By Alanna Burtis | Guest Blogger
Tonight I sobbed into my prayer journal and realized just how far I have come. I thanked Jesus for not giving me what I wanted this summer but for giving me the wake up call that I needed to leave the past in the past, for me to follow Him and for Him to heal me.
I have been scarred, abandoned, lost, afraid, defeated, and beaten down for oh too long. All the while I kept believing that I was “fine” because I “thought” asking for forgiveness for my sins and revival from my destructive past was “just enough.” And no. It was absolutely not. Being abused by my father for two years with three phone calls made to the police horrified me. Post traumatic stress disorder controlled my life. I trusted absolutely no one and denied any of my friends coming over. Being angry and jealous over my friends who had a daughter/daddy relationship that I was so wishing I could have.
From that, I took advantage of my athletics when I began to cheerlead. I strived for perfection and the approval of others, from boys, coaches and the bystanders watching me cheer. I just had to look more skinny and fit. I formed an eating disorder and lost 40 pounds in one month. I was satisfied with my looks, but on the inside I was dying for love. Someone to call me their own, someone to provide me with affection and someone to guard my heart. I still felt as if I was not enough so I turned to alcohol and drank the pain away. Even that wasn’t enough, so I started to self harm. Still, my urge to feel “free” from the life that I wished to not call my own only lead me deeper into the waters that kept washing my heart and identity away.
I met the love of my life (or so I thought) my freshman year of high school. I gave myself away. Someone who noticed me, cherished me, and loved me took advantage of me. Everything I thought I once wanted was everything I wish I never had been provided by from a boy. I wish I had Jesus to gain all my wants from. It didn’t matter that we were so-called Christians and acted like the most pure couple on the face of the Earth. God knew all along I was masking my shame. Even though I asked for forgiveness over and over again, I still felt dirty, unapproved, and unholy. I felt as if I didn’t deserve to be loved by such a great God.
I regret having sex. Some churches teach young woman that sexual sin is the worst sin to ever commit. And this fills them with shame, and that shame masks a heart that was once filled with the praise and holiness of Jesus. I was taught that there was absolutely no way I could ever be the same after wiping away my most sacred treasure of my virginity. This is not true and a huge misconception in the church. And I am so sorry to every Christian girl who has learned and believed this misunderstanding. God wipes away every sin and can and will make you whole again. All is not lost and you can begin again. No matter what the price, He will heal your heart. Just ask Him to heal you and for the grace to begin again. He erases sin and all is forgiven and wiped away. It took me far too long to believe this for myself. But once I did I realized I was never going to be who I was before, for I am a new creation in Christ.
I am not going to let not having a father figure for part of my teenage years upset me. For I have a Father up above who loves me immensely and widely and is capable of rewarding the desires of a daughter’s heart. I am never going to let any relapse of my eating disorder define me anymore. No matter how high that relapse number goes up, it will never erase the truth that this battle has already been won by my Jesus. I am never again going to let myself get lost in the wanting of a man. For I know being pursued, prayed for, and cherished by a man is more sacred than getting my immediate wants and dreams fulfilled. It would only hurt and expose my heart.
I have learned that exposing my heart to God has been such a beautiful experience. Being real and authentic with Him about my past has brought me perspective of the happy future that He has for me. And I believe that I am worth so much more than I ever once thought about myself. That not only am I forgiven by my God, but I am not condemned at all by anyone.
For who I am in Christ is exactly who I want to be and living out His praise and love is who I am. I am a sinner but I am also a daughter that has been forgiven and offered a new life to live with Christ. Through and through Jesus will keep mending my broken heart to find His Love that is everlasting and all-powerful in all my life’s situations. My heart is now protected and guarded by Jesus. Nothing will ever be able to separate me from God because of my sin. I will never believe that lie ever again. I am beginning again.
No sin can ever hold you back from the offering of forgiveness and beautiful grace that Jesus has. Begin Again. It is never to late to start again.
P.S. You are enough.