Choosing God Over Porn|By Gabby Jones

Shame is a touchy subject in my life. I have carried shame on my shoulders since I was 11 years old. It was around that age that I began looking at porn. Nothing or no one led me to look at it, I was just a curious little girl who happened to click on the wrong link. 

Back then, I was not saved. However, I was still full of shame because it was unheard of for a woman to look at porn. After I received Christ, when I was 15, a completely different shame came over me. 

How could a CHRISTIAN WOMAN look at such vulgar material. Only men struggle with that. You are supposed to be a Christian. You are not supposed to watch stuff like that. 

Those thoughts went through and are still going through my head. It took me 14 years to admit I was a porn addict, but it also took me 14 years to realize I do not have to do this alone.

There are very few people who know about my addiction because I was so ashamed and afraid to tell anyone, even my family. Porn is one of those things you can do in private, and no one would ever know just by looking at you. Unlike other addictions (alcohol, drugs, food), porn is easier to hide on the outside, but it does more damage on the inside. Due to my damaged insides, I felt hopeless for so long. I did not think I could ever get over this one hill. If I could just win this one battle, I could do anything. I then began to get angry. I was angry at myself and God. I was angry at myself because I could not stop, and I blamed God for allowing this in my life. 

Then I heard God speak, “You have free will. You chose to look at it; you chose to continuously choose porn over me.” 

That shook me up. I did not want anything getting in the way of my relationship with God, yet I kept choosing this sin over Him, time and time again. Yet, each time, He would speak to me gently and welcome me back in His love. That night, I made a choice to choose Him every time. 

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need.” Psalms 23:1 (GNB)

I started going to a group after that, but I still carried a dark cloud of shame because I knew I would be the only person in my group who struggled with porn. As a woman, it was embarrassing, but as a Christian, I knew they would welcome me with open arms. I did not speak about my addiction for a while, but when I did, they told me how they prayed for someone who would open that door to help other women with the same issue. Ladies, that door is open, and the conversation is on. It does not matter what sin you go back to again and again, there is no shame or condemnation in Christ. 

The God of many chances is calling your name, and He is calling you out of your sin, addiction, guilt and shame. There is nothing you have done, are doing, or going to do, that will change God’s mind about how much He loves you. Drop those shame chains and run freely to the love, strength and freedom God has for you.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” Ephesians 6:10 (NIV)

Although I still struggle with porn today, it is easier to fight back with God as my strength and with the women who are surrounding me. Do not fight this fight alone. Call on God’s strength and get a rock solid support system. Your freedom is waiting.

“Freedom is what we have — Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.” Galatians 5:1 (GNB)

When the Cake Crumbles| By Tori Savoy

Running a cake business can sometimes be scary. You spend hours on a cake, unsure if it will turn out exactly like the client requested or whether it will stay together throughout the day.

I will never forget transporting a cake that had several elements to it. I had spent hours working on it. As I drove, I heard a thump come from the box.

My heart skipped a beat.

Once I stopped at a red light, I opened the box to discover that the fondant shapes on top the cake had began to wilt, and one of the pieces fell over and down the back side of the cake.

“Oh my goodness! I can’t give this to the client,” I thought.

I ran through my mind how I was going to explain to the customer that her cake was ruined. I prayed that she would be understanding.

Once I pulled up, I began to explain and tried to quickly mend as much of the damage as possible as she walked toward my car. I even offered to give her a discount.

She smiled and said, “Well let’s see what happened.”

And as she took a look, she said “Oh, just give me that piece that fell. I’ll take it to the trash can. The cake looks beautiful without it. You wouldn’t even know it was missing something.”

“Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.” Jeremiah 18:3-4

Somehow, I felt like this is what happens when I am too afraid to come to God with my broken pieces. I see the parts that are “wilting” and believe my complete self is ruined, unworthy to be an offering for God.

However, He looks at me and asks me to just hand over those bad parts for Him to dispose of. He says, “See! Look how beautiful you are without that.”

Just like my cake customer, Jesus did not need a discount. He paid the full price for our broken souls right there at the cross. He takes our mess, throws away the bad parts, and makes a beautiful masterpiece of what is left.

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

God does not ask that we bring a perfect product to Him. He takes us in as we are and only asks that we let Him handle those broken pieces. I charge you today to come before God just as you are.

Your Wasteland is Your Wonderland| By Heaven Harris

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February 7, 2007. A day seared in my mind forever. This was the day that I found out my dad had committed suicide. I woke up that day like any other day, and by the end of it, I felt like a freight truck had hit me at 100 miles an hour.  I was broken, lost, confused, angry, and sad. So many emotions, and life just seemed to stop for me in those moments. My grief overcame me and blinded me to even see that God was in my midst. My once good life was now laid barren and broken before me, and I had no clue what to do with those broken pieces.

What could God possibly do with an orphan daughter and how could He possibly use such a tragic situation for any good at all?

How many times have you asked such questions? Maybe your wasteland came from the loss of a child, or the job that fell through, or maybe the countless times you hoped to see the plus sign on the end of that pregnancy test. Maybe you are living the single life longer than you ever anticipated, or maybe it’s the divorce that you feel like follows you like a scarlet letter.

No matter your questions, no matter your wasteland, first thing is first…

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18

The next thing I will tell you is Romans 8:28 tells us that He works ALL things together for good.

You may be wondering how that is even possible. Believe me. I have been there. You may be there now.  You may be wondering how such pain could be good for anything. Know that it is not wasted. You may just be in a place that requires a perspective change.

We all know the quote, “One person’s trash, is another person’s treasure.”

I have heard it my whole life and always knew it referred to perspective, but until I began to truly serve God, perspective was something I focused very little on.  As my maturity in the Lord grew, so did my understanding of how important it is to have God’s perspective on EVERYTHING. As seasons pass by, as the storms rage and trials blindside us, without proper perspective, sinking sand is our foundation. As a result, we end up wandering in our wasteland.

Unfortunately, as human flesh would have it, I have become narrow sighted too often and found it extremely difficult to walk in God’s perspective of every situation.  Some situations hurt too bad or seemed to impossible in human form. There were times when I couldn’t see the purpose in the pain and was demanding all the answers NOW.

As I was walking through the season following my father’s passing, I read an analogy that really opened my heart to God’s ability to turn it all around with just a little perspective change.  I realized in that moment that my wasteland was God’s wonderland.

The analogy was about two clay vases. One is in immaculate condition with not a single scratch or hole in it; a beautiful piece of pottery. The other one is not so beautiful on the surface.  Its edges are rough, there are big gaping holes all over it. It looks like something you would throw away without hesitation.

If I turned the lights out and placed a lit candle in each vase, something interesting happens.  In the first vase, perfect in form, the light from the candle shines beautifully out the top of the vase.  Now the second vase, once the candle is placed inside, through every hole and scratch, that light is illuminating its surroundings.

It’s all about perspective.

You, my friend, are the vase.  You aren’t perfect. None of us are. You have gaping holes in your life as it has side swiped you and broke you down. But the light of Jesus can shine so much brighter through those rough places and empty spaces.

“Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop?” Matthew 5:14 (TPT)

God’s desire is to set you apart and use even the hurts and pains of life to glorify Himself. If you will just allow Him to shift your perspective, you will realize that we don’t serve a moderately big God, but a God that is GRAND!!!

Your wasteland is God’s opportunity to write your story.

For me, that wasteland became a platform for me to share my heart with others who have not only found themselves struggling with family or friends who deal with suicide, but I have also had the opportunity to share the love of God with those who directly deal with depression and suicidal thoughts.  God has opened so many doors in my pain for His love to not only heal those I was reaching, but also my own heart.

When I felt like trash, God was right there to remind me that I am His treasure, and so are you.  You are God’s treasure and His love for you is immense.

I encourage you today to hand Him over your trash and let Him turn it into His treasure.