The Love Dare: Day 2

Love Is Kind!

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. -Eph 4:32

Kindness is love in action. If patience is how love reacts in order to minimize negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance. Patience avoids a problem; kindness creates a blessing. One is preventive, the other proactive. There two sides of live are the cornerstones on which many of the other attributes we will discuss are built.

     Love makes you kind. And kindness makes you likable. When you’re kind, people want to be around tou. They see you as being good to them and good for them.

     The Bible keys in on the importance of kindness: “Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tabl;et of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute in he sight of God and man.” (Prov 3:3-4) Kind people simply find favor wherever they go. Even at home. But “kindness” can feel a little generic when you try defining it, much less living it. So let’s break down kindness into four basic core ingredients:

Gentleness. When you’re operating from kindness, you’re careful how you treat your spouse, never being unnecessarily harsh. You’re sensitive. Tender. Even if you need to say hard things, you’ll bend over backwards to make your rebuke or challenge as easy to hear as possible.You speak the truth in love.

     Helpfulness. Being kind means ou meet the needs of the moment. If it’s housework, you get busy. A listening ear? You give it. Kindness graces a wife with the ability to serve her husband without worrying about her rights.Kindness makes a husband curious to discover what his wife needs, then motivates him to be the one who steps up and ensures those needs are met- even if his are put on hold.

Willingness. Kindness inspires you to be agreeable. Instead of being obstinate, reluctant, or stubborn, you cooperate, you stay flexible. Rather than complaioning and making excuses, you look for reasons to compromise and accomodate. A kind husband ends thousands of potential arguments by his willingness to listen first rather than demand his way.

     Initiative. Kindness thinks ahead, then takes the first step. It doesn’t sit around waiting to be prompted or coerced before getting off the couch. The kind husband or wife will be the one who greets first, smiles first, serves first, and forgives first. They don’t require the other to get his or her act together before showing love. When acting from kindness, you see the need, then you make your move. First.

     Jesus creatively described the kindness of love in His parable of the Good Samaritan, found in the Bible- Luke chapter 10. A Jewish man attacked by robbers is left for dead on a remote road. Two religious leaders, respected among their people, walk by wihout choosing to stop. Too busy. Too important. Too fond of clean hands. But a common man of another race- the hated Samaritans, whose dislike for Jews was both bitter and mutual- sees this stranger in need and is moved with compassion. Crossing all cultural boundaries and risking ridicule, he stops to help the man. Bandaging his wouds and putting him on his own donkey  he carries him to safety and pays all his medical expenses out of his own pocket.

     Where years of racism had caused strife and division, one act of kindness brought two enemies together. Gently. Helpfully. Willingly. Taking the initiative, this man demonstrated true kindness in every way.

     Wasn’t kindness one of the key things that drew you and your spouse together in the first place? When you were married, weren’t you expecting to enjoy his or her kindness for the rest of your life? Didn’t your mate feel the same way about you? Even though the years can take the edge off that desire, your enjoyment in marriage is still linked to the daily level of kindness expressed.

     The Bible describes a woman whose husband and children bless and praise her. Among her noble attributes are these: “She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Prov 31:26)how about you? How would your husband or wife describe you on the kindness meter? How harsh are you? How gentle and helpful? Do you wait to be asked, or do you take the initiative to help? Don’t wait for your spouse to be kind first.

     It is difficult to demonstrate love when you feel little to no motivation. But love in its truest sense is not based on feelings. Rather, love determines to show thoughtful actions even when there seems to be no reward. You will never learn to love until you learn to demonstrate kindness.

DARE:

In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture of kindness.

What discoveries about love did you make today? What specifically did you do in this dare? How did you show kindness?

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The Love Dare: It’s not just for spouses. Will you accept my challenge?

Hello all. It’s been awhile since I wrote. I’ve been working harder than usual for the class that I’m taking and for my job.

There’s something that’s been on my mind for awhile that I want to challenge everyone who reads this to attempt. I’m sure we have all heard of the Love Dare, made famous in the movie Fireproof. If not, it is a 40 day challenge intended to restore your marriage. I bought the book awhile ago, and read it over this past summer. I was not married or even in a struggling relationship at the time, but I found the daily challenges to be almost like a devotional. I would like you all to join me in this challenge. We can keep each other accountable and share success stories, as well as our fears of failing. We can uplift each other and encourage those who are getting down and giving up to push on.

Now here is where my challenge is slightly different than that of the book and the movie. Maybe some of your marriages are high on the hill right now and doing these challenges would be no different than living your daily lives. Maybe some of you aren’t even in relationships right now. That’s ok. When I read the book over the summer, I still completed each of the dares. However, instead of showing my love to a spouse or significant other, I chose to do the dares on my two children. Some I had to alter a bit, but that is just somewhere else we can help each other in succeeding with this dare.

Let’s start with Day 1:

Love is Patient

Be completely humble an gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. -Ephesians 4:2 NIV

     Love works. It is life’s most powerful motivator and has far greater depths and meaning than most people realize. It always does what is best for others and can empower us to face the greatest of problems. We are born with a lifelong thirst for love. Our hearts desperately need it like our lungs ned oxygen. Love changes our motivation for living. Relationships become meaningful with it. No marriage is successful without it.

     Love is built on two pillars that best define what it is. Those pillars are patience and kindness. All other characteristics of love are extensions of these two attributes. And that’s where your dare will begin. With patience.

     Love will inspire you to become a patient person. When you choose to be patient, you respond in a positive way to a negative situation. You are slow to anger. You choose to have a long fuse, instead of a quick temper. Rather than being restless and demanding, love helps you settle down and begin extending mercy to those around you. Patience brings an internal calm during an external storm.

     No one likes to be around an impatient person. It causes you to overreact in angry, foolish, and regrettable ways. The irony of anger towards a wrongful action is that it always spawns new wrongs of its own. Anger almost never makes things better. In fact, it usually generates additional problems. But patience stops problems in their tracks. More than biting your lip, more than clapping a hand over your mouth, patience is a deep breath. It clears the air. It stops foolishness from whipping its scorpion tail all over the room. It is a choice to control your emotions rather than allowing your emotions to control you, and shows discretion instead of returning evil for evil.

     If your spouse offends you, do you quickly retaliate, or do you stay under control? Do you find that anger is your emotional default when treated unfairly? If so, you are spreading poison, rather than medicine.

     Anger is usually caused when the strong desire for something is mixed with disappointment or grief. You don’t get what you want and you start heating up inside. It is often an emotional reaction hat flows ou of our own selfishness, foolishness, or evil motives.

     Patience, however, makes us wise. It doesn’t rush to judgement but listens to what the other person is saying. Patience stands in the doorway where anger is clawing to burst in, but waits to see the whole picture before passing judgement. The Bible says “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.” (Proverbs 14:29)

     As sure as a lack of patience will turn tour home into a war zone, the practice of patience will foster peace and quiet. “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anfer calms a dispute.” (Proverbs 15:18) Statements like these from the Bible book of Proverbs are clear principles with timeless relevance. Patience is where love meets wisdom. And every marriage needs that combination to stay healthy.

     Patience helps you give your spouse room to be human. It understands that everyone fails. When a mistake is made, it chooses to give them more time than they deserve to correct it. It gives you the ability to hold on during the tough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under the pressure.

    Continued in comments:

LOLITA: The selfish little…. WAIT WHAT!?

I often think that times were better back in the 50s. Everything seemed so much simpler. Sexuality wasn’t thrown in peoples’ faces the way it is now. Well, did I just get a reality check! My grandma was downstairs watching Lolita. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie, it’s the story of a middle-aged man who marries a woman in order to woo her 14 year old daughter. The young girl is, indeed flirtatious and sensuous. But this does not change the fact that she is a child and he is an adult.

My grandma has continuously made comments about how selfish and manipulative the young girl is. Now, I understand that the girl doesn’t have the greatest attitude, but is she not absolutely entitled to a numbness toward this man?! He has seduced her, controlled her, and molested her, yet SHE is selfish and has a bad attitude toward him?

Now I am beginning to see that every decade has had it’s major downfalls in the way society thinks. I see that present-day teens and pre-teens are being empowered in ways they never should have been, which also allows older men to fantasize and even act on those fantasies about young girls, with no consequence. At least, though, our young women are not being silenced. It makes me so sad for my daughter and all the young girls I know to think there was a time that they wouldn’t have been worth protecting. I think about the fact that there are many women out there who were taught to be accommodating to these sick men’s abuse. I feel for the once-young-and-innocent girls who were treated as if it was more important to obey your elders and to have a positive attitude to those who were above you than it was to distance yourself from someone who was harming you. 

Fortunately, I have seen something tonight. Although there are many ways we are moving toward more worldly ways and we continue to hurt others in our society, we are making some steps in a positive direction to protect our children. Even though girls are becoming sexually active at younger ages, they are finding a right in that to choose for themselves, instead of being abused and manipulated by “adults”. I have seen that we are starting to recognize children as little people, who need to be loved and protected. 

What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction? Where are we failing to protect our children? Should children be seen and not heard or do we need to give them a voice so that the ‘bad guys’ can be caught?

Should I have an abortion or a baby?

Imagine being a teenage girl asking yourself this question. A teenager should be asking herself what color dress to wear to prom, what movie to see on a Friday night, or whether she should choose her friends or her boyfriend for a fun evening out. Unfortunately, some teens have made the wrong decisions. This may have been a choice to sleep around. It may have been a choice to frequent parties and drink with a boy who took advantage of her. With the best or worst intentions in mind, teen girls end up pregnant all the time.

In 2006, approximately 742,990 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 became pregnant. Of these girls, a little over 19% had an abortion. (guttmacher.org US teen pregnancy trends p.7 <http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends.pdf&gt;) That is over 200,000 abortions, only in girls aged 15-19. For me, these numbers are terrifying. We ought to be asking ourselves why the facts show what they do. An overwhelming number of teen girls are becoming pregnant each year. That is a discussion for another day, though. Here I want to address why so many teenage girls have abortions.

There is no doubt that these girls are devastated by the thought of taking on the responsibility of a child. There are natural fears and pressures from families who do not want the responsibility as well. As much responsibility as is put on the child who became pregnant, though, I wonder how much we as Christians can affect a girl’s choice. I believe we have handled this particular situation, and so many others, completely wrong. We are not loving and forgiving as Christ has called us to.

Let’s use Maura as an example. She was a fifteen year old girl whose parents split when she was too young to remember. She never had a father figure and her mother was always working. Like most 15 year old girls, Maura just needed to feel loved. Her Christian mother did try to protect her daughter from making poor choices, but this led to her feeling isolated and different from her peers. All she wanted was to fit in. Eventually, she met a boy and fell hard for him. After a few months of dating, their hormones went wild. They both wanted to be loved, accepted, and close to each other, so one thing led to another. Long story short, Maura only had sex the one time. Her guilt got the most of her and she stopped talking to the boyfriend. He moved on quickly and she was alone again. After three months, she realized that she was not having periods. She took a test and her heart sank when she saw those two pink lines.

Now I am going to lay out some realistic expectations for Maura. Her mother, of course, will feel like a failure. She was not able to protect her daughter and feels guilt for the situation her daughter is now in because she left Maura without a father all of her life. Her mother is likely to take this guilt out on Maura and push her to find a boyfriend and get married, or to push to the opposite extreme and feel that Maura should not get into any relationship because she needs to focus on her child. Maura also goes to church. Whether anything is said or not, Maura will probably feel shunned and will not feel as welcome at youth activities. If she does go, many teens and adults will judge her without knowing any of her story.

As Maura goes into labor, her mom is likely to be hard at work to help care for the baby. The father has moved on already and Maura may never even tell him out of her own guilt. She will now feel the guilt of leaving her own child fatherless and keeping the news of the child away from the baby’s dad. She will feel little support from the church and may feel isolated and judged at best, condemnation for her and her child at worst. She will lose many friends and her religious family may shun her as she has now made worse mistakes than her mother.

Now let’s look at another option. Maura’s best friend, the only person she has yet to tell about the pregnancy, suggests they visit Planned Parenthood. No one will be the wiser and only she and Maura will ever know. With a 15 year old’s logic, the consequences will be as follows. She will have a huge secret to keep. What teenage girl doesn’t? She has already had sex, but with no resulting infant, that secret may be kept under wraps. She has no reason to tell the father of the baby or anyone else. She can move on with her life, having experienced sex, so she can talk about it to the cool girls at school like she almost knows what she’s talking about. She’s inexperienced and experienced enough with sex, depending how you look at it, that she can honestly tell her friends she will not do that until she’s married. The again can remain unspoken. No one at her church will criticize her and strangers will not look at her like a slut or “just another teenage mother”. She will get to experience that part of life she deserves.

Now how can we really ask how a girl could choose abortion? Out of fear, to put it simply. Out of shame, guilt, terror. As Christians, aren’t we called to love? Aren’t we called to heal the hurting and give to the needy? This is a prime example of where we are failing. Teenage mothers are still teenagers. The best things we can do to reduce teen abortion is to offer as much support as possible to these girls. We need to offer them forgiveness. They are still teenagers and they not only have a right, but a responsibility, to face that part of life.

During the teen years, a person discovers who they are and what they value. This will create consistency and stability for their child, once they have formed it. In early adulthood, young mothers need loving, consistent relationships. If they had these already, there is a high chance they would not have become teen mothers to begin with. These are some areas where we can help teen mothers, the children of teen mothers, and to lower abortion rates. Churches or individuals could offer a weekly or monthly “night out” of free babysitting. These girls may also strive from a mentor system, of more mature mothers who are willing to develop both a motherly, protective relationship, but also a deep, lasting friendship with these girls. These girls need to know that even though they have made poor decisions, we want to help them face the responsibilities of their consequences.

What would you do if you were Maura? What would you do if you knew Maura? Do you have any ideas of what we, as Christians, could offer to young girls who have become pregnant to encourage them to follow through with the pregnancy and delivery of their child?

Safe Inside: Struggling for Identity When No One Knows Who You Are

For years, everyone thought everything was fine. Mallory was a normal teenage girl with normal teenage troubles. She didn’t have many friends, but never went long without a boyfriend. Her mom did her best, but was nearly always at work. Her step dad had little to do with her when he was home, besides barking orders and assigning her chores. She was lost and lonely, but she would never let it show.

If you asked anyone who thought they knew her, they would say she was a strong, independent young lady. She was smart and stoic, a little shy, but no worse for the wear. No one knew she was dying inside. They didn’t see the scars or the fresh cuts each weekend. She hid them well. After three years, she learned the places to cut where no one would ask questions, not that they did, even when the wounds were left uncovered.

By 17 she had learned she was only safe inside herself. No one understood her pain. No one believed how alone, unwelcome at times, she was in her own home. To her family, she was a drama queen and just needed to calm down. By 20 years old, she had been through four men and even more boys, sexually. Her parents never would have guessed and certainly wouldn’t have approved. It wasn’t a life she was proud of living, but at least she was in fact living.

With the last guy, the cuts subsided and eventually stopped completely. They were replaced by new addictions. Her evenings were spent smoking pot and having sex. Weekends were filled with alcohol.But at some point, everything changed. She felt the need to get healthy and change those habits. She felt protective and she didn’t know why. She told Brandon she couldn’t be with him anymore because she knew she couldn’t marry him and raise a child in his lifestyle.

They parted ways and two months later, she found she was pregnant. Brandon wanted to get married, but she believed it wouldn’t be best for her child. They remained distant until the distance was nothing but a memory. He never met his child even. Mallory had a daughter who was very smart and beautiful. She raised her in church and instilled a love of God in her that was far from easy.

Her child was perfect, but did not cut the loneliness. At 24, she had two children and was still desperately lonely. Her mother demeaned her search for a husband and felt that she should focus on her children. Her father sat back quietly, as was typical of him.

She began to change her focus from a man to herself. She looked into different activities that she might be interested in. She soon discovered that all this time she was looking for something, she never once realized she was looking for herself. She dedicated herself to God. She began finding joy in art, crafts, photography, writing- things she had loved to do as a teenager and a child, but she had lost sight of when she got into the real world.

Once she had figured herself out, she found an amazing man. They were able to communicate in ways she never thought possible. While their relationship was far from perfect, she couldn’t have asked for more. Truthfully, if she hadn’t become so close to God and in turn, found who she truly was In Him, she never could have had such Joy!

God provides eternal peace that we can never find on our own. Mallory spent her life lost, running from God, because she thought He was too far removed to ease her loneliness. When she finally gave in and worked toward a meaningful relationship with the Lord, she found that, not only could He relieve the loneliness she felt Himself, but that He also provided her someone who could be there physically and support her and her children. 

How many of you are fighting God because you don’t know who YOU are? In Him, we can find our true identities as sons and daughters of Christ- sons and daughters who are perfect for the purpose He made us.

Teen Moms Like A Virgin

Tonight I was inspired by a blog, The Virgin Mary: A Christian Case for Respecting Teen Mothers <http://slutocracy.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/the-virgin-mary-a-christian-case-for-respecting-teenage-mothers/>

While I feel this blog was short, sweet, and to the point, I have another major point I could argue under the previous blog’s title. The point made in the original blog was sound. Christmas is a time of celebrating families, which includes young mothers and single mothers. It is brought up that teen mothers are “stigmatised” (SIC) by the most religious of all. While that is a valid point, I want to take the idea deeper into Christianity and our ideals, glorifying our God, not just making a point to man.

Beyond Mary being a young mother, beyond her being a mother at all, she was an imperfect human who was blessed directly by our Lord. Many of the American politicians who are so adamant that teen girls should not be mothers will also fight that abortion is NEVER permissible  They argue that any child that is conceived is a gift and a blessing from God. This is a blatant double standard.

Christmas is a time to celebrate God and His many blessings. I am a single mother and at Christmas, I feel empathy towards Mary. She must have been frightened and I am sure she felt judged. I imagine there were people telling her she shouldn’t be having a baby. I imagine there were feelings of doubt and fear in her mind. However, an angel of God told her she would bear a child and would name him Jesus.

The truth is two pink lines don’t speak a child into existence. A young girl making bad choices does not create life. Rape and molestation do not cause conception. Many women try to have babies for years and are unable. Many teens consistently have unprotected sex, but no pregnancies. Rapes occur without resulting in fetal development. Pregnancies can even last for months, in teen girls or grown women, without resulting in the delivery of a living infant. The absolute only thing that guides a sperm to fertilize an egg, the only thing that speaks life into an embryo, the only Being that has the power to see that little collection of cells into a full grown infant, ready to be born into the world, is God.

When we judge a teen mother or refuse to offer her the help and support she and her child need, and instead we damn and condemn her, we are judging God’s choices. We are putting down His creation. The Lord blesses those He so chooses with children for His reasons. We, as true Christians, need to see it is our duty to love and cherish every breathe of life the Lord breathes into existence. It is our responsibility to reach out as the hands and feet of Christ and give support. We shouldn’t stop judging because there were extenuating circumstances in which that girl didn’t sin. She did. Just as “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) We should stop judging because that is where our right to be more Christlike ends. He is the only judge and He chose each and every mother as part of His perfect plan. It is our chore as Christians to pull these young women and sometimes men as well into the church to allow God to place peace and healing, strength and wisdom into them so their children may be better off.

In conclusion, I share a scripture from the Bible.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. 

Children are a heritage from the Lord. Even those that were not planned or conceived in the most appreciable manner are a gift from God. We need to treasure those gifts and help those they were given to take the best care possible of them.

2013 NYE List

2013 NYE LIST (Sort of my take on New Year’s Resolutions)

  1. Get a tattoo
  2. Get a piercing
  3. Go on a “family” vacation (out of town with the kids)
  4. Go on a “me” vacation (2+ nights away without the kids)
  5. Hit one year anniversary
  6. Be healthier
  7. Become REAL full time at work
  8. Get my own place
  9. Sell my guitar
  10. Make at least one “frivolous” purchase for me
  11. Get on a routine
  12. Be on time
  13. Go on a “romantic” roadtrip
  14. See JJ Heller in concert [again]<3
  15. Complete my apprenticeship classes
  16. Make some new friends
  17. Write a love letter
  18. Complete a summer reading list
  19. Go bowling
  20. Go bowling with friends
  21. Talk to a stranger
  22. Become a church member
  23. Become a group member (mom? couponing? photography?)
  24. Take more pictures
  25. Worry less
  26. Laugh until I cry
  27. Hang out at a friend’s house
  28. Learn about football
  29. Play a video game (a real one…)
  30. Get more organized
  31. Start couponing
  32. Apologize
  33. Complete a small sewing project
  34. Complete a large sewing project
  35. Complete a small craft
  36. Complete a large craft
  37. Make a crazy good find at a thrift store
  38. Eat sushi
  39. Write some poetry
  40. Clean the house and keep it clean
  41. Finish reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’
  42. Yoga
  43. Get a record player
  44. Wear hats
  45. Grow stuff (like vegetables or herbs or something edible)
  46. Buy more plaid shirts
  47. Paint a picture
  48. Learn a new skill
  49. Eat at Qdoba
  50. Declutter (and stay that way!!)

A Drop of Honesty: 25 years and counting

I wanted to share a story/poem that I thought a lot of girls might be able to relate to.

Here it is:

Once there lived a girl, whose name we needn’t know.

Her purpose was to be a mother, at least she believed it so.

It was all she ever wanted and by 17 she thought

If she only had more money, a man, and a job

She would have all that she needed to make her perfect life.

She would be a perfect mother and strive to be the perfect wife.

She packed all of her things and drove 3000 miles away.

She met a boy and fell for him on that very day.

Six months passed. She had a job. There was little left to want.

So they made plans, but they split before she found she was pregnant.

She kept the baby and believed she was as ready as she could be,

But started having doubts just before the baby had turned three.

25, she now believed, was the perfect age.

Up until she hit that year, she hadn’t set the stage.

Somewhere between 21 and now, she should have had a chance

To look inside herself and catch more than just a glance.

Just months before she was 25, the ache really sank in

“I know that I’m a mother, but other than that, I don’t know who I am”

She never got to travel, to question or to explore.

She never really had to the chance to look for something more.

She lost her shot at many things she wished she could have done,

And though she wouldn’t trade them for her daughter or her son,

If you’re this girl and wondering if you are ready or not,

Look inside and ask if you know just who you are.

Even things you don’t think you’ll miss, someday maybe you might.

If she could just delay this chapter, her whole story, she’d rewrite.

She would never give them up, but she keeps wishing she had waited,

So if you’re walking in her shoes, let your child’s birth be belated.

Maybe when you’re 25, you’ll look back and thank me

Because before you know yourself, it’s very hard to be

The mother you want to be.

Now I don’t feel this is the case for every single person, but a lot of women, between 20-25 really get the chance to find themselves and become the person they want to be. Before 18 at least, most people don’t have the funds to explore all the lifestyles and hobbies they may be curious about and even if you have, many of our interests change once we really reach adulthood and start to take on responsibility for ourselves. I would highly suggest waiting until at least 25 to consider having a baby. Even if you are like the girl in the story, who knew from childhood, that being a mother was the most important thing for her to do in life, just wait. Had she waited those 3-4 years, she would have been a very different woman. She would be more confident and more well-rounded. Her parenting might change and many things in her children’s lives would have changed. Again, I can’t say across the board that no one is ready to be a parent before 25, but I would highly suggest some major planning and SOUL SEARCHING before having a baby at any age! It’s A LOT of work and not something you can ever give up on or take back!

Addicted to Sex and Porn: A True Story

Tonight I read “Your Brain on Porn” A short downloadable book from CovenantEyes.com

It covers the effects porn can have on those who view it as well as some advice for escaping the addictive spell porn captures us with.

As a teenager who had little to turn to for comfort, I became very familiar with the porn world. I also became familiar with the online community surrounding porn and some real life people that were all too eager to talk sex with an underage girl. I was told by my father at a young age that a man will always want sex if they think it’s up for grabs. I took this to mean that sex dictated my worth to men. From 5th grade on, I desperately believed this and wanted to be “sexy”. It hurt to be called cute or even pretty because I felt that meant I was lacking.

Every opportunity I got, I reached out for sexual attention on the web. Starting around the age of 12, I was having ridiculously inappropriate conversations with men, or boys, that I knew nothing about. That turned quickly to looking at and searching for sexual material and eventually, turned to sending pictures of myself to people I had never even met. Eventually, I even took it further. I began meeting people from the internet in person and although I remained a virgin until the age of 17, I would still consider my actions before then to have been promiscuous.

Touching each other seemed like nothing to me. The activities that peaked my interest got more and more out there. At 17, I began dating a boy that I truly fell in love with. At the time, I was certain I was going to marry him. There was no reason to wait. Except HIS morals. We talked about sex and I continuously pushed the limits. Eventually we both gave into temptation. He told me several times that he regretted it and although I mimicked his words, I never truly felt that regret. Part of me believed he was testing me to see how much I really enjoyed having sex with him. I pushed for sex with many boyfriends after he and I parted ways and I even met people from the internet solely for sex.

Looking back, I wonder how I stayed safe and I know God was protecting me. Many times, a slight instinct stopped me from meeting people or convinced me to take extra precautions. I know now I am lucky to be alive. I thought for awhile I was lucky to have come out of that fire unscathed. There are two flaws to that thought though. One– That fire is still raging and sometimes I still get too close and can feel the heat. Two– I am realizing I am anything but intact.

Most of my relationships failed based on two things– my fears of abandonment caused by my own insecurity and a complete inability to trust. I firmly believe these were both directly caused by my addiction to pornography and sex. As I read the speculations of the effects of pornography, they hit a little to close to home: “Watching Porn Decreases Our Sexual Satisfaction... Watching Porn Disconnects Us from Real Relationships... Watching Porn Lowers Our View of Women… Watching Porn Desensitizes Us to Cruelty… Watching Porn Makes Us Want to Watch More Porn”.

I am very personally connected to a few of these effects. I am a woman, but my view of women is very low. I have always felt that women are first and foremost sex objects. This has created problems in relationships for me because I am easily threatened when a woman seems interested in my boyfriend. I think lowly of women and believe most of them will flaunt their sexuality to gain worth in men’s eyes and they will stop at nothing once they have set their sights on a man. Even when I trust the man I am with not to fall for any old woman’s schemes, I always feel that there are women who sex themselves up and really put the pressure on men to avoid their own feelings of insecurity. They CANNOT fail at getting any man they want. Every man is human and can only say no to a certain point. My addiction to porn has definitely lowered my views of women. I believe that the sexualization of women in the media has the same effect. It makes women feel like that is what we have to compete with and makes men and women alike think that is realistic. It also desensitizes us to sexuality, causing us to need more stimulation. A “pretty” woman can no longer really arouse a man because he has been bombarded with bombshells that 90% of Earth’s population could never compete with.

Pornography also desensitizes us to real relationships. Sexual satisfaction is readily available, literally at our fingertips. It requires no compromise or effort on our parts. We can get what we want with the click of a mouse. It is not necessary to feel vulnerable. Many teenagers and young adults have a tendency to shut down at the first sign of vulnerability. I believe my generation has more problems with alcohol and drugs because of this. Casual sex becomes very attractive because we needn’t invest, therefore there is nothing we can lose. However, we become blind to the fact that there is nothing to gain either. We go through this cycle in which we seek a partner to fulfill our emotional needs. At the first sign of imperfection we feel vulnerable and pull away. This makes us need more and we give into sexual temptation because it is the easiest way to feel connected without giving any part of our true selves. Unfortunately, this leaves us feeling empty and emotionally needy, so we go back to the start, shutting down further and delving deeper into emotionless sex.

Finally, porn lowers our sexual satisfaction and in turn, makes us need more porn. Being exposed to the same things over and over makes us crave novelty, while being exposed to some variant of something familiar peaks our interest to see other variations. Someone who watches enough porn may eventually lose their ability to become aroused at all as they build up a tolerance, or a boredom, of the same material they expose themselves to. Sexual satisfaction is hurt by our expectations that sex will be amazing every time. We expect that our partner will always be as eager as we are. We expect that things will go as planned and we will never be disappointed by a single sexual experience. These are only a few of the many lies that porn tells us.

We also learn to crave multiple partners or something and someone new each time. We delve deeper into the world of pornography and sexual immorality until there is no safe place left to go. We may become numb and reach even further into outright cruelty and sickening acts to satisfy our cravings for something new and different.

I urge any young ladies or young men stuck in the muck of pornography to stop now. Yes, it offers an instant and effortless gratification that is rarely available in a human partner, one that you shouldn’t make available before marriage anyway. But there are so many downward slopes that aren’t worth the benefits you think you are getting. It is so much more rewarding to commit yourself to one loving partner who will be able to satisfy you so completely if you do not taint your expectations with porn. The security and trust that pornography steals from you is something you cannot make up for with any “50 hottest tricks to try tonight”. Trust me, I’ve tried more times than I care to admit. As a woman, I can tell you, girls, that pornography will lower your self-esteem, even if you don’t think it is affecting you. Take it from someone who knows all too well, it seems like you have nothing to lose but you do. We need to recommit ourselves to loving God and, just as importantly, loving and respecting ourselves.

Don’t get trapped like I was and don’t let the world fool you.

Check out

Covenanteyes.com

They provide you with software to help you be accountable for your internet activity and offer great resources for breaking that addiction or coping with a spouse addicted to porn.

An introduction to me and my inspiration.

Hello. I’d like to give a little introduction to myself and my main inspiration for starting this blog.

I am a young mom who was raised in a Christian home. Sexuality was not something we spoke of, although as I reached adulthood, I found it was something we all struggled with. As a teen, I was sexually active, although I was also still doing my best to be active in church and in my relationship with God. I was riddled with guilt and frustration because not only did I believe a Christian should have a handle on these things, I also believed that this was not the sort of thing a LADY lusted after.

At 23 years old, I had 2 children, one born out of wedlock, and one whose father I did not stay married to even a year. In the midst of my divorce, the church I was then attending did a sermon on lust. I was excited to hear the message as the pastor invited his wife to come up and talk about the lust that women feel. As soon as she opened her mouth, I was appalled. “Now, I know what you’re thinking, ladies. Women don’t lust like men do. But we do lust… after shoes and diamonds and pretty clothes”

REALLY!?!?!?!? Did she REALLY just tell everyone that women do not have any sexual lust?! And does she really BELIEVE that?!

I am here to share a very different message.

Women– and girls– of all ages: you are normal. You are as God created you and yes, you will feel desires of a sexual and non-sexual nature. Each of us have different desires but all of those feelings are normal. I do not want any girl to feel ashamed that she has sexual desires or to feel ostracized or like she is not normal because she has a high drive. I wanted to share my story because I know so many other girls have felt the way I do.

There’s nothing wrong with you and you are not alone.