If you want to win the battle for sexual integrity, you must let go of past emotional pain. Maybe a father who was absent, either emotionally or physically, wounded you. Maybe the distance in your relationship with your mother left you feeling desperately lonely. Perhaps your siblings or friends never treated you with dignity or respect. If you were abused in any way (physically, sexually, or verbally) as a child, maybe you have anger and pain that has yet to be reconciled.
Perhaps old lovers took advantage of your vulnerabilities, strung you along, or were unfaithful to you. Or maybe you’ve never understood why God allowed ___________to happen (you fill in the blank). Regardless of its source, we must surrender the pain from our past in order to stand strong in the battle for sexual and emotional integrity.
It took me a long time to let go of the pain of losing my eight-year-old sister when I was only four and to forgive God for allowing her death. I had difficulty forgiving the eighteen-year-old boy who coerced me into bed when I was only fourteen. And it took me years to release the bitterness and anger I felt toward my father for being so emotionally disconnected from me. I eventually found God’s grace for every person who had ever left me, let me down, or offended me in any way. But forgiving myself for the poor choices I’d made throughout my life seemed to require far more grace than I could muster. Whenever I would reflect on what I’d done, I would think, I can’t believe how stupid I’ve been. I should have known better. No one could possibly love me if they knew all the things I’ve done.
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.