A few weeks ago on a leadership retreat, we discussed doing cardboard confessionals. Cardboard confessionals is where on one side of the cardboard you put a sin or struggle that you face or have faced, then on the other side you list what God has brought through your struggle or how you have overcome it.
I received an email this week asking if I would be interested in participating, I said yes. This was my opportunity to share my story and what God ha s done in my life. I gave my leader three different options, of different struggles/sins that I had faced. One of them scared me to death to share because it was so personal and I had never shared it with anyone other than my best friends. So the possibility of sharing it in front of 200 college students scared me to death, but I knew that this would bring freedom for myself and for those around me.
The leader chose a lesser "scary" confession in my opinion, but in the last minute I was asked to share the one I was afraid. I remember praying through work that day, asking God for strength. I prayed to not be anxious or nervous, and I prayed for protection from spiritual attack in sharing my confession.
We went through rehearsals before the service and I was nervous. Then as we were back stage getting ready to go on stage after the sermon was almost complete, there I was holding my cardboard awaiting to walk out... I was shaking and my heartbeat racing.
I walked out and held up my sign...
"Imprisonment to addiction to pornography"
I stood there for five long seconds the flipped by cardboard that read,
"Found purity, true love, and FREEDOM through God"
I walked off stage to stand with my fellow leaders.
There it was my sin and struggle was out there.
As the leaders stood alongside the room during worship, people were allowed to come up to be prayed with. A friend came up for prayer and was so thankful to have someone they trusted to prayed with. They were shocked about my confession, but proud of me for sharing something that often times is so hidden behind closed doors. They spoke of their struggle of the past and the temptations they faced. We prayed together.
For the first time, in a long time, I didn't regret my struggle, but rather saw it as a letter to the people. A letter of showing what I had overcome because of God. I haven't faced struggles with pornography in about 8 years and it is something that God has completely removed from my life. I talked about accountability and just saturating my life with God-honoring things and removing any thing of temptation in my life from the show I watch, the movies I see, to the music I listen to.
After service, I was surprised to find many young men come up to me to thank me for my confession but to also confess to me. As glad as I was for their vulnerability, I also felt extremely awkward because their struggle as a man was different from mine as a woman in that sin, so I attempted to find them someone to talk to and referred them to all the right resources.
So this week, as I was in search of beauty... I found it within myself through the things that God has done in my life.
This week, I found Beauty and Freedom through God once again.