Did you hear the one about the whore who became a pastor?
Come on, now—that’s funny. Or cringe-worthy. Probably both, and both are true, at least for me.
I know God created me. It says so in Psalm 139, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” I also know God has plans for me as he clearly states in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
If God created me and already has my life mapped out, does that mean God created me to be a whore? No. But it’s up to me to embrace my identity in God and his plans or go another route.
I went another route. Free will, baby.
Important caveat: Before you comment about my word choice, know that’s a word I used about myself. It’s not a word Jesus or anyone around Crossroads used for me. It’s not a word I would use to describe you if you live similarly. In fact, during the editing process, I was encouraged to change it, but keep reading to see why I kept it.
You might think I’m over exaggerating my whoreness, but I’m sad to report I’m not. For about a decade, from my early teens to my early 20’s, I was what some people might call promiscuous. I don’t know the number of men I have slept with; it’s too many to count. It’s even harder to admit I don’t know all of their names.
I would pride myself on seeing who I could pick up at a bar or party. It got so bad that my freshman year in college, I was sitting in a meeting with the Standards Committee of my sorority, and they told me I had to stop sleeping around. Yeah, that’s not good.
But of all the places I could invest myself—that’s who I was choosing to be. Why would I want to identify myself as someone who slept around?
Don’t get me wrong, the walk of shame in the morning was never a fun experience, but the chase the night before was fun. If you want me to be truly honest, I slept around because in those few minutes I was with a man, I felt he cared for me. Maybe even loved me.
I was the girl who grew up without a father. I was looking for love in all the wrong places, trying to fill a hole in my heart of being abandoned. But there was great news for me! I didn’t have to continue down this path. I could change course and go in a different direction. So I did, and of course, this is when you expect I changed my path towards God, and my life has been perfect ever since. Man, that would have been awesome, but not what happened.
I changed direction by getting married and made a promise to myself that I would let the promiscuous side of me die and never cheat on my husband. It worked for a while because my new identity became Doug’s wife. But the minute our marriage started having difficulty—I broke the promise to myself and the vow I made to Doug on our wedding day.
The sad thing was it was easy for me to drop the identity of being Doug’s wife and pick back up the identity of being a whore. OK, I know that word is harsh, but sometimes the truth really freaking hurts. I needed to feel the sting of it to remind me—that’s not at all who I was made to be.
I needed to find out who I am. I needed a new identity, so I went looking for a new one in the last place I never thought I would go, church.
At that time, I didn’t know what I was really looking for; I just knew my marriage was falling apart, the guilt from the affair was overwhelming, and I didn’t want my kids to grow up being ashamed of their mom. It was a last-ditch effort to salvage me and my marriage.
I changed my path, and this time I started running towards God. One of the hardest parts of my journey with God is when I had to shed that identity, and it took me six years to do it.
At that very second, I could feel the physical weight of the identity of being a whore drop off me. I knew in the moment—that was not who I was anymore. I finally embraced my true identity as God’s daughter.
I love how Paul says this in 2 Corinthians “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
My identity has changed. Actually, “changed” is not a powerful enough word. I died to my old self and embraced the new direction of my life. It’s one God always had planned for me. He has just been patiently waiting for me to say yes.
In 2016, I made a career move and started working in ministry. Once again, this was not my plan for my life but God’s. Honestly, my dream job was to be a sports reporter for ESPN, which is one of the reasons why I’m a Broadcasting Major. Instead of giving sideline reports at Cincinnati Bengals games—don’t judge my choice of teams—I lead volunteer teams, write articles all about God, and recently became a commissioned pastor.
God does have plans for you, and he’s waiting for you, but you have to make the choice to say yes.