Experiencing God's grace: one woman's story

Why wait for sex

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There is no sin so offensive to a woman’s body, soul and mind as sexual sin. A decision I made about sex more than twenty years ago has had difficult and serious consequences. Perhaps I was ripe for what happened. I was frequently uprooted from friends, relatives and safe environments by our frequent moves as a family. I felt isolated from a busy, preoccupied mother and an absent father who traveled a lot. I don’t remember being lavished with love from either of them.

The decision was mine, however, to have intercourse as a teen. Looking to boyfriends as a source of love and security gave me what my family didn’t: identity, belonging and security.

My husband says sin happens in increments. This is especially true with sexual sin. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “This is it — I want to have intercourse.” Instead, I gave in slowly to my boyfriend, over a period of time and in small steps. It wasn’t long before it dawned on me that I had given so much that preserving my virginity didn’t really matter anymore.

It took months, perhaps years, to fully realize what I had done. Shame slowly crept in, robbing me of joy. I found myself active in my church, with young women looking to me as a role model, and yet my past sins haunted me through embarrassing and painful memories. As I grew in my faith, I became more and more disappointed that I had not been stronger in those early years. I also realized with great sadness that I could no longer give my future husband (whoever he would be) the gift of my virginity.

For ten years after that early relationship ended, I was haunted by the weight of my sin. But then my healing process started through sharing with women friends, praying, and praying some more. I felt God’s forgiveness as counseling, reading, studying Scripture and healing prayer became significant stages of that process. But it wasn’t easy. It was long, twisted and painful.

One experience was particularly helpful. At one prayer meeting some women were praying for me. My feet felt heavy, as if encased in cement. I described the sensation and began sharing my past sexual experiences. As I received their love and assurances of forgiveness, the cement broke into pieces, and soon I felt as if my feet were in dancing shoes! I felt free of the shame and bondage of my past, and I felt God’s love and forgiveness deep within my bones. That prayer meeting was just one of many steps in the healing process for me.

Years later, I began dating the man I eventually married. After we had been dating for many months, he honored me by asking if he could kiss me — a gift to me that I’ll always treasure. He was the first man whose standards for our physical relationship were good and upright. The discoveries on our honeymoon night were a delight. His virginity was a gift to me beyond words. And my restoration freed me to share myself with him.

— Anonymous

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