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

Defusing My Anger

Anger.

Where do I even begin?

Ever since the birth of our first son, my anger has become like a wretched weed with a branching network. Trying to pull out all of the roots is a seemingly never-ending task. Here’s an even better analogy for this from the movie Hurt Locker

In this scene, the Staff Sgt. uncovers a wire that, once pulled out of the ground, brings several connected bombs to the surface. There is nothing else to do but take a deep breath and start the process of defusing each bomb.

It is the same with the type of anger I have been experiencing and once you start rooting out the issues beneath all of the anger, there is no going back. It’s no longer beneath the surface and now you know that it has to be dealt with before something sets you off and you do something you will regret for the rest of your life.

I used to wonder how a mom could ever harm her child. You hear about those horrible stories where children are abused, even killed by their very own mothers. I don’t wonder how it happens anymore. Unchecked and unrighteous anger is a powerful thing that can grow into something you never intended it to be. I have never gotten to the point of inflicting the kind of harm on my son that would make the world gasp in shock, but I have done enough to recognize that I cannot pretend like the bombs aren’t there, just waiting to be triggered under the surface. I have had enough minor explosions to know that bigger ones will go off, if I don’t learn how to deactivate them.

That is my current journey. I have read several amazing books and am being mentored by a wonderful woman who’s the picture of calm and has three well-rounded sons that love the Lord.  But the most important thing? I have told several people about my struggles, and I mean every part. There is something wrong with Christianity if you cannot share your deepest regrets and your deepest current struggles for fear of rejection and condemnation. I have not felt that from anyone I have shared my anger struggles with, because they are all women who know what it is like to struggle and to have a desperate need for grace.

There is so much of my recent story I am going to share with you, but for now I will leave you with this beautiful verse. When I feel the most hopeless about my sin, this is the verse I bring to mind.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.”  – Philippians 2:13

What’s In a Testimony II

I have written on testimony and shared mine as well as others. The cool thing about sharing your testimony, is that just like Jesus, it never gets boring. Or at least, it never gets boring as long as I am seeking to grow in Christ.

Our testimonies change over time due to the joys and sorrows life throws our way. So far, in my experience of sharing my testimony, it has not been a clean cut script about everything that has happened in my life up until this point in time. It’s not like I say the same boring old story and tack on a couple of new highlights every now and then. God is consistently giving me fresh perspective on my life: my past, my present, my strengths, my weaknesses. And that fresh perspective makes for some good material.

There are a couple of key factors that determine what I share with any given person.

  1. Who am I talking to?
  2. What are they going though?
  3. Will this point them towards Jesus or towards me?

If I can answer the first two and still feel good about what I want to share, but the answer to number three is pointing them towards me, then I need to choose to share nothing. Because as I have said in previous posts, the purpose of my testimony is not letting people know the depths of who I am. It’s only purpose is to point people to Christ. And if what I am saying isn’t doing that, I might as well keep it to myself. I’m not saying that I don’t joke around or have small talk. But if I am going to go deep and expose things about myself that I wouldn’t normally share, it better be for a higher purpose.

I am not perfect in this. I like to talk…too much at times. There are times where I start to share what’s been going on in my life with someone and I can just sense that maybe I should stop. You know when you realize you went wrong somewhere in your monologue but you choose to keep going and watch the train wreck of your words unfold before your eyes? I’m trying to work on stopping at the realization part and avoiding the wreck.

How do I know whether or not to share something before it’s already too late? Honestly, it’s a work in progress. The more I am filled with the Spirit and have been in God’s presence, the more likely I am to say exactly what needs to be said. Nothing less and nothing more. It’s when I am not resting in Him and trusting that He will speak through me, that my words pour out haphazardly hoping to somehow hit the mark.

So why am I writing about testimony yet again? I think it’s because I want to set the tone for what I am going to be writing about. I don’t plan for this to be a place for you to download my life into yours. I am praying that my words will be an encouragement and even a challenge. I want this blog to be a testament to what God has already done and bring hope to what he will do! God bless!

 

Women do other things too…

It has been a long time. Two years, right?

I am so thankful for the blessing this blog has been to those of you reading and pray that it will continue to bless others. The things that I wrote are still just as true today as they were when written. But here’s the thing. My life is extremely different now that I have been married for several years, and not just sexually! So while I still have some to say on the topic of sex and masturbation, it’s not quite enough material to sustain this blog as is.

That being said, will you go on this journey with me to explore the things that women (at least this woman) do other than masturbate? For those of you who have actually read my blog posts, don’t worry. That’s not something I still indulge in. My husband is far too good at what he does! 😉

This blog may undergo a merge, a title change, or stay the same other than the content being a little more varied. We’ll play it by ear, but I’m glad to say that after a very intensive two years of God rooting out some sin in my life, I’m back! And if you want to know what that sin could be, you’ll just have to keep reading won’t you?

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.

Husbands: What Does God Think of Your Sex Life?

My husband has been asking me if he could write a post for my blog for a little while. Of course, I was thrilled and he finally sat down and wrote one out. Hopefully, there will be more to come in the future!

My wife was my first kiss, so I think it’s safe to say we did the whole purity thing pretty strictly before we got married. That’s not to say I was naive exactly. Aside from the distorted information I had gotten from pornography, I spent a lot of time researching anything I could find about sex before our wedding night. I read books, blogs, forums, anything I could find about what sex was like for real people. It was also helpful to talk to several couples about their advice and experience.

Several of them surprised me, though. They wouldn’t admit it in front of me and their husbands, but several women admitted to my wife that they weren’t getting what they needed out of sex in the beginning of their marriage. One even said she still wasn’t getting what she needed, despite talking to her husband again and again about it.

I was so confused. My stereotype of marriage from sitcoms and even sermons was that the husband was always the one begging for more or different sex and the wife was the one turning him down.

While I still can’t say I totally relate, on our honeymoon, I began to understand where the root of that problem might lay: pleasing a woman sexually can be hard. On our honeymoon we learned that my wife didn’t have an orgasm from sex. She liked sex, but it didn’t satisfy her. After sex, I was satisfied and she was more turned on than ever and ready to do more. Within the first two days, we had sex 10 times, and I was exhausted. For the first time in my life, I honestly would have rather been sleeping than having sex. So when my wife woke me up in the middle of the second night and I genuinely couldn’t do it anymore, she was hurt and I was afraid. We talked through it, but we didn’t know what to do and I think she went back to sleep frustrated.

It wasn’t until the third or fourth day of our honeymoon, after she had grown comfortable enough with me touching her, that I was able to give her an orgasm from touching her clitoris. This was finally the satisfaction she needed.

What we learned was that my wife craves an orgasm every two to three days, whereas I crave one pretty much every day. This was really frustrating for me, because giving her an orgasm can take a long time, especially the first several months of marriage when it would take up to an hour. Doing it isn’t directly pleasurable to me, and sometimes it was even annoying. Frankly, sometimes my hand gets tired, my arm goes numb, and once I think I even fell asleep for a minute. Sometimes I know that her body needs an orgasm because it has been three or four days, and I have to talk her into having one because she doesn’t even feel the need in that moment, but will later. That’s so different from my body; I can’t even believe we are the same species sometimes. But the more I do it, the more I see it as a) incredibly sexy to please my wife, and b) a godly responsibility I have as a husband.

This is what I didn’t understand going in to marriage. I thought my wife would want exactly what I wanted, sex, just a little less often. The truth is she has a much more intense, time consuming need that doesn’t align at all with my desire, and if she doesn’t get that, she is dissatisfied no matter how much we do what I want. People so often think of 1 Corinthians 7:5-6 as verses directed at women:

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

But it’s fitting that it addresses men first, because in reality it applies even more to men. I have to make sure my wife is taken care of, and in some ways it’s more of a sacrifice for me because I don’t get pleasured at the same time that she does. That’s fitting since I’m the man, the one called to love her like Christ loved the Church, forsaking his own pleasures and desires to serve his bride.

And from what I’ve heard talking to other married couples, it seems to me that men are just as likely to be selfish and unwilling to please their wives as wives are toward their husbands. If you are a husband who doesn’t take the time to please your wife as often as she needs it, you are failing her. There are many purposes of marriage, but you are failing at least two of them if you aren’t working to fulfill her desires: protecting her from sexual temptation, and representing the glory of God in the sacrifice of Christ for the Church.

At the end of time when I give an account to God of how I stewarded my marriage, I’m certain that he will be pleased with my sacrifices for her, to protect her and to glorify him. Husbands, if you are getting what you need from your wife and that keeps you from sinning, good for you, but in light of everything she needs, I have to ask you, is God pleased with your sex life?

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