How Porn Destroys Lives – An Interview with the Author of “Pornified”; “A Christian Response to Your Husband’s Porn Problem” & Helps

married-couples-relationship-tlc“Porn is for everyone,” says author Pamela Paul, whose new book, “Pornified,” details how the widespread use of pornography is changing American culture and relationships. Paul expected to find pornography use mainly in the realm of “losers who couldn’t get a date” when she started researching the book. Instead, she found that it was mainstream, bridging religious, ethnic, educational, and socio-economic barriers. She was even more surprised, however, by how often pornography use ruins relationships, increases sexual dysfunction, and changes what men expect from women. Paul spoke with Beliefnet recently about pornography addiction, how the internet has changed porn consumption, and what secular culture can learn from the way religious groups confront pornography use.  Read the full interview HERE.

Another Article: “Broken Trust: A Christian Response to Your Husband’s Porn Problem” Read this article HERE.

The “Covenant Eyes” blog and website has many other articles that will help.  Please, always make sure your husband (and yourself if that is the case) get into an accountability relationship with others who can help you rebuild your relationship with each other and with God.

Here are “80 Bible Verses About Pornography” and Hope.  Read these verses HERE.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1

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Daddy Pain

handsDads, we all need them.  Dads show us girls how to respect ourselves and teach how to act when it comes to men whether they know it or not.  Dads give us the love and the protection we need as we go out into the world even if it’s just to school.  If we don’t get the adequate love and care of a father, we end up a lot of times “looking for love in all the wrong places” and that can turn out bad.

I loved my dad very much and he was my shining star from ages 1-11.  He taught me how to eat raw garlic, fish, help him with his carpentry (he was a beautiful carpenter and could make anything – probably where I got my gift of working with my hands), learn to play chess, make kites from scratch, fly airplanes at the park, learn french words (he spoke french beautifully – he was French-Canadian), dance-roller skate to music and many other wonderful things.  What I didn’t know during that time or didn’t realize is that my dad was abusing me.  I didn’t realize it till I was 11 years old.

My dad made everything a game so I didn’t realize that the touching that he had turned into a game and the other things that were going on were wrong.  We would laugh and I enjoyed all of the love and attention that was going on because it was me and him, what else could I want?  My father and mother divorced when I was 4 because of the things he was doing to me but she never told me – she must have just thought that he would stop or that I was safe for just one night.  I do know that my dad was always yelling while telling me that my mom wouldn’t let him see me, but I never knew why.  Again, I didn’t realize what was going on till I was 11.

My story begins: It was time to go to dad’s house.  I was excited and couldn’t wait.  Would it be another weekend of learning to play chess – sometimes if I liked it or not?  Or, were we going to fly planes or kites that we had made or might we even go swimming?  But no, dad had a present for me!  I love presents so I was very glad to open it and was even more surprised at what I saw when I opened the present.  It was a beautiful fabric, my favorite color: blue, and as I lifted it out of the box I could see that it was a nightie.  There had to be more to it, maybe the part I lifted out was a scarf that went with it?  Or, the cover up or robe that went over it?  No, it was completely see-through…completely!  I choked as I looked at it and laughed nervously as he asked me to go try it on and come show him out in the Living Room.  I obeyed and went into the bedroom.  I tried it on.  I broke down and cried.  I couldn’t leave the room and I couldn’t stop crying.  It was right then that my dad, the pedophile, realized that his victim was to old to carry on with what he was doing.

I never saw my dad again.  I didn’t understand the rejection – why couldn’t he just stop doing that other stuff and keep seeing me?  Because he couldn’t. He was sick.

I talked to him a couple more times when I was 15 and told him that I was moving to another state and wanted to have lunch with him.  He stood me up 3 times.  When I called to touch base after the 3rd time, he said, “I am not coming to have lunch with you, have a good life” and hung up. WOW!  That was it, the end of our relationship.

I would love to say that it wasn’t a big deal and that I found what I needed in a step-dad or other male adult, but I didn’t.  I spent literally the next 15 years in promiscuity, alcohol and drug abuse, abusive relationships and self-destruction.  The adult men and teachers in my life that I connected with became a beacon of light in my life and when the relationship ended (usually because they taught another subject that I didn’t have or I moved up into another grade at another school), I was devastated and that devastation took me even further down into the self-destructive path that I was on.

I looked for my dad over the years and always thought that maybe I would see him somewhere or I would meet with him again.  I had hope about it.  But, no.  I found his obituary a few years ago on the internet because he had died. He had a wife, had step-kids and grandkids listed in his obituary but nothing about me.  They didn’t even know about me.  That shook me. It was like it never even happened – my life with him.  I was nothing to him and nothing to anyone he knew.  I fell apart that day.

Through this hard time of remembering, I started to wonder if he abused other kids? As I looked on Google to where he actually lived, it was by a school and that made me choke. My heart was pounding as I considered what he might have done.  (In the past his girlfriend had come to my mom and screamed and yelled at her for her not telling her about him abusing little girls because he had abused hers.)

I searched the internet and pulled all the legal and criminal files i could search on him…nothing.  He was either never caught or maybe God had got ahold of him and he actually stopped -that is what I would want to think or desperately pray.  You see, when God got ahold of me in my 30’s, He used a very special person in my life who later became my husband, to show me the unconditional love of God in my life – love I had never known before – supernatural.

God pricked my heart one day to start to write a letter to my dad.  To write down all that happened in detail, ask him why he did it and then forgive him and pray for him everyday for his salvation.  Through sobs and pain and a lot of wrestling with God, I did write the letter – it never got mailed because I didn’t know where he was but it was good to write it.  It brought a lot of healing.  (You see I never even spoke of the abuse till I was 25 years old – never told anyone and then one day it all came spewing out as I was cooking bacon one morning at a friend’s house.)

I did pray for him everyday.  I also came to remember what my mom had told me about my dad and how his life was so horrible and how badly he was abused.  He would be locked in a closet with no food for days and many other horrible things.  I felt his pain as I looked back on my own abuse – I knew that he was sick and I was not mad at him for hurting me. I was mad at him for leaving me.  I have scars.  I have pain.  I have memories that I don’t want to remember and memories that I don’t want to forget.  I have “daddy pain”.

I heard a preacher talking this morning and he was talking about “daddy pain” he also talked about letting the Lord heal those scars that I/we have so that others can know that there is a Healer for them also.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 in the Living Bible: “What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.”

Using the Daddy pain:  Being able to use what God has allowed in my life to bring comfort to you is using the pain.  I felt today was the day to tell my story, to say that I know, to tell you that God loves you and that no matter what has happened in your past, there is hope in Jesus Christ. Being able to tell you that your scars are real but they can be beautified as you bring them to the One who bore His scars for you.  He was there with you, He saw and He heard and He is with you now.  Give Him your pain, give Him your scars, give Him your anger and your tears…He is waiting, He is looking for you, to bring you a future and a hope. God loves you and you are not broken – you are a vessel being made ready for use.

All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life
Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of his mercy
As deep cries out to deep

Even though the scars seemed so real today, again I give them to the Lord to remember that He has healed me and He has a plan to use the pain in a way that will glorify Him…I can trust that.  I can call him, “Abba Father”  which signifies the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child, as well as the childlike trust that a young child puts in his “daddy.” He is my Father – completely, with everything I need and will never let me down or leave me.

Lord, calm this little storm that started today as I bring memories up that some may have about the past, stop the strong wind from blowing in on us and give us peace as we remember that You are Peace. Help this story to bring comfort to someone today and to reiterate that You have brought us through to this point in life for a reason.  We have a purpose.  We want to trust you, so give us strength Lord to hold on tight to You. Take these burdens every time we remember the past in a negative way, we give them to You. Thank you for reminding us to use our past for our glory, not for our own victimization and pity. Love, Your daughters and sons.  Amen.

Thank you Father for your sweet comforting Spirit that heals so completely.

Maybe you need to write a letter today?

Talk soon, tlc

 

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Robin Williams and Secret Suffering

CroppedFocusedImage695364-robin-williams-and-secret-suffering

To Read this Article, click HERE.

 

 

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Father’s Love Letter

 Father’s Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications © 1999 http://www.FathersLoveLetter.com
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Forgiving is Hard

Wrestling with a Broken Heart

by Renee Coates Scheidt

It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Every fiber of my natural being resists it, and my thirst for justice and righteousness here and now rejects the very idea. Yet I know the issue is not open for debate. If I am to walk in obedience to God, I must forgive those who have sinned against me.

Forgiveness is wonderful when we’re the ones in need of it. Our hearts are filled with gratitude when we receive this precious gift. But when the tables are turned, and the stakes are high, granting forgiveness can be very difficult. That’s a whole new ball game. How do I know? I wish this were something I just read, or heard from someone else. But this time I speak from personal experience, firsthand knowledge. Kicking and screaming, “No, I don’t want to,” I’ve been forced to play in this game. “Choose, Renee, which way are you gonna go?” Thankfully I made the right choice.

In 1987, the world I had known for ten years collapsed. After eight weeks in a psychiatric hospital, and a diagnosis of bi-polar disorder, my minister-husband was released over my objections. When told Chuck would be coming home the next day, I protested, “No, he’s not ready.” This was not good news from my perspective. Somehow I knew instinctively it was not in Chuck’s best interest to leave the hospital setting. The doctor replied, “Everything that can be done on an in-patient basis has been accomplished. We will now work on an outpatient basis.” One of my last words to him was, “You know I’m opposed to this.” All my resistance did nothing to change the situation. The decision was made. The non-verbal message clearly communicated to me was received loud and clear, “Don’t interfere. We’re the professionals. Stay out of the way, and let us do our job. You’re just the wife.”

It took only one week for my gut instincts to be proven correct. Seven days after his release, in the early morning hours, my husband slipped out of the house, walked across our front yard to an empty field, and ended his life with a shotgun wound to the head.

A flood of emotions raged through my body as I faced the horrid reality of his death. Where were “the professionals” now that my husband was dead? “I tried to tell you,” I screamed, “but you wouldn’t listen! What do I know? I’m just the stupid wife! Your life will go on normally, but my life is destroyed! What about our two baby girls? They have no daddy! Why wouldn’t you listen to me? I tried to tell you!” Over and over again the hurt and anger spewed from my broken heart.

To make matters worse, five out of seven days a week I had to drive right past the hospital where Chuck spent the last weeks of his life. I never wanted to see that place again, yet it was shoved in my face day after day. In my vain imaginations, I pictured myself picketing the entrance of the complex, warning others to “stay away from this place.” Though I soon realized that bitterness, vengeance, and unforgiveness were quickly filling my heart, my flesh wanted to let them stay. Had I not known the teaching of the Bible, I would have allowed them to set up permanent residence.

The battle between the flesh and the Spirit raged within me. As much as my flesh wanted to rise up and give place to these negative emotions, I knew I could not allow it. “You must forgive them, Renee,” the Lord whispered. “But God, I don’t want to! Look what they’ve done to me!” “I understand, My child. Have you forgotten My words on the cross of Calvary?” “But You’re God, and I’m just human!” I fought back. “How can You expect me to react to such a tragedy the way You did?” Yet slowly the words of Scripture began to ease their way into my heart. “Don’t you know, Renee, that your times are in My hand? Don’t you know that nothing can enter your life unless I allow it?” God gently reminded me. “Do you want to die in this wilderness? Or will you trust My Word, even in the midst of this pain and injustice? You can let the root of bitterness and unforgiveness grow in your heart if you want, but you’ll regret it. Its fruit isn’t what you want. Will you let Me handle this instead of you trying to get even your own way? You do have a choice.”

I hate to admit it, but it was with reluctance that I made my decision. Though my flesh fought hard, the final answer was not in doubt. Because I knew God’s Word is truth, I knew I must obey. “OK, God, I know what I’ve got to do. I still don’t like it, and I most certainly can’t do it on my own. You have to give me the grace and strength to do what is required. I’m willing to forgive the doctor and staff, but You’ve got to work it in me. Otherwise, it won’t happen.” Letting go of my right to hold on to the hurt was the first step in the process of forgiving those who had ignored my pleas.

Please notice that I said “process.” I wish I could have said the right words, prayed the right prayer, and received a holy zap from God that instantly changed my feelings. It hasn’t worked that way for me. The initial decision set me on the path of choosing to cooperate with God, to allow Him to do what only He can do. But day-by-day I had to reaffirm my choice to forgive. Every time I drove past the hospital was another opportunity to restate my commitment, “Lord, I choose to forgive the medical staff for not listening to my objections.” Often the anger rose up; but by an act of my will, I kept on, and on, and on. Gradually, the feelings began to align with the decision I chose. It was work. It was hard. I’ve had to deny the flesh. But I knew I’d pay a much higher price if I didn’t forgive. Too high. Not only would I have lost Chuck, I would have been destroyed as well. Unforgiveness is a poison that eats up the very container that holds it. By forgiving others, I freed myself.

It reminds me of peeling an onion. Layer by layer, the unforgiveness was slowly removed. It didn’t happen overnight. In fact, the struggle lasted many years. But today I praise God that unforgiveness does not have a hold on my heart! I am free of this imprisoning, life-sucking emotion.

I’ve found there is power in forgiveness. Though I initially thought I was releasing those who wronged me, I discovered I was the one who found freedom. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever given, not only to others, but to myself as well.

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Monsters, Ghosts & Justice

gavelI heard some bad news this week.  The kind that makes your heart feel sick.  The kind that you don’t even want to know, wish no one had ever told you.  The kind of news that can shake you…news about monsters. But, as I talked with others about the news I saw that there were emotions and feelings and things that made each person react in a different way.  Some reacted as, “Oh no, hope everything turns out alright” to “That *&^$%#&#, I hope they get what they deserve.” There was sadness and there was anger.

I had to take note of the responses and remind them, as I reminded myself, that we filter things through our experiences and our past and that can really affect the way we respond to situations and things we hear. Feelings come and go. When we hear news that reminds us of our past hurts and abuses, it brings those feelings up again.  We lash out and get mad and want revenge because maybe that person who hurt us never got what they deserved (or so we think), so now here is the hurt again and we have another chance to get even and make it right. We make it our cause on their behalf…really?

I am then reminded that God says in 2 Corinthians 1:4: He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  This verse has given me so much peace through the years when people respond to my past with, “Oh, I am so sorry that happened to you…” I then remind them that we can’t think that God was not part of that early molding and shaping of our lives. Those things that happened and some were very awful, don’t get me wrong, made us who we are and we now are able to look at others in the face and say, “I know how you feel because that also happened to me and God has healed and delivered and brought me through it and He will bring you through too.” We have to be the “arms of love” for others, cry with them and bring them comfort by keeping our own emotions and hurt under the healing wings of God while we pour our hearts out to others who are hurting. We have to speak without fear and anger and help bring them through this – You see, it brings glory to Him. The stories of our redemption point them to Him – the Redeemer.

God made my life, He made your life.  He ordained it from the foundation of the world and put it into place.  No matter what choices we have made or what we have done.  He will still use it all for His glory.  In John Chapter 11 when Lazarus died, the bible states that his sisters came to Jesus and wanted Him to come and help.  Then it says, “When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”He did wake up Lazarus from death and it did bring glory to Jesus. I love 1 Peter 2:9 and that it says, He called us/you out of darkness and into His marvelous light!!!!!  We have to remind ourselves of that all the time and walk in it.

It’s so easy for us to slip back into thinking (like ghosts of Christmas past) that what has happened to us makes us who we are – we are not our past and we are not our experiences, we are not even what we do for a living.  We are who God says we are – we are changed, we are different and we are new from what our mind and our feelings and emotions tell us.

Here are just a few reminders:

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Romans 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The situation is strained and the people involved are sad and mad.  They want justice.  They want revenge. They want those who have caused harm to be harmed themselves, it’s human nature.  But, we have to look the situation and feed it through the Word of God and use our “spirit nature” (walking in the Spirit of God and not our flesh) to see that revenge belongs to God. He will repay for what has happened.  If we pray and the situation does not balance out in “our” way of justice, we still pray, we still trust, we still believe that God has it in His hands and will take care of it because He IS just!  It more than likely will NOT work out as we thought or planned but we still have to believe God is at work no matter what because He is.

If the people who have harmed others walk away unscathed from this – it is not the end. Trust me, no… trust God!

talk soon, tlc

 

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Come out on the Water?

faithA missionary friend of ours recently let it be known that she and her husband were praying about taking “a huge chunk” of an inheritance they had received and investing it in a small hotel in Bulgaria to further their missionary work.  In her words, if they took this leap of faith, they would be risking their entire retirement nest-egg.  The step would obviously be a major one for their family.

She titled her blog entry “Walking on the Water,” inspired by Peter’s impossible walk that is described in the Gospels.  As I read about their initial steps out onto “the water,” I was struck by the question, “how do people get to the point where they would take such a huge step of faith?”  Sometimes, it seems that people taking such steps are beyond the average person – almost super-saint-like.

I can tell you, though, that they are just average everyday people.  So, the question remains: how do people like you and me come to the point where they are willing to take launch themselves into such leaps of faith?

If we are honest with ourselves, most of us feel like we’ll never take these sorts of risks at any point in our lives.  Most of us have what seem to be insurmountable obstacles that would keep us from ever approaching this level of commitment to the Lord.   Personally, I have two major obstacles to my faithfulness:  stubbornness and fear.

My stubbornness comes in many disguises.   I’m very good at busying myself with activity so I don’t “have time” to do what I know the Lord is asking me to do.  I’m also good at taking on similar “safer” tasks to what I feel the Lord prompting me to do, so I can trick myself into believing I’m actually obeying Him faithfully.  And, to be sure, I’m well accomplished at simply avoiding what I know He wants me to do.

Fear displays itself in a variety of places in my life.  When attempting to act on what I believe the Lord is asking me to do, fear is everywhere.   I fear what people will think of me, I fear how people will react if I do what He asks me to do, and, I fear the repercussions that might come my way if I do act.  And, most of all, I fear failure.  Indeed, the voice in my head that has often stopped me dead in my tracks is the one that bellows out “this will never work.”

So, how have I – and how can you – overcome the debilitating obstacles to obedience?

I believe we can find the answer in Scripture.   Jesus gave us a clue when talking about faithfulness.  He told His disciples that a person found faithful with the smaller things in life will eventually be entrusted with much more  (Matthew 25:14-34.)  In other words, if I faithfully “invest” what the Lord has given me – day in and day out – I will find Him trusting me with more . . . more resources to use for His work; more opportunity to share His love with others; and, yes, more than likely, the opportunity to “walk on the water,” i.e., to do things for Him that I’d never dreamed of doing.

How do we get there from here?  How would we ever find ourselves giving up everything for God?  Here are three quick suggestions I believe will get you going in the right direction.

  1. Start small!  Recognize that obeying God can be done anywhere and in every situation.   For instance, go encourage that co-worker when you don’t feel like doing it.  Stop and help someone in need when everything in you says “keep going.”  Say you’re sorry when you first “know” that you need to, instead of waiting.  Get up off the couch and play with your kids when you don’t have the energy to.  Help out at church where there’s a need.  More than likely, it is God prompting you to do each of these things.  The more you obey, the more you’ll learn to recognize his voice.

Practice obedience to God in these and other small things everyday; you will find that it comes easier and easier over time.  And, don’t be surprised if you see bigger opportunities come your way.

2.  Don’t believe that you’re not qualified or that you’re not the right person for the task.  If God is asking you to do something, He’s given you what it takes to accomplish the task.  Or, He’ll give you the ability to learn as you go.  How often have we had the opportunity to tell someone about our relationship with the Lord, because we felt like we’d mess it up?  Do you really think it would be better not to share than to hem and haw a little bit as we told someone about Jesus’ love?   By the way,o you ever wonder why churches are always asking for children’s ministry workers?  It’s not because there aren’t enough people in the church.  Could it be that there are many people in their congregation who don’t think they’re the right person?

  1.  Don’t worry about the outcome!  Do yourself a favor; leave the results to God!  If you find yourself not trusting Him to come through for you, get your nose in the Bible and read about His faithfulness.  Your faith to go forward will be bolstered as you are reminded of His graciousness, strong arms, and dependability.   And, become friends with humility.   It takes time to get better at most everything God will ask you to do.   Just because you’re not excellent at something doesn’t mean God wasn’t pleased with your work.  A friend of mine once told me, God is pleased the moment you say, “yes.”  He’ll take care of developing you over time.

The best thing about this process is that you can be obedient every day.  Oh, you’ll have setbacks . . . we all do; that’s why the Lord died on the cross . . . none of us follow God anywhere near perfectly.  We all need His forgiveness daily.  But, the best thing about this process; the best thing about obeying in the small things; trusting that God is calling you to do things for Him; and, letting Him take care of the outcome, is that you’ll experience the joy of His love as you obey.  You’ll recognize and experience His hand guiding you in all aspects of your life.  And, just perhaps, you’ll find Him saying to you, “come out on the water.”

Be Blessed, RC

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