Purity and Other Prudish Pursuits: The Price of Knowledge and the Cost of Ignorance

C31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””- John 8:31-32

We’ve heard it said that “knowledge is power”. I have wondered over the past few months, how this pertains to my sexuality as a single, celibate Christian who fully believes in God’s plan for sex and emotional/sexual purity. In addition to this, how does one who has never engaged in sex or has not been raised to have healthy sexual conversations navigate the path to becoming informed?

The search for information is a somewhat precarious journey when clear boundary lines within which you must remain are set out. This is a resounding truth today, as we exist in a hyper-sexual society where one can obtain secondary information at the click of a screen. There’s an abundance of useful information about sexual health and sexuality at our fingertips, but just around the corner lurks a dark world of exaggeration, misinformation and outright “sex abuse”. To find the knowledge that will equip us requires wisdom, openness and perhaps the willingness to take risks and make mistakes.

I think about the struggle most Christian singles experience in trying to remain pure before God despite our urges and inquisitiveness. A mentor once told me that many Christians look forward to marriage for the sole reason of being able to finally have sex. I was shook! And very naive at times. I’d like to believe that marriage has more to offer us than just sex.

Could it be that one of the reasons we struggle so much is because we still maintain a perverted viewpoint of sex? Perhaps our minds need renewal, recasting the old with the new. New ideas, new convictions and renewed intentionality, allowing for the lies we have given free reign to consume the dark corners of our minds and hearts to be dislodged.

My next few words are for the prudes among us. The ones who will the earth to open up and swallow them whole at the very mention of the word ‘sex’. The ones who’ve chosen disillusioning ignorance until their wedding night. Ignorance is not bliss, my friend. Running away from something in fear of “falling into sin” is not always helpful. Yes, keep sin at bay, but realise that you have the Spirit of God in you which liberates you from the chains of self-destruction. Instead of doing everything in your power to avoid the slippery slope, it’s possible that having a perspective of the beauty of sex in marriage may inspire you to hold onto the gift of purity with honour, courage and hopeful anticipation.

As Christians, we need to build a more inclusive narrative around sexuality. If I asked the majority of abstinent men and women within the Church what their main reason for not having sex was, I can guarantee you that too many would say “because God said so”, or something to that effect. Blanket, automated responses like this with no depth or insight are just not going to cut it anymore. “Because God says so” was never a good enough reason to avoid sex. In choosing this approach to life, there’s an element of self that is often abandoned in our failure to unearth the truths about issues that directly affect our biological makeup.

So why? Why did God say so? Can you answer this question and speak based on the knowledge of your body, your proclivities and your human needs? Have you, through experience and knowledge, uncomfortable conversations and investigations, built the necessary armor of truth to win the battle against impurity and deception?

Do not give the devil a foothold over your mind.

Seek the whole truth while it may be found.

Purity and Other Potentially Prudish Pursuits : Part 1

I am a 27-year-old virgin. I am also a Christian. I’m yet to decide whether or not these two facts are related. I am also single(unmarried), and sometimes I think this has more to do with my choice to abstain than my religious beliefs. Being a virgin is neither something I am proud of nor ashamed of. I don’t wear a badge that declares this like a personal emblem. I don’t believe I am better than anyone who has compromised themselves sexually(and of course this is subjective). I don’t like you any more or any less based on our differing views on sex. My sexuality does not define me. I, like every other human being, have free will.

My feelings about my sexual experiences (or lack thereof) are neutral by virtue of the fact that I have accomplished very little (LOL) and have few regrets relating to sex. Sometimes I do wish I had lived a little more on the edge and kissed a few more boys but that’s more juvenile than anything. I don’t derive my self-worth from my sexual prowess. Though I do accept that each of us wants to be desirable and/ sexually appealing (me included), I don’t think being defined as a “sex symbol” helps anybody sleep better at night. In fact, I doubt these things fundamentally change the way we view ourselves. Our sexual exploits may temporarily create feelings of satisfaction, increased self-worth or shame and guilt and these feelings may be short lived, depending on the permission we give them to speak to the core of who we are as divine image-bearers of God.

I wasn’t raised by parent’s that spoke about sexuality extensively. I distinctly remember my Mum informing my sister and I that she wanted us to be virgins when we got married… How that would be achieved, heaven only knows. Furthermore, I’m not sure how or where our own ideas and desires fit into this declaration. With my Mum, there were many vague conversations about “don’ts” and “should nots” ( but unfortunately not enough “dos”) that I recall, but none of them were of much help because they never answered the “why?” questions.

Why should I be married to have sex?

Why are my consensual sexual experiences of any concern to those around me?

Why aren’t boys/men held to the same standards of purity as girls/women?

Why are parents/guardians too afraid to teach us the ways in which sex is healthy and good for relationships?

My views on sex have predominantly been shaped by Biblical principles regarding the gifts of purity and sexual intimacy and what I understand about myself, my needs and my boundaries.

The World today is saturated with messages about sex and sexuality. From Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood sex symbols, to LGBTQ+ Rights protests, to Purity Movements, to illicit twerking videos, to sexual abuses within communities and the Church, the #MeToo Movement and many, many more. Most people simply cannot avoid being influenced by what we see and hear in the media relating to sex. If I have learnt anything from this, it’s that when I have looked to the World for a consistent truth on sex, I’ve wound up very confused. The World is full of double standards, incongruent messages and contradictions about sex and sexuality. Sexuality is seen as a spectrum, a continuum of sorts that can be redefined as one pleases. For many people, their sexuality strongly informs what they believe about their identity.

On the flip side, the World has also brought to light, the dangers of FGM, child marriages, sexual autonomy and consent, the need for both men and women to experience sexual satisfaction in relationships and the importance of unbiased sex education. In many ways, the vocality of the media has challenged the Church to speak up about sexual matters. These messages may not always be considerate but our silence is no longer an option.

With all the opinions and perspectives thrown at anyone who is willing catch them, I choose to depend on the unchanging truth of God’s Word and my convictions to keep me from drowning in the flood of half-truths and inconsistencies currently on offer. I want to find allies in my pursuit of truth and sexual freedom. Men and women who are willing to have healthy, candid conversations about this amazing gift that we so often abuse and fear as a result of our ignorance and shame…

Leaving

“A projection into the future of things hoped for.”
I don’t  wait for you anymore
I don’t wait for your call
I don’t wait by our window
Poised as the first thing you’ll see when you walk through the door
I don’t wait for your eyes to light up
When I tease you or talk smack
In your little black Ford with your guitar in the back
I’m not waiting like a fool
For a chance encounter on Main
Or for the sun to set
In anticipation of when next  we’ll meet again
I’m learning not to look for you
In every beautiful thing I see
In all the love songs
And melodies sweet
I’m not trying to recreate our own, in the stories I’ll read
To fabricate a non-existent space, or fulfill a deep need
I’ve abandoned these idiosyncrasies
To keep in tune with my new normal
Staying present, not wrapped in fantasies
Cocooned to escape that painful turmoil
My heart’s taking a liking
To this new tune
Barred by an existence
That no longer includes you.

“Children do not deserve privacy,” and other abusive myths masked as good parenting — RaceBaitr

Content Warning: This post contains descriptions of abuse against women and children There have been many good men in my life. The last conversation I had about my ex-stepfather was with a friend who felt I should stop being so hard on men. He thought my ex-stepfather deserved the benefit of doubt because he provided…

via “Children do not deserve privacy,” and other abusive myths masked as good parenting — RaceBaitr

Over a Chai Latte

 

Image result for chai latte starbucks

 

We sat across each other, not knowing that this was the beginning of an overstretched end. Perhaps an over-extension of grace, time, emotions, effort?

It was over a chai latte (which happened to be the wrong order) that the unraveling of  our story resumed. We had taken time out from each other, a lot of time. And somewhere along the way I had convinced myself that it was enough time to lay an unbreakable foundation and build the fortress around myself that would hide me safely away from all the things about you that I could not defend myself against before then. It was just one drink after all. There would be no damage to repair thereafter, or so I hoped.

Yet with you, there are always reparations to be made once I have opened myself up to the mere possibility of us. I am never the same girl once I have sat across from you, or read your text message, or seen your smile, or made you laugh. Something in me always shifts. I move closer to you, and strangely, I move closer towards myself. I shift towards wanting to tear down those so neatly laid bricks, and immersing myself completely into this crazy whirlwind called you and I. All the things I think will reinforce my stance and galvanize my resolve against you begin to crumble until I start to question everything once more.

When I’m with you, it doesn’t matter that the waiter brought me the wrong drink or that the hairdresser pulled my braids a little too tight. Because I’m with you. I suddenly lose interest in everything that doesn’t concern you or the way your eyes light up when we rediscover that we have a lot more in common than we are often able to admit. I love how you cautiously ease into regaining your confidence in what is so obvious to us both and doesn’t need a thesis to explain. It’s the progression  from that initial awkward apprehension, to the light bulb turning on, to hesitant but deliberate fireworks,  to our playful banter and familiar exchanges, to our loaded questions. Loaded because some things between us are undeniable and some are so uncertain. The ambivalence of these polar opposite forces weighs heavily on us, our brains churn as we attempt to demystify all the erected barriers that have kept us apart.

We’ve never quite gotten to  the point of investigating how real the uncertainties actually are. Will we buckle under the pressure of knowing how our differences could so easily rip us apart? Can we stand the unavoidable strain brought on by two people trying to explore what their connection actually means but knowing if there is a chance for more? How vulnerable are we willing to get? Are you too good to be true, like my mind keeps telling me? Is my heart deceiving me and have I completely lost it?

Over a chai latte, the more self-aware, healed, knowledgeable and mature version of myself rediscovered this irresistable pull towards you. It’s not books that we have in common, we have each other in common. My soul sees you, my spirit resonates so deeply with who you are, my heart loves you so fiercely that I’m not sure which parts of myself I’d still be able to distinguish from you if the universe decided that I was finally ready for you.

I’ve never felt so unlike myself, so hopeless, so lost. All the pain that I’ve known, subsequent to losing you, has had a multiplicative effect on me, pushing me further away from understanding and clarity. At every corner that I turn, I’m not hoping to see Amanda’s little black Ford winding down the road anymore, I’m hoping to see you crack the door open to let some of your light through, I’m hoping this gesture is your way of beckoning me in again.

Over a chai latte, I reconnected with and somehow managed to lose you.

 

 

 

 

Baggage from my Broken Home

baggage

My parents split up when I was in grade three. We had recently moved back to Zambia and suddenly, my dad was moving to Windhoek. I was devastated. I think my younger sister was always the daddy’s girl from the looks of things, but at my core, I have always believed that I am the daddy’s girl.

It must have been at some point when I was in grade four, my mom had traveled out of town for work and my aunt was babysitting us for a couple of days. I had a mini breakdown and just started weeping for my dad. I don’t know what hit me in that moment, maybe it was the reality of not having both of my parents at home. Even though my mom was coming back, my little heart couldn’t quite handle the loss of both of my parents.

I’m grateful that my dad always reminded us that their split was NOT OUR FAULT and that he loved and still loves us. I was saved from potential feelings of guilt and abandonment (even though I don’t think I completely escaped this one, sadly). I know my dad loves me and that it’s hard you know? To have to protect the hearts of two little precious girls when you are so ill equipped to do so and are very broken yourself. I have a lot of grace towards my dad, he did the best with what he knew, and from the looks of things, it wasn’t much ☹

Fast forward to the future…

I think because my parent’s marriage ended way before they probably knew it themselves (the signs are always there), I was too young to process or deal with the repercussions of their decision. I remember when my parents officially divorced, I must have been in grade 7 or 8. It was a painful ending, despite being long overdue… I probably started and stopped crying about it in junior high school. I’ve never really thought about the impact that divorce has had on me since then, until like a week ago.

I’ve known I have “daddy issues” and life-traps for a while but my relationship sabotaging skills have reached gold-medal status and have forced me to dig deeper into how divorce has shaped my view of love and my view of God.

Of late I have been very angry at God and numb at the same time. I feel like I have been hiding under a rock with very little strength to give of myself emotionally. I sabotaged yet another relationship and the post-trauma has just left me feeling so tired. Like, wtf do I keep doing this?? You’d think I’d have this part of my life figured out by now… I guess I need to stop trying to cure my pain with the same poison.

 

Since I started to think about the real meaning behind marriage and understanding why I want to be married someday, I have low-key believed that I don’t deserve a good man and that I will always be less than impressed by the men God allows into my life. I have always thought that God is holding out on me, like I will be short-changed. This was all before and after I met Jacob* (one of the biggest ironies of my life to date). I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I always felt like I would have to settle for some corny dude with no swag or sense of excitement until about two weeks ago. A conversation I had with a friend about therapy actually revealed some things about old hurts.                             I think God is holding out on me because I have this unwavering belief that my marriage has no chance of surviving, at least not if I can help it. Because my family ties are mostly strings of divorces and remarriages and more divorces. Divorce feels like a strand in my DNA, like a family curse, like the monster after lights-out that never fails to reappear. I am deeply afraid of the devastation of another failed relationship in which I am directly involved. So, I kill the ones that so much as look like potential. And you know you really have a problem when your fear snatches you away from exactly what you want. Like it’s right there, and it’s making no attempts to push you away or run away, yet you still punch away and hit it where it hurts the deepest and you feel justified in your actions until you have shredded it to pieces with your words and can’t undo the ghastly mess you have created around you. That is what showed me that I have a major problem. I will sabotage every good thing that comes my way if I continue to haul in the baggage from my broken home along with me…

Spirit Move

I must constantly remind myself that nobody is coming to save me, Jesus has already done all of this. No relationship and no man, can create any lasting changes to the level of happiness and joy that I have not sought after on my own.
My life will never be perfect, and it’s neither mine nor God’s job to perfect my life on this Earth. Rather than seek perfection, I will seek righteousness, peace and joy; fruits of the Holy Spirit that will always be available to me as I remain under the covering of God’s love.
Under trial, I must remember that my struggles are not death sentences, determining ultimate doom and gloom over my life. They are not even unique to me alone. I must somehow gain enough discipline to compartmentalise the negative impact that difficulty brings with it so that I am still believing in the goodness of God and not allowing my world to fall apart at the experience  of a few disappointments.
To walk by faith means that sometimes I will have to give into blindly and boldly trusting in God, while not knowing where I am being led. Walking by faith doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit will reveal every step of God’s plan to me beforehand, no matter how intently I listen out for a word from Him. It means that I must carry on and trust that I will never be led to a place where God cannot be found.
I will often have unfulfilled desires, and sometimes this will frustrate me. But the intensity with which I desire things or people must not supercede my desire for God. I will delight in the Lord, and He will give me what I want and most importantly what I need.
In the battle between the truth and my feelings. The truth always wins. The truth always wins. Even when I am unprepared to accept it,  the truth always wins.

Escape

“Escape”- by Kehlani

Never did I think I’d want you
Always seen you ’round my way
Never had the strength to tell you
I kinda, sorta think you’re great

Strange for me to wanna love someone who’s better by themselves
Hate to know I made you crazy for myself

‘Cause I don’t want you thinking that my love’s in vain
‘Cause, baby, I’ve been falling for you but falling back up out your way

‘Cause I can’t let you lose yourself looking for me
And I can’t let you make me your, your everything
I just wanna be an escape
I just wanna be an escape
Baby, can we escape, escape, escape?

Admiring you from a distance
Scared to go and make a move
Didn’t wanna be distracting
You be all up in your groove

It’s strange for me to wanna love someone who’s raw by themselves
I’d hate for you to search for someone else

‘Cause I don’t want you thinking that my love’s in vain
Baby, I’ve been falling for you but falling up on out your way

‘Cause I can’t let you lose yourself looking for me
And I can’t let you make me your, your everything
I just wanna be an escape
I just wanna be an escape
Baby, can we escape, escape, escape?

Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, aye, aye
‘Cause I’ve been staying low, holding back
Fighting the feelings that you’ve been giving
And I’ve been trying to put it all into words
But I can’t so I’m singing

I don’t want you thinking that my love’s in vain
Baby, I’ve been falling for you but falling back up out your way

‘Cause I can’t let you lose yourself looking for me
And I can’t let you make me your, your everything
I just wanna be an escape
I just wanna be an escape
Baby, can we escape, escape, escape?

O Come to the Alter

O Come to the Altar
Are you hurting and broken within?
Overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?
Jesus is calling
Have you come to the end of yourself
Do you thirst for a drink from the well?
Jesus is calling
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Leave behind your regrets and mistakes
Come today there’s no reason to wait
Jesus is calling
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy
From the ashes a new life is born
Jesus is calling
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Oh what a savior
Isn’t He wonderful?
Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen
Bow down before Him
For He is Lord of all
Sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen
Oh what a savior
Isn’t He wonderful?
Sing hallelujah, Christ is risen
Bow down before Him
For He is Lord of all
Sing Hallelujah, Christ is risen
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
O come to the altar
The Father’s arms are open wide
Forgiveness was bought with
The precious blood of Jesus Christ
Bear your cross as you wait for the crown
Tell the world of the treasure you found
I love this song, it has really spoken to my heart at a time when I feel like I have lost my heart for God and for myself. “Are you hurting and broken within, overwhelmed by the weight of your sin?” Yes, that’s me. I am literally waiting on God to do what is impossible for me and any other person on this planet to do. 2017 ended with me feeling so lost and filled with so many doubts about my future with God, His heart for me and whether I even believed in this God.
My prayer for this year is to go on an adventure with God, to see Him in a new light, to experience Him with a new and refined sensitivity. My prayer is to really surrender my whole life and whole heart to Him, to hold nothing back. My prayer is to let go of the demons that I have entertained in the past 5 years and truly repent, truly change my mind about my destructive beliefs, to truly expect better from God.
I want to believe that I deserve better, that I deserve only the best. I need to believe that God will give me the desires of my heart and that anywhere He leads is worth following. I need God to be VERY REAL to me this year. I need You to come through, God.

Je pleure. Je suis indisponible.

black girl cry

I’ll cry you a river at the source of my pain.

Where my hopes and dreams died and were buried without names.

I want to cry a mound of tears and finally be rid of all the hurt.To be washed and cleansed of all the words you spoke, of the things you wrote me. ‘Til I’m as blank as white stained linen, soaked in purifying bleach.

Oh the wounds of love, how terrified they’ve left me

Unarmed and helpless. Ill equipped against this assailant,  my enemy.

The reminders of your beautiful countenance. How safe and secure you left me feeling. Still in too deep, unsure if I can tell what’s false from the real. My heart has left me. Lights on, false hope. Nobody’s home.

I want to cry until my tears morph into invisible sobs

With rings that only my ears can feel.

Cry to process.

Cry to surrender.

Cry to forget.

Kohl smudged and soaked in my salty mess. My memories fade with the darkness. Healing feels so distant, so far out of my reach. Beyond these blurred images I fail to see. More real than the wonders I once believed.

I want to cry you a river

And empty out all that I feel.

To pour out of this shattered vessel

The things I can’t bear to remember.