Today’s post is from Erin English. She is leading two breakouts at WHOLE. One for teen girls & single women and another for moms called, “Nobody Told Me.” These will be powerful presentations you will not want to miss.
It’s important to know that at WHOLE, every woman who leads a breakout has personally experienced the topic she’s addressing. These are real women who have found wholeness in their specific area of brokenness. There’s hope for whatever you’ve faced or are currently facing and for that friend, sister, mother, etc. that you don’t feel equipped to help today.
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Breakout: Nobody Told Me (for teen girls AND for moms)
Leader: Erin English
I can plainly remember laying in my bed at about 8 and asking Jesus into my heart. I didn’t really know what that looked like and wondered if my heart had an itty bitty door or how Jesus was even going to fit in there. It was a perfect mystery, but while I didn’t understand the how I really wanted to give Him my heart, my whole heart.
I had a “normal” childhood. I was raised by 2 wonderful parents who worked very hard to give my brother, sister and I a good home. We lived in a good neighborhood and went to great schools. I got along well with peers, made good grades, and loved playing sports. All in all, I had a great childhood.
My mother took us to Sunday School every Sunday where I soaked up the stories they taught. I could recite a parable like a youngster recites his ABCs. Just like the ABCs, I didn’t know at the time that put all together they told a bigger story and painted a more beautiful picture.
By the time I started high school, church had become a stigma. My “christianity” took a back seat to my desire to fit in and be accepted. It was right about the very same time I had my first serious boyfriend. I don’t remember being particularly smitten with this young man, but he was older. And he had a car, which meant a new type of freedom. He could drive us to the movies, pick me up from work, and even take me to and from school. Way cooler than having my Mom drop me off. It was awesome.
I knew what the Church said about sex; kind of. You weren’t supposed to have sex outside of marriage. It was a sin. Sin was frowned upon. It was bad. Sinners were bad. Good thing I wasn’t a “sinner.” Sex was something that in my mind was dirty and had a negative connotation. No one had ever talked to me about what the Bible said about sex or sexuality though. None of the Bible stories I learned talked about the fact that sex was designed by God and for my enjoyment inside of marriage as He defined it, one man & one woman for one lifetime.
I never learned about establishing personal boundaries or guardrails when it came to my body. I had never processed through the “what thens?” of being alone with a boy or even considered that maybe it wasn’t wise to be alone with a boy at all. I never realized that not only were boundaries wise but that they were important, and not to keep me from having a good time, but to protect me physically and emotionally. Quite honestly, I really wasn’t thinking about sex at all, until crossed line after crossed boundary I was at its doorstep, one foot over the threshold… A line that, in hindsight, should have been an established and uncrossable boundary. Really, no one should have been on the porch. I didn’t know that my body was the vessel of the living God. Holy, sanctified, and to be used for his glory.
I began cooperating with the enemy, allowing him to use what God had set apart as holy, for unholy purposes. It was a double edge sword. I believed I had completely lost salvation and I hated myself for it. I also wasn’t sorry I did it. I believed the lie the world told me, that my body was my own. That freedom was being able to do whatever I wanted with whomever I wanted to do it. I became drunk on the lies that said there weren’t any real consequences, so long as you were “careful.” The more I drank from the cup of deception, the more distorted my views of sexuality, relationship, and love became. I started to believe what the world spoke over me, and really… I couldn’t deny the worst it would say about me. I was completely poured out, broken and empty and looked for anything or anyone to fill the vacuum my brokenness left behind. Every new relationship, new drug, new IT thing was only a temporary fix that, in the end, left me more broken until one day woke up and found myself in the middle of a broken marriage, at the bottom of a dark pit. My brokenness was bleeding out and affecting everyone and everything around me. There I met Jesus when He stepped right into my path and lifted up my face. He called me by a new name, healed my broken heart and spoke a new word over me. He called me redeemed. Forgiven. Beloved. Righteous and remade. Accepted and worthy. These are my new name. I am new. I am whole.
Here’s what I want you to hear from me today though… He hadn’t mysteriously reappeared in my life. It took me many years to realize, He had been there all along. Grieving, I’m sure, as He watched me reject Him as I embraced the world. I had asked Him into my heart at 8, and on that day He sealed my fate as HIS. On that day he called me holy. I never fell out of his hand, even as I completely gave myself over to the world and what (I believed) it had to offer, completely cooperating with the enemy and believing his lies. Here’s the truth though … I was bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6: 20a). Non refundable. He was only waiting for me to reach out and take the gift He wanted to give me. New life. Whole life. Abundant life. John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy but Jesus has come that we may have life, and have it to the full. Whole.
The enemy spent far too many years condemning me and made me to believe Jesus would too. But God loved me so much, that while I was still sinning He sent Jesus. (Romans 5:8) Not to condemn me but to truly free me.
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned.” John 3:17-18a
He has the same gift for you. He’s waiting for you to only reach out and accept it!