I catch alot of flack for doing what I do. People, men especially, often look at me like I’ve grown an extra limb when I tell them I work with women struggling with lust, most specifically those addicted to pornography.
Even at the conference I spoke at recently, I had men asking me what I was speaking on. Praise God for the ability to matter-of-factly say, “Women struggling with lust” instead of the generic “purity” I usually give people. One man said, “Oh. That’s usually a men’s session topic.” (Thank you; I know). Another looked at me with a bit of shock and I turned and walked away. He hunted me down as I was setting up that morning and said, “Now, really, tell me. Do women actually struggle with this?”
The conference coordinator happened to be in the room with me at the time. She and I had discussed this over the phone before the conference, and she had shared how she sees it coming up more and more in applications she receives from young women. I looked at her and we both turned to him and solemnly nodded our heads. His reaction broke my heart. “Really? Why?”
He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. It’s the reaction I get from a lot of people. Either they get it, or they completely don’t get it and can’t fathom why a woman would do this to herself. Believable or not, it’s real. Very real. After giving my session (which you can listen to here: http://www.cco.ca/riseup/audio/2010/womensession-jessica%20harris.mp3) women lined up to talk to me, not because I am some big important person- all evidence to the contrary- but because finally someone had broken the silence for them. I spent the afternoon talking to young women who struggle with sexual sin.
Today alone I received two e-mails from women who are trapped in pornography. One is on her way out, the other is struggling- falling, and I’ve helplessly stood by as she has spiraled down. From lust and fantasy, to pornography and masturbation, to variations of sex without actually losing her virginity. That is the story. She isn’t the exception. That’s how this works. Every single woman I have worked with, if she doesn’t catch herself and run to God in time, ends up going down that road. A road that leads to emptiness, loneliness, shame, guilt, fear, isolation, and everything that goes against the joy and freedom we are given by God.
When I read those e-mails, God reminds me of why He called me to this. It may take the world a while to catch up. The church, unfortunately, is going to take a while longer, but sin is not going to hold off and wait for them to figure it out. In fact, it will tear through with a vengeance, like a silent killer, taking out as many young women as it can before it is detected. But I know it’s there, and though I am one voice out of millions, even a little flame shines bright in the pitches of darkness.
If one other woman in the world struggled and was set free by the ministry of the grace of God, this would be worth all of the weird looks and embarassment I have faced in the past two years. There have been many more than one- many. And the cool thing is, God’s grace reaches every last one of them- the wife who cheats on her husband, the girl who dapples in homosexuality, the young woman whose virginity is clinging tightly to her last thread of dignity. Every last one of those women is real, and God is reaching out to every single one of them. All glory be to God.