When I was s a fifth grader, my friend opened my laptop and introduced me to pornography. At the time, I didn’t know what pornography was, but I did know that it was something new and exciting. Years would go by before I rediscovered porn.
In college, after experiencing date rape (my first time having intercourse), I had many questions about sex. My curiosity led me to my reliable friend, Google. As I began typing in my questions about sex, I was intrigued. “So this is what sex is supposed to look like.” I truly believed that…
As someone who serves in ministry with my own history of struggling with pornography, women often pour out their stories to me with a sigh of relief. While sitting on my living room couch, Jessica shared her struggle with porn:
I was exposed to pornography as a first grader by a childhood friend. I had no idea the lasting effects it would have on me as I got older. While I didn’t understand what it was or why it was bad, I innately felt that it was wrong—that alone filled me with shame. Shame followed me through my life until, for the first time, I heard another woman share that she struggled with it too. That defeated the biggest lie I was believed: that I was in this alone.
There are many women in your church who have similar stories to Jessica. Some may sit next to you on a Sunday and others may be leading Bible studies—they all worry that someone will find out about their secret. I’ve had women from across the spectrum confess their struggle to me, from new believing college students to experienced church leaders. Sadly, the influence of porn in the church is almost as dominant as it is in the world.
I first saw porn in fifth grade. I remember the day like it was yesterday. My friend and I just got back from basketball camp and went up to my room to play. I had a small Dell laptop sitting on my desk and my friend said, “Let me show you something.” She pulled up images and at the time, I had no idea this was porn. I had never heard of pornography before. But in the moment, I felt weird.
I felt like we shouldn’t be looking at this. I remember making sure my bedroom door was shut so my parents wouldn’t know what we were doing. After this incident, I wouldn’t look at porn again until college, but I believe it awakened a part of my sexuality.
“Just don’t do it.”
Growing up, I went to church, but my memories of conversations about sex in a church setting are very minimal. As a middle schooler, my parents sent me to a weekend conference where I sat in a circle with other students and we repeated the words “penis” and “vagina.” Parents were encouraged to sit in on the groups and I remember my dad standing up and saying, “I can’t do this,” as he walked away.
Since COVID-19 the pornography industry has seen a massive increase in website traffic. On March 24th, one major site announced that their premium content would be free to all visitors resulting in a massive increase of 18.5%. The site explained that watching free porn will encourage people to stay home and flatten the curve.
It’s no surprise that many will turn to porn in our current circumstance. I know because this used to be my story. In moments of pain, I turned to porn to escape my reality. Engaging with pornography appeared to be a quick fix for my negative emotions and feelings, but it was never fully satisfying. These negative emotions and feelings could include fear, anxiety, isolation, stress, and boredom, all of which are currently at an all-time high for many of us.
In our fear and anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we search for things to comfort us and make us feel safe. We watch the news and scroll through our Twitter feeds. We buy all the toilet paper and Clorox wipes off the shelves. We binge Netflix hoping that a little distraction and a quick feeling of pleasure will calm our nerves…
I am so excited that HeartStrong Faith has launched a brand new podcast called, “Honest Conversations | HeartStrong Faith.” What they do is discuss difficult topics by seeing what the Bible really has to say about them.
This week, I joined Rebecca Carrell and Liz Rodriguez to share my journey of sexual healing and how to minister to those who struggle.
How to Overcome Sexual Shame: Check out this video from my talk at the adolescent girls ministry, Four ThirTeen Youth Ministry. In this video, I briefly share my story. Then we look to Genesis to see how God created us as sexual brings and how Adam and Eve first experienced sexual shame. Lastly, we will look at three ways we can find freedom from sexual shame.
Pornography is a growing epidemic. 1 out of 3 visitors to adult sites are women. Joy will talk about the problems of pornography, how it impacts us, our society, and our relationships, and then provide practical ways to begin walking in freedom.
Testimony: From Pornography Addiction to Redemption God uses our pain and our past to help others. Joy Skarka Skarka has struggled with promiscuity, pornography, masturbation, and sexual shame. She will share her story, and talk about the freedom we have in Christ.
Did you know that JP Ministries offers a free 6 day Bible reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app? (Click here to start the plan.) Attached below is a sneak peak of the plan. Here is Day 2: FREEDOM Through The Holy Spirit.
Without a relationship with Jesus, freedom from addiction is practically impossible. When you become a true follower of Christ, the Holy Spirit takes root inside of you and gives you the power to become who God created you to be and break free from addiction. The Holy Spirit connects us to God in the most intimate and powerful ways possible.