Top Healing & Restoration FAQ

Forgiveness is key


As an introduction to this FAQ, we need to discuss the importance of forgiveness in the healing and restoration process. The Bible shows us that repentance (a change of heart that leads to a change of action) and forgiveness result in restoration and healing of many kinds. If you are seeking a personal victory or freedom in any area of struggle, this is a great place to start.




Forgiveness is an act of mercy. It is the releasing of someone from the judgement you think they should receive because of an offense they committed (knowingly or unknowingly). When you’re forgiving an offender, you must remember this: A person doesn’t have to apologize, repent, or prove their trustworthiness to you in order for you to forgive them. It is not something they can earn from you. The gift of forgiveness is a selfless gift, and like any gift, it’s free.  For example, you did nothing to earn Jesus’ forgiveness. It was a free gift to you.


By no means are we saying that forgiveness won’t cost you something. In fact, it may be one of the most costly things the Lord ever asks you to do…much like the Father asking Jesus to give up His life for you.


Forgiveness wipes the slate clean. It says, “You are free to go. You owe me nothing. I release you.” That, in itself is incredible, but there’s more to it than just releasing your offender; forgiveness frees you as well.




No one deserves forgiveness, but it is essential we give it in order to live the life God has called us to live. There are consequences to not forgiving. When we refuse to forgive, we are standing in God’s place as judge over a situation, and we must remember, the measure that we use to judge others, God will use to judge us (Matthew 7:1-2). This is why Matthew 6:15 says that if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, your Father will not forgive you. In other words, if you judge…you set yourself up to be judged. This is why it is so important that we forgive: Without the flow of forgiveness, from us to others, we cannot receive God’s forgiveness.


Judgement is not the only consequence of withholding forgiveness. Unforgiveness acts likes poison in our soul and causes bitterness, anxiety, fear, anger, pain, physical illness, and broken relationships, among other things. We also know that we reap what we sow; don’t be surprised if you find yourself repeating the same actions you didn’t forgive others for. You can’t push forgiveness off until your deathbed and expect to live in joy and freedom now.


Forgiveness will also increase your ability to love. If you want to grow in your love walk, learn to practice forgiveness (Luke 7:47). Be quick to forgive, and keep short accounts with people.




Any person, or thing (circumstance, culture, motive, process, etc.) that caused you pain or disappointment can be a territory in your life that needs forgiveness. Remember, forgiveness isn’t just limited to people. And it’s not just about releasing them, but finding closure for yourself. One indicator that you are free is that you don’t have a strong reaction when the person/situation crosses your mind. For example, running into them at Target no longer spikes your anxiety and interrupts the rest of your day.


If you know you need to forgive, or if you feel like Holy Spirit is prompting you to, you can do so by saying something like this:

“I forgive __________ for _____________. I give him/her/them/the situation the gift of forgiveness. They owe me nothing. I let it go to the foot of the cross. I give them to you, Jesus.”

Example: “I forgive Joe for ditching me on Friday night. I felt disrespected, angry, and rejected. But, I choose to forgive, bless, and release Joe, to You, Jesus. He owes me nothing. I let him go, and I receive the truth that I am loved, seen, valued, and accepted by You. What Joe did, says everything about Joe, and nothing about me. So, I give him to You, Jesus, and I trust You to lead me as Your daughter.”

Example: “I forgive myself for going too far with my girlfriend tonight. I’m disappointed with myself, I didn’t do what was right, and I didn’t lead well in our relationship. I feel the temptation to partner with guilt and shame right now, but I will choose to lean into the conviction of the Holy Spirit and not let shame and guilt be my teacher. I thank you Lord, that I am convicted about what I did. It shows that I am a son of Yours. God, please forgive me for what I did, I repent. Help my to clean up my mess with my girlfriend, and to lead her well. I also forgive myself, and forgive your Grace and mercy. Thank you Lord that your Word says that you make all things new, and I lean into that truth and that grace tonight. Amen.”




All of us experience times when, though we have forgiven someone, our strong feelings resurface, and we find ourselves having to forgive the same offense over, and over, and over again. If you identify with this, we would suggest you explore the following ideas:


1. Ask God if there is any other offense you need to forgive. There are often layers to situations, and though you may think you have fully forgiven, you may not have gotten to the root yet. There may be more resolution to be had. Ask Holy Spirit to guide you as you explore this. Simply ask, “God, why am I still hurting? Why do I feel like this still has power over me?”


2. Consider if you are truly forgiving from the heart, or if you are simply going through the motions. Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” What we have found, is that those who still feel locked up due to unforgiveness, oftentimes have not acknowledged the pain/disappointment of what actually happened to them. In other words, they haven’t let themselves really feel what happened to them. In short, if you don’t process through your pain, and acknowledge what you feel, you can’t experience freedom. In addition to forgiving with your words, we invite you to forgive with all your heart. It might be the most painful thing you do, but the Word promises you will be comforted.


3. If you still feel a strong emotional connection with the individual or situation, you may need to break soul ties that may have been formed. “Soul ties” is a way of referring to the physical or emotional bonds we form with the people around us. They are not all bad. In fact, God created us with the ability to bond with one another so we would have tight-knit relationships and communities. You can read more about soul ties later in question 8.


4. Find compassion for your offender. Ask God how He sees them and/or the situation. For example, a young man had bitter unforgiveness toward his father. When he was a child, his dad would tie him and his brothers up and beat them. As an adult, he could not forgive his dad, who should have known better than to abuse his innocent, helpless children.


In a counselling session, he asked God to show him the truth about his dad, to show him how He saw him at that time. God showed him a picture of his father as a helpless baby. In that moment he understood that his dad, at that time, didn’t have the ability to parent him properly– that he himself, was still a child inside. With this understanding he was able to have compassion on his dad, in all of his mess, and truly forgive him for the first time.


Once you can connect with compassion, you’re more able to forgive and release your offender genuinely. How do you know you’ve truly released them? The fruit of forgiveness is peace. You are able to think about that person or situation with no ill will.


5. You still want justice.
The truth is, some of us are born with a bigger “justice button” than others. For some, the values of right and wrong weigh more heavily than heart and intuition. If you are one of these people, we invite you to ask God for His perspective on grace, mercy, and compassion. Ask Him to remind you of the person you were before you met Him. You need to connect in humility with your own humanity; you are just as in need of grace as your offender. We all need a Savior.




No. Forgiving does not mean that a violator is welcome back into your life. You do not have to trust him/her. Trust and forgiveness are not the same thing. You can forgive someone and choose to no longer have relationship with him/her.



Guilt and shame are a part of our natural moral compass. These feelings let us know that we have done wrong, or have violated our standards. These feelings, in this context, can highlight when we’ve strayed off the moral path. (Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t murder, etc. These are things that would trigger any normal person’s moral compass.) They are the part of our conscience that says, “This is wrong!”


With that said, guilt and shame, can keep us out of danger when we are learning the difference between right and wrong. The danger in depending on guilt and shame to be our  teacher, is that a person adapts to being motivated from the outside-in, instead of the inside-out. In short, they are externally motivated.


For example, their internal dialogue might sound like, “I won’t eat that entire pizza tonight, because I know I will feel guilty and ashamed afterward.” A healthy dialogue would sound like, “I am a healthy person, and a healthy person does not eat an entire pizza in one sitting.” Did you catch the difference? One is rooted in the internal identity of being a healthy person, versus the external consequence of not wanting to experience guilt and shame.


When it comes to our guilt and shame relating to our sexuality, our internal dialogue might sound something like: “I hate masturbating. As long as I feel guilty about it, I won’t do it again! As long as I feel ashamed of myself, I won’t feel tempted.” Or, “If I feel guilty, at least I know I still feel conviction. If I’m a child of God, I’ll feel guilty, and that’s a good thing.” In both of these cases, we embrace shame and guilt and use them as tools to tell us who we are and how to behave.


So, in short, you may have thought that guilt and shame were great teachers in the past, because they kept you safe. But now, you have the gift of the Holy Spirit to teach and lead you. You can now be led by love, instead of fear.


In a different vein, it is also worth mentioning that it is not uncommon for victims of sexual abuse to live with massive guilt and shame issues. Though they were victims, a part of them may have enjoyed a small part of their experience — the attention, the sexual experience, the secrecy — even though they hated what happened to them. These individuals live feeling greatly conflicted and/or overly responsible for what happened to them.



Firstly, acknowledge that guilt and shame have been a friend and a teacher to you. Secondly, ask for God’s forgiveness, and don’t forget to forgive yourself. This simply could look like, “Lord, I acknowledge that I have let guilt and shame be a leader in my life and I repent. I ask for your forgiveness. I forgive myself. Today marks a brand new beginning. I will no longer partner with shame and guilt in my life.”


Remember, when you wake up tomorrow morning, you are starting anew. Don’t fall prey to the enemy’s lie that you are your old man. Forgiveness restores the standard. Jesus has forgiven you. You are moving on and God only holds you responsible for your actions today. Everything in your past is under the blood of Jesus. When you asked Him to forgive you, He took you seriously. It is finished. The enemy doesn’t get to bring it up anymore, and neither do you.


Thirdly, ask for a new teacher.
As we said, the Holy Spirit is with you to teach and lead you. You can now be led by love, instead of fear. So ask Him daily for help, guidance, and submit to His leadership.


Replace whatever lies you’re believing about your identity with the truth of who Jesus Christ is in you, and who He knows you to be. What you have done does not get to tell you who you are. Jesus does. If you believe you are bad, worthless, hopeless, or a failure, you need to begin renewing your mind to truth.


Let it out. There is power in getting it all out into the light. If you have gone through the above process, or are still working through your process, we encourage you to let others in. Whatever is in darkness, must come into the light if you want to be seen, known, and fully loved. Part of your healing process may be talking to a trusted friend, leader, parent or mentor about whatever it is you felt shameful or guilty about (James 5:16). There is power in confession.


And lastly, if your behavior is bringing on your guilt and shame, stop doing it! If you are doing something wrong, you can’t expect to get away with it without your spirit (your conscience) and God’s spirit in you reacting to it! In short, guilt and shame are a consequence of a behavior that violates who you are. If you’re tired of feeling guilty and ashamed, change your behavior!




Condemnation and conviction are not the same things. We want conviction in our lives– it is the plumb line that shows us that we are in line with what is lovely, true, and faith-filled. It shows us the way to freedom. Condemnation, on the other hand, leads us into bondage and makes us feel like we deserve punishment. It is the cousin of guilt/shame, and keeps us stuck in the cycle of always trying to earn forgiveness or give recompense to God for our sin.




First of all it’s important to know that your past decisions don’t have the power to tell you who you are today, or what your future relationships will look like. You made some poor choices and it hurts, but there is hope for you. You have an opportunity to choose a different path and start again… so let’s get started!


First and foremost, recognize that this is going to be a healing process, and probably not a healing moment. Second, be wise; know that the enemy is going to try to give you an identity based on your past mistakes…but you are not your past mistakes! This is why knowing the Word is so important (who God says you are, what God thinks about you, the reality of your forgiveness and redemption at the cross, the fullness of Christ’s power working within you, etc.).

With that said, here are a few simple things we’d recommend:

– You need to forgive yourself.

– You need to forgive, bless, and release (cut soul ties) your ex.

– You need to grieve the loss of the “dreams” you had of spending the rest of your life with your ex-boyfriend and let go of any fantasy that he’s going to come back. You need to cry it out, process through your pain, and then (bravely) get rid of everything that you’re hanging onto (letters, movie ticket stubs, pictures, memorabilia, etc) that ties you to him.

– You need to surround yourself with healthy friends to do life with – laugh, cry, make memories, go on adventures. You get the idea. Isolation will not be your friend in this season.

– You need to get spiritual mothers and fathers in your life (ie, older/wiser/loving people – doesn’t have to be your pastor).

– You need to begin renewing your mind (listen, read, watch) and feeding your spirit with life giving things. Not magazines, romance novels, movies, or music, etc.

– Figure out who you are, what you want, where you are going in life, and how you are going to make those dreams come true.

– Begin to dream about your future husband. Eventually (maybe not now) you will be able to do this and you’ll be able to do this with joy, hope, and expectation.

– Know that it’s okay to have a bad day. Give yourself grace. You are healing and being restored and that probably won’t happen in a week.

– Give yourself time to mend. You let your heart and body go places it’s never been before and so it’s going to take time for them to come back into alignment with your spirit … so be gentle on yourself.

– Ask for help and be okay with taking things one day at a time.


Finally, you’re going to need to figure out your WHY:

– Why did I cross those lines in the first place?

– Why did the value of my virginity become something that was up for negotiation?

– Why did I decide to let someone else violate the boundaries and standards I set for myself?

– Why did I let myself be violated?

– Why did my value decrease in my own eyes?

– Why do I think the words boyfriend and husband or girlfriend and wife mean the same thing? (They don’t, by the way.)


Take your time to work through the above questions. Healing is a process. Allow God to continually remind you who you are and what you are called to; He has an incredible future for you. Know that no matter what brought you to this place, you can decide how you want to live from now on.




Bring it into the light. Start telling people. Schedule a meeting with your pastor. Confess your sins, one to another, so that you may be healed (James 5:19).


“Light is silent, brings warmth, and is a necessity for life. But darkness is cold and drives us to hide behind walls of self-protection, where we are unreal, or to pretend to be more spiritually mature than we really are. One general proof of heartfelt sincerity before God and man is our openness and transparency.” – Jack Frost


When Adam and Eve sinned, their first response was to hide their sin from God. They were afraid. If you feel like Adam or Eve, know this: God isn’t mad at you. He’s actually longing to help you put things back together again. And it’s going to start when you bring it out into the light. You (probably) started this relationship trusting God, so you need to trust Him with this confession. We would implore you, as leaders, to be courageous, and will gently remind you that it’s going to come into the light eventually.


Understand this: once you bond with someone in this manner, the pull to continue is very strong. This is absolutely natural, a part of how God made you! Some couples have found that the healthiest way to go about restoring their relationship is to break up and take some time apart; in doing so they are able to work through their individual processes. Breaking up now doesn’t mean that you’re breaking up forever; you’re making a short term investment into a long-term payback.



Let’s start here: you may need to take a good, long reality check. If your relationship has been over for a while, and your ex is still a constant center of your thoughts, ask yourself, “Am I doing anything to feed this attachment?” Do you ask mutual friends how he/she is doing? Do you check in on them on Facebook or Instagram? Do you secretly hope to run into him/her at social gatherings? Do you soothe yourself with thoughts that he or she is going to come back? All of these are red flags of a soul tie, and good indicators that you are not connected with reality that it is over.

After asking yourself these questions, we’d encourage you to work through forgiveness and break soul ties, as necessary.

If you feel waves of anger, bitterness, resentment, or other negative feelings toward this person, we would encourage you to work through forgiveness. This is essential to you moving forward.

The first step is to forgive the ex that hurt you and release him/her from the offenses that he/she inflicted on you. Get quiet before the Lord and ask Him to reveal any damaged area of your life that resulted from this relationship. Write a list of any incidences that come to mind. This could start like, “Lord, I release ________ from taking advantage of me. I forgive the ways she used me, dishonored me, put me in situations that devalued me. I release her from every offensive action that she has had in my life.”


The next thing to do is to ask the Lord for His forgiveness for your reactions to him/her. An example might be, “Jesus, please forgive me for my participation in anger, hatred, bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in my heart. I ask you to release me for speaking and thinking malicious thoughts about her when she made me feel powerless and worthless.” Again, write down any feelings that you experienced while you were dating.

In addition, you may need to forgive yourself. Again, your conversation may sound like, “Lord, I forgive myself for getting involved with someone whom I had reservations about, but continued to pursue. I forgive myself for not having clear boundaries in place and responding with my emotions instead of my core values.”
Finally, verbally bless and release your ex. This shows that you have a repentant heart and a desire for his/her well being. “Lord I bless ______ with healthy, fulfilling relationships in the future.”


This next step may be the place to start if you have constant thoughts about or a strong emotional attachment to your ex. You can say something like this: “God, forgive me for connecting with someone who wasn’t my spouse. Forgive me for making a connection I wasn’t supposed to make. I want to be free from these soul ties, so I’m giving them to you.”

Next, you may want to address that person in your imagination (in spirit). Apologize to them and ask them for forgiveness. If necessary, specifically forgive them for anything they’ve done to hurt you. You’ll want to release anything you’ve taken from them or anything you’ve been given. Be sure that in your heart you’re ready to let go of them. At this time, you’ll say something like this:

“I break any ungodly, unhealthy soul ties between myself and __________ in Jesus’ name. I send back everything that was given to me and any piece of him/her that remains with me. I release you from any bond or connection that was made. I release you from all promises, obligations, expectations, and desires.”

If you feel prompted to be specific about anything, feel free to speak that as well. Whatever helps you to find resolve is good. Explore that with Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Finally, call back the pieces of you that were given or taken by that person. Follow the same pattern as before:

“I call back every part of me from ____________, every part of my heart, my soul, my mind, washed in the blood of Jesus. I thank you, God, for returning all aspects that were lost. I thank you for making me whole again.”

After you’ve broken each soul tie, thank God for making your soul whole again. Invite His Spirit to fill you in all areas. You may feel lighter, and some even experience a physical sensation. Be sure to take time with God so that His presence can heal you. You should feel freer than you did when you started.

Oftentimes people fall prey to the lie that their future relationship will never measure up to their past relationship. They idealize their ex, remembering every good memory, and forgetting every bad memory; they romanticize their ex and forget why the relationship ended in the first place.

If you think this might be you, simply ask yourself, “What am I afraid of? What do I have to lose by letting go of my ex? Am I afraid to let go? Am I ready to let go?” If you’ve never thought about these questions, and you find yourself being triggered, we invite you to courageously answer them. You owe it to yourself and your future spouse to be honest. It’s time to start living.



Facing fear and risking rejection is something everyone experiences in their life. Well, let us clarify: If you want to live a life of exciting adventures and exploits then you are going to have to take some risks and cross some chicken lines — probably more than once. We also understand the outcome isn’t always what we hope for!

If your latest risk ended in the sting of rejection this time around, we are sorry. Getting a no-thank you from a person of the opposite sex is never any fun. Here a few things we can suggest as you work the sting out and move on.

Forgive. Forgive whoever you need to. Forgive her/him. Forgive yourself, and don’t beat yourself up or go into introspection mode. Just because this didn’t work out the way you thought, it doesn’t mean anything about you– your value, your intelligence, your beauty. That is why you have healthy friends and family around you. Pull on their strength and encouragement right now.

Forgive God, if you need to. Sometimes we find ourselves in places of pain because we were just trying to be obedient and follow His leading. Remember, He has your best interest at heart and He wouldn’t have led you to take the risk if there wasn’t gold in there for you somewhere. Don’t blame God. You may never know until you get to heaven why He wanted you to take that risk. The bottom line is He spoke, you obeyed, and you will reap a great reward for your obedience. Period. Obedience is always rewarded with a great blessing, so don’t let the enemy lie to you and try to get you to believe otherwise.

Process through your pain. One of the worst things we see people do when they’re hurting is stuff down their pain and never address it because they are told, “time heals all wounds.” Wrong. Time doesn’t. Time makes you forget why you were hurting in the first place, but time doesn’t heal, and you want to be a healed and whole person. Do whatever you need to do to get to a place of victory.

Don’t stop risking. That’s it. Plain and simple. Don’t stop taking risks. Determine in your heart that you will be a man or woman who continues to take risks and heads the voice of the Lord, no matter what.



There are many things that can cause trust to be broken in a relationship — disappointments (unmet expectations), misunderstandings (miscommunication), abuse (emotional, verbal, physical, sexual), unfaithfulness (flirting, porn), adultery (emotional, sexual) — just to name a few.

Very basically, trust has been broken when you feel unprotected, unsafe, or hurt and connection has been lost. In some instances, trust can be restored by a simple apology, or the clearing up of a miscommunication. In other instances, trust has been so severely broken that both parties must go through a healing process in order to restore trust and connection in their relationship.

Here are a few general guidelines to get your relationship started if you feel stuck:

If you were the one who broke trust:

Own it. Repent before the Lord. Ask for forgiveness. Begin moving forward to start rebuilding what was broken. Recognize that this season may take time and remember that your feelings are your feelings, and their feelings are their feelings. One party might be experiencing grief, loss, and deep sadness one day, and the other party might be experiencing anger and frustration. It is very important for each party not to take responsibility for how the other person feels, not to try to rush the rebuilding process, and not bring up past offenses. If both parties have truly forgiven one another and have agreed to move forward, then the offense needs to be left in the past. By this we mean, don’t keep re-opening the wound in order to punish or otherwise manipulate the other in the heat of the moment. As you do this, consistency will be built, and trust will be re-established.

If you were the one whose trust was broken:
Allow yourself to feel what you need to feel (anger, pain, sadness, disappointment, shock, embarrassment, etc.). Secondly, forgive (whether the other party apologizes or not). Third, seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, godly counsel within your community, and your own heart as to how to move forwardor if you even should move forward in the relationship. Be courageous; don’t let the voice of pain speak louder than love. Remember, love is patient, kind, and willing to go the extra mile.

Clearly, there are some types of offenses (abuse) that are illegal. There are other types of offenses (adultery) that carry lifelong consequences (pregnancy, STDs, job loss, etc.). Both of these should be handled Biblically, legally, wisely, and within a safe, godly community.



Our team would highly recommend that any victim of abuse seek an educated, licensed, Christian counselor. In some cases, a sex therapist may be able to help as well.

She is 16

She is 16 years old.

This is her first real relationship.  She’s dated some boys before, but this one has lasted through five months, two dances, Christmas and spring break, and it was a big deal to her. He also told her that he loved her; she has never been in love before.  All of her friends told her it was the “real and forever” kind of love. She had the classic teenage complaints about her parents.  She felt like the idea that she was in love would be silly to them.  She always felt like they never truly understood her.


This is not the first heart-to-heart we’ve had.  She has been in our living room a number of times, and she has always come to us when she needed direction. Her relationship with her parents was good and they had always encouraged her to come to us, her youth pastors, for spiritual advice. But when she sat down, I knew this one was going to be different.  She had never been this serious about a boy before.  We had met him when he’d come with her to youth group activities and over to the house when the kids hung out.  He was a nice guy but didn’t connect with her deep spiritual beliefs.  He said he was a Christian and went to church, but never really had much else to say on the subject.


As she sat there, I could tell she was nervous.  I could tell that she had something weighing heavily on her heart, but she was dancing around the subject.  In my straight-to-the-point, no-time-for-games, loving way, I asked her, “What is really going on? Why did you want to talk to us?” She was used to this type of conversation from us; the kids actually seemed to appreciate when we talked to them like adults.


“He wants me to…” She paused slightly. “Sleep with him.” Her head dropped and she stared at her feet in silence.
“Ok?” I probed, breaking the silence. “What do you think about that?”


Her head popped up, wide eyes full of surprise. She looked like no one had ever asked her that question before, like she hadn’t expected it. She began to tell us what her friends were saying, and that everyone was doing it, and that if she didn’t do it, she was worried he would dump her.  Some of her friends had lost their virginity and they kept telling her how great it was.  This went on for a few minutes.  Then I asked her the question again, “That’s what your friends think, but what do you think?”


She paused. “I know that God designed sex for marriage. I know that there is so much more connected to it than what my friends say. I know I have always wanted to save myself for marriage, but I’m so confused. He says he loves me and that the only way to show him how much I love him is to sleep with him.  But sex is such a big deal!”


She reviewed all the things that her parents had taught her and what we had said about how God designed sex for marriage and how beautiful it was in that context. She told us about the consequences of sex before marriage, STD’s and pregnancy– all the answers she thought were right.  “I am still so confused!” she said with exasperation, bursting into tears.


I leaned in toward her and asked one question — four simple words. Four simple words that would change her life for the next 8 years:

“What is God saying?”



I am 17 years old.

It’s been two months since he broke up with me. Two months since I told him that I wanted to wait till marriage to have sex. Two months since he tried to pressure me into sex. Two months since he said, “If you really love me, you will sleep with me. Waiting till marriage is so old fashioned.  Everyone is doing it. It’s what teenagers do!” Two months since I heard the voice of God so deep in my heart say, “Wait. I have so much more for you.”

These two months have not been fun for me.  “Not fun” is an understatement. He said he loved me, but I saw quickly how conditional that love was. After our huge fight, where he called me a lot of horrible names and told me I owed him, he stopped talking to me. Just like that, it was over. It’s amazing that someone can say that they love you and then when you don’t do what they want, how quickly that “love” goes away. The next day his friends began to share with me what they thought of my choice. I never knew how creative high school boys could be with words and gestures. If I hear the word “prude” one more time, I might go crazy.


My friends haven’t been much better. I really have uncovered the meaning of true friendship.  Some were there to dry my tears as I went through the break up, some just stopped talking to me after I made my choice. Some joined in with the name-calling.  I think the girls are worse than the boys. Usually, I can go into the girls locker room to escape what the guys are saying, but that doesn’t stop my old friends once I’m in there.  Most of the time, it’s said in whispers or behind my back, but it cuts deep. Those that wanted me to do it in the first place seem to be the ones that left the quickest.


My birthday is today.  My best friend is still around and is still supportive. Tonight we are going to see a movie and go out to eat with my family.  The hardest part is how lonely I feel.  Two months ago, I thought that I would be spending this day with him. Two months ago, I thought that I would be spending all my birthdays with him. After all, as my “friends” said, love is forever.


So no, these last two months have not been easy.  They have sucked, actually. But I don’t regret my choice.  I know that day, when I sat in my youth pastor’s living room, I heard God.  I heard that He has a plan for me and that I should wait.  Every day since then I keep asking Him the same question: “Did I make the right choice?” That is when His love fills me and He reminds me to wait, because He has so much more for me.


She is 24 years old.

From the caller ID, I can tell it’s her.  I still have the silly contact picture we took of her when she graduated from high school.  The one with her tongue sticking out of her mouth, silly string on top of her grad hat and life in her eyes.  She calls me from the other side of the country.  She has graduated from college and has begun to follow her calling, her destiny.


She’s no longer the unsure teen who sat on my couch; she’s now a young woman, vibrant and in love, calling me to talk about wedding plans.  She has asked that my husband perform the ceremony.  She is giddy and talking a million miles an hour.  But I sense there is something deeper lingering, something reminiscent of all the times she came to us for direction throughout the years.


“Three months until I’m married!  I am so excited!” she squeals.  We discuss the place where the wedding is being held. She met her fiancé in college, at her church.  He shares the same values and beliefs she does.  He actually grew up in a small town only thirty minutes from us, so the wedding will be here, at our church.  She always wanted it that way.


As her excitement winds down, what she really called to talk about comes to the surface. “We are struggling,” she says, finally.


“What do you mean, ‘you’re struggling’?” I ask.


“We are so close to the wedding, but honestly it’s so hard to… you know….” her voice trails off. I’m sure her eyes have fallen to her feet and her face is flushed; some things never change. She and her fiancé are both virgins.  He had victory in his purity all through high school and college as well, though his frat brothers hadn’t made it easy.


“Ok? So tell me what’s going on.”


“Well, we both know that God wants us to be together. It’s just that knowing that, it’s so hard to wait. It’s hardest when we are alone and…he…he is just such a good kisser!”


I have to admit, I laugh at that.


“Both of you made an agreement when you started dating, one where you asked us and your current pastors to keep you accountable. Has something changed?” I ask.


“No, that’s why I am calling you. How do we do this?  How do we keep ourselves off each other?” she asks, obviously very frustrated. I stifle a laugh.


We begin to discuss the boundaries they had set for themselves; what’s okay and what’s not okay to do.  Then, I ask her some hard questions.  Where were they when they found themselves in these situations? Had they gone too far? How far is too far for them?  They hadn’t had sex, but they had gotten close and it was usually when they are alone in his or her apartment. We explore that a little further as well.


“Well, I guess we shouldn’t be alone in each others apartments anymore,” she concluded with a sigh. “It’s just so hard!”


Then I asked her that same question that I had asked eight years ago:


“What is God saying?”


Three months later, she walked down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be husband in the whitest of white wedding dress. They had won the battle! They had made it! She had been through it all. She had lost boyfriends, friends and her popularity, but she had made it and no one was going to take that away from her. God truly had so much more for her!


– Johanna Wilson, Volunteer


The 23 Year Old Virgin

“A 23 Year Old What?”

A 23 year old virgin. How would you describe me?
Desirable? Attractive? Pathetic? Inexperienced? Mature? Lucky? Wise?

I guess this probably depends on your thoughts about virginity. Or maybe on your experience. Maybe you’re still trying to figure out what you think about it. Perhaps no one ever told you that your virginity was something to be valued. Perhaps someone took advantage of you, and you didn’t know how to stop them. Perhaps you believed the status quo that told us that sex was “cool” or “necessary” for relational advancement. Perhaps you grew up in the church, being told that sex was bad and “fornicators go to hell” but when you’re married it’s wonderful and euphoric. Perhaps you never heard anyone talk about sex, but you saw plenty of it in movies, your favorite TV shows, and music videos.

Personally, I grew up in the church. I was afraid of sex. Not because I missed puberty and had no desire for it, but because I knew nothing about it. Constantly reminded of its negative side effects (unwanted pregnancy, STIs, social shame, etc), I knew enough to know that keeping sex inside of marriage made sense. What got confusing was hearing my friends talk about having sex and fooling around like it was the norm. Like it was awesome.

I didn’t understand. Didn’t they know that sex was only meant for marriage? Didn’t they know of all the bad things that could happen as a result? Why were they willing to take the risk? What was I missing?

Sex is beautiful. But because of my fear-driven abstinence, I couldn’t see that. I couldn’t see the powerful, bonding, and life-giving gift for what it was. I was afraid of it. How would a gold ring eradicate a life-long fear that had been so well-manicured in my heart? The truth is, it wouldn’t have.

You see, now that I understand (a bit more of) how beautiful and life-giving and bonding sex really is, I feel excited to share that with my husband. Marriage protects the God-intended effects of sex.

Sex was always a gift, and I can’t wait for my birthday!


– Anna Weygandt (Intern)


Who Cares If I’m A Virgin?

“Why should I be a virgin anyway?”

“It’s my life so who cares?” These are questions that ran through my mind as a young teenage girl…all of which were left unanswered, for me to figure out by myself. I had to figure out if it was worth it or not to protect my virginity.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a value for virginity because I didn’t have a vision for my future. All I ever heard was, “Don’t have sex because it’s wrong outside of marriage.”

No one told me how valuable my virginity was. No one told me that though it would be hard at times to protect my purity in heart, mind and body, it would lead me to freedom, to joy and to an abundant life, without shame or guilt riding on my coat tails.

No one told me what losing my virginity would cost me. No one told me how much pain I would go through later on in life when I was desiring to be married. No one told me that when I’d be sitting across from my boyfriend, he would tell me he couldn’t see himself being with someone who had had sex before. No one told me that not being a virgin would feel like a curse when I was looking for a husband.

I didn’t know there were men in the world who took virginity and purity seriously. (Which there are!) I found out the hard way when some chose to not choose me because I am not a virgin.

I didn’t know the heartbreak I would go through all because of stupid mistakes in my past.

What I did know was that God would love me. I knew that no matter what I did, He would still choose me. I knew that when I was “older” I would start obeying Him again. But at the time I thought, “For now I just want to have fun.” (“Fun” being having sex with whoever I want, whenever I want.) I knew that somehow, no matter what, God would love me when I decided to follow Him again.

And guess what? He did! And He’ll do the same for you!

But guess what? I still had to deal with the consequences of my behavior. And I did.

It was a long process, and let me tell you it is still not easy at times, but I have high hopes for my future, my relationships and my marriage, because of the vision He’s given me.

Virgin or not, God loves you.

He makes all things new.

He is the God who redeems.

He is the God who gives us what we don’t deserve!

My heart in sharing this small bit of my story is this: that someone like you may catch a bit of vision that could change your life for the better. It’s not about scaring you into good choices; it’s about showing you reality, both joyful and difficult. God is able to redeem everything, but it cost Him greatly. In fact, it cost Him everything He had. Don’t take it for granted, but live your life of purity to the fullest, knowing how much it is worth!

— Jessica Kopp (Intern)

Redemptive Love in Redding


 I was born to a single teen mom. My dad left three months into the pregnancy leaving my mom was devastated. She cried all the time and as a result, I felt abandoned by my father and a burden to my Mom. I hated my parents for sleeping together because I felt like my conception was an accident.

Later on, my mom married another man and had two other children. My step father was abusive, and when I was four, my mom left him and began working two jobs to support her three children. Working long hours, my mom often left us with our aunt and uncle. The next two years of my life were a living nightmare. My uncle would watch porn at night and at five years old, I was exposed to pornography. Something inside me felt uncomfortable and slimed, so I asked him to turn it off. Instead of turning it off, he sat me down on his lap in front of the TV screen while he touched me. As far as I can remember this was the only time, but it was enough to damage me. I felt violated by my uncle and forgotten by mom.

Shortly after, I started masturbating. It was my drug to numb the pain. I did it everyday. I couldn’t stop. At age ten I realized what I was doing was wrong and that I needed to stop. At fifteen I turned to romance novels in place of masturbation to escape. I felt empty and lost and at sixteen started cutting myself. I never did it with the intention of committing suicide (although the thought had crossed my mind) but I did want to die so that the pain would stop. I’d fantasize about losing my virginity but never did. I’m so grateful. To this day I have something to give my future husband on our honeymoon night.

“I felt violated and forgotten. I started masturbating to numb the pain. I did it everyday. I couldn’t stop.”

Then we moved to Redding to attend Bethel Church and my life has never been the same. I found Moral Revolution, wonderful Godly women to help me, and hope. I read Moral Revolution and wanted to weep. For a long time I was told and shown that sex was nothing more than just a pleasurable thing; that guys were nothing more than abusive perverts and girls were mere objects. That children were worthless. This was my normal. But here was a book that told me sex was good and God had been the one that created it! The revelation that sex wasn’t defiling hit me like a brick.

God showed me that there were good guys in the world. I have developed amazing male friends that love me for who I am and not what I can give them. My mom had remarried when I was ten and I was finally creating a good, strong, and healthy relationship with someone I could finally call dad. Finally, I had self worth. I no longer felt like an accident, a burden, lost, or like any of the other pathetic lies the devil kept telling me. I finally forgave everyone who hurt me and became open with my addictions.

I thank God for his amazing love. For the hope He brings and the joy I now have. One day I will marry a man who’ll love me, fight for me, and protect me. He will have a heart of gold and be be a champion. I am not perfect and I still have a lot to work through. But the girl I was at thirteen is not the same girl that I am at 17.

God is so good! He’s so so good to me!

Anonymous, Redding, CA

Top Masturbation FAQ’s



The topic of masturbation is often regarded as either “perfectly normal and healthy” or “dirty and taboo.” Moral Revolution believes that masturbation is a subject we must talk about with honesty and respect. In this section we start the conversation and answer some of your most frequently asked questions about the m-word.


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines masturbation as erotic stimulation, especially of one’s own genital organs resulting in orgasm. Oftentimes, individuals choose to masturbate by manual stimulation, instrumental manipulation (toys), sexual fantasies (pornography and/or past sexual experiences), or by various combinations of these agencies.


According to our doctor, “As for masturbation making a penis larger, it is not going to happen. Conversely, not masturbating will have no negative effects on penis size either. Masturbation doesn’t make a penis bigger, not masturbating doesn’t make a penis smaller. Young men are often concerned about penis length, but should not be. Erections have been called the great equalizer, since their average length is about 5 inches in most men. Even at smaller erection sizes, a man can generally still sexually satisfy his wife. The point is that the odds are overwhelming that you’ve already got what it takes, so to speak, and masturbating will not add to it.”


According to our doctor, “A person is considered to be a virgin until they have sexual intercourse. That is called primary virginity. Secondary virginity refers to choosing to abstain from intercourse after having already had it. You are still a virgin if you have masturbated.

I specified “sexual intercourse” because there are other uses of the term virgin, such as, someone who has yet to do one thing or another for the first time. With that in mind, one could say one is no longer a masturbation virgin after having masturbated, but that is not the clear and time-honored understanding of virginity.


According to our sex therapist, “That is a great question! You are definitely not alone in feeling shame when you masturbate – it is very common. I congratulate you for going beyond asking, “Is it right or wrong?”, to asking, “What is causing me to feel shame?” That is the real issue.

Unfortunately, I believe there is a lot of shame around sexual issues for believers, due to misunderstanding, fear and wrong teaching. It is false shame. Sexual arousal is a good thing. Sexual desire is a good thing. Your sex drive is a good thing. Being a sexual being is a good thing. It is what you do with it – how you manage it – that is important.

A couple of observations to help you sort this out – with Christians, I see more shame around masturbation, more anger and condemnation, than I do about sex outside of marriage. Telling people to not have sex outside of marriage is clearly in Scripture, but masturbation is not. So why is that?

In addition, let’s say you believe that masturbation is wrong for you, that it is something that you do not want to do. Why the intense shame? Isn’t it more of a behavior that you want to stop, rather than an indication that you are a perverted person? But many describe the shame associated with masturbation as feeling perverted. Historically we have taught that the shame was proof that the behavior was wrong. I would ask you to think about whether that is true.

Maybe masturbation is a behavior that you do not want to do – that is for you to decide. Here are some questions to ask ourselves about shame:

What do you think is going on?
What response to God does shame cause in you?
Do you run to Him or hide?
Do you love Him more or does it cause you to be afraid of Him at some level?
Does it separate you from God?

We have said in the past, that “Yes, it has separated us from God, because it was sin.” But is that really the case or is it because there is something else going on? Being a sexual being is such a part of who we are, our identity. It is such a part of being made in the image of God. So we know ourselves and we know Him more intimately through our sexuality. If the enemy can cause shame and disconnect here, at that deep personhood level, then he can lay roadblocks to knowing and experiencing the love of God and the freedom and power that understanding and revelation can bring.

I believe that shame carries a spirit with it and would encourage you to not entertain it at all. No matter what your past is with masturbation, get rid of the shame. Shame is not from the Lord.”


The simple answer comes down to this: the actual word masturbation cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. We know that there is reference to it, but it is not explicitly mentioned.


Because the Bible is silent regarding masturbation we, as a team, cannot call masturbation a sin. However, because masturbation is so often coupled with lust – pornography, sexual fantasy – all of which the Bible is very clear are sin we strongly advise to stay away from anything that might tempt you to lust.  James 1:14-15 keeps us sober to where lust leads, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.


Yes, fantasizing about having sex with someone you are not married to, even if it is your future spouse, would be lustful, making it sinful and wrong. In addition, it would be objectifying that person since you would be using him to satisfy yourself sexually. There is no relationship. We tend to understand that men are objectifying women when they look at pictures of women and fantasize about them sexually. But women are doing the same thing to men when they use them in fantasies during masturbation. Fantasies like this also are idealized in that they are not real life. The imagined encounter is perfect and all about the one having the fantasy, instead of the give and take of actual relationship. It can interfere with real relationships, because there is an expectation and pairing of sexual response with something that is not real.


According to our sex therapist, “Unfortunately this is more common than most parents realize. Teenager’s brains have not finished maturing yet. The prefrontal cortex is the part that develops last and that is the part that says, “That’s not a good idea, don’t do that!” And this is going on at a time that hormones are raging!

The best advice that I can give you is to keep the lines of communication open by being nonjudgmental and calm. Listen more than you talk, and ask questions to try to understand your son’s heart. What are his thoughts about sex and purity? Even if you do not agree, you can accept his answers by saying something like, ” That does not sound like the healthiest decision, but I can understand why you might think that.” Give him facts, alternatives to the decisions he is making, but send the message that you believe he is able to make responsible decisions–even if you are terrified about the things he is saying!

Talk with him about his vision of the kind of man he wants to be. Then come along side him and help him make a plan to reach his own goal. It is his plan and you are just a consultant. Let him come up with solutions and own his problem. When parents are scared they often come down too hard on their kids and begin to control their behavior. That will not work in the long run. It actually can lead to more rebellion and the very thing you are trying to stop. And kids are masters at recognizing your fear and letting you take responsibility for their problems. You really want your son to know how to make his own responsible decisions. “Parenting Teens with Love and Logic” is a great resource. Also Danny Silk’s, “Loving Our Kids on Purpose”.

At the end of the day, as hard and scary as it is, your son needs to know how much he is loved and believed in. And you need that too from your Father – trust Him with those you love and pray and claim his promises for your family.”


According to our sex therapist, “With any sexual behavior we want to ask the question, ‘Is this behavior helping me be more intimate with my spouse, is it loving?’ So if masturbation with your spouse is a part of being intimate and loving, and you would say yes to that, then I would say it’s fine. If masturbation with your spouse is more of an individual thing where you are not connecting or you are using each other, then I would say it would not be the best choice for that couple.


According to our sex therapist, “It is normal for a 16 year old girl to feel passionate about boys! You have a sex drive and that is God given. You just have to manage it and not have it manage you. You say that masturbation is affecting your relationship with God. I just want to remind you how much God loves you and nothing you can do will change that. Masturbation is a behavior, a behavior that you might be wanting to stop – but it is not who you are. You might be masturbating and that is against your values. If it is, then I would say it would be a good thing to stop. But God loves you no matter what and will help you if you want to stop that behavior. Often when people cross their values, they feel shame and hide from God just like Adam did in the Garden. But it is God who comes looking for you because he loves you and wants to commune with you. He is not disappointed in you or ashamed of you – he is so willing to help you. So go to him and partner with him if there is a behavior you want to stop. And believe what he says about you, that you are dearly loved and accepted – just the way you are. So you can relax and rest in the fact that he delights in you and gave you a sex drive that he wants you to learn to manage. And he will help you as you learn to do that. He really is that good!”