The Pornography Net
Two weeks after the birth of our fourth baby, our trailer, which had been up for sale for five years finally sold. We had to be packed and out in a week. We moved into my in-laws home, where we received much persecution concerning our family size and lifestyle, especially our home schooling and my not "working". It was a difficult few months before we could move into our dream home.
On the day that we moved in, I began vomiting severely, and it wouldn't stop. I found out, at the emergency room, that I was pregnant again! Esther was only four months old! I had had a very difficult pregnancy with Esther and had prayed that the Lord would put a few years between Esther and the next baby. I was angry with the Lord that He ruined my plans for the ideal first year of home schooling and first year in our new home. There was so much I wanted to do, but now that was thwarted by being sick all the time.
Over the course of that year, my bitterness grew as the proverbial "one thing after another" occurred in my life:the move, the in-laws, the "all day" morning sickness, pneumonia, bed rest and a baby that arrived late. Esther developed a metabolic problem that nearly took her life, and I broke my foot after falling down some stairs. During this time, I really didn't pay much attention to my husband’s or my children's needs.
The baby was due the beginning of June, and my husband took time off work. To my horror, the baby decided to arrive the last day of my husband's vacation time and I was left with no help after the baby was born.Because of the timing, no one was able to help me. I became even more bitter toward the Lord and my family. I began to reason within my heart that perhaps God is not in charge at all, thus giving Satan a foothold in my life.
Three months after the baby was born, I developed symptoms that sent me to the doctor. I found out that I had a sexually transmitted disease. I was perplexed. Later, a phone bill came, and an expensive number was recurrent on it.I called it only to discover it was a number for phone sex!My husband had previously had a problem with pornography before he came to the Lord, but we rejoiced at what the Lord had done in his life since. Now this? I went over previous phone bills and found similar numbers on them.On the credit card bill, which we were aggressively trying to pay off, were new charges for phone and Internet sex.I checked the history on the computer and discovered lots of pornography.I felt ill.
Being a Christian, I decided that the right thing to do would be to go to my pastor for advice.When presented with the evidence, my pastor looked at me and said, "Do you need the name of a lawyer?"I stared at him in disbelief.He continued, "You have grounds, you know..."
I left the office. I believe my pastor meant well, but simply didn't know how to respond. I also sought the advice of an older woman at the church, only to receive more of the same advice. Soon, however, it seemed like everyone knew about the situation, and most people treated me like a woman about to be divorced, pitying me, and offering jobs, welfare tips, apartment leads, and the like.And all of them said, "Oh, if only you didn't have all those children.”The reaction of everyone about me being pregnant with Isobel was bad enough, but knowing that I was submitted to God in this area with "that" sort of husband made me look like a fool!
I went to a counselor who suggested my modest dress might have caused my husband to stray, and then told me that I was allowing myself to be blackmailed into accepting his bad behavior by being a stay-at-home mother with no means of financially supporting myself!
I went to a small group session for wives of men with this problem, where I discovered that a woman who views herself as her husband's helpmeet is an "enabler", and a woman who is too focused on her family is "co-dependent".A woman who believes that her value and worth as a woman created by God is in fulfilling the high call of being a wife and mother has some "self esteem issues".A woman who believes in self-sacrificing in order to see God's will perfected in her family and neighborhood has a "boundaries crises".
I felt betrayed by God. Here I was, with five small children, no job and no means to have a job that could pay for the daycare of all of my children, no car in my name, no credit history, and a husband who did this!I felt somehow that it was God's duty to keep anything bad from happening to me, and I felt like God had turned His back on me completely.
I was standing in line at the grocery store when I noticed a young man with a bracelet that said WWJD.Good question, I thought.What would Jesus do?As soon as I asked myself what Jesus would do about personal boundaries, a verse popped into my mind."Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:5-8) What would Jesus do?I believe that question has already been settled.
I still was not in a right relationship with the Lord, and I was still very much out of fellowship with my family. On the outside I am sure I still looked like a "good Christian mother" but on the inside only the Lord and I know how filthy I had allowed myself to become.But I was making some efforts towards restoring my relationship with my husband, a relationship that I had neglected for some time.I began praying for the first time in a long time for the Lord to show me what to do.
I heard the words in my head:"Dethrone Vashti".That confused me, because I assumed that Vashti was sort of a heroine of modesty and independent womenaround the world. However as I prayerfully re-read Esther Chapter 1, I noticed that there is no favorable mention of Vashti.
Still in doubt, I searched Matthew Henry's Commentary, and what I read changed my relationship with my husband. Matthew Henry stated that King Ahasuerus was perhaps wrong for asking Vashti to come before all the men, but that he didn't inherently do anything wrong, just culturally incorrect for his day and culture. On the other hand, despite his faults, Vashti was more at fault for, as Henry put it, being perhaps a bit too "precise". That hit me like a dagger. That was me.I was a bit too precise about everything concerning my husband's faults.
My mind flashed to previous scenes. I had smashed his television set in self-righteous anger over its presence in our home. Although I don't feel we should have one, that was not my decision to make; he is the head of the home, and I opted to, rather rudely and disrespectfully, take a leadership role in that matter.
There were other areas too, such as the spending of money and running of the finances in the household. I remember taking away the checkbook from him and treating him like a stupid child over his "mismanagement" of the funds. Because he didn't attend church every time the doors were opened, I considered him a second class Christian. There were all sorts of little things in which I had treated him with utter disrespect and disregard.
I realized that although he had broken covenant with me, I had likewise not been a perfect wife either. I had a “Vashti spirit” – a spirit that nit-picks, chooses where to submit, and never forgets a wrong. I, indeed needed to dethrone that spirit of Vashti from my heart.
I prayed and fasted for a while and then went to my husband.I told him that I needed to talk to him about something serious. His face reflected horror. We had never actually addressed, face to face, this whole situation. He had become indignant and cold toward me, and I was afraid of the blowup we were going to have.
Instead, to his shock and surprise, I said,"Honey, I love you, and I want to submit to you and be your helpmeet.Please forgive me for being such a lousy wife these last few years...” We went on to discuss the pornography situation, and resolved that.
Martin was completely disarmed by my submissive attitude towards him. I believe that God softened his heart when I finally determined to do things God's way, rather than my own way. As we prayed together, and discussed ways that I could help him fight this temptation and be a better helpmeet, Martin was restored in his relationship to me and to the Lord. He has become victorious in this area once again.
Most of the counselors I had seen felt that a woman who believed in being a submissive helpmeet would cause her husband not to respect her and treat her even worse, but let God be true and every man a liar!
God's ways are the best ways. They work far better than our "Christianized" humanistic philosophies that we think are so wonderful.It wasn't until I set out to live 1 Peter 3:1-6 (which is written to wives of men who are "disobedient to the Word" in mind!), that our marriage relationship began to be restored.