The Blessing of Brokenness I

I can’t tell you how many times I found myself weeping on our bathroom floor, telling God that I didn’t want to be alive anymore. Four months into motherhood and the future looked bleak. I did not enjoy my beautiful son. I was angry. Angry with God for all the ways things had gone “wrong” from pregnancy to motherhood. Angry with myself for proving to be a terrible mother who couldn’t be like all of the other mothers out there. The anger didn’t exactly disappear, but God didn’t leave me broken on that bathroom floor. He never does.

Brokenness is a funny thing. It is the very thing we all try to avoid and yet it is the one thing that makes us utterly dependent on God. There is no one and nothing else to turn to when you are broken. Nothing you can turn to that will make you whole again, that is.

I am a planner. I like to be in control. I used to think I was a pretty awesome Christian, who didn’t need anyone to guide me along the treacherous path of motherhood. I had researched it all, so why bother asking questions when I already knew the answers? So when all of my plans for just about everything were ripped into shreds, I was angry. I was supposed to have my child at a birthing center without any drugs. I had an emergency C-section after laboring for 3+ days…so yeah, I had lots of drugs and a hellishly long recovery. I was supposed to nurse my child until his first birthday and never have to use formula. I made it 6 months and ultimately had to switch to formula due to clogged ducts and my angry fits when my son would bite or not latch properly. I was supposed to love my child unconditionally. I yelled when my son wouldn’t go to sleep, slammed my fists onto tables, walls, etc. when things were out of my control, and was detached emotionally as a parent for the first year of his life. I wasn’t this way all of the time. Anyone looking from the outside in would think I was a phenomenal mother who had it all together. My son was happy for the most part and no one need know the secrets behind closed doors. But God knew and he knows that there’s no room for secrets when it comes to our darkness.

I could be in the same place I was six months ago, but in the first four months of my son’s life, God broke me. And while it took another eight months to pick up the pieces, I am whole again and I am changed. Not only did God break me, but he reshaped me. When I was on that bathroom floor, crying out to God, he heard me and he answered. Over eight years ago, when I was drowning in my sin of viewing pornography, God required that I bring it to the light. And recently, when I was drowning in my failures with anger, God required that I bring it to the light. Thankfully, this time it didn’t take years for me to listen and respond. I had learned my lesson from the past and sin would not hook it’s claws into me again.

“So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

– 1 John 1:6-7

Ted Talk on Porn Addiction

I came across this interesting video concerning porn addiction. Now, granted it is only discussing the perspective on how it affects guys, but it is definitely intriguing nonetheless. Take the time to watch this video. It could change your future sex life and save you from painful years whether you are single or married.

A Change of Pace

I have been writing this blog for nearly a year now. Almost every single Sunday, I have posted something that I hope has been beneficial to my readers and glorifying to God. But I have hit a wall. I have prayed about it and sat staring at the computer screen trying to think of something to write. And I end up with nothing. I mean I have thoughts, but none that seem significant enough to put out there. I feel like I am in danger of writing things just to write, of being repetitive, of trying to do this without the Lord.

I know there are plenty of things to be said in regards to pornography and masturbation. Both topics are equally unique but a huge part of who I am today. They have both caused me endless hours of frustration and anguish, and at the same time have given me perspective and understanding in a culture that becomes more and more sexualized with each new day. I desire to write about these topics, but I feel like God is telling me to wait and to dig deeper.

But I don’t want to let my readers down! Even the few that have been helped by this blog are important to me. Are you really finished with me concerning this topic, Lord?”

I don’t think He is finished. I think this may just be the beginning, or at least I am praying it is. But I may not have posts every Sunday like before. I may have to enter a season of research and talking to others. I need to gather data and stories and in turn share them with the world.

I know some of you reading this have your own stories and your own thoughts. I encourage you to take the opportunity I am presenting right now. I want you to write for this blog. Of course, I would have to approve of your writing, because let’s be honest here, I am trying to reflect Christ and can’t allow anything that would be dishonoring to Him. But I want to have different perspectives and other girls, teens, and women who just need to get some things off their chest and out in the open. I want this to be a place where you can release the pain that porn may have caused you. The frustration and confusion masturbation has granted you.

All I can do is ask. It’s up to you whether or not you answer. Until then, I will be seeking out what God would have for me with this blog. I am praying it will be far better than anything I could have dreamed of. I push on not because of my own strength, but because of Him who saved me from my sin and gave me a new name and a pure heart. I can never repay Him and I never have to. So I will press on until he would have me finish.

What are You Consuming?

I am sure many of you are familiar with the author Francine Rivers and her “Mark of the Lion” book series and book “Redeeming Love.” And many of you may have made the same mistake that I am about to share with you.

I am an avid reader and I would call the way that I read devouring rather than simply reading. Back when I had all the time in the world, I would often finish 800 page books within several days if not in one day. As I matured in my faith, I realized that that may be an idol in my life and while reading in and of itself was not bad, the way I read was.  I read all sorts of books, ranging from classics to fantasy world books (you know dwarves, elves, dragons and the like).  The problem with such a wide range of tastes is that it is very difficult to filter out what you end up consuming in the process.

With movies, you can just look at a rating or a review and find out if you really want to risk the possibility of exposing your heart and mind to things you know aren’t good for it. There are reviews for nearly every movie that is in existence. But for books? Well, I don’t know if it would even be possible for there to be reviews of book content because of the enormity and variety of books that are out there.

In the books I read (especially the fantasy ones) things were planted within them that caused me to struggle. Unfortunately, sex is now permeated very thoroughly throughout our culture and entertainment. It is difficult to fend off, especially within books. I never read those books you see with the half naked men and women on the front that are obviously entirely about sex and probably viewed as “soft porn.” But I didn’t have to. Within most books that I read, there were usually at least one or two sexually stimulating scenes. It was a huge problem for me and stirred up lust and awakened thoughts and desires I didn’t know existed. Once in my mind, it was more difficult to remove it than I ever would have imagined. As most of you know, these scenes in books stopped satisfying and I began to look to porn more and more often. I guess you could say that, for me, books were my “gateway” to porn.

This particular post has a happy and somewhat humorous ending to it though. As I said in the beginning, this whole story has something to do with Francine Rivers. After I finally confessed my sins to my friend, I had stopped reading books that I knew might have sex scenes within them. So, basically I only read Christian fiction, some classics, and books that I knew Christian friends of mine had already read and deemed appropriate. Francine Rivers had a great track record with me and I wanted to read more of her work.

One thing my friend (who also loves the author) forgot to mention was that Rivers was not always a Christian. In fact, she wrote books that many would call soft porn before her encounter with Jesus. I picked one of her older books out at the library and inside the cover was written in pencil “soft porn.” How clueless could I get? I ignored the writing thinking it was some joke and started to read. At first I was a little taken aback by how detailed she was getting and then I started to realize that the added labeling in the front cover was no joke.

It was a struggle to put the book down and refuse to pick it back up again. But I did, and immediately asked my friend why in the world Rivers wrote this book? She laughed quite a bit and told me about the writer’s past. I had enough hints and clues to have known better, but for some reason was oblivious at the time. I haven’t been that careless since.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.

1 Corinthians 10:23

Porn Within Movies

Pornography:  the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.

My husband and I watched a movie the other day. It was an R-rated comedy and there were more than just crude jokes in this movie. It had two sexual scenes that lingered on women’s bare breasts. My husband looked away and I glanced over so that I could tell him if it was over or not.

Now, most people would argue that sex scenes in movies are not the same thing as pornography. I mean you aren’t watching people have sex and all you are seeing is breasts or butts. Based on the definition above though, I would beg to differ.

Anything intended to cause sexual excitement is pornography. But for women, especially married women, there is something that can be just as detrimental to viewing material that explicitly shows other women’s bodies.

After seeing this movie, I started to look at my own breasts with disgust and became slightly depressed with my own physical appearance. I mean how could my own breasts compete with the airbrushed, stimulated, perfectly angled and lighted breasts of women in the movies? I know all of this logically, but even so, subconsciously my mind goes there and I become dissatisfied. Thankfully, I have the Holy Spirit who told me to tell my husband immediately what was going through my head. My husband was able to encourage me and build me up and that was the end of it.

So, while I may not have been sexually stimulated by the sight (only because my husband takes good care of my physical needs) it was still harmful. Too often I think married women believe they are able to handle sexual scenes in movies better than their husbands can simply because most women aren’t as visually turned on. But while men might be more tempted to view more forms of porn and, in turn, sexually withdraw, women are tempted to look at themselves with disgust and sexually withdraw. Both are equally sinful.

What is my point? I think my point is that as wives, we need to stop allowing porn into our hearts. Whether it leads to the same outcome as our husband’s is not even the point. The point is that porn harms every single person that is touched by it. So whether the porn you are viewing is through videos, movies, models in magazines, or books, you need to strongly analyze the way you are treating your sex life and how those things are affecting it.

A good sex life is important for a good marriage. And while it certainly isn’t everything, it is very important. Anything you are consuming that causes you to view yourself as less desirable is not worth it. Anything that causes you to withdraw from your husband is sinful.

You may not be viewing porn as the world thinks of it, but I want to leave you with something that Jesus once said to the Pharisees who boasted about how they didn’t sin like other people did.

“You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” – Matthew 23:26

I don’t mean to be harsh, but the truth isn’t always easy.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

–          Philippians 4:8

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.

My Testimony

I posted recently inviting people to share their testimony on this blog. I have a couple of people working on sending me theirs, but until then I thought I would share my full testimony. I have given bits and pieces of it in different blog posts, but never have I written it out fully.

I grew up in a somewhat typical Christian home. We went to church ever since I can remember, although my Dad stopped going when a scandal of sorts occurred with the pastor there stealing money from the church. My mom continued to take us kids to church though and I enjoyed going. I got baptized when I was 6 or 7 (to be honest all of my childhood memories blend together and to remember an exact age is a miracle). I would say that I loved Jesus, but I don’t think I really knew what it meant to follow him.

My older brothers stopped going to church with us when they reached high school. I am not really sure why they even had an option, but it wouldn’t surprise me to know that they used the argument that if my Dad never went, they shouldn’t have to go either. It never crossed my mind that I didn’t want to go to church. I just felt like I should.

When I was around ten or so, I discovered masturbation. I had no idea what I was doing, I just knew that it felt really good and I knew exactly where it was that made me feel that way. I wish it had ended there, but curiosity got the best of me and living in a house of  all brothers, you hear some things that you might not otherwise. Not only that, but I first learned about sex from a friend of mine. I didn’t know exactly what she meant by her definition, but it made me curious and the internet was very accessible for me.

I searched the term sex and saw pictures that repulsed me and at the same time drew me to them and I wanted to see more. My Dad walked in and I remember absolutely nothing else about what happened. There was no conversation afterwards, just a deep sense of shame and feeling like I had done something very wrong. I was a sick, twisted little girl in my mind.

Once you view porn, it is hard not to go further. It started out with pictures for me and then progressed into inappropriate movie scenes, which made me realize that I could look up videos of this stuff online as well. There were years that I didn’t look at porn as much, but there were also years that I looked at it a lot, especially in my later high school/early college years.

Why is all of this such a huge part of my testimony? Because I truly believe porn combined with masturbation is what stunted my growth as a believer. I was sinning and unable to break free from it. And I wasn’t turning to the Lord when I messed up, I ran from Him and covered my head in shame for weeks every time I looked at porn and/or masturbated. Masturbation wasn’t something that was done in innocence for me anymore. It was always accompanied by lustful fantasies, raunchy scenes in books, or video pornography. So whether or not I actually viewed porn, I was left feeling empty and defeated and far from God.

My Senior year of high school was when things began to turn around for me. You might be asking yourself, “Isn’t that when you struggled the most?”  Yes, it is. But it is also the time when I started to take my sin more seriously. And Satan wasn’t about to make it that easy for me.

I will share the rest of my testimony in my next post. For now I want to leave you with this:

When your struggle with sin is the hardest it has ever been, remember this: God is there with you and He will never forsake you. The fact that you are not resigned to your sin and wish to defeat it is a big deal and something God can work with. You are free in Christ. Don’t let sin tell you otherwise!

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36

Search Terms That Make You Wonder…

I don’t have posts that are super light-hearted very often. Actually, make that never. But I can’t resist any longer, so here it goes.

As I am sure you have noticed, the title of my blog is pretty simple, could be considered controversial, and can also be misunderstood. To be honest, that is how I want it. I don’t want this to be a place that only Christians come across (although Christians are probably the main ones that are even contemplating the pros v. cons of masturbation). I want my blog to be something that anyone could happen upon regardless of their religion. I want people to know Jesus.

But now that I have been running this blog for more than six months, I have a good picture of what kind of person is viewing my blog when looking at their search terms. Sometimes, it is too good of an idea.

By now, most of you probably know my stance on pornography (it is pretty negative). If not, I will do a post on it sometime in the future I am sure. So, when I see some of these search terms I can’t help but laugh inside sometimes. For instance, a search term like “women who masturbate porn sex” makes me think that they were probably looking for something other than a Christian blog. And the fact that their search was interrupted by clicking on my blog kind of makes me sad and delighted at the same time.

I said I wasn’t going to get too deep in this blog, so I am just going to leave you with my top most ridiculous, disturbing, and hilarious search terms so far. Here it goes!

  1. “Women masturbation honeymoon” has actually come up quite a bit.
  2. “Women masturbate for cash” That is really sad.
  3. “Women are unhelpful” I literally laughed about that one.
  4. “Homeless people and health care” Haha! I did write a post kind of on this topic once, but I bet this person was a little shocked that my blog came up for it.
  5. “Masturbating with sheep heart” I really just don’t understand.
  6. “How to masturbate a goat” If someone wants to explain why anyone would be searching this, feel free (I may or may not allow your comment). This was searched several times. It is disturbing.

Those were the most outrageous so far. When I look through my search terms I am encouraged by all of the search terms that indicate people really are looking for answers and some are hopefully finding them through this blog. But there are also a lot of search terms that make me remember how sick this world really is and it reminds me of why we all need Jesus.

Testimonies

So, this post is going to be short, sweet, and to the point.

I just added a page called testimonies where I will be posting people’s testimonies about their struggles with pornography and/or masturbation. Sometimes, knowing that there are others out there who have a similar story as you do (especially in the church) can help you get to the other side. We are all unique in the way God made us, but many people share similar life stories that are meant to be shared to uplift and encourage one another.

If you are interested in having your own story posted, please contact me at my email: mtorik89@gmail.com and I will respect your anonymity.