One Real Woman: Flesh

isaiah-native-shawl

Porn.  Such a taboo topic in Christian communities.  But so prevalent within them.

Flesh. (Well, Photo-Shopped flesh)  It surrounds us; it’s what sells.  Being a Christian woman today with this ever-present Mistress looking down upon us with her wares is brutal.  When will I EVER look as good as “her”?  How can I compete?

I’ve wept.  I’ve been angered and I’ve been so full of sorrow.  For the men, (for even yes, the women) who have given themselves over to this drug.  -Especially when one of those men is my husband.

I write this to provide a voice.  A beacon.  A ray of hope.  Because despite my tragic love story about me loving a man who has looked at hundreds of women without their clothes on, God still is good.  HE REDEEMS ANY STORY.  I have walked in deep, horrible valleys and through darkness with my husband, but I stayed, because God knows that He is not done with our stories.  He is faithful and he has shown me what true Grace from the Cross looks like here on earth…and that he extends it to ALL who call upon Him.  And I trust God.

When I married my husband, I was aware of his “issue”…but I was so naïve to think that since we were finally able to be intimate, that it would go away.  -And so did he!  But, like any addiction that started from a place of natural curiosity, then trauma and coping, the Enemy’s grip was tight.  The roots were deep.  It would not be easy to just wish away or practice good self-control.  I felt so foolish because I should have known better.  We were both Christians and raised in Christian homes.  Wasn’t that enough?  Unfortunately, no.  We were still humans in a broken world.

Shame came over us; cutting deep and personal.  Our marriage became one of cycles of trust and mistrust, of my husband being “clean” and then getting caught, begging for forgiveness, promising to do better…then a while down the road, it would all come around again.  I would be SO angry and hateful towards him and at God for allowing this to happen.  Year after year, I prayed and prayed and beseeched God, asking Him what He was doing?!  I remember wailing, “I didn’t sign up for this!!!”  -To cope, I proceeded to see myself as the better person.  And I hid it all and spoke to no one about it.

You see, I felt like I had no Knight in Shining Armor.  No, “Godly Man” that “just…spiritually leads our marriage and our family”.  At one point, I was contemplating separation from him.  …And we had children.

However, I could not see what lay ahead.

But then God, in His gracious mercy, picked us up and gave us hope:  Accountability.  Repentance.  Healing.  Renewed intimacy.  A renewed relationship.  I was shown a man that truly knew/knows what it means to have the hand of God upon his life, and that my husband’s story was NOT WASTED and could be a help to others.  Over the years, the both of us have learned a great deal about porn and sexual addiction and its hold on men/women as well as the devastating effects it has on marriages and relationships.  God has used my husband to help mentor and guide other men dealing with the same issues.  We have also learned to rebuild our marriage and work on our family with this knowledge and a renewed trust in where God has us to go in the future.

After this change, the next years of our marriage and family were transforming.  My husband dug deep and made some very difficult, yet extremely necessary, life and behavioral changes.  These years were far from perfect, nor was my husband just healed from his sexual addiction (although we are still praying about it and know that God CAN instantly take that away and has in others’ lives)…but they were so much better than before. I finally felt like I was living the life and marriage I desired with my husband; our level of intimacy became multi-faceted.

Am I still in-process?  Absolutely.  Do I still struggle with how I think my husband thinks of me? Unfortunately, often.  Am I battling insecurities about my body?  Yes. (So painfully, yes.)Am I insecure about my identity?  Now this…this is where God has been breaking the chains. This has been life-giving.  My identity is changing before my eyes and it has been beautiful.  I know who I am in Christ and  who Christ is in me and so I am trying to live in that truth each day.  He has given me beauty out of the ashes.

Our Savior redeems us and we do not have to live lives as victims, but as his beloved, messed-up children.   We.  All.  Sin.  The effects are just different.

My marriage?  I’ve learned to love a man in many different ways.  I’ve learned to trust Christ in him and to be immoveable with the truth that God is NOT DONE WITH HIM YET.  And my husband has been able to see me with different eyes and a purer, loving embrace.  We still deal with the setbacks of recovering from this addiction, and although there may be some pain, we know that we can work towards true healing.  God picks us up again and shows us the way.  ~Redeeming us with mercies new every morning.

Thank you for letting me share my story.

Love,  (A Grace Chapel Woman)

Do you have questions?  Do you seek help?  Do you need prayer over this issue?

You can send an email to THIS EMAIL address of the Authentic Grace Blog.

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