Forward by Candice Youngblood
Sex. It’s the one topic with which the church feels most uncomfortable. This issue is unfortunate because it’s one of the most important topics about which the church should be talking. When Will shared this blog with me before posting, I found myself stuck in a paradox of emotions. One emotion was excitement. I was excited to read about the triumph of God in the life of a believer, especially a type of triumph that I myself have experienced. The other emotion was fear. How will a blog such as this be received? What’s the line between privacy and transparency in the life of a believer? In the words of one of my dear sisters in Christ, Will and I had an intense fellowship concerning the topic. After cutting through our pride, stubbornness, and motives we came to a point of unity on matter. Below, you will find the results of that unity. Please read Will’s testimony and consider the manifestation of the glory and mercy of Jesus Christ. His story is very important to me, and it is one with which I can closely identify. Perhaps someday, when he and I write a book together (which we seriously plan to do), I will share my testimony as well.
A message from Will: The following is a very difficult post, with some content that may be objectionable to some readers; discretion is advised.
I never thought I would be able to write this blog, in fact it may take several times of crying to actually finish it. Yet, I must finish it; for it is a testimony to my great Father and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As of March, I will have been free of pornography for a whole year.
Did you see that? Free for a year.
I never thought I would be free for a month, much less a year.
My journey started like so many when I was young, sixth grade to be accurate. It began with an excursion into romance novels; the really vivid and graphic ones. It does not matter whether they are harlequins or historical romances; they all contain graphic sexual content. If you have them laying around your house, I beg you to get rid of them before your children find them; they are truly a gateway to hell.
From the novels, it went to cable movies/shows; I used to stay up late to watch HBO, Cinnemax, and Showtime. This was the living room area of sexual addiction, this was my teenage version of sex education. I only got caught a couple of times; I knew how to hide it from others—secrecy: it’s one of the biggest indicators of sin.
As internet became more prevalent and I had access to it, I descended into the dungeon of sexual addiction. The internet became a way for me to get my drug; for at this point, that is what it had become for me. I continued to spiral into the abyss until I used my parents’ credit card (and not a fake email address) to gain access to a website. My parents got an email from one of the sites and they were furious; I was banned from internet usage and in my lost and hopeless state where this act was my idol, nearly committed suicide.
But here’s where the story takes a turn. Here’s where the salvific power of Christ enters my life. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, God kept me from taking my life. Not too long after this, I became a believer in Christ. I wish I could say that this automatically ended my fight with the addiction but I would be a poor liar. Now I had a bigger problem, I was now following Jesus and trying to continue my old pornography habits. Whereas before I could indulge in porn without issue, now I felt a deep conviction that it was wrong, and that I needed to stop watching it.
By this point I was chemically dependent on the sin. Pornography is not just a spiritual problem, but it is also a physical problem. When I was in my really rough years in middle school, my sin became my relief from my stress. After I did that for several years, I had become dependent, addicted to my own sin. So, even though I have sought freedom in Christ, with various amounts of success…I have still had immense struggles with it.
My porn addiction continued through high school, post high school, and even some into college (though in college it was less prevalent due to my being around people more often). As I really began to commit myself to doing God’s will in college, I became incredibly burdened by my sexual immorality. I was constantly afraid someone would find out, and I would be asked to leave campus. That never happened, but the fear of it was still there. College though, is when I began to have more significant victories, even though they were often followed by periods of porn binges.
The nature of my addiction in college changed from a constant stream to periodic binges; I was actively fighting the problem, but it would still make itself present when I would have a low point or when I would let my guard down. When I graduated from college in 2010; I reached another serious lowpoint/depression. Though I still fought the addiction; I did not fight as hard. So, while I began pursuing females during that time, I was very steeped in pornography binges.
There was a breaking point in the fall of 2010 when the church I attended held a purity D-Now for the youth, and I was asked to be one of the leaders. I felt incredibly hypocritical, and rightly so, for living a life that did not exemplify the biblically based material in front of me, so I decided to change. For a while, I lived in the grace of God and began to see God do awesome things. It was during this time that I wrote the series of blogs entitled, ”What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Writing this series was both my triumph and my folly. I strongly believe what I have written in those blogs, but I have to say for the most part, I have not practiced it.
It was not too long after this that I guess, I got prideful, and then I got waylaid…from March of 2011 to February of 2012, are some of the most painful and unbelievable moments of my life. Pornography does not just stay in your private life; the sin leaks out into everything you touch: you become irritable and secretive. You start thinking about sex and see every comment as sexual. Your mind literally becomes consumed with sex; you worship at its altar and pray without ceasing. You treat your opposite-sex relationships differently.
It starts with sexual innuendo; the innocent flirting and alluding. From there it regresses to what is called “sexting,” then to inappropriate phone conversations and the spiral continues…just an endless, bottomless, abyss of pain, hell, and destruction. Ultimately, you begin to evaluate all of your potential mates on how well you think they will do in bed.
I knew it was wrong, but I refused to stop myself.
One woman I talked to initiated the inappropriate exchanges but actually stopped talking to me because, even though she initiated the talk, I went way beyond where she was willing to go. Did that stop me? Not in the least. I moved on to more and more inappropriate conversations with women. The final woman was trying to get me to lie to my parents so I could take a trip to Chattanooga and actually sleep with her…
At that point the Holy Spirit broke through: I was out of control.
I went to an event called “Worship and Waves” where my pastor’s message really convicted me; that night I broke of that horrible relationship and I was free again.
I remained free for several months; I took the entire month of August to reevaluate my life and to try to find ways to battle my sexual temptations and remember the pain they cause. It was after this time that I started talking to Wendy Roach.
Wendy and I’s relationship was very complicated; the more I think and pray, the more I realize how much I wronged her. I think of Wendy as “Leah” was to Jacob, I never really loved her and toward the end I did not even like her. Though we never fully crossed the boundary line of physical relationship, we pushed it to its limit. It is completely my fault for I did not lead us in a godly manner; in fact, I believe that our relationship was God’s way of showing me what not to do. I was utterly selfish and tempted us both in ways that no godly man should ever do with a woman he claims he loves, but then again, I did not love her…that explains a lot. I used her for my own gratification, but as the relationship wore on and wore out, even that was not enough.
I mention this because it was during the high stress of this relationship that I was pushed back into pornography. Sexual gratification outside of marriage in any way will not quench sexual addiction, it will only fuel it. In fact, one of the “benefits” to breaking up with her was so I could watch porn again without her getting belligerent and checking up on me. That was not the only reason, but it was definitely a reason that pushed me to end our relationship.
I binged for about a month and that is when God really began to break me; I wish I could say in the months leading up to meeting and talking with Candice that I was pure; that also would be a lie. However, in March I began to fight the hardest I have ever fought against pornography; no, that does not end the sexual addiction, but it was a step in the right direction. It was my way of saying to God that I was ready to get out.
Candice and I began seriously talking in April, we both have highly addictive pasts that God continues to redeem. Praise God that he has protected us from completely giving our purity over to another person, but we both have struggled horribly with our purity. One step I took to escape was to put serious restrictions on my computer usage through a program called “Safe-Eyes”. Even with this precaution, there were times that temptation would lead me to look for loopholes to find something that was just sexual enough to make it through the filter but not too “hard core”. I would watch a few seconds of it, get convicted and have to confess to Candice…it was not easy, and I would rather pluck my eyes out. However, Candice forgave me, prayed for me, and encouraged me to continue to forsake it.
And I did, and I am still forsaking it.
It has not been an easy road for Candice or I; I can say though with all of our miscues, this is the purest, holiest relationship I have ever been in. We have had to modify boundaries according to our convictions and the leading of the Spirit, but we have kept those boundaries. Again, it is only by the grace of God in Christ that we have made it to our wedding day on March 16, 2013 (12 days as of 3 PM CST, WOOHOO!) as virgins ready to experience the joys of monogamous, holy, fiery sex together. And we should be looking forward to this; God has been drawing us closer together and we feel that only way to get closer is to become one with one another. We are excited about how God has brought us together, she is truly my “Rachel;” and I love her deeply and dearly.
Candice is not the reason I stopped doing porn, but God used her as a means to help with what was already going on in my heart. In all of this, God is the hero; God is the one who, in Christ, has stayed by my side and kept me fighting. His love never fails, it never gives up, and it truly has never run out on me. I owe him everything that I have that is good and wonderful in this world.
As of March 2013, I will have been free from a pornography binge for one year.
By his grace and with his help, I hope to make it…
A Year and a day
A Year and a month
I look forward to the day when I have lived in freedom longer than I have lived in sin.
May he continue to increase and may I continue to decrease.