Calendar Marks Of Clean Days & Bad Days

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Man, something hit me hard this morning. Out of the freaking blue, a vision of a calendar pops into my head. Not just any calendar mind you. It was one I kept while I was in school…way back in high school one year.

This vision made me teary eyed. I’m sure it was the enemy trying to stick another knife in my heart…but it was just so random. So I go and ask God why this and why now. But before I share what he showed me, allow me to share with you…my calender…

Like I said… it’s not just any calendar. This one was not hanging on my wall. It was hidden so my mom wouldn’t ask any questions about it.

You see this calendar had little boxes, that I made, on the bottom row of each day. And each box would either be blank or it might have a S or a M in it. If you use your imagination you can probably guess what I’m about to say.

So yeah…the S stood for sex and the M stood for masturbation…

Good grief, I’m really putting myself out there right now and how messed up I was as a teen.

That calendar was a place of selfishness and pride. A place I put how many times I had sex or masturbated every day for a year. I don’t remember how many of each were there but I do know there were many days where there were multiple S and M letters.

Oh God forgive me, was the first thing out of my mouth after saying where the freak did that come from. Another one of those things I either had forgotten about or blocked.

Now, here is what God told me after I asked why this and why now.

Calendars are a good thing in and of themselves, as they allow us to keep track of appointments, birthdays, meetings and such. But they can be both bad and good in certain scenarios. One scenario in particular is what was brought to me.

I know many men, not sure on the woman side of this, who use a calendar to keep track of how many days they have not watched porn or masturbated.

This can be a good thing if their heart is in the right place. And I know several men who have successfully navigated this area not with pride but humbleness and prayer. But it could be a bad thing if they look at that calendar with an attitude of look what I have done. I can say that from experience because that was me while trying to stop on my own.

It can be a great way of keeping track of how God IS working in your life towards freeing you if there are more marks of whatever you use to show the no porn or no mastubation for that week, month, or year.

But it could, at the same time, be a source of self condemnation if there are more marks of porn usage or masturbation than days of celibacy. That ole saying the devil uses of “See I told you that you couldn’t do it”, can wreak havoc on recovery to the point of actually giving up and giving in.

My freedom came when I stopped keeping track. Yeah, I fell. Sadly, many times. But I kept going. And I’m still going…one day at a time.

Stay focused on your relationship with God. Read your Bible. Pray. Talk with you accountability partner.

If you do use a calendar don’t let doubt and condemnation cloud your mind if you have to out that “bad” mark down. Instead, be thankful and praise God that He did leave you where you were, that you have been redeemed, and that He loves you.

Whatever method you use… DON’T give up…there is freedom!

 

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Those Who Wait On The Lord

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But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 

I so needed this reminder today as I am struggling with some things on many different levels…

I need my strength renewed…

I can’t afford to grow weary…

Celebrate Recovery Is For Everyone

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Why do people still believe Celebrate Recovery is just for addicts? Is it because they have seen the movie Home Run? Did they go to that bathroom or something during testimony night in the film, where the main character’s sister-in-law speaks of her sexual abuse as a child? Or could it be because everyone thinks only addicts need recovery?

I’ve been going to Richland Celebrate Recovery since it began at my church six years ago, with the exception of a small hiatus. I’ve seen many people come and go over the years for various reasons; mostly, because they move back home upon coming out their recovery program.

I’ve written about CR (Celebrate Recovery) many times on my blog and I talk a lot about it in general, yet people still see it as a place for addicts. Let me say for the record…yes, addicts attend CR, BUT that is NOT all it is about.

Here is what Celebrate Recovery is…

It is a Christ centered program for people. PEOPLE!

It’s not just for the addict…it’s for the hurting, the lonely, the habitual sinner, the depressed and the list can go on and on. It’s a place for people with hurts, habits and hang-ups. It’s a place for healing.

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When I started going to CR it was basically to help as a volunteer for our church’s newest ministry. I had heard about it and supported it. Little did I know…I needed it for me.

At the time I was going through my separation/divorce, not being able to see my kids everyday, depression, anger and trying to stop a long struggle with viewing porn and low self-esteem among other things.

I would have gone absolutely bat crazy had it not been for CR and the conversations and prayer from dear friends during all that.

Here’s the thing. A lot of people who struggle, with anything, sometimes feel as if they are the only ones dealing with that particular issue. And many of them feel that if they share their struggle with anyone, they will be looked upon differently…basically judged. And yet we can’t judge and here is why…we are all sinners and fall short of the glory God.

God sees no sin greater than the other, yet He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for all. All is all, no matter what it is. It could be adultery, drinking in excess, lying, sexual immorality, gluttony, murder, stealing, idolatry, etc.

The thing is, if we are honest with ourselves, we all have hurts, we all have habits that may not follow in line with scripture, and we all have hang-ups of some form or fashion.

CR is for everyone!

I go for the worship and message and still feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to repent of something or to make amends with someone.

It’s honestly hard to explain. Heck, we have a 70-year-old lady who attends and our youngest is a 17-year-old  young lady. Everyone gets something out of the message no matter what they are going through at that moment. That’s just how God works.

The small groups are more intimate and allows each person the chance to either share how the message applies to their situation or just share what’s on their heart. Small groups have been a source of healing for me just by letting things out. You know…my life verse…confess your faults one to another. James 5:16 is so powerful.

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Allow me to ask you guys a few questions.

Are you depressed? Do you have anxiety issues? Are you feeling alone after losing a loved one whether by death or the break-up of a relationship? Do you suffer from over eating? Are you addicted to sweets? Do you drink in excess to the point of losing control of who you are? Are you hurting from the wounds of words spoken? Do you have low self-esteem? Have you ever been sexually molested? Have you been physically or verbally abused?

If you answered yes to any of those, Celebrate Recovery is for you.

Give it a try! Allow the Lord to lead you. Go to the Celebrate Recovery website and see if there are any local chapters.

I have a list of all the ones in Louisiana, here on my blog site and keep it updated as best I can.

If you choose to attend please let me know how you enjoyed it and if it ministered to you.

God Bless,
Stu

Life Is Like A Box Of Lego Pieces

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I took Brandon to a Lego Challenge event yesterday. In this event he had to build different size bridges that would be able to withstand a certain amount of weight.

So we woke up really early and headed to Shreveport. On the way he told me that he was nervous about doing this. I asked why and his response was that there will be people there he didn’t know and he was afraid that he would not be able to build a strong enough bridge.

I compared this event to his Taekwondo tournaments. I explained that this event was no different from going to a tournament and getting out there in front of all those people and doing his form, sparring and breaking boards. And that even though he does his best at everything someone is better and someone is not as good as he his. That’s why there are gold, silver and bronze medals.

He goes I will do my best daddy. I said I know you will and smiled. He smiled back back…I knew he was good to go then.

Once we arrived at the event he was rearing to go. They explained that there would be four stages with the first stage being a seven-inch bridge that could hold the weight of at least ninety pennies.

He dives into the box of Lego pieces and commences building his first bridge. He nails the ninety penny weight so they continued adding pennies until his bridge collapsed. It held the weight of one hundred and twenty pennies. He was stoked.

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As he was building his foot long bridge, which was stage two, he starts helping some of the other kids build their bridges. So cool watching him do this and offering advice on which Lego pieces to use to add more structure to their bridge.

He nails the foot long bridge stage with the weight of two hundred and fifty pennies. His bridge, and the little girl he helped, didn’t even bow under the weight.

The last two stages were the most challenging as the bridge had to increase in length to one and a half feet and then two feet. Brandon gets the bridge built and before he places it across the gap in the tables he sees it bowing really bad on the right side. He grabs two Lego pieces and then smiles.

He places it across the gap. It holds up to the required weight.

He looks at me and goes I don’t think I can do the next stage. It’s too long and there are not many pieces left. I’m like, yes you can, just use your imagination. I’m here if you need help.

He only asked for my help twice. Once to pull apart two Lego pieces that he could not take apart. And then to help with the measurement.

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He looks at all the pieces in the different boxes, grabs a few out of each both and starts going to town. He keeps measuring and building for about fifteen minutes and goes ok I think I’m ready.

He puts it across the gap. He asks if he can put the pennies on there this time. They say yes.

Brandon does it differently than the event leader did. Instead of placing them in the center he spreads the pennies out like they were cars. Cool idea.

Sadly, his bridge broke at the one hundred and seventy penny mark. He was a little upset but still smiling. He just looked at me and said “Daddy, I didn’t make it strong enough.”

I said “Don’t worry about that son. Look at what you accomplished. You made it to the fourth round by building something bigger than you ever have before. I am very proud of you. You did awesome.”

Brandon ended up in second place. His prize was a Captain America bobble head. Totally cool.

He had so much fun that no sooner did we get in the car he asked when the next one was. 🙂

I guess you are probably wondering why in the world am I sharing just a random story in the life of me and my son.

Well, when it comes to days with my kids, I have come to realize that everything has a reference to God and my journey…and even other people’s journeys. You can read about a couple of those references HERE and HERE.

This day just reminded me of how God has helped me mend or completely restore broken bridges that collapsed due to one thing or another in my life.

It is kind of like building a Lego bridge. Heck, life is like a box of Lego pieces with different parts and pieces fitting together.

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You have to start small and continue building until the bridge is structurally strong, with open and honest communication, forgiveness and a whole lot of prayer. Sort of like the bridge my dad and I are working on. Little blocks first…

 

From A Porn Scene Mentality To Intimacy With Your Wife

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This is something that has been on my heart for a while now guys and honestly, I may lose some followers after this post or I may gain a few.

I have been a recovering porn addict for almost six years now and through my various ministries on social media have had many wives reach out to me with questions. Many of them have shared their pain, their hurt and their stories with me.

I knew what viewing porn did to me spiritually, physically and mentally but my wife at the time never opened up to me as to what it did to her. She never shared with me the hurt and pain till much later. And hearing these stories from wives tears me up I tell you.

For a while I thought I was the only one hearing these stories because when I started blogging not too many others were truly speaking out against pornography per se.

It’s cool that now more bloggers are speaking out against porn. Many of these bloggers are ones that I personally follow, so of course I will read their post. Sometimes I read the comments and sometimes I don’t depending on the topic. (Sorry guys, just being honest.)

The reason I do read the comments is to see what others think and at times I want to comment but don’t because, if you have followed me at all, I’m honest with my words but I don’t think them through sometimes. By that I mean, though being honest and up front with my comment I could hurt someone inadvertently. And I don’t want to do that.

And it’s because I can actually hear the pain in their comment and it just breaks my heart, whether it be male or female comments. So instead of commenting I pray for them.

When I do comment it’s usually to say what an awesome post it is and thank them for sharing their thoughts.

So with all that said, allow me to ask a few questions….

When does the porn scene start?

Does it begin when she gets naked? Or does it really begin when the actual act of penetration begins?

When does the porn scene end?

Come on guys, be real, and admit it ends when the guy or guys have an orgasm.

Let me interject that, for me, they started when she took her clothes off and yes it ended when the man/men had orgasm.

Here in lies the problem of ONE of my hurts when it comes to reading comments. Some, not all, men who struggle with porn have a very hard time realizing that their spouse is not getting the full enjoyment from sex. Some are in such a rush to get to intercourse and the end result that they are, without realizing it, taking advantage of their wife. That may seem harsh but allow me to explain.

Your wife, the one woman you chose above all others, is a sexual being just like you. She deserves to feel as much pleasure out of making love as you, if not more. The reason I say more is because there is this amazing thing about women…they can have multiple orgasms in a row if we take the time to get her to that point.

And you can not get her to that point if you are thinking that making love to her is like a porn scene. You will not know what gets her to that point either if you don’t get to know what triggers her to get excited. Seeing you naked will not get her there. And, for most women, feeling you inside her will not get her there either. Plus, she wants to feel like she is actually involved in the act and not just laying there for you to get off.

Guys, let’s forget EVERYTHING porn has taught us!!

Take the time to actually get to know every inch of your spouses body. Touch every part and kiss every part…all the while with your eyes open to see her reactions. If she twitches or moans remember that spot and come back to it. Take your time.

Give her a full body massage with some flavored lotion and then follow it up with kisses.

There is more to your wife’s vagina than just her clitoris too. I know that is her main sensation spot but there is so much more to explore…so explore. Give her attention down there. Use your hands, your fingers, your tongue, and your mouth during foreplay.

Make love to her! Kiss her! Hold her the whole time. Let her know how much you love her by pleasing her to the max. Does she not deserve it? After all, she is your treasure from the Lord.

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Her pleasure is just as important as yours. She craves your touch and affection. Give it freely.

Be her husband and lover. Let your scene begin when you touch each other and end when you both collapse after the most intimate, sensual, loving, pleasurable experience for the both of you.