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“Does Fornication Ruin Your Life Forever?”

We get lots of different kinds of emails at Probe Ministries (www.probe.org), which we are privileged to answer from a biblical perspective on a wide range of topics. In answering this heartbreaking email, I was so glad to bring in the “been there, done that” encouragement of someone who had walked in this girl’s shoes. See for yourself what it looks like when God redeems our sins and our mistakes:

“I recently had a child outside of marriage. I knew what to expect from my family, with feelings of disappointment all round, but they have grown to be supportive and love my daughter. Although they seem to have accepted the new lifestyle I will lead, I myself cannot come to terms with things.

“I constantly go over my mistakes, wishing I could rewind time. I would have done so many things differently. I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for a long time but I feel we have made so many mistakes. I love my boyfriend to bits and couldn’t lose him after nearly four years of going out and don’t want to make things sound like he is a mistake. Even more so, when I say I wish this situation had never happened, I feel like I am saying that I wish my daughter wasn’t here, which isn’t true because I love her to bits too!

“I can’t rid the shame I feel and felt throughout pregnancy. Not only that, but my personal dreams have been affected. By now, I always imagined I’d have a big house, be well into my career and be married with a good Christian man. Instead everything is the total opposite and I feel I no longer have a purpose to serve or way to enjoy life. I feel I’ve ruined everything.

“I feel alone, hopeless, depressed, and unloved. My boyfriend wants us to get married, go back to church and get our lives back on track but I don’t know how to because all I feel is constant pain and reminders of what I’ve done. After all, the baby has to be a reminder and I can’t forget her. I feel like my mistakes will affect my life forever.

“When will the sun shine for me? I can’t take much more of these cloudy days?!”

You have touched my heart with your letter. I am so sorry for the pain you are going through, but I have such good news of comfort and HOPE for you! I have a dear friend in our church who was in your exact shoes. God is using Ellen so mightily now, and blessing her life so much, that when people make a list of who is most used by God in our church, she’s right up near the top—and that is no exaggeration. I asked her to write a response to your letter, which follows my remarks. One thing I want to share is that a mark of maturity is the ability to distinguish between a bad choice you have repented of, and the grace of God giving us good things even as a result of that bad choice—like your precious daughter and your boyfriend. You can say that you sinned, that you made a bad choice, and still embrace the goodness of God in giving you two wonderful people who love you, and they don’t cancel out each other. That’s what grace looks like: God continues to bless us even though we don’t deserve it. He’s such a good and loving God! He is inviting you to enjoy His blessings with a smile on His face—all you have to do is decide to “turn your cup right side up” to receive the joy of those blessings. Also, I strongly encourage you to forgive yourself. That’s really about embracing God’s forgiveness, which He has already given you if you have trusted Christ, but 1 John 1:9 says God not only forgives us, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Make a decision to “turn your cup right side up” to receive His cleansing, which will wash away the guilt and, in time, the shame you carry. Enjoy the letter that follows from someone who is praying for you and absolutely understands you. In His grip, Sue Bohlin


Dear friend,

When I read your email today I could truly sense the sadness and hurt in your heart. I have prayed for you many times today already. I am deeply sorry for your heartache. But I have a message of hope for you: God loves you desperately and He is a God of second, third, and fourth chances. His arms are outstretched to you, just waiting for you to accept His love and forgiveness.

I could understand your pain because my story is similar to yours. I, too, grew up in a strong Christian home. I trusted Jesus as my Savior when I was five years old. As I got older, though, I began to drift away from the Lord.

I, too, got pregnant outside of marriage. I, too, felt like it was unfair that all the other girls who I knew were sleeping with their boyfriends didn’t get “caught.” I felt the course of my life was altered forever. It wasn’t the way I had planned my life. But, I can tell you, I know now that it was a situation that God allowed for my life so that He could be glorified.

I say that because what I came to understand was that I was living my life according to how I thought it should go and doing whatever I wanted. I know now that getting pregnant was God’s way of shaking me by the shoulders and saying, “OK, you did it your way, but I have a better plan for your life. Follow Me now.” I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my precious daughter was a gift from God, not a punishment, to gently push my life back on track. All children are special, but I feel that she saved me from even more potential bad choices had I not become a mother when I did.

I now want to fast forward my life for you eight years. I did marry my boyfriend and we will celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary next month. Our daughter is 7 1/2, and our son is 2 1/2. We are very involved in our church where we serve in the High School ministry. I have shared my testimony several times with many girls. My story, by the grace of God, has been beneficial to many people. I have girls who ask me to keep them accountable for their behavior with their boyfriends. They ask me advice, and God speaks to them through me. Not everyone knows my story, not everyone remembers how my husband and I started out, but, for some, it is a blessing. Maybe God allowed this in my life so I could share my story with you. Maybe there is another girl who you will be able to bless with your story some day.

Satan is the father of all lies and would have loved for me to think that I messed up, so why bother with church, God, or anything like that. He wants you to believe that as well. All your negative thoughts about yourself and situation come from Satan, not God.

God, on the other hand, is the Father in Heaven who loves you so much and wants to pour out blessings on you. Choose to accept His love. Choose to live in His forgiveness. He wants the absolute best for your life. His plan for your life is perfect. While it is hard to understand why He allowed this in your life, focus your attention on Him. Get to know Him. Listen to praise music and praise God. Allow Him to fill you up. Let God fill the void in your heart. After all, He is the only one who can.

Although my husband is a wonderful, fun, sweet, caring man who loves the Lord, if I look to my husband to fulfill all of my needs I will be disappointed. Only God can fulfill my deepest needs and desires. He made us that way.

My story did not turn out great because I married the father of my baby, my story turned out great because I let God lead me and love me. Not all girls in our situations end up marrying their boyfriends, and they can still have a wonderful life and relationship with God.

Some women who have had sex outside of marriage end up with so much guilt that they can’t enjoy a sexual relationship when they do get married. That is not what God intends. Sex is a gift to married couples, and God meant for it to be enjoyed, guilt-free. Pray that when you do marry, you will let God take away your guilty feelings so that you can enjoy an intimate relationship with your husband as God intended. I would encourage you to abstain from sex until you do marry. You can start over.

I would also encourage you to go back to church. Hold your head up high when you walk in the door. God loves you. The creator of the universe cherishes you! He is proud to be your Heavenly Father.

While changing your thinking will not be easy, it can be done. Trust God, pray that you can believe the wonderful things about yourself that He thinks about you. Pray with your boyfriend. Thank God for your precious daughter. Thank God that he shook your shoulders, too! This can be a turning point in your life. Choose to let yourself be loved by God and His people.

I will continue to pray for you, your boyfriend, and your daughter. May the Lord bless you abundantly.

By His Grace Alone,

Ellen

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Sue Bohlin

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can't Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor.

She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her "Proverbs 31 job" while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions.

Sue never met a cruise ship she didn't like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.

5 Comments

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    Sandra Glahn

    Relevant

    Thank you, Sue (and Ellen) for handling with courage and grace a timely topic. Well done.

    May I also recommend reading Psalm 51 and Psalm 32, believed to be David's prayers of repentance after sinning with Bathsheba?

    Also, Heather Jamison lived a similar experience and has gone on to build a Christian compassion ministry to widows and orphans in Kenya. Her book Reclaiming Intimacy is a terrific resource.

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    Chim

    I’ve beat myself up so much,

    I've beat myself up so much, this is the BEST NEWS I have heard. I have to learn to trust God and know He still loves me and is ready to give me another chance. Thank you for sharing your testimony, God bless you

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    zuka

    is it the end of a relationship after we fall into sin?

    Hi, i come from a christian family. i'm lost, i'm confused. i'm miserable.

    It's very long story, hope you can bear with me.

    2 years ago, i commit fornication with my boyfriend whom i have known for about 2 yrs at that time. We just started relationship not long ago when this happened. We were both virgins. We knew each other in church as we served in the same ministry.

    When we began our relationship 2 yrs ago, my parents didn't really like him because before we were in a relationship, my parents feel he didn't pursue me the way they expected a man would pursue their daughter, for eg. he didn't buy me dinner after asking me out, paying for my drinks etc. i feel i was really stupid to tell my parents all these last time. Although i was disapointed at that time, but i could still understand him as we were not in a relationship yet. but after we were together, he did pay for my meals etc. I was very happy with him. He did ask my father's permission to start a relationship with me. My father told him to go slow and want us to get his permission when we go out. So we did. But we were not allowed to go out for long hours.

    I remembered there was one time, we went out  from 2pm-7pm. It was a sunday, we both were not working, we just went to church to serve & after that went to shop at a nearby mall for a while. When we got back, my parents were not happy with us for going out for such a long time and had a talk with him. I felt it was so unfair. We both were adults. I was 27 yrs old then, he was 29yrs old. We didn't do anything wrong. I have always been a good & obedient daughter. When we were still friends, i could go out however long i wanted to, with anyone, but i didn't go out late or simply go out with any man even though i could. i am not the wild kind. Why do they want to make my life so difficult? My boyfriend felt unfair for both of us that my parents treat us this way.

    A few times, we went out longer than my dad allowed,  my dad sent an sms to him telling him not to see me anymore & also told me to stop the relationship. we began to date secretly. That was when we fell into sin. after that, my boy friend wanted to reconcile with my dad and ask him for permission to allow us to be together again. He wants to get married with me. Things really didn't go out way. One night, my parents brought me out to their other apartment, just the 3 of us. They began to asked me whether i am still seeing him and told me tell them everything honestly before God. I was so stupid to confess everything to them. When my parents knew of what we have done, they were furious. They took my handphone away. Force me to break up with him, made me confess & promise God that i will not see him anymore. I tried to contact him, they found out again. At first, i tried to fight back & argued with them. My mother cried & wailed. She didn't want to eat for a whole week. She wanted to die because i was not a virgin anymore. That was when i got so scared & promised them i would stop the relationship.  I was so so scared and depressed. We know we are wrong, we really regret this. We really want to stop fornicating and fix this. We want to get married. But now, it seems we are forbidden.

    That was what happened 2 years ago. We are still together secretly. He didn't want to marry other lady. He just want to be with me but our situation is killing both of us. I can't even mention his name to my parents, my mother wil cry and i am so scared she wil stop eating again like the last time. My dad will blame me for all this. We miss each other so much. We stay in contact through skype & he bought me a secret handphone. We hardly can meet. Mostly we meet after work for about 15mins-30mins then i have to get home because my parents would keep calling me asking where i am. I am not allowed to go out. Everyday, i go to work, then i have to go home. I work for my parents.  If i want to go out anywhere for a movie or walk, i have to ask my brother to accompany me, otherwise, they will keep calling me & scold me. They say God gave me parents to protect me. As long as i am still not married, i am under their protection. What kind of protection is this?? My mom even said to me it's ok if i don't get married, she will leave me some money & a house for me. But i want to get married. Why can't they give us a chance to be together? i feel like running away many times, but i don't have the heart to do this to my parents. I love them and i know they love me.

    What should i do? Are these signs from God that our relationship is not His will that we should stop all these? Please help me.

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