Friends, after my last post on this topic, I was flooded with so many messages from women asking for help in this area. God put a huge burden on heart to get a post out to help, and I am so blessed to be able to introduce you to a dear friend and sister in Christ, so you can just hear her story of how Jesus broke her free and made her into the person He had always created her to be.
With the pornography industry generating billions and billions of dollars, and more money per year than the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB, it is no wonder why so many men AND women are entangled in these chains.
Here is her story:
It is an honor and a privilege to be asked to share with all of you how God freed me of my addiction to pornography. I think its important to give you a background as to who I am and where I’ve come from, but before I do, I ask that you hear my prayer for you:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come humbly before you today and thank you for loving me and the woman or manreading this now. I ask you Lord to go before me and prepare the hearts of all your children that read this and speak to their inner most parts. The parts they have kept from you or are ashamed to share with you. Those parts are the ones I want you to invade with your love, your compassion, your mercy, your grace, your kindness, your forgiveness, your joy, your redemption and your restoration. Flood every crevice of their hearts and minds with all these things from you. Lord, show your children, the ones reading this right now, how there is no shame or condemnation in Christ Jesus. That you are the safest One they can go to share their struggles with of sin and addiction. Jesus, wrap them in your loving arms and whisper to them how much you love them, how much you care for them and how much you long to have the most intimate relationship with them. Remind them there is NOTHING to big, or too sick that you can’t heal them of. We ask you Father to break the bonds that have shackled your children in this life sucking addiction of pornography. Bind the enemy and let your children know they are more then a Conquerer in Christ Jesus. Set your captives free today, shine your loving light on all the darkness and have your way with all our hearts. Let what the enemy meant to destroy me be used for Your Glory Father as I share my story.
In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.
I’m going to jump right into my life and start with what happened at the age of 3. I was adopted from Korea by a Christian family, and became the youngest of 3 kids, my older sister and brother were both natural born to my adoptive parents. I was the token Asian in a sea of blondes, grew up in Orange County, California, and was raised in the church. I went to Sunday school every week and my parents were in full time ministry. So to say I was exposed to Jesus is an understatement. I think its important for you to know I was adopted because for as long as I can remember I had deep seeded abandonment issues as well as never feeling good enough and unworthy to be loved. These three strongholds manifested themselves in my life greatly and in the area of sexual sin for decades.
Where It All Began
I was exposed to pornography at a very early ages; 3rd grade, 6th grade and then in Junior High and High School. When I was exposed to it in elementary school I had no idea what it was. All I know is after seeing it I felt so disgusting and ashamed. I knew it was something bad and because of that I never told my parents or a trustworthy adult. Looking back I know this is when the stronghold of addiction of pornography began.
Fast Forward to when I was 19 years old. I was in my first adult relationship and I had consciously walked away from the Lord and wanted to shed my good girl image and be a girl that I thought all men would desire. I prided myself on still being a virgin and planned to stay that way till marriage. I was still willing to be intimate with my boyfriend, just not go all the way. In this first adult relationship my boyfriend introduced pornography to me and told me that the only way that he could wait until marriage with me is if we watched it together. So I agreed, because in my twisted little mind I rationalized it was okay because I was still holding onto my virginity.
As our relationship progressed and time passed I caught my boyfriend cheating on me with girls that would sleep with him. So I decided the only way I was going to keep him was to sleep with him, too. And so I did, I gave up my virginity to this guy who didn’t love me. But I hoped by sleeping with him he would learn to love me.
“When I wasn’t in a committed relationship, I would view pornography because I rationalized it by telling myself it was better than sleeping around’.”
This began an 11 year journey of looking for love in all the wrong places. In this time period I had two broken engagements and countless empty relationships. Oddly enough when I was in a committed relationship I didn’t look at pornography and was devastated when I found the guy I was with was still looking at it. But when I wasn’t in a committed relationship I would view pornography because I rationalized it by telling myself it was better then sleeping around.
Because I didn’t deal with this stronghold in my life, or any others for that matter, I ended up marrying a very broken man at the age of 29. In God’s amazing grace my aunt told me to ask the Lord to show me a verse in the bible that would serve as “our verse”, so we could stand on it when the storms came. I prayed and I sought and He gave me Revelation 21:5, “Behold, I make all things new”. He confirmed this to be our verse 3x to me because I was so unsure, as it wasn’t the a verse that seemed like it fit for a marriage. Obviously God knew what I needed and knew I needed this promise to get me through the next several years of my life. So on our wedding program at the very top, this verse was printed and I claimed this over my marriage from day one.
Six weeks after we were married, I found out about seven other women my husband was sleeping with and, that he was still looking at pornography. I was devastated. Heartbroken. My world was caving in. I had no idea what I was going to do. And this, this is when I came running back to the Lord. He was the only one that knew the hell I was living in, the heartbreak I was enduring and the hopelessness I felt.
Because I hadn’t been married long I was too ashamed to tell anyone so I suffered alone for the first few months. I began reading books on sex addiction. I learned that I was not alone, that there were so many wives just like me, and married to men just like my husband. I learned about accountability partners, about safeguards on the computers, smartphones and televisions. I began implementing all the safeguards and told my husband if he wanted us to work he had to get help. So he did. He got an accountability partner, began therapy and was “ following my rules”, for a little while . But it wasn’t long before he managed to get around all the safeguards, stopped calling his accountability partner and eventually, stopped therapy. It became evident I wanted his healing more then he did. But I kept fighting for our marriage to be salvaged. I began praying God would save it, would deliver my husband from this life sucking addiction. I pleaded with the Lord to restore my marriage and use us as a testimony of His grace, mercy, restoration and redemption. I believed He had given me Revelation 21:5 for this time in my marriage. I believed with all my heart my marriage was going to be redeemed and restored and our mess was going to be used glorify the Lord after it was redeemed. After each time I found out about my husbands new infidelities or found out how he got around all the safeguards I felt defeated, like I was losing the battle. The fight in me got weaker and my hope began diminishing. My prayers changed from asking God to save my marriage, to now asking God to deliver me from it. And on August 26th 2010, just 6 weeks shy of our 1 year anniversary, my husband asked me for a divorce. And all I heard or saw was God hearing my cries, and answering my prayers for deliverance.
The Beginning of the Healing Journey
I then began my long journey of healing, forgiveness, restoration, and redemption. But not without some major bumps in the road. I wish I could say, “and then she lived happily ever after”, but the Lord loved me too much to let that be the end of my story and let me keep things hidden from Him. He desired the most intimate relationship with me and the only way we could have that was if I let Him have my whole heart.
“He desired the most intimate relationship with me and the only way we could have that was if I let Him have my whole heart.”
I was still intertwined with some unhealthy habits that Satan used in my life to keep one foot in the world and one foot with Christ. It was my ‘normal’ to always be lukewarm. And as many of us do, after a traumatic experience in life, we fall back into our nasty habits, faster than before. To my own embarrassment and shame, I found myself a year after I filed for divorce, looking at porn again. I rationalized it as a ‘safe’ way for me to feel the intimacy I longed for and told myself that it would keep me on a straight and narrow road of not being promiscuous again. Looking back I realize that I was only excusing my bad behavior to better cope with my heart-wrenching pain from the abandonment I felt so deeply. I was once again back in bondage.
The very thing I despised, the very act that I believed caused my first engagement and then my recent marriage to crumble, was the same act I had succumbed to. No one knew this secret life I was living. If they did, they would know I was a hypocrite, but more importantly, that I needed help. I was once again in the vicious cycle I had known all too well, living two different lives.
The next couple years I lived this double life of being strong on the outside, smart, driven and focused, but crumbling on the inside, while my hidden moments, still secretly and continuing to look at porn. Because it was “safe.” What I truly didn’t realize at the time was I was opening the door for darkness to take hold of my soul and leave me in bondage, once again.
But even in the midst of my brokenness, God hadn’t let me out of His almighty grasp. He saw where I was, and that I needed His help. And amazingly, to wake me up and shed light to my sin, He used a random guy that I met on online and eventually never even met in person. After hearing my story of my past, he randomly and out of the blue, asked me if I had ever struggled with pornography.
In that quick moment, I knew I had one of two decisions: lie and be no better than my ex-husband or, I could tell this complete stranger the actual truth, that yes, I was addicted to pornography. The mere seconds of silence felt like an eternity, but by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit living in me, I chose the latter. And I am so thankful I did. Darkness only exists in the absence of light. I had just put a giant light on my dark sin and it was now exposed. And in one moment, it was as if a giant stone had been lifted from my shoulders. I will never forget what this complete stranger said to me.
It was July 14, 2013.
“You are the Lord’s child. Don’t ever be ashamed, okay? You are cleansed in righteousness. Your sins have been cast into the sea and forgotten. You are a new creation and from now on you will STAND on that promise and you will not be moved. Okay, Ms. New Creation? You’re doing great! So proud of you!!”
After we hung up the phone I remember, again, it was as if a giant boulder I had been carrying around on my shoulders was lifted off me. I remember sobbing and thanking the Lord for sending this stranger to me to shine light onto the darkness I had tucked away in my life. The Lord is SO good, He always exceeds our expectations and that night He did that once again with me. I then took a shower. The shower was always my place that I went to, to try to get clean physically, emotionally and spiritually after I always sinned against my body. Well this same night after divulging to this complete stranger my secret addiction, I did the same thing; I got in the shower and sat on the floor of the tub sobbing. But this time something was very different. I did not feel disgusting anymore. I was crying tears of relief that I no longer had to hide this awful, life sucking sin anymore. Now that it was exposed, God could do the healing. That night God did something so much greater then just the beginning to restore my soul He restored something I went into every day, my shower. No longer did it symbolize filth, disgust, or uncleanliness. It now was a place I remember having some of my sweetest moments with Jesus. The water running over me had a new meaning! It represented the living water that renewed my soul, it was now a safe place to pray and praise Jesus. This showed me again, how he kept keeping his promise of “making ALL things new”.
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessings on your descendants.” Isaiah 44:3
Steps Toward Freedom
I am so thankful for this stranger, someone I never met in person, because I would (and still) read his words every time I need a reminder of how far I have come. I could now see clearly, and all the therapy during my marriage was now helping me to break free from this life-sucking addiction. I knew the course of action I needed to take. I told two Christian girlfriends about what I had been struggling with over the past two years. They were not only my prayer warriors, but also my accountability partners. I knew if I was going to overcome this addiction I had to take aggressive steps in my life. I cut my cable TV in my home, would not surf the Internet late at night on my phone or computer, as this had been one of my triggers to look at pornography. I also stopped watching movies that had any love scenes in it, I wanted to be more safe, than sorry. Backsliding is a slippery slope and I knew I was not above falling again so I needed to always be on high alert. I would go to my accountability partners anytime I felt tempted and never made excuses not to call them. But beyond that, I came before the Lord and repented. Truly repented. I actually turned away from my sin. This was and always had been an issue of my heart. All the sins, the promiscuity, the partying, the relationships, and the pornography were all symptoms of the deeper issues going on in my heart.
Summer of 2014 I took a life changing study named “All Things New” where we went through an in depth Christian study book, “Pathway to Sexual Healing” that took you through scripture where you studied who God is. That His love is unfailing, that He is a promise keeper. We studied about His faithfulness, and the difference between a hardened heart and a broken heart. It also made us answer some deep questions about our sexual past and made us reflect on why we made such poor decisions. It was paired with a video set taught by Dr. Doug Weis, a Christian Sex Therapist who taught us about the cerebral impact sexual sin has on a woman. How pornography, promiscuity, and sexual trauma can damage a woman’s heart, mind and soul. But he then also shows you how you can break free from old negative patterns and begin a life of purity and one blessed by the Lord.
This study was a giant component that aided in my healing and also continued recovery of porn addiction. Since July 2013 when I finally admitted I had a problem and allowed the Lord in to my whole heart I have had only had 2 setbacks. They were both very quickly after I came clean.
I truly believe the Lord faithfully delivered me from this addiction after I first, walked in obedience by confessing my sin, asked for forgiveness, repented, and turned away from it. Then doing my part by implementing all the safeguards and accountability. I know not everyone will experience deliverance like I did, but I do know every person stuck in pornography addiction has to do the same things I did with first, confession, asking for forgiveness, repentance, then implementing safe guards and accountability. If your married you need to confess to your spouse, ask both God and your spouse for forgiveness, and then do the same steps I listed above.
If you have been living with this hidden sin for years like I was and have never told anyone, I know the thought of someone knowing the truth is the absolute scariest thing imaginable. I know exactly how you feel. That is why you should share it with someone that is safe. A Christian Councilor, a same sex Christian friend who does not share the same struggle in this area that you do, and or a pastor or his wife. You also need to be ready to cut yourself off from cable, internet, movies , certain reading materials or tv programs that are your triggers, even friends or a boyfriend/girlfriend that are causing you stumble. Your freedom from sexual sin is more important then keeping an unhealthy relationship or bad habits. Also, I know the idea of someone knowing your deepest, darkest sin is very scary but I think what is more scary is the idea of remaining enslaved to this sin and allowing the enemy victory where the Lord wants to give you freedom. You can never know Jesus fully if you are living in sin. Sin separates us from Him and you have a choice right now to shed light on the darkness and allow Him in to clean out the mess and bring healing.
“I know the idea of someone knowing your deepest, darkest sin is very scary, but I think what is more scary is the idea of remaining enslaved to this sin and allowing the enemy victory where the Lord wants to give you freedom.”
When I was asked to share my own personal journey with overcoming pornography on this blog I was seriously considering not sharing because of the shame that is associated with it, and the fear of “what will people think when they know this about me”? But the awesome thing is, it’s not about me. It’s about God. It’s about God getting ALL the glory. I serve a God of redemption, the almighty Redeemer, The One who kept His promise to make ALL Things New! Through this long, exhausting journey, He has made me, little ole’ me, new. It’s not how I thought He would do it, it’s even better. And that’s how God is. He gives us more then we could ever imagine.
Part of me wonders if He allowed me to fall back into the very sin I despised my ex-husband for, to enable me to have forgiveness for him. My ex-husband was like the woman who was about to be stoned by all the town’s men. And I was the one with the biggest stone to throw. But as we are gently reminded at the end of the story, Jesus tells the crowd, “Whoever has no sin, let him cast the first stone.” And as He began writing in the sand, one by one, each person left. This is when I really began forgiving my ex-husband. Suddenly the anger, bitterness, resentment, feelings of betrayal, defeat and anguish were replaced with compassion, love, empathy, and forgiveness.
So where am I now and what is God doing in my life? I’m married to the most incredible man that God created only for me. We are about to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary and I have to pinch myself daily so I know this life God’s given me is real. My amazing husband wanted to know everything about me while we were dating. I remember being so afraid that after he knew about my entire past there would be no way he would want still be with me. But after I shared everything he told me how brave he thought I was. That he knew the Lord had made him a new creation after his past and knew He had made ALL things new with me too. I was so relieved when he knew everything because I knew if he could fall in love with me after knowing it all he had to be my answered prayer. And 4 months later he told me he had fallen in love with me and only 2 months after that he asked me to be his wife.
My husband supports me fully to do all the things God has called me to do, he often says he works so hard so I can do the work of the Lord. After spending over 20 years in the fashion industry God called me out of it to go into ministry. The last 3 years I have been leading the study I shared about above and the Lord has had me lead it to women in Charlotte NC, all over Orange County, Los Angeles and Ventura County. While in Charlotte, NC Summer of 2015 the Lord gave me a vision for a ministry for hurting women, women just like I had been only a couple years prior. In the last 3 years God has been miraculously orchestrating all the pieces and people and I’m so excited to announce our first Women’s Conference is June 1, 2019 at Calvary Chapel Tustin. The Lord brought Teri Stagner in my life over 20 years ago as I have been best friends with her daughter, and He has grown my relationship with Teri immensely over the last 4 years. She has nurtured and encouraged my walk with the Lord and has been one of my biggest fans when stepping out in ministry. We have partnered together two times now to lead the study together and have seen the Lord work in the miraculous so many times. Because of her heart for hurting women and her hearing from the Lord the vision God had shown me over 3 years ago is coming to pass.
This conference is going to be like nothing you have ever experienced before. We are going to talk about things that you will rarely, if ever hear discussed in the church. Such as, women and pornography, abortion, domestic abuse, divorce, infidelity, suicide, sexual trauma, and so much more. We have the most incredible line up of speakers and resources for women so they can gain knowledge on all these subjects, get help if they need it, take a study that pertains to the sin they are struggling with but most of all see they are not alone. Our goal is to start a dialogue with Jesus’s daughters and show them, believers and non-believers alike that they are not alone, there is a God who loves them more then they can fathom who desires to know them like they want to be known, hear them the way they always wanted to be heard, and see them the way they have long to be seen. That there is nothing about them that He can’t heal or that would prevent Him from loving them. And that there are other women just like them that are struggling with the same things, we want to address the lies of the enemy that we as women are believing and use God’s truth of who we are to break every chain.
More details to come about this conference very soon, so stay tuned, Sarah will be sharing the details.
Also, if you have any specific questions that I didn’t answer in this post please ask away and I will answer them in another post.
Thank you for reading and know you have another one of God’s warriors interceding in prayer on your behalf.
Friends, wow. I am blown away by what God spoke through the words of His daughter. He truly makes ALL things new, and I hope through her, He has encouraged your heart and breathed hope into your soul. If you have any questions, as Aimee said, you can leave them here, email, or message me through Instagram or Facebook, and I will get them to her to answer for you. Also, here is the link again for the book Aimee mentioned above: Pathway to Sexual Healing.