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.

Continue Reading…

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?

Continue Reading…

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.

Continue Reading…

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?

Continue Reading…

Purity & Freedom, Women & Pornography

Will You Let Go For Freedom?

Let Go

I was cooking dinner right before I sat down to write this post.  I already knew what I wanted to write on.

The topic of surrender and sacrifice is big now as we kick off Lent (for those who observe Lent) and as we prep for Easter.  This is a time of year that is all about sacrifice and freedom, and how the two are often intertwined.

I knew I wanted to share some thoughts on how important letting go can be in our walk of freedom.  And then I burnt my hand and had an unintentional real life object lesson to share.

I reached into the oven to remove my carefully-crafted masterpiece, not realizing my cloth oven mit had soaked up oil from an earlier step in the process.  I grabbed the pan and pain seared into my fingers and up my arm.  Still, I didn’t let go.  Don’t ask me why.  I think perhaps I was confused.  After all, I was wearing a mit, so surely I couldn’t be getting burned.

It wasn’t until I had the pan half way out of the oven that I realized, “This oven mit is not working.”  Still, I didn’t let go.  A split second later, I realized that I was actually getting burned.  The pan went flying and dinner landed on the bottom of the oven.

So, what do my scorched fingers have to do with your walk?

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Sex & Singleness

Thoughts on Online Dating

Online Dating

Happy February!  All you singles, get ready.  It’s coming.  Brace yourself for the cheesy commercials with the catchy jingles.  Let’s talk about online dating.

Most importantly, I do not feel there is a Biblical yay or nay in regards to online dating.

The question “Does online dating glorify God?” is about the same as asking if salted caramel gelato glorifies God.

(It better, because it’s what I am eating right now)

I think there is a balance.  There is a balance between obsessing over it and shunning it like it’s the devil.  That is a balance we have to maintain in all areas of our liberties.  Our freedom to do something can quickly morph it into an idol.

In most Christian circles, we combat that by just labeling it as ‘bad’ so people will stay away from it.  This leads to judgment, legalism and a whole lot of rules with Scriptural scoliosis.

We get some Scripture, twist it all around and make things straight up sinful.  If you date online, you are no longer trusting in God.  You are usurping His power and authority, etc.  It’s right there in the first epistle to the e-harmonites. Continue Reading…

Sex & Singleness, Women & Pornography

Stop Handling Sexual Assault “In House”

Sexual Assault in Church

This has been such a prevalent issue over the last couple years, both in a national scale but also a local scale.  There was a scandal in my own home church and larger denomination.  There’s the ongoing Catholic church scandal.

Lately, it seems like it has intensified.  It feels like I’m reading a new story every week, and it’s not just churches.  The military has issues.  Boarding schools are in the spotlight.  And don’t even get me started on Josh Duggar / Bill Gothard.

Sexual assault is everywhere.  It’s a sick, sad truth.  It makes victim of young and old, male and female, rich and poor, drunk and sober.  But there is a pattern, at least as far as I have seen, and it is disturbing.

We insist on settling things in house, and, even worse, as Christians, we use the Bible as an excuse to do so.

Continue Reading…

General, Purity & Freedom, Women & Pornography

The Secret to Setting Goals (So You Can Actually Reach Them)

Your Goals

It’s that time of year.  That time right after Christmas, when we have eaten too much and spent too much and we make a resolution to stop eating so much and spending so much.

A new year symbolizes new beginnings, new dreams, new hopes, and second chances.  It’s a fresh slate and we determine to make the most of it.  So, we set up goals- New Years Resolutions.  There are the ‘tangible’ ones: losing weight, running a marathon, getting $5000 in your savings account.  Then, there are the intangible ones: being a nicer person, spending more time with family, developing a better routine, breaking free from porn/alcohol/drugs, etc.

Whatever your resolution is for the new year, you have more than likely been down this road before.  In fact, you might be sitting here reading this thinking of all the resolutions you didn’t successfully accomplish this year.  It can be frustrating, discouraging, maddening even.

As you look ahead you might be filled with a sense of defeat.  You don’t want to dash your hopes and give up on your dreams, but if last year is any indication, you’ll never make it.  So why even bother, right?

Perhaps it is time to change your goals, but not in the way you may think.

Continue Reading…