"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life as promised by God to those who love Him."
🌱 James 1:12 🌱
I have over 30 years of experience training law enforcement professionals as well as leading men's Bible studies, and ministering to men in small group settings and one on one. I am a member of the Crisis Care Ministry at Lakewood Church. I am also a graduate and small group facilitator for Maximized Manhood, a men's discipleship program of the Christian Men's Network. God lead me to begin the Freedom For Men at Lakewood Church, a men's pornography ministry. How did I become a leader of a porn ministry?
Here is my story.
Mental illness, child abuse, trauma, drug addiction, alcoholism, mental illness, a child with special needs, multiple hospitalizations for multiple suicide attempts by multiple members of my family, estrangement from family, the receiving end of a frivolous and unwarranted lawsuit, significant injuries to my shoulder, neck, and back causing permanent nerve damage, a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, and high blood pressure, two years of never, NOT ONCE getting more than 3 hours of sleep at night, and tremendous feelings of guilt and shame.
The attack by the enemy on my family as a unit, and on all of us as individuals was vicious, it was daily, and it lasted over a decade. How did I deal with all this as a Christian, as a man, a husband, a father, and a Deputy Sheriff? The simple answer is not well. I did do a couple of things right that helped. I also did one thing wrong that led to all my mistakes and sin that caused both my family and me a lot more pain and damage.
The main thing I did right was that while I stepped down from leading a men’s Bible study, I remained in the group which met on Thursday nights. On those nights when I was frequently drained emotionally, spiritually, and physically, when my spiritual armor had been stripped, and I felt utterly gutted, those men covered me with their armor, laying hands on me, praying for me and over my wife and daughters. I will never forget those men and their obedience to God, their empathy, gentleness, and kindness.
The one thing that I did wrong that led to all the mistakes and sin was that while I would leave that Bible study at least somewhat refreshed, as soon as I got home, I was right back in the middle of the attack on my family and unable to stay focused on God. My home, which should have been a place of peace, comfort, and refuge, was instead a place of spiritual darkness, pain, and anguish. Instead of realizing that this was a spiritual battle and having God fight it, I saw that since it was my family, it was my battle to fight. I remember feeling as though I was swimming in a dark, stormy ocean at night with my family on my back. I was swimming as hard as I could, hoping to find land before my family and I drowned. The reality was that I knew I was already drowning, that I believed one or more of my family members would die, and that I had failed as a husband and father.
To escape the pain and shame and guilt of failure I was feeling, I turned to pornography. I had first seen a pornographic magazine when I was about ten years old, and I remember being mesmerized. Once into my early 20’s and living alone, and even after I got married, I would purchase magazines and DVDs infrequently. I always knew it was wrong but would find a way to justify it. After several years, when most of the significant turmoil in my family had settled, I was still watching pornography. I knew I had a problem, but I was too embarrassed to admit it and ask for help. I tried to get rid of the problem with willpower. When that didn’t work, I would have thoughts of, “You’re weak,” “You’re a terrible husband and father,” or, “You don’t deserve this nice family you have.” I tried praying it away with the prayer, “God take this from me” and any number of variations of that prayer. But God, in His infinite wisdom, didn’t just take it from me. He knew I had work to do. I couldn’t do His part, and He wouldn’t do my part. Every time I failed after trying to pray it away, I’d hear the voice of the enemy in my thoughts, “God doesn’t love you. You’re a porn addict. You’re going to burn in hell.” In reading the Bible, my interpretation of different verses began to suffer as Satan’s voice in my thoughts grew louder. Verses that were meant to convict me condemned me. Verses of Jesus’ love didn’t apply to me; just everybody else. Eventually, I stopped reading the Bible altogether.
It all came crashing down one Saturday afternoon when I received a phone call from my wife telling me that one of our daughters had told her of my porn addiction. They had known about it for a long time but had said nothing. When they could no longer take the pain of my betrayal to their mother, they sat her down and told her. My wife told me that when I got home, I should pack my things and leave. I got home, packed a few things, and went to a local hotel. The minute I walked into the hotel room, I dropped my bag and began to cry uncontrollably. I knew without a doubt that my marriage was over and that our daughters would have little or nothing to do with me ever again. I had thrown everything good in my life away for porn. I had once again failed miserably as a husband and father, causing tremendous pain and what I saw as irreparable damage to my family. It was the worst night of my life.
Then Jesus showed up! Actually, at some level, I knew He was there all along, but I was finally at a place where He was all I had left. I realized that He had put a friend in my life decades before for this very moment. I reached out to my friend, Brent, and told him everything. Brent then spoke words I’ll never forget. He said, “I am so proud of you for reaching out. I want you to know that I love you, that God loves you, that it’s going to be okay and that I don’t think your marriage is over.” They were the exact words I needed to hear. I didn’t believe everything he said, but I had a small degree of hope. We ended the call with Brent praying for me and my marriage and promising to send me some materials and keep in touch often.
After speaking to our pastor the following Monday morning, I made arrangements to begin Christian sexual addiction counseling with someone he recommended. I was out of the house for a week when my wife told me that she wanted to model marital forgiveness to our daughters. I would be allowed back under several conditions, which I agreed to. While my viewing of pornography eventually went away with counseling, I still held onto the guilt and shame of having hurt my family for several years afterward. I rationalized the use of my guilt and shame as a tool to not go back to porn and hurt my family again. As it turned out, I was doing that wrong as well. During a church service, the worship team began to sing a new song entitled,” Brave.” The chorus contains the words, “No more shame, Your perfect love has set me free.” While I was singing these words, God took away my shame and guilt. He set me free. Shortly after this, God called us to move to Texas to be His hands and feet in starting a men’s pornography ministry and to talk to men to let them know that there is hope and healing and that it’s found in Jesus. To God, be the glory. Thank you for reading my testimony.
Rob can be contacted through this website for help in starting a men's pornography ministry or a men's discipleship ministry.