I can still see those big brown eyes. “Anna”* called me a few years ago on New Year’s Eve as I was about to leave Out of Darkness (a rescue organization for women in prostitution) to start TrueNorth. I was surprised to see her name on my phone because she’d left the program we’d found for her and was presumably back in the life of prostitution. I’d prayed many prayers for her. That night, she wanted out. She was ready.
A volunteer and I picked her up at a McDonald’s and drove away. Her pimp stood nearby looking at us like he wanted to talk. But we’d come to talk with her and get her to a safe place. We weren’t taking any chances on her changing her mind because of some parting words with him.
As friends do, we began to catch up. I told her about the new work I was starting, helping normalize conversations about bodies, porn, and sex within the Christian church so people with sexual struggles could find hope and healing. My work would help keep women like her from being exploited.
She was really intrigued. Then she told me about one of her clients. “There’s this guy, Jacob.* He’s a regular, but this last time he broke down on the phone with me. He said, ‘I don’t want to keep doing this, but I don’t know what else to do.’” She asked me if TrueNorth would help someone like Jacob.
Why am I telling you this story?
Because though I don’t know Jacob, and I don’t know his story, it’s likely he grew up in a home much like yours and mine. He probably had a mom and a dad who loved him. Maybe porn found him like it found you and me. Maybe he didn’t have anyone to talk with about his early sexual encounters which left him confused yet intrigued. Maybe his porn use escalated to going to clubs and eventually to buying my friend for sex. Maybe he was just lonely. Maybe he couldn’t get a date. Maybe he was so wounded on the inside that he sought connection in all the wrong places. Maybe he didn’t find answers in his church. Maybe he was too ashamed to ever pass through the doors of a church.
Jacob could be your friend, someone you work with, your neighbor, your brother, your son. Who will reach Jacob and help him find what his heart truly desires more than illicit sex, which is an intimate relationship with God? Who will walk with Jacob through the messy work of unpacking all the secrets, deception, addiction, woundedness, anger, loneliness, or sorrow that made him more vulnerable to counterfeit forms of intimacy? Where is the Christian church in this conversation? Are we too ashamed of our own sexual sin or wounds to come alongside a brother or sister in need of healing or hope? God help us because we are all sexually broken and in need of God’s redemption.
How different Jacob’s story might have been if he’d had an ally in his early years, someone he could turn to as he encountered sexual things that began to shape his sexuality. Someone who would compassionately guide him and help him find hope for the deepest longings of his heart.
Moms and dads, you’re raising the men and women of tomorrow. Future buyers of sex are growing up in homes right now. The girls of today are growing up into the women of tomorrow. What are they learning about their good, God-given sexuality? What are they learning about the worth of others’ sexuality?
How are you teaching the value of every person created in God’s image? How are you modeling God-honoring sexuality, healthy affection, intimacy in relationships, and a surrendered walk with Jesus? Do you understand these things enough to lead your kids toward them?
Will your son grow up to be someone who honors, protects, and defends others or someone who uses them? Will your daughter grow up to understand the sacredness of her sexuality or will she look for her value and worth in the arms of lovers?
If your desire is to become an ally for your kids, I invite you to subscribe to our blogs and learn from us. And I invite you to turn to God’s word for truth. Here are some verses to guide you in a prayer of trust and surrender to God who truly wants the best for you and your family. Wherever you are on this journey of raising kids, God has more for you.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NASB)
Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 NASB)
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20 NASB)
In this broken world, we have hope. That hope is Christ, our overcomer, our Redeemer, our advocate, the lover of our souls – our ally. Christ equips us for what He calls us to. He provides for us. He delights in you, and He wants to lead you to more, more than your soul has known so far and far more than this world can offer.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… (Ephesians 3:20 NIV)
We’re praying that you, Jacob, and all God’s children will come to understand and embrace His beautiful design for their sexuality. Sadly, boys and girls and men and women today often don’t know what to do with their sexual wounds, sexual struggles, or sexual longings. But God, the designer of sex, has answers for them. Would someone like Jacob have found his answers in your church? Most Christians aren’t comfortable talking about sexuality and few churches teach on it. Let’s help the Christian Church become a safe place for people to turn to for hope and healing. If they can’t turn to us, where will they turn? TrueNorth is working hard to equip believers and change the culture in churches today.
We’re helping host an equipping conference in a couple of months, the Sexual Integrity Leadership Summit May 2-4, 2019, at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA. Plenary speakers include Dr. Juli Slattery, Dr. Crawford Loritts, Jay Stringer, and Pastor Jason Dees. The summit will offer 24 breakout sessions over 4 tracks. We hope you’ll attend the conference and invite pastors and ministry leaders you know to attend as well. Early registration rate of $99 is good through March 8, and groups of three or more can receive a 25% discount! You can find more information here.
Let us know how we can encourage you as you work to become an ally to your kids in today’s sexualized culture. Share topics you’re curious about. We’d love to hear from you! Email me at email@example.com.
Founder and CEO of TrueNorth Freedom Project
*Not their real names, but Anna represents many women today in search of their worth, and Jacob represents many men who purchase women for sex or numb their pain through porn or other forms of counterfeit sex.
Founder and CEO
TrueNorth Freedom Project, Atlanta, GA. Want to help us bring the good news of sexuality to a hurting and broken world? Find ways to give here. TrueNorth is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Donations are tax deductible. Our EIN is 56-5767272.
Photo by Ana Francisconi