Red Alert! Prepare for Battle!
By Julie Ferwerda with Shannon Ethridge
Girl, there’s a battle going on that needs your full
attention because your future happiness depends on it! Even if
you grew up going to church every Sunday, went to Vacation Bible
School as a kid every summer, and even if you are the president
of your youth group and you can quote dozens of Bible verses,
you could become the next victim in the war going on for your
purity. That’s exactly the kind of background Shannon Ethridge
came from before she recognized the battle that ravaged five important
years of her life. Now Shannon has come out a victor and her desire
is to share what she has learned with young women.
“The cry of my heart has always been,” says Shannon,
“Lord, help me to help younger women avoid making the mistakes
that I’ve made.” Shannon is certainly doing that.
Her book, Every Young Woman’s Battle, will help
you and other young women to recognize and win this battle for
your mind, heart, and body in a sex-saturated world.
Satan’s Hand Grenades:
To start with, Shannon had to begin identifying the weapons of
the opposition. There were some specific lies that Satan set off
in Shannon’s thinking that temporarily disabled her in the
battle for her purity.
Lie #1: My dad doesn’t care about me. Although
Shannon can look back now and see that her dad really did love
her, she didn’t feel like it when she was growing up. “[Dad]
was there for us physically and provided well financially but
he had no clue about any type of emotional or spiritual connection.
And so I grew up with that hole in my heart, hungry for his attention.”
Lie #2: I’m unworthy. Because Shannon
didn’t feel worthy or significant in her relationship with
her dad, she began to look for unhealthy ways to find her identity
Lie #3: When men pay attention to me, it’s because
I’m special. At an early age Shannon discovered
that there was a substitute for her dad’s lack of attention.
When men flirted with her, it made her lonely heart feel on top
of the world. The quest for attention and affection became a game.
“I thought that it was exciting and I had a feeling of power.
I felt as if a guy’s sexual attention meant that I must
be worthy, and I latched onto that. I really wasn’t in it
for the sexual aspect…it was for love. I was giving sex
thinking that I was getting love in return. I didn’t realize
that, no, I was getting used in return.” This cycle only
added to her feelings of unworthiness.
Lie #4: It’s too late for me. When Shannon
was fourteen; she put herself in a situation with an eighteen
year old guy who “called her bluff.” He was much bigger
and stronger and wasn’t playing games. He took Shannon’s
virginity against her will. Afterward, she felt that since her
virginity was already gone, what was the point of trying to stay
pure? For about five years, she went from one sexual relationship
to another, all the while still looking for that elusive love
Then, when Shannon was around twenty, she had a life-changing
experience. Just out of Mortuary College, she was working in a
funeral home (with dead people) and noticed just how many of them
died young because of AIDS or committed suicide as a result of
an HIV positive diagnosis. “I realized that I was playing
a very dangerous game, not just with my body but with my heart
and my spirit. [I was] looking for love in all the wrong places.”
For some reason, she observed that God had spared her the awful
fate that her actions deserved, and that was when she decided
to come back to her relationship with Him.
A verse that God used to get Shannon’s attention at this
time was in Deuteronomy 30:15 (NLT), “Now listen! Today
I am giving you a choice between prosperity and disaster, between
life and death.”
“I look back on how so many of my choices were choosing
death—spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally and
even sexually, because it is really hard to go into marriage and
freely enjoy this gift of sexuality with your husband when it’s
been such an incredible source of pain in your past.”
God’s Nuclear Weapons:
The only power that Satan has in your life is the lies he can
get you to believe. But there is something much more powerful
than his lies that will completely annihilate his feeble attempts
to destroy your life. What is it? God’s amazing and powerful
truth! His truth is like a nuclear weapon when overpowering Satan’s
lies, and that’s exactly what happened when Shannon began
to replace the lies with the victorious truth.
The truth: How God feels about you.
You’ve probably heard that God is your heavenly Father who
loves you so much He sent His Son to die for you, you are precious
and of great value and worth to Him, and all that. Those things
are all true and all can be used to defeat Satan’s lies.
But on her road to healing, Shannon discovered a wonderful aspect
of her relationship with Jesus that really helped bring deeper
healing in her quest for love.
“I actually found a female counselor who had been through
similar things in her life. And she taught me how to look at Jesus
Christ as the lover of my soul, and how this affair that I was
craving and this passionate love that I was in pursuit of could
only be found in my relationship with Jesus. I had never really
thought about Jesus as a lover. I had always heard of God and
Jesus as a father, but in my mind, I didn’t want that because
I had such a dysfunctional relationship with my dad, and I didn’t
necessarily crave another relationship with a dad.” What
Shannon wanted was to be wanted and loved by a lover who loved
her purely and completely, and she found that in Jesus.
The Truth: It’s never too late for you.
If you’ve already made some mistakes in the area of purity,
Shannon wants you to know, just like she discovered, that it’s
never too late for you to start over.
“We serve a God of second chances. For you to think that
there’s no opportunity for you to turn your life around
and to make wiser decisions is basically saying that what Jesus
Christ did on the cross isn’t enough for you—that
you need some sort of special miracle to set you free. You either
believe that what Jesus did on the cross is enough to make you
a new creation like He says or not. We have to know that we can
renew our minds, that our hearts can be restored, and that we
can have a secondary virginity. When we allow Jesus to be that
lover of our souls, it greatly lessens the temptations to continue
going from relationship to relationship.”
Don’t be discouraged fellow soldiers—this battle
is going to be much easier when you equip yourself with the truth.
If you want more in depth help in holding onto your purity, pick
up a copy of Every Young Woman’s Battle today!
For more on this topic, Shannon Ethridge's Book Every Young
Woman's Battle, is available here.
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