If Resolutions Fade: 6 Timeless Tools to Quit Porn {or anything else}

If Resolutions Fade: 6 Timeless Tools to Quit Porn {or anything else}

Although this is an article intended to help those who desired to give up porn as part of their New Year's Resolutions, these tips on "what to do now" work for any habit you're trying to break. Whatever your detrimental habit may be, it's time for a check-in. 

How are you really doing?

I've found that the habits that bring the most separation between God and me are those that temporarily fill a hole in my heart. And the enemy to my health (physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional) is intent on helping me keep filling said hole with things that don't last so that I don't discover the fruitlessness of my actions. As I wrote in my journal the other day:

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If You Give Your Kid A Kindle {Or any other device}

If You Give Your Kid A Kindle {Or any other device}

Anytime a device, whether a Kindle, an X-box, an iPhone, or any other device, links to the Internet, there are legitimate dangers lurking. The predators and trolls in cyberspace are just as dangerous as the drug dealers on the street corners, the kid who brings a gun to school, and the teen pressuring yours to have unprotected sex. When we give our children unfettered access to the Internet, it’s like we send them to the downtown city park by themselves when they are three years old.

If we would never do that, why would we let them play on the Internet’s playground with no supervision?

But the truth is, we do it all the time. Why? Here are three possible reasons:

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10 Ways Porn Destroys a Person (& Jen's new writing gig)

10 Ways Porn Destroys a Person (& Jen's new writing gig)

So...I (Jen) got a new writing gig. And of course, the first post is about porn. 

It's a long story, but I got a nickname-Patty Porn. And for a while, before we published the book, I was afraid that I would be known simply as "The Girl Who Writes about Porn." 

But the truth is, I'm okay with all that. We don't always get to choose our mission field, but we do have the choice whether to embrace it or not.

This is me. Embracing.

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Podcast on Purity (Part 2)

Picture from Carol Kent's new devotional,  He Holds My Hand , releasing October 3!

Picture from Carol Kent's new devotional, He Holds My Hand, releasing October 3!

Last Tuesday, part 1 of our story aired on Power of Purity (if you missed it and are interested, click here). Part 2

Part 2 was released today and you can listen here.

Know that we are not unique. It's not because we're extra special that God brought healing. What He brings to our lives with His unconditional love and grace and forgiveness and patience, He longs to bring to you, too. It can be hard to see His work when it's dark and hopeless, but know that He is. He will never leave you or forsake you and He is trustworthy.

Podcast on Purity

Podcast on Purity

Craig and I have been publicly sharing our story for years. While there are many reasons, the two main ones are:

1) it really was awful going through porn addiction alone; and

2) it was really amazing to see how God used something so terrible to bring about something so lovely—true intimacy with God and with each other.

Okay, so there are really three reasons. 

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Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

Imitation Self-Control Tastes a Bit like Imitation Vanilla: The Real Thing is Better

I am, we are, works in progress. The past few weeks have been a painful work in progress. It seems like the whole onion analogy works here. There are layers and layers of my controlling nature and as God peels them away, sometimes I cry.

A large part of why I control is because I’m afraid. My biggest fear is that I will fail my husband and my kids.

So much of my planning, organizing, and caretaking stems from the anxiety that if I don’t do X, Y, and Z—or if they don’t—things will fall apart. I keep my expectations high for a well-run, well-organized life, doing my best to keep everyone moving along as they should, investing all that I can emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I believe that this continually striving will give me protection from all that failure that looms large out there.

Hey, guess what? I’m exhausted. Again.

Somehow, I fooled myself. I cloaked my controlling nature and hid it under the guise of simple self-discipline, self-control. That sounds so holy, right? How can self-discipline, self-control, be wrong?

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Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

Why the Church Must Be a No-Shame Zone

This week, we're talking about being spontaneous, and yet, here is a post about the Church and porn. Well, that's spontaneous, right? I never know when my posts for Covenant Eyes will go live and I don't always share them here, but this is a post that Craig and I both feel so passionate about—Satan uses shame in incredibly powerful ways and it is time for the Church to fight against these schemes.

Church, rise up. RISE UP.

The sins we commit in the dark, in the secret places, those are the ones Satan hones in on, where he continually speaks lies under the heavy cloak, in the deep recesses of our hearts where we shut out Light. Where can we take these sins? To Jesus, for sure. But where do we find the community that helps us in the recovery of these sins?

If the Church is just another space that heaps more shame, the Church then becomes another tool of the enemy.

This cannot be so.

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If You Don't Know Too Much about Us...

If You Don't Know Too Much about Us...

Hey y'all! Yes, I know, it's another interview about our journey through porn addiction. And yes, some of this you have heard before. But one reason that I love this interview is because it's also how we began...you get to know more about us as just Jen and Craig Ferguson, not just Jen and Craig Ferguson who talk about porn all the time. Want to know how long we dated before we got engaged? (Think # of days, not months!) What to know our song we danced to on our wedding day? If so, we'd love for you to tune in! Thank you so much, Engaging Story, for having us!!

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Why Surrender Doesn't Mean Giving Up the Battle

Surrender is hard.

Surrender is especially hard when you're a type-A emotional caregiver who struggles with anxiety. Hello, perfect storm.

I want to fix everything. I want people to be happy and healthy and free. My first instinct is to evaluate and plan. I find solutions, present them, and cajole the person into using them. And then I'm disappointed when they don't. I get frustrated, angry, and resentful. When they continue to struggle, I say in my head, "If you'd only listen to me!"

Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks this way.

Ironically, when I'm in fix-it mode, trying to promote Healthy! Happy! Free!, I find myself feeling unhealthy, unhappy, and chained. I've found that the harder I try to bring about change in people with my own solutions, the more I find myself drowning in the fear of the problem at hand. I become antsy and restless, my mind spinning with more ideas, more "what-ifs," and a cascading list of new problems that might crop up because this one is still unresolved.

Praise the Lord there are some problems we can take care of with ease, but those issues that we find in others—the ones that rub us the wrong way, the ones that induce fear, the ones that seem to threaten our security—those are the ones that require surrender. Those are the ones where our solutions won't stick, where when we begin to talk to our spouse about the issue, we are met with silence, a blank "smile and nod," or empty promises.

Why? Because the problem requires their surrender, too. We can't make anyone raise their own white flag. 

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Give Grace: When Your Spouse Isn't Exactly Who You Thought

This week, we are continuing this theme of giving grace when confronted with unrealistic expectations, but coming from a slightly different angle. What do you do when your spouse ends up being different than you expected? Here, we tackle the gambit—what to do when they fart more than you think they should all the way to addressing an addiction.

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5 Tips for Finding Marriage Community (because suffering in silence is never fun)

5 Tips for Finding Marriage Community (because suffering in silence is never fun)

Guess what—things in your marriage are going to happen that are BURDENSOME. They are simply too heavy for you to carry on your shoulders alone. You aren't born with all the relational tools you'll ever need and the wisdom from other couple's around you is invaluable. Will they always have it together? Will they always have the right answer? Of course not. But part of community is simply empathizing and encouraging each other that marriage is worth fighting for.

Here are 5 tips for finding community for your marriage:

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Video Games Don't Yield Real Treasure

Video Games Don't Yield Real Treasure

I can tell you that I have spent a lot of time over the years doing hobby or leisure type activities.  Besides my addiction to porn, I’ve logged hundreds of hours playing video games.  I’m sure I’ve spent even more time binge watching shows and movies. 

But, what do I have to show for it?  Has it changed me for the better?  Has it deepened my relationship with God and others?  If I am truly honest about it, the time was spent simply to satisfy myself.  These were all self-medicating distractions to keep my mind off of what was really going on in my life.  Instead of seeking God and His presence, I chose to isolate and sequester myself in a fantasy world.  Now, I want more and these hobbies and distractions are not fulfilling me.

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How Grace Moves from Theory to Reality

How Grace Moves from Theory to Reality

For me, grace was theoretical for most of my life.  While growing up, I knew God said I was loved and forgiven, but I didn’t expect to receive anything that would prove that.  I built a wall between God and myself that kept me from tangibly experiencing grace. I found out that if you don’t have expectations, then you can’t be disappointed.  If you don’t request anything of anyone, then you don’t have to face rejection.  After all, you can live happy knowing that you are loved and chosen without feeling it, right?  Well, no, not really. But, that is how I lived much of my life before I met Jen and started building a relationship with her.  

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