Monday, August 8, 2011

Sowing the Wind-by the Other Nut

When I started my blog, I knew I would be telling my story about my marriage that survived pornography. I see it as a story that could have had an unhappy ending, but thanks to God, the ending is still being written, and I love every page of my story.

But I also knew that it wasn't just my story to tell. It is God's story, and it is also the Other Nut's story. While I was dealing with the aftermath of the landmine of pornography, as well as other things in my life, the Other Nut was also dealing with his own issues surrounding the "whys" and the "how not to fall into pornography" again. Even though I felt like I had been blown to pieces and was left to pick up each little piece I found, trying to put myself back together again, the Other Nut was also putting himself back together again. Honestly, he was just as hurt as I was.

I never wanted this blog just to be my heart experience with pornography. I also desired that he would eventually share his heart. I wanted his voice to be heard, and our story to be told from the perspective of the one who fell into the trap of pornography-and became free from it's snares. I am so proud of him. I know this wasn't easy for him to do, but he did it, because he believes so strongly in talking about the dangers of pornography and how damaging it is.

I will be posting a series of small posts that he has written, and I hope to have him write more. I do hope that his part of our story to restoration blesses you.

Sowing the Wind

It may surprise you to know that pornography is a $14 billion business in the US. That was based on data from back in 2004. It’s probably double that now. It may also surprise you that 67% of men in their 20’s and 30’s regularly look at pornography – see the stats here. I have heard that those numbers are similar inside the church and that at least 30% of pastors have looked at pornography in the past year. This means that odds are, if you are a guy reading this, then you are probably looking at pornography. If you aren’t, then look around next time you go to church and say – he looks, he looks, he doesn’t. He looks, he looks, he doesn’t. What a staggering thought. I was one of those guys. This is my story. Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

My exposure to pornography started when I was about 10 years old. My friend and I found a magazine stashed in an old tire in the vacant lot-turned bike track in our neighborhood – most likely hidden by one of the older kids who constructed the makeshift race track from dirt and old tires. The images from 30 years ago are still there. Someone once told me that traumatic events are stored in a different part of your brain. This is why some things are easy to recall and other things are just fuzzy. Pornography gets stored in this place. I hate that. I knew looking was wrong. I became a Christian at 7. But it was interesting and what was the harm? I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 10.

I had various other exposures to pornography throughout my pre-teen and teen years. Bits of R-rated movies. Times that I was alone with cable tv. The time a friend stole his dad’s magazines and we looked at them in the homemade war trench we dug in an empty field. I distinctly remember knowing those times were wrong as well, but what was the harm? I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 16.

College and early 20’s brought more exposure. However, unlike earlier ages, I now had money, freedom, and aloneness to stir the mind. While connected to many other Christian brothers, this part of my life remained a secret. “You’re the only one who struggles with this” were the satanic lies I bought into. A deep secret shame imbedded itself into my life. There was harm, but it was only me that was hurting, right? I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 21.

My working life after college was my first major reaping of consequences. I now had money and lived in an apartment by myself. Unknown to anyone I visited pornographic stores, massage parlors, and nearly got involved with escort services. It was a dark time. The especially hypocritical thing about this time in my life was that I also hooked up with friends and we started an accountability group. We were pretty blunt with each other about temptation -- but accountability is only as good as your ability to be honest. And while I let those guys into some parts, the darkest parts remained hidden from them. I had no wife. I had no kids. I was 24

I met my future wife in my mid-20’s. Once we moved past friendship and into dating we were very open with each other about our past. We had a tell-all evening where I told her about all the stuff I had seen and done including what I hadn’t told my accountability partners. We cried and fell more in love than ever through that. We had been totally honest. We loved each other. What else did we need? Looking back, we were so na├»ve. We should have dealt with it then. Unfortunately, we thought we had. Our marriage counselor didn’t bring up that issue, and we both bought into a lie, “once you are married, all this temptation will go away.” We thought that our cathartic experience that night sort-of washed all that bad stuff away. And that getting married would kill that part of my life. We got married. I now had a wife. I had no kids. I was 26 and clouds started building on the horizon while all was sunny overhead.

Married life brought 3 kids into our life and a ton of new stresses I was not ready for. Bills, budgeting, mortgage, and maintaining our relationship with 3 kids. My career starting taking off. I was getting lots of positive press at work, being asked to represent the company at events, even being talked about for higher levels of management. All the while my relationship with God was decaying. I let “life” get between me and the Life. I let life get between me and solid male relationships. Despite all that, my relationship with Ima was great. We talked, dealt with issues, loved each other deeply. And she trusted every word I spoke. But I was living a lie and didn’t know it. I was corroding from the inside out. My walls were broken down. The weakness to pornography from all those years was exposed and I was oblivious, deluded into thinking that I could coast through life enjoying my wife, kids, and creature comforts. I had a wife. I had 3 kids. I was 36. And the storm clouds were advancing.


Shanda said...

Thank you for sharing this so openly. I think, if we were all honest, many of our blogs would have similar stories. And it is not only men who have or do struggle with pornography.

My daily walk in His grace! said...

Hi Tami - I look forward to the rest of the posts. It would be great if your husband were doing this in churches, youth groups, touching those who are hiding these things, like he was.
God bless

Bobbi said...

WOW...this blog has such potential to help SO many! May God bless you as you bravely share your story. "Comfort as you are comforted!"

Debbie said...

I hardly have the words.

This is so poignantly shared and expressed beautifully. As an old writing teacher I just can't stop myself from commenting on the effectiveness of the repetition at the end of each section. I really spoke to me.

But this isn't about wonderful writing, is it? It's about something so personal that Satan has used effectively in so many lives.

I'm absolutely POSITIVE that it's the early exposure that is the greatest tool of the enemy. I have heard as much from more than one man. To think how easy is it today for anyone to "stumble" on this in the secrecy of his own home. It makes me ANGRY.

Satan breaks something when he shocks and entices the tender eyes. Ted Bundy even said something to that effect. Once broken, the bonds are so easily tied.

Praise God that He can redeem any slave regardless of the master.

I think that this needs to be part of a larger publication and ministry.

I will be looking forward to reading more.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Debbie said...

...and Debbie felt the need to write a whole post in the comment section. Good grief.


It is so beautiful when we can be honest with our brokeness. I believe that God will use your honesty to allow others to see that it is okay to be broken. It is why Jesus came.

I am praying for protection for your family while you share this healing story.


dawnbright said...

Thanks for sharing your side of the story. I look forward to hearing more. May God bless you and keep you. I have two teenage sons 13 and 16 and although I don't think they have stumbled across it, I am not going to think they haven't been exposed. It's every where and you can only do so much. You would have a great testimony for male teenagers! Think about it. There aren't enough men to stand up for our teenagers today! God bless.

My daily walk in His grace! said...

Hi Tami - I'm reading the book called Bathsheba - in the series on David's wives. Guess what the author has Solomon call his mom, Ima - must mean mom, right!
God bless

Jen said...

This makes me think about asking my husband to share his story -- maybe even compiling those who are recovering into a book -- the stories that God gives power to reach out so to combat the lies that Satan tells. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly.

Lisa Maria said...

Tami.. I was looking forward to this ever since you first mentioned it and I have not been disappointed!

I have no words.. I'm just sitting here crying because this was so beautiful and honest. The Other Nut is a storyteller at heart.. you can tell him I said so ;-)

I will definitely be passing this on for my husband to read and I agree with the others who said that stories of victory over Satan's bondage need to be told.. with LOUD voices.. so that hope can be given to those still struggling.

You and The Other Nut have all the support and prayers of your friends.. can't wait to read more.

Love & Hugs

Lisa Maria said...

P.S. I love the little nuthouse in your header! Forgot to mention that I think you are both so courageous and I truly believe that God is definitely going to bless this venture and it will yield much fruit!

Amy Sullivan said...

Oh, you two rock.

Thank you for being brave enough to throw yourselves out there and share you story. So many people hid this addiction and try to deal with it alone. By you writing this, you are speaking to many.

Christy said...

I'm blown away by his courage to do this. Though we haven't experienced it in this way, the temptation has been there. Sharing his history as a child is such encouragement to really protect your children and always keep open communication with them about what's right and wrong. You guys are real examples of how hard times can be turned into God's victory...what was so horrible is now a way to glorify Him by telling your story.

Stacie said...

This makes my heart ache for my boys, the temptations they will face in an ever-tempting world. But God is using your stories to make a dent in the pornography war. May you be blessed for your transparency.

"Ima" said...

Thank you Shanda for stopping by. I think you are right-and yes, it isn't only men who struggle. I do wish more people would talk about the dangers of pornography.

Hey Tracy-I am glad you liked reading it. I can't wait to post the rest and have him write more. We have tried to have this talked about in church when it first happened. We wanted to even try to do a seminar for the men and the youth, but nothing came of it. Our church just doesn't talk about it enough. Frustrates me. We were both so ready, knowing it needs to be talked about, but the elders didn't really see the need at the time. Oh well, in God's timing. Until then, we will share with whoever will listen and pray.

"Ima" said...

So glad you stopped by Bobbi-thank you for your encouragement. That is our prayer with this blog and sharing our story however we can.

"Ima" said...

Debbie-can I just say that I love your comments-even the ones that are long:) I don't do anything short-just ask my parents! You are so right in what you said. And we would love for this to be part of our ministry in different ways. That is our prayer. We do talk about it together.
And I didn't know you were a writing teacher-do tell more. That is a fun fact to learn-although I'm not surprised, because your writing is so good:)

"Ima" said...

Thank you Glenda-your prayers are appreciated. Yes, it is OK to be broken, because it is in our brokenness that Jesus heals. We need to be honest with our broken areas-we all have them. Thankful for your sweet comment.

Jennifer @ said...

Thank you for your courage in speaking out about your experience with pornography. I can see that this is just part I of the story. I know that God can redeem everything, and my hope and prayer is that He has done so already. I look forward to Part II.

I also pray that you as a couple have been able to lean into the arms of Jesus through this trying time, and that you've found accountability partners.

Again, thank you for your bravery in telling the truth about what you've gone through.

"Ima" said...

Dawn-thank you so much. I totally agree with you-he would be a great role model for teenage boys and men as well. He would love to it too.

Tracy, I can't believe that name is in there. I actually have no idea what it means, but I think it is cool that Solomon called his mom that in the book. I'll have to look up that book. Sounds good-I so wish I didn't fall asleep so much when I read. :)

"Ima" said...

Jen-I would love to hear your husband's story, and that thought sounds intriquing. My wheels are turning now-maybe that would allow more men to feel more comfortable with sharing their struggle, instead of dealing with it alone. To get to a place where we don't hide behind the shame of things!

"Ima" said...

Lisa Maria-thank you! I do agree-he is a great storyteller. I told him so for you, and he smiled really big and says thank you. Yes, stories like this need to be told LOUD to drown out the enemies lies. May we talk about it in LOUD voices that talk of God's faithfulness.

Thanks for the compliment on my little nuthouse on my header. You can imagine how long it took me to do being so techno challenged and all. I was wondering if anyone would notice the little nuts on it-I didn't even notice them until I put it on there. Ha! Thank you for the encouraging words and support. Hugs back to you across the ocean.

"Ima" said...

Thanks Amy!-you rock too. I am so proud of my husband for sharing his story and not hiding it. It took a lot of humility for him to tell about it and allow me to share it with so many people. And even in the hard times, he has usually kept his head up, being so thankful for redemption.

Christy-thank you my friend, in the real world and blogland:) I think he is courageous as well-I love him so. And yes, communication is so important, especially starting at a young age so they can understand. Crucial and yet hard to do at times.

"Ima" said...

Oh Stacie-I know the heart ache with little boys. My little guy is only a year away from when the Other Nut saw pornography for the first time. And now it is even easier to see. We have already had conversations about where his eyes should go and not go-we haven't mentioned pornography directly, but we do practice with his eyes and why-"let's look down Walnut because looking at that wouldn't honor God, and we want to honor Him in all that we do and where we look." We said this the other night walking past the bra section in the store with pictures everywhere-we took the wrong aisle! I do pray that he will understand the destruction that it can bring.

"Ima" said...

Jennifer-thank you for stopping by and your kind words. Yes, He has redeemed. I love him more now than before, because I have seen him fight and love me through it all-even on the days that I took out my hurt on him. He is an amazing man, one of the best I have ever met. He has great accountability partners and we have a great counselor-one of the best in all of the Houston area. And most importantly we have Jesus "who redeems our life from the pit". Can't wait to post the other parts.

Joywriter said...

What satan means for evil, God can turn to good. Thank you, Other Nut, for sharing. Your story resonates with more people than you might think.

Cheryl said...

right on - this was brave, courageous, honest and God-fearing. oh and very well written! :)

Anna said...

"Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind." And I'm also struck by how early it can begin, at age 10, and continue. So brave, you and him, to share your story, Tami. With so many people stuck in denial in varying addictions... this story speaks of hope, a redemption that is possible, through Him.

Ostriches Look Funny said...

so brave. thank you.

emily wierenga said...

yes, so brave. and yes--thank you.

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