Thank You Letter From An EMB Wife

This is a letter we received from an EMB wife whose husband went to the Every Man’s Battle Workshop in 2014.

Dear Steve,

I cannot thank you enough for what happened to my husband at Every Man’s Battle last weekend.

We have been married for 44 years. We have 9 precious children. Most of my marriage has been almost intolerable. I tolerated the intolerable until I found out that I was worth love. God’s love.

My husband’s dad baptized him in the pool of pornography at a very young age. In that baptismal pool all of his five senses were stopped (except for his ability to see himself and his needs). He had no ears to hear me or others. No eyes to see. No heart. I felt hopeless except for trusting God for a miracle. Nothing I said would be heard.

He abandoned me for a total of 10 years while he gave himself to his hobby. Everything was my fault to him. It took a crisis in our marriage 14 years ago for me to start to get strong. I have been on a journey. I went back in your archives and have listened to every one of your shows. I can’t thank you enough.

I required my husband to attend Every Man’s Battle last weekend. I got a new husband when he came back! I got my miracle!

Thank you Jason! Thank you New Life! Thank you Jesus!

My husband has come back and he talked to our two oldest sons yesterday and is going to talk to all of our children. We are giving them your book “Every Man’s Battle. We are going to stop this generational curse. We are building the walls!

Thank you so much!

How I Handle Temptation

I was tempted to look at porn this morning.

As part of my job, I regularly read articles about sexual integrity issues and how culture is influencing our sexuality. Every so often I get slimed by an article that takes WAY too much liberty in what it shows in the form of video clips and pictures. By “slimed”, I mean blasted with pornographic material I did not ask for. They could prove their point with substantially less footage. That happened this morning.

An article I clicked on had a tantalizing video that I was tempted to click on. I did not click it. I hovered the mouse button over it for a second or two, but ultimately chose a different route.  I thought it might be helpful for some guys to know what that process of choosing a different route looked like. At least, looked like this time. Its certainly not the same every time. Here’s how it went…

1 – Recognize How I Rationalize (rationalize = Rational Lies): these are the reasons I come up with to justify my sin. It sounds like this in my head – “this video isn’t that bad, its right on the line”, “its part of my job, I have to see this stuff”, “nobody will know, so no big deal”.

2 – Refute the Rational Lies – this is talking myself through the truth and grounding myself in reality – “everyone who matters will eventually know; the truth always comes out”, “you will literally lose everything that is meaningful in your life over 1 click and a stupid video”, “ this is meaningless and completely unsatisfying and you’re only going to compound the already crappy feelings you’re experiencing”.

3 – Physical Move – I had to push back away from my desk, away from my computer. I needed a physical change of posture to reorient myself. It is almost symbolic; a literal backing away translates to a mental and emotional backing away.

4 – Diagnostics – Taking a few minutes to diagnose what I am feeling and why. This morning I felt disappointment due to the fact that all 3 of my kids are sick, and someone in our house has been sick since Christmas. It has been very difficult. I also felt misunderstood this morning, based on conversations Shelley and I had over the weekend.

I also had to assess which of the 3 I’s (Insignificance, Incompetence, Impotence) may have been tapped. This morning it was Impotence – meaning, powerlessness. I feel completely powerless over my kids’ health and over my wife’s stress.  I also felt helpless to get a break; people are counting on me as a counselor today and I can’t just cancel my day and go into hiding.

 5 – Do Something Meaningful – it helped me to switch gears and actually do something meaningful. That happened to be responding to an email from someone looking for help. I believe one of the key reasons guys get trapped in things like pornography is they don’t know what they’re living for.  If we don’t have something to wake up for, we’ll medicate having to wake up for nothing.

6 – Connect – As much as I wanted to isolate and pretend the temptation, the close call, and the small victory never happened, it did. And someone needs to know. They need to know I’m struggling, and be present with me in that pain and those triggers. They also need to about that immediate victory, to celebrate with me and encourage me. We preach this all the time at the Every Mans Battle Workshops; connection, accountability and relationship. So, I texted a few guys; they responded within minutes with prayer, encouragement and a reminder that I’m loved. It’s a sweet thing to give Jesus a chance to show up through people. Maybe if he wanted to be the only one through whom God’s mercy flowed, he would’ve stuck around a little longer, rather than delegating to the disciples.

7 – Stay in the Fight – meaning that temptation didn’t come, then go, and now its all good times and happy. It stuck with me through the day. I had to stay in the fight, deal with my emotions in healthy ways, stay connected with people, remain present in my life, and keep my guard up. Temptation is rarely one and done.

New Life

 

Last week our 3rd son, Norman, was born. It was a whirlwind of emotions and experience. Shelley pushed Norman out in 3 pushes, 18 minutes after we arrived at the birthing center. It wasn’t easy; but it was quick! After he was born, we ended up spending a couple days in the NICU because he had amniotic fluid in his lungs. He couldn’t get quite the amount of oxygen he really needed. Turns out this is somewhat typical in situations where there is a really fast birth or a C-section.

Apparently, the process of contractions and the baby making its way down the birth canal has some intrinsic value for breathing. This was news to me. As the contractions and descent occur, the baby is squeezed, forcing amniotic fluid from his chest. These pauses in the labor process are vital to open the baby’s lungs and maximize breathing capacity. When the baby is delivered quickly, there is no squeezing, thus amniotic fluid remains in the lungs. And you end up in the NICU on oxygen for a couple days.

Turns out, the slow, painful process of birth is actually good. It results in that initial cry and gasp, where the baby takes his first breath and new life is formed.

A client helped me see this week that sometimes this is exactly how things go with God and us. He allows us to bear a slow, painful process so that, on the other side, there is new life. If we rush it, we may not fully develop the capacities necessary to do life well.

Don’t rush the process.