Days back, a friend told me, “When girls share their stories it helps them more than they help anybody else.” I completely believe so; there is no loss in sharing our stories. They build us up, they give us confidence. It’s only after we open up and share that we take full control of what we believe.
About 5 years ago, I was blessed to meet a beautiful, brave woman, whose bravery and beauty I couldn’t grasp, until she vulnerably let me into her world.
My name is Leona, I am 29 years old. I was born in a family of 6 children of whom I am the first born. I grew up in a Christian family but I received Jesus Christ as my Personal Savior in 2007. My passions revolve around People. I love serving people especially women and young people in general, and that’s my calling too. The company I enjoy most is that of my family and friends. I like watching a nice movie, listening to good music, and reading. I love conversations full of laughter and fun. I love having some quiet time with the Lord.
I have encountered God’s grace so many times in my life, but, I will share this one moment. I had fallen into a sexual sin and I didn’t think that God would forgive me for that. The guilt was so much and the enemy kept on whispering lies to me that I may not come out of that disgrace. He made me feel like I was the worst sinner ever. I remember crying to God to forgive me. With the help of a few friends I was able to confess it out, and I repented. That moment meant a lot to me and reminded me of God’s relentless love and grace. If God could be able to forgive me something like that, there’s no limit to what He can do in my life and how He can use me.
In that moment, when I was scared not knowing what to feel, I felt His love. I knew He was right there with me. He wasn’t condemning me and judging me. He reminded me how much He cared, that He was willing to take all my sins including that, and that there’s nothing that would ever separate me from His love. He was just right there to hug me and kiss me like a loving father would do. He has given me a million chances and I am still encountering His grace.
In that season, I encountered rejection and judgements from some people I knew and my friends, but I was surrounded by God’s love and grace and that pushed me through it. On the other hand, God brought amazing people who walked with me on that healing journey and I was able to experience God’s love through them.
I wasn’t really secure in my identity with Christ; I was looking for my identity in wrong places, especially in wrong relationships, dating wrong people who took advantage of my innocence and my values as a Christian. As a result, I was hurt so much more. I kept on going from one relationship to another thinking I would find fulfillment and purpose, but it never worked. Instead it was a long line of hurting experiences. I felt more emptiness, yet, Jesus was the one to fill that emptiness I was feeling. Those guys who kept hurting me were hurt too, and that’s why they didn’t have anything good to give me except hurting me.
I think the wrong perception I had about life and beliefs is that I was a performer kind of Christian. I had to do things to earn God’s love and acceptance because of what I grew up seeing and what I heard in some of the sermons being preached. If I did this and that, God would bless me. This led to a complete exhaustion spiritually, physically and emotionally. I was working so hard, day and night, to earn God’s approval and people but it was all in vain.
In my head I kept on telling myself that if I find a guy and we date, all my problems will be over. I didn’t
have so many close friends, so I thought guys would be the ones to fix me. I was so lonely and I needed someone to talk to who could truly understand me and hear my pain. When I was dating, I had a lot of expectations of guys, not knowing that they were also broken pieces that needed a savior. I also had this naive trust; I didn’t know what kind of relationship I needed or a guy who was right for me. Whoever wanted to date me, I said yes. Anyone who showed any kind of interest in me, I said yes to that. I had faced a lot of rejection from people who are close to me: my friends and the guys who dated me. People kept on leaving me and that is how I ended up making such kinds of mistakes which just keep driving me into making many other mistakes.
The whole experience of me struggling with the sexual sin, being hurt many times, and being rejected by those I called my friends, has taught me to forgive myself, and to forgive those guys who hurt me, and the other people who hurt me. I have come to realize that they are broken and that they need Jesus like I do. This has taught me to pray for them and to love them. They have never asked for forgiveness but I choose to forgive them. My experience has taught me that; there’s no sin that is too big for God to forgive.
The experience I went through has changed me a lot; the fact that I am able to share this story as well is God’s doing. I have come to learn to accept God’s love, understanding that He loves me for who I am and not what I can do for Him. Now, I enjoy being in a relationship with Jesus and that has changed me a lot in the way I serve God and others. I do everything now out of a relationship not out of an obligation. My identity in Jesus Christ has become much more way beautiful. I am so secure in who I am as a child of God and that’s enough for me.
I don’t need to run to guys looking for affirmation and fulfillment. I already have all of that in Christ. Jesus has filled every emptiness that I used to feel. He is my true satisfaction; I go to Him for everything. I don’t need a man to make me feel like I am enough, Jesus is already enough.
I now know the kind of man I want to get married to. I don’t need to give myself to everyone that comes to me. Now, I know I need someone who will love me for who I am, value me, and treat me with respect. A man who genuinely loves Christ, a man who will demonstrate a Christ-like love for me. I feel like I am in a better place to have a strong and a healthy relationship because I know what is best for me in it.
The advice I can give to young girls who went through what I went through is to help them understand that there’s a God who truly loves them, and that they can receive God’s forgiveness. If they are not Christians, I would advise them to do accept Jesus in their lives – because there are always consequences for all our sins and the price may even be much harder than the actual act of sin. You need healing and deliverance and it can only happen when you have a relationship with Christ. There’s always a root cause for all of that and it needs to be dealt with at all cost.
To find healing, repentance and confession is needed. Approach someone that you trust, who is a genuine Christian, and who has a Godly character. That person should be a woman like you, or a couple, or your leaders. They should have spiritual maturity. This is not something that you share with everyone, so they should be trustworthy people who will not share that information with anyone else. They should be people who are willing to walk with you on a healing journey, pray with you, love you, and help you to get on the right track. Sexual sin is a sin like any other, though the consequences may be a lot heavier, and it can be dealt differently. But you can be able to receive true freedom and forgiveness.
Some scriptures led me in this journey; I Corinthians 6:15- 19 is an amazing verse that talks about sexual sin and how our bodies are the temple of the Lord. The others are Nehemiah 8:10, Ephesians 5:8, Jeremiah 29 :11- 13 and Ephesians Chapter 1.