PornographyPurity & FreedomWomen & Pornography

How Transparency Breeds Community

When a woman struggles with pornography, she does not just struggle with pornography.  She struggles with a series of lies that led her there and hold her there.  These lies link together and form a chain that keeps her from experiencing the freedom of grace.  This has been a topic that has burdened my heart recently.

This is about so much more than freeing us; it is about restoring us; about shedding those chains, those lies, that guilt, that shame and embracing the abundant life.

 

As I have thought through that and through all of the ways to go about addressing it, my attention has been drawn to one lie.  One lie that silences us more than anything else.

if I tell them, they won’t love me.

The past three years have brought countless testimonies against that lie.  I have had numerous women so crippled by fear and feeling so alone.  For them, it is worth the silent pain.  It is not worth the risk of public humiliation.

But there is no humiliation.  In fact, as this ministry has grown, I have seen quite the opposite.  Instead of condemnation, I have watched honesty breed community.  When women are honest about their faults, about the areas where they struggle, about their brokenness, there is this community of grace that is developed.  We identify with each other’s brokenness.  There is a beautiful sisterhood of compassion that is formed when women are open and honest about their failures, because there is always more than one.

That’s another lie we believe; we believe we are alone in this.

 

Being open and honest, being the ones who start the conversation, gives us an opportunity to introduce grace into that conversation.  Being transparent gives the light of Christ the chance to shine through and pierce others standing in the darkness.  He can use our honesty to free others. That’s the beautiful thing about honesty.

But it is even more than that.  This ministry has grown over the past three years, and this past week I was so thrilled to make my first ever “connect.”  A young woman e-mailed Beggar’s Daughter, and I recognized the school end tag on the e-mail.  There was someone else at her school.  Someone else who had come forward, confessed, and decided to reach out to others.  That first woman has graduated and moved on but the ministry she started is still there and it thrilled my heart to no end to connect this young woman to that ministry.

We need each other.  That’s part of being the body of Christ.  None of us can do anything on our own.  We need Him and the other parts of the body.

I know the prospect of sharing such an intimate shortcoming is daunting (believe me, I know).  But please know that there is hope on the other side of that confession.  You never know who is there waiting for you to start that conversation.  You never know who else shares that chain, and when you break free, you show them they can.

He is made perfect in our weakness, not our perfection.

 

This is why I am excited to announce that we are developing a “community” page.  It is not a forum, but a place to facilitate healing by showing where face-to-face people are willing to meet with these women.  It is my prayer to be able to facilitate many more real-life connections.  If you are willing to be a mentor, or know of a community, church, or Bible study that has open dialogue about this problem, e-mail community {at} beggarsdaughter {dot} com.  Your city and state will be listed on the community page so women can go and see if there is someone in their area.  They will need to e-mail Beggar’s Daughter for additional information, so you are safe.

Stay connected to Beggar’s Daughter as resources are being developed to cover this very idea of breaking chains.  If you are interested in being part of the “I Bear My Chains in Silence” project, please contact me.

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3 comments

  1. That’s so cool.
    I know I’ve found that each time I share my story with someone, I get 3 responses:
    1) Compassion, grace, and understanding, and a willingness to help me overcome. This happens more with the people in my life I see as leaders, mentors and strong women of faith who’ve been around for a while.
    2) Shock, followed by compassion and iron sharpens iron moments. This happens more with people I see as my friends, who may not have similar struggles, but the fact that I struggle doesn’t change their view of me.
    3) Shock, followed by a confession of “me too.”
    I’ve never had anyone judge me, condemn me or tell me I’m a freak.
    By the same token, I am careful who I tell and what I share. It’s not something I shout from the pulpit, but my testimony and my struggles are something I hate keeping hidden from the people close to me, and they keep me accountable. I lived with this for years in secrecy and it killed my faith.
    This community idea is a fantastic thing, and I know that after a bit more healing and stability in my walk I’ll be able to be part of it.

  2. I agree with what Pamela has written. Since my conversion, I have found so many people willing to offer compassion and to help me on my road of healing. However, I have not met anyone else with similar issues. and I’ve been afraid that even visiting blogs like this one might be a trigger. I know that I’ve tried to read a couple of other forums but found them too specific to be anything but a trigger for mental images. how do you all deal with that?

    1. Michelle,

      I do not know what you deal with specifically, but I understand your struggle with going to forums and the fear that it could be a trigger for you. A couple of years ago, I found a forum for women who struggle with pornography and I was so excited at first. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was a huge trigger for me, though, and something I needed to stay away from at the time. The explicit talk about masturbation was NOT good for me, and I had to make the decision to not visit the forum again. I, myself, struggled with looking at lesbian pornography (another thing that many women don’t talk about!), so when reaching out for help I had to be very careful. The very issues that were being talked about were the ones that triggered my temptations.

      For awhile, it made me feel even MORE alone, but the decision to stay away from these websites was the best one I could have made at the time. Now, I am in a much different place in my healing, and it’s amazing how much that can change things. 🙂

      Be encouraged that if you do start to feel any kind of temptation while looking at any kind of websites designed to help you – you are not the only one. It’s just the stage of healing that you’re in right now, and it definitely won’t be forever.

      I really like Jessica’s idea of having a Community Page, and it’s something that I wish I had come across years ago when I was seeking help. This is a great idea, Jessica!