I was nineteen years old and a sophomore in college. It was our Spring Break and I spent the week in Oklahoma with my friend who grew up there. We made the rounds. That night it was “Drown Night” at Pistol Patties in Stillwater, an Oklahoma State hangout at the time. Pistol Patties was running a special: “Buy one beer, laced with Everclear; get one free until 8:00 p.m.” We arrived with an hour to spare and made up for lost time. By the time the special ended, my world and judgment were hazy.
I remember my friends bringing over a handsome OSU student to meet me, as if I was the queen greeting subjects. I can still picture him. He had dark hair; a mustache and was wearing overalls (popular at the time). There was an immediate attraction; he asked me to dance and we spent the rest of the night getting to know each other. At about 11:00 p.m., my friend and ride, also inebriated, said to the young man, “I’m going back. Can you take Lisa home?” He agreed, but because I was not thinking in my right mind, I didn’t oppose the plan. “Home” was an hour away. Stillwater to Edmund, Oklahoma, where my friend’s parents lived.
The boy did drive me “home,” but in order to make it back there was a stop at his dorm room along the way. Friends later told me I was lucky he was the only one who took advantage of me, and not a gang of other boys that night. The OSU frat boys were known for that, they said.
As I look back, I realize I was fortunate that something worse didn’t happen. I didn’t know the character of this young man or if he was really a student. I could have been drugged or killed.
I also realized that I put myself in this position. While what he did was wrong, I should have said goodbye to the temporary tryst, jumped into my friend’s car and never put myself in that situation.
But I didn’t.
I’d like to say this is the only time I compromised God’s pure plan for my life concerning sexuality, but it is not. Because of those wayward college years I understand God’s grace.
However, I didn’t comprehend the full scale of my sinfulness until many years later during a Bible study on Romans. The curriculum asked us to insert our names into a passage from Romans 1:21-25:
“For although Lisa knew God, she neither glorified him as God or gave thanks to him, but Lisa’s thinking became futile and her foolish heart was darkened. Although Lisa claimed to be wise, she became a fool and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave Lisa over in the sinful desires of her heart to sexual impurity for the degrading of her body with another. She exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised.”
I traded my relationship with a Holy God for the idols of popularity with boys and for what I thought was love. Maybe you can relate to this story. It is never right for a man to take advantage of a woman, but often times we put ourselves in compromising scenarios. Over the years as a television sports reporter and a rededicated Christian, it sometimes took great willpower to honor my marriage and my faith while on the road. But I did by setting up guardrails in my life, saying “no” to invitations, and through prayer.
I wish I could have a “do-over” for the lost years, but what I love about my heavenly Father is that he sent his Son to shed his blood for me to cover all of the sins I committed. After I repented for the mistakes I made as a teenager and into my twenties, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says I became a new creation in Christ. The old was gone.
I am thankful I am no longer that person from college anymore. While I am still a sinner, it is now my desire to live up to my heavenly Father’s standard, not mine. Through His strength and guidance, I am able to do that.
Thank you Lord for your grace. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be.