Stephanie: An Open Book

Submitted By: Stephanie

I didn’t know what was going on with my body or what I was feeling. I didn’t know what to call it. I didn’t know if it was wrong or if it was normal. At first, all I knew was that it felt good. I wasn’t even a teenager yet.

It was years before I even heard the word “masturbation” and some years more before I put it together that that was what was going on. Up until that realization there had been a kind of indescribable confusion and regret that existed, but after a label was applied to my actions the shame and humiliation that followed was immense and drove me into further secrecy. For years I tried to fight it off, to end it, but it seemed there were triggers all around me sending me back to that act I despised naming.
I truly believed I was the only one I knew who struggled with it and I dare not test that hypothesis by asking questions; Lord knows I sure didn’t hear the word “masturbation” in church. So I kept it to myself, at least I tried. Something in me felt I had to tell someone and the scriptures that talked about confessing haunted me. So I decided to admit to some very close friends that I struggled with “lust.” That’s what I called it because lust, well everyone struggles with that and it was a broad enough label that I felt safe behind it; God could have His way and I could have mine. Although it wasn’t enough, not because it wasn’t enough for Him, but because it wasn’t enough for me in my own heart.
One night a younger girl on a youth leadership team pulled all the female leaders into a private meeting where she boldly confessed to us all her struggle with pornography; she just had to get it out in the open. Little did she know what that would start. Her confession gave the rest of us courage to open up and open up we did. Turns out every single one of my friends, who served in leadership positions with me, struggled with masturbation at some point in their life. We all had thought we were alone all that time.
I was in high school when that little saving grace occurred. Confessing to my friends gave me strength to stand up to something I hated; it made a lot of the shame go away and I found myself enriched with a boldness to lay my struggle out there for other girls so that at least they wouldn’t feel so alone like I did for all those years. But there was still some shame hanging on, shame that I wouldn’t be free from for another 4 years when I finally gained the courage to tell my mom.
See, when God made me, He made me an open book; I naturally share what I go through and I don’t have a lot of shame about it- it’s how I’ve always been. But what masturbation did was it robbed me of that. With masturbation being in my life suddenly I had something to hide, suddenly I had shame. So, for me, confessing was what was necessary to bring me back to me. I don’t think that masturbation was the great sin that needed forgiveness. I think the bigger “sin” was me not being who I was created to be and allowing something to muddle core parts of my being. I think that broke my God’s heart more than the act itself; having to watch me be robbed of the true nature He Himself had put within me. I have come to believe that God cares far more about us than He does about what we do. Whether that be the great and holy things we can do for Him or the hurtful and shameful things we can do despite Him, He cares for us. He cares about us.

My Testimony II

Picking up where I left off: I began to take my sin more seriously starting in my Senior year of high school and that is also when porn/masturbation really started to take a toll on my life.

In a stretch of about three years, I became truly addicted to pornography. I may not have viewed it as often as other porn addicts do, but I had no self-control and would watch it in the family living areas on my newly acquired laptop even when my family was home. I began to despise myself and feel depressed and cried out to God like I had never done before. I wanted it to end. I couldn’t keep living life in this way.

He told me what to do: “Tell someone.” I knew that is what he was asking of me, that it was where the end of my misery would have to begin. But in so many ways that sounded like the worst idea ever! If I told someone, they would look at me differently; with disgust, shock, horror, and disdain. They might even tell other people I knew and then everyone would know me for what I was. Girls just didn’t masturbate and girls certainly didn’t watch porn. No one would understand this.

But I knew I didn’t just have to tell anyone, I had to tell a certain friend. I didn’t. I told my mom. It was the worst decision I could have made because at the two years that were the hardest, I added another year of misery to my life. My mom promptly tried to forget I ever told her and was embarrassed and the subject was not brought up again until after I got married and I was confident in who I was.

A year later, I was at an event about sex trafficking at our town’s college. They talked about how women were often trafficked and used for porn films and the people viewing them couldn’t distinguish when a woman had been trafficked. I wanted to throw up.

Some of my girlfriends started to talk about how they can’t imagine anyone viewing porn let alone any women. “I mean how could women view pornography? It’s so disgusting!” My friend that I knew I should tell was there and piped in saying that she used to look at it. What? I wasn’t alone.

I finally worked up the courage to talk to her and things began to change from then on. I obeyed Christ, and immediately found peace and the freedom that I always had. I no longer allowed my desires to control me, but prayed and studied God’s Word even more. I began to take Jesus more seriously. I still struggled with masturbation until the day I got married and it could still be a very real struggle for me if my husband ever dies or we have a rough patch in our marriage. I know that I am not immune to my body’s physical desires. But the lust is no longer there. I haven’t looked at porn intentionally since the day I told my friend and confessed my sin to another person.

Since then, I would say that I am a completely different person than I was during those three years (and I wasn’t even very bad in the outward sense). My desires are more like Christ’s desires and He has transformed what I really want from life to be more Holy. I will always have sins and issues that I need to work on, but sin is no longer my master. Jesus Christ is. Once I was able to wrap my head around what Christ truly did on the cross, I understood that every sin I had done and every sin I would commit was washed away by His blood.

And now I can honestly say that I am excited for the day that I get to be in my Savior’s presence in eternity. He is just so much better than all the pleasures that this world has to offer. Now, my greatest desire is to please God.

And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. – 1 John 2:17

Feel free to leave me any comments or thoughts you may have on this topic using the form below. Also, if you would like to share your own testimony, please email me at mtorik89@gmail.com and I will respect your anonymity.

Ways to resist temptation

I have already shared my thoughts on whether or not masturbation is a sin. I want to focus on what can help those who view it as something that is unhelpful or even sinful. There are several things that I have found to be extremely helpful in resisting the temptation to masturbate.

1. Marriage really does help. At least, in my case it has. With a husband who is willing to make time for you and meet your needs, things will become much less difficult. However, not everyone is in this situation. If you are single, this point probably frustrates you to no end. And not all married women have husbands that are willing to meet their needs.

2. Have someone that you confess to! You can tell yourself all day long that you won’t do it again and no one needs to know you messed up. If you do slip up, it isn’t like you telling yourself will really embarrass you all that much. But if you have to tell someone else it changes things drastically. You think twice about what you are about to do, because you know if you go through with it you are going to have to tell that person. You could always lie to them, but that would only increase your frustration and guilt.

3. Know your cycle. Have you ever noticed that you typically have the desire to masturbate around the same times of the month? I definitely experienced that but never really took the time to figure out why until recently. I have found theories (no facts) that women have a higher sex drive during the week before ovulation due to the higher levels of testosterone. Either way, if you notice you tend to be tempted more during a certain time of the month, start taking note of that so you can be more prepared mentally and have people praying with you about it.

4. Don’t make it easy to fail. If there are certain places (bedroom, bathroom, etc.) that you tend to masturbate in, don’t be in those places unless it is necessary. If you like to study or read in your bedroom, but find that your mind will wander and you give in to temptation even though your intentions were sincere, start studying or reading somewhere that that won’t be an issue. If you struggle more reading certain books or watching certain movies, stop making it harder on yourself and acquire different tastes. Those books and movies may not be bad in and of themselves, but for you they are.  In a nutshell, you will have to make some sacrifices.

5. Memorize scripture. If the Holy Spirit has convicted you about masturbating, the enemy will do everything he can to make sure you fail. Nothing works better than prayer and quoting the Word of God. There are three verses in particular that I find to be the most helpful and they just happen to all be in books of the Bible that start with C!

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”


Most importantly, and probably the only one that really needs to be remembered is this: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” The more you dwell on your heavenly Father, the less you will desire the things that you once did. The other things may help for a time, but without this one thing you will eventually fall back into your old desires.

I hope this helped somebody, and I would appreciate any feedback that anyone has to offer. If there is anything you would like to see discussed feel free to let me know!

Walking in Freedom – Part II

“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;” – Romans 8:5-6

As I said in a previous entry, I believe that if you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are free. And that freedom is complete regardless of where you stand in life. You don’t have to clean up your life first to become free. If you did, it wouldn’t be called grace.

But then we get into the more complicated area of freedom. I think there may be two different freedoms that we try to lump into one. We are freed from death and our sins are covered by the greatness of Jesus, but are we free from sin? I think that depends on what your mindset is.

Too often, we end up focusing solely on our own issues; on our own problems and how messed up we are. We are free, so why are we still sinning? Instead of focusing on the one who set us free and seeking His wisdom and the things above, we focus on ourselves and the things we are doing wrong.

We will not live in accordance with the Spirit until we set our minds on Jesus. So, if we are focusing on our own fleshly desires, we will never be set free in the way we are hoping for. But if, even while we are sinners, we choose to set our minds on Jesus, things will start to change for us. We will begin to only desire the things we are choosing to set our minds on. We will no longer desire the things that our sinful nature will always desire.

We cannot clean ourselves up first. We cannot stop living in our sinful ways before we decide to focus our minds on the Word and the things of Jesus. It is impossible. But through Him, everything is possible.

Perhaps if we all chose to focus on the goodness of our creator more often than the wretchedness of ourselves, we would find ourselves in a place of righteousness and holiness that we never dreamed to achieve.

Walking in Freedom

“You want to know how I think you are free from sin? When you are no longer running away from God because of your sin, but coming to God and drawing closer to him; that is how you know you are free from sin.” – my friend Angela

This piece of advice helped me get out of my ditch. Before I had been climbing one side only to fall back down to the bottom and I never felt like I was really getting anywhere in my spiritual walk because of my sin. I realized that by running from God, I was negating all of the victories God had given me and placing myself at the bottom again. Progress could not be made. I was not allowing it.

Not everyone out there views masturbation as a sin. And I won’t go into that in this particular entry, but for me there was no question about it. It was not beneficial to my walk with Jesus and I felt the effects of that long before anyone ever told me that it was or wasn’t a sin. I needed freedom.

But even with my friend’s advice I still wondered sometimes if I was really free. Yes, I was no longer running from God, but it wasn’t like I was never tempted from that day on let alone never gave in to my temptations. I gave in. There were more victories than losses and I was coming to Jesus with my failures, but I still felt a little bit discouraged.

Would I ever stop failing?

I spoke to one of my pastors about this subject of freedom and what he told me finally gave me some real peace of mind.

When I talked to him, I hadn’t struggled with masturbation for quite some time, but I was still wrestling with the idea of what freedom really meant. It couldn’t just be running to God with your sin instead of away, could it? There had to be some kind of change in your life, right? There had to be some kind of difference!

I had it backwards though.

“The truth: In Jesus we are free. You were free long before you felt free, because you belonged to Jesus. Walking in freedom is different than being free. You were free; the prison doors were opened. You need to believe what already has happened to you.” – Pastor

In Romans 6 and 8, Paul talks about freedom quite a bit, but this verse stuck out to me in particular.

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.”  – Romans 6:22

My pastor was right. I had always been set free. I just needed to accept my freedom. Only then could I reap the benefits of being made holy.

So simple, but yet so difficult.