by Serena Abdelaziz
[Read Part 1 and Part 2 of Serena’s story]
In Colorado, Josh and I wanted desperately to have a group of friends, but they had to be friends that would call and support us. They needed to be women who would help me, and they needed to be men who knew they were just as vulnerable to the addictions of pornography but unwilling to give into temptation.
Our new church in Colorado had a Men’s Advance—where a group of men go to seek God for the weekend. Josh wasn’t really sure why he made it a point to go. He knew the caliber of men that went to this thing because he knew some of the men from the church. The last place he wanted to be was around a bunch of Holy Spirit-filled men that knew the voice of God. But he had lived the past many years hiding out in plain sight, He figured he could do it easily enough for the weekend.
Men Who Make a Difference
But what he found on the mountain was more than he had bargained for. You see, these men were not ordinary guys. They were the men that I had prayed into his life. They were men whom God had designed to push him, challenge him, and get in his face when he needed it.
Before we moved, Josh had lot of people in his life but they all felt too close to the situation to make an impact. He was their son, brother, friend, and fellow minister. His ears to hear them were shut.
But these men on that mountain were not close to the situation. He offered them nothing but the broken person that he was. They had no interest in him other than to minister healing to him. They didn’t know him except that he was new at the church. No one knew his story and he was glad about that. But it didn’t stay that way for long.
The Night He Broke
On Friday night, after the teaching session, about 15 of the men were just hanging out in their cabin. Nothing serious, nothing spiritual…just being guys. Then one of the guys pulled out some picture cards and asked them to pick one that illustrated their life at the time. Josh picked one that was a picture of a broken, rusty bike. No wheels, broken chains, outside next to a house. When he shared it, he wanted the conversation to just move on to someone else. But one of the men (now one of Josh’s best friends) asked him to explain why that picture was him.
It was like the floodgates opened. Out of Josh poured all of the dirt from the past…all the pornography, all the lies, all the cheating. And not one of those men backed down from the sin. In fact, they laid hands on him, prayed for him, spoke truth over him, and began restoring back to him all that we had lost. They embraced him as one of them. They embraced him…broken, banged up, lost, and smelling like pig slop…as one of them.
The Continuing Battle
After he came down from the mountain, a week or so later, a group of them began meeting to challenge each other to the greatness God designed for them. What Josh soon learned was that these were not men that never messed up. These were men that had made mistakes, learned from them and now knew who they were. They knew that in order to be who God designed them to be, they had to stay close to the One who defined them. These were men that knew how to fight. And, by meeting with them, Josh learned who he was…and he learned how to fight.
God showed up, and through those men changed Josh’s life. That weekend was a pivotal moment for Josh and our family. The man that had gone up to the mountain that weekend was not the man who came down the mountain.
This group of men continues to stand alongside of Josh as brothers in battle; they aren’t afraid to tell Josh he has messed up or that he needs to fix some things. They love him for all of his successes, and they don’t continually remind him of his failures. He can talk freely to them, but it’s up to him to be honest. They have learned to read through the lies, but they also love him in spite of the hurt.
Stay tuned for Part 4…
. . . .
Serena Abdelaziz has been married to Josh for 13 years. They live in Indiana where she homeschools their six children. Josh works as an assistant manager for a furniture company. After Josh’s 15-year struggle with pornography, their heart is to spread a message of hope for hurting marriages. Listen to their two part interview on Covenant Eyes Radio.
I’m in this thing where I study the hebrew root of my christian faith, and as a young boy growing up in this study, I have seen it be the most incredible thing in the world.
I seemed to be going in the right direction with each habit i picked up (like praying, playing in a worship band, community service, fasuad of a positive mental attitude)
but this habit was the most dominant: porn.
i wanted so bad to have close buddies I could count on, or a girl friend that I could truly love and her love me but it seemed i never had a chance in life for these things.
Like I was some type of weirdo socially that just keeps people at an arms length.
I hated myself for wanting so bad to be socially accepted, ever since I was probably 9 years old. I’ve even sunken to the point where I had to imagine friends for comfort on some nights.
My hope slowly dwindled in any hope in God like people spoke of. The hope that I had experienced once when I was trying to get clean from lust, but I fell back in and didn’t see the point in trying again. Starting majorly in lust at 14 when I dared to look up breast in google.
Now, sex cams late nights. Exposing what only my future wife should have seen to a dozen of women from God know’s where.
I’m past feeling shame and guilt for these actions, which to be my fuel to get out.
I’m at the stage where I’m planning to give up–entirely on life at large.
Even when most people seems to think I’m doing well for myself.
By the way, I’m 19 now. This mess has ruined my life for 5 years; tearing up my finances. I need to get out. Or I need to give up. I just really hope that something happens within to get my fire going to chug on out of this, or else I will use whatever I have left to end it.
I completely understand the feeling. I’ve been in that same boat. It is a terrible feeling to see lust start eating away at your life, bit by bit. I encourage you to look around our blog and see if there are any free resources that might point you in a good direction.
Thanks for sharing some of your story with us, Jason.
@Jason. Josh would be willing to talk with you. Email him: email@example.com
Serena I would love to talk to you to get advice about my husband.
My Husband struggles with something very deep and dark. I’m no therapist but I feel in my heart it’s from the past relationship with his father being physically abused and always rejected til this day by his Father. I always knew that he watched porn but What I didn’t know is he likes she male and gay porn! Porn has pretty much diminished our marriage He’s constantly on his phone every second it feels like. He always takes it to the bathroom he has a password on his phone that he changes and won’t give me access to. When we do have sex it’s unrealistic he can get physical smack me pull my hair choke me and he likes to it to be reciprocated. I’m a woman and enjoy sex with my husband but this is getting out of control! He’s getting ready to move out of our home because he’s so miserable! Please lift John up in prayer pray that God intervenes and leads him away from all lust and temptation!! Thank you and God Bless you!!
I’m so sorry for the pain you’re both experiencing. I wonder if your husband is acting out sexually as a result of his own self-hatred. If you do not want to be hit and choked during sex, then it’s time for healthy boundaries that will protect you, keep you safe, and lead to the kind of sexual expression that is enjoyable for you. Here, here, and here are some articles on boundaries that should help. You do not have to submit to any kind of abuse, including sexual expressions that are hurtful or unwelcome in any way.
Peace to you,