There’s a song by the group Big Daddy Weave that says, “If I told you my story, you would hear hope that wouldn’t let go. If I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up…”
I feel like that, ultimately, is the undercurrent of my story. From the pain caused by a father who walked away to the trauma of a sexual abuse by a peer in elementary school to a years-long struggle with pornography, it all traces back to so many broken loves.
This website was started in 2009 primarily to share the story of my struggle with pornography. We don’t talk about women struggling with porn, especially not Christian women. It is a very real struggle, and far more prevalent than any would care to admit.
I was exposed to pornography when I was 13 and continued to view hardcore pornography through high school and into my freshman year at a Christian college. During my senior year of high school, my use was so out of control, I resorted to self-harm to try to punish myself to use it less.
Even though I had grown up in the church, it wasn’t until after high school that I came to understand God’s love for me. Still, that wasn’t enough to break the chains of my addiction.
So, I gave up. I gave up on believing God could save me, and I decided that the only way I could live with myself is if I became an adult actress. I was seventeen years old, attending a Christian college, when it felt like my life would never be worth more than pornography.
A couple weeks later, a man I met online asked me for pictures, and I became someone else’s pornography. I was convinced God couldn’t love me, couldn’t help me, couldn’t save me.
Over the next year, though, His love never gave up. Through a series of seemingly random and catastrophic events, I ended up at Bible college the next Fall. It was there that I first heard someone say that women could struggle with pornography-
It was there that I found grace and freedom. I learned what it was to live life without pornography, to have healthy relationships and to fall in love with Jesus. There was freedom and hope in that love.
After I graduated Bible college, I figured that was that. I was going to move on, go on to college, get married, have kids and a career. Besides telling my future husband, I was never going to tell anyone my story again.
God had different plans, and in 2009, I very reluctantly started Beggar’s Daughter. In 2016, the book Beggar’s Daughter was published.
Since those first days, sharing my story has grown to encompass so much more than just one woman’s struggle with pornography. I write and speak about singleness (31 and still single), online safety, and how we talk about sex in the church. The same grace that redeemed the broken loves in my life speaks into all of those issues and gives hope in all of those circumstances.
“And if I told you my story, you would hear Life, but it wasn’t mine. If I should speak then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin, of when justice was served and where mercy wins, of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in. Oh, to tell you my story is to tell of Him.”
Q: Where are you from?
A: I tell people I am from Washington D.C., but I live just north of D.C. in Maryland. I grew up in Ohio and spent two years of my childhood in Sicily (Italy) since my dad was in the Air Force.
Q: Is Beggar’s Daughter your “full-time” job?
A: No, Beggar’s Daughter is not my full-time job at this point, though I would love for it to be, just because it would be easier! In the last year or so it has grown to the point where it takes up enough time to be a full-time job! Currently I work full-time as a data analyst/accountant in the D.C. area. My job is very gracious and allows me to take off time to travel and speak. It’s definitely a blessing.
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: No. I had never even thought of being a writer growing up. My ten year plan on graduating high school was to go to med school, get married by 21, have 6 kids and a white picket fence. Writing didn’t cross my mind until my last year of Bible college when I worked as editor-in-chief of our school yearbook and, before graduation, the dean told me I should consider a career in writing. Even then, I laughed it off. I didn’t think of myself as a writer.
Q: Is Beggar’s Daughter a not-for-profit?
A: Beggar’s Daughter is not a non-profit organization. It’s really just a website that developed into a brand. When I looked into what it meant to set up a non-profit, it didn’t feel as if the structure of Beggar’s Daughter fit that mold. If you are wanting to donate to a non-profit though, I know of several I could point you to.
Q: Do you still struggle with pornography?
A: No, I don’t still struggle with pornography. For several years after finding freedom, I would struggle from time to time. I was free, free to choose, and would still go back to it at times when I was physically ill or stressed. Consequently, part of my journey of continued freedom has been to care for my body so that I don’t get as sick or stressed.
Q: Do you still get tempted?
A: On occasion, yes. But again, I think the times I am tempted are the same times I would fall- so when I am physically ill or stressed. As I have learned to manage other areas of my life, I have found those times of temptation to be lessening and of shorter duration.
Q: If you could go back, knowing the people you are helping now, would you still decide to watch pornography?
A: The end doesn’t justify the means. Never choose to do something wrong for the sake of a cool story. Yes, I get to help people and it is a privilege to watch others find hope and healing, but I wouldn’t choose pornography just so I could have this. Anyone with a unique story that stems from personal struggle will tell you that it’s beautiful to see God use it, but if we had a choice, we would rather never have gone through the struggle to begin with.
Q: Can you help me with my struggle?
A: For various reasons, I don’t offer one-on-one help to those who struggle with pornography. Every e-mail that comes to me is read by me and prayed for, and in some cases I will respond to questions that are asked or try to offer insight into different situations, but I am not a substitute for a trusted friend, leader, or counselor. I firmly believe that we have to be accountable to people we know in real life. Still, I know it can be helpful to share your story, and I welcome you to do so. Feel free to use the contact form. Know that I read every e-mail, and can’t always reply right away, but I do pray.