Marriage Under Grace
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
As I lay by my amazing husband, I marvel at the incredible grace of Our God. “The Lord enables me to love her”, he jokes in a loving way. But there’s some truth behind it. I’ve put him through a lot in the 15yrs of marriage so far. You see, I arrived with a lot of painful baggage from a hidden past. For over a decade this secret chewed at the edges of our marriage. My old-self seemed to overshadow me, as the weight of it crushed my spirit.
Exposure to porn as a young child produced a fascination for the subject. Boys terrified me for the assumption they could get me pregnant. So I focused on inappropriate roll play with my friends who were girls. My thoughts became tainted from the natural order of God’s design for sexual intimacy. Inexplicable feelings seduced me, delivering me into same-gender attraction.
At the darkest point of my exploration the Lord miraculously placed me into a Christian school. As the Living Word took root in my heart, the Holy Spirit convicted me of sin. (John 16:8) Realizing my desperate need for a Savior, I surrendered to Christ.
Straight away, a pivotal passage of God’s word, struck my core. It was the story in John 8, the woman caught in adultery. Specifically Jesus’ phrase, “Go and sin no more” pierced me with power. I turned away from acting on any homosexual temptation ever again.
That’s when the confusing battle with temptation began.
Inward tumultuous urges conflicted with God’s clear design for sex in creation. Getting to know the Lord, as I silently relied on Him, was my only solace. I dispelled the lies, filtering them one by one through earnest prayer. I didn’t know much specific scripture, but I knew God’s character. I didn’t read the word on my own. Sermons were crucial, spoon-feeding me the word 3 times a week at school. Truly Jesus carried me.
Through it all, He only drew me closer, helping me yield to Him. The struggle was real. I didn’t understand the power of Christ within me, feeling I had to ‘fix’ myself. My knee-jerk reaction was to dive into promiscuity with boys. Trying to retrain my desires, I also plastered my bedroom walls with male celebrities. I felt I had to prove to the devil I wasn’t gay.
I leaned into the Lord as I pleaded with Him to heal me of these temptations. I stuffed those urges down deep. My new heart wanted to please the Lord. Despite the temptations remaining, the Lord freely gave me dynamite self-control. It sounds too simple, but this gift of the Spirit kept me from stumbling.
Self efforts continued with full velocity toward the idea to hide in a monogamous marriage. My desperate attempts to find the perfect husband failed. Brought to breaking point at the end of high school, I heeded control again to Jesus. Within a year the Lord brought me a best-friends-first soulmate. We married 3 years later.
Extreme walls of painful shame barred me in secrecy for 13years of our marriage. During which time a lie, that my husband wouldn’t love me if he knew, held me captive. I was accustomed to hiding my problem since early childhood. What did it matter if I concealed something that happened before we met? Yet, my past condemned me. I was in chains to an image of my ‘old self’, yet my husband knew the new me. Over the years the Lord equipped my husband with extreme patience and benevolent love. He fought his own battles speculating the subtlety of my emotional disconnect.
October 2014, the Lord lead me toward recovery from the shame. He told me to write a book ministering to others over this sensitive issue. Only then was I forced to empty out the dregs of my past to my husband.
This is when real healing began.
Journaling my heart and life story onto paper, the Lord revealed the genesis of my fall. The most encouraging lesson – the Lord would not let my dreaded past go unfruitful. He uncovered everything I’d refused to deal with.
I didn’t fully grasp being ‘a new creation’ in Christ, through the cover of shame. Praise Jesus. My husband was able to overlook my filthy past. He knew the real me – the new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17) I finally started to find freedom from the shame of my past, and live under grace. Head knowledge morphed into heart knowledge through much prayer and confession to my husband.
Every day mercy’s new. I get to enjoy this wonderful godly man and our 4 beautiful children. We overcame this prolific hurdle, only through Jesus in the center of our marriage.
The enemy came to steal my childhood, kill any hope of a storybook marriage with kids, and destroy any realization of an identity based on Christ. Yet, God is greater. God’s grace is all over our marriage. Jesus called me out of the darkness into His glorious light.
What’s tangible here?
-You are NOT your sin
Jesus teaches us, LOVE the sinner and HATE the sin! Our Lord was not shy to ‘recline at table’ with the lowest of society. He loved them ENTIRELY too much to leave them in a broken state. (Mark 2:17)
Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?
In the middle of temptation-filled days, I felt I couldn’t tell a soul of my problems. Self-preservation was one reason. Deeper than that, I didn’t trust anyone would point me the way of Life. My Lord, Jesus alone was my Councilor. If you struggle with this sin seek Jesus first, then seek people who’re guided by the truth of God’s Word.
-Test EVERYTHING by the word of God
John 6:36 describes Jesus’ words are Spirit and Life. Our flesh or world-guided ideas count for nothing. As Jesus is Lord, we trust His definition of sin and allow His word to renew our mind (Romans 12:2). It’s a lifestyle of taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Temptation is not a sin. Acting on it is. Jesus faced temptation, yet did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).
-Not by my Strength
Paul expresses in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, God’s power is perfected in our weakness. Where our efforts end, the Lord’s power begins. God is Our Deliverer. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
-Our Affections found in Christ
Our value is not held in a marital status. Earthly marriage only points toward our Lord who pledged Himself to the church, His bride. He sits alive waiting for us, His bride, unto eternity.
I pray encouragement to anyone who suffers with a similar internal battle. We continually hold strong to Jesus for our comfort and hope. He will never let us slip from His loving embrace.
Please don’t hesitate to email me, I will pray for you and assist you on His road for your recovery.
God Bless You,