Love, Lust, & Lemons

Readers discretion is advised. This post may not be suitable for all ages.


For your knowledge, I have arranged some statistics: 

50% of all Christian men and 20% of all christian women say they are addicted to pornography.

9 out of 10 boys were exposed to pornography before the age of 18.

6 out of 10 girls were exposed to pornography before the age of 18.

The porn industry generates $13 billion each year in the US.

2,353,972,959 is the number of searches for pornography since the start of 2014. (and growing every second.)

I know, statistics really hit home for some people but for some they’re just numbers. Lets just say you have 30 people in your youth group (15 boys and 15 girls). That means 10 boys and 7 girls have watched porn (purposefully or on accident), that also means 7 of those boys watch it everyday as well as 3 of those girls. A third of your youth group is gripped by lust. And even though this was just hypothetical, the sad truth is that it is real.


Porn is a struggle for today’s youth – whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.


 Now time for your main course…

I was driving on my way back from Joplin today, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. In the tough times, when life hands us lemons – we will always reach for lust rather than love. We will do the thing that makes us feel better but will not do the thing that will heal us. Well, duh Stephanie – everyone knows that. The problem is that, sometimes we don’t notice the difference. We just want the pain to stop…

When I was in kindergarten, I lived in Tennessee. My dad was in the military and my mom worked for the school district. My mom and dad had some best friends, who had twin boys who were about 7 or 8. I went to “daycare” at their house everyday until someone could come get me.

It was a normal day like any other, I went to “school” and went to daycare. Except this day will forever be seared in my mind. The boys told me they wanted to play a game – 7 minutes in heaven. They had overheard their older brother talking about it. I had no clue, so I said yeah! That sounds fun..little did I know – it was far from it. They took me into the closet, and they molested me. I didn’t know that’s what they had done, they seemed happy and no one noticed so I figured this was the norm. This continued, and it didn’t matter where we moved, who I knew, or how far I tried to get away from those kind of kids or adults – they always found me.

I was in first grade, when i watched a rated R movie with my parents (typical in today’s society) and I saw my first “scene.” I looked at it in awe, and kindled a fire that would last years. I watched my first porn in first grade, and I didn’t do it for pleasure – to me..it was the closest thing to love that i could understand. Twisted isn’t it? How lust defined the very thing I thought was love. I watched porn everyday for 11 years straight. If I missed, I would go through withdraws. I felt like no one loved me, and that was my only source of love.

Then insert my teenage boyfriend. He was tall, dark, and handsome – at least for an 8th grader he was. We held hands all the time, text everyday, talked on the phone forever. He was my first kiss, and my first I love you. I thought – He is the one! Then one day we were walking to the park, he stopped me and kissed me…and he wouldn’t stop, he got on top of me. My heart was screaming finally, someone loves me! Simultaneously, my mind screamed this isn’t right, get away! So I did, I pushed him off, ran home, locked the bathroom door behind me and began to weep. I was so confused, didn’t that mean he loved me? Didn’t that mean I was worth it. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks – those people did not love me…they used me. It was in that moment, I decided I would never love, I would never trust, I would never feel again. I was going to protect myself at all cost.

Brick by brick I built up my walls. Nobody in…and nobody out, and that was just how I liked it. It was a lonely life, watching everyone outside my walls have fun, I was just trying to survive, to live without pain, to live without people.

Fast forward 3 years.  One day, driving down the road with my dad to Kentucky, I was listening to a song a friend recommended to me. Lead Me To The Cross – by Hillsong United.


 Lead me to the cross – Where Your love poured out – Bring me to my knees – Lord I lay me down – Rid me of myself – I belong to You – Lead me, lead me to the cross


Wait, what? His love was poured out? But that’s so wasteful, there isn’t a lot of control for pouring things. Sometimes you give too much, sometimes you overflow, sometimes you have way too much. Why is the world would God do that, and why would He do it for me?


Me – a porn addict. Me – a suicidal cutter. Me – a worthless girl. Me – a broken, helpless mess


How awesome is that? It was a few days later I gave my life to the Lord. Now, I’m not gonna lie – everyday is a battle. Some days are harder than others, and some days I fail. But God spoke to me today and  I sat in awe of His wisdom, and caring touch. Hopefully, it will bless you as much as it did me..

Porn is not a relief to your stress or pain. People will hurt you, betray your trust, you will feel lonely but porn is not intimacy – it is simply physical relief. God has loved me intimately, personally, He knows everything about me, down to the molecule. And that was what blew my mind. Here I am, abusing myself – so others wont have a chance to do it first. All the while – God is more relentless, more in pursuit, more in love with me…His daughter…His princess.

All desires are depleting

All wounds are slowly healing

All pain is leaving

God is blocking my own self-harm and giving me the love I have always craved, desired, and longed for.


What a savior. He pours out purposely to overflow.


If you know the struggle, if you need freedom – call on Him. He is our ever present help, and He is right there with you with open arms and love.

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Regret.


Such a powerful word in my life right now, but probably not in the way you’re thinking. Do I regret the choices I have made in the last couple weeks. Not. At. All. Life is, after all, what you make it.

In the last couple weeks, I’ve been addressed and approached and what not about my decisions. I am not backslid. I understand that’s hard for some people to understand, but listen here – YOU do not determine, dictate, or decide any part of my life. I know you may not agree with what I’m doing and that’s fine, I don’t need you too. Please know nothing you say will change my mind, I am so done with this idea of control people think they have.

I was driving to Joplin the other day with Maria on the phone and I broke. I mean I was sobbing and yelling and it was in that pain that I realized what I really regret in this time.

I regret trusting people.

First off, I do not have a victim mentality, nor am I doing any of this for attention. If that is what you think, please feel free to leave. Secondly, trusting people is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have been burned by more people than you probably know. One right after the other, one promise right after the next. It hurts, and you begin to get so sick and tired of having to re-piece your life together for the next person to come along and hurt you twice as bad.

After I got saved I challenged myself to be more open, if it would help people. When I would testify in choir – I was nervous but only because I didn’t want to tell those people and them not care. It was my pain I was willing to share, and I wanted it to matter. 

And here is where the regret comes in…

In under 4 weeks  I have lost my family, my “close” friends, and my desire to love people. I feel like I’ve been raped and left for dead. Oh my word Stephanie you’re so dramatic. No, I’m not. I’m trying to get you to understand the pain I feel in my life right now. I feel like I was used and now that I don’t fit up to anyone’s standards – I have become expandable. Since I can’t follow the “rules” – since I can’t be everything you need me to be – I no longer am of importance. and you know what?

That is the single most worst feeling I have ever felt.

To not only have lost everything but to have it have been my fault because I did not want to live for the validation of other people.


I regret meeting you, being associated with your kind, but mostly I regret ever letting someone so close to my heart.


I don’t know if ill ever be able to trust again, I’m scared that the next time someone breaks me will be my last. But I know God and I know He will heal me. All I ask is that you remember this post, and remember that…

I am still a person

– I still need to be loved –

regardless what color my eyelids are.

The Art of War

Disclaimer: if this post seems pointy, that’s because it is.

What is the number one flaw of the human being? Not his body, not his mind, but what is it that paints him as flawed? Desire. Desire in and of itself is not bad, but what is desired is.

What do Adam, Eve, Hitler, Bush, and the Pope all have in common? A desire for power.

So you see, everyone – even you and I – have this desire for power. We want to be better than the lady down the street, we want to know this person will be there when we need them, we want our voices heard, and we want as much power as we can get.

Really, it isn’t a bad flaw to have if kept in check. Having the ability to control something can be great but it can also be deadly.

Now why is this titled The Art of War. Well, its simple, war is about who currently has power and who wants to take it. And like everything in this life, there is a strategy to war. In order to be successful one must have the upper hand on the leader, you have to know them, their thoughts, their patterns. After you know them, you can always be one step ahead of them, that is how you win war. It truly is an art form.

Okay, Stephanie, what does this have to do with you? Well that’s where things get pointy. Some of you have felt the need to take it upon yourself to express the “imagined” power you have over me. Some of you really truly believe you know me, and know my next move. When in reality, you know only as much as I want you to. I’m writing this blog because I am fed up being a prisoner of war to people like you.

You don’t know me

Sure you may know the things I like, you may know the things I have told you but you don’t know me. None of you do, because a POW’s only job is to survive against all odds. Until you’ve walked in my shoes, you cant tell me anything.

Until you know what its like to be violated in ways unthinkable

Until you know what its like to carry your family on your back

Until you know what its like to be disowned and thrown out

Until you know what its like to hate yourself everyday

Until you know what its like to be popular one second and all alone the next

Until you know what it feels like to want to take your life

Until  you know what its like to be me

You have no right to tell me anything.

No right whatsoever. I’m not a charity case, I’m not your inbox of advice so you can sleep well at night, I’m not an ignorant person who knows nothing about life, I am a survivor. I don’t need your scriptures, I don’t need your texted sermons, I know what you’re going to say before you say it.

My problem is not with God or with His Gospel. My problem is the Bible says to work out my salvation with fear and trembling and yet you seem to think you have the upper hand in my journey. You seem to think you hold the key to my freedom, you seem to think you have the power to make a difference in my life.

And that’s silly, because you don’t have any power over me.

So make me a deal okay?

Trust me to walk this journey or see yourself out of it.

I will no longer be a prisoner of war,

I will survive

I will triumph – with or without you.

Now this is a story….

…all about how my life got flipped right upside down,

and I’d like to take a minute just sitting right here

to explain to you how I became the Fresh Prince of Bel-air

a Bible School drop out.

It almost humorous to think that that’s what I will now be associated with. I’ve never been much of a quitter, I mean sure I did when I was young but we grow out of things like that don’t we? Apparently not.. Any who, I’m sure some of you follow my Instagram (@steph.toro) or maybe you just stumbled across this page but you’re here because you want to know why. First, let me say, I do not you or anyone else an explanation of my decisions. It is my life to do with as I please, but what good would a story be if I ended it at that?

Reasons I did NOT leave Bible School:

  1. I am turning my back on God and holiness
  2. A boy broke my heart
  3. The classes were too hard
  4. I’ve gone crazy – well, clinically anyways.

Main Reasons I left (and that I may expound on one day, until then – here’s short and sweet):

My heart was nowhere to be found. Have you ever just woke up and realized your heart jumped ship? Like, while you were sleeping your heart packed up and moved on with life and forget to wake you up? That’s where I was, It was like I had suddenly woke up and I was all alone, in darkness, without heart to do anything. It was worse then depression, it was something I could physically feel – a loneliness that was thick. All that would be fine, if I had felt like I was in the center of God’s will but I felt I had missed something, skipped a step, lost my keys, forgot a verse.  And what do you do if you forget something? You go and get it. So I did what anyone else would do, I followed my heart into the next chapter of my life…

My passion soon became my poisonPeople are wonderful, did you know that? Each so different and yet all made to reflect one savior. Molded and brought to life by one, but yet all so different. No two alike, some are funny, some are shy, some are crazy. Some are passionate dancers, singers, artist, pastors, friends. And yet at the end of the day they all intertwine in some way to fulfill Gods incredible plan. How neat, isn’t it? I love people, truly. It use to be a means of survival, but now it is a beautiful passion. My dad once told me “people are like dollar bills, you can spend them easily anywhere/anytime. They shouldn’t matter to you unless you have a bunch, then they have can be something to you.” I had left that mentality after my salvation, but a few months ago I began to believe that way again. I didn’t want to be around people, the thought of it repulsed me. What a sad way to die, at the hands of your passion in life…

Finally, my box busted open. Can you imagine with me, when you were a kid the one box you stuffed everything in? You know, when your mom was about to come check to see if it was clean. You would shove everything in it, and whether you were religious or not you prayed to God that she wouldn’t open it? Maybe it wasn’t a box, maybe it was a closet or drawer. Any who, you know what I’m talking about. Well, did you know I have one in my mind – we all do. Years of neglect, abuse, hurt, and betrayal stuffed into this box and thrown under the rug never to be seen again…or so I thought. I’m 21 now, and this box has just busted open in my hands. I felt it all at once like a tsunami wave but not at all like the numbness of anesthetic. I was grasping for its contents to try to shove it back in, but I couldn’t contain it. I was left on the floor, in a mess of my life that I had tried to hide for so long…

I was scared out of my mind, and I was searching for what to do. All the while hoping no one would notice. And I heard it in my heart, felt it in my soul, understood it with my mind.

God told me to GO.

But what will people say? GO. I love school! Go. Its safer here..Go. What will people think? GO. They’ll say I’m backslid! GO. What will i do? GO. Im so scared. GO. I cant handle this! GO. Don’t make me go through more pain, please. GO.

Every question, statement, plea was different but the answer remained GO. So I did just that. I inhaled a deep breath and took a leap of faith to obey His command to GO.

And now the journey begins!

Leave comments or questions below! Have something you want to know, I’ll see what I can do. Hoping to post at least every week! Look forward to writing for you guys! If you’re not already following me -please do!

  • Twitter – @stephanie_toro
  • Instagram – @steph.toro (personal) @His_healinghands (ministry)

First Impressions

 

First ImpressionsFirst, let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Stephanie. I’m 21, and I love a lot of things; the beach, when my curly hair is tamed, making people laugh, and shopping! The one thing my heart beats for through and through though is God!

Let me also warn you, I’ve never wrote a blog, so please be kind to me. I promise I’m way cooler than my wretched writing skills will paint me to be. It seems like blogs nowadays are just super “hipster.” Well I can assure you, I am no hipster. I am however a girl who has lost her identity, her self-worth, and her ability to love. I created this blog not to blow anyone’s mind with my ability to describe words in a million different ways or to even touch your heart with a testimony…this blog is my journey to recovery. A recovered love, that’s what I’m searching for. Every step, every leap of faith, every blink, and every breath will be recorded her. In hopes one day I can look back and realize just how relentless God’s love for us truly is.

Feel free to follow me on my journey…