I believe in the practice of safe sex and STD testing. The day I got tested for HIV changed my life.
The new nurse called my name, of course mispronouncing it, and I walked to the back with her to go over all the basics of my health. We laughed, we joked, and my stomach churned as she pulled out the rapid HIV testing kit. Even though I knew everything was going to come back negative, every time I have to take this test I feel like I can’t breathe. I swabbed my gums, gave the lady the stick, and we walked back to the examination room to wait for the results. I sat in silence texting my sister, A, hoping the time would pass by fast so that I could go get some Dunkin’ Donuts down the street. The lady came back 35 minutes later, 15 minutes longer than the test takes to get results, and looked pale as a ghost. “Um so, well, the other nurses and I can’t read your test. We can’t tell if it’s positive or negative so I’m going to have to take it again”, she said. She said nothing like this has happened before and if it comes back again like this they’re going to have to take a blood sample to send to the lab. She told me this time to wait out in the lobby after we swabbed again and she would get me when she had the results.
I sat in the same chair I was just in an hour ago and stared back at myself on the wall. Wow, I was so young then and HIV free I thought. I had friends that loved me and guys that adored me. Now, they’ll hate me and no one will ever want to be near me I told myself as tears welled up in my eyes. My mind screamed, my family is going to think I’m disgusting and I’m going to die. I deserve this.
I took my eyes off the beautiful picture and looked at the faces of the people I was surrounded by. Faces I taught just months ago and told them that their worth is more than their health status. I heard a whisper in my heart say, “Who do you belong to? I love you and nothing else matters”. At that moment I began to pray. It was not a normal prayer for me. At that time I would meekly ask for God’s help. This was a prayer of war. Those negative, vicious thoughts were from the enemy and he wanted me to believe that I was worth nothing. I prayed, “enemy stand down you have not won this. My God is the ruler of all and He has the last say in everything. He determines my worth, not you. I am worthy because He died for my sins and no transgressions or sins can take away from that. I say in His name I AM WORTHY OF LIFE. I am worthy of love. I am worthy of a husband one day that will love me despite of what may be”. I prayed and cried for those 20 minutes and I felt at peace that no matter what that nurse said I was worthy.
I saw her face through the glass panel on the door and her rosey cheeks were back and she had a smile on her face. She came really close to me and said, “Your results came back. It’s negative. You’re okay and you can leave now.”
No matter what you’re going through you are worthy. When those negative thoughts start creeping up on you pull out that sharpened sword of God’s Word and start swinging that bad boy! Don’t believe the lies.
New International Version (NIV)
The Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.