TrueNorth’s merger with Be Broken Ministries is in its final stages! We couldn’t be happier for what that means for you, our dear followers, and also for us. I’d like to look back just a little and then look forward with you.
I never thought of starting a nonprofit or even going back to work after becoming an empty-nester. But when that season arrived, I began volunteering and working in anti-trafficking in Atlanta, and my eyes were opened to so much brokenness related to sexuality. I saw a need to help the Christian Church become a safe place for people to go with their sexual struggles, sin, and shame. A dear friend gave me courage (and funds) to start TrueNorth Freedom Project and offered to help me.
TrueNorth was birthed from the idea that we could end sex trafficking if the Christian Church was better equipped to help people with their struggles and sin related to sexuality. It seemed to me that sexual issues were avoided in the Church. Porn use was common. Teaching on healthy sexuality was rare. Other sexual topics like sexual abuse, abortion (and post-abortion healing), premarital sex, and sexual identity and gender issues were totally ignored. I believed that because God is the designer of sex, His people should be the ones to teach about it and lead those with related struggles toward hope and healing.
In light of the sexual brokenness I witnessed and the potential we saw in the Christian Church, my friend and I started TrueNorth. Over time we met with many ministry leaders and pastors, created and presented material to thousands of parents, promoted great content and resources via our blogs and website, and hosted several conferences related to sexuality. Although we didn’t anticipate this in the beginning, my friend and I grew in our understanding of God and His incredible way of wiring us for relationship and love and connection. We learned how our sexuality is a part of this internal wiring. Our lives were forever changed.
We invited you to journey with us, and you bravely did. You read or heard me use words like “sex, penis, breasts, vagina,” and yes, even “masturbation.” In my blogs and presentations, I shared compassionately but truthfully about the allure and addictiveness of porn, the sacredness and power of sex, and how impactful all sexual experiences are. Though many of you weren’t accustomed to such authenticity, you kept tracking with me, and you felt grace (I pray). And security. And for the first time, many of you began connecting the dots of your own stories related to sex and sexuality.
You began to understand a little better why you felt the way you did when “that” happened in your earlier years. Or why it was so difficult to discuss something as tender and sacred as sexuality with your parents because they’d never presented it to you in a tender and sacred way. Or you began to sense hope for the healing of deep sexual wounds or freedom from sexual sin, regret, or shame. Others of you gained a little more compassion for yourself or someone you love struggling with sexual issues. Still others realized that your partner’s sexual sin was not something he or she was ready to get help with or repent of, and perhaps your relationship didn’t survive, but your soul did. And you found a gentleness in my words that let you know you were not alone and that your story mattered to me and to God.
Many of you sensed a longing to do better with your kids or to pray differently for the little ones in your lives because like a mama or papa bear you instinctively knew that the broken world would snatch them away in a heartbeat and fill their hearts and minds with all kinds of misinformation about sexuality. You realized more that the world is broken and filled with deception but that God is good and kind and tender and generous. His love covers a multitude of sin, and His grace is sufficient for all our needs.
In the spring of 2020, COVID-19 rushed in with a vengeance. In a matter of days, life as we knew it changed. Isolation took the place of gathering. Masks hid beautiful faces. “Social distancing” became a thing. But in my house the pandemic held a silver lining, a wonderful, bubbly, beautiful surprise. She was a little girl only 28” tall who knew just a handful of words. My granddaughter Annie’s “Wee School” was closed, but her Nan’s heart and home were open.
For several hours each weekday Annie and I played hide-and-seek and read books and laughed and drew and scoured the closets for her daddy’s old toys that we washed and gave new life to. And we did something else. We danced. Her little wi-fi-connected music player was a great delight to us on those mornings.
Along with typical toddler songs, I included in our playlist a soft-guitar version of “You Are My Sunshine.” At first, Annie would press the arrow to skip that song, but in time she began listening to it and to me singing it softly to her. I would often call her my little sunshine.
One day, as the first few strums of the guitar lifted into the air and into our ears, Annie looked across the room at me. I got down on her level, smiled, and threw my arms open wide. She instinctively laughed and ran into them. We danced! I softly sang words that her mind was just beginning to comprehend, yet her heart already perceived, as love.
In that sweet exchange, I got a glimpse of what it means that God delights in us. His “wiring us for relationship” puts us squarely in the position of wanting to be delighted in, accepted, known intimately, and completely loved. My little Annie was learning how to trust and love. I was learning about pure delight and how it feels to have God delight in me.
We may instinctively know that God delights in us, but sometimes the cares of this world and the weight of our sin and shame are so great that true intimacy seems impossible. When I started TrueNorth I had no idea just how much God had to teach me about true intimacy, about compassion for those who struggle with sexual issues, and about the role parents could play in leading their kids toward a God-honoring understanding of sexuality.
In six years of ministry, God has taught me so much. I want to share some of those things with you. (Previous blog posts reveal more if you’re interested.) Then, I want to tell you how God delights in you and how He can lead you to true freedom in Christ, freedom from sin and shame, freedom to authentically lead those you love in today’s culture.
Some things I’ve learned so far in my journey:
- Sexuality is sacred and purposeful. It reflects God’s covenantal love for His children, made in His image, children in whom He delights. I had never been taught these truths, but they are life-changing.
- Sexuality is an integral and powerful aspect of being human. Our sexuality connects the body, heart, mind, emotions, soul, and spirit like no other aspect of our humanity.
- Experiences related to sexuality can be powerful and impactful, both for good and for evil.
- Sexuality is shaped over a lifetime beginning with the emotional bonds we form (or don’t form) as infants. Your sexuality and mine were shaped by various influences and experiences. Even silence about sexuality may have left you feeling ashamed to talk about it.
- If you’re a parent, your child’s sexuality is being shaped right now. (I wonder if you’ve considered who or what is shaping it, and how is it being shaped?)
- Brain chemistry related to sexuality is a seldom-discussed topic but an important one. Our brains are designed to respond to sexual experiences. Understanding more about the brain’s makeup related to sexuality can lead to personal and relational growth. It can also help you guide your kids.
- Children have an adversary, an enemy of their souls intent on destroying God’s good design for sexuality in their little lives. They need an ally, someone they will turn to instead of hide from as they become more aware of their own sexuality or the sexualized culture. In your younger years, you probably could have used such an ally as you became more aware of sex and sexuality.
- Grown-ups need an ally also. Jesus promises to lead us through the challenges this sexualized and broken world presents. He can relate to our human condition and our need for intimacy. He works through people and ministries like Be Broken.
- Growth happens in community. We are created for relationship, and sharing in community is a beautiful gift we can give ourselves and others.
- The emotional and physical “oneness” that God designed for a man and a woman in marriage is incredibly beautiful and powerful to bond a couple for life. Cultivating this, learning to let go of old patterns of thinking related to sex, and being open to understanding sex from God’s perspective can be so good for a couple and ultimately for a family.
Looking ahead, I want to encourage you to never stop learning about God’s good design for sexuality and never believe that your situation is beyond hope. Keep growing and discovering all that God has for you personally. Utilize the many resources and groups available to you through Be Broken. While moving forward may not be easy (and in fact it may be difficult), there is great potential for growth if you will enter in with faith and courage and see how God provides for you in this important journey.
Here are a few questions to ponder along with some suggested next steps.
- Do you struggle with sexual sin, for example, fantasy, lustful thoughts, porn use, erotica (sometimes called “mommy porn,” but men can struggle with erotica also), affairs, or premarital sex?
While we all have occasional thoughts that enter our minds unannounced, outright sexual sin will greatly impact your life, your current and future relationships, and your walk with God. There is the freedom to be had! I encourage you to read up on the many offerings Be Broken has for men and women who struggle with porn use or sexual addiction. Or check out some of Dr. Juli Slattery’s teaching on the sacredness of sex and why reserving sex for marriage is so important.
- Do you struggle under the weight of another’s sexual sin against you, for example, infidelity, a partner’s porn use, sexual abuse, or sexual intimacy that is not God-honoring or that makes you uncomfortable?
God can and will use everything in your life for your good. If you’re a woman whose husband has strayed sexually, Be Broken’s Wives Care ministry could be a lifeline for you. Be Broken also has a list of counselors across the country. Perhaps you could find one to help you take the next step in your journey toward healing. Books related to these struggles can be found at Pure Community (a ministry of Be Broken).
- Do you struggle with regret or shame related to sexuality, for example, shame over your past sin, shame rooted in negative or false messaging related to sexuality you learned as a child, or shame that was a result of no teaching or even mention of sexuality making it taboo in your mind?
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. The old has gone, the new has come. But letting go of repeating narratives and replacing them with God’s truth is a process. I’ve recently learned a lot about this from the book The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith. I encourage you to read it in community with a few others and see how God might use it to set you free from thoughts that have not served you well and that may be hindering your spiritual growth.
- Do you find yourself accessing content that may be socially acceptable but contains nudity or other objectionable elements that you know aren’t helping you become the man or woman you really want to be?
I want to encourage you to find someone a little ahead of you spiritually to discuss this with. God dealt very harshly with Ham when he “looked on his father’s nakedness.” I believe that a person’s body was made for his or her spouse’s eyes only, not mine or yours, and that God had very good reasons for this. I also believe that the enemy tries to keep us from God’s best and can use these “grey areas” to deceive us and draw us further away from God and healthy relationships.
- If you’re in the parenting season, do you struggle with what to say, or do you feel ill-equipped to lead your kids toward a God-honoring understanding of sexuality?
If your answer to any of the questions above is yes, you will find that God can use your struggles to make you more (not less) authentic in your child’s eyes, especially as you’re leaning into God for the help you need. Learning what to say, what not to say, and how to lead your kids with authenticity and grace is something God longs to help you with. Be Broken does too. Check out their Family Care ministry.
- Would you like to consult confidentially with someone at Be Broken about your particular situation and find a good next step for you?
Be Broken offers hour-long consultations for men, betrayed wives, and parents to talk about potential next steps. (There is a fee for this service.) This is not counseling or therapy, but rather an opportunity to discuss your particular situation or struggle with someone who can assist you in finding hope, needed perspective, and good next steps. (Links: Men, Betrayed Wives, and Parents).
We live in a broken world. We’ve all struggled with various things related to sexuality. I believe as more followers of Christ become more honest and authentic about those struggles (whether past or present), we will find the Body of Christ as a whole becoming stronger and better able to help others, both within the Church and outside the Church. I believe the Church can become a place for people to turn to with their sexual struggles and find deeper intimacy with Christ in the process. I believe we can reduce demand for sex trafficking as well as raise a new generation of adults who understand the sacredness of their sexuality and how to live it out in the power of Christ.
God sings “You are My Sunshine” over little children like you and me. Though we may be tempted to hide from Him, His delight in us causes our fear to subside and compels us to run into His arms. His delight in us gives us the courage to take the next step He has for us because we know He is with us and His love for us will never end.
I’m honored to play a small part in your journey, and with all my heart I want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve you. As part of the Be Broken team, I look forward to seeing how we can continue to help you in your journey!
Family Care Specialist
Be Broken Ministries
 1 Peter 4:8 and 2 Corinthians 12:9
 “You are My Sunshine” Elizabeth Mitchell (Version 1)
 Romans 8:1 and 2 Corinthians 5:17
 Genesis 9:18-25
 One verse that reflects this truth is Zephaniah 3:17
If you like what you’ve read here and believe Be Broken‘s mission is one you’d like to support, click HERE. Be Broken is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Donations are tax-deductible. EIN 20-0087201.
Photo credit: Anne Kerr (a.k.a. Nan)