Sex & Singleness

When “Everybody Else” is Getting Married

gettingmarried

 Tomorrow will mark my grandparents’ 62nd wedding anniversary (yes, 62).  My brother and his wife just celebrated their first anniversary earlier this week.  Next weekend, I’m going to a bridal shower for a friend from college.

(My mother was quick to remind me that she is the last single friend I have from college… thanks, Mom)

It’s been ten years since I graduated college, and, let me tell you, it never stops.  Yet, “it” never seems to make its way over to me.  There have definitely been times over the last ten years I’ve thought, “Oh my goodness, everybody else is getting married!”  Let me tell you, those times are hard.

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Sex & Singleness

(Why You Need to) Talk to Your Kids About Sex

This post is filled with affiliate links, meaning when you visit the sites and make purchases, I receive a commission at no extra charge to you.  It is a way for me to keep this site running, and I will never promote a product I do not support.  Thank you for your support!

I’ve said it for a while, “Whoever tells your kids about sex first is who they will listen to.”  Of course, I know that’s very daunting, especially for Christian parents.

For whatever reason, Christian parents in general have a really (and I mean really) hard time talking to their kids about sex.  There’s this desire to hold out for as long as possible, with some parents not even talking with their kids at all… ever.

A couple years ago, my old youth pastor contacted me and asked me for some advice.  He was getting ready to talk with the youth group about sex and pornography, and had found out through an anonymous survey that for 90% of the teens in the youth group, their parents had never broached the topic of sex.

90 %

And these were teenagers.  Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees this as a problem.  Parents, do you understand how important you are in this?

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My Life

Thanks for Ruining Father’s Day

leather-691609_1280

I’ll admit, this is written for somewhat therapeutic purposes.  At the same time, I know hundreds of my readers come from broken, fatherless homes.  For us, fathers day is a reminder of what we’ve lost.  So, forgive me for the raw emotion- the frustration, the bitterness, the grief.  This blog is nothing if not painfully real.

Nothing rips open wounds for me quite like Father’s Day.

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Sex & Singleness

“Boys Will Be Boys” is Killing our Men

-Boys will be boys-

Where do I even start?

The past few weeks have been filled with sexual assault in the news.  There was the case of the high school student in Florida who had sex with several boys in the high school bathroom while dozens more watched.  As a former teacher, that got under my skin.  I’ve had students sneak away and have sex though.  Yes, even at a Christian school.

But this?  The Stanford rape case?  Is making my blood boil.

Few things in life get me fired up, but raping a drunk stranger in an alley, behind a dumpster?  And then passing it off like she wanted it, like she liked it.

Pause.  What woman in her right mind feels it would be just a great idea to have sex in an alley behind a dumpster?  I mean, seriously.  And with a stranger, no less.

But beyond the absolutely enraging details is the complaint of his father that jail time and a national sex offender registry is too steep a price for “20 minutes of action.”  It’s a ramped up ‘boys will be boys’ (with an added sprinkle of ‘my son would never hurt a fly.’)

I have a major problem with “boys will be boys.”  In fact, everyone should, especially the boys.

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Featured, Women & Pornography

An Open Letter to the Set Free Summit

I just finished packing to head home and I’ve done so in an absolute daze.

Seven years.  Seven years I have been doing this and I have never met a more welcoming, loving, and supportive audience.  I cry when I think about how the conversation is changing.  It is moving from one of defensiveness and resistance to one of passion and grace.

Thank you.

To the fathers who came to me with tears in your eyes, weeping over your daughters- thank you.  I challenge you to love your little girls before the world teaches them they are unworthy of such love.  May God give you the strength and grace to love them wholly, no matter who they are, or what they’ve done.

To the women who came to me and for the first time felt free enough to speak the words “I struggle with pornography”- you are so very brave.  I hope you know that.

I cried every time those words were spoken out loud, because, for years you’ve never felt safe enough to share them.  I know.  I’ve been there.  Take hope.

The tide is changing.

To the pastors who came, eager for help and resources, wanting to take the message back to your churches- you are counter-cultural.  You are grabbing hold of the ladder and shaking it up.  Bring it down.

The devil will resist.  Women are his final frontier in this fight.  The church is getting ahead of him.

You bought every last copy of my book, but you can pick up more.  You bought cases of the Sexual Sanity for Women study.  They were not expecting that.  Good thing New Growth Press is right down the road!

Thank you.  Thank you for letting me share my heart, my story, and most importantly, the message of Grace.  If you would like me to come share it in your circle, please just let me know.

That is the message of Grace.  God bless you as you carry it home and apply it to your families, your churches, your marriages, your ministries, your communities, and even yourselves.

It is an honor to carry that message with you.

Don’t lose heart.  This is a fight.  And we will win.

For His Glory, because of His Grace,

Jessica

Women & Pornography

Do Christian Women Really Watch Porn?

Do Christian Women Watch Porn

The first sizable speaking event I had was a conference in Canada in December 2010.  I remember telling one of the male speakers my topic.

“I talk about women struggling with pornography.”

There was a bit of a pause- you could probably call it awkward.  “Hmmmm… well that’s interesting.  That’s usually a men’s topic.”

“Exactly.”

As I prepared to present at the Set Free Summit, I was reminded of the fact that some people still don’t “get it.”  When I mention my topic, the responses are mixed, but one thing they have in common is confusion.

Really?  Do Christian women really watch porn?

The simple answer is “yes.”

But that would also be the shortest blog post I have ever written, so we all know this isn’t going to end there.

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My Life, Women & Pornography

This is no April Fools Joke; the Book is Here!

April 1 is a big day in Beggar’s Daughter history.  April 1, 2009 was the “birthday” of this blog.  And yes, it was a birthday, not an anniversary.  I stayed up all night laboring with a crazy ftp server.  If you don’t know what that means, it’s ok.  To be honest, I don’t know if I do either.

What I do know is it’s been seven years.  Seven.  What better day to release a book than on the seventh birthday of the blog?

I’ve spent the last couple days simply in awe.  I’ll start to tear up a bit just thinking about how God has led, all the times I’ve wanted (and even tried) to quit.  All the times I’ve wandered off only to realize that this is where I belong.  It’s the craziest thing, and right now, in this moment, I stand on the edge of the highest cliff I’ve ever climbed, ready to jump, in a BASE jumping kind of way.  It reminds me of that time last April when I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.  Same feeling.

Sometimes, when you get to these cliffs, the best thing you can do is look back over all the smaller ones.  Reflecting on how God has led and sustained helps you remember that there’s no reason to be afraid.  There’s no reason He won’t continue to lead and sustain.

So, I thought I’d take you on a little walk down memory lane.  There’s a special something waiting at the end.  It starts with “b” and rhymes with “hook.”

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Featured, My Life

Why I’m Not Anonymous

Jessica Harris Beggars Daughter

The pre-release copies of my book showed up a couple weeks ago.  I opened the box and started to tear up. I’m so relieved that this project is done.  I’ll be introducing you all tomorrow.

One thing I struggled with the most as I worked on it was what to put on the cover.  I could be all symbolic and find some stock image, or I could just work with some cool text design.  Maybe a geometric shape. I even debated using an old (old) glamour-style headshot.

Eventually, I settled on a lovely black and white photo taken by friends a couple years ago.  A black and white photo… of me.

As I looked at my stack of pre-release copies, it dawned on me:  There is no undoing this.  Any sense of anonymity is gone.

Why am I doing this?

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Featured

Does Your Pain Matter?

Does Your Pain Matter-

Perhaps, like me, you’ve caught yourself saying these things over the past week:

“Well, it’s not as bad as what she’s going through, so it doesn’t really matter.”

“I got myself into this mess, so I have no right to complain.”

“It’s not going to change anything, so why even care.”

I’ve come to a realization over the last few months.  We can be ashamed of many things.  Even our own pain.

I actually started this post back in November, in light of the terrorist attacks in Paris.  It sat unfinished for a while, that is until I found myself in a place of hurt.  Nothing in my life compares to the attacks in Paris.  Nothing.

I worked on it and had it planned to publish Wednesday.  Then, Belgium happened, and it was like Paris all over again.  I’m going through my own issues in life, and I can find myself thinking, “Get a grip, Jessica.  What you’re going through is nothing like that.  Nothing!”

That’s exactly the point.

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My Life

The Healing in Brokenness

the healing

This was not the planned post for today, but, when I woke up this morning, my brain was already writing it.  I hate when my brain gets a head start like that.  It takes a while for my fingers to catch up.  I was going to post this on my ‘personal’ site, but you all have asked for more glimpses into my life.  This is me listening, and what a fitting first “My Life” post.

A week ago, today, I was hit with some of the most crushing pain I’ve experienced in quite some time.  It was the kind of pain that keeps you up, destroys your appetite, and turns you into nothing more than a… blob.  That’s what I was in the aftermath last Thursday- a blob.

Disappointment.  Hurt.  Anger.  They are all thieves of joy, but also a really big and real part of life.

The question I asked over and over again during the past week is: God, why?  Why tell me to trust You and then lead me to this?

Ever wonder what kind of spiteful and vindictive God we serve?

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