Share Your Story
June 9, 2015

Conquerors through Christ is, in a sense, very similar to a slightly overweight male in Hollywood. We aren't here to be the lead, we aren't going to get the girl, and we won't be called a hero. We exist, instead, to serve very well in the "best friend" role - promoting and encouraging the actual protagonist.

 

Whether you're trying to escape them, avoid them, or heal from their destructive powers, each of you is part of a story whose villains are lust and addiction. You see their evil plans. You see the way they can wreck your world. And, God-willing, you've seen the hope and relief that comes when the fight doesn't go their way.

 

Those stories, stories in which you live, are vital. They are keys for the trapped. They are guidance for the innocent. They are hope for the hurting. If you are willing, consider sharing those stories with the world. We'll confirm their accuracy with you and then publish them, either anonymously or with your first name.

 

One thing, though. When you share your story, remember that while Conquerors through Christ isn't the lead character, neither are you. If we're the classic best friend, then you're the classic "citizen of New York City" in every superhero movie. The villains are trying to control you, to destroy you, and to oppress you. And if it weren't for a great hero, a conqueror-to-end-all-conquerors, the name above all names - if it weren't for Jesus, the villains would win.

 

But they haven't, and we know why, because we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (not according to the plans of the devil and sin). He has called us, freed us from our enemies, made us holy, and given us glory even though it all belongs to him.

 

When you look at it that way, you can't help look in awe at the hero who saved you. With him on your side, who can really threaten you? He's proven that he's willing to give his own Son for you - so you know you can expect him to do anything for your good. Jesus fights for you, Jesus represents your best interest, and Jesus always wins.

 

When you share your story, share it like the kid whose bus was falling off the bridge until Spiderman caught it in his web. Share it like the girl who fell off a building and found herself in Superman's arms. Share it like the parent whose child was trapped until Captain America lifted the car. All the wonder, the excitement, the relief, and most of all the gratitude that comes from knowing that you have an incredible hero.

 

Romans 8:31-39
Cindy (a former user)

In her own words:

"I've looked at porn for as long as I can remember.
I first came across a men's magazine when I was cleaning my dad's desk one day. I don't even remember how young I was - but I was very young. When I was in high school and college I remember looking at magazines and videos with friends. Sometimes we would go to XXX movies or even a strip club. Because all my friends did it, I didn't realize there was anything wrong with it. In fact I'd always thought of it as a good thing.
I thought the stories would add a bit of "spice" to my marriage and keep my husband happy.   I was trying so hard to be the good wife. Over the years I've known so many people who look at porn - women as well as men - some young, some old - some married, some single - some gay and some straight. I thought as long as sex was between consenting adults that there wasn't anything wrong with it.

"Then a young WELS pastor explained to me what God's Word said about those things. I found his thoughts interesting, but I still didn't see what or who I was hurting. I was happy with it, my husband was happy, so who was I hurting? But I couldn't have been more wrong. As I got older and learned more about the Bible, I realized how far off the path God had planned for me that I had strayed. I never really thought I was "addicted" to porn...I just liked to read or look at it on occasion. However, as I was faced with stopping it entirely I found what a struggle it was. I had so many good reasons why I did it (I was bored, I was looking for some excitement in my life/marriage, I was stressed and wanted to relax, I was in pain and wanted the endorphins to kick in to relieve my pain). So many excuses and none of them acceptable to God. Praise the Lord that I now have people in my life who help me stay away from porn, instead of encouraging me to use it."

Paul (a 50-something former user)

In his own words:

"I'm in my mid fifties and was addicted to internet pornography for about 8 years, but by the grace of God I can now say it has been about eight years since I last fell into that trap. I'm old enough to predate the internet by quite a bit. In my younger years I regularly viewed adult magazines, but gave that up when I got married. When the internet made that type of material readily available, I unfortunately slid back into the trap. I lived a double life, hiding my viewing sins from everyone while serving in various leadership capacities in my congregation (committee chairman, officer, Bible study leader). 

"Hounded by my conscience, I nevertheless felt powerless to stop. I prayed and cried (literally) to the Lord for help nearly every day. Shamed by my inability to fight this sin, I lived in emotional and spiritual agony. King David's words rang clearly in my ears: 'When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.'

"Finally, I somehow, through Christ's power, got up the courage to tell my wife. As I expected, she was devastated and crushed initially. But we each sought professional Christian counseling. We had to work through lots of tough stuff, but in the end it was more than worth it. I can honestly say that our marriage is as strong or stronger than ever. My wife is now my truest friend and best accountability partner. My prayer is that Christ's power in his Word and in his Sacrament will give you the courage to confess your sin to a trusted spouse or friend and begin the journey of recovery. 'But where sin increased, grace increased all the more.'"

Allison (a former user)

In her own words:


"Porn has always been part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad's porn and his inappropriateness. For as long as I can remember, masturbation was just part of the daily routine. I grew up seeing sex as value. My sexual addiction started as a child and grew once I could find people to have sex with. I watched porn at friends' houses while they giggled, but for me it was serious. I got into drugs, older men and women, risky and abusive sexual situations. I didn't know why, if I craved it so much, it made me cry so much. As I stopped believing in God it became defiance. Why shouldn't I search for something MORE shocking, something better, something crazier? What's out there? Why not try it all? I spent hours, days, months in the dark, in the glow of the screen, in chat rooms, searching for the perfect new thing. But it never came. It was never satisfying enough.

"You would think that when I got married and had children, this would have all died down and I could just live a normal life, but it was on my mind all the time, urging me to escape to another room to find relief. I couldn't go a few hours, much less a day, without it. My friends just thought of me as being a confident woman with a healthy sexual appetite. They didn't see the pain I was in. My husband had needs I didn't want to satisfy. When he had desires of his own it reminded me of being raped. I only wanted sex on my terms or none at all. Masturbation was "safe" for me. Porn was "safe" for me, or so I reasoned.

"When I started talking to a pastor/friend about pornography addiction, I thought he was crazy...too puritanical. I thought, what's the harm? I was in deep denial that this was such a problem. I truly didn't believe that people could quit. I didn't think it was healthy OR possible.

"After I became a Christian, I knew I needed to try. I talked to the pastor and his wife and they listened without judgment. They became my cheerleaders. It was hard, physically I felt sick, mentally I felt like I was going crazy, but I had them on my side, reminding me over and over about God's love, encouraging me to keep going when I struggled and backslid. I learned a lot about seriously avoiding triggers, the importance of having a good support system, the power of prayer, and above all, that it IS possible to quit! I may be weak...but God is strong."

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Gabe (a 30-something former user)

In his own words:

"I was addicted to pornography for more than a decade of my life.
During those long years, I would count the number of days I had gone without indulging...and rarely needed a second hand to reach the number. I went to church every week, prayed every day, confessed every time, and memorized Scriptures to cure my addiction. However, nothing changed. Looking back, I realize that God's Word did help me to continue to repent and find my hope in Jesus' forgiveness. I also realized that God was trying to cure me by surrounding me with others who could help. The help was right there, a phone call or email away, but I thought I could beat this on my own.

"When I finally stopped making excuses about the cost and inconvenience of seeing a counselor, I picked up the phone and scheduled my first visit. That was the last day of my addiction. I counted the days since I fell into temptation, then the weeks, then the months, and now years have passed. These days, I can barely believe how far the Holy Spirit has taken me and the strength I have to battle impurity. I am literally a different man and it is all by the grace of God."

Featured Book Review
Porn Free

Our featured book review this month is about Porn Free by Brian W. Gardner.

CtC Chairman Mike Novotny calls this, "the best book I have yet to read on the subject."

Says Novotny, "Both personally and as a member of Conquerors through Christ, I thanked God for a Christian voice like Gardner's that sees the need to make the gospel primary and to stress the necessity of public confession of porn use. What we continue to preach at CtC ("Jesus forgives impurity! Now, go tell someone you need help!") was reflected and applauded by Gardner on page after page."

Read the rest of this review and others on the book review page of our website.  

 

 
Do you have a story to tell?
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If you are caught in the sin of lust, we want to help restore you.  
If you are in need of accountability, we want to help keep you from temptation.
If you are helping bear another's burden, we want to hold you up
and encourage you.

No matter who you are, we want you to know the love of Christ - the only
thing that will bring you lasting peace.


Sincerely,
Your brothers and sisters at Conquerors through Christ

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