I was your typical eight-year-old little girl growing up in the 90s and early 2000s. I played online games at Barbie.com. I downloaded songs from Limewire and uploaded them (and a ton of viruses) to my mp3 player. Like most eight-year-olds, I was way too curious, even in the things that did not benefit me.
It took one mistake on a web address for me to end up on the wrong website. I was not mortified by the videos and images I saw, but something in me knew that it was not okay. Out of curiosity, I continued to watch until my mom came in to turn off the computer and take away my computer privileges. If we are being honest here, I was more upset because I could not play barbie makeover on the computer. What I did not realize at the time is that those few minutes of continuous pornographic images and videos would lead to struggles in the years to come.
Years later around age 11 or 12, I was shown pornographic images and videos by someone who thought it was the cool thing to do when no one else was around. The eight-year-old little girl in me was reminded of the images and videos she saw years ago, and her curiosity peaked again.
Surely this wasn’t wrong if other people did it too, right? Unfortunately, this instilled the terrible art of secrecy in me.
At age 17 on January 1, I accepted Jesus and remember the exact moment of crying out to Jesus in my bedroom and asking for forgiveness, including forgiveness for watching pornography. I remembered feeling absolutely disgusted with myself and quickly sliding past this part of my prayer because of how dirty and ashamed I felt. I did not realize how much this moment would affect the way I interacted with God in the future.
Between the years of 2014-2015 when I was at my absolute worst with bad habits, I completely ran away from the Lord and back to what was comforting and convenient. I gave up on myself, and I was convinced that the Lord had done the same. After all, I was “the” Christian on a secular campus, and I was part of the ministry team. How in the world could I be loved and forgiven while living such a lie? Not only that, but how could the Lord use me in my sin to share the Gospel with others? I carried this lie and this secret sin with me for the next couple of years. If only I had known then what I know now.
One of the most difficult moments of this journey was telling my best friends and accountability partners. Until this day, they each meet me with grace, truth, and continued support.
And then… I met this super cool guy who just so happened to be cool enough for me to want to marry him. As talks of engagement began to happen, I panicked because I knew that I had to confess this to him. I could not enter marriage without being absolutely honest with him. He listened as I cried and confessed. I saw Jesus in him that day. He hugged me, told me he loved me and could not see me any differently than he did before the conversation.
However, despite a few of the most important people in my life offering me these words of truth and grace, I still could not believe them for myself.
So why now? Why share this story for the first time through a guest blog post? Because this is still a journey for me. I will tell you that I do not have a perfect streak, and I certainly do not have it all figured out. There are days where temptation gnaws at the back of my ankles. As an unhealthy perfectionist, I always feel the need to measure up. Unfortunately, this has carried over into my relationship with the Lord, and I always feel the need to measure up to His grace. There is no need for me to fight so hard for a victory that has already been won for me. I refuse to live in fear any longer. I will no longer shrink under the enemy’s lies that I am less than worthy.
It is my hope that women who read this story will know that they can receive the same redemption and grace that I am privileged to rest in.
During this past season of Lent, I spent time away from social media. The Lord taught me so much about redemption and the power of the cross. I realized that none of this was about me anymore. Jesus did not die on the cross for me to sulk in my sin and shame.
I mean, really, how low is my view of the blood of Jesus to think that my sin would run Him away? There is nothing that the Lord does not already know and nothing that He cannot or has not already overcome. When temptation refuses to let up, we must learn to loudly and boldly proclaim the Gospel over ourselves.
Something along the lines of: “Lord, the temptation is real right now, and I even want to give in, but Lord help me to desire you more. There is nothing that You have not already defeated. Help me to choose to walk in the victory You have won for me.”
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1 (NLT)
Sister, you are not an object. We are loved and worthy because of what Christ has done for us, not for our bodies. Find a trusted sister, mentor, or counselor and be honest about your struggles. I can promise you that the Lord will be faithful in meeting you with grace and healing through the truth of His word.
Church, we must offer a safe space for women to have open and honest conversations surrounding sex and sexual sin. Preaching modesty to women so that they will stop wearing crop tops is not beneficial when they struggle with sexual sin in private. The enemy has perverted sex too much for this topic to remain so taboo.
While statistics still show that men are more likely to watch pornography than women because “they are wired that way”, I do not believe a bit of this. While they might be slightly high, I do not believe the gap is as wide as we are being shown. I believe there are many many more who have been in my shoes.
Maybe that is you right now, but because of the shame and stigma surrounding sexual sin, women are less likely to be confessional. The more we talk and ask questions, the fewer men and women, girls and boys are likely to search for answers on the internet and social media.
I want to leave you with a couple of resources that I have gone through with accountability partners, mentors, and a previous counselor.
Mo Isom: Sex, Jesus, and the Conversation the Church Forgot - *highly recommended for women and mothers of teenage daughters*
O to grace how great a debtor daily I'm constrained to be!
O, let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, o take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.