For a long time, I thought my testimony didn’t matter. I grew up in a Christian home, got baptized when I was seven and I was set. Right? Not much a story there. Up until my freshman year of high school I floated through my life as a “Sunday Christian”. I went to youth group and sang in the worship band but went home later and pulled up PornHub on my phone. I can hear your gasps through the computer screen already as I type that. A woman?! Porn?! Yes.
I realize at this point in my life, that I do have a story and I know that God will use my story to change hearts. Lady readers of NotofTheNorm, this is for you specifically.
When I was a freshman in high school, my family moved from a small town in Northern Kentucky to Howell, Michigan for my dad to accept a position at 2|42 Community Church. My world as a 15 year old was flipped upside down. I spent months running away from God due to anger. For me, this is when my addiction began. I didn’t happen across it. It wasn’t an accident. I went looking for something to fill the hole in my heart that I had pushed Jesus out of and I filled it with pornography. My household was never the place that I felt like I really had to hide things, but this, I hid. I continued to hide it from absolutely everyone in my life until my senior year of high school. It’s taboo for a woman to be addicted to pornography. I felt ostracized throughout this time in my life even without other people knowing about what I was going through. I had people in my life that I trusted. My mother is my best friend; I had a mentor in high school who rocked my world but I felt that if I shared this struggle with them, they wouldn’t understand. So, I struggled for four years within myself. I knew what I was doing wasn’t good, but as with any addiction I couldn’t let it go on my own. I still refused to turn to God even in the times that I knew I really should have because I felt unworthy of the forgiveness I knew He had. Anytime I felt I should turn to Him, I ran further and pulled up more videos to distract myself.
I’ve come to realize that God’s timing is something extraordinary. In the middle of my struggles, He made and continues to make Himself present. My senior year of high school, I began to feel so run down by my addictions. I didn’t want to sit in front of my computer screen and watch what I was watching but somehow I always found myself in that place again. Then something happened. I was attending my final summer of youth camp and the speaker, whose name I don’t recall, was speaking of forgiveness of yourself and letting go of your personal struggles. I lost it. You know those moments in a church service when you know that the sermon is meant exactly for you? This was it for me. I ran through rows of my fellow students, ugly crying, to fall into the arms of my mentor and *figuratively* vomit my struggles. For some reason that night, there was no fear of being looked down upon. I just needed to be set free and there, I was. I also found out I wasn’t alone. My mentor shared with me her own struggles with similar things throughout her young adult life. I could finally breathe.
I realized that night in a room full of thousands of other students, that I will never be alone in my struggles. I also continue to realize that in my struggles, there is no reason to run from my Heavenly Father. When I falter, He is there with open arms to catch me even when I do not deserve to be caught.
According to a study done by the Journal for Adolescent Research, 18% of women use the internet habitually for sexual purposes DAILY. This, due to my personal struggle, breaks my heart because I know that some percentage of those women want to stop but don’t know how because they feel the need to run from God just as I did.
If there is one thing I’ve learned, and one thing I wish for all of you as readers to take away from my story, is that no matter what pit of struggle you find yourself in now, you CAN run to Jesus. You are not alone.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11|28-30