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The top drawer hung heavy on the edge of its track and I held my breath, frozen in place. I knew I had stumbled upon something secret, and by its carefully hidden nature and the innate fear I felt, I knew it was wrong. But still, I dug deeper and discovered more.

Buried in those dresser drawers and concealed behind hanging clothes I found stacks of magazines and videos tucked away where I shouldn’t have been snooping. (Note to my future parent self, kids will always snoop.)

I was 11 or 12, still in elementary school and full of innocent curiosity about the world and myself. But on that fateful day, my childlike wonder was captivated by something I was never meant to see, and I couldn’t look away.

There in that forest green-carpeted walk-in closet, pornography became a part of my life before I even had a name for it. And what started as an accident became intentional. 

Returning to Porn Over and Over Again

It took only the slightest suggestion of the idea, whether stirred by an image on television or the memory of a scene or picture I’d seen before, a predictable pattern would be set in motion. I began to look for opportunities to stay home alone or sneak away from the family when it seemed I wouldn’t be missed. 

When the coast was clear, I’d slide the doors open ever so quietly, buzzing with anticipation and anxiety, and sneak the contraband from its original hiding place to another one in my domain, always memorizing the precise location and look of things before I removed them and after they were returned so as not to be caught. 

This obsessive and seemingly unavoidable routine—the fixation, the sneaking, the hiding, the relief, the shame, the fear I’d be found out—became the normal rhythm of my days and weeks as months stretched into years.

Related: Turns Out, I Couldn't Stop

As a junior in high school, my mom made me register for Confirmation classes at a new and Spirit-filled parish that boasted a weekly youth group of hundreds of teens. And it was there I encountered the Person of Jesus, both in the Eucharist and in the Sacrament of Confession

Jesus Fully Present

Kneeling in adoration on my very first retreat, I mimicked our confirmation teacher’s open hands in prayer. Like a child learning to talk, I repeated her simple, beautiful words, “Praise you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.”

I desperately wanted to receive the love I heard about from the leaders, but felt all the unworthiness and dirtiness of my sin in the soft light of His Eucharistic Presence. Mercifully, that same light began to creep in and shine through the cracks of my little addicted heart. His love began to warm the dark and cold places where I hid and crouched, afraid of being found out, afraid that I was unlovable. 

For almost 20 years, I struggled against my shadow self. I had fallen in love with Jesus and followed Him when He invited me into full-time ministry, but I couldn’t shake the sin of my youth. Still, I persevered.

The Light spread with every Confession, every reception of the Eucharist, and every visit to the Blessed Sacrament chapel, but the darkness of pornography lingered. By God’s sheer and miraculous grace, despite the disgust and hopelessness that flooded my soul after every fall, I turned again and again to the radiance of His Face. 

Discovering Bad Spirits, Lust, Porn, and Masturbation

In one surprising Confession, a good and holy priest referred to pornography and masturbation as a “sticky spirit”. And for the first time, a bright new hope spread across the horizon of my heart. Maybe I wasn’t fundamentally and irreparably broken. Maybe there was more to the story than my personal failures or sexual perversion. 

Slowly, I began to understand that there was a supernatural dimension to my struggle against sin. For decades, the enemy had employed a spirit of lust, pornography, and masturbation to enslave me. A spirit of shame condemned me every time, driving me back into the arms of the very sin it sought to accuse me of.

From childhood, the devil had assaulted and twisted the God-given glory and dignity of my sexuality to keep me small and scared and scarred. Though I heard and preached the Good News of Christ’s resurrection, I believed I would always buckle and fall under the weight of this heavy cross. 

Until one unsuspecting evening at a Marian conference, I stood in line for prayer with a priest and exorcist. I watched him cup a child’s face in prayer, lay hands on the head of an older man, then set his hands on a young woman’s shoulders. And when it was my turn, he lifted those holy hands and laid them over my eyes. 

In that instant, Jesus Christ healed my memory, purified my sight, and right-ordered my sexuality. The pure and radiant light of His love banished from my life the demons of lust, pornography, and masturbation. He set me free.

The strange thing is, I felt nothing. Nothing happened. It wasn’t until weeks had passed with no overwhelming temptations, no sexual images flashing in my mind, no demoralizing setbacks, that I realized I was different. I felt different. 

And today, I am different.

I am convinced that my miracle of complete healing and total freedom wasn’t only meant for me. It was simply a downpayment on the deliverance of many more souls who have been tormented by the darkness of pornography. 

Related: 6 Steps to Experience Freedom as a Woman Trapped by Porn

I believe that if you’re reading this right now, Jesus our Savior is lifting up His pierced and glorious hand to finally and fully heal you—eyes, mind, and soul. 

Turn your face to Him, right now, and again and again after every fall, with every memory. Soak up the rays of His merciful love until it covers and consumes every last image and urge. I promise you, there is a brilliant and beautiful life on the other side of pornography that somehow washes over all of the darkest and desolate places of your past, suffusing it with light. 

And that life is for you.
 

Resource
Download the e-book

Transformed by Beauty

Description

In this ebook, you’ll meet a priest, a ballerina, and a bodybuilder who all have one thing in common: They found freedom, healing, and peace because they encountered the beauty of a transcendent God.

Audience: Men and women 
Language: English 
Resource Type: Ebook  
Cost: Free 

Beth Davis is a lover of Jesus, a retired youth minister, and the Director of Ministry Advancement for Blessed is She. She is passionate about teaching women how to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus and speaking hope to weary hearts. Her favorite things include being an aunt to her fab five niece and nephews, calling everyone ‘friend,’ and whatever book she’s currently reading.