By Star Tucker | Guest Blogger
In the Gospel of John, we are introduced to the woman who committed adultery. Everyone wanted to stone her, and Jesus stepped in to protect her. I am that woman. I lost my life to the sin of lust, and Jesus unexpectedly arrived to rescue me. I was reminded of this story as I was reflecting on my past and conversion to Catholicism.
I’ve learned that I was created by God and for God. Ignoring this fundamental fact sent me searching for my value and worth. It sent me searching for a love that could only be found in Christ. Unfortunately, I attempted to replace Christ with every other man of this world. As much as they used me for my body, I used them for their hearts. It was a battle that nobody won.
I casually lost my virginity in high school to a friend. Going into college, the idea of sex as something beautiful, intimate and special was thrown out the window. Sex quickly became something with little value and while I failed to see the beauty in the creation of sex for marriage, I also failed to see the value and worth that was within my very being.
After random college parties, my roommates and I would joke about the previous nights hook ups. Although I laughed and giggled about the drunken decisions, I felt empty inside. I felt shallow, used, and shameful. I did not feel valued, worthy, beautiful, treasured, respected or loved.
Eventually, one of these drunken nights turned into something more. I thought that I finally won the prize that I had been seeking: love. False. It was false love. Our relationship started on the foundation of sex. Therefore, there wasn’t any foundation of faith, trust, or loyalty. I thought that I could somehow make him fall more in love with me or make him see value in me, and when it didn’t work, I’d just try again. The more I tried, the more I broke. Like a crack on a wind shield, I was only getting worse.
I was miserable and it was written all over me. My life was consumed by fear. I was afraid of losing everyone and everything in my life. The greatest fear was knowing that if I walked away from this life and these friends, they wouldn’t notice my absence.
Eventually, my biggest fear became my reality. I walked away from everyone and everything in my life and they graciously let me go. My heart was like a shattered wine glass. For once in my life, the only thing that I had was myself. No boyfriend, no friends, no roommates, no Christ (or so I thought).
Soon after my break up, my brother got married. I thought it was going to be typical wedding celebration, but Jesus had other plans. From up above, he looked down on me and said, “little broken girl, today I’m going to bring you to my altar and you are going to fall madly in love with me and you have no idea!”
I did. I unexpectedly fell in love with God. As my brother stood at the altar with his bride, my heart was captivated by something greater than what met my eyes. I knew that it was love – pure, true, unconditional love.
At that moment, I committed myself to seek Christ. I committed myself to know Him, love Him, but most importantly, let Him finally love me. My heart was parched from the love of Christ, and he was ready to flood the wounds of my heart with His mercy and love. This was the love that I wanted, needed and deserved. This is the love that has literally loved me into existence.
These lost times in my life remind me of the discussion of hell in The Faith Explained. We think our hell as “fire,” but fire, as we know it, can only harm us physically. If we get a burn on our hand, there isn’t any damage to our soul. Also, our souls are destined for heaven or hell. So, if fire is damaging to the physical being, why do we use it to explain pain to our soul? As the author explains, it’s a pain so painful that in our human capacity, we can only refer to it as “fire.” Essentially, hell is simply the pain from the loss of God.
All of my life, I suffered from the pain from the loss of God. My life was hell. My life started as a blank canvas, and I was the painter. I’m in awful painter, and the result was a mess! I look back at parts of my life when I was struggling and God would gently ask, “Can I paint that part of the picture?” and I would violently refuse. In His loving way, He would step aside to the corner where I pushed Him. After I gave up, He stepped in, placed my canvas in the trash, and looked at me with love in His eyes and just smiled. I handed him the paint brush and said, “God, now I trust in you. I trust you to be the painter of my picture. I trust you to be the author of my life.”
In other words, the story goes like this – I eventually needed to make my way to the confessional. I was embarrassed and ashamed to confess my sexual sin. My list of sexual partners could be mistaken as Santa’s naughty list, and I had no idea how those words were going to come out of my mouth. I feared that the church walls would fall down, or the priest would get up and walk away because of my filth. That didn’t happen at all. After confessing my sins and tears running like Niagara Falls, the priest sitting in front of me in the representation of Christ, looked at me, smiled, and said….
It is never too late to have purity of heart.
I was forgiven. I was made new in the image of Christ. I was given a new chance to live the virtue of purity and chastity and to rid myself of the harsh words that haunted me for so many years. During my struggles, Christ again quickly arrived to crucify my temptations. I finally felt loved. Truly, unconditionally, loved.
I know that there are many woman who I left behind in the boat of lust and sexual sin. They are sailing to the destination of love, and just like me, the compass is pointing to all of the wrong directions. They sit in the boat thinking, “I’m stuck,” or “how could I ever be forgiven?” or “who would ever want me now?” You are not stuck. You will be forgiven. And Christ wants you now, today, tomorrow, and for always. Step out of the boat, and trust Him to take you into the ocean of His unfailing, infinite love.
P.S. You are enough.