A highlight of 2019 for me came in the form of a letter. A young woman wrote to share how grateful she was for the work of TrueNorth and how it had impacted her life, her marriage, and her family. Her husband was struggling with porn use and trying to walk free of it. His struggle had left her with feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and hopelessness. He was in counseling. She felt very alone.
Through resources we share on our website and through our Allies event for parents, this couple found support to help them move forward out of a difficult and shameful reality. They became more authentic with each other. They began to grow personally and spiritually. Their marriage became stronger. They began reading materials with their kids to proactively prepare them for the sexualized culture they’re growing up in.
They have started down a new path, and they realize the journey toward sexual healing, wholeness, and health will be life-long. They’re learning how to lean on God as their ally so they can become allies to their kids.
Would you like this kind of growth and authenticity for your closest relationships in 2020? We want to help you, because becoming an ally to those you love in today’s sexualized culture will likely be one of the greatest endeavors of your lifetime. And it won’t always be easy. But God is committed to you and your family. He provides for His own. He is filled with grace and compassion. He makes a way for His plans and purposes. He is faithful.
[God] will tend his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in his arms; He will carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young (Isaiah 40:11).
How might God want to “gently lead you” in 2020 and beyond?
I suggest you begin with a quiet, prayerful look at each of your children and, if you’re married, your spouse.
Ask God to show you what He sees in that little boy or girl or in that grown woman or man. God knows every detail about those you love. He sees all that you cannot see. He sees his or her aptitudes, personality traits, and deepest emotional needs. He sees the way other children may tease, ridicule, or mislead your child. He sees the ways in which a sexualized culture has impacted your loved ones or will impact them in the future.
God sees the inner struggles your spouse may have, perhaps related to his or her own childhood wounds. He believes the best about those you love even when you’re tempted to be overly critical or give up on them. He sees them not only as they are now but also as they will one day be.
God alone can provide the wisdom and grace you need to love your spouse and children well.
How can you join with God as a conduit of His love in the lives of those you love? These moments, days, and seasons are finite and precious. Resolve to slow down enough to really SEE, really HEAR, and really LOVE each of your loved ones every day. Then let God gently lead you.
Next, take a quiet, prayerful look at yourself.
Who is this man or woman that lies behind the face you put on for your family or others? What are her fears and insecurities? What are the recurring sins that keep him trapped, alone, or discouraged? What are the beliefs she’s been carrying for years or perhaps even decades that don’t align with God’s truths? What are the wounds that he tries so hard to cover up, or numb, or medicate? If this man or woman could be totally honest, what would he or she say or do? God created you. You are His beloved child. This is the child God came to rescue, redeem, heal, and restore.
Ask God to let you really SEE yourself as He sees you. For those who are in Christ there is no condemnation (Romans 8:1). There is no fear. There is no need to hide. Yes, your pain, struggles, shame, or sinful behaviors may be difficult to bring into the light, but they’re not beyond God’s ability to use for your good and for the good of your family (Romans 8:28). As you see yourself through God’s eyes, ask Him what He wants to do in your life, then let Him gently lead you in the next step.
And finally, take a quiet, prayerful look at God.
Our biggest fears, our heaviest loads, and our greatest regrets become very small when we look to the God of the universe. He puts them into perspective and He provides for us. He sees the whole of our lives, beginning with the early years, the present, the next chapter, and the final chapter. How will your story end? At some point, whether in a year or in 70 years, your days on earth will be over. What kind of man or woman will your loved ones remember? What will your mark be? A life of hiding and regret or a life of faith, surrender, and obedience? A life of believing lies that the enemy planted years ago or a life of believing what God says about you as His son or daughter?
Are you a follower of Christ, having trusted in Him alone for your salvation? If so, the following are true about you according to scripture. Let God use these truths to gently lead you in the days and years ahead. If you’re unsure about your salvation, read more here.
You are loved. (John 15:9-13 and Romans 8:35-39)
You are forgiven. (Ephesians 1:7)
You are free. (Galatians 5:1)
You are God’s delight. (Psalm 149:4)
You are not alone. (Isaiah 43:2)
God’s grace is sufficient for your every need. (Philippians 4:19)
You have a Shepherd to gently lead you. (Isaiah 40:11)
My husband and I have gained a new appreciation for authenticity in our relationship, though it has come with tears, sorrow, and pain. He struggled with porn use over the first 28 years of our marriage. I had no idea of his struggle. We now realize that we both had idols, sin patterns, and false beliefs that God wanted to deal with. Living behind masks had not served us well and kept us spiritually impotent in many ways.
There’s so much more to our story, but I want you to know that our marriage has not only survived, it has also thrived. We are not the same people we were six years ago, and we are not the same people we will be six years from now. We are on a journey of trusting God to lead us. We are taking good steps to be more authentic, to be honest with our emotions, to let our real selves be seen and loved, and to believe what God says about us in His word rather than what we may think about ourselves.
I pray 2020 will be a year of authenticity and consistent growth for you and your family. I pray you will know the joy of trusting God to lead you and finding Him faithful to you, His beloved child, and to those you love and lead. I pray the journey will be sweet and fruitful.
The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.
(1 Thessalonians 5:24)
In the next few days we will be sending you a special gift, a downloadable, four-week prayer guide to help you draw near to your children in today’s sexualized culture. We pray it will be a blessing to you and your family. Watch your inbox for the link, and please share it with others.
Could you use a little guidance on next steps for your journey? Visit truenorthfp.org and click Tools or read some of our previous blog posts. Join us for Allies: Parents and Kids Navigating a Sexualized Culture at North Metro Church (outside of Atlanta) on January 17, 2020. Click HERE for more information.
It is an honor to be on this journey with you. As always, we’d love to hear from you. Blessings on your new year!
Founder and CEO, TrueNorth Freedom Project, Atlanta, GA.
Want to help us in our mission to help parents understand their sacred sexuality, live it out in the power of Christ, and lead the next generation to do the same? Click here. TrueNorth is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Donations are tax-deductible. EIN 46-5767272.
Photo Credit: Mauricio Fanfa