Friday, June 29, 2012

What Do I Want? And What Porn does to the Brain


The other day, I was asked this question, "What do you want?" and "What do you need?".

I started thinking and decided to try to put it on paper. This is what I wrote in my journal:

1. God, I want you to make my steps firm.

2. Lord, become the delight of my life!

3. I want to live abundantly.

4. I want a life of obedience.

5. I want to enjoy great peace.

6. I want you to help me to refrain from anger.

7. I want to feel your pleasure.

8. I want to know I am doing your will.

9. I want to keep your ways.

10. I want to keep my ways pure and holy.

11. I don't want to screw up.

12. I want you to use even my mistakes for your glory.

13. I want my family restored and to have a double portion of blessing in your Kingdom.

14. I want to hear your voice.

15. I want to love you so I can love others.

16. I want more faith, hope and love.

17. I want you to help me walk in freedom from fear, guilt, and shame.

18. I want to let people off the hook by forgiving them.

Oh Lord, I want a lot don't I? But You alone are capable of delivering this tall order.

Psalm 119: 33-40 says,

 "Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; 
then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding, and I will keep your law
and obey it with all of my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
Turn my heart towards your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Fulfill your promise to your servant
so that you will be feared.
Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
Preserve my life according to Your righteousness."

Psalm 119:49-50 says,

"Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life."

As I share our story with people, I am amazed at the grace in which it is received. Grace for my son, grace for us as parents, and people see the redeeming power of the Lord in our situation. How can I deny that God allowed this for His glory? Is it painful, scary, and tumultuous at times? Do I question if sharing our story is wise? The answer is absolutely!

But then I remember all the parents that I have talked with that tell me thank you for sharing our story with them. They tell me that it has changed their thinking and that God has used it to change their lives. Our friends      (Believers and non-Believers) have watched us walk through this and declared themselves changed because they cannot deny the power of Christ in this situation. Yes, it is risk to share such secrets publicly. But after examining all sides of this situation and wrestling it through with God in prayer, I believe that it would be completely irresponsible to not share it. 

When I started researching how addictive porn is and that it is harder to stop then drugs, I was shocked.  Here is just a bit of what I learned.

Once cellular-memory groups and neural pathways are formed in your brain and body, you don't necessarily require outside stimuli to access and activate them. You can call up the images, feelings and information simply by using your imagination, another tool that pornographers use to their advantage.

The makers of porn know that the erotic images stored in the male brain are so potent that they can be activated merely by a word, a woman walking by, or a passing thought. For men who are trying to overcome porn addiction, this automatic response mechanism can be a major source of frustration and discouragement.
Cellular-memory groups storing pornographic images and the neural pathways leading to them are so deep and entrenched that their influence can permeate the whole mindbody network. In a porn user's brain and body, there are so many cellular-memory groups associated with porn images that they can be activated from a thousand different kinds of outside stimuli-or, many times, for no apparent reason at all.

Porn addicts trying to overcome their addiction say that pornographic images will pop into their minds at the worst times: in church, during prayer, during a job interview, while chatting with a son or a daughter, and, worst of all, amid intimate relations with their wife.

These men are in for a lifelong struggle; the cellular-memory groups where these images are stored will always be there to beckon them back to the computer screen. A relapse is always a possibility. Pornographers know that there is a good chance they will reclaim as customers men who are trying to overcome porn addiction, because many give up in despair when the images keep barging back into their minds.

For other men and teens who are caught up in porn addiction but are making no effort to stop, stored porn images become a way to look at porn in the privacy of their own minds. It's like having a mobile porn library of photos and videos to draw from at any time, night or day.
Hours better spent at productive work, with family, serving others, etc. are instead wasted in hours of private fantasy. Otherwise good, hardworking men become so distracted by their fantasies that they become zombies. They are present in body but their minds are lost in a pornographic wasteland.

 Nina Laltrello, MFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Georgia .


Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Precious Gift

 Some new friends of ours felt the Lord leading them to give us a gift. We had been wanting to give our children something special since all this had happened. They have been through so much and experienced so many changes since their brother has been living at the ranch. We were going to dip into our emergency fund to try to get a small play set for our children. This couple found out about this desire and gifted us with an AMAZING play structure! It looks like it belongs in a small playground.
 Praise God my friend, Rob had a forklift attachment to his tractor. God orchestrated everyone to come and help deliver this monster package. The driver of this truck had a hand cart and a bad back! LOL!
 A week after it was delivered the"Fix-It-For-Him" team at Calvary, came to help Steve put it together. It took five hours with seven guys!
 They did a fantastic job!

 Lily peering through her binoculars! Can anyone say "WALL-ee? So cute!
The kids were swinging on it before it was even all put together! The rock climbing wall, trapeze swing, roof, and 9-foot slide haved't even been installed yet.

Remember a few posts back when I talked about "God's Amazing Provision"? Sometimes, he goes beyond provision and he chooses to BLESS. Oh, have we been blessed!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Joy Cometh!


Our hearts were made for joy. Our hearts were made to enjoy the One who created them. Too deeply planted to be much affected by the ups and downs of life, this joy is a knowing and a being known by our Creator. He sets our hearts alight with radiant joy. "Though weeping may endure the night, joy cometh in the morning". 

From my journal...

God, thank you for the joy I felt in worshiping you this morning. Thank you that the grief is getting less intense. Thank you that joy did cometh in the morning! Thank you that your joy has been like iron to my soul. My joy and my confidence is in You. Thank you for the confidence that I am feeling in You and Your ways. I pray Satan will be beaten back. I pray the storm is winding down. Help me to thrive and find joy on this new shore. A shore I am unfamiliar with. I pray I would still dream big dreams. I pray I would have faith to believe my family will love and serve You with their whole hearts and minds.

"If one is joyful, it means that one is faithfully living for God, and that nothing else counts; and if one gives joy to others, one is doing God's work. With joy without and joy within, all is well."-Janet Erskine Stuart

"Live for today but hold your hands open to tomorrow. anticipate the future and its changes with joy. There is a seed of God's love in every event, every circumstance, every unpleasant situation in which you may find yourself." -Barbara Johnson.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Safe Journey


 "He rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you-under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. fear nothing-not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon...'If you'll hold on to me for dear life,' says God, 'I'll get you out of any trouble. I'll give you the best of care if you'll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times.'"- Psalm 91:3-6, 14 (The Message)

"God has not promised us an easy journey, but He has promised us a safe journey." -William C. Miller

From my journal...

Oh God, I am counting on You to give me a safe journey. You are my pilot, my Shepherd, my life, and my very  breath. You keep me under Your mighty wings. You know the traps my enemies have set before me and all around me. Help me to be wise and discerning. Help me to stay behind You so You can lead me to safety.

You alone, keep me from all harm. You won't let my foot slip so that I fall off of some hidden cliff that I might not have seen. 

"I place no hope in my strength...but all my confidence is in God my protector, who never abandons those who have put all their hope and thought in Him." -Francois Rabelais
Jessica took these pictures of my tulips when they were in bloom. They show the wonder of God's creation, even to the tiny bits of pollen that the bees knock off when they visit.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Refresh

 Steve and I felt like we needed to get away on a vacation and focus on making some good memories with the kids. We went to the beach and had a wonderful, relaxing time. We all got to do something that we wanted to do. We bought shovels and sand buckets for all of them (a small fortune was spent) and they had so much fun digging around.
 They seemed to want to spend most of the time in the pool. It was outdoor, so was I ever grateful that the sun was shining most of the time.
 My favorite thing to do is to go by myself and watch the beautiful sunset over the crashing waves. God and I had some serious talks and I felt hope for our future.
 Jacob enjoyed writing his name in the sand.
I tried to get a good picture of Steve, but of course he had to be a goofball. That is Haystack Rock behind us.

 Steve had the camera on the wrong setting, so we all pretty much look sunburned. But it was the only picture I had of the kids and I.
Here Steve is with them. It was strange to not have our oldest with us. We reminisced a lot about what he would be doing if he were here with us. We tried to make it positive, but nevertheless, it was hard going on a  family vacation without him. I continue to hope for a change in our situation. We just have no idea as to the timing of it. I am learning to wait, to persevere and to keep moving forward the best we can.

If you have been through a crisis recently, or if you are still going through one, take time to refresh yourself. I think I spent most of that time sitting there watching the kids play in the pool with my Bible open or writing in my journal. 

We must rest if we are to fight again.

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