Note from Alana: Abbie is a dear friend of mine. I have known her my entire life – our parents have been friends since before Abbie and I joined this world. I am blessed and honored to be able to share part of Abbie’s story here. I love you, lady!
shared by Abigail Livingston
I grew up in what I’d call a “Christian Bubble”. My parents loved (and still love) Jesus, and they tended to raise my siblings and I on the overprotective side (their intent was out of their love for us). But this created in me a level of ignorance about how the world was in real life. Part of that ignorance was about how to have or pursue healthy relationships with boys. I was taught that “true love waits”, meaning that I should not have sex until I get married. There was not much else shared about romantic relationships as I was growing up even in church-and I was definitely not allowed to date.
After that relationship ended I was getting a lot of attention from guys, I had a short relationship with a guy who took me to the bar for my 21st birthday. I had 3 drinks total that night-never having had drank alcohol before that-and I spent the night trying to get the room to stop spinning. He moved on to medical school, and I continued on through my college career taking classes to become a dietitian. I moved into an apartment with a fellow dietetics student. My junior year I met a guy in a class that started emailing me after the class was over. He would tell me how beautiful I was and how much he liked me. We started hanging out shortly after and one night he was coming over to my apartment and got pulled over, getting arrested with an MIP. Cops came to my door asking if I could come get his car for him. I was shocked, but complied, and continued with the relationship. We were together for about 2 years after that, and I chose to move in with him. During that time I lost my virginity to him without even realizing what was happening (I was VERY naïve). I even kept a separate apartment so that my parents wouldn’t know I was living with him.
After that happened, I thought that I had to stay with him and get married because we had had sex. And we kept having sex (what happened to my standards?!). I started drinking a lot more and after being laid off at my job at a bank, found a job at a bar. Gradually my lifestyle was changing. My friends were changing. After my boyfriend got off probation the drinking and his drug use got worse. We fought more, he started looking at other girls more. I started feeling like I wasn’t good enough. Even his coworkers warned me that he was spending a lot of time with a particular female coworker of theirs. We decided to take a study abroad trip one semester and he did the same type of things there. I decided while we were there that if it continued once we got home that I’d end the relationship. Ironically he broke up with me the following month. One night after my bar shift (I had been drinking) I went to his house to get some of my things, he was in our bed with the coworker I had been warned about. I was heartbroken. I had given up my sexuality for this guy who didn’t value me the way I wanted to be valued. He got what he wanted and I had compromised my standards.
In my hurtfulness, I dated many guys after that-most with sexual involvement. I believed that was where my worth was found. And I kept getting hurt over and over. I had no idea why or how to escape it, all I knew was I was broken and used…who would want to (in their right mind) marry a piece of used material?! My dreams were getting flushed down the toilet and it was my OWN FAULT!
I had begun to realize that I needed to change my own path and was weaning drinking and bad relationships out of my life. I was getting weary of the life I was leading. I was also beginning to accept that my dreams of marriage and family would probably never happen, after all I had messed that up pretty badly. I thought I’d find God again and be content to be single the rest of my life, shoving the mistakes under the rug and move forward. God had a different plan.Close to the end of my 5.5 year college career I reconnected with a guy from high school. We exchanged texts randomly, but didn’t really talk or interact much until months later. When we finally did connect, we REALLY CONNECTED. I had made a list of characteristics I desired in a spouse months prior and he fit every one. As we started building a relationship (long story), I was exposed to some ideas about sex and relationships that I never knew before. I attended a conference put on by Jim Anderson (lifeline-ministries.org) and learned that even though I had given my sexuality away over and over, my value had not changed (WHAT?!). I was still beloved, beautiful, worthy, and most importantly not TRASH. God did not view me as used, broken, unlovable…quite the opposite. I learned that HE could put my heart that had been shattered into millions of pieces back into ONE PIECE. WOW. I remember sitting in that front seat receiving truth about my sexual identity and crying my face off. I didn’t have to leave my dreams in the hands of the guys I had given my heart to. There was REDEMPTION from the mistakes I had made regarding my sexuality. I had no idea this was even possible!
The guy from high school and I had a relationship for a year before we started a 1 year courtship relationship, after which we were engaged and 5 months later married. We did not have sexual intercourse until we were married. It was a tough process to hear truth about who I was and receive healing, but I was made new, pure, and was able to give myself wholly to my husband on our wedding night with no shame about my past sexual life!
After being married 6 years to my wonderful husband (and almost 3 kids later)-I have been able to use my experiences to help other women realize that even if they have given their sexuality away or have had it taken away, all is not lost. They are still beautiful, worthy of being loved (the right way), and HE can make our hearts new even when we think it’s impossible.Abbie is a mom (expecting baby #3 in February), wife, and renal dietitian (all of which were dreams come true!). She loves summer, reading, exercising, eating, talking about the real stuff of life, and learning how to be a better woman.