I promised you all that I would talk about this past weekend of retreat today and I will honestly try my best but there is so much I still need to pray through and honestly a lot of healing that comes from past wounds that I thought were already healed. I’m saying these things honestly having no clue where I plan to go with this reflection or what God wants me to share – we shall see!
This weekend was truly a gift. Going in I had so much confusion and frustration in my heart. I felt God calling me to change and grow closer to Him but I had no clue how to do it. After finally getting back into a regular prayer schedule Jesus was revealing so many places in my heart where I needed healing that I didn’t even know still existed and when I looked at all the work that needed to be done in my heart I was starting to feel super despondent. How in the world was I supposed to fix all these things? (note the subject that I used). This weekend was an unfolding of all these things that Jesus revealed my heart. He brought together things that seemed separate and random and brought clarity to a place that once caused anxiety.
I’ve always wondered how, when, and why I was going to share this part of my heart with you all because there has always been so much shame in this aspect of my life. Prior to my reconversion I really, really struggled with the sin of lust. Praise God that He protected me from ever acting on it with men but it manifested itself in other ways and it was so enslaving that I thought I’d never get out of it. It was a crippling sin and it kept me from truly giving my heart to God for almost six years. But then I went on a week-long retreat with Life Teen, discovered the supernatural and unrelenting mercy and love of our Father and He radically healed me. He broke the cycle of sin in my heart and freed me from a sin that I thought was impossible to heal.
Why am I telling you all this now? I thought after that experience that God had completely healed me. I had moved on, matured in my faith, and started to live as a beloved and free daughter of God. Then God started speaking truth into my heart these past couple of weeks. He showed me through prayer, Theology of the Body, and a lot of self-reflection that there was a lot of purifying my heart that still needed to be done. Even after He miraculously cured me a little over two years ago I still felt it was impossible to clean my heart in the way that it needed to be done. Then I went on this retreat, specifically centered on Theology of the Body, and God spoke so much truth into that one lie. See, for those who don’t know, Theology of the Body is essentially an anthropology written by Pope John Paull II all about what it is to be a human person. Using a lot of theology and a lot of scripture he dives deep into what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman and how we are meant to live in relationship with one another – and as a result he had to talk about things like sex and the morality of our desires.
In some ways, this weekend Jesus was calling me out and in others, He was wooing me. He made me realize that after being healed I became scared that I would fall back into the sin I was just freed from. I was terrified of my desires and constantly wondering if they were pure or not and so instead of recognizing them I would just repress them. Except, as we know it, repression definitely only makes things worse. On this Theology of the Body retreat, He showed me there is a beauty in my desires because He placed them on my heart and at their root they are good. He wiped away the shame that has plagued my heart for so long and has prevented me from truly being vulnerable with you all and sharing this aspect of me. He taught me that I don’t need to repress my desires, I simply need to re-order them towards Him and trust that His love is always sufficient. He showed me to be human is good. Our God is a total flirt and to gaze upon Him for so long this weekend and to bask in the love He was pouring out was a true gift. I’m done living in a silent shame. Our God is calling each and every one of us into freedom and I want to accept that call. I talked a little with a spiritual director this week about everything and he told me to know the root of my sin is a gift but know that it isn’t going to be gone in one day. Jesus may have miraculously cured me two years ago but this time He was calling me to do this with Him. Healing from something like lust takes a long time, a lot of prayers, and it is impossible to do it on our own. Now it is my turn to really work at strengthening the free will that God gave me and with His help I can be healed so completely.
My main takeaway from this weekend, “I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is for me” Song of Songs 7:10
Thank you all for taking the time to read this today and if any of you have struggled with lust in any way and feel trapped in sin or shame please reach out to me HERE. It is so hard for women to come out with this problem because it is always preached as a man’s sin and it feels so much dirtier for us. Please know that you are not alone and I am here if you ever need someone!