In Part 1, I told the story of how I came to Christ through Redemption. This is the story of how I fell from grace, and Redemption helped bring me back.
When I started believing in God, a lot of things changed in me. My depression went away almost overnight. I was still hung up on my old girlfriend, but since God was now the center of my world, I had hope and a future. The one thing I still didn’t have is the courage to get help for the other major problem in my life: my addiction to pornography. I didn’t have the courage to admit to any of my newfound Christian brothers that I was struggling with this sin. I thought I could just deal with it; just “white-knuckle” my way through the urges to go to my computer and search for things I knew were wrong. As you can guess, this didn’t work, and I sunk deeper and deeper into my sin.
As the years went by and I went to college, I stopped trying to control my addiction. I had tried and failed so many times to stop myself that I didn’t see a point in trying to stop anymore. I didn’t want to be addicted to pornography, I hated being too weak to control myself, but I couldn’t stop. I came to the mindset of “well, I can just ask for forgiveness and God will forgive me”. This mentality started creeping into other areas of my life as well. I was falling away from God.
As time went on, I met my future wife, Crystal. She was a good Christian woman who trusted me completely. Because of her trust in me, I was able to hide my addiction from her. I loved her with all my heart and after 2 years of dating, we got married. I thought that being married to such a virtuous woman would cure me of my addiction and I could put this chapter of my life behind me. I was wrong. Through no fault of my wife’s, I fell back into my addiction.
I “knew” at this point, there was absolutely nothing that could help me. Becoming a Christian didn’t cure my addiction, nor did getting married. My life was now ruled by my urges, and they eventually became tired of just looking at a computer screen. That’s when I started cheating on my wife.
I knew this whole time what I was doing was wrong. I knew Satan was using lies, like “God will forgive you later” and “there’s nothing you can do to stop this” to control me and take me away from God. I told lies on top of lies to keep my behavior a secret, but eventually, it became too much. After a year of cheating on my wife and over 10 years of being addicted to pornography, I finally confessed everything to my wife, my pastor, and God.
My wife was completely and totally devastated. She had complete trust in me, so she was 100% blindsided by my confession. I did untold damage to her and all those around me, and for that, I am truly sorry. It has been over 4 years since then, and we are still dealing with the damage it did to us and our marriage and will be dealing with it the rest of our lives. I can truly say we are happily married now, but it took a long time and a lot of work and prayer to get there. I am eternally grateful to my strong wife for staying with me when she had every right to leave, and I thank God for giving me such a wonderful woman in my life.
I thought I had gotten my life right with God when I was 16, but I was only partially right. I did believe in God then, but I hadn’t given my heart to Him. I kept for myself the parts of me I was too ashamed to show anyone. This gave Satan a foothold, and he used it to take over my life. The night of my confession, I learned what the true forgiveness was. I felt God’s power over me as he took away the uncontrollable urges I had been dealing with since before I could remember. I still deal with impure thoughts to this day, but God is my fortress and my shield, and He protects me. With the help of God, my wife, my church, our friends/family, and Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA), I began to have a normal life again.
I bet you are starting to wonder where Redemption fits into all this. Well, all of this happened at the end of 2013. In the last few years before that, I hadn’t done too much with Redemption, at least not competitively. When I heard that 2014 nationals were only going to be a few hours away from me, I thought I would go and play, just for fun. I had a T1-2P deck that I had thrown together using the Disciples from the new I/J starter decks and I *cough cough* borrowed the defense from the 2012 national winning deck (Pharisees). For the first time ever I went to a Redemption tournament, not for my glory, but just to have fun. And I won.
I have a daily Bible verse app on my phone, and the Bible verse on that day was:
“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.”
– Psalm 149:4
God was showing me that when I put my life in His hands and don’t try to do things myself, He will never let me down. This victory wasn’t mine, it was God’s; all of the credit belongs to Him. Less than a year after getting my life truly right with God, He was showing me what following Him means for my life. It means a life free from addiction, free from worry, and free from having to control my own life. Instead of trying to do it all myself, I was letting God lead me, and the results were better than anything I could have accomplished on my own. When you give everything you have to God, He will give everything He has to you.
I hope that my story has helped you in some way. I hope it has encouraged you to invite that friend to learn Redemption or to invite them to church because you never know what kind of impact that could have on their life. I hope it can help you to be honest about what you are struggling with, and to seek help when you need it. And I hope it has shown you that there is hope out there, no matter what you are facing, and that God is always there for you, no matter what you have done. Thank you for listening and Godbless.