Do you have a sex-stained past? Perhaps adultery (emotional or physical)? Or multiple partners during high school or college? An abortion? Pornography? Sexual abuse? Whatever your past, the good news is God loves you; his heart bends toward the hurting. He desires your healing.
Listen to these Christian women’s struggles.
A young woman has sex with a guy she barely knows. His attention feels good. He says magic words: “You’re special.”
A 40-something woman stares at her bedroom ceiling, her husband at her side. Her mind fixates on the nice guy at work who really listens to her.
A mother of two remembers that on this day fifteen years ago, she slipped into an abortion clinic. They said it was “just tissue.”
Images of porn run through the woman’s mind, images she viewed on the Internet the night before. She knows its wrong but she turns on the computer and finds the site she
hates loves to look at.
These women (composites of Christian women I’ve counseled) each has a sex-stained past, a common and painful problem among Christian women. The fallout from sexual stain interferes with living joyfully. The good news: God wants to heal you.
The emotional cost of sexual stain includes guilt, shame, or confusing emotions about sexuality and relationships with others and with God. Examples of sexual stain are sex before marriage (which the bible terms “fornication”), adultery, pornography, and sexual abuse by an abuser (often a family member or family friend).
A woman with sexual stain (or any emotional difficulty, for that matter) experiences fear and longing: the fear of losing something she has as well as the longing of obtaining something she doesn’t have. Here’s an example.
Let’s say a young Christian woman I’ll call Kayla decides that sex before marriage is okay if she loves the guy. She believes a sexual relationship will give her a sense of belonging. Rather than recognizing her identity as God’s child and resting in this relationship, she looks to men and sex to give her security–a false sense of security. Kayla is mired in a pattern of fearing loss of security as well as a strong longing for security.
One relationship morphs into another, and Kayla continues to fear and to long. (The bible calls the latter “lust”; it may involved any type of longing, such as money, approval, possessions, health, and status.)
Fearing and Longing
Once the fleshly desire to obtain or protect has taken root, Kayla wants to seize control. As her effort to control increases, she may experience pride when she gets what she wants. When her efforts to control fail, she feels anger. The result? Her fear jumps up while her lust increases, resulting in an even greater desire to protect and obtain.
Eventually her anger turns to hopelessness and helplessness along with regret. In a word, depression.
However, very often on this downward spiral, a Christian woman seeks a way to numb her pain.
This is what Kayla does. She numbs her pain with food. Eating comfort foods calms her and helps her forget her fear and lust, and it packs on the pounds. Without recognizing it at the time, she overeats in order to escape the possibility of another hurtful relationship with a man. She believes obesity makes her less attractive to men. So again — but in a different way — she seeks control.
Thank God that there is an effective and God-honoring way to find healing from sexual stain. God wants to redeem your mistakes (or the sin done to you in the case of sexual abuse). He wants you to put Christ first.
The bible tells us that as Christians, “we are not our own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Christ and his rule (his kingdom) are meant to have first place in your life. As you and I and other sex-stained women like Kayla desire Christ’s rule, we will more and more — gradually, over time — become more like Christ. This process is called sanctification.
As we commit ourselves to the Father’s will, we’ll experience contentment and peace. Our surrender leads not only to contentment and peace but also a deep trust that God will provide and protect us. We lean into him and give up the mirage of control.
How to Begin
If you want to experience the peace and contentment that ascends to joyful abundance, begin with repentance.
To repent is turn 180 degrees in how you think and feel, and how you act. It is heart transformation. Sin that has become habit – such as turning to men for security or to food for comfort — may require you to repent numerous times when you fall into temptation. Remember, sanctification is a process. The good news: As you seek God, he won’t give up on you. His Holy Spirit indwells you and strengthens you.
You cannot succeed on your own. You need Christ. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” wrote the apostle Paul from prison. (Phil. 4:13). He found the secret to contentment though he made many mistakes. You can find this healing too.
If you are interested in learning more about experiencing God’s healing, check out my counseling page on my website, or email me at Lucy@LucyAnnMoll.com.