The Unspoken Fall
Six years is a long time. It took six years for the Axis powers to surrender to the Allied powers to end World War II. A senator represents their state for six years. Once a child is six years old, they can walk, talk, run, jump and feed them self. In six years, you can cultivate a shame that takes over your every thought, that keeps you up at night, that eats away at you piece by piece until you have nothing left to feel. You can begin to look at yourself in the mirror and not recognize the person staring back at you. You can convince yourself that you will never be worthy of a husband, that you will never be good, that you can never be clean again. You can begin to believe you will never be set free from that one thing that holds you down and bounds you to the ground, never allowing you to rise. That’s what life looked like for me for six years. Six years of silently crying myself to sleep at night because the pain and loneliness I felt from carrying this sin were too much to handle. Six years of being told to sit back and relax because this talk was “for the boys.” Six years of thinking I was the only girl to ever struggle with this sin. If you are a girl, and you struggle with pornography and masturbation, I’m here to tell you that today is the day your six years ends. So boys, sit back and relax; girls, this one is for you.
It’s one heck of a fall, isn’t it? It’s not just a stumble or a misstep; it’s a descent into the dark places that no one every speaks of. It’s slipping, cascading, tumbling, and just when you think you’re on solid ground, it’s as if the ground below you disintegrates, and you start the whole process over again. You try so desperately to grab onto something familiar, anything to stop yourself from getting closer and closer to that dark, cold valley. Before you know it, you’re back where you have been for so long: rock bottom. Is it worth crying out for help? You wonder how you ever even ended up there as tears stream down your face. You swear you will never tell anyone. You make the vow that no one will ever know of this darkness that you face every day, but guess what? He knows, and He has been with you every step of the way; as you hit rock bottom, He is sitting there with you. He is telling you something. What could He possibly be telling you? I like to think that He’s telling you something He’s told me many, many times.
In Mark’s Gospel, we learn of a synagogue official’s daughter who is dead. As Jesus hears this news, He goes hastily to the synagogue official’s house and only brings Peter, James and John with him. Upon entering the house, He points out the little girl is not dead but asleep. Then He does the unthinkable, the thing we wish so desperately for Him to do to us: He takes the little girl by the hand and says, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl arises and begins to walk around. Jesus tells no one to speak of this miracle. Mark 5:35-43.
Talitha koum. These are the words Jesus has told me so many times, but here’s the thing: He isn’t forceful when He says them. He isn’t demanding. He is loving and gentle as He reaches out His hand and waits for us to complete this intimate action. The action of letting someone help us up from this unspoken fall. The action of allowing a caring Father comfort and restore his broken daughter.
As you extend your hand out to Him, have confidence when I say you are not the only girl who has ever struggled with this sin. I know the devil can make you feel so isolated and alone, and we allow him to win by believing that lie. Please don’t let him win, my dear sisters. Since overcoming the shame I felt and sharing my struggle with other women, I have encountered so many others who also struggle with this sin, and if they have not struggled, they fully understand and accept what it is I have to share with them. Be prudent with who you share this sin with. Just as Jesus took only Peter, James and John with him to raise the little girl from the dead, we too must find our Peter, James and John, but I think for us it looks more like a Mary, Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene. Find the women whom you trust to walk alongside you in this fight for freedom, in your ascent from this unspoken fall.
So you’ve chosen to arise from this fall, now what?
1. Run to the confessional. Healing can only be found once we are truly sorry for our sins and allow God to pour his abounding graces and mercy on us. Whether you have been keeping this sin to yourself for six years or six days, do not hesitate in receiving the freedom that you were created for – the freedom to allow yourself to be fully loved by the One who created you.
2. Confide in a priest you trust. Sometimes you need a little extra spiritual guidance outside of confession. By sharing your story with a priest, he can begin to understand the severity of your sin and point you in the right direction. While a deep conversion of heart is necessary for overcoming this sin, seeing a counselor may be a practical step. A priest will aid in figuring out what is best for you.
3. Find your Mary, Elizabeth and Mary Magdalene. As I mentioned earlier, it is so important to have women you trust walking along side you in this journey of healing. They can help hold you accountable, share in your struggle and encourage you along the way. Vulnerability is beautiful; do not let the devil tell you otherwise.
4. Know you are not defined by this sin. You are not the sum of the number of times you have fallen into this sin. You are a beloved daughter of the Father. You are worthy of a husband. You are clean. You are beautiful.
Talitha koum, my dear sisters. Talitha koum.
Yours in Christ,
a girl who understands