Reprinted with permission from Not on My Watch.
My name is Sarah, I am a mom of 5 wonderful children, a wife of 18 years to an amazing husband, and a leader of a very prominent women’s organization. I have the perfect life. Until today, I have never breathed a word of my story my story to anyone. I am a leader in our community. The thought of speaking these words out loud come with many consequences. Everything in my life fits into a nice beautiful shadow box placed on the beautiful walls of my home. There is no room in this shadowbox for any dark secrets. There is no room in my life for shame. I have remained silent. After all, it is MY struggle and I am sure no other woman on earth has this struggle. It’s my cross to bear.
As I shoved my cross in my pocket, the monster kept rearing its ugly head as I watched the social media world light up with this new phenomenon called “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a trilogy that was developed from a Twilight fan fiction. This book is classified as “erotic literature” intended to arouse the reader. Women are flocking to it like magnets. I began seeing my Christian friends talking excitedly about this book and raving about it. When I began to research this new phenomenon, I knew I had to share my story. I could not remain silent. I have decided to open my heart and share my story with you.
First, let me set the scene and take you through a day in my life:
5:30 am the day began with a CRASH. I groggily awake to a humongous noise coming from the kitchen!
Ready or not, the day has arrived!
I walk past my bedroom mirror and gasp in horror at what I see. The sight of a disaster. Hair messed up, pajamas wrinkled with peanut butter remnants from the children’s bedtime snack, I don’t have time to think about it as I remember the crash coming from the kitchen. Silently I pray that the noise did not wake up the entire household. Too late. I walk into the kitchen to see one child with the refrigerator door hanging open, milk dripping from the inside of the door, two children hovering over the sink playing in bubbles, two others sitting at the table with jelly dripping down onto the clean floor that I had just mopped at midnight. I turn to find the source of the crash. Our adorable poodle decided he was going to help himself to his own breakfast and stood over a now broken bowl of oatmeal lapping up the remnants of what was left of my new china dish. If I could put the morning into one word, that word would be “Chaos.” This was all before 10 AM. I knew the day would be packed full of Children, PTA, and oh yes, this was Wednesday. Church night. I had a huge lesson to prepare. I chuckled as I pick up the sticky twins and began the day. By nightfall, after the last child was sound asleep, and the last dish put away, I breathed a sigh of thankfulness that I had survived the day, and longed for a nice hot bath. No such luck. I look over at my husband with “the gleam” in his eye. I knew what that meant.
My job was not done.
I was exhausted, I had been slobbered on all day long, there was nothing left in me. I did not even feel like a human being. I managed to go through the motions and make it through another day. I hated this feeling. I felt cheated. I heard stories and saw these amazing TV shows where the women were swept off their feet by a handsome man. When I would see a nice romance movie, I would feel alive, if even for just a moment. One day I picked up a romance novel, and then another. During nap time, I would engulf myself in these books. I felt like I was living in another world. I would feel butterflies in my tummy. What?!? Where did those come from. For so long, I had become numb to my senses. These books would poke at a longing I had buried deep inside. I had forgotten what it was like to feel human. After I would read them, I’d find myself getting excited that my husband was coming home! I’d find a little spark in my step. This has to be good right? After all, it’s for my marriage. I was helping it! After time would pass, I would find myself online watching a clip of a movie after putting the kids to bed…. I remember hearing something from a “Doctor” that it was a GOOD THING to bring in some “help” to the marriage bed. So I began my fall down a long dark hole. After a while, it wasn’t just romance movies, the movies led to nudity, and even hard core pornography.
For me it was not about the “people” in these movies. That is how I justified it. I was not lusting like those men stuck in pornography. It was about my marriage. I felt dead inside. Some days, I was so immersed in daily life, preparing bible studies, being a mom, and doing life, it was the only thing that made me long for my husband. That made it ok in my eyes. I was “helping” my marriage. Were there warning signs? Absolutely. God would put things in my path to bring conviction. I would repent, and then I would feel dead and exhausted again. I wanted to be a Godly wife. I wanted to do the right thing, but I was living in a dark hole with no one to talk to. You see, I was a leader in the community and I had no one to share these struggles with. Leaders are not supposed to struggle with these kinds of things. They are to live a pure life. This struggle lasted about 6 months until I had enough. Part of me was grateful that there was something inside of me that was alive, but it would be quickly captured by guilt and condemnation. Each Sunday God would convict and prod. One Sunday, I couldn’t take it any longer. During one of the altar calls at church, I laid it all down.
I wept alone. No one knew about the struggle of self-hatred. No one saw me leave this at the altar. I asked God to give me a renewed sense of worth. I asked Him for a new love for my husband and a clean heart. I repented of my sin and committed that nothing would enter this “temple” or these eyes that was not of him.
It has been a rough long road. One that has been very lonely. I want to share my story because there is a misnomer out there, that pornography only affects men. It is a man’s battle they say. Ladies. This is a lie from the pit of hell. The enemy does not just want the men. He wants everything. He wants you to feel lonely, defeated, unattractive, numb, and lied to. He will do anything he can to trap you. He will trap you when you least expect it.
In watching this very dangerous trend and obsession with “Fifty shades of Grey,” and the likes of it, he knows what lies to whisper in your ear. I urge you to keep the barriers around your home and your heart tall. I urge you to RUN from this temptation. It is a trap, and at the bottom of this trap holds death. Speak out.
I have to wonder, for every one of me, how many other women are trapped in this lie that pornography is a man’s battle. How many are silenced into shame? As I live my life redeemed, forgiven and healed, I am proof that there is HOPE for you and there is freedom. The first step is honesty. Call it for what it is. Once you decide to be honest, you can begin your road to healing where at the end is FREEDOM!