If You’re Single (And Tired of It)

“What would your life look like without any fear?”

These words woke my heart up a few years ago. At that time, I had my future all planned out: I was going to finish college, get a good job, eventually marry the guy I was with, and settle into a normal little life. I mean, what else was there to do? But that day, I felt God prompting me to surrender EVERY part of my heart to Him. “I have so much more in store for you than the safe, comfortable life you’ve planned for yourself. I’m a God of the IMPOSSIBLE, so it’s time for you to start living like you believe it. I have plans for you beyond your wildest dreams, but you’re going to have to trust me with your WHOLE heart in order for me to take you there.”

That started my journey of confronting everything I had held onto more tightly than God, including my need for romantic relationships. Since my freshman year of high school, I was always either in a relationship or “talking” to a guy, because I felt unsettled without that. I had never taken the time to be happy with just myself and God. I didn’t want to live a life confined by my own plans and fears anymore. So I decided to trust God completely with every part of my heart, including my love life and I entered into a season of singleness.

Has it been hard, stretching, and overwhelming at times? Yes. But I’d go through all of that again in a heartbeat if I had to, to gain what I have now. 

So if you’re single and just over it, I want to encourage you with a few things I’ve learned. Here are six reasons why being single for a season can be so important:


1. You learn who you are.

There’s really nothing like having time in your life where it’s just you and God with no other person involved. With a boyfriend, I was always thinking, “How can we better love God together? How can we keep Him the center of our relationship?” But I had never taken time to do that on my own as an individual, and that is CRUCIAL. There were some nights I laid awake crying in frustration, feeling lonely and a deep ache in my heart, with no one else but God to talk to about it. It was in those painful, lonely moments that the peace of God filled my room and heart like never before. Through the extremely hard times, I experienced perfect love from the very Creator and epitome of it. It’s His love that gives us our identity.

 

2. You have space to discover your life’s purpose.

The possibilities of what your life can become are literally limitless. When you’re single, God has the space to do anything He wants in your life without it affecting another person. Being single has given me the freedom to discover what I was created for. I discovered my passions for writing, speaking, worship-leading, and a fire ignited within me to use all those things to help make the world a better place. Examine your own life, and invest in the passions that make you feel most alive.

 

3. You build confidence.

It forced me to get out of my comfort zone in SO many ways. Not having another person to constantly rely on made me learn to be my own person. It helped me become confident in my own voice, my personality, and the qualities I bring to the table. Use this time to become someone you’re proud to be.

 

4. These days are just as valuable as any other season.

One day you’ll be married to the person of your dreams, and your days will be full of chasing after kids, running a household, date nights, and all the other fun stuff that comes with marriage. But as for right now, how freeing is it to be able to do as you please? Want to take a spontaneous road trip with friends? Go for it! Travel to a part of the world you’ve never seen? Do it (it’s way cheaper now than it will be paying for your kids someday). Want to move to a new city? Nothing’s really stopping you. Don’t waste this precious season wishing for the next one.

 

5. Your value isn’t determined by your relationship status.

Whether you’re married, in a relationship, or single, none of those titles have anything to do with your worth. You’re not defined by your season, but rather by your permanent identity as a son or daughter of God.

 

6. Being single lays the foundation for your future marriage.

I’ve heard it said that marriage isn’t two halves making a whole, it’s two wholes coming together for a greater purpose. If marriage, (the union of two people) is the house, then both people making sure they’re individually healthy is the foundation. I would not know how to lay my life down for another person if I didn’t first lay my life down to God. I wouldn’t know how to properly love my future spouse without first experiencing the true, perfect love of God. I wouldn’t have good self-control had I not surrendered my whole life and learned my value in God’s eyes. I wouldn’t know who to look for without understanding who I am, what I’m called to, and what God has called me to do with my future spouse someday.


So don’t be afraid of going through the hard stuff to get to the really good stuff. The singleness, all the confusing dates, the uncertainty of when or if your special someone will ever come along…it will all be worth it. God sees you, He knows what your heart longs for, and He also loves you too much to rob you of the growth and refinement process you deserve. The choices you make now lay the foundation for your future love. So don’t just endure being single, ENJOY it! It’s one of the most special times of your life!

 

Angela Manzanares is a social media intern for Moral Revolution. She currently lives in Sacramento, CA where she studies psychology and is a part of Jesus Culture Sacramento. A few years ago, God challenged her with the question, “What would your life look like without any fear?” She’s since devoted her life to helping others fearlessly pursue their God-given purpose and dreams. She’s passionate about people, making God mainstream, worship-leading, writing, and also a good latté!
Website:  www.doseofhope.us

I Didn’t Expect God to Change my Sexuality

Throughout most of my life, I never belonged. I always felt excluded, and I questioned my sexuality and my gender. I hated the idea of being feminine because it was so foreign. I didn’t feel like a girl, but I also didn’t identify as a boy.

I made my first meaningful connection with another woman when I was in my mid-teens. We had such deep intimacy and love that our bond set a standard for my other relationships for several years. Though I occasionally dated men, and briefly in my early 20s was married to a man, I never developed fulfilling or lasting relationships with them.

I “came out” when I was in my early twenties after my brief marriage fell apart. I felt lesbianism explained my childhood and young adult experiences. I thought I was finally being authentic and true to myself. As a dyke, I felt powerful and asserted myself in stereotypically masculine ways. I adopted men’s attire and a crewcut.

During those years, I found family and support as a lesbian living within the gay communities of large cities. I decided I wanted to attend seminary, and I did so as one of just a handful of openly gay students. After seminary, I began working with youth but questioned my faith.

In that season I reevaluated what I believed about God, what I believed about the Bible, and what I believed about myself. Through that process, I realized it was possible that some of my ideology had been wrong. I resolved to follow my faith sacrificially, which required re-evaluating what I understood the Christian sexual ethic to be.

Up to that point, I believed I was born gay and that God had created me that way. As I further studied Christian doctrine, eventually I no longer believed I was born a lesbian. My experience of God’s love, the Christian community around me, and my desire to pursue a life of prayer had a dramatic influence on my life.

I came to terms with the impact misogyny had on my self-perception and pursued pastoral care and counseling that addressed childhood hurts and perceptions. Above all, I acknowledged I had rejected myself as a woman.

I did not specifically seek change in my sexuality; nevertheless, I began experiencing changes in my sexual desires. I became attracted to a man, which was one of the most unexpected and humiliating experiences of my life, since I had so fully identified as a lesbian. He and I got married and have had a strong marriage of thirteen years thus far. Today I am happy, joyful, and feminine—all things that I never was while living as a lesbian. I am no longer sexually attracted to women. Rather, I am a strong advocate for their empowerment to overcome the effects of injustices against them.

 

Originally published on elizabethwoning.com.

 

In her early 20s, Elizabeth Woning “came out” as a lesbian and embraced the LGBTQ community. She attended a Presbyterian (USA) seminary openly lesbian, but upon graduating, an encounter with Jesus dramatically shifted her perspective. Over time, her relationship with God led to transformation and healing. Today Elizabeth is free of same-sex attraction and happily married to her husband, Doug. She teaches at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry and is a member of the Moral Revolution team. Her ministry highlights the power of intimate relationship with and knowledge of God to bring identity, wholeness and fulfillment. She is passionate to provide consulting to church leaders as they navigate the complexities of sexual and gender identity in our culture. Elizabeth holds a Master’s Degree in Theology and is a licensed pastor at Bethel Church.
Website: elizabethwoning.com

 

Note from the MR Team: We don’t want to make light of a complex issue or pretend that it has simple, formulaic answers that work across the board. It is also not our heart to invalidate the feelings, struggles, or experiences of others. We do want people to have the freedom to follow the convictions of their heart and seek after the life the Lord is calling them to. We do want to be a voice of hope to the person who is wondering if change is possible or if anyone has ever experienced it before. We do want to encourage people to seek the Lord above everything else, to love Him with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to watch Him do more in their lives than they ever thought possible. 

 


My Eight-Year-Old and Pornography

As a parent, the thought of talking about sex with our kids can be overwhelming and cause quite a bit of anxiety. Depending on our own experiences and knowledge, we may not feel qualified to discuss the topic. If sexual issues were a part of our past, or continue to be a current struggle, shame can freeze us in our tracks. If we do muster the strength to broach the topic, it is often much later in their life than it should be. When it comes to talking about sex, the only “unfixable” mistake a parent can make – is to not talk about it.

My oldest son, Caleb, came home from school one day in shock. He was only in 2nd grade and was asking us about “being gay”.  Apparently, he had begun to hear kids talk about it at school. A year before, as a first grader, he and his friends became enamored with talking about people having “six.” After some conversations, we discovered he meant to say “sex” but had no idea what it was. He had been told it was “two people kissing on the ground.” Both of these instances began to shape the sexual paradigm my son would have, and how we responded to these moments would play a nearly irreversible role in his sexual narrative.

In this post, I want to give some really practical details of when and how to talk about sex and pornography with your kids. Brace yourself, you’ll likely need to start having these conversations much earlier than you realize.

Let’s start with… when to talk about sex and porn.

Before we jump to conclusions about what age kids are ready for these conversations, it’s important to know what is really going on in our culture. Kids are finding pornography in unprecedented frequency at a much earlier age than ever before. A 2009 study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that 85% of adolescent males and 50% of adolescent females had been exposed to pornographic material. Most studies have determined that the average age of first exposure to pornography is between 8 and 11 years old.¹

This is important because the initial introduction we have to any topic has a significant impact on us. As humans, the majority of our behaviors are learned, as opposed to innate. This means that our first and most frequent experiences in a given area become the foundation to what we believe. Once a foundation is laid in the realm of sexual perspective, it can take years and significant work to reset.

Due to the early age that kids are discovering pornography and how easily accessible it has become, these porn experiences are capturing the market on sex education. The impact of a pornographic paradigm is astounding. According to the American College of Pediatricians, “Children under twelve years old who have viewed pornography are statistically more likely to sexually assault their peers.” This is largely contributed to the fact that It is common for pornographic movies to portray male vs. female verbal and physical aggression as well as sexual acts that are overtly degrading to women.” As a matter of fact, some studies say that as high as 88% of pornography displays aggression towards women.¹

So let’s pause and put this all together. Eighty-five percent of our kids find pornography as adolescents. Many of them between the ages of 8 and 11.  As much as 88% of what they are finding, displays violent or aggressive sex. We have to overcome fear and shame so we can start having the right conversations at the right time with our kids.

So how do we have these conversations? 


1. Be ready to answer their questions

When your child begins to discover words like sex, gay, or anything else that is associated with sexuality, DON’T FREAK OUT! How you respond is just as important as what you say. You know your child is ready to talk about this stuff because they begin to ask you about it. Regardless of how young they are, if it is on their radar, then it needs to be on yours. Now you don’t have to fill them in on every single detail by the time they are 10, but you should answer the questions they ask.

As parents, we really need to do away with the idea of “The Talk.” What is most important is that you establish an environment in your home that communicates you are always available for conversations on sex. What you are doing is establishing yourself as a source of information on this topic. You want their mind to remember that you answered comfortably and honestly when they asked. Then as they get older and the questions get more in-depth, they remember that YOU are their go-to-source.

 

2. Watch your tone

It is so important to not embarrass your kids or make them think they have done something wrong by asking about these things.  In the story I told earlier, my son was in first grade trying to say “sex” and had no idea what it was. If I had responded in shock or tried to tease him about starting to like girls, then I would have been sending him the message that I couldn’t be trusted with this topic. The next time he liked a girl or had a question, he most likely wouldn’t have come to me.

 

3. Be honest

It can be easy to lie in order to avoid an uncomfortable question. However, as your child grows and realizes you weren’t honest, it will sow doubt in their heart about the answers you give. I also don’t think it is a good idea to demean them by saying, “you won’t understand.” One of the things I say when my son asks something I don’t think he’s ready for is, “Son, that is a good question, but I think you are a bit young to know the answer right now. How about this? If it is something you really want to know in another few months or a couple of years, we will talk about it then. I want to be the one to answer this. I just want to do it when I think you are able to understand more about it.” I have never had a single problem with this answer. They normally say, “Okay dad, that sounds good.”


I want to take a moment to circle back to the conversation I had that day with my second grader. I answered his questions like this, “Bubba, we will answer any and all questions you have about this stuff.” When he asked what sex was, I told him, “It’s something two naked people do together that makes a baby. On top of that, it’s something that is really good that God created for a husband and wife to do once they are married. Unfortunately, as you get older, you will hear a lot about sex in a negative way, because people misuse it.” Then I asked if he wanted to know more specifics about what you do when you are naked. He said he didn’t want to know that yet.

I then took a brief moment to talk about porn and said, “At some point, you may find pictures or videos of naked people having sex. You might have someone show it to you on their phone or iPad or maybe even accidentally find it yourself. Unfortunately, people make these videos and it’s called porn. Have you ever seen it?” He said “no”, so I continued, “Well it’s likely that you eventually will. When that happens, you don’t need to freak out. Just stop what you are doing and come and talk with me about it. You won’t be in trouble.” At his age, he was grossed out by the thought of it. So I let him know, “There may come a time when it doesn’t gross you out and that’s okay too because God made us to be attracted to the opposite sex. When that starts to happen, we can talk about that also.”

Since then, we have had conversations often about various topics in the sex realm, based on when he was curious. The beauty is that he always asks, and I always do my best to answer. I believe most kids don’t validate their parents’ view of sex because their parents didn’t start the conversation until years after their first exposure. Because of this, when their parents eventually describe it one way and tell them porn is bad, it conflicts with what their early exposure to porn taught them. It is my hope that my kids will look at porn as “the liar” because I chose to be their sex education teacher long before anyone else could define it for them.

¹ Perry, L. David. “The Impact of Pornography on Children.” American College of Pediatricians, 20 June 2017, www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/the-impact-of-pornography-on-children

COLE ZICK IS PASSIONATE ABOUT SEEING THE CHURCH COME TOGETHER TO BE EFFECTIVE AND THRIVE IN EVERY AREA OF LIFE. HE AND HIS WIFE CAITLIN CURRENTLY SERVE AS DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA. WITH ELEVEN YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND MINISTRY EXPERIENCE, THEY OPENLY SHARE THEIR STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE HOPING TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND ULTIMATELY SEE OTHERS FIND FREEDOM THROUGH THEIR EXPERIENCE. THEY ALSO CREATED FOUR CHILDREN IN FIVE YEARS, WHICH GIVES INSIGHT INTO THEIR LOVE FOR CHAOS. 
 INSTAGRAM: @COLEZICK

 

For more information on Parenting Sexuality, you can check out our newest e-course.

 

Want to Get More Resources On Parenting Sexuality?


The Process Is Part of the Promise

“Acknowledging the mess is half the battle.” 


In most cases, I totally agree with this statement. I also then wish some army of people would come fight the other half of the battle and do the hard work for me. The first blog in this series, “Who Told You?”, was all about letting the light in. This blog dives into the hard truth that just because we let the light in doesn’t mean it’s an easy road forward.

 

“If we claim that we experience a shared life with him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim. But if we walk in the light, God himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sin.” 1 John 1:6-7

 

The power of opening the door, dispelling the darkness and letting the light in is something to be celebrated. But what happens when the party ends and you realize there’s a lot of clean up work to do? Don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged. The process is part of the promise.  

The day I googled, “Christian sex therapist,” felt like an all-time low. Tears streaming down my face, admitting that sex wasn’t good, that something was wrong with me, that my body responded terribly to touch– was devastating. I didn’t want to have to go get the gloves, the towels, the spray, and clean up the mess. I knew it was time to find the source of the stench in my life. The darkest day led to the brightest day… to the days I began to let go and bloom.


“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anonymous


The source of the stench in my life was my early teenage years. I had known lust for so long I couldn’t believe that love was real. Even though my husband loved me so purely and wholly, I returned my first and earliest experiences of being objectified by so many guys who pressured me to get what they wanted. What I had written off as “normal teenage issues” and compared to stories that seemed “worse than mine”, was actually robbing me of the fullness and freedom I was designed to live in. Another lie the enemy sells us, “get over it, it’s not that bad. It wasn’t ——” fill in the blank.

The first time I sat in “the chair” with a counselor, the dread I had been feeling turned into relief and peace quickly. After listening to my whole story, she looked me in the eyes and told me, “you have PTSD.”

I was in shock. I had only known that as something that affected veterans who came back from war. I had no idea it was something I could be struggling with. You see, the moments of pressure in dark movie theaters, backseats and in between the sheets led to trauma in my mind and in my body that was affecting my sex life in marriage. What took me moments to get into took me years to get out of.  

I remember being a thirteen-year-old girl sitting in the movie theater with tears streaming down my face, pretending to enjoy the touching that was actually painful. I simply did not know there was another way. I thought “this is what you do as a girlfriend.” That belief just increased. What the world told me was just “casual” became a casualty to my soul.

While my life was filled with numerous hookups and loads of oral sex, I felt like I was on top of the world according to the standards of society– while simultaneously feeling like an object. One night I decided to say “no” in the backseat, and I’ll never forget staring at the digital clock for forty-five minutes, while he pressured me, blamed me for getting him this far– I felt the only escape was to give in. It wasn’t fun to dig all of this up, and the process for me took quite a while. I started counseling while I was pregnant and continued after we had our second son. It was a year and a half of going to bi-weekly counseling sessions to find the wholeness I didn’t even fully realize I was missing. I was comfortable in my lack.

Often in life, the familiarity of our chains becomes more comfortable than the uncertainty of freedom. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain and courage to step into the uncharted territory of wild freedom. The promised land may be on the other side, but when we can’t see it, we become more comfortable staying enslaved.

It reminds me of the Israelites wandering and wishing they could go back to Egypt. When we’re in the wilderness, we can find ourselves wandering and wishing we could go back to “the way it used to be.” We’d rather go back to the mess, the bondage, the pain hidden rather than the pain exposed. The process can be painful, but it’s so worth it!

Give yourself permission to feel the pain. Feel hurt, don’t stay hurt. Write it out, sing it out, scream it out, counsel it out– like David did. I think and read through the Psalms so often to see the way David processed his journey, and it’s encouraging.

All of our journeys look different and the enemy of our souls piles on different types of shame. It could be something that’s been done to you, that you’ve sworn to never tell anyone. When we find ourselves saying , “I’ll take this to the grave with me. No one will ever know,” I think really there is just part of us being buried alive in an early grave. It could be heavy because it was a choice you made and later thought, “I should’ve known better! It’s my own fault.” I could keep going with all of the pathways to our pain, but the truth is no matter how we find ourselves getting there, we have the power to start the process of unearthing the shame and pain of the past to find freedom.

Start the process with the same declaration of faith that David did:

 

“Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7 NLT)

 

What has been done to you does not define you.

What you have done does not define you.

Start the process. Take the first step in dealing with it. Let the light in.

It’s not all about the destination but also the journey to get there.

The process is part of the promise.

 

CAITLIN ZICK HAD A PROFOUND MOMENT AT THE AGE OF SIXTEEN WHERE GOD CALLED HER OUT OF A CROWD AND HER LIFE WAS FOREVER CHANGED. FROM THAT MOMENT, SHE BEGAN TO DISCOVER WHO SHE WAS AS A DAUGHTER OF GOD, FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS, AND REALIZE THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HER LIFE. CAITLIN AND HER HUSBAND COLE BECAME DIRECTORS OF MORAL REVOLUTION IN 2017 AND OPENLY SHARE THEIR MARRIAGE STORY AND FIRST YEARS OF SEX IN MARRIAGE TO START A HEALTHY CONVERSATION AND BEGIN TO UNFOLD GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX. THEY HAVE BEEN MARRIED AND IN FULL-TIME MINISTRY FOR ELEVEN YEARS AND HAVE STARTED THEIR OWN LITTLE ZOO, KNOWN AS #THEZICKZOO. YOU CAN FIND THEIR WILD ON INSTAGRAM WITH THEIR LITTLE ANIMALS: CALEB, CONNOR, CADE, AND CHLOE ROSE. 
INSTAGRAM: @CAITZICK
TWITTER: @CAITLINZICK

 


Let’s Talk About “The Talk”

Before my wife, Jenn, and I had a fourteen and nineteen-year-old, we had the privilege of being youth pastors for thirteen years.  Over the years, I have asked more than a few teens and adults, “What was the conversation you had with your parents about sexuality?”  I have heard a number of responses, but the overwhelming majority of teens and adults said they never had conversations about God’s design for sexuality with their parents.    

The lack of parental guidance and the rise of the internet led us to believe it was critical for us to communicate God’s idea for sexuality in our youth ministry.  That was almost 20 years ago, but we learned teaching a general session to teens and talking in depth with our own children were two different things! Sometimes it went well and sometimes it was uncomfortable.  We began having more in-depth conversations about sexuality with our daughter progressively from late elementary school through high school. She wasn’t afraid to listen (sometimes with wide eyes and shock) or ask questions about sex, peers or scenarios she encountered.  

Our son, on the other hand, has been a little more reserved when it comes to talking about sexuality. Last year, the youth ministry at our church invited my wife and me to meet with the teen guys and girls separately to talk about healthy sexuality.  At church before the meeting, we could tell our son was getting uneasy about the gathering. I took him aside to my office and asked him what was going on and he said, “Why do I have to go dad?? We’ve already had this talk and every talk we have turns into a conversation about brain chemicals and weiners!!”   He was exaggerating a bit and we were able to work through it, but we have had more than one good laugh about that since then.

 

Called Out and Covered

So, why are conversations about sexuality sometimes difficult for parents to approach? There are many reasons, but one of the simplest answers is that, although it does not have to be, it is part of being human.  Actually, the very first fear recorded in the Bible was the fear of nakedness related to sexuality.

Genesis 2:25 says before Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they were naked without shame. Then, in Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of the Knowledge, even though they were husband and wife and the only two people on the planet, they immediately attached fear and shame with their sexuality and tried to cover themselves.  Something we need to remember is that sexual issues rarely begin as a lust problem; they begin as a trust problem when we doubt God’s goodness or His ability to meet the needs of our heart.

God did two things when He found Adam and Eve hiding in shame because of their nakedness.  First, He gently called them out.  He didn’t expose them, shame them, or drag them from their hiding place to scold them.  He simply called out to them and let them respond. He is still giving us a clear invitation out of darkness and fear into light and healing regarding sexuality and shame.  The second thing He did was to cover them. They had made an inadequate attempt to cover their shame with leaves strung together, which is a great picture of how we try to deal with our own shame.  God Himself made garments from animal skins to clothe and cover them with dignity. Proverbs 25:2 says, “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings to search it out.”  God conceals something not because it is bad or shameful, He conceals what is precious and valuable. God covered them because their bodies and nakedness were priceless and He came to provide safety and covering where they felt fear and shame.

 

Practical Steps

Moral Revolution has many great resources for teaching healthy sexuality well to the next generation, but I am going to share three practical insights from our experience:


1. Shame-free starts with me.  

It is difficult to convey God’s design for shame-free, healthy sexuality to my children if I am still “hiding behind the tree” so to speak like Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3.  In a recent conversation with MR directors Cole and Caitlin Zick, Havilah Cunnington made the point that much of our experience with sexuality before marriage involved fear, shame, guilt or even powerlessness.  Parents, for the sake of our children, let’s do what we need to do to step out of hiding into the light. Maybe that means talking with a counselor, a trusted small group leader, pastor or a friend. Mom or dad, your bravery and freedom will be one of the greatest gifts we will pass on to our kids.

 

2. Answer the question, “What are we fighting for?”  

It is easy to major on “don’t” and what we are against, but real power is found in what we pursue instead of what we avoid.  We need to give our kids a clear target to pursue. We need to answer the question, “What are we fighting for?” in regards to their sexuality.  We are fighting for them to have trust and honest, open communication with God and us. We are fighting for a great sex life in their future, a clear conscience, shame-free living, freedom, joy and the ability to give ourselves fully without guilt or reservation. This is what we are fighting for and we can do this if we work together!

 

3. Tell your story.  

Revelation 12:11 says “They overcame by the blood (of the Lamb) and word of their testimony.”  There is power in your story! Age-appropriate conversations with our children about our victories and defeats better equip them to face their battles.  What were the temptations you faced? How did you respond and what would you do differently? What were the good decisions you made that paid off in the future?  They don’t need to know all the details, but we can give our kids confidence and an advantage over the enemy when we share strategies he used against us and ways we overcame.  

 


Our children will learn about sexuality one way or another.   It isn’t always easy or comfortable, but the cost and rewards are far too great to not communicate what God’s good design is.  Moral Revolution has many great resources and will be adding more parent resources to give you tools to be successful. We are in this together, we believe in you and God will give you the ability to connect and communicate with your children as you partner with Him!  

-Bob Bevan, Intern

 

BOB IS AN ASSOCIATE PASTOR AT LIVING WORD CHURCH IN CLEVELAND, TENNESSEE, WHERE HE HAS SERVED IN VARIOUS CAPACITIES FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS. HE IS PASSIONATE ABOUT REVEALING THE GOODNESS AND NATURE OF GOD AND COMMUNICATING TRANSFORMATIONAL TRUTH IN PRACTICAL WAYS. BOB AND HIS WIFE, JENN, ARE THE PROUD PARENTS OF A DAUGHTER IN COLLEGE AND A SON GOING INTO HIGH SCHOOL. AS WELL AS WRITING AND COMMUNICATING FOR LIVING WORD CHURCH, BOB LOVES COMMUNICATING ABOUT STEWARDING OURSELVES AND OTHERS IN RELATIONSHIPS. 
WEBSITE: BOBBEVAN.COM
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/BOB.BEVAN

For more information on Parenting Sexuality, you can check out our newest e-course.

 

Want to Get More Resources On Parenting Sexuality?


4 Ways Not to Go on a First Date

So you finally got the date. Maybe a miracle happened and a man was given the sight and courage to not only see you, but ask you out. Maybe after your twelve-year sentence to the friend zone, you found a nice female warden to let you out to see the sunshine of a romantic first date. Or maybe this is your sixth first date this month. Whichever storyline brought you to this point, here we all are on the first date…trying not to mess it up.

Your past experience and beliefs about how things should go or could go will have more influence on your date than picking the right clothes will.

Here are four different traps I’ve seen people fall into, putting too much weight on the first date and leaving them floundering:

 

The “Job Interview” Date

You have standards, qualities you’re looking for. You don’t believe in casual dating, so let’s get down to it: Is this person a potential spouse for me? You break out the mental list and start evaluating it through direct or indirect questions: Kids? Check. Loves Jesus? Check. Likes Outdoors? Check. Comes From Good Family? Questionable. Called to Missions? Oh, woah. He is interested in business?! Okay, we’re done here. Next.

Hopefully, you’re not that… “efficient” in matters of the heart. You know what you want (or think you know what you want based on your life up until this point), don’t want to get hurt, don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and are ready for a spouse. If the person in front of you doesn’t measure up, you’re out. Ouch. It’s a lot of pressure to judge a whole person’s life and character in a forty-five-minute cup of coffee. It’s also pretty bold to assume you know exactly what you want and where you’ll be in 5-10 years enough to put it all in a checklist. You don’t marry a calling or an assignment, you marry a person you can do life with. Put down the list and get to know the soul in front of you. Even if he/she isn’t for you, they are still valuable enough to get to know and show honor to.

 

The “Whatever You Want Me To Be” Date

You don’t really like exercise. Oh, but she does. Well, you had been thinking of going to the gym more often. That’s funny, you really like chick-flicks too…except you’ve never seen one. You’ve always been the strong silent type…except when you’ve had everyone cracking up at any party you’ve ever been to. It has always been in the plans to have four kids. No, two kids? You mean, one kid…who’s a fluffy dog…that’s actually a cat. Yeah, yeah. Of course, you love cat… [memes about stupid cat people]. Is she still talking about cats?!

You have a strong desire for connection and unity. Perhaps it’s been a while since you’ve had this opportunity and you really don’t want to blow it. You may feel like the clock’s ticking and you just don’t want to be alone. It’s okay to be aware, but you’re most attractive when you’re yourself and confident. If the other person is into who you are- great! If not, well, they didn’t have eyes to see you. Someone else will think you’re the best thing they’ve found since grumpy cat.

 

The “This Is The Story We Tell Our Kids” Date

You just know “this is the one.” You photograph every moment mentally, and some with your phone to make sure you have it captured for nostalgia. You did a video diary with all your girls before the date and you just know he’ll show up with roses and chocolates, and you’ll go to the best restaurant in town. Like, if he doesn’t wear a tie and plan your first kiss under fireworks – you’ll just know he’s not the one.

You have a great heart for remembering things and making moments special. You want to have a great story to tell your kids and your friends about how God came through and gave you the hottest slice of pie this side of the Mississippi. Unfortunately, your expectations are just a little too high and you’re putting so much pressure on the other person to perform. Even Queen & David Bowie couldn’t handle it. Let the story unfold as it does. Don’t try to force anything and don’t force the other person to carry out your fantasy. Live in the moment and let it happen. Grab a selfie while you’re doing something fun, then put the phone away. Don’t be so busy capturing the moment that you don’t experience it.

 

The “Tell Me Everything” Date

You hate small talk. You’ll figure out what kind of movies she likes when you’re watching them together in three months on Netflix…if she makes it that far. “So, what are your dreams and your calling? What’s your greatest fear? What are you called to? How do your parental relationships influence you today? That coffee was good, but tell me about your soul.

You have a good heart for connection, but boundaries aren’t on your top ten strengths. Brené Brown calls it “hot-wiring connection” when you skip the small talk and go for the deep intimate talk to feel connected. It’s the old adage “too much, too soon.” Most likely it comes from a fear of wasting your time or not valuing the little things in life that influence someone. Breathe deep. You’ll get to those special places in their heart once you’ve grown trust and a relationship together. You don’t need to rush it. Part of the fun of discovery is a sense of mystery. You don’t need to prove yourself or know their whole story. Keep it light, there are already enough nerves going on.

 

A Healthy Approach

Deep breath. Check yourself before hand. Do you like you? Would you enjoy taking yourself on a date? You are fun and enjoyable. You may need to go date yourself to understand that before you join anyone else. Are you excited about the date or does it feel like it’s make-or-break? Eventually, your goal is a great friendship with some butterflies, but right now you’re just at step one, so relax. No one’s helicoptering in just yet- this isn’t The Bachelor.

Keep the conversation light and fun. Ask some good open-ended questions (What, How, Why questions that you can’t answer with “yes” or “no”). This helps you learn about the other person without diving into the depths of their soul.  We’ve included 25 questions for your first date if you get stuck.

Your goal on a first date is to figure out three things:

1) Do they love Jesus? 2) Are you attracted to them? 3) Do you have fun together?  Here’s what we tell people about the second date: if you enjoyed the first one and there aren’t any big red flags saying this is a no-go, have a second one. It’s nice to give the person a few different dates to show their authentic self.

Focus on being yourself, learning someone else, discovering what you like, and don’t forget to have fun. The first date shouldn’t have level ten expectations or commitment. It’s about enjoying yourself and respectfully getting to know the other person.

 

First Date Questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself. What do you find yourself doing with your free time?
  2. What’s the best book/movie you’ve read/seen recently?
  3. What’s your go-to for a great Friday night?
  4. What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?
  5. If you had a million dollars, what would you do with it?
  6. If you were a member of The Office, who would you be and why?
  7. What are you kind of obsessed with these days?
  8. Are you a dog or cat person?
  9. What odd talent do you have?
  10. If you could travel anywhere in the world, fully paid, where would you go? What would you do there?
  11. What’s one of your favorite memories from your childhood?
  12. If you were an animal, which one would you be and why?
  13. If you could invite any three people from history to dinner, who would you invite?
  14. What’s your current favorite song?
  15. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  16. How did you meet your best friend?
  17. How many siblings do you have? What do they do?
  18. If there were an Olympics for everyday activities, what activity would you have a good chance at winning a medal in?
  19. What three words would your friends used to describe you?
  20. What’s the best thing that has happened to you this month?
  21. What’s your favorite app on your phone?
  22. What country do you never want to visit?
  23. What’s the most essential part of a friendship?
  24. Best and worst flavor ice cream? What would make for an excellent new ice cream flavor?
  25. What makes you smile in life?

 

ABRAM GOFF HAS BEEN PART OF THE MORAL REVOLUTION TEAM SINCE 2014 CREATING GRAPHICS AND DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDIA. HE HAS SERVED THROUGH GRAPHIC DESIGN INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCH FOR OVER A DECADE. HIS PASSION IS TO SEE PEOPLE ACROSS THE NATIONS EXTRAVAGANTLY FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS AND WALK IN PASSION, PURITY, AND PURPOSE. HE BELIEVES EACH PERSON IS MADE TO BE FULLY ALIVE AND FULLY BEAUTIFUL IN THEIR ORIGINAL DESIGN DISCOVERED THROUGH RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER, SON, AND HOLY SPIRIT. WITH SOUTHERN BAPTIST ROOTS AND AS A GRADUATE OF BSSM, HE HAS A PASSION TO SEE THE WHOLE CHURCH DISCOVER AND WALK IN ALL OF WHO SHE REALLY IS. 
WEBSITE: ABRAMGOFF.COM
TWITTER: TWITTER.COM/ABRAMGOFF
INSTAGRAM: INSTAGRAM.COM/ABRAMGOFF

Defining Your Environment: What’s the Current Culture in Your Home?

You probably remember the first time you learned about sex. Maybe it was a series of strange metaphors meddled with a list of scientific facts from your parents. Maybe an older sibling or kid on the playground told you all about it. Maybe it was a class in school you hoped would be over soon. You may not realize it, but the things that first taught you about sex shaped a lot of your view of it today. The home you grew up in, whether your parents ever talked to you about it or not, sent you a message about sex. The same is true for your kids.

We’ve found that there are three different environments people are typically raised in as far as learning about sex and sexuality. Each one sends a message to your children about sex, regardless of if you’re actually trying to communicate that message or not. Recognizing the environment you were raised in as well as the one you’re creating for your kids is an important step in creating a culture of healthy sexuality in the home. Ideally you are already creating a healthy environment for your children to learn about sex, but if not, it’s not too late to start.

Here are the three environments we’ve found:

 

1. Silent Environment

Some parents are so afraid of saying the wrong thing about sex or introducing the topic too soon that they never introduce the topic at all. Children may ask questions, but those are skillfully avoided or shamed for being asked. The door to learning about sex is not just closed, it’s locked shut and someone threw away the key. The mistake here is that not telling your kids anything about sex still sends them a message about sex. It sends them the message that sex is either too private or too sacred to talk about or it’s not overly important. Since the people in their life that are supposed to be helping them navigate the difficult topics are not talking about this one, they have to figure things out on their own.

The thing is, your child will be introduced to sex one way or another. If you don’t teach them how to sort through the messages they receive about sex, then they will not know what to believe. Many parents assume that their children will learn about sex in school if they don’t teach them, but school is not the only place that talks about sex. Television, movies, music, books, kids on the playground, and the internet are just a few of the other places your kids can learn about sex. If you’re not the one shaping their view on it, then there’s a good chance these other things are.

 

2. Saturated Environment

Some parents figure sex is just a part of life, and there’s no use trying to avoid all the places that talk about it, so they leave the door wide open. Their children learn about sex from movies, TV shows, music, and other types of media. They’re completely saturated with messages about sex and sexuality. It becomes casual and familiar. It might even reach the point where children think, “What more is there to learn? I already know it all. I’ve seen it, been around it, had my own experiences, what else do I need to know?” Since it’s everywhere, they become comfortable with it. On the upside, there’s no shame, blame, or guilt, but on the downside, sex loses its significance, its sacredness.

The message this environment sends is that sex is nothing more than a physical experience. People should be able to have sexual encounters and walk away. They can give that part of themselves away without any commitment, and then just move on with life. It’s true that we can’t protect our children from every single image or video or piece of media that contains a message about sex. However, we can teach them the truth about it. If we give them a healthy perspective, it will act as a lens they can view the rest of the world through.

 

3. Conflicted Environment

Some parents know they’re supposed to talk to their children about sex but are unsure how to address it, so they open the door for a moment and then it shut it quickly before things get too crazy. They may have one talk, maybe two, but then that’s it. No more conversations. Children aren’t welcome to ask questions because they shouldn’t be wanting to know anything about sex anyway. Sex remains a huge mystery, that is until the wedding night. On the wedding night, they will all of a sudden be able to know everything there is to know about sex, but not a moment before.  It sends the message that sex has a value within marriage, but it is full of shame outside of marriage.

The problem with this environment is it shames children for being curious about something that is actually very normal for them to be curious about. It’s unfair to expect them not to wonder about sex or about their bodies or even about the opposite gender. Although this environment celebrates virginity and married-sex, it doesn’t fully translate the reality of sex. A good sex life within marriage takes time to grow into, and it starts with having a healthy view on sexuality.

 

So what does a healthy environment look like?

A healthy environment is one where our children are able to open the door and look in. Not with shame, not with the guilt that comes when they feel they’ve done something wrong, but with the freedom to take a healthy glimpse inside for the sake of understanding. We want our children to carry the vision of God’s original design for sex. How did God intend for things to be in the garden? Before sin entered the world, before all the perversions came in, what was God’s original idea? If we create a solid foundation for them, they will be able to filter everything else they learn about sex through the lens of God’s design. They will be able to separate truth from lies and also have a place to bring their questions and find out more information when they need to. 

For more information on creating a healthy environment for sexuality in your home, sign up for our parenting email list or our new Parenting Course.

 

HAVILAH CUNNINGTON HAS BEEN IN FULL-TIME MINISTRY FOR TWENTY YEARS TRAVELING THROUGHOUT NORTH AMERICA AND MEXICO SPEAKING AT CONFERENCES, CHURCHES, CAMPS, AND RETREATS. HAVILAH BELIEVES TODAY IS THE CHURCH’S FINEST HOUR IF WE CHOOSE TO LOVE WITH PASSION, PURPOSE, AND WALK IN POWER. PRIOR TO SERVING AS THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MORAL REVOLUTION FOR FIVE YEARS, HAVILAH WAS ON STAFF AT THE ROCK OF ROSEVILLE CHURCH FOR FIFTEEN YEARS. HAVILAH AND HER HUSBAND, BEN, RESIDE IN REDDING, CALIFORNIA WITH THEIR FOUR YOUNG SONS- JUDAH, HUDSON, GRAYSON, AND BECKHAM. 

 

WEBSITE: HAVILAHCUNNINGTON.COM AND TRUTHTOTABLE.COM
FACEBOOK: FACEBOOK.COM/MRSHAVILAH
INSTAGRAM: @HAVILAHCUNNINGTON 

Crushing the High Stakes: A Challenge for Girls

In my last post, I challenged the guys to lead the way in crushing our high stakes dating culture, and this week I have some thoughts for the girls. Ladies, this is for you. Can you go from “high stakes” to “why not?”

Ladies, you were made to have your heart radically pursued by a man. Deep down you know and desire that, and that’s right. But just as I challenged the guys, I want to challenge you. Are you creating space for that pursuit to happen? A high stakes dating culture tells us that the perfect scenario is for a man to sweep in from afar, admire you from a distance and pursue you until you give in. But I would argue that no man has the necessary information to truly pursue if he doesn’t know you. Are you making space for connection to grow?

Let’s talk about the early dating phase. Ultimately, you want a man to pursue you. But when you’re just getting to know each other, it can be a bit scary if the man pulls out all the stops. That phase carries a lot more weight later when you’ve built relational and emotional connection and you trust that the pursuit comes with a level of commitment. In the early dating phase, it doesn’t matter who initiates the “getting to know you.” It’s not about pursuit; it’s about discovering if you like being together. Ladies, you’re not giving up being pursued if you initiate getting to know someone. Pursuit rises up in a man as he starts enjoying being around you so much he thinks he might want to be around you forever. This will kick in at the right time.

All the information you need about a potential relationship is found inside actual relationship. If we take the first step lightly, we’re giving connection a chance to grow. If a man is asking to get to know you, I would challenge you that “why not” is the right response. We can’t build a low stakes dating culture if we’re not willing to say “yes.” You don’t need more information about him. You need to know what you have together. The rest is all assumption. Let’s be brave and approach this like we would any other relationship: “I like you, let’s hang out.” Build friendship freely. Make room for surprises.

The low stakes culture does require good communication. It also requires you to build connection together. Maybe you’re passionate about marriage. Maybe you’ve gotten to know someone and already feel they may be the “one.” But the nature of relationship is that it’s built in pairs. Relational connection is like an elastic band – if either of you go too far ahead, the band will snap. If connection is building for you and not for him, then show your commitment by slowing down to come alongside him. If you run ahead, you will build distance between you and destroy the very thing you’re hoping to build. Navigating pace together is a great introduction to what marriage is.

Be empowered to initiate connection, knowing that pursuit will naturally rise up in a man in love. Be brave enough to say “why not” when someone shows interest. Let’s crush this high stakes culture. Let’s drop the checklists and create space for connection to grow!

 

Originally published on benpwilson.com.

 

BEN IS A HUSBAND, FATHER, PASTOR, AND SON. HE SPENT 11 YEARS FARMING IN AUSTRALIA BEFORE MOVING WITH HIS WIFE JO AND THEIR THREE KIDS TO REDDING, CALIFORNIA TO PURSUE HIS PASSION FOR REVIVAL. HE IS A PASTOR AT BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY AND HAS DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO RELEASING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THE EARTH AND EQUIPPING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME.
WEBSITE: BENPWILSON.COM
FACEBOOK: BEN P. WILSON
INSTAGRAM: @BENWILS 

 


Crushing the High Stakes: A Challenge for Guys

If you read my last post, you’ll know I’m pretty passionate about relationships and particularly about seeing our Christian dating culture change from “high stakes” to a healthy pursuit of connection. Marriage is high stakes. Engagement is high stakes. A coffee date? Not so much. But when I look around, I see men and women tied up in knots about this simple step towards connection. This week I want to challenge the guys. Are you thinking too hard about getting to know someone?

Men, I know the thing you hear more often than not when it comes to this subject is “grow a pair.” And sure, no man gets to win the heart of a lady by being a coward. But that’s not what I want to challenge you on today. I believe that when it’s time to pursue, you’ll do it. I love the picture of Jesus coming out of heaven to pursue his earthly bride. This is what you’re called to, men. There is something in the heart of every lady that wants to see her value through your eyes. You were made to pursue. At the right time, this will awaken in you. But that moment is very rarely (if ever) before you actually know that person, or have built any connection. A high stakes dating culture tells us we have to have all the information before we take a step towards someone. A healthy dating culture tells us that everything we need to know can only be found inside connection, so there’s not much point trying to figure it out from a distance. Spend some time together. See if you like being together. All the judgments we make from the sidelines are assumptions. When it comes to relationships, what you need to know is not more about her. It’s more about who you are together.

If only we could move from high stakes to “why not?”. “Why not?” opens us up to friendship. It builds connection slowly, step by step. “Why not?” lowers the stakes. Yet it does require something of you. To keep stakes low means keeping them low in your mind and emotions as well as your willingness to say “yes” to connection. It means trusting yourself to communicate clearly. Is there a risk she will jump ahead? Sure. But that’s not on you. If we’re going to change this culture, it means being courageous enough to lead the way, fully confident in our ability to navigate each stage of relationship.

Let’s be honest, it’s a bit weird to be full-on pursuing with grand romantic gestures in the early dating phase. These are often the scenarios that end in tears because the passion was built outside of actual connection. True pursuit kicks in later when relational and emotional connection has been built. Pursuit should reflect the level of commitment you’re willing to make and what the relationship can handle. You get there with a simple first step: “Why not?”.

So men, take the pressure off. Create space for friendship to grow. Lead the way in crushing our high stakes dating culture.

Originally published on benpwilson.com.

 

BEN IS A HUSBAND, FATHER, PASTOR, AND SON. HE SPENT 11 YEARS FARMING IN AUSTRALIA BEFORE MOVING WITH HIS WIFE JO AND THEIR THREE KIDS TO REDDING, CALIFORNIA TO PURSUE HIS PASSION FOR REVIVAL. HE IS A PASTOR AT BETHEL SCHOOL OF SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY AND HAS DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO RELEASING THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN THE EARTH AND EQUIPPING OTHERS TO DO THE SAME.
WEBSITE: BENPWILSON.COM
FACEBOOK: BEN P. WILSON
INSTAGRAM: @BENWILS 

What I Wish I Would Have Known About Porn

I was staring at the screen my eyes fixated, glued, to what I was seeing. What was happening? Why weren’t people wearing any clothes? I didn’t understand. Why were people touching each other like that and why on earth did my body feel so weird? These were the questions I had as an eleven-year-old girl sitting in front of the TV at my new friend’s house. Even at a young age, I could feel the pull between my flesh and my spirit. I needed to get up, I needed to look away. Why couldn’t I look away?! Finally, my body could bear it no longer. I got up and headed for the bathroom, shame, fear, and confusion latching onto me with every step I took. I wanted to hide. I wanted someone to rescue me. I wanted to go home.

What had happened, you ask? I had just been introduced to sex.

On that day, as a little girl, things were awoken in me that should have never been awoken. I had no grid for what I had seen and the images played out on screen would continue to linger in my thoughts and revisit me daily. They consumed me, following me into my teenage years festering into an addiction that would end up meandering its way into every area of my life. It was a struggle that would inevitably engulf me in shame for the next 18 years.

 

Pornography is like fire, you touch it once and it will burn. It is as addictive as cocaine and it will leave an imprint on your life.

 

By the time I hit my early 20’s, insecurity had well and truly set in. I battled with my weight all through school, and while I had lost most of it, in my eyes I was still the overweight girl who was bullied constantly. I craved to be seen, to be accepted and to be loved. I had endured some horrendous break-ups, and I was hurting and longing for intimacy. When the words of the men who had told me I wasn’t good enough lingered or when I was feeling unattractive and lonely, I would turn to the only comfort I knew: pornography, erotic novels, in particular, being my ‘medication’ of choice. It was the only thing I knew to numb the pain of how I was feeling. Because in that brief moment, I was wanted, I was comforted, I was accepted, and I was beautiful. Then, in a split second, it would be over. Pleasure turned into guilt, comfort into shame, and beauty into disgust. Wave after wave of condemnation would crash over me and separate me from the one I loved most, Jesus. In my eyes I had failed, I was dirty, and I so desperately wanted to hide.  

 

Shame: A painful feeling of humiliation caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

 

One thing  I am clear of is that the enemy is a deceptive liar. He will say and do anything to make us question who we are and Whose we are. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid. One day they were walking with God and the next they were hiding, ashamed of their nakedness, sewing fig leaves together to cover themselves. Knowing the heart of the Father, I can imagine how much He would have loved being with them. I can picture Him with them, side by side walking the garden paths together, showing them all He had created. Loving them. Talking with them. Their presence warming His heart and His desire to spend time with them so great that when He lost sight of them He called out, “Adam, Eve, where are you?” Then from the distance, He hears these words:  “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10). The next words out of God’s mouth are words that pierce my heart at its very core…

“Who told you that you were naked?”

 

Shame is a name and it speaks.

 

In my church environment, pornography was often deemed a male issue and sex, in general, was rarely spoken about. I felt so alone and this added to the shame I felt. I found myself withdrawing from the Lord for He had done so much for me and yet I continued to fall into sin again, and again and again. It was a vicious cycle, and I just couldn’t look at Him. However, the Lord is Redeemer and He still met me. He saw me and in all my pain and shame, He knelt down and so tenderly embraced me, encapsulating me with a blanket of His love.  

I remember the night so clearly…

On a balmy summer’s eve on holiday in Hawaii with friends, the Lord prompted me to begin writing about my struggle. At first, I was hesitant, but as I began to write, the chains began falling off. With every word, I was getting free. I was then able to share my struggle with a trusted friend. My sin was coming into the light and darkness was losing its sting. The Lord began opening my eyes to who I am as not only a woman but most importantly, as His daughter. He cleansed me and washed me with His grace and touched me in the deepest parts of my pain. Pornography was simply a temporary counterfeit solution, a band-aid to a bigger problem. A problem the Lord so desperately wanted to meet me in. A problem He died for.

 

But God…. He set me free.

 

If you are struggling in this area, first know that you are not your sin. You are loved and you are not alone. My greatest piece of advice would be to find someone you trust, be vulnerable and bring that which has been hidden into the light. Whether breakthrough is instantaneous or a process, it still requires stewarding. I placed firm boundaries on what I allowed my eyes to see and threw out every book and movie with sexual content. I broke off unhealthy relationships and shared honestly with key people in regards to how I was doing. If I stumbled, they knew about it. During this time, I also began a process with the Lord in learning how to love myself well. I saw a spirit-filled Christian counselor who supported me as I overcame underlying trauma and together, we developed strategies to meet my needs in a healthy way.

 

Freedom… it’s a beautiful thing.

 

To wake up each day knowing I am no longer bound by sin has been life-changing. In my brokenness, He covered me, and now in Him, I am truly alive. I am no longer a slave but a free woman, healthy and wholeheartedly pursuing the One who lay on a cross not just for me, but for you too.  A man named Jesus is yearning to break every bondage in your life and show you who you are – His son and His daughter. He wants to reach into the crevasse of your heart and meet the needs that you have been letting sin meet for so long, to change mindsets, heal the painful wounds and to take you from slavery into all He has promised.

Freedom is knocking at the door of your heart and His arms are open and ready.

Will you walk into them?

 

-Carol, 33, Queensland, AU