Tag Archive: Bek Curtis


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I received the invitation to contribute an article to this series on Parenting, whilst I was smack bang in the middle of hosting my own magnificent personal pity party, all in honour of my perceived parental failure. So my initial response to the email was not exactly enthusiastic, more along the lines of: ‘OH HECK NO! What advice can I offer anyone?’

As the night progressed, and the drama around me settled, it became obvious that I needed to at least try and write something. The lie that I can’t contribute, just because my life hasn’t reached perfect equilibrium was designed to keep me, us, inactive and bound by our own insecurity, and I’m so done listening to lies!

So here’s 4 parenting tips that have worked for our family. I make no claims to be an expert, I’ve never read a single parenting book, nope, not one, ever! All I can offer is my life experience thus far, and a few things I’ve managed to learn whilst trying not to fall off this rickety old parenting roller-coaster.

My children, for the record, are now aged 14-Boy, 12-girl & 7-girl.

We have also recently acquired a fabulous 18 year old ‘daughter’, whose beautiful behaviour I can take no credit for, as she’s been raised by phenomenal parents up to this point. However any wonderful successes from her in the future, we shall definitely be claiming as the benefits of her time living with us- Gotta take what you can!

I also want to say, every child is unique, every parent is unique what works for me may be a disaster for you. Parenting is akin to an Indiana Jones adventure. Sometimes you’re in a classroom lecturing attentive ears, other times you’re out of breath, dodging arrows and trying not to get blown up. And then there’s those rare moments when you’re grasping the holy grail and feeling like you could rule the world. It all part of the fun!

1. I’m Not Raising Kids! 

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It is my personal opinion that I’m not raising kids, I’m raising adults.

Yes, they’re children now, but that’s not what I’m raising them to be.

My job, my responsibility, is to equip these young people to enter into, and interact with a world filled with other fellow humans. This means teaching them to give voice to their feelings, opinions, ideas, dreams and desires, in a way that honours both them and those around them.

One of the best ways to do this is by teaching them self-awareness, asking them to explore how their actions may affect those around them.

Every single day contains a lesson. As parents we must recognise all the opportunities around us that provide these lessons.

It could be as simple as grocery shopping and coming across a cereal box that’s fallen or been left in the middle of the aisle. Point it out to your child, ask them: ‘Do you think we should do something about this? Is it dangerous?’. You might be met with enthusiasm as your child lunges to return the box to its home. Or you might be met with ‘Why? We didn’t drop it!’.

Perfect, discuss that!

Discuss why we might have a responsibility to sometimes deal with things that aren’t our ‘fault’, in order to prevent further damage. Ask your child what might happen if someone who was vision impaired, or slow to react, were to stumble across that cereal box?

This kind of discussion segues beautifully into age appropriate lessons in spiritual dynamics, social justice and the precious injustice of true grace!

I promise, a lesson lurks around every corner and the relational bond with your kids will grow as you embrace these lessons and transform them into daily open dialogue. It’s never too early or too late.

2. Beans Means… Distraction? 

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This is a tip I can unfortunately take no credit for, which sucks, because it’s brilliant! It was shared with me by a friend, who from what I can recall, received it from child-psychologist, yes, an expert, so drumroll please……

Beans.

Your child needs beans.

Huh? Bear with me…

When a child is in a state of extreme distress or in The Tantrum Zone, our response is usually frustration and anger. We want the tantrum over, and we want to discipline our child for their poor behaviour. That, however, may not be what your child needs in that moment.

What your child needs is to calm down so that they can verbalise, or you can help them give voice to, their true frustrations.

This is where the beans come in. Next time you’re at the supermarket, go to the section where they keep dried legumes. Select two different types, one smooth, and one rough, and preferably in contrasting colours. Dried red kidney beans, and white chickpeas would work really well.

Fill a small container with half of each type of bean, and ask your child to separate the beans into 2 piles of their own kind, and to call you when they’re done, it should take a minimum of 10 minutes, so adjust the beans amount to suit.

Something to do with the concentration of having a job to do, and the different tactile interactions with the beans, causes the child to calm down and reach a place of reasoning.

You cannot reason with a child who is in distress.

The idea of the beans is not to punish or discipline your child, but to bring them to a more settled emotional state where you can talk to them about what was going on and why they had reacted so strongly. It will enable you to express yourself clearly also.

Make sure you introduce this new exercise and its concept to your child when they’re happy and drama free.

We introduced it to our kids as something that we would try next time they were upset, we showed them what the beans looked like and demonstrated different ways to sort them.

There is absolutely no point trying to introduce it for the first time, while your child is in the middle of a melt-down!

My only regret with this technique, is that we didn’t know about it sooner!

Remember, it’s ok if your child has fun whilst doing this.

If I’m honest, this was the part I struggled with! I didn’t want my child to enjoy this, they’d only 5 minutes earlier morphed from adorable small human into something from a horror movie, why should they have fun! But that’s not the point. The objective is simply to calm your child to the point where constructive conversation is possible.

IMPORTANT: Obviously, this is not going to work for very small children as there is a real risk of choking. So please be hyper-vigilant!

But for kids under 3-ish you could substitute this with balls & wooden blocks that are kept separate from toys, for this specific purpose.

3. Consistency  

KIds need consistency. They need boundaries and they need to learn that when you say ‘no’, it’s a no. Sticking to that ‘no’ becomes increasingly difficult when you’re exhausted, and heading into the third hour of your child’s banshee crying with intermittent screams and some head-banging and wall-kicking thrown in for good measure.

All you want is for the tantrum to end. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ANY REMAINING SANITY, PLEASE END!!! But your child needs to learn how to cope with not getting their own way, it will happen, to varying degrees, all through life and they need to know how to deal with it.

Today’s parental resolve, may mean that tomorrow’s tantrum only lasts 2.5hrs, the next only 2hrs and so on. It gets better, and it gets easier when you tell yourself this is not just for their short term well being, but their long-term maturity also.

4. I’m Sorry

Kids watch everything we do. They hear more than what we often realise, certainly more than I’d like mine to hear!

Just yesterday, a family member was asking if I had any advice for toilet training a two year old girl. I asked the mother: ‘Does she ever watch you guys using the toilet?’

Her reply was, “No, we don’t give her the chance, we keep her out of that area of the house, behind the baby gate.”

Their reasoning was their child’s own safety. But children watch, it’s how they learn. We teach them to eat by modeling eating. If a child does not get to see behaviours acted out, how then can they learn without anxiety and fear of the unknown?

We must model it, and one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and our children, is to model the apology.

Learning to kneel at your child’s level, look into their eyes and say with sincerity, ‘I’m so sorry, I messed up, I got angry too quickly’ or ‘I’m so sorry your feelings were hurt when I did…’ Or, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you properly when you were telling me about…’ Will change your world!

You are human. You’re flawed. You make mistakes. Allowing your kids to see this vulnerability will in turn change the way they relate to you, making both of your lives easier.

Parenting is a hard gig, man! Seriously draining stuff. But if you are physically able, and you got out of bed today, you’re on the right track! Even better if you managed to throw some food in the general direction of your beloved spawn!

And hey, you even took the time to read an article by some crazy mum on the Internet, presumably in the hope that you might learn a thing or two, I think you’re on the right track, and I hope you weren’t disappointed.

So let’s band together, let’s encourage one another. Let’s share our failures, and celebrate our successes.

Let’s do this thing!

Bek Curtis

[for some other posts on being a parent when it’s maybe not all that easy, click here]

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I am ‘Mum’ to three amazing biological children. Sir J, aged 14, Lady M aged 12 and Little Miss 7. You can stop pulling that face, these are not their real names, just how I refer to them in order to respect their future online identity and privacy.

My initiation into motherhood didn’t begin with a pretty white dress, two rings on my finger, a Christian husband who’d vowed to love me for life, or a mature and well thought out approach to ‘family planning’.

Nope, it was quite the opposite actually. Instead, as a drug addicted, just turned nineteen year old, partying at a bar with friends renowned for its bikie population, I met my Prince Charming.Actually, I met some random, heavily tattooed, good-looking bad boy who was a prospect for the Hell’s Angels.And so, with the knowledge of his first name, and age (27), I accompanied him home… To play chess, you see.Soon after our first introduction, we began ‘dating’ (I use the term loosely).And a few weeks later, BOOM-pregnant! Just like that. Who knew chess had such life-changing consequences!

My relationship with biker boy was never going to last. We were world’s apart, and although he didn’t think it was a good idea for me to have a baby at such a young age, he still respected my decision to continue with the pregnancy and raise this unexpected child.And so, we parted ways. He alone, me with burgeoning belly.

As a single, pregnant, nineteen year old, self-detoxing from a cocktail of drugs, woman, my journey into motherhood was never going to be easy.

I was the only child of divorced parents, living in a low socioeconomic area. Teen pregnancy was the norm, and I was acutely aware that I’d just become another statistic.But I made a decision. I was going to be different, I was going to break the mould, I was going to break the poverty cycle! I might even study to become a lawyer!Yes! I would make a difference indeed!

And so my baby boy arrived, I was a mum.Motherhood came easily for me. And I don’t say that with even a hint of conceitedness, truly, it was just the only thing I had ever, and have ever really known what I was doing (we’re only just into the teenage years, I’m aware this could all change!). But I guess that being so young also meant that I had the advantage of ignorance. Yes advantage. I’d never read parenting books, I certainly had no ‘mummy friends’ to swap notes or make comparisons with. It was innate instinct and Holy Spirit baby rearing.Thankfully it was during my early pregnancy that I decided to do things God’s way….most of the time.

Remember how I was gonna break the status quo? Yeah, I showed them! I got my law degree whilst being a single teen mum! I lie.Actually, when my son was 14 months old, I became pregnant, again, after an über short-term relationship. Sigh. Some behaviour patterns prove harder to break than others. Though this time, I’d not hooked up with a biker. Instead a chef, a young man the same age as me, who decided he wanted to do the right thing and make me a wife. And he did. Exactly six months after we began dating, just in time for Lady M to arrive.

I spent pretty much the first 10 years of motherhood, trying to prove to everyone that I wasn’t a complete screw up, that despite my background I could raise healthy, intelligent, obedient, polite and caring kids.

It wasn’t until Jordan, aka chef boy, and I had been married 5 years and settled into our instant-family-married-life, that we felt as though we had the right to plan for a third child. We knew we’d disappointed so many people, especially from Jordan’s side. Let’s be real, it’s not like you really want your son to fall in love with some chick from the wrong side of the tracks, let alone one who already has a kid! Don’t get me wrong, people were supportive, but we weren’t entirely stupid, we’d heard the whispers, seen the tears, felt the vibe. It’s not like people were excited for us

Choosing to have a baby, in wedlock, with mindful planning was an entirely new experience.That pregnancy was when I really stepped into the role of motherhood and felt like I’d earned it, not that I’d had to prove I was worth it. I finally owned motherhood, along with my own mothering style, quirky as it often seemed to others. For I have always believed I am not raising children, but instead raising people who will become adults and therefore must learn the responsibilities that come along with it. Yes, ironic and somewhat hypocritical coming from me, but I’d learnt these lessons the hard way, best I do all in my power to prevent my kids doing the same.

Motherhood became a symbol of responsibility, maturity.But it was around this time I also realised, that mums are allowed to have their own personality. We are allowed to have a life outside of our children. It’s actually okay if your kids aren’t the absolute centre of your universe at all times! I’m going to take it a step further, it’s ok if your husband is in fact your primary priority, above the kids! Yep, just said that.And no, I’m not talking from some submissive, anti-feminism, wife point of view, quite the opposite. I speak purely from a equal, friendship, partnership perspective.

And so the traditional thoughts of motherhood, martyrdom, and baking that I’d long held onto, started to dissipate.

I can no longer answer the question of what it means to be a mum, because it takes on all forms.

There are a handful of phenomenal older (not old!) women in my life, who mother me spiritually and emotionally.I have childless friends who carry fearless and nurturing mother traits that will never be used on biological nor adoptive children of their own, and yet they mother.I have two amazing kids from my church family, who call me ‘Mum’, and another who calls me ‘Mama B’. I am not their mother, and yet there are some levels, different with each of them, on which I mother them. My heart aches for injustice that has been done to them and I know God has placed upon me a burden to speak life back into the parts of them that have been neglected and broken.

There have been times during my marriage, where I have experienced heartbreaking personal circumstances, and in those moments, some of the greatest and most healing mothering came from my husband.

It is only within the last three years that I have been able to identify and relate to Father God. Up until that point, I just couldn’t trust a God who might be a Father. And do you know what? God never asked me to see Him that way, instead, up to that point, for thirty years, He mothered me!He is not threatened by our disbelief or anger.

To be a mum is to see a need in the life of someone else and fill it. What form that takes, how that looks, what gender enacts it, I don’t know, but I know it’s far more diverse than can be expounded upon.

What I do know is this, the best of mothers that I have personally come across, are those who are intimately tuned in and obedient to The Father’s Heart.And you know what?The Father’s Heart and a Mother’s heart aren’t too dissimilar .

-Bek Curtis

[To read more stories inspired by the phrasxe, ‘To Be A Mom’ click here]

[For more of Bek’s writing via her story on her struggle with Porn and a link to her blog, click here] 

pornarticle2 We met Bek Curtis last week and she has kindly agreed to let me post her follow-up to the post she shared with us  on her struggles with and victory over Pornography. So here is a repost of her unplanned part II, titled ‘The ‘How’ of Freedom’:

I find myself writing once again on the topic of pornography, and once again writing with reluctance, fueled this time by different motivators.
I had a few people express frustration with the original article I wrote, due to the fact I didn’t expand on the ‘how’ of gaining my freedom, a frustration I can empathise with.
I am more than happy to share how God intervened, as the glory belongs solely to Him.
My reluctance however, centers around individuals who are struggling with porn addiction and looking at my ‘how ‘ and trying to emulate it to become their ‘how ‘, without checking with God to discover His perfect plan for individual freedom.

We are all unique, any addictions or self-control struggles we face are fed by a multitude of factors that vary from person to person. What drove me, may not be what drives you, and so the process of, and journey toward your freedom may look different to mine.
There are things I won’t write about, things I didn’t do in my journey, but things that may work for you. Tools such as mentoring, household/mobile internet filtering, counselling, accountability partnerships, and countless online support groups and resources.

Our God is a unique God. He is a God of relationship, not religion.
A formula created to unlock freedom is not what He is requiring of you. Instead He extends an invitation for you to have intimacy with Him.
When Jesus healed, He did not use the same ‘method’ each time. Some received healing through prayer, for another it came via a physical anointing of saliva mud, and for one courageous woman, an act of faith, just a touch of His robe was enough to bring about her healing.

When we rely on formulaic prayers and procedures, focusing only on our desired outcome, we miss the relationship, we miss the very key that unlocks our chains.

My freedom journey began with a distinct moment when watching a particular porn video (this is not a reason to keep watching until you have an ‘Ah HA’ moment!) there was a girl positioned in front of the camera, lying on a couch and whilst I truly cannot remember the sexual acts she was engaged in, I do remember her eyes.
Everything else in that moment faded away as I looked into this young woman’s eyes, into the eyes of a women who was clearly under the influence of heavy drugs.
I saw within those eyes a lifetime of pain, a lifetime of abuse and rejection. Her eyes held the burden of a lifetime’s striving for approval, acceptance, attention, love.

The eyes are the window to the soul, and hers was broken, crushed.

I wish that I could say that was it, the glimpse of this woman’s troubled life had changed me so profoundly that I never struggled again, but to say so would be a lie.
What did occur, was a shift in my thinking toward these women, a recognition that beneath the bravado were young women who longed to be loved.

I wanted to help these women.
I suddenly saw in front of me a harvest of souls waiting to be shown the love of Jesus. But how could I ever hope to make a difference, to reach them if I was sowing into their pain?
Each minute I viewed their outward cries for approval, I tightened the chains that bound them, that bound me.

I began to desire to be part of a solution.
I began to desire God and His will in my life above all else.

When I wrote the words: ‘My God is the God of freedom, for those who truly desire it’, in my initial article, I was sharing with you my ‘secret’ my ‘how’.
I desired God above ALL else. Above porn.

1. EMBRACE THYSELF
I resolved to stop making excuses and justifications for why I was drawn to viewing porn.
We humans are experts in defending our poor behaviour. We can make impassioned pleas and excuses for all manner of dodgy deeds.
I’ve raised three children through toddler-hood, I have witnessed my fair share of self-justification-tantrums!

Sometimes we don’t grow out of these tantrums, we just change the way we allow them to manifest.
But in order to face addiction head on you have to coach yourself to an excuse-free place. A place where self-awareness, self-examination, and recognition of self-responsibility is not only embraced, but practiced.
Whilst ever you are seeking to blame all or part of your behaviour on someone else’s actions or lack of actions as the case may be, you make a marked choice; to remain in addiction.

You may have a partner who doesn’t fulfill your sexual desires or appetite, you may be genuinely frustrated, angry, hurt or lonely, but while you allow resentment or rejection to dictate your behaviour you are choosing to give away much needed power that could instead be harnessed and used for self-responsibility and self-control.

2. RESTRICT
I set about putting restrictions on my phone, as that was where I had easiest access to porn.

This made it a very conscious and rebellious decision if I chose to go in search of content I shouldn’t.

3. RSVP
I embraced God’s invitation into intimacy, and I started talking openly with Him.

When I felt temptation coming on, I would tell Him. I would explain what was happening, and I would focus on Him, begin to thank Him, begin to worship Him.
Let me tell you, it’s hard to maintain sexual arousal, and a desire to view pornography when you are speaking, or in my case singing to the Creator of the universe!

Condemnation is an insidious thing and I believe it’s one of Satan’s greatest tools.
How many times have you felt as though you’re trapped aboard the ‘I’m sorry God, I did it again. Help me’, carousel?
Condemnation says, ‘Okay, you can’t keep saying sorry, this is a joke, just stop talking to Him’.
But God says: ‘It’s okay, come to me, I want to help you, let’s walk through this again, I’m here for as long as it takes.’

Brutally honest discussion with God is the key.
What’s stopping you? It’s not like He’s going to be shocked, He knows what you’re thinking anyway! But He is the perfect gentlemen, He will not force you to open up, He allows you to exercise free will and bring your thoughts to Him.

4. TAKE HOSTAGES!
My experience with addiction (and trust me, ’tis plentiful, as addiction and I have been buddies in various forms for many years), is that it is not so much a case of trying to talk oneself out of addiction, but rather into it!

There was always a voice that started out as a suggestion, a mere offering of an idea to view porn or whatever current addiction I was flirting with. *Cue the internal to and fro dialogue:
No, that’s not a great idea, I don’t really want to do that. Sure you do, it’s fine, it’s just this once. No it’s not just once, I won’t stop. Sure you’ll stop! This is the perfect way to prove it, just do it today and you won’t have to do it tomorrow. Hmmmm. You can stop whenever you want, you’re not addicted to this, you’re just choosing to do it. This isn’t addiction anyway, it’s just a habit, you can break a habit whenever you want’.
Repeated daily.

So my next step was learning to take every thought captive.
There is a reason these verses are in the bible (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

When you stop a thought in its track and acknowledge it, instead of allowing it to run with reckless abandon through your mind, you take it captive. That means it not longer masters you, but you master it.
Yes, it takes practice, this is a discipline that can feel like a full-time job. But it is a job that pays well! It even comes with a dental plan… (I may have just made that bit up. But you never know?).

When you take thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, you are commanding them to fall into submission under the Lordship of Christ! That is no small deal!
It is here that Jesus takes over. It is in this moment that you are choosing to give Him control, to work and weave and mend and heal.

5. WORD!
I found it really helpful to read through the New Testament when I was struggling. And not just reading for reading’s sake, but asking The Holy Spirit to allow the words to come alive in my heart and mind as I read them.
Again, it becomes very difficult to choose poor behaviours when you have chapter after chapter, verse after verse challenging you, giving you step by step encouragement and promptings on how to live well, abundantly.

6. DITCH THE GUILT
I don’t believe that shame and guilt are good motivators toward effective change. I believe instead that they lead to condemnation.
But when we fix our eyes on Jesus, turn them toward Him, just like the old hymn says, the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace!
Glory and Grace, not condemnation and disapproval.

In the 2012 film, Father of Lights directed by Darren Wilson, there is a brief interview with Banning Liebscher of Jesus Culture, where he says:

“….there’s a generation that is experiencing more options than any generation in all of history.
So the tendency to materialism or distraction, is so available….ability, instant access to entertainment and social networks and internet and travel. There are so many options and choices in this generation. generation.

What excites me is that choices are powerful in the midst of options, not in the midst of no options.
And I think we’re going to see the most powerful generation the world has ever seen, come out of an environment that gives them options, and a generation’s going to rise that their “Yes” in their spirit will be so loud, it will drown out everything else.”

His words immediately resonated in my spirit, they told my story.

For me, Banning’s words were more than a prophetic declaration, they were a testimony of what was and is already taking place, for this is exactly what had happened to me during my journey. The ‘YES‘ to God in my spirit, became louder than any ‘NO‘ I would ever have to speak to the world.

That had been my revelation. That “YES” had been my key.

Let me finish by saying, there is hope. There is freedom. There is a light that shines bright in the darkest of places.
There is love, one who is love itself, waiting to enrapture you and lead you in grace.
He who is love, is able to transform you by the renewing of you mind.

Did you catch that? He is not just able, but willing to clear away the garbage in your mind, erasing the memory of all destructive and tempting images, and renew it to it’s created design! Ponder that!
May this be your testimony, because what He has done for one, He will surely do for another.
-Bek Curtis

 

You can hear more from BekCurtis by following her on the Twitterer  or by checking out and subscribing to her blog ‘Perfectly Flawed’

[To read part I of this post, click here]

[For some more stories about people struggling with and overcoming Pornography, click here]

 

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This is a repost of a blog by permission which was originally posted on her blog, ‘Perfectly Flawed’ – meet Bek Curtis:

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Lust. Sex. Porn.
If those words made you squirm, you may not want to read ahead. Likewise, if you’re of the prudish variety, because here I openly, albeit reluctantly, share with you my experience of, and thoughts on, pornography.

Reluctant, because people can be jerks. Some people refuse to see the transformational work of Jesus in the lives of others, and sadly these are often the same people who preach it.
Reluctant because I have children who need not be shamed or shunned on my behalf.
And reluctant, well, because I’m a woman, and women don’t struggle with porn….right?

The internet was not an accessible thing when I was a teenager. It hadn’t yet infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives.
Mobile phones weren’t capable of sending or receiving texts, let alone photos and videos. In fact, back then, mobile phones were black bricks with aerials that required manual extension for each and every conversation.
I had no access to, nor any real knowledge of pornography, and so it was not a part my formative years.

I developed a curiosity toward porn when Jordan and I were a few years into our marriage.
We’d stopped going to church, our relationship with God was practically non-existent, and the circle of friends we were keeping saw porn as no big deal, just something ‘everyone’ does.

I knew pornography had been a big part of Jordan’s life before we were together, and this knowledge made me irrationally angry, and jealous. I felt as though I was missing out on something, and I really do hate to miss out.

I decided, in my great wisdom, that it would be a fabulous idea to introduce pornography into our marriage.
Jordan and I were solid, our sex life active, it could only add to the passion, what was the harm?

Surprisingly, Jordan was not keen, not keen at all.
I think his reluctance was mainly due to the fact that he thought it must be a trap. I mean, what wife encourages her husband to view porn with her?

However, he was also concerned that it would create marital tension, he felt as though porn was just something that was not needed in our relationship.

I disagreed. I won.

Porn was not exactly what I had expected.
I knew it would be graphic, but this, this was beyond graphic.
This was not like the sex scenes in a movie.
This sex wasn’t just sex.
Porn sex was different.
The bodies were ‘perfect’, the positions, acrobatic.
No one had a single hair follicle visible anywhere on their perfect bodies. And visible their bodies were. Microscopically so.
Everything was up close and zoomed in. Nothing left to the imagination.

There was no kissing, no intimacy, no love, just animalistic, self-gratifying acts of sex.

And yet, I took the bait… I was hooked.

Jordan would beg me to come to bed, asking if it could be, “just us tonight“, instead of us and whatever random couple had piqued my interest on screen.

But I couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop.
Frustrated, Jordan would storm off to bed whilst I sat glued to a computer screen, searching, waiting for the perfect body, the perfect couple, the perfect image. An image I could never find.
The searching became a drug.
I would search while Jordan was at work, I wanted to find the perfect woman to present to him. A woman who wasn’t overweight, a women whose body was not marred by stretch marks, and the not-so-flattering effects of gravity. He deserved her. Not me. This searching had become a bizarre act of self-loathing and self-punishment.

I found myself looking at women on the street, wondering what they were like in the bedroom, passive or dominant? What were they okay with, what weren’t they okay with? Did they have secret body piercings, tattoos? Pubic hair?

It was disgusting. I was violating them with my mind.
And no, I’m not sexually attracted to women, the images I had been viewing had warped my thinking, been seared into my memory.

I no longer struggle with porn addiction or a desire to view it.
I no longer have pornographic images haunting my mind.
My God is the God of freedom, for those who truly desire it.

I still have to make the choice not to let my mind wander. I still have to choose not to click on Internet articles, links or videos that may contain questionable material.
I still have to make a choice to disengage from sexually explicit conversations.
I still have to make a choice to view each and every person I encounter; male or female, as God sees them. To honour and value them as fellow human beings, created in His image.

I long for the day when I can read a dessert menu, and not be aware that half the names on the list carry innuendo in porn speak.

I still have major body hang-ups and a ridiculously poor body image, something that didn’t exist to this degree before I invited pornography into my life.
There is a reason why the comparison game is a dangerous one to play.
I have freedom, but some consequences remain.

I recently had a discussion with a close friend of mine. She has teenage daughters, and we were talking around the topic of this crazy world of porn and sexting that our kids are not only exposed to, but immersed in. Yes our kids. Our sheltered kids. The ones we watch and monitor, the ones in youth group, the ones being raised in Christian households, the ones attending Christian schools- Our kids!

As we talked, my friend told me of a blog she’d come across, written by a young man who was imploring women to show some self-respect by removing any and all hair from their pubic and genital region, making sure that all women heard his message loud and clear, that they should be sporting a Brazilian. He wrote that pubic hair is ‘disgusting’ and he was physically incapable of maintaining an erection, if a girl had any hair, ‘down there’.

Are you freaking kidding me? Seriously?

This, this is the world our kids are living in.
This is why we need open, and I specify: age appropriate dialogue with our kids!

Our daughters do not need to grow up believing that there is something wrong with their body because it does what it was designed to do, believing that they are worthless, unattractive and disgusting unless they remove all their body hair.
They do not need to grow up believing that they have to perform all manner of sexual acts in order to deserve and receive love.
Our girls need to know that someone who would seek to bully, pester or coerce them into doing anything they are uncomfortable with, does not truly love them, and does not need to be indulged.

Our sons do not need to have their thinking warped by loveless, lust-filled images of sex-ploits. Images that are edited and produced to create and fulfil a need that can never be satisfied by just one viewing.
They do not need to have unrealistic expectations of women, relationships, sex and all sexual acts.
Our sons need not suffer sexual dysfunction because the images that are on repeat in their mind, have formed a new and flawed perception of ‘normal’.

We need to tell our kids not to avoid porn just because it’s wrong, but why it is so wrong.
We need to explain exactly how it devalues both sexes, and damages soul and spirit.

If I, as an adult woman over the age of 25, whose brain had finished developing, could have had her thinking rewired by viewing pornography, how much more susceptible are our adolescent kids to damage from pornographic material?

We need to educate our children about exactly what it is that the porn industry is feeding into: sex slavery, human trafficking, child exploitation.
I literally had no idea that this sex crazed industry was fuelling a hellish existence for so many young women, men too.

I wonder, had I known back then, what I know now, would porn have been any kind of turn on at all?

We shouldn’t educate our children in order to guilt them, but rather to equip them, to empower them to make choices that benefit not only themselves, but others also.

We need to teach our kids not that sex is dirty or wrong, but that it is quite the opposite.

Sex is beautiful, it’s fun, it can be messy, it can be awkward, it can end in, or be interrupted by fits of laughter as you both tumble off whatever piece of furniture it was that you were experimenting on.
It can be mind-blowing-ly amazing, and it can be a complete disaster. Sometimes things will go smoothly, other times things will most definitely not, but that all of it is good when expressed within the safety, sanctity, stability and mutual respect and equality of marriage.

Sometimes marriage sucks! It’s not all white picket fences and fields of flowers. Sometimes it’s just tumbleweeds and barbed wire. But to have the privileged of becoming one flesh with someone who totally gets you and is committed to you during the hard times, is a gift that should not be undervalued by images of lust, undervalued by a world that trades in old for new, and is hell-bent on instant gratification.

We need to tell our kids that we understand and remember what it is like to have raging hormones, to tell them we understand what it is like to be sexually curious, to be sexually aroused.
We need to teach them healthy ways to deal with that arousal, and the sexual frustration that those raging hormones bring.

We need to ask our kids how we can support them, and if they’re not really sure how, we need to suggest ways. We need to suggest mentors or trusted adults that they can talk openly with and journey with.

We need to teach our kids that God designed sex, not just as a means for procreation, but enjoyment, discovery. He’s not up in the sky sitting on a cloud with a cup of tea, muttering to Himself, ‘Oh dear, that’s a new one, didn’t think of that. Filthy humans.’

We need to teach our kids that God not only created sex, but the whole biological system responsible for switching on sexual desire.

We need to teach them that our God is an approachable God, that He is more than happy to provide a way to deal with whatever struggles we face in life, including sexual struggle.

And above all that, we need to believe that of our God! We need to experience that of Him! We need to share with our kids, how and when God has stepped in to provide a way out for us. That means inviting Him into our difficult situations, so He can do just that.

I am the mother of a teenage son.
We can protect and shelter him all we like, but eventually he will discover the world, as he is supposed to.
He will grow and mature, and set his own boundaries and parameters.
He will decide what paths he takes and what lines he’ll cross.
And we will love him and support him all the way.
But while he is still under our roof, within our grasp, and accountable to us, we will have the difficult conversations.

We will tell him where we’ve failed.
We will tell him the outcomes of our failure and where we wish we’d taken different paths.
We will be real, we will be unedited.
But most of all, we will emphasise grace.

Grace for failure.
Grace for poor decisions.
Grace for outright rebellion.
Grace for a journey, and not just a quick fix.
Grace for forgiveness.
Grace for redemption.
Grace for transformation.

Grace for us as parents to recognise transformation, as we chose to forget indiscretion.
Bek Curtis

You can hear more from BekCurtis by following her on the Twitterer  or by checking out and subscribing to her blog ‘Perfectly Flawed’

[For Part II where Bek speaks of some of the ‘How’ of overcoming her struggles with Porn, click here]

[For more stories on struggles (and triumphs) with Pornography, click here] 

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