" /> " />

Testimonies #4

“I will tell of all Your wonders, I will give thanks and rejoice in You.”Psalm 9:1-2

“So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.” Luke 8:39

Van

“Pornography Is Destructive and Harmful!”

Let me say, that I know that right now, I would give almost anything to be able to get on my knees and confess to my wife of the wicked and adulterous behavior I substituted her intimacy with, just to have her back. Regardless of her weight, or how we may not have been very fair in attention sharing and stuff, just to hold her in my arms and feel her breath, and cuddle and kiss and say I love you would be about as close to heaven and as far from the bottom of this pit I have dug for myself that I could be.

You don’t know what you got until it is gone. I did and do love her unconditionally but my actions spoke volumes to the contrary and now my heart is broken as what I thought would be there always has now left. And it was mostly my fault in that I let pornography become a quick and easy replacement for her intimacy with me.

Men, please do not let the love of the woman who is asleep in the other room be trampled on by porn. It is false, it is wrong, it is sin, and it is hurtful to you and to your marriage and to your children indirectly. It will cost you more than you can imagine. It did me and there may be no way to fix it this time.

I may have used up my three strikes rule and I may be out of the game for good and that loss will hound me for the rest of my life because I know that it secretly contributed terribly to our demise and how can I bring it up now that she is gone and we are battling it out in court. Maybe in August. This will all be over and I am typing up a small book to share with her all my feelings and thoughts and confessing my mistakes. Maybe it will just make me feel good to tell her and that may be all I garner from it. That may be all I get out of the effort. I have to face that and that hurts.

I prayed almost hourly to walk in Christ from now till then and set the example of how I would and will behave from now on. I am seeking counseling and will get help on this and other issues. But men, pornography is NOT victimless and it will cost you now in terms of your relations as well as in consequences in your life and possibly into eternity.

Resist the temptation and get help and support and accountability. Amazingly, with her gone and a wide open cable modem to dial as much porn as I could want and not worry, I am not because I know what it did to us, and I know God is very unhappy with what I have done and how I have severely damaged our marriage by opting to take the easy way out to deal with sexual needs.

Please stop and get help, call friends, turn off your computer, get covenant eyes, get a filtered ISP, turn off and uninstall LimeWire, Kazaa, Morpheus, etc. All of these things will just tempt you and lead you to destruction. I pray that God finds a way to heal our marriage and that some day we are together again. I pray and pray but I must face the fact it might be way too late. And I must accept the blame for at least that part of the marriage suffering.

One sad and lonely person who is extolling all of you who are married and slipping to try and consider sitting by yourself for what may be the rest of your life with no kids to watch grow up, no wife to kiss good night or good morning. No weekend quickies when the kids are sleeping or gone. No hugs and kisses when you just feel like it.

No one to share dinner with or successes or failures. Missing your kids lose their first teeth or their first day of school or parent teacher days as a family and not two adults and a kid. You must stop and take stock in what you promised to love honor and cherish and when you are deep into pornography, cherish is not a word you are familiar with. It is adultery almost as bad as if you had actually committed the act. It is almost as hurtful and more insidious. Guys, stop it. Stop it while you can before it ruins your marriage and your life.

Grab your spouse, confess your sin to her [See note below] and ask for her help in seeking counseling and for accountability. Do what you must to protect your family and your marriage as no one else will.

OK, is that enough gloom and doom?

Trust me; it sucks on this side of this nightmare. I don’t need more birds of a feather to flock together. I want to be back on the other side and I want you to not come over into this nightmare.

Van

FIC WEBSITE EDITOR’S NOTE:

Many men have found sharing this problem to their spouse to be very helpful.

However, it is best to pray significantly in advance of telling your spouse. It is also best not to just simply blurt this problem out – TALK TO A PASTOR first, or the MEN IN FIC – but pray in advance.

Pray daily – diligently and consistently for God to open the door to make the opportunity to discuss this in a way that will be CONSTRUCTIVE to your marriage – Pray daily FOR A CONSISTENT PERIOD OF TIME.

One resource to help you gain some new perspectives on sharing this is to read the essays at www.pureintimacy.org and then pray about your own situation.

Another VERY GOOD RESOURCE in this light is the book “Every Man’s Battle“. Please read it, you’ll be glad you did!

Another good resource is the 60 day study at www.settingcaptivesfree.com.

Brian A.

Hi Van,

You probably don’t know me. I have been a member of FIC for the last 6 months and have come a long way towards beating my addiction to p/m. The group has been a great blessing to me. I haven’t acted out in about 4 months, longer than I have ever gone before.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about your testimony on the FIC web site. I read it months before I even joined the group and it was a great blessing to me. Thanks for sharing it. It made me realize exactly what was at stake in this struggle and that I had to do whatever I could to get free. Recently, Tony was exhorting everyone to read from the FIC web site, so I went and read all the testimonies over again. This time I was in tears as I read your testimony again. And I’m not a man who cries easily. But this time it really broke my heart – all the pain that you went through because of this and all the loss that you experienced. I think that as I’m recovering, I’m getting my feelings back. They are no longer dulled and medicated by p/m.

My marriage has also been heavily damaged by my behavior. How could I have been so blind not to see it through all those years? We almost split up about four years ago, but thank God, she decided to stay, mostly for the sake of our daughter. I guess that I have the opportunity that you didn’t get – to rid myself of this wretched addiction once and for all and to reach out to my wife again to try to win her back. I still get to live with my daughter and be a father to her, play with her, and hug her every day. I will never take such things for granted again.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I was so emotional reading your testimony. My heart really goes out for you, brother, because you never got the chance I have now. I pray with all my heart that the Lord will do something for you to ease the pain of your loss and to bring something good out of the whole situation. Rom 8:28 says that all things work to the good of those who love God. Oh, Father, why does there have to be so many broken marriages? Why is there so little forgiveness in this world, even when a brother has genuinely repented? Please work in the life of my brother, Van. Bring forth a truly Christlike heart in him. Soften the heart of his ex-wife. One word from You, Lord, can bring forth a reconciliation between these two. If this is your will, please bring it to pass. If not, lead Van down a road in which there will be great blessings for him and new opportunities to love. Let this work for his good and for Your glory. Amen.

Thanks again for sharing your story. It has helped me a lot.

Your brother in Christ,

Brian A

AArakel

“No Longer a Homosexual”

I grew up in a home that was wrought with serious problems. My mother had ulcerative colitis, and was in the hospital for extended periods of time. Ultimately, she passed away in May of 1971 from colon cancer. My father was very negative and critical. He made sure that I knew that I didn’t meet his expectations.

I felt invisible, worthless, and defective. I used to think that if people knew what was going on in my head, they’d lock me up.

I grew up in the Armenian Church (Eastern Orthodox). However, my next door neighbor was the youth pastor at a more fundamentalist-type church. They were very much into scaring people into the kingdom by emphasizing hell.

My neighbor was the first man who took an interest in me. Unfortunately, that interest was generated by his sexual appetite toward me. He prevailed upon me, and I engaged in homosexual acts with the guy. He was quick to tell me, “Now, don’t tell my wife; and we have to repent or else we’ll go to hell. By the way, you’re going to hell for being (Eastern) Orthodox.”

I ended up hating God and mistrusting Him. I felt suicidal most of the time, and I had begun to develop the same intestinal problems that had claimed my mother’s life. I was too scared to go to the doctor, and too scared to commit suicide. At least the fear of hell had one positive effect, eh?

The gay leather scene is anything but warm and accepting. Instead, it is marked by gross, perverted, degrading sex acts. The thing that I hated the most about it is that I could engage in the most intimate acts with a guy at night, and he wouldn’t even acknowledge that he knew me the next day. Ultimately, I was actively involved for over 10 years. I engaged in everything from anonymous encounters in public places, to adult bookstores and adult theatres.

Through a series of events, I ended up going to SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous). It was there that I first began to get a handle on no longer engaging in sexual activity with other guys. However, I had a friend who arm twisted me into going online, amidst my protests. I’d heard of guys getting hooked on porn and cybersex.

I was no exception to that rule. The hook was implanted almost immediately. The enemy of my soul made sure that I got connected with the very people and places online that would lead me further back into bondage. As that bondage tightened its tentacles around me, I ended up lashing out at other people. Then, to relieve the guilt and shame that I was experiencing, I’d have to look at even more porn and engage in even more cybersex. So, the cycle continued.

So what changed? My heart did. I kept trying to meet my needs for love, acceptance, affirmation, and belonging through means that could not work. God brought me to a crossroad and gave me a choice: continue on the way that things had been going OR step out into the deep, trust Him, and walk in obedience before Him. I chose to step out and walk with Him.

God showed me that guys aren’t masculine on the inside: THEY’RE HUMAN. We ALL have strengths and weaknesses. I didn’t need to keep trying to bolster my sagging masculinity.

Today, I’m able to do things that I’d never dreamed possible. My wife and I have been married 10 years, and we have two children – a 9 year old daughter, and a son who’s almost 2. I’m at ease around other guys. I no longer view them as objects to be used to feed my lust and envy.

I’m part of a loving, supportive church and home group. I’m most likely going back to school for my MEd in Counseling. I’m no longer an addict because God is a God of second chances, and He made me into a whole new creation.

Signed: “AArakel”

Phil

“A Long Way Off”

One of the biggest surprises of my Christian life was when I started divulging the problems I was experiencing with homosexuality and drugs. At the time I was separated from my wife, (she had asked me to leave our house) and I had plunged headlong into the “gay” scene. It was anything but, of course.

I had been having anonymous sexual encounters for some time by then. There was a lot of heavy sexualization in my childhood, both long-term abuse and exposure to hardcore pornographic films and magazines. I’d dabbled with homosexuality as well as “straight” sex from my teenage years. But at this point, I fell off the edge: I started going to the bathhouses, bars, public parks, etc. My entire life revolved around sex, whether it was on the Internet or some local gay hangout.

I finally let my Pastor know what was going on – pretty much all of it. I hadn’t been attending church all this time, but I realized I was going down and I needed help. He was wonderful about setting me up with an elder who had been through some of the same issues, albeit on the heterosexual end. Turns out we weren’t really that different. (Freaked me out.)

I also let some of my close Christian friends know. Of course, my wife knows absolutely everything – and I mean everything. Without exception every one of these were compassionate, gracious and forgiving. I never once received any shallow or trite religious advice. On the contrary. That was also a shock to me. I expected rejection and horror.

I didn’t dump my shame onto my wife in a selfish escape from guilt and remorse. She wanted to know the details (she kept saying she wanted to know what she was dealing with); she prayed that God would help her through it, and I really believe He did. Lord knows she needed heavenly grace to get through it. She was devastated. I mean devastated. I only shared the truth with her because of the extent of my problems. In a case like this, she deserved to know, of course. And she insisted on knowing. Her life was threatened every time we slept together.

For me, disclosing to safe, compassionate, spiritual men and women made all the difference. Just getting it off my chest and bringing it into the light took a huge load off my shoulders and seemed to make it easier from the beginning. It was also the beginning of my being able to get some real help. Keeping our addictions in the dark only feeds them – especially this addiction, where the dangerous, secretive, taboo element is part of the excitement.

I know that our relationship is firstly with God, and the Lord Christ Jesus is the only mediator between ourselves and the Father, but there’s something about confessing our faults to one another so that we may be healed, y’know? The guilt and shame associated with my situation only subsided after I confessed truthfully and fully my faults to another Christian. They were to me sort of like “Jesus with skin on”. The more I brought things into the light, the better I got.

Let me re-emphasize something in case this is misunderstood: disclosing to safe, compassionate, spiritual people is liberating, healthy, and biblical. Disclosing intimate sexual issues with physically present and prospective partners is somewhat risky at least if not plain foolish. Don’t let the lure of “connecting” and creating intimacy draw you into making a mistake you’ll regret later. Choose healthy, safe, spiritual people for your disclosure. They’re the ones who’ll really be able to help anyway.

Oh, one more thing: the shame of the confession and the yieldedness of the repentance helped begin a breaking process in me that was crucial. I had gotten so hard, so hard to the things of God – spiritually dull and insensitive, I mean – totally in darkness.

I should say that disclosing to my wife was HER choice. It resulted in our separation. Which, in turn, was the beginning of my coming to terms with some real consequences in my life. My wife is not my ongoing accountability partner. That is way too hard on her. But she does insist on knowing several things: am I in relationship with other men who are pursuing wholeness – pursuing God; am I practicing my devotions – am I in prayer, worship and study; I’m back in church now, and that is a must, of course; am I being honest with my counselor and men’s group; am I reaching out to other people. All of these things are fruits – evidences if you will, that I’m in relationship with my heavenly Father.

If I’m not doing these things, it’s a red flag that something is really wrong. I’ve told my wife as much: “If I’m not doing these things, you know that something is wrong. I’m not doing well.” We don’t suddenly fall into sexual sin. We move away from our relationship with God first. We don’t just go out and commit adultery or wallow in pornography one day when we where burning with the passion of the Holy Spirit a minute before.

We first have had to move away from God. That’s usually a slow thing. My relationship with Him is an indicator that I’m doing well sexually…or not. So, I do disclose those things to her. And, of course, she can see if I’m there or not pretty easily. I tend to close off when I’m angry, depressed, lukewarm or otherwise not walking in the Spirit.

I got worse before I got better. I eventually got a live-in lover, and stayed with him for over a year…the last guy, for three months. All the while I was still frequenting the bathhouses and porno movie houses, bars, porno booths etc. I ended up being arrested for propositioning an undercover police officer at a local park.

My wife eventually served me divorce papers. I started struggling in my job – I couldn’t concentrate, all I thought about was acting out, and I started having anxiety attacks. After spending a few weeks in the State Hospital for depression and thoughts of suicide, I finally realized that the “gay” lifestyle wasn’t really what I wanted. The spell had somehow worn off.

I had hit bottom. I’d lost my relationship with God, my church, my friends, my family…I felt like my job was just around the corner. I agreed to sell some property we had acquired, and I went away to a resident program for Christian sex addicts for nine months. I got back over three years ago.

Since then, I’m reunited with my wife and two children. I’m in church again; I attended a Bible College after I got out, and a Living Waters program (a program for what the founder of the ministry calls “sexual and relational brokenness”). To date, I’ve spent years in counseling, other rehabs, and meeting with groups of men who are recovery sex addicts themselves – some of them former homosexuals, some former offenders.

I consider Free in Christ one of my pillars. I am immensely blessed to get these things out in black and white, and I read most every post. I greatly appreciate you guys. Your struggles and triumphs, your encouragements and your exhortations are all a vital part of my recovery.

Things aren’t perfect; I still struggle. Sometimes my mind is a sewage pipe, and I literally rage with lust. But, it’s not like it was. I haven’t had a perfect record since returning. But I’m not enslaved to my lusts like I was before. I don’t have near the intrusive thoughts I use to. (I couldn’t read, think, write, etc. without having a fantasy smack me like a two-by-four right in the middle of a totally unrelated activity.) I don’t feel like a bull with a ring in my nose — my lusts don’t pull me around anymore, or hold on to my coat tails like some overgrown child demanding my attention.

This thing isn’t pushing on me all the time anymore. Things really are different, and I can tell the difference. I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel now. I no longer believe that I’m a homosexual who can only be happy in a relationship with another man. I have truly returned to my First Love – He was faithful when I was so unfaithful. I’m learning what it means to be His disciple. My life no longer revolves around sex. My mind is clear.

I’m happy with my family. My wife and I are committed to each other. And I am committed to faithfulness in my relationship with her. I really didn’t think that was possible at one time. I’m tellin’ ya – I really thought I was lost forever with no way back.

And I know if things can be this different in a few years time, they’ll get better in another year. The following year will be even better…. Hang in there, brothers! There are a lot of men who relate to you; and there are a lot of men who don’t particularly relate, but truly love and accept you all the same. I know it’s hard to believe when we feel like scum, but it’s true. And there are a host of men who’ve come out of situations like ours. It is being done; some of the men are here. There are several groups in Colorado Springs and Denver that meet. There are groups here for men struggling specifically with homosexuality (you wouldn’t believe how many groups meet here in Colorado) and many of them are experiencing real victory. It’s amazing.

When our marriage was falling apart, my wife and I reacted very differently. She ran to God. I ran to my old means of coping. And for reasons I don’t quite understand yet, I ran away from God when I began to struggle. I believe she was able to hang in there with me for this reason – she always ran to God. Lord knows, after an admission like mine, she must have realized that He was the only hope for our marriage and for my redemption.

Sometimes I wish we could get just a glimpse of the Father’s love for his children, and love each other the same way. Jesus prayed just for that. He sees us all. A sparrow doesn’t fall from the sky that our heavenly Father doesn’t know it. How much more does He take notice of you? Do you realize that every hair on your head is numbered?

And just like a father who sees his son fall down and stumble, He doesn’t pull away from us – He longs to help us all the more in our failure. His father-heart is moved with compassion when He sees our brokenness. He runs to us with compassion, longing to bind up our woundedness and comfort us in His strong arms of mercy.

Remember the parable of the prodigal son? Have you ever noticed the part that says, “when he was yet a long way off”? I know sometimes it seems as if we can’t find the way back home. I didn’t think I’d ever find it. I gave myself up for lost – forever lost. I didn’t even know how to start on my way back. I couldn’t read the bible; I couldn’t pray; I couldn’t worship.

My heart had hardened so. I hadn’t been to church in years. I quit caring. All I wanted was my sin. And by the time I wanted out I had dug a hole so deep for myself that I couldn’t make it out. I needed someone to reach down and lift me up, y’know? I really was a long way off.

If you’ll just take that initial step toward the Father, even if you’re so far away from him you don’t know how to get back, maybe you don’t believe you’ll ever find your way back…He’s going to find you. When you’re way down the road, a long way off, desperately limping toward home in humility and repentance, He’ll see you. He sees you now.

You think He (God) is ashamed of you? Oh, no! He’ll rejoice that his son (you his child) has come to his senses – that he’s come home again! Don’t you realize that there is rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who turns from his ways back to God? He’ll receive you. He’ll revive you. He’ll save you from your poverty and despair. He’ll stand you on your feet, place a robe around your shoulders, and crown you with loving kindness and tender mercy. And not only that, He’ll hug your neck and cry with you. He’ll run to meet His son. He’ll run to you with a strong embrace and tears. He’ll lead you back step by step, His arm around you all the way. You take that first step. You don’t have to know the whole way. You don’t have to have the answers. You just turn to Him, start back, and let Him come and get you. He’s so faithful to His children. He’s a wonderful Father. He’s a good shepherd. He loves us.

Phil

“So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20).