Like Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery Expedition in the early 1800s, Sex and Jesus is a journey of exploration. The territory, like the newly acquired western United States were, is vast and mysterious. I want to map, if I can, sexuality and spirituality and perceptions on both as they interconnect for typical American citizens of diverse ages, genders, weights, sizes and religious or non-religious affiliation. I’m asking a lot of questions about a lot of different things, some easy to talk about, some taboo and some, quite honestly, deplorable. I’m not necessarily seeking to answer questions as much as to explore different thoughts, preferences and rules (written and unwritten) about sexuality and God so that I can chart the land. Where are the fault lines we all ought to avoid building on? Where are the waters we gather around for life and gratification? What are the highest peaks of orgasmic pleasure and the lowest valleys of sexual depravity? What is the shape of sex on God’s canvas of humanity? I don’t know how successful I’ll be, but I’ve got my bags packed and now I’m out to assemble a crew… and I want YOU!
Of course, I’ll be the captain of this grand adventure. I will be as honest as I can possibly be in sharing what I find, but I’m far from objective. I’m admittedly and unashamedly a conservative Christian. I’m comfortable and confident in my faith in Jesus Christ. This is the cornerstone of my life and also, obviously, the catalyst for this expedition. Additionally, I’m a fitness fanatic, a small town woman with minimalist tendencies and a dark past. I’m an advocate for abused and neglected children because I’m an adult survivor of sexual abuse. All of these “hats” and so many more influence me and leave me less than neutral.
I want more than my own paradigm and voice. I would like to collaborate with some of my dearest companions as I make this journey, and do so hope a few will volunteer to join me. I respect and value their opinions more than anyone’s… that’s why they’re closest to me; but I also want to supplement their input with the opinions of others I might not be as familiar with. I need more than the perspectives of a handful of select individuals I know well. If I only ask and trust my friends for data I don’t think I’ll see the true topography with all the gritty bits that may be left out as they shape their answers because of the complexity of human interaction and our personal relationships. In order to fully explore the territory, I need the rest of my crew to be a trustworthy but diverse mix.
That’s why I’m coming to you!
I have a vague vision for this project that resembles the Lewis & Clark expedition. My core team will be small enough for me to listen to with focused intensity but large enough to provide a broad view of the landscape. I’ll be asking a sexual question of the day several times a week as well as a lot of survey questions. These will help me define the forum topics and questions I’ll ask others along the way. Ideally we’ll meet a number of times this year in one-on-one or forum type settings (either online or in person where time and distance permit). I hope to talk openly and candidly about sex and religion.
Of course ‘along the way’ I’ll interview the natives, foreigners and fellow sojourners on their own adventures. From this group of people I’ll explore different cultures, traditions, beliefs, perceptions and mindsets than what may be the accepted norm within the corp. As different as these perspectives are, they have a right to be heard and I want to listen.
So today I’m asking for brave volunteers to join my Corp of Explorers or honestly represent the natives and fellow sojourners. There will be lots of sex and Jesus talking and definitely some exploration along the way. I promise, all data and feedback will be treated with the utmost respect, and information within the book will be presented anonymously. If you want to participate completely anonymously you can, I’ll respect your privacy, but I need you to be honest no matter what! If you are intrigued and want to actively participate in this adventure with me, will you please email me at: LucyHDelaney@gmail.com
Some but not all of the topics I plan to cover are:
Climax and multiple orgasm
Biblical history of sex
Libido, sexual appetite and dysfunction
Monogamy and multiple partners
Church traditions, rules and taboos
Purity and depravity
Breast and penis envy and size
Pornography and artistic nudity
Biblical laws regarding sexual practices
Why Sex & Jesus
Plenty of organizations and people talk about healthy sexual choices, libido, the premature sexualization of our youth, sexual abuse, human trafficking and even sexuality and the church. Why another person? Why another perspective?
I am a sheep. I am not ashamed of it. Instead of trying to buck my natural tendencies, I decided a long time ago to pick carefully who I follow. If I have faith in them, their cause, and their points of view, I will be the best recruiter, spokeswoman and solider in the ranks because I believe in them. It’s not a job, it’s not a requirement, it is a calculated choice I make to believe and follow.
With all the talking and my personal philosophy, it seems that I should pick someone else’s platform, organization or model for promoting healthy sexuality and exposing sexual abuse and exploitation and follow their lead. In a way, I will. So, why be a maverick? Because sex and sexuality aren’t just platforms; they are part of the substance of all of us.
And because I’m a victim. I think there are two kinds of victims, ones that keep the secret and ones that tell. I am one that told. It didn’t work out so well for me, but I’m a teller. Victims want to be heard. More than that, we want to be believed. Some rise above “victim” status and become advocates, for themselves and others. And that’s where I am.
I have a story and I want the sympathetic parts to be heard. I want to use my platform to help others who are hurting and heal others who have wounds from sexual trauma. But there’s a dark side to my story that I’m not so keen on exposing. I can also be considered an offender, never a predator, but I have hurt and exploited others because of the trauma I experienced. This isn’t unique to me, many victims have, in sorting out their own abuse, become intentional or inadvertent offenders or predators. It is a very dark place and I don’t know of a platform for it. And… I don’t know of a simple “fix” or solution even when it’s exposed.
My platform speaks to the good people of the world, the pure, the safe people. As Salt N Peppa said, “Let’s talk about sex! Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.” I want to give honor to the people and organizations making a waterfall difference in a bucket of sexual abuse and exploitation. I want to put light on things that promote healthy sexuality in children and adults in a caustic and sexually aggressive society.
My platform speaks encouragement to men to be bold, heroic, sexy and honorable men and encourages women to be classy, sexy, enchanting and honorable women.
My platform speaks to people with esteem and body insecurities that distort their ability to enjoy their own sexuality. I want to encourage a love, respect and acceptance of our bodies and highlight the sacredness of an intimate physical and sexual bond.
My platform speaks out about the “little things” people do that promote the abuse and exploitation of others they would never think of victimizing… and yet, with money, actions, words, or silence, they offend through “innocent” or unconscious acceptance of sexual evils.
My platform speaks to men and women trying to navigate safe, healthy, fun flirtation and sexual expression in a world and workplace that’s hyper alert and sensitive and to those playing on a slippery slope of unacceptable sexual expression that is unattractive, unprofessional and unbecoming.
My platform speaks to child victims who became child offenders then later, when grown, realized the gravity of what they’d done and found healing but redemption escapes them and they deal with guilt and fear of exposure for past transgressions as much as their own pain and wounds. It’s for people who struggle with disclosure because of shame and possible punishment but want to extend apologies and restitution to those they offended.
My platform speaks to reformed sluts and predators, who are ashamed, afraid or unable to share their stories but want to do something to help stop abuse and exploitation now that they’ve repented, changed or are in anonymous recovery. For ladies like the one who slept her way to the top of her field and now, despite the prestige and title, is ashamed of how she did it, but doesn’t want to lose her status. They are out there. They deserve grace and a voice, because haven’t we all screwed up and hoped for redemption when we’re truly remorseful?
My platform is for the pedophile who doesn’t want to offend anymore, but needs support to stop; and for others chained to their own secret sexual addictions. It’s for the ones who, like me, when I was hooked on drugs, are too far down a bad road or buried deep in depravity to get out without a safe hand of hope to help them up when they’re done and want out of the pit.
Finally my platform, as much as I hate it, and as much as it turns my stomach, speaks directly to vile predators who like being evil; the ones who are turned on by the silence breaker’s stories of date rape, of childhood molestation and of sexual exploitation. They are out there, feeding off our stories of trauma and lack of self-esteem and self-control. They read, they listen and they watch and it’s disgusting, but it’s real. I want them to know... I’m coming to get them! I know some of their tricks and secrets, I know how to expose and shame them, I know they fear light and I know how to get spotlights pointed in their direction… I’m a teller and they better watch out, because I’m telling! I’m out to reduce their supply of young easily exploited girls and boys, women and men. I’m out to reduce the demand for their depravity. I’m out to fight!
My platform is a place of cathartic healing, honest and humble soul searching, advocacy and exposure. I’m compelled to do it. Parts of advocacy are yucky and dark. Part of my story is disgusting and shameful. Part of me doesn’t think the bad deserves to see the light of day because I don’t want to expose the good and pure people of the world to the darkness that lurks just beyond the scope of their perspective. I don’t want to open innocent eyes to evil. I want to protect. I want to keep kids safe and innocent. I want to help victims heal.
But I also want vengeance! If I can’t make my abuser pay for what he did to me, I will make all monsters pay by exposing their tactics, their avenues of exploitation, their ways of flying under the radar. If I can’t fix my childhood and put stronger advocates in my own life, I will advocate for every child who is being victimized or who will victimize someone else because they’re hurting and confused. If I can’t understand and wrap my head and faith around why a good and loving God would let sexual abuse and exploitation enter into the hearts and minds of men, I will explore every avenue of why He could have possibly allowed it, and how He can truly be safe to trust.
Why Sex & Jesus? Because I have a voice and opinion and so does everyone else and I want to invite you to be in on a most uncomfortable but necessary conversation and open up even more lines for honest dialog on the good, the bad and the ugly of it all.
The sex that shaped me...
This one is going to be tough, and long. No need to read it, but the words must be written before I present too many more of my thoughts and opinions on dating, relationships, sex and spirituality. Before I can take you through my year of dating, complete with my plan, rules, dates (I mean data presentation) and man-alysis, I need to go back... way back, and get out of the way, a bit of my sexual history in order to explain some of my viewpoints, perspectives and boundaries that I’ve set as I wander in the Middle.
But first a comment to my family and request to any who do read this:
To my family, should you read this please know I in no way mean to dishonor or disrespect any one except the offenders, and even in that I will speak the truth and whatever disrespect or dishonor it garners is because of their actions. This post will include my perspective of the events; the results of my perception have led me to become the woman I am with the beliefs that I have. Should any of you like to speak to the words that follow I absolutely welcome the dialog and will not judge, blame or condemn you for anything that was done or said or not done or said. In the same way I hope that you all can be understanding enough to let me get this out. It is time.
To my readers. Thank you for reading every blog that you have. You never cease to amaze me. I’m not famous by any means but that so many read so often humbles me… That you share your encouragement, stories and thanks with me is a bigger blessing that I know how to handle, thank you. This post, is highly personal. I’ve tried to always request, accept and appreciate constructive criticism and reviews and have swallowed down the nasty criticism like gristle on steak. I do not want to keep anyone from expressing any opinion in public or in private (by all means if you want to post a review good or bad on Catching Tatum please do!) but I would ask for this post to please remember this is my soul I’m sharing. This is not a character, this is not an issue of structure or arc, this is my life, and one of the most sensitive areas of it. If you want to criticize, please be sensitive of that. I welcome and ask for comments and dialog. Let’s talk openly and honestly about sex, the stereotypes, the dogma, the cultural shifts and trends. Let this be a safe place to speak about the issues. Let’s use this as a catalyst to reach into dark places and expose evil but please be gentle if at all possible.
So here we go... What needs to be said is that my parents were divorced. My father had custody and I was raised in a staunch, Pentecostal culture. My mother saw me regularly and lived a wild lifestyle which included drugs and alcohol and questionable acquaintances. One of these acquaintances violently sexually assaulted me before I was five years old. His approach was what society pictures a pedophile to be, angry, evil, threatening; but this is actually an A-typical pedophile MO. Most pedophiles are, “kind,” “love kids,” and are unassuming and groom their victims with trinkets and secrets. I was blessed to always know my predator was evil. I knew he meant to take what he wanted, make me do what he wanted, how he wanted it done because he threatened to kill my little brother if I ever told. The most horrid memory I have of the whole thing is not of the acts themselves but of my baby brother crying and me being desperate to do the act correctly so he could live.
His threat insured that I knew, and have known evil, from the beginning of memory making but, it didn’t keep me from telling. However things happened, I don’t know, but the man was extinguished from my life, the physical injuries healed, the incident under rug swept, the emotional wounds, untreated, remained.
As is typical for a child who is sexually assaulted at a young age, I acted out in sexually inappropriate ways. I was reprimanded frequently for doing “bad things.” There was never a reason why I ought not masturbate in public, other than it was wrong. There was never a reason for wearing panties to bed other than my private parts should be covered up. There was no counseling as far as I’ve ever known or remembered. I imagine that the incident was so emotionally painful and difficult to digest that everyone preferred to pretend it never happened... and so we did.
Later in my childhood/adolescence I was wearing something that might have been considered provocative and a family member took it upon himself to fondle me. I froze. I couldn’t believe it was happening and I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. I let it happen. I said something about it later to my brother, and it turned into a HUGE family fight and I ended up recanting what I said to make everyone shut up.
At this time self-harm (a typical expression in children who are sexually abused) as well as drugs and alcohol became a prominent part of my life.
And then… I let it happen again another time! It was the same kind of deal, I was wearing something I probably shouldn’t have been wearing in a place I probably shouldn’t have been wearing it and this same family member did the same thing again and again I froze and again let it happen. I knew the guy liked porn, I knew he spoke crudely of women, including me... and I knew I was wearing the wrong things. So this time I didn’t say anything at all to anyone ever, I just got high.
After that I made sure to avoid that guy as much as humanly possible, to keep myself covered as much as possible and to keep my mouth shut because it just made things worse. I used a lot of drugs and alcohol and self-injury methods to forget about it. My behavior was erratic, but my grades were good and the teachers at my school, especially the second most amazing man I’ve ever known, my guidance counselor, Dr. David McDolald watched out for me. This man, a good man, worked with my family to get me into counseling. It helped. Even though I showed up high on more than one occasion, I’m grateful for the counseling. I learned techniques in those counseling session with Nancy that I still use to this day. I learned to go to a safe place when I’m stressed; for me that was the tree lined banks of the Stillagaumish River. I suppose that was when I truly fell in love with creation.
Then I started acting out sexually. My first chosen sexual experience occurred just after I turned fourteen and by the time I was fifteen I decided I was going to forget the bad guys once and for all. I wanted to erase or replace what they did but I didn’t have a boyfriend and didn’t necessarily want one so, for lack of a better term, I profiled boys at my school and picked a handsome young man who didn’t run in my circle of friends. I took some time to befriend him, I told him what had happened to me and that I’d like to have good sex to replace the bad sex. I was a cute girl, he happily obliged, and he did much to heal a wounded part inside me. I can’t and won’t advocate for sex outside of marriage, and I honestly wish, even with the abuse, I would have understood how sacred my body was, but I didn’t. I was a lost child trying to bandage up a gaping wound. I did what I thought would fix it and I chose a good guy to help. He did right by me. Right or wrong, good or bad, I will ever be grateful to him for showing me a better kind of sex and intimate touch.
Up to this point I’d never used condoms or birth control. I remember “blah, blah, blah” in health class so I didn’t pay attention. I think the Pentecostal upbringing convinced me that I ought not have sex so I kind of ignored the teaching because it didn’t pertain to me. And then I did have sex and… it just happened once, or twice, or ummm yeah... you get the idea. It was likely during this time I contracted HPV (genital warts) and herpes but because I had no out breaks I didn’t know. So, that’s way more information about me than I want anyone really to know, but here’s why I say it... Kids, adults, everyone reading this, if you’re having sex with multiple partners practice safe sex!! Whether it applies to you or not, whether you’ve ever had an outbreak or not, whether you can have kids or not, learn how to use condoms and don’t have sex with multiple partners without them. Gents, you can carry STDs dormant in your body your whole life and pass it on over and over and over again. Cover it up! Ladies, we’re usually more unlucky and tend to see outbreaks with most all STDs more often than men but not always. We live in a socitey with an STD epidemic. We’ve made a vaccine for HPV because upwards of 75% of the reproductive-age population has it. Herpes is super easy to spread and there is no cure and up to 20% of 14-49 year olds have it (actually CDC says this is probably understated due to those who do not show symptoms). This article from 2014 sites 20 MILLION NEW STD outbreaks each year (http://www.livescience.com/48100-sexually-transmitted-infections-50-states-map.html)!!! Obviously if you have one, you’re not alone, but don’t spread it. And if you don’t have one, why take the risk? I’m done preaching. Do it God’s way, or be safe doing it your own way.
Moving on… As I entered adulthood my sexual explorations took a dark turn. I’d rather not go into the details. Suffice to say I am appalled by memories of things I did and saw, participated in and watched. Before that time I’d known both scary, bad sex and better, gentler sex. I knew what I was doing was not right, but it’s hard when you’re walking down a road with others to be the one to stop and turn around. Then before you know it you’re in a pit, ten feet deep scratching at the sides to get out, but the demons with you keep pulling you down. It’s kind of like there’s no way out and so you sort of give up or give in and stop even trying to pretend you’re a good kind of person. I let drugs take over my life, I was self-harming, I was participating in illegal and illicit activities of all kinds and I was absolutely, unequivocally, hopelessly miserable.
This is where God steped into my life. He gave me a second chance. I took it and I knew a big part of the cleansing and healing for me would revolve around my sexuality. I knew my libido was higher than most girls and my affinity for sex would likely get me in trouble again so I decided, upon pledging my life to Christ, to also make a pledge to not be alone with any guy for a year. It was a tumultuous year. It was full of purging bad thoughts, memories, ideas and visions from my mind and replacing them with whatever was true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. There were a handful of occasions that I spent time with my first ex-husband alone, it was also the first time I ever recall actually saying no to sex and having my words respected. He wasn’t happy about it but he respected my words and for that I’m grateful. It taught me I didn’t have to give in to every request and that even if my voice was small, it could still be heard.
The lack of sexual activity was exceptionally difficult. I had become very used to sexual touch, whether good or bad and my body, like it hungers and thirsts, craves sexual release. I had always practiced self-stimulating behavior and didn’t stop but I had a horrible sense of guilt about it at first because “the church” seems to demonize masturbation. I think it’s a very personal and private issue and I think, like anything else, it can be misused, but I do not think it is sin, nor have I found any place in the bible where the ACT of masturbation is noted as wrong, condemnable, punishable or sinful. (I think I’ll be so bold as to challenge anyone who questions me to prove me wrong on this.) At that time, as at this time in my life, while I practiced (and currently practice) abstinence, masturbation is a regular part of my life and I think I’m pretty open about it, and I think it makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but I think it’s a subject worth exploring, especially within the church, instead of condemning.
Then I met he who left me. We did not wait. While we were married I always felt a little sad that we didn’t but it didn’t bother me too much because we were supposed to do that whole “til death do us part” thing. Well, that didn’t work out so good and now I see that he was just another guy that followed the same pattern. I want them, or I want sex, so I sleep with them. It’s what I knew. I want a man so I give him what I know they all want, or a man wants/takes my body and I’m powerless or frozen to resist. And now that he’s left, the what if is… what if I would have abstained? Would he have stuck with me through it or would he have left before we had lives and children intertwined? Is this the big test to see who stays and who leaves? Is this why it’s a big deal to God? I’ve been abstinent for nearly two years and dating for a year of that and I absolutely guarantee you it’s a HUGE deal in the minds of men, and me.
But I want this. I actually asked for this. I remember writing the scene in Catching Tatum where Justin and Tatum are in bed together and she has the choice to make love to him or not. I wrote out the choice she made then remember looking heavenward, in my lovely little writing room that I miss so much, and saying out loud to God that I wish for once in my life I would have waited to put out. It was wistful prayer at the time, I was married to the guy I thought was my partner for life and the chance was lost to me.
But here I am. The longest I’ve gone without sex since my early teens, frustrated, so sexually frustrated but resigned and resolved to walk this out. To test myself: Am I stronger than my physical urges? Am I more than just an animal operating on instinct? Do I exist on a higher level? Can my mind, soul and spirit overcome the base desires of my body, or am I slave to it? To test men: Will anyone wait with me? Does anyone not pressure or beg, manipulate or push too far? Who is master over their body and not slave to it? Because if he can’t even master himself, how can I possibly trust him enough to be safe with him for the rest of my life? See, I don’t want just any man. Any man will take my body and satisfy his animal urges. I know this, life and men: good men, bad men, gentlemen and sadistic men have proven this to me time and time and time again. They will all take my body if I give it and sometimes even when I do not. I’m done having it taken. I want to give it to he who will not leave me. I’m not a virgin, certainly not pure, but I am new and for this time, I can choose to wait for him. I’m more than a body, I am a beautiful mind, a precious soul and a spirit in communion with the God of all creation! I will gladly share a little bit of all that’s in me with any man bold enough to hang with me for a while, but I’ll reserve the best of me for the last man I will ever love. I belong to him, and I wait for him. He’s looking for me and he’ll find me, or… maybe he is already looking out for me and just needs to figure stuff out, so I wait... And while I do I guess I’ll write about a lot of sex and dating, cause while I do not want to be single for long, it does have its moments of awesome.
The greatest man I ever knew...
On this day eighty-six years ago the greatest man I ever knew, and likely will ever know, was born to an immigrant family of Italians in the tenements of Pennsylvania. Everything I learned about what a real man should be was learned at his feet.
He was a feisty boy, youngest of ten, born to parents who spoke no English. His dad worked the coal mines of Pennsylvania and probably died from black lung. Grampa remembered his dad coming home from the coal mines one day, dirty, exhausted and drinking milk. My grampa wanted it and… so he asked, and… so his dad gave him the milk.
As my grampa relayed the story, he stopped to collect himself. Seventy years later and he was still humbled about taking a refreshing drink from an exhausted man’s hand. Up to that point I’d never seen my grampa cry. I don’t know exactly why but I think that was a pivotal moment in his life. Not that he took the milk but that a man who had already worked so hard and done so much to take care of his family sacrificed his moment of refreshment for the simple pleasure of another.
I imagine my great-grandpa was as wonderful a man as my grandpa, but I never knew him, only Grampa.
And what a man to know!
Dignified… so dignified! Respected, admired and well thought of. He was no buffoon and yet he could make everyone laugh with his quick wit, magical tricks, stories and jokes. From the boat, classroom, pulpit, social event, dinner table or anywhere, he always carried himself in a way that commanded respect without alienating anyone or disgracing himself.
Faithful… so faithful, to his friends, to his congregations, co-workers, grandchildren, children, wife and most of all God. Never once have I heard anyone say anything remotely untoward about his character or integrity. His biggest downfall was believing others held the same standards.
Smart… so smart! He was a lover of learning; science, math, fishing, the Bible, technology. Always bettering himself, never letting moss to grow, encouraging everyone around him to know more. He would take it in and then share his knowledge, like he did the rest of his life, with those around him.
Kind… so kind! He talked to the down-trodden and the most elite in society with the same affect and demeanor. He took time to pull nickels from a child’s ear or give them a piece of candy from his pocket or slowly, patiently help a little old lady up a ramp with her walker. He did not judge prostitutes, drunks, thieves or wayward prodigal grand-daughters when they decided to come home. He believed, through the cross, everyone was allowed forgiveness and that all men deserved kindness shown to them.
Firm… so firm, never wavering from the tenants of his faith or a well-planned decision once he set his mind on it. Never giving in to popular opinion to keep a following or please a superior. Prepared to deliver a tough, honest moment of correction but always in a way that left the hearer feeling better for having been reprimanded or stronger for having been corrected or directed under his guidance.
Busy… so busy, being active, productive, mindful and intentional about life. Maybe he did work too much, but I never remember feeling like he didn’t have time for me, because when he was with you, he was WITH you! You mattered, he welcomed you with bright eyes that said, I have so much to do but, right now, “I am excited to see you!” Everyone was worth his time whether it was a moment of passing in a hall or a lazy conversation on a potluck Sunday or a story recounted from his squeaky office chair that somehow related to your own life, but you didn’t realize he was reading your mail until later.
Most of all godly… he was a good, godly man. He shared stories of frustrations, difficulties and trials with work and ministry and family. What struck me was that he filtered everything through what he knew of Christ’s character. He didn’t always hit the mark but he tried to serve Christ well in all his dealings with people, his intention was to be like Christ. That didn’t mean he was always loved, or his ideas were always chosen, or his family (particularly a stubborn grand-daughter hell-bent on figuring life out her own way) listened to his wisdom, but it meant his focus was on doing right, first by God, then by man.
He’s almost eight years gone and I still think of him close to daily. I’m grateful for having such an amazing man in my life. I miss him! Happy Birthday Grampa!
Seventeen years CLEAN!!!!
There are many things in the Bible I don’t understand but one part I’m absolutely 100% in disagreement with. 1 Corinthians 15:19 says: “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, makes me feel like my faith is only good for a future hope in an after-life with Christ. It sounds like choosing to be a Christian is a sad, sorry choice that leaves me to be looked upon with pity.
Why would the apostle Paul write that? Why would he think if our hope was only for this world we ought to be the most pitied of all people? I suspect it’s because he was who he was. I suspect many of my brothers and sisters feel the same way. I suspect for them; the words are true, this life is less than what they can imagine in heaven. This life is full of pain and sorrow, rules and restrictions. I don’t fault them for their ideals, but for me, maybe for all recovering addicts, if only for this life I have hope in Christ I’m not to be pitied, I think I ought to be admired.
Let me explain…
Seventeen years ago this month, I was a drug addict, a pretty bad one actually. I smoked weed daily, most days multiple times a day. My rule was, as long as I wasn’t doing it in the same room as my infant and toddler boys I was being a responsible parent. It wasn’t just weed either. There were random Coke parties, with a little Crack thrown in for good measure, there were pill parties… I still don’t know what I took at most of those. Then there was Meth, ohhhhh, how I loved those beautiful chunky rocks that cut into the perfect powdery lines of heaven! The rules were a little more flex with Meth. As long as I wasn’t smoking it, the kids couldn’t get a contact high, and it’s not like a blind toddler or innocent infant even knew what their mom was doing anyway, right?! So most of the time I was in another room, but I’m not going to lie, there were times, I was shoving something up my nose with my kids or someone else’s in the same room.
That wasn’t so bad, really, that was the good part! The high, the deep thinking, sensual feeling, all night tweaking, goosebump-having, heart racing, body shaking, highs were quite lovely. I loved them. I craved them. I needed them. I was devoted to them. They mattered more than my boys, my family, my friends, my safety, my self-respect, more than anything. I would lie, cheat and steal for my fix. … and then the crash or the end of the stash always came.
I hated that… being out, fiending, knowing I needed a fix that I couldn’t get. Knowing what would come without it. Worrying, crying, fighting, screaming, begging for more. Swearing to myself and a God that, at the time, I questioned existence in, that I’d get clean and never, ever, ever do it again… after this one last time. Always after this one time.
And then the month of May came…
In this month seventeen years ago I traded my sorrow, my shame, my sickness, my Pain, my addiction for a slow waxing faith in the One true King. I believe we are spiritual beings and in a God that is more than just for this life. I believe in a risen Savior that came to give us a new life in the hereafter. But I also believe that in this month, seventeen years ago He reached down, in His sovereignty, into my life. I heard no audible words, saw no visions, signs or supernatural hoopla, just a simple, silent nudging at my heart one gentle evening after I’d put my boys down for the night for yet another episode of debaucherous festivities.
It was a chance at freedom. One shot. I felt it in my blood and bones and heart and withered soul. I wasn’t out of my stash, I wasn’t fiending, I wasn’t withdrawing, it was a pretty sweet stretch for what life was for me at the time. But I knew God was giving me a chance… and so… I took it!
The second chance, not the hit.
I passed, just like that, I said no thanks. I started a new life, clean. It was a whirlwind. But if only for this life I would take Christ’s offer over and over again. See, I don't think Paul's words are necessarily wrong so much as they are spoken from a man who probably never knew addiction, but rules and legalism. To be bound to the rule of a God may seem like a thing to be pitied, unless you've been fettered to a force much more sinister and unforgiving. I was a slave, I am free now. My worst days, (there have been three that really tip the scale since choosing Christ), even those three absolute worst days are a walk in the park compared to the way I was before. If only for this life I am saved, I am grateful. I am a rare and wonderful statistic of overcoming methamphetamine addiction. It all comes down to a man dying on a cross, saving the world and one little, tiny soul that will ever and always be grateful and pledge my allegiance to Him for this second chance. May I use it well!
On to 18 years clean!
Because addiction is near and dear to my heart, it makes sense one of my real-life romances would center around addiction and overcoming. My books, as they are now, will only be on sale through May 31st. If you've meant to get them, this is the last chance as they are. I will be working to re-publish and while I'm determined I'm not super fast so it might be a while. All that to say, get 'em now or wait on me, haha!
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