I have been thinking a lot about my faith lately and what I perceive it to be. I am finding that there are a lot of rules and regulations that I was taught growing up in the church that are still very much a part of me. As much as I have tried to stray from them, they are still rooted deep within me and hard to release.  Thankfully I have moved away from the legalistic talk that says we have to be perfect and follow all of these guidelines in order for Jesus to truly love me.

I know, in my head, how much grace God extends and that He loves me unconditionally but I need to move that to my heart now.  God’s grace and love is something that is so hard to fathom and truly believe. When God is telling us He loves us often times we want to answer with, “but….” or “why?”. We are just called to accept it though. There are no strings attached and no hidden agenda, God just loves me for me.

I have to be honest and say that my battle with this addiction has not been easy these last few weeks. I am dealing with a broken friendship and stress with my master’s classes. It is so easy to want to medicate from this by viewing porn because that is the easiest escape. Thankfully, about five minutes into falling God reminds me that this is not helping and that He has other things for me and ultimately He loves me enough to help me get through this stress and hurt without having to resort to pornography.  Even though I have fallen more than I would like, I have found it easier to get up and harder to stay in the shame and guilt and I am so thankful for that. It is encouraging to see progress and see that when I fall, it doesn’t last a long time and I am able to truly believe and accept God’s grace and forgiveness.

God does not continue to look at my sin and failures, all He sees is His precious daughter that He loves very much and wants to see move on to bigger and better things. Because of this, I am challenged to continue on this journey of healing and as each day goes by, I see God and His faithfulness more and more.

A verse I have been clinging to lately is found in Daniel chapter 6, verse 23. “The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”. Daniel was thrown into this den of lions; I cannot imagine what kind of emotions and feelings he must have been going through. I love the last part of this verse. There was not a single wound or scratch found on Daniel because He trusted that God would take care of Him and would not let anything happen. The key word here is trust. I have been challenged because as an addict I find myself in my own den of lions often, trying to fight off the temptations and things that try to bring me down. I am challenged to trust God more, to trust that He will protect me and when He sees that it is too much for me to handle, He will take over. I am also challenged to trust that His grace, love and forgiveness truly are unconditional and unending.

I challenge you to look at your journey differently and see that God really wants to lead and will never leave you, no matter how hard you fall. He is not one to give up. I have found that the more I fall, the more I can hear Him cheering for me. This is grace and I challenge you to just swim in it and let God hold your hand as you get back up and try again.

Adelaide Brown