Today we are happy to be hosting author and speaker Shelley Hitz. Take a moment to read her story of freedom from addiction and take advantage of her offer of a free Kindle copy of her book, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.” More info below.
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This past April, 2012, marked twenty years of following Christ in my life. I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home and was baptized when I was young, but did not choose to truly surrender my life to Christ until my junior year in high school. Once I committed my life to Christ everything in my life was perfect from that point on, right? Wrong.
I think sometimes we get the idea that being a Christian excludes us from certain trials, hardships and pain; but the Bible tells us differently. John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I (Jesus) have overcome the world.” Notice it doesn’t say you might have trouble or if you have enough faith you won’t have trouble…it says you will have trouble. Matthew 5:45 also says that the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous.
So even though I was a Christian, I had brokenness and pain. My grandma was murdered when I was eight years old, I experienced an instance of sexual abuse in junior high and my dad was emotionally unavailable for me when I was growing up. My life was not perfect, but I still tried to put on the image that I had it all together.
My coping mechanisms for the emotional pain I held deep inside started with harmless things like shopping and workaholism. Then, it progressed into something worse…I had a secret. This secret sin started when I was 25 years old. I had been married for two years, my husband was in full-time ministry and we were active in ministry at our church. I had a successful career as a Physical Therapist. From the outside, it appeared that my husband and I were the picture of an ideal Christian couple.
However, it could not have been farther from the truth.
I Had a Secret Sin
You see, for two years, I struggled with internet pornography and masturbation. I thought I was the only Christian woman to ever struggle with this particular sexual sin. I felt dirty and disgusted with myself, but couldn’t stop.
It was like the proverbial frog in the pot. If you put a frog in a pot of boiling water, it will jump out. However, if you put the frog in a pot of room temperature water and then gradually turn the temperature up, it will get cooked. And I got “cooked,” spiritually speaking. If Satan would have tempted me with hard core porn in the beginning, I would have rejected the temptation immediately. However, the temptation started out more innocently with soft porn. And I gave in. Pretty soon, that wasn’t enough and it gradually spiraled into worse material. I found myself looking at hard core porn.
It Shocked Me and I Knew I Needed Help
I am so thankful that God gave me the courage at that time to reach out for help. I confessed my sin to my husband and started Christian counseling. And I would love to say that I never gave in to viewing pornography after that point. But, it did not happen that way. As with most people that struggle with sexual addiction, it took time. I would take two steps forward and then one step back. But, through God’s grace I am free today.
Healing and Freedom is Possible
Recently, I was looking back at my journals from the last 12 years and realized that I have now been free from the stronghold of pornography and masturbation for a decade now. It was a process that was painful at times as I worked on forgiving those that hurt me and healed from deep emotional wounds from the past. But it was so worth it. St. Theophan Reculse is quoted saying, “Take one feeble step toward God and He will take a thousand toward you.” And I have found this to be true in my own life.
And now God is using my pain and the journey of healing He took me through to help others.
Shelley Hitz has been ministering alongside her husband, CJ, since 1998. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements. Shelley’s openness and vulnerability, as she shares her own story of hope and healing, will inspire and encourage you.
Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 including the book she co-authored with S’ambrosia Curtis, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.” During their book launch on 9/26/12-9/27/12, you can download a free Kindle copy and also enter to win over $400 worth of resources. Find out more at www.ChristianWomenandPorn.com