In October 2002 I made a decision I never thought I would, and it was one of the hardest choices of my life. Regardless, I decided to put into action what I knew was right in my mind.
I gave up sex.
At 22, I had been married to my husband for 19 months. We were together for five years prior to that, so in total, our relationship had lasted almost seven years before he left me.
I was seven months pregnant and our eldest daughter was only 12 months old. But emotionally, his reason for leaving was the worst blow. When my husband left me, he told me he knew he was leaving a great sex life but he wanted more than that. I felt I had done so much for him, yet that's how he saw me: I was just someone to have sex with. That was not a nice feeling, let me assure you.
In total disbelief, I continuously questioned God as to why someone I loved so much could hurt me in such a huge way. When God eventually answered me, I was flattened by guilt. His answer was simple: we brought sex into our relationship way too soon. Because of this, we couldn't see each other for who we really were. There was this huge wall of lust stuck between us.
In my entire life, I had never felt more humiliated. I'm someone who prides myself on understanding my relationships through verbal and non-verbal exchanges, so being unable to tell the difference between love and lust in my own marriage was incredibly embarrassing. Yet as embarassing as it was, I realised it was time for me to swallow my pride and apologise to God for going my own way.
That same day, God led me to True Love Waits. I can't explain how, except that he spoke to me at that moment and challenged me to find out more. I have to admit, at this point the idea of giving up sex was just too extreme. But I heard God's call and answered as I was prepared to at that point – by finding out more.
With time, and a little bit of knowledge from books on ‘waiting', I decided to put God in control of my whole love life – partner, love and sex. I admit that the idea of going it alone terrified me in a huge way. I was always the kind of girl that had to have someone, but still I told God I was ready to change, and asked him to take control. I knew that by doing this, I was taking a risk. Part of me worried if God's plans for my life even included me having someone to share my every day with. What if I never had sex again? In all honesty, that thought haunted me.
Then I realized that God has never let me down before, so why would he start now? God picked me up, a shattered soul, and put the pieces back together. He put them together in a much better way than I could have imagined. So why wouldn't I trust him now?
The underlying problem was that I battled with what felt good now, rather than what would feel even better later. I know some people say that sex is, simply, just sex. They're lying. Sex is awesome. Sex is the closest you can physically be to another human being, another soul. It is a glimpse of heaven revealed to us while we are still here functioning as human beings. It was only at my own personal point of realisation, even though I'd been raised in the perfect Christian home, that I really understood where God intended for sex to take place: marriage. Unfortunately, I had to realise this through my own trials.
So, six months after my husband left, I signed my True Love Waits commitment card. Between now and the next time I walk down the aisle, God and I are going to do a lot of work to make me a better person. On the days I think I must be really losing the plot, the days I physically yearn for sex, I hear God's voice. He says, "Lindy, with my help you are going to be the person your husband dreams of. You are going to be the person you desire to be. Let me shape you so that you can be the best wife you can." I focus on that. For I know with every bone in my body that God's way is always best.
I will never lie and say I don't miss the physical act of sex. In fact, at a wedding recently I met up with a guy I'd known at school but hadn't gotten along with then. This night though, he was different. We actually spoke to each other as individuals, and there was just something attractive about him. I felt guilty that this person had such a big influence on distracting my thoughts. Then I came to realise that this was going to be the first of many times I may be distracted by what I'm missing physically. But that's all it is: physical. Emotionally and spiritually I won't be satisfied by giving myself over to just anyone. Sex is for my husband. I wish to emphasise here that this is a conscious decision, not something that comes naturally to me. This decision, I believe, is where sexual purity begins. To be sexually pure is what I desire most.
So what about the times God brings someone into your life that you are attracted to on every level? Physically, emotionally and spiritually? Well, in all honesty, God has already presented me with this scenario. God gets up to things pretty quickly!
I recently met a beautiful Christian guy, the kind of man every girl dreams of. He is physically beautiful as well as beautiful in the true sense of the word. He is so very selfless, so loving. He understands women in a way I didn't think a guy could and I have no reservations in saying that he is going to make his wife a very happy girl. So what does this guy have to do with me?
Truthfully, I could easily have fallen for him, and I struggled to shake the belief I needed to gain his attention by flirting – flirting with the idea of marriage and flirting with the idea of sex. This beautiful man has now taught me I am worth so much more than that. He has reassured me that I, as a whole person, am valuable.
So are we together? No, we're not together. We probably never will be and that's okay. He has different ideas about what he needs in a partner, but has encouraged me to keep being myself. I am truly blessed by his friendship. What more could I ask?
For a time though, I was disappointed in God. Why would he bring someone so amazing into my life, along with the knowledge he wasn't for me? God was showing me two things.
The first was how to ‘guard my heart', and not let my emotions flow where it wasn't appropriate.
‘Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts.' Proverbs 4:23 (The Message)
I wasn't familiar with this ideal before this man entered my life. I'd give pieces of my heart away so easily without the realisation that by doing so, I was jeopardizing my ability to give myself completely to the man I would marry.
The second insight God gave me was that I believe this wonderful man was sent to teach me to stop believing I was only going to gain someone's attention and love through what I offered him sexually. Although this outlook suggests it, I have never been sexually abused. My beliefs about gaining a guy's attention stemmed from my own mistakes, rather than experiences forced upon me.
So now, although I have days that I still ask myself why I am bothering to wait for Mr Right, I realise God's plan for me is so much better than my own. I trust that the man he has for me is being transformed into a man of strength as I type this. Only God knows just how much he will need this strength with me! I say this in terms of character, however it would be true to say I mean in terms of physical strength also. I'm certain I'll be making up for lost time once the ring that symbolises forever is placed on my finger!
On those "am I crazy for deciding to wait?" days, I find that God grants me the strength to go on. He is changing my heart, giving me a Joseph mentality. He is showing me that whenever I'm tempted I will always find a loophole to escape through. Even if the loophole does not become obvious to me straight away, I will be given the courage to flee just as Joseph did with Potiphar's wife.
‘She grabbed him by the cloak, saying, “Sleep with me!” He left his coat in her hand and ran outside.' Genesis 39: 12 (The Message)
I'm astounded by the things God has shown me through something as simple as allowing myself to be sexually cleansed in body and mind. There are so many other lessons he is teaching me as I work towards this new way of life.
God is giving me so much hope, for he knows the plans he has for me. I believe that in his timing, those plans include an amazing marital relationship. Not perfect, but still amazing. I just have to be patient, and focus on him, the creator of sex.
In closing, I write to my future husband. I want you to know that I am giving up what I know to be the ‘good stuff' to show that you are worth so much more to me. I am proving I am trustworthy because if I know what I am missing but still decline physical affection offered to me while I am single, there is no way I will stray from you once we are brought together. I want to tell you that although I don't yet know you as my husband, I love you. My love for you is sacrificial and even now my prayers are with you. I will use this time wisely. I will give myself completely to God. I will pray for and strive for purity in my thoughts and actions. I will maintain that purity until we become one before God, in the presence of our family and friends. I will live in the hope that God will continue to shape me into the person he desires me to be. The person you wish me to be.
To those of you reading this that are being challenged by True Love Waits – whether you're a virgin or a non-virgin – I understand it's hard. What keeps me going is the knowledge that I am human, and I am entitled to take each day as it comes. I'm not going to be too hard on myself if my thoughts wander from time to time, because God will always bring me back.
I also live with the guarantee that by doing it God's way, it will be more than worth the wait. I encourage you to value yourself and the person God has planned for you, and explore sex in the way God designed. Again, I emphasize this is in marriage. That is true sex. True sex is amazing sex. Isn't that what you really want?