Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Journey to Chastity

Hey everyone! Karen here again. I introduced myself the other day. Today I thought that I would share with you all how I came to care about chastity. I wanted to share with you my own journey to understanding and appreciating the gift of my sexuality. It has been a long journey and one that I am still on.

After 25 rocky years of marriage, my parents divorced. That was just four years ago. My mom and dad were good parents who loved their four children very much, but they were not so good at being husband and wife. They were not able to set a good example of marriage for my siblings or I. I got two very different messages on sexuality from my parents. My mom told me all the good stuff like, “You are a precious treasure and if a guy really loves you he will love ALL of you, not just parts of you.” “If a guy really loves you he won’t pressure you to have sex. He’ll wait until he has committed himself to you forever in marriage.” On the other hand, my dad caused me to have the impression that all men look at women the same –“Guys will be guys,” “We like to look at women and we like the women who are thin and sexy the best,” “Don’t try to change us, accept us for who we are.” "You are a treasure, but just make sure you stay fit and don't let yourself go, or else. . . " These are the types of things my dad would say to me and the type of lies I half-way bought into. The other half bought into the things my mom told me. I wanted to believe my mom, but I mistrusted her wisdom because of the things my dad would tell me. I was confused.

I decided to listen to mom because her message range true in my heart. I committed myself to living a chaste life. Well, living chastity through high school was pretty easy because I never dated anyone. Chastity is easier to live when you are not in a relationship because you just have to worry about yourself. You don’t have to try and convince a boyfriend to live it with you. I just never found a guy that was mature enough to treat me with the respect I knew I deserved.

I had my first serious relationship the summer before college. The guy’s name was Curtis. At first things were great! He treated me really good. He waited a whole month to kiss me for the first time. We went off to the same college together. I wish I could say things remained innocent and good, but they did not. Curtis and I never discussed boundaries in our relationship and because I liked Curtis so much and thought he really liked me, I comprised myself. We never had sex, but we did things beyond the proper boundaries for a young dating couple. What I thought was an expression of our love for each other soon felt like regret and guilt. I tried to talk to Curtis about it, but it was just too awkward for both of us. Our relationship began to suffer. We didn’t talk anymore and we grew apart. After 7 months, we broke up. I was left with a wounded heart that still from time to time bleeds. You never get over your first love completely.

To help heal the hurt, I had a few flings in the following months. None of them were healthy. They were all dumb. I was using them to fill the void that now existed in me. They did not help me heal at all. I decided to stop dating and let God help me heal. I decided to give myself time to figure out who I was as a woman. I transferred colleges. I started attending a great Catholic college that was eight hours away called Franciscan University. For the first two years, I did not date anyone.

In the spring of my junior year of college, I studied abroad in Gaming, Austria. This was such an exciting time in my life. It was so much fun getting to travel all around Europe! It was there that I took a course titled Christian Marriage. This class did a lot for me. It was the first time I came in contact with the Church’s beautiful message on the meaning and purpose of human sexuality and marriage.

And, it was there that I met Francesco. Francesco was from England and he had the cutest British accent. He worked at the university over there in Austria. When we only had a week left of school over there, he bravely told me that he liked me and wanted to keep in touch with me. We gave the long distance a try. Again, Francesco was so sweet and very kind to me! I was his first serious relationship and his first kiss. Again, because I liked him and thought he really liked me, I compromised myself physically thinking it was an expression of our affection for one another. I convinced myself that this time it was okay. This time it was different than with Curtis because Francesco was much more kind, he was Catholic AND we were not going as far as Curtis and I had! But again, guilt and regret soon followed and again it was awkward to talk about it. Regret and guilt made me feel insecure about our relationship and made me act in a way that was not myself. After a year and two months, I got a “dear john” letter in the mail from Francesco informing me that he didn’t think we that we had enough in common. I wrote him a letter back in which I agreed. I initially felt the hurt and pain of yet another failed relationship, but nothing hurts as much as the first time and as time passed God granted me His peace. That was just about a year ago.

I have had to learn the hard way how much not living chastity hurts. I have ruined two very good relationships through not living it!

This past year was my senior year of college. I decided to make chastity the topic of my senior seminar. I had to do a lot of research and again came in contact with the Church’s beautiful message on the truth and meaning of our human sexuality. This time the message really captured my heart! A passion for chastity and purity flowered in my heart and I yearned to be truly loved by a man in chaste way! I am so thankful for my job as a chastity educator because it gives me a chance to tell my little corner of the world about what I had learned the hard way! Not living chastity only brings regret, hurt and brokenness. Living chastity brings true freedom and joy!

I have recently started dating a guy named John. I have shared with John my desire to live a Christ-like and holy life. He admires me and likes me MORE for this! John has also been waiting for a Godly-woman to come into his life! We are a new relationship and still in the very early stages of our relationship, but things are looking bright for us. We pray together and we are concerned with leading each other closer to God. The lies of my dad will always be in the back of my mind and the distorted message of our society will always surround me, but I have chosen to ignore them and embrace the beauty and truth of my sexuality. I hope you will do the same!

Girls there are good men out there desiring good Godly-woman! And guys there are good girls out there desiring a good Godly-man! Wait for each other!

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