  That’s what God is like. Doesn’t that make you want to return to Him when you’ve walked away? He’s so full of Love. 

  2. He’s forbearing.  Another word for forbearing is tolerant.  I think of my children in this season of my life where hormones are raging, children are becoming adults and conflicts of personalities are a frequent challenge.  As much as I want them to be more mature and live above the behavioural difficulties they are displaying right now, I know they don’t have the capacity to.  They are still children becoming adults.  So I tolerate their behaviour for this season they are in because I understand that they’re not there yet.  God is like the best parent.  He doesn’t tolerate our sin because He condones it.  He tolerates it because He knows we are still on the journey.  He knows that we are changed but that we are changing still.  He knows that we are still a work in progress.

  3. He’s patient. God is SO much more patient with us than we are with Him.  Don’t we get impatient with God sometimes?  Thinking He needs to hurry up and get with OUR Program? That struggle is REAL!  Thankfully, even in our impatience, He is patient.  2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.  Love is patient and God is love.  He exemplifies love by showing us this amazing patience with our sinful selves.  Our sin and our mistakes don’t stop Him from loving us, they allow Him to display unconditional love.  If we didn’t do the things that would necessitate His unconditional love (love not based on what we do or conditions He has set down for us to keep before He offers us His love), we wouldn’t know the wonder of it.  His love is wonderful.

So, reflect on your mistakes and your sins, yes.  Reflect instead of regret. Let reflection birth repentance. Let mistakes become teachers for that next, best thing.

Last year as my marriage ended and I had to face people, breaking the news of what some would deem a “failure”, I succumbed to regret. I thought “I messed it up!” The plan was mine to be married and as much as I tried to keep it together, the end result was evident.

Then in the kindness of God, He placed a man in my life who spoke these words as He felt Heaven give him a message for me.

He said “Your story is the original copy.”

What relief and grace.  I didn’t mess it up. It was actually the way it was meant to be because I live for a God who works all things together for good. A God to whom nothing is wasted. A God who sent His son to bestow a crown of beauty instead of ashes.  I allowed the transaction to take place where I lay my ashes (the burnt up remains of my failed marriage) at His feet and He gave me something called Beauty.

Ashes represent grief.  Grief can look like regret. But grief is the natural process of loss. We don’t lose when we win with God.

It’s not your mistakes that will cause you to miss out on your intended purpose, it is actually regret that will bind you up and keep you from accessing it. We need to win the war on regret so that we can move into the realm of our fullest potential.

He is turning our ashes into something beautiful. All that our past pain has taught us, all that it has ignited and birthed within us, all the strength that it has built for us, will now be used to propel us into our destiny.

Walk free from regret today, friend.  It’s not where you belong.

Love you x

Sex after divorce- Why stop now?!

God created sex for fun. 

At least, that’s what I was taught in High school – indirectly, of course, but nevertheless quite exhaustively. Religious Education was the class subject in which I learnt most of what I knew about sex as a teenager…and none of it was about Gods design for sex.  We were being taught by our peers at the Catholic All-Girls Private School I attended, so understandably there was a slight misrepresentation of the sanctity of sex. 

The offering of condoms, teaching of sexual positions, social pressure from peers and implicit messages I heard from the hip-hop music which held the greatest influence on my teenage mind, all had me “feening” for this sexual experience.  Of course, my own sexual brokenness and lack of a healthy father-daughter relationship also contributed to my tendency to be at-risk of anti-social behaviour.  All of these factors and the breaking up of one boyfriend because I couldn’t “give it to him,” led to my decision to “give it to” the next boyfriend and become sexually active at the age of seventeen- a late bloomer in comparison to my peers.  A decision that would have me falling pregnant by the time I was 18 and still “out of wedlock.”  But hey, if everyone is doing it, it must be okay right?  If it FEELS GOOD, then why deny your body the pleasures it deserves?! After all, it is the twenty-first century…

But did it feel good all the time? Or did it make me feel like I had been used to meet the needs of another at the expense of my own dignity?  Weren’t there times when he walked out of the room and I wondered if I was “good enough” to keep him coming back for more? Did I not use sex to manipulate a man into loving me when loving me should have been the passport he held before he even had access to my body? 

See, love is patient, says the great “Love Chapter” of the Bible (1 Corinthians 13).  Patience implies waiting well.  It’s not just waiting but HOW you wait.  It’s waiting with a knowing that “hope does not put us to shame” (Romans 5:5), which allows you to maintain peace and joy in the wait.  If love is like that then wouldn’t it hold back on physical pleasure before meeting foundational emotional and spiritual needs? These days, we’re so quick to get physical and subsequently forfeit the important aspects of building healthy relationship foundations, like communication, understanding and connection at an emotional level. 

This generation of Tinder users will never understand the value of love if they’re continually going to have a “quick fix” mentality when it comes to meeting their sexual needs. 

So what is the threshold we need to pass before we enter into a sexual relationship?  Is it a time period that you’re together with your boyfriend/girlfriend? Is it an age barrier you need to cross in order to be ready to make that next step?  Is it a case of, “If it feels good or right, just do it?” Sometimes it feels like there’s a line we pass that gives us permission to be sexually active, and once we’ve passed that line or “threshold”, that we can do it whenever and with whomever we please. 

We can be tempted to think, that the threshold we pass is our loss of virginity– “Well, I’ve already gone there, so it’s too late.” This is the lie that people who have been sexually abused often fall for.  And this could be a valid argument for people like me who have been in a marriage relationship where maybe it didn’t start pure but you kept it monogamous, and now you’re single again. There’s that temptation to think that you’ve already crossed the threshold, so why stop now?  

This is really the question I’m writing this blog to answer.  

God’s design for the Sex threshold: The only threshold you cross in order to gain the right to someone else’s body, for yours and their sexual pleasure is…

(Drum roll please) …

The Wedding Threshold. 

See, God created sex for marriage. Sex after divorce is the same as sex before marriage- you’re dwelling in the same realm of being outside of a covenant relationship and SEX is about covenant.  Yes it is fun and yes it is about procreation but it’s also a display of an intimacy that He (the Creator of sex) desires to have with us.  Sex is the most intimate you get to be with another soul.  In the process of that physical act, there is a spiritual exchange of soul ties that signifies and seals the bond between two people.  It’s an exposure of your vulnerability in exchange for another’s heart.  When that significant other has proven they are worthy of your heart, (by committing to a life long covenant relationship with you-ie. marriage) THEN, and only then do they deserve the right to enter into your very being…which is what sex is ultimately about. 

So even though I’m about to file for divorce from a 19 year marriage relationship that gave me the keys to have sexual relations with my husband, I will remain celibate until I enter into covenant relationship again.  I’m setting myself up for the win this time. Whether or not I do ever return to the wedding threshold, I will keep my body pure for the Love of my life – who currently is and always will be, Jesus. He’s the One I live for and He requires that I die to fleshly desires- so I do, in the knowledge that He has my best interests at the centre of His heart. 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life[a]will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  Matt 16:24-26

So how do you keep yourself “pure” and deny yourself once you’ve “tasted of” the pleasures of sex.  These may seem like some cut and dry solutions (and everyone has their own issues they need to face) but here are some suggestions that work for me:

  1.  Don’t go there in your mind and you won’t go there in your body.
    Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2
You need to be on the offence AND on the defence when it comes to your mind. These verses show the direct correlation between the mind and the body.  To keep your body sanctified, you have to keep your mind renewed.  Keep your mind renewed in the Word of God, offensively and keep it protected from the influences of the world, defensively.  Whether that be music or internet images, movies or conversations that get your mind “going there”, guard yourself from them! Not entertaining thoughts you know will lead you to sexual temptation will keep you from having to clean up the mess after the party has died. 

 

      2.   Get a vision for your future.  

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint  Proverbs 29:!3 (ESV)

With vision you build restraints and boundaries around what you allow yourself to indulge in. The best kind of vision you can have is that one that prophetically tells you what your future holds.  Knowing God’s pleasing and perfect will for your life constrains you to only allow things that will build into that future and not sabotage it.  Even in the corporate world, vision must be followed by research and strategy. Do the same for your life. Research the effects of what you’re tempted to do and strategise ways to keep yourself pure. Informed decisions help you to choose well, date well and commit well. 

      3.    Remember- It’s not just about you.  

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  Galatians 6:8

Not only do YOU reap what you sow, but your children will also reap what you sow. If you sow seeds of sexual immorality, they will be the ones who have to face your struggle.  If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for them.  Set them up to win in the sexual war we wage by denying yourself the physical pleasures that try to pull you into their arena. In doing so, you’re giving your children the winning advantage.

      4.    Know your worth.  

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9

This is your worth (whether you feel it or not). You ARE chosen, royal, holy and a special possession of God’s.  You are worthy to be loved.  When you embrace this, others will embrace it in you.  A man/woman who truly loves you and values you as a human being will wait patiently for the wedding exchange of rings and promises before they try to get you into bed. You are worth someone’s wait! 

       5.    Be secure in who you are before you worry about who’s you are.  

I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.  Song of Solomon 6:3 (KJV)

I’ve been on this “single” journey for just over a year and what I’ve had to do is to find out who I really am as an individual apart from being “a wife“.  It’s easy having a companion to hide behind so you don’t have to face the reality of your own brokenness. Having my brokenness exposed in the safety of those who help me to process it, has helped me to heal and find my security in Christ.  The beauty that comes out of those ashes is that once you are okay with the skin you’re in, and don’t have to rub up against someone else’s skin to get that sense of value, you will be ready to be a part of someone else’s world. 

Two halves don’t make a whole, two wholes make a whole.  

God will bring the right person to you when He knows that YOU know that you are ultimately HIS before you can be anyone else’s. In Him, there is a security and confidence that will allow you to live in a healthy relationship with another. 

My single friend,

Sex is pleasurable for a moment but your self worth is measurable forever.  

Measure it according to the scale of the One who created you.  You are invaluable to Him. Once you know God’s standard for love, you won’t settle for an imitation version that only seeks his/her own pleasure. He was willing to give up His life for you because He loves you that much!  Don’t place yourself on the scales of a person who will only temporarily be in your life. If your worth and value stems from your ability to “score” then you’ll never experience the true value that love will place on you.  

True love yields great rewards. 

So wait well. 

Love you.