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What we choose to read and watch and click on matters. 70% of the men and 30% of the women in America are addicted to pornography (1 Million Men study). If this is not an area where you are tempted, you know someone who is.

50 Shades of Grey, the books and the movie, are dramatically increasing the number of women who struggle in this area. Some women who pursue pornography are visually stimulated by images on their computer or smart phones, in magazines or in movies. For me it has always been the vivid pictures my imagination created from the words in a book.

I am one of the 3 in 10 women whose poor choices led to an addiction to porn. As a woman who has loved God since I was a child I knew that the reading material I was choosing was not God’s best for me. The advent of the e-reader made it too easy to access whatever I wanted to read in a password-protected environment. As I became more and more desensitized to the material I was reading I sought out more explicit material to get the same response. I read things in the privacy of my e-reader that I would never have brought into my home in a traditional book format.

As things escalated I slipped farther and farther down the rabbit hole and into a 5-year addiction to pornography that affected every part of my life. At first it was a private, hidden secret that I thought only affected me. It affected my self-image and my self-worth in negative ways. It gave me a sense of self-loathing, guilt and shame that was exhausting to hide from the people around me. My addiction made me feel weak and hopeless as it became a poison that seeped into every area of my life.

From the beginning pornography separated me from the people around me. Brick by brick, book by book, I built a wall of guilt and shame that trapped me on one side and the people I loved on the other. I knew I shouldn’t do it, but I felt helpless to stop.

As the addiction continued it began to affect my marriage. It set my husband up to fail as I compared him to the impossible expectations set up by the pornographic material I was consuming.  It brought things into our marriage bed that sacrificed intimacy for the false thrill of the forbidden.

While I was in the throes of my addiction I had two teenage daughters at home. We had raised them with a philosophy that asked this question – “Could Jesus walk into this house and read, watch or listen to anything you own?” If the answer was no it did not belong in our home. Needless, to say their mom was not practicing what she preached. My lack of integrity (actions not matching words) in this area was a firebrand that never failed to sear my conscience for the entirety of my addiction.

Today I am a recovering porn addict. I say “recovering” because it will always be an area of temptation for me. God healed me from my addiction, and in doing so He clearly called me to share my story so that I could help others.

Before I could go public, however, I had to ask forgiveness from the people who had been hurt by my dirty little secret. I confessed first to my husband and asked for his forgiveness. Although I had never cheated on him physically I had cheated on him mentally through the books I had read.

Then I had to confess to our two teenage daughters. Difficult to say the least! It is so hard to be transparent with our children when it is what they need most from us.

I do not know what temptations you struggle with today. I do now that 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. If this is an area of struggle for you, I want to encourage you to:

  1. Be open and transparent about your struggle. Find accountability partners.
  2. Change your habits and your environment to make pornography less accessible.
  3. Seek professional help.

There is hope and help. You’ll find more of my story and resources on Women & Pornography at www.livingthelifetransparent.org.

 

 

ABOUT Robin Nordhues

I am a speaker, blogger and workshop leader with a passion for connecting women to God and each other. A Bible Study teacher and independent business leader for over 15 years, I strive to discuss contemporary issues with women of all ages through a Biblical lens.

My current ministry, Living the Life Transparent, was officially started in October 2014 when God freed me from a 5 year addiction to pornography. I do life with my husband of 23 years, 2 teenage daughters, and 2 neurotic cats in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 

True Redemption

Redemption: the act, process or instance of making a bad or unpleasant thing or person better or more acceptable

It’s Easter Sunday as I write this blog post. I have no idea when it will be posted to my blog, but I know my heart is full. Overwhelmed. Filled with gratitude.

All week, I’ve attempted to focus my mind on the Savior, on the amazing gift of His life given for my sins. I’ve tried to focus on the beauty of the resurrection, the promise that no death (literal or figurative) is the end of the story when we walk with God. I’ve tried to prepare my heart to celebrate the resurrection of my Savior.

Truthfully, I’ve been a miserable failure at preparing my heart. Much like Martha, I’ve been distracted by so many things. Career decisions. Issues at school. Painful anniversaries. Seizures (yes, my daughter had another one just when we had begun to think they had subsided). My mind has been everywhere except where I truly wanted it to be.

This morning, though, I stood in church surrounded by my children. On my right, with his arm around my waist lovingly pulling me close, was my boyfriend (affectionately known as my Royfriend).

There I stood, overwhelmed by the goodness of my Father. There I stood, tears stinging my eyes as I reflected on the faithfulness of my Savior. There I stood, a living portrait of God’s redeeming power.

On Easter Sunday, my sweet family was a living testimony of resurrection, of redemption, of the very work Christians around the world were celebrating.

For the first time, I fully understood the meaning of redemption.

Redemption means all things have been made new.

My ugly, painful past still exists, but I have been blessed with a brand new life. I have a beautiful new relationship with a man who truly loves me as Christ loves the church. It’s a love I have never known before. My children have a man who loves them as a father should. Just when their father was taken from this earth, God saw fit to bless them with a man who has been an incredible substitute. He will never fully replace their dad, but I promise he has supported them and been there for them in ways they had only dreamed.

We have a beautiful new future which is truly redeeming our past pain.

Redemption is a picture of Christ in our lives.

When Christ came and died on the cross in our place, taking our sin and shame upon Himself, he redeemed us, purchased us, took away the old and gave us new.

As I stood in church, I was overwhelmed with how Roy has been the portrait of Christ to me and to my children. He has pursued me relentlessly for over seven years, just as Christ pursues us relentlessly. He has fought tirelessly for my affections, just as Christ fights for our hearts. He has been faithful to me even when I rejected him repeatedly, just as Christ is faithful even when we are faithless. He has been my defender and a father to my fatherless children, just as God is the Defender of widows and Father to the fatherless.

Redemption means beauty comes from the ashes.

And it’s not just Roy. My redemption—our redemption—is so much more. As I look at so many blessings in my life, I’m overcome with emotion.

What Satan meant for evil, God has truly used for good! I never dreamed when I was walking through the darkest days of my life that divorce would become a platform from which God could get the glory, a place where I could shine brightest for Him. And yet, that’s exactly what it has become. Divorce has become the opportunity to meet and minister to so many hurting people, to share His love and His faithfulness to carry us through the pain of this life with people around the world. Every person who has been touched by my story is part of my redemption. Everyone who has ever read my blog is part of my redemption.

The joy I have in sharing my story, in using my pain to point others to the Savior is not only my passion but also one of my greatest joys. It is the purpose for my life, the beauty that has risen from the ashes of my pain.

Redemption means God repays two blessings for every pain.

Had you told me eight years ago that I would consider divorce a great blessing, I might have slapped you. But today? The blessings abound!

Honestly, I can’t even remember the pain any more. Sometimes I can conjure up the feelings, the memories. I can remember the moments that robbed me of my very breath. But for the most part, the pain has passed into the deepest recesses of my mind, buried under a growing mountain of blessings. I have been blessed to experience the Father in deeper ways than I have ever dreamed. I’ve seen His hand take my circumstances and open doors no one could conceive. I’ve seen Him provide for me and my children as only the Almighty Creator of the Universe could provide. I’ve seen my capacity to love expand. I’ve seen my faith grow greater than I ever imagined.

I wish I could recount for you every blessing. Truthfully, I could never come close. What I know is that the blessings continue to pour in, even in the deepest pain. Perhaps part of redemption is learning to see from God’s perspective rather than our own.

Redemption does not mean the pain goes away, but it does mean we are no longer controlled by it.

The pain will always be part of my past, but it is fading into nothing more than scars. And even as the scars fade and lighten with time, it has had a profound effect on every aspect of my life.

But it no longer controls me.

I am proud of my scars, of the story they tell. I am proud that I have come through the battle, possibly weary but a survivor. The battles have made me who I am, changed me, made me so much stronger in so many ways. I will always bear the scars, but never will they hold me back from a beautiful future.

Redemption is seeing that even the pain can be used to make you better.

This week has been amazing as I am overcome by the goodness of my Father. I feel as if He allowed me to see the redemption on Easter morning, and each day just gets sweeter.

Maybe you aren’t at redemption yet. Maybe you are still in the throes of the pain, wondering if you will ever make it to the light at the other end of the tunnel. Maybe the shock has worn off and you are in the daily grind of trying to figure out how to live this new life, to return to some sense of normalcy. Maybe you are in the waiting stage, wondering when God will come through with the many promises He has made for you.

No matter where you are, I hope you can take hope from my story. You see, I’ve been there. It’s been nearly eight long years since my life crumbled (maybe nine depending on where you start counting). But finally, I see it! I see the long awaited redemption He promised!

And His redemption is worth the wait.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5b

Resurrection Power

“Resurrection is the central tenet of the Christian faith. And it isn’t something we just celebrate on Easter. Resurrection is something we celebrate every day in every way. Prayer has the power to resurrect dead dreams and give them new life—eternal life.” Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker, 41)

Have you ever really thought about the resurrection?

Here we are, Holy Week 2017. Walking through the days leading up to Good Friday and Resurrection Day. Reflecting once again on the sacrifice Jesus made for us, for our sins. Remembering how He took our sins on Himself, on that cross, so that we could have forgiveness and live with Him in glory.

And Sunday, we will join together in a chorus of, “Hallelujah! He is risen!” We will celebrate the stone being rolled away from the tomb, the resurrection of our Savior! We will remember His victory over death, a victory only the Promised Messiah could accomplish through the power of the Omnipotent God of the Universe.

Every year, Christians come together around the world and celebrate!

But what does the resurrection mean personally? How does it impact our daily lives? What difference does it make on how we live, on how we approach everyday life?

Yes, we all know the resurrection means we have the right to eternal life. It means forgiveness. It means Jesus is the Messiah. But how do we live in light of the resurrection?

I recently asked this very question, and here are some of the answers:

“We must embrace the fact that death must first occur before resurrection can occur. We often try to sidestep necessary pain and by doing so we miss the power of resurrection after death.”

How insightful! Without the death of Jesus Christ, we never would have seen the power of God to raise the dead back to life! But how often we forget that in our daily lives. When we experience tremendous loss, we focus on the loss and fail to see how it might be more of a set up for God to show His mighty power.

Just as Christ’s death on the cross was not final, neither is any loss we suffer in this life. It is only a place to pause, collect our thoughts, and turn our faith to the One who has power to resurrect from the dead.

“He gives me a second chance to be, to live, to seek. He fills me up with new life and dreams while rearranging the old dreams and life I had.”

Along the same line of thinking, resurrection means we have the opportunity to start over. Just as His death was the conduit of forgiveness of sins, it is also a conduit of newness, of fresh starts. Because of the resurrection, we can look at each day with fresh eyes, knowing there’s always more to the story. We have a second chance.

“The miracle-working power which raised Jesus from the grave is alive and working in me, both as an internal, transforming power and in this world, healing and raising others.”

As Ephesians 3:20 says, the power that is able to do far more than we could ever ask, think, or imagine, that mind-boggling, death-defying power is at work in you and in me! It’s available to us for the asking! It’s not a power that was only for Bible days, only for those who have the most extraordinary faith. It is ours!

Think about what that means: with Him at work in us, nothing is impossible. Absolutely nothing.

“A new life with the only person who will love unconditionally and for all eternity.”

Unconditional, unending love. What a beautiful portrait of who God is, of how He loves us. We are His, forever and always, and nothing—absolutely nothing—can separate us.

“Death has been conquered and I have been given the opportunity by choosing Him to experience eternal life with Him! And, while here on earth, I can live in victory and joy instead of fear and anxiety. Wouldn’t trade that peace of mind and heart for anything.”

There is no reason to fear death. There is hope for tomorrow. There is a promise of eternal life to those who love Him, who choose Him. We will be with Him one day in eternity. But, until that day, we are free to live on this earth with joy and peace that only comes from Him.

Isaiah 26:3 has become a favorite of mine. You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! When we keep our thoughts fixed on Him, His all-surpassing peace that flows from the cross straight to us keeps us safe and sound.

“Regardless of the situation, God is in control. No matter how bad it looks, He has it handled. I just need to remember that during the anxious moments.”

“No matter what I am facing, there’s always hope. God can bring new life out of even the most hopeless situations.”

Yes! There is always hope! There’s never a reason to worry and fret because we can be assured that nothing takes Him by surprise. Even when it seems the world around us is spinning out of control, when we can’t catch a breath, there’s peace in knowing not even death can keep our Savior down.

He. Is. In. Control.

“Ultimate victory over death, evil, sin, the enemy…everything. Surpassing victory planned just for us to walk in. We are victorious because of Jesus.”

Ultimate victory. Nothing can stop us. We have won the victory in a war waging in the heavenlies. But we have nothing to fear because the victory is secured.

“It’s all true! He IS who He says He is, and that heaven is our home with Him. Right now is just the long way home.”

“His victory over death is the evidence that Jesus has the ability to grant us eternal life. Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity.”

“It means His Word is true! It means He’s alive and intercedes for me.”

Yes! The resurrection is what sets Christianity apart from the rest of the world religions. What other religion can point to a dead person coming back to life? What other religion claims that kind of power?

The resurrection truly is the central tenet of our faith. It is the entire crux. Without it, Christianity falls apart.

“Everything changed! ABSOLUTELY everything!”

No greater summation. The resurrection changed everything.

Lord Jesus, as we celebrate your death and resurrection this weekend, I pray you would help us to remember that it’s not just something that happened in the past. Make us mindful that it changes everything—everything about our lives. Keep the resurrection at the forefront of our minds every single day that we might live our ordinary lives in light of what it means to us. Help us to remember it changes everything, even in our daily lives.

 

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