I couldn’t look her in the eye. “Yes, of course his mom will be there,” I said sarcastically. My mom questioned me like this all the time, and I deserved it. But I couldn’t let her know that. I was going to my boyfriend Kevin’s for dinner and a movie.
My Kevin. He played guitar in a band, he wrote poetry and he was incredibly sweet. He said he loved me, so I said I loved him too.
Mom drove me over to Kevin’s, just to make sure his mom was there. She was. But that didn’t really matter. I could make my own decisions. And I did …
Kevin drove me home that night. After he kissed me goodbye, I stepped inside and went upstairs. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I didn’t like to look into my own eyes. I went into my room, trying not to look at my bookshelf where the words “Teen Study Bible” glared back at me accusingly. I lay in bed for hours, and I couldn’t sleep.
All I could think was, What if? What if I get pregnant?
I cried as I wrote in my journal, mapping out a plan in case I did get pregnant. Who would I tell first? Would I try to have an abortion? Would I stay in school? How would I ever be able to face my parents and brother?
“Oh please, God,” I prayed, “just let me not be pregnant. I’ll stop doing this.”
I didn’t get pregnant. But I didn’t stop, either.
Time passed, and little by little I became aggravated with Kevin. His friends kidded me about the physical side of our relationship; so much for his promised discretion.
He didn’t show at a dance recital that meant a lot to me. I started feeling betrayed. I’d shared my body with him, my soul, and he didn’t really care. It hurt a lot. I broke up with him after a six-month relationship.
A wall had been built, though, and it remained—between me and my parents, and, most importantly, between me and God. I went into another relationship, and again I went too far physically. I was addicted. It seemed like I was in an endless cycle, even after I broke up with my second boyfriend. Change seemed impossible.
A year later, I sat in church one Sunday, listening to something about a parable of wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30). Tares are weeds that grow in fields. Tares look like wheat, but are not. That hit me. Even though I’d been in church my whole life and came from a Christian family, I realized I had no true faith.
And faith was what it was all about. Faith that Christ had died on the cross so I could be with him—so my sins, all of them, could be washed away. Faith was the answer.
So I prayed. I told God I knew I was a sinner, that the things I’d done were wrong. I asked him to forgive me and be the Lord of my life. At 17 years old, I got saved.
As I began studying the Bible, I found more and more instances where God’s rules, and my parents’ rules, weren’t just stupid things that made no sense. They made perfect sense; they were there for a reason, to guide me on how to really be happy.
The Gift of Mercy
I talked to my parents one night and told them the truth about the things I’d done. I cried. I asked their forgiveness.
My mom said she had known all along; she gave me a hug, and she cried as well. And I’ll never forget my dad’s face—so twisted full of pain. But as time’s gone on, that face has softened; my dad loves me, and he has forgiven me too.
Mercy is an incredible gift.
I struggle daily with guilt, and with feelings I wish I didn’t have. I wonder if there’s going to be a Christian man who will love me and marry me one day, even with the mistakes I’ve made. That’s the worst fear of all.
And even though I know God has forgiven me, I struggle to forgive myself. Thoughts like that hurt. But I believe God has a plan for me. He will protect me and give me the strength I need to live for him and to wait for marriage. I pray for it every day, and, day by day, his grace comes to help.
I’m waiting for marriage because I’ve known the pain that comes from disobedience to God. Sex outside of marriage isn’t what he intended, and it causes feelings that cut deeply, to the very soul of a person.
I’m waiting because I know God has someone in mind for me as a partner one day, if it’s his will that I should marry. I’m waiting because I want what I will share with that person to be special. And I’m waiting because I know that through God’s strength, I can.
This is a True-Life Story. All names have been changed.