My husband will pen the next few posts on this topic. For years, neither of us wanted to talk about porn. We had no desire to be vocal about its part in our life, let alone talk to others about it. But the power of God and the joy of the freedom found in him, bring out our feeble voices. So, this is our story and we are fervently praying it will encourage others with their own stories. Jesus has overcome all darkness and with his strength, you can too.
This is a continuation of last week's post. If you missed it, you can read it here: Overcoming Pornography: The Struggle
The Moment of Truth
I call it the moment of truth because in one instant what had been hidden in darkness for so many years was brought into the light. It was also the moment that Truth set me free. When I look back at that moment, I see it as the beginning of the end. Years later, it has proven be a triumphant instant, and I am so thankful it happened. However, placing myself back in that room that evening, I remember it as it really was, a moment of overwhelming shame, of total fear, and much silence.
God was present that night. I had no intentions of telling my fiancé about my struggle. I was still living in self-denial that somehow I’d overcome it before we were married or, if not, maybe marriage would solve it. But God placed the thought of confession in my head and it grew all night until I spontaneously told her.
Her shock and hurt were expected and awful, but God was still there and He filled my fiancé with grace and she forgave me. I was able to leave her that night so thankful to know I hadn’t lost my best friend.
While I spent all the days after trying to earn back her trust and restore our wounded relationship, God was unknowingly continuing His plan of redemption in my life, and it all began with a simple swollen finger.
It was during this same time that one of my fingers swelled up for no known reason. I went to the doctor and they figured I must have injured it, so they recommended taping it and letting it heal. This didn’t work and the swelling remained.
Fast-forward a year. I’m now married and the swelling had spread to numerous fingers, my wrists and toes. The inflammation in my feet was particularly bad and made walking quite painful, forcing me to limp around all day. I was seeing one specialist after another and was being put on one drug after another, but nothing was working and to make matters worse all the different medications had only left me feeling more sick.
While this was happening, I was struggling to find a job. During my final semester at college I had been interviewing for a great position at a good company and was nearing the end of the interview process. I was supposed to meet with the president of the company (I was hoping it was to shake hands on the job), but suddenly two weeks went by with no word from them. The call finally came and it wasn’t good news; the company was going on a hiring freeze because the economy wasn’t looking good. The job no longer existed.
My plan for a post-college job was gone and I had no back-up plan. I ended up continuing at my internship making $10 an hour. However, even this could only go on for so long and before I knew it, I was totally unemployed.
Thankfully God provided a job after three months without work. It was nice to have a full-time position doing what I majored in at college. While I was still searching for answers with my sickness, this job was an answered prayer.
Then it happened, I had only been at the company for several months, when one day I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe and my heart was racing. I had no idea what was happening and I called my wife panicked. She quickly came and took me to the ER where they concluded I had suffered an anxiety attack. I had never heard of that and thought they must be wrong.
They weren’t. For the next six months, I suffered from life-debilitating anxiety attacks. I was terrified to go anywhere or see anyone. I never cry, but this brought out the tears, and many nights I lay in my wife’s arms an emotional wreck feeling like I was losing my mind. I had no control over this and it was defeating me. It was the final straw and it broke me.
I needed God.
While I was at my sickest and only weighed 128 pounds, I had no cure; I needed God. While I was doing everything I could to find a job, I couldn’t force it to happen; I needed God to provide one for me. When I was at my lowest moment with anxiety attacks, feeling totally helpless and scared, I had no solution; I needed God to rescue me.
Through the course of all these trials, God revealed to me the root of my problem: I was my first love and He wasn’t. Though I had a faith in Him, my life was self-serving and really, I had no need for God beyond my salvation. When we look at God’s laws, we either will obey them because we are afraid of the consequences or because we love Him enough to do what He says. With pornography, I loved myself more than God and I didn’t have enough fear of the consequences so it was easy to choose sin.
One of my biggest regrets is that I initially overcame pornography for my wife. She said she would leave me if I ever slipped up again, and I believed her. I didn’t want that to happen so the consequence was severe enough to stop me. However, now that God has made me new and drawn me into a deep relationship with Him, He has become my first love. I am able to overcome temptation based on my love for Him alone
In the months to come, God slowly began to rebuild me. My prayer life and time in his Word became essential parts of my day. He provided an answer to my sickness. God also helped me to find complete freedom from the anxiety attacks through Him alone.
I’ll always remember driving to work one day after all this had passed listening to Chris Tomlin’s Amazing Grace. I found myself overwhelmed by the lyrics because all of a sudden I truly understood the gravity of what God had done for me. “My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior, has ransomed me.” This truth has transformed my relationship with God and also healed and blessed my relationship with my wife.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. - 2 Timothy 4:18
To read about the lessons I learned about overcoming pornography you can read the the last part here: Overcoming Pornography: Thoughts for the Struggling. You can read the other post in this series here: The Pornography Epidemic, Going on the Offensive Against Porn