In many ways, it was a typical Wednesday morning. I was meeting with a group of young and middle-aged moms for a Bible study at the local Presbyterian Church. I’d been attending for a few months since our brand-new church plant didn’t have a group like this—we barely had any moms at all.
Toward the end of our meeting, the women began sharing prayer requests. As they looked at me expectantly when it was my turn to share, I blurted out, “Please pray for me because I’m really struggling with looking at pornography.”
I am tense as I write this because I know this isn’t something we like to talk about in general, less so when it comes to a woman struggling with it, and probably the least if that woman is your pastor’s wife. However, over a decade on the other side of it, I want to share what it has looked like for me to walk in the light and hopefully encourage others to join me there.
Hiding in the Darkness
As we began to build the core team of our church that first year, tried to raise money and meet new people, my husband, Eric, got a job delivering pizzas on the side to make ends meet. He worked late nights and I was lonely and exhausted with two small kids. We were doing a lot of gospel work, but I neglected taking care of my soul.This isn’t something we like to talk about in general, less so when it comes to a woman struggling with it, and probably the least if that woman is your pastor’s wife. Click To Tweet
One night while Eric was delivering pizzas, I came across a late-night movie channel that eventually led me into a short but dark season of habitually watching porn. I remember after stumbling over and over, I cried out to God asking, who can help me? I felt trapped in a vicious cycle of indulging my flesh and then being disgusted by it.
Although I repeatedly confessed my sin to my husband, I knew I was living a double life. And the thought of my sin derailing my husband’s ministry was a fear so heavy it sent me into a panic. But I didn’t know how to walk away. This is often the nature of our sin and how the enemy tries to enslave us to it. He desires our complete destruction, but he also wants us to believe there’s no way to escape the darkness.
Walking in the Light
But the devil is a liar. The truth is, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). And if we walk in the light as our God does, we’ll have fellowship with one another and be cleansed from all our sin through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).
As the Holy Spirit revealed these things to me one night amid my sin and shame, I knew the only way to break free was to repent and walk in the light. Immediately, my mind argued, If you tell anyone, no one will ever respect you. Eric will be disqualified; it’s best to keep it a secret. But God in his kindness reminded me to fear him and not man (Matt. 10:28). I realized that if I outed myself, there would be no need to live in fear that I would be found out.Pornography tried to ruin me and it’s trying to ruin other men and women in our churches, too. But it needs the cover of darkness to thrive. Let’s be people who walk in the light. Click To Tweet
I called a few close friends and awkwardly, painfully confessed my sin. I told the mom’s Bible study group I needed prayer and accountability. I shared my story at our women’s retreat because I learned of so many other women with similar struggles. I knew if our church would be one that confessed sin and sought repentance, it would have to start with Eric and me, even if that meant possible embarrassment or unemployment.
For anyone who feels trapped in pornography’s sinful clutches, here are five steps you can take toward holiness:
1. Repent. By the power of the Holy Spirit, turn away from your sin and walk in the newness of life in Jesus.
2. Put your sin and your self into the light. Confess your sin to other believers and give a few that you trust license to speak into your life and help you identify sinful behaviors.
3. Ask God for help. It wasn’t until I took my sin before the Lord and asked for his wisdom and help that I knew what I had to do next. In James 1:5, God promises to give us wisdom if we ask.
4. Do not fear. Remember your holiness is more important than your reputation. In Christ, God is pleased with you forever, so rest in that.
5. Behold the glory of Christ. Indulge your holy appetite for gazing at and longing for Jesus. As we behold him, we are being transformed more and more into his image (2 Cor. 3:18).Pastors’ wives aren’t perfect; we need the grace of Jesus just like everyone else in our church. Click To Tweet
I’ve been a pastor’s wife my entire adult life. This role provides unique blessings, but it doesn’t guarantee an easy path to holiness. Pastors’ wives aren’t perfect; we need the grace of Jesus just like everyone else in our church.
Pornography tried to ruin me and it’s trying to ruin other men and women in our churches, too. But it needs the cover of darkness to thrive. Let’s be people who walk in the light. Let’s humbly confess, repeatedly repent, and trust God to make us holy as he is holy.