I grew up in a Christian home. All my life I lived a “good” life. I was baptized when I was six and participated in about every church function I could. I was a nice girl at school, read the Bible occasionally, studied hard, stayed sexually pure, never cussed and never drank. I prided myself on these things.
Yet, even though I was proud of the “clean” life I lived, I knew my relationship with God was incomplete. I felt like a relationship with God was more of a chore than anything I really desired. When I saw other people have that strong desire, it seemed like there was a critical piece of the puzzle that I was missing and that everyone else had.
After graduating college, I started attending E91 and a life church. One night at life church, God removed the scales from my eyes so I could see. He revealed to me that His real purpose for my life was to glorify Him. It was so obvious that I wondered how I had been missing it all of this time. But in the months to come, it was clear that God knew exactly when He was ready to make me His own.
Unbeknownst to me, the expense of fully following Christ was going to cost me more than I ever expected. It is hard to realize your need for a Savior when you think that living a good life and following the rules are enough to appease God and get you into Heaven. But this was exactly why I didn’t know Christ. I was a modern day Pharisee. I didn’t need a personal relationship with Jesus because I thought that a relationship with God was just following the rules to the best of your ability. I didn’t know that even on my best day my actions were still dirty rags when brought to God. I needed the blood of Jesus to save me from my worst days and my best days so I could stand blameless before the Lord. Only His blood would do that – not my actions.
God had to do some major work in order for me to understand that I wasn’t good, even after all my years of staying “pure and clean” by the world’s standards. He did this by me losing the one thing that I held in highest regard – my virginity. And He allowed it to happen in the most humbling way possible. I lost my virginity to a guy that I literally met on the street walking to work. I had no interest in this person and knew that I would never be in a relationship with him. However, I let myself start down a slippery slope that I was unable to climb back up. The one thing that I thought would never be part of my story became one of the defining moments.
Fortunately, God was able to remove me from the relationship quickly, but Satan still told me terrible things about myself – that I was a failure, that I was dirty, that I was worthless. But the truth is, compared to Jesus, I was all of those things. Not because of that one thing I had done, but because of the selfish prideful nature of my flesh. I wasn’t at all clean before I lost my virginity and it didn’t make me any dirtier after. I was “pure and clean” because of the blood Christ shed for me on the cross.
God used the situation to teach me that there is absolutely nothing I can do to make Him love me less and absolutely nothing I can do to make him love me more. His love for me is not based on how well I follow the rules. He loves me because I am his daughter. God loves me right now as much as He ever will. He loved me this much when He died on the cross for me 2,000 years ago, and He is going to love me this much until He calls me home.
We all have something: some sin, some pride, some thing we don’t want to let go of or that has pulled us away from the Lord. If we hold on to it too tightly, God will surely force it out of our grasp in order to have a more intimate relationship with us because that is the most loving thing He can do. When God finally forced this pride out of my hand, I was able to come to His feet as a dirty, broken and helpless sinner and understand my desperate need for the cross.
God used this situation to give me the missing puzzle piece, and I now realize what it means to follow Jesus. It means that I finally realize that I’m a sinner and no act I do is worth anything if done apart from Christ. It means that because of the blood He shed on the cross, my debts have been paid – past, present and future. It means that I understand the magnitude of his love, grace and mercy, and I cannot help but share that with others. It means that my prideful self has died and Christ now lives in me. It means that I now walk with the joy and purpose that only comes from a daily, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
He has made the ugliest part of my life into something absolutely beautiful, and I am so grateful for it.