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I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me...

I wish someone would have told me when I was 18, I didn't have to stay with my porn addicted boyfriend.

I wish someone would have told me looking at porn was cheating and not, "just what guys do".

I wish more people around me were talking about this issue so I would have known who to talk to about what I was facing without judgement or condemnation.

I wish someone would have told me porn wasn't a game. Everyone gets hurt when porn is involved. 80% of the women in the porn industry have been trafficked and do not want to be there. And many porn addictions end with it becoming real when someone starts physically assaulting someone they know, usually a child.

I wish someone would have told me my boyfriend’s promises to stop wouldn't amount to anything but dry air.

I wish someone would have told me it wasn't my fault.

Two weeks into our relationship and I was head over heels. He was gorgeous and all together manly. I had my rose-colored glasses covering my googly eyes and I was falling hard for every ounce of his charm. And then my plans for a white picket fence shuddered to a stop and shattered around me.

"I messed up. I looked at porn last night", he confessed.

I wasn't sure how to respond. I knew I had my own demons, so how could I judge him? And isn't God a God of forgiveness and second chances? So, don't I owe this man that? After all we were trying to build a forever relationship, so my naive mind rationalized that if we were married, I would be obligated to stay. So how could I leave now? What kind of woman would that make me? And what would it say about my character if I couldn't overlook, "this one time"?

So, I chose to stay.

Even with a broken heart I thought it was the honorable thing to do. I often wonder how different my life would be if I had walked away. I had no clue that I could ever be more shattered than I was in that moment. I was just a kid myself. I had no idea what I was walking in to or what I was signing up for. I didn't know the justifications I would have to provide to survive the next 2 years in that relationship. I didn't know how much of myself it would cost.

I could never compete with the women on the screen. I never felt like enough. My heart would be broken over and over again. And with every subsequent incident, a little more of me died. The only way I could survive and keep a smile on my face and continue to pursue an intimate relationship with this man was to numb off how I felt about what he was doing. I had to pretend it was ok. I had to block it off and just try to be everything I thought he wanted, hoping it would make a difference. But inside I was breaking. I thought I was weak that I couldn't just shake it off like other girls my age. I was made to feel by some peers like I was being overly dramatic to even care or keep tabs on his web searches.

Oh, if I could only go back to my broken self so many years ago. I'd find her sobbing in a corner and I'd lift her head and tell her, "Ok honey, it's time to go now. You are going to be safe. You are going to be ok without him. You aren't failing anyone by leaving. It's time for you to see your worth. And it's not here. Not with this man. Not with this pain. And not with the shame and judgement you bear for what others see as one big mistake. Staying won't fix this. Staying won't fix him. You were made for more." How I long to scoop her out of that mess and cover her in hugs and love till she knew who she was again.

But we don't always get those moments, do we? We don't often have someone come along side us and remind us it will be ok. We don't get a crystal ball showing us which end is up. More often than not it feels like we are pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, just trying to muster the strength to push on.

What I wish I could have seen is that Jesus was there with me the whole time. I was sure He had abandoned me long before my own lusts took over and I succumbed to teenage dreams of love and fairy tales. During that dark time, and the unraveling of my life in the years after, I never stopped to consider that God might have been there in every room, crying with me. His heart breaking for the sin that was staining my life. My sin, and my partners. It was never supposed to be this way. This world. This breaking. It was never His plan for His dearly loved children. And we all are, His Beloved. We just reject the name before He has a chance to anoint us with it.

I'd be surprised if any of my readers haven't been touched in some way by the "porndemic" that has swept our nation. Our churches. Our homes. And my heart aches for each person involved in this wildfire of sin. It truly was never meant to be this way.

If you are that girl, that woman in the corner, can I be the one to say, "You will be ok!" You don't have to suffer in silence. You aren't a hero for bearing the weight all alone. And this, none of this is your fault. Everything you feel is real and matters to God. Even when you think God has left you a million miles back on the track. He is there. He is crying with you in the dark nights as you mourn the life you thought you might have.

And if you are the woman trapped in this addiction, or the woman on the other side of the screen. God loves you just the same. There is hope. There is freedom. All in one name - Jesus.

We were never meant to walk alone. We were never asked to bear this shame. We were never told to tough it out, or grin and bear in silence. God is a chain breaker, sin removing, miracle working God. I have seen Him erase adulterer and whore, slut and shame, depressed and never enough off my name plate and replace it with His blood. Forever clean, forever new. Forever Beloved.

You can have this to. Wherever your story has taken you, whether dragged into someone else's shame, or the making of your own, don't let the enemy sell you the lie there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is always a light and that light is Jesus. And today He invites you to stop here and stay the night and find the courage to step out of the shadows and find the help you need to break the strongholds of the enemy for a more bright and glorious future that awaits you.

I wish someone would have told me...

So, let me tell you... You are never alone. I will fight with you. And God will fight for us. This isn't the final chapter. And the best news? Your story doesn’t have to end with a broken heart and a broken girl used and abused by the people who claim to love her. There is a bright and glorious future that awaits us. Trust Jesus with your story. He already holds the pen, and He gets the final say. And what He writes is far more beautiful than you could ever hope or imagine.

Love, E

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