Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Why I Chose Celibacy: My Testimony & What Love's Got to Do With It?

Hey Lovelies!

So...in May 2015, I made a leap. I stepped out on faith and transformed a previous poetry blog into now what is "The #RibLife Journey." The "journey" in and of itself has been tough, up, down, but above all else so worth it. This past weekend some co-workers of mine had brought up my blog at work and asked a question I hadn't really been asked in a long time.

"Why are you celibate in the 21st century?!!"

It was so left and I was so not expecting it, then I realized for the past 4 years, I had been around people that had known me throughout college so I didn't need to explain or talk about my story. Then it hit meI'd never really told my truth about how I got here, to this very moment in my journey. Today's the day I tell it and fly free from the fear of holding that truth in.

Me at 16 yo;
If this little girl only knew what I know now!!!!
When I was about 13, I believe, maybe a day or so after my 13th birthday, my mom sat me down in our living room to talk about "the birds and the bees." I'll never forget that dayI was still playing with Barbies and for some reason had brought two of them to this "house meeting" as my mom would call them for my sister and me. She was really cool about explaining sex. Mom dukes was a mentor in her line of work to teens in local communities and basically, she talked to me like she would themREAL; she didn't sugar coat anything. Some of her last words in that conversation with me were, "You can always come to me for anything. And though I want you to wait until marriage because that's what God wants of us, if you do decide you want to be sexually active, you can come talk to me about it and we'll take the proper steps to make sure you're safe."

I was just about to turn 17 when I lost my virginity.

I was dating this guy who I thought would stop cheating if I'd give him this one thing he was going to other girls for; my self esteem was really low and I was in a really difficult place in my adolescence. I had "friends," but I still felt like a loner sometimes. I didn't always like what I saw in the mirror and it was just really hard. Long story shorthe kept cheating and I broke up with him two months later.

At that point, I went through this internal depression. Here I was 17just broke up with a loser, just gave myself to this loser, was too afraid to talk to my mom because I didn't want to feel like I failed her nor did I want to disappoint her, DEFINITELY wasn't telling my dad because he would've went to jail, told my god sister, but still nothing and no one could understand what I was feeling nor what I was going through internally. I went through most of that time by myself. I cried a lot; I felt broken and hollow. But God said, "You don't have to be."

Fast forward to about a year later, I had healed from that past relationship, was thriving in a way healthier and better relationship, and I was preparing to go off to college. That spring, my mom was talking to me about birth control, but I would always brush it off because despite no longer being a virgin, I still wanted to be one! I didn't actually want to be sexually active AT ALL. Sex did NOT excite me, it did NOT make me feel anything but GUILTY, EMPTY and SINFUL. I got no pleasure out of it and it separated/stopped me from talking to God. It was NOTHING like what society lied to me about! Eventually my parents were actually having yelling matches on why I should or should not be put on birth control and Pops was NOT having it! He called me one afternoon while I was home sick I think from school and was like, "Baby girl, you have a choice! You don't have to go on birth control if you don't want to, especially if you're not having sex." He later told me he wanted me to wait and that he loved me too much to not remind me of the WORTH and VALUE I held within myself. Call it a father's touch or what have you, but that was all I needed to make my decisionmy pop pouring his heart out to me, telling me he wanted me to wait and that he loved me was all the validation I needed.

Since that talk with my old man in 2011, I've been celibate. Have I made mistakes? Yes. Slipped up? ABSOLUTELY! Have I recovered? No doubt. Is it worth it? More than anything. Why?

Because...I found myself. And I found myself when I went before God about my purity. For years, I had been searching for my worth and thought it was in some pubescent relationship. My parents were amazing at being there and always telling me I was beautiful, but in my head, every parent tells their child that! For all I knew, they could've been lying to me because it was a rule of the Parents' Club to tell your kid that, even if it means you're lying. My worth and value wasn't in my parents, and I later found out that it wasn't in a relationship with some little boy, nor was it found in what's between my legs. My worth and value is in God; always has been and always will be.

When I went before God about my decision to be celibate, I expected THE WORST. I actually expected to be struck with some illegitimate baby and thought I would die from some STD. But...He actually embraced me; He was waiting for me to talk to Him. He was waiting for me to repent of my sin so that He could pour out His love to me. Even in that moment of repentance and in the moments to come where I struggled, He reminded me that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). So it didn't matter what I did, so long as I asked for His forgiveness, He had forgiven me and still loved me the same. The moment I repented before Him, my sin was thrown into a sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:19). God did not want me to be bound by my sin; He wanted to free me from that bondage, and when I gave Him control, He did.

Writing this post was hard for me y'allto strip the "image" of what people perceive of you and be honest about the person behind that perception is rough! But I didn't want to be held captive of an expectation of a "cookie-cutter" because I'm not and never will be that person. I'm simply a sinner who is loved by a merciful, forgiving, true, and eternal God...and I am so in love with Him. I also battled with not just telling my truth here, but also to my mom, which I literally did 24 hours ago. I bawled like a baby during their teething stage talking to her; it was ugly. I had prayed before I called her, practiced what I was going to say to her and how I was going to say it, and whether she would hate me or not, I made up in my mind that I would go free after that talk with her. Well because my mom is the REALEST, the moment I finished telling her, she said, "Nic, I love you." Cried even harder man. Looked like I got punched in both eyes after that!

By coming clean about my truth and my testimony, I'm hoping, even if it's one of you reading this, that you find comfort, healing, and your freedom. Being honest with yourself is a divine responsibility; you grant yourself permission and peace to be who you really are. To both my ladies and fellasthis world will tell you so many things about who it thinks you should be. The only truth about who you are is what's in the Word of God. You can search the entire earth for love, your worth, and your validation, but you'll never find it unless you seek Him for it. And no matter what it is you do or have done, there is NOTHING that can or will EVER separate you from the love that God has for you (Romans 8:39). He is willing to reason with you about your situation, willing to cleanse you, heal you, and fix you (Isaiah 1:18, Hebrews 8:12), all we have to do is ask; confess and repent to Him and you're forgiven just like that (1 John 1:9). The whole point of Christ coming was for sinners; He didn't come for the righteous people, the holy than thou people, the "cookie-cutters." He came for the broken girls like me, searching for self esteem in a boyfriend they know doesn't really love them but thinking their love is enough to make him stay. Christ came for the lost young men, abandoned by loved ones who are just waiting on someone to not leave them like everyone else has. Our Savior came for uspeople like you and me; the sinners (Luke 5:32). And I promise you, in Him, you'll find it alllove, peace, healing, joy, forgiveness, freedom, purity, redemptionHe's got it and wants to give it to you. Don't let the sting of guilt or shame stop you from talking with your Father.

He loves you immensely.

You Are Forgiven...now walk in your freedom.
    Stay encouraged friends,
    xo Nic.

    Mom Dukes & Me at a JT concert;
    Love you mom! xo

    Thursday, September 1, 2016

    Dear Nicole...

    I made a promise to you today…
         One that I vow to never break,
         To never lose sight of,
         To never forget,
         To never refuse.

    I vowed to love you unconditionally today…
         To pour out immense healing when you need it,
         To love you harder on the days you need it most,
         To honor you at all times,
         To listen to you even when you bury yourself in the silence,
         To run after you when you try to hide from life,
         To catch you when you fall,
         To show up today, tomorrow, and every other day…

    I won’t ever abandon you.

    You will never be abandoned again.
    God and I vowed to always guard you,
    Protect you,
    And never leave your side.

    Beautiful, you are a hurricane of movement…
         Fluid in love,
                   Flooding in your outpours of it,
                             And powerful in your force of it…
    You break levees of seasonal barriers caused by unattended to hurts,
    You damage roadways leading back to historical fallacies,
    You are a storm—beautiful in all of your loving ways.

    And you deserve to be loved.

    I know you’ve been hurt,
         been lied to
         been disappointed
         been cheated on
         been let down…
         talked about,
    But I won’t do that to you.

    You deserve more.
    Anything less is a disrespect to your humanity.

    Not another day will you have to worry,
    Not another day will you have to search for love,
    Not another day will you have to wonder if your tears have fallen in vain,
    Not another day will you have to scream in silence,
    Not another night will you cry yourself to sleep,
    Not another morning will you wake up feeling forsaken,
    Not another afternoon will you miss the beauty of a sunset—focusing on a lack of love….
    You’ve got it all—love—you always have…
    All you ever had to do was look inward…

    I vow to always love you…
         to see you as magical,
         to see you as divine,
                           as brave,
                           as worthy,
                           as beautiful,
         to see you as pure.

    I vow to always honor you,
         to always cover you,
                         respect you,
                         value you,
                         adore you.

    I vow to always find you especially in those dark places when you go astray,
          forgetting there’s a redemption for you,
             to remind you of the light shining bright within you.

    I vow to always find the beam in how you smile,
         the shine in how you sparkle—you’ll never again have to rely on any man for that, you’ll never have to rely on them to remind you of such because you’ve got me for that.

    Black girl, you are magical!
         Even when the world tries to downplay it,

    I promise…I pinky promise, like the one Jesus made with God to look pass your sin and still die for you…
    I promise…to love you unconditionally.

    Love Always & Forever,