As I shared in my last post, I fell victim to sexual abuse at a very young age. One result of that experience is that my body and mind became curious about sex and sexuality much sooner than it should have. At a time when I should have still been playing with dolls and exploring with my Easy Bake Oven, I was discovering the advanced form of human anatomy in the form of pornography.
The first time I encountered it was an honest mistake. I was around 11 or 12 years old. I remember being on summer vacation at someone’s house. I went into one of the older children’s room to find a movie to watch. Back then, VHS tapes were still quite popular, and the collection in the room was endless. Browsing through the tapes, most of them had no labels or titles, so the only way to know what was on them was to put it in the VCR and press play.
Well, let’s just say I came across the wrong movie.
Though I didn’t fully understand what the sounds and images meant, something within me knew it was a movie I shouldn’t have been watching because I immediately closed the room door to keep anyone from catching me. I didn’t know much, but I knew it was like one of those scenes in the movie when your mama made you cover your eyes. I was sure my eyes had no business seeing that, but I couldn’t look away. I guess because of the seed that had been planted within me by my abuser, something inside of me was drawn to the images on the TV screen.
As a girl just entering puberty, my body responded in a way that was confusing. It was confusing, yet interesting. According to a study published in the CyberPsychology and Behavior, 62% of women have seen pornography by the age of 18. I didn’t know it then, but I became a statistic. I was simultaneously intrigued and puzzled. I didn’t understand what my body was feeling, and a part of me knew it was probably wrong, but in a strange way, I liked it. After that very first time, I was hooked. I snuck that VHS into my suitcase and took it home with me, and I watched it every time I got the chance to be alone. Yep, at just 12 years old.
The more I watched, the more my desire for it, and my collection of flicks, grew. Before I realized it, I’d formed an addiction to pornography. Watching it became my stress-reliever, my stimulant, and my depressant. It became my guilty pleasure and my escape from the troubles of life.
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, over a decade had passed, and there I was — wife, mother, Christian woman — bound in the chains and guilt of a pornography addiction.
I wanted so badly to be free. My convictions had changed since I first discovered triple-X rated movies, and I knew it was displeasing to God and disrespectful to my husband. Still, even in my best efforts to stop, I found myself hiding away behind closed doors, indulging in my secret sin. Even though I would become instantly disgusted with myself for falling again and again, I was in so deep that I couldn’t find that way of escape 1 Corinthians 10:13 speaks of. I was a prisoner to porn, sucked in to its false gratification, and its claws were embedded deep into my spirit.
I was so ashamed. My soul was begging to be free from the stronghold, but I was so stuck. There were times when I felt so out of control that I couldn’t stop the urges. The spirit of lust had greatly overtaken me.
I wish I could tell you that I finally enrolled myself into Porn Addicts Anonymous, followed a 12-step program, and successfully overcame. Or that I went to the altar one Sunday to receive prayer from the prayer warrior, and I was instantly delivered, but that’s not my testimony at all.
I fought tooth and nail for my freedom, and it was HARD.
I cried out to God from the depths of my heart.
I fasted for weeks at a time.
I prayed morning, noon, and night.
I studied scriptures on deliverance and controlling the flesh.
Then, I’d start all over again…repeat, repeat, and repeat.
I beat myself up so many times, until I finally decided to grab hold to God’s amazing grace. I had been trying to overcome a battle that was bigger than me without understanding that I deserved to win over it even though I created the fight myself. One thing I absolutely love about God is that He’s such a loving Father. It doesn’t matter to Him how you get yourself tangled up in sin, how long you’ve dwelt in it, or how deep you’ve sank into its grip, His hands are still extended to pull you up out of it.
Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to do my part and learn to deny myself and operate in the spirit of self-control made available to me through the Holy Spirit. Faith without works is dead, amen?
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SOURCE: EEW Magazine – Lakeisha Rainey Collins
LaKeisha Rainey Collins is a Mobile, Alabama-based wife, mom of three boys and one girl, Founder of Beauty for Ashes, Inc. and author of two books — Beautiful Me and My Baby Has Wings. Learn more about her here.