I hope you had a chance to read yesterday’s Pray A to Z post from Cindy Bultema. If not, hop on over and read her incredible story of freedom from drug addiction.
Addiction is so prevalent, and yet often so hidden. We don’t talk about it, and that prevents us from getting the help we need. We especially don’t talk about sexual addictions.
That’s why I’m so excited to share Jen Ferguson with you today. Jen and her husband Craig released a brave book this fall about recovering from Craig’s porn addiction – Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. If you haven’t dealt with porn addiction in your own home, you most likely know someone who has. This is an incredible resource.
For a long time, I took the secret of Craig’s porn addiction and I stuffed in my heart. I didn’t even really share it with God much because I couldn’t bear to believe this was part of my marriage.
In truth, I wanted to fix it and forget it. Rather, I wanted my husband to fix it and forget it. But could I trust him to deal and wrestle and seek Jesus for this affliction? Honestly, I didn’t. I didn’t trust my husband, so I made it my mission to fix the problem for him.
This is the only way I’d though we’d be able to move on in our marriage. I couldn’t let the darkness of porn keep invading. It took too much of a toll on me, on him, on our relationships with God. Sure, he was the one sinning against me, but guess what? The whole cycle stirred up cycles of sin in me, too.
I exhausted myself in trying to control his every movement.
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
Why is the door closed?
Why did you shut down that window on the computer when I walked in?
Why did you clear your history?
What did you do while I was gone?
I had become his parent, which, I’ll tell you, didn’t go over very well. Why? Because God did not design us to be our husband’s parent. He designed us to be his wife, his helper.
“Now that I look back and reflect on it, I have some understanding of where she was coming from. Jen was scared. She felt her role was to protect our marriage and to protect me from myself.
But there is a fundamental flaw with this logic. The role of protector belongs, ultimately, to God. All that is required of you is your obedience to His word and promptings. There is nothing you can do to control the other person’s actions. No amount of talking, begging, pleading, nagging, yelling, or crying will help you be successful in this endeavor. You have to release that to God.”
Here’s the ugly truth: It wasn’t just that I didn’t trust Craig. I didn’t trust God.
“Something broke in me after this tirade against God. I realized that Craig’s captivity provided monstrous quantities of fuel that powered my desire to cure him, rehabilitate him, to help him become consumed with anything but porn. In that moment, I realized that we had both become enslaved. We were trapped by different chains, but they were chains nonetheless. They held us back from Jesus. They held us back from each other. They threatened to keep us seated in our own personal prisons forever.
As much as I prayed that God would heal him from his addiction, and as much as I knew that he could be set free, I simply had not let God handle this one on His own. In my mind, there were too many things at stake—my marriage, my husband’s life, my children, my self-respect, his self-respect. Somehow, I had fooled myself into believing that becoming the porn police was going to ensure successful recovery. Somehow, I had fallen into the trap of believing that if I said and did the right things, healing would take place. I couldn’t help but try to orchestrate the whole process, because I felt if I didn’t get control over this situation, everything as I knew it would fall apart. Crumble. Cease to exist.
I focused all my energy on what he was doing and why he was doing it. In the process, I simply forgot to do two very important things:
Respect my husband.
In my attempt to control, I forgot to surrender. I forgot to let God work. I forgot to let God heal. I forgot that Craig belonged to Him and not just to me. In the end, I became blinded by the enormity of the problem instead of boasting of the immensity of God’s power. Chains have a way of making you forget the power of the one you serve.”
While Craig may always battle with temptation, so might I. The desire to control is strong within me and surrendering and trusting does not come naturally. But just as God used pornography to draw Craig close to Him, so God uses my own weakness to keep me within His fold. To rely on Someone much bigger than me and to be a witness to the immensity of His power and grace, reminds me to be thankful that I actually need to have very little control over anything.
Jen Ferguson is passionate about Jesus, her husband, and her two girls. She is the facilitator of The Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood and loves to encourage women to bring their true selves out into the light. She is the co-author of Pure Eyes, Clean Heart: A Couple’s Journey to Freedom from Pornography. You can find out more about the book by visiting their new site, www.PureEyesCleanHeart.com.
Tweetables:Chains have a way of making you forget the power of the One you serve @jenfergie2000 #PureEyesCleanHeart
Porn troubles believers,too. Bringing light to the church with healing and hope #PureEyesCleanHeart
We can give power to shame or allow God to give power to our lives. #PureEyesCleanHeart #pornaddiction
Hope dawns when you realize you are not the only one. #PureEyesCleanHeart #marriage #pornaddiction