Redeeming Love: Megan’s Thoughts on Purity

March 11, 2010 at 1:00 am (interviews, Purity) (, , , , , , , )

Megan’s Story

Megan Graham, who graciously shared her testimony of God’s beautiful redemption with us, has also answered some interview questions on the subject of purity as it relates to her experience.  We hope you’ll enjoy hearing what she has to share!

Pearls and Diamonds:  When you were 16, were you pursuing purity?

Megan:  When I was a teenager, I didn’t give much thought to biblical purity. My thoughts were limited to general rules such as “premarital sex is wrong”. I don’t remember being challenged to think about what purity means to God or anything beyond physical purity (i.e. emotional, heart, etc.).

P&D:  Did you have any boundaries?

M:  No, I didn’t give much thought to boundaries. I knew I wouldn’t be sexually active before marriage, but I didn’t think about “lesser” things like holding hands or kissing.

P&D:  What boundaries do you think would have been appropriate, looking back?

M: Looking back, I would have no physical contact. No hugs, no holding hands, and certainly no kissing. I would also desire to have very, very limited time alone.

P&D:  Did pride have any bearing on this issue of purity?

M:  Absolutely. I had desires for approval which boil down to pride. Lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life were each contributing sins.

P&D:  When you finally trusted in the Lord fully, was there any sense of “new purity” or a clean slate? How did His redeeming love affect your views on purity or your view of yourself?

M:  It took much, much time for me to come to the point of seeing myself as God did- clothed in the righteousness of Christ. I spent several years trying to earn favor in God’s sight and make up for my sin. Once my eyes were opened to His free grace, I did see myself as a new creation in Christ.

P&D:  Did you expect that God would bring you a husband? Or did you think that that was beyond your reach?

M:  No, I did not expect that God would bring me a godly husband. I didn’t think a godly, Christian man would desire a wife who already had a child. I did think it was beyond my reach.

P&D:  Once Gabe came along, did you approach your relationship with him differently than you had past relationships?

M:  Yes. At that point the Lord had matured me and refined me to a point where I was content to do things God’s way or be single.

P&D:  It may be helpful to describe both the consequences of your sin and the blessings that God brought despite it.

M: An obvious consequence was pregnancy. And yet my daughter is also a gift from God and a tremendous blessing. Only God can take the vileness of sin and bring good from it.

P&D:  Any counsel for girls that are pursuing purity?

M:  Purity is far more than physical boundaries. Keeping your heart and mind pure and undefiled is far more important. The physical impurity won’t happen until after the heart and mind have already been defiled. The consequences from impurity are far reaching. I still have images and phrases that pop into my head from many years ago that I pray God would remove. The vividness of movie scenes or imagery painted by words in a romance novel has the same effect in staining a heart that physical impurity does. I would strongly caution any young woman to seriously consider what she puts into her heart by means of novels, movies, or television.

Thanks Megan!  We praise Yahweh for what He has done in your life!  And we’re quite thankful to have you as a friend!

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Redeeming Love: Megan’s Story

March 10, 2010 at 1:18 am (Purity, stories) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Megan’s Story

Megan Graham is a fellow sister and friend who I have enjoyed getting to know over the past two years. She is a hard-working wife and mother of four (with a fifth on the way!). Abigail and I think her story is absolutely beautiful—a wonderful tale of God’s redeeming love and His power over our sin—whether it is in the open for all to see or hidden in the deep recesses of our hearts. We hope you’ll rejoice in what the Lord has done in her life as you read her story! Here’s Megan:

To write of what God has done in my heart and life, to speak of Him who redeemed me, is truly a joy and an opportunity I’m so very thankful for. While writing out my testimony I’ve been able to review God’s faithfulness, love, and mercy towards me. And there is so very much to speak of! During my review of the abundant grace I’ve been mercifully shown, words penned by William Cowper have run over and over in my mind:

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

I was born 30 years ago in Tulsa and was raised in the same house until I moved away to attend college. My brother is eight years older and my sister two years younger. Early memories consist of my mom taking my sister and me to the little Free Methodist church down the road each Sunday while my dad stayed home. I do not remember too much of the theology I was taught, but distinctly remember learning that Jesus Christ was God’s son and that He died on a cross for sin.

It was during this time period, I’ll say I was around seven years old, that I remember driving home with my mom one evening and asking her something along the lines of “how do I become a Christian or how do I go to heaven?” My mom told me that I needed to acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross for my sin, ask for forgiveness, and ask Jesus into my heart. So, I remember turning to look out the window and praying for Jesus to come into my heart and make me a Christian. I told my mom what I’d done and we soon went to our pastor, who talked with me and shortly thereafter baptized me. I knew the gospel message, but I knew nothing of a holy God, the sinfulness of my sin, nor was I convinced that I deserved punishment for my sin. My life reflected this as I grew.

Although my mother, sister and I attended church often, church was very separate from my home life. My father was, and still is, not a believer. There was no biblical training and little example of godliness. I saw much of the world and the sin of man, both of which were appealing to me. While I was not raised in a Christ-exalting home, I praise God for the parents He purposed to give me. I love them dearly.

As a child, pride was the prominent attitude of my heart. I was involved in many activities; I was a good athlete and made excellent grades. It was easy to think I was the golden child of my family. While I was doing so well in school and getting complimented on what a nice young lady I was, my older brother was an alcoholic and drug addict by the age of 15 and my younger sister struggled terribly in school and was labeled as ADD. I took great pride in being the good girl. I can remember a friend’s mom saying on several occasions, “why can’t you be more like Megan?” And I loved hearing this. Along with a heart full of sinful pride, I longed for the praise and approval of man. I would have said that I wanted to please God, but the attitude of my heart and my actions proved that Megan was the person I wanted to please most. As a teenager I may have performed well, but at home I was a hateful, rebellious girl with a serious attitude.

During this time I was attending an independent Baptist church where knowing the date and time of your salvation was given great importance. I didn’t know that date and time of my prayer as a young child and thus proceeded to walk the aisle and be baptized around the age of 13. J.C. Ryle writes that “men will never come to Jesus, and stay with Jesus, and live for Jesus, unless they really know why they are to come, and what is their need.” I had a date and time to write in my Bible, but I didn’t truly have a need for a savior.

Although I was active in church, the world was so very appealing. I knew full well what was wrong in the sight of God, but I did what was right in my own eyes.

One week after my 16th birthday I found myself sitting in a Planned Parenthood office with a positive pregnancy result and a counselor asking me if I’d like information on an abortion. God graciously pricked my conscious and gave me a heart that knew I would keep the baby. I praise Him for the blessing of a child, even in the midst of sin. My sin grieves my heart, yet I am so very thankful for the gift of my daughter Kaitlin. Children are a gift of the Lord, even to a rebellious, unwed 16 year old child.

Becoming a parent at the age of 16 caused me to grow up fast in some ways; but, more than growing up, it brought out more of my prideful, sin-stained heart. I graduated high school a year early and moved Kaitlin and myself to Norman to attend the University of Oklahoma. My family, friends and even strangers praised me for being such a success story. And remember, I loved to be praised. What people couldn’t see was a heart that was determined to prove to the world and to God that I could make up for my sin. I truly thought I could show a holy God that I was good enough. I put a burden on myself to excel that was very heavy, not to mention impossible.

My time in college was used by God to show me Himself and to open my eyes to the sinfulness of my sin. The Lord surrounded me with believing friends and involved me in a church that challenged me to study scripture. I can’t tell you a specific date or time in which I truly humbled myself before the God of the universe, but I can look back over my life and see this time as a turning point in the desires of my heart.

Shortly after graduating from college I moved back home to Tulsa and began working for a large accounting firm as an auditor. Through events that could only be the meticulous work of God’s providential hand, I became involved in a solid, Bible teaching church and was surrounded by Believers who sought to follow Christ with all of their lives. Many weekends were spent in the home of a Godly family where I saw what God’s design was for a husband, wife and children and how disciples who truly loved the Lord lived lives committed to Christ. Over the next year, God prepared me through His Word, other Believers and books for the next course of my life.

Fourteen months into my career as an auditor, I was married to Gabe, my Beloved, and was able to retire. For the first time in eight years as a single mom, I was able to stay home with my daughter. God is so very good! When married, I left my church and joined Gabe’s Southern Baptist Church. This first year of marriage was difficult, not in terms of my relationship with my Beloved, but because God used it as a time for me to wander in the wilderness, so to speak. I was no longer hearing meaty sermons or being fed spiritually. God showed me that much of my faith had been lived vicariously through the lives of those around me and He graciously and mercifully showed how lazy I was, both spiritually and practically. He caused me to learn to depend on Him and live out my own faith.

Over the past few years I’ve been learning more of the nature of sin, the attributes of God, the Bible, and my own heart. I’ve been challenged in ways that have made Christ increasingly beautiful to me. God has taken me to new depths by challenging me with the words of a dear saint who said, “The great thing about the kingdom is the King!” I remember hearing that and thinking “Is Christ what I’m most looking forward to?”

God has done a mighty work in the heart of this sinner. I can stand before the Lord clothed with the righteousness of Christ. My heart sings a new song:

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

Praise the Lord! Tomorrow we’ll hear from Megan again as she shares with us on the topic of purity.

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