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Josh has an incredible heart for God and is passionate about helping create environments that lead people to experience God.  He has tremendous gifts that enable him to help churches advance the Kingdom of God.

I’ll Never Get Caught, Part 1 [Mistakes in Marriage: #8]

Written by Josh Collins. Posted in Marriage

Note: Having recently celebrated 10 years of marriage, I began a series of stories, or rather mistakes I’ve made in those 10 years. I hope that through these deep, personal stories, you’ll come to see, as I have, the gloriously beautiful experience of the Gospel that is marriage. Make sure you’re signed up for email updates so you won’t miss any of them. In addition I’ll be doing a pretty cool giveaway at the end of this series to my awesome friends who have signed up so don’t be left out of that as well!

I'll Never Get Caught Part 1

These may be the last words you ever read from me. Not because of some proverbial notion that I get hit by a bus, or I’ll never write again, or that I have run out of things to say, but because honestly, these words will tell a story that’s difficult to share. One that you probably won’t enjoy that much.

Enjoy is not a very good word to use there so let’s go with the word hate.

Hate is a much stronger word, I know. But it’s the most accurate word I can grasp right now.

I use it because I have felt this tension inside me, building throughout this series, knowing it would lead here.

And I hate here.

I have lost friends because of here.

I have seen smiles turn to blank stares because of here. I know you know what I’m talking about, the disapproving, disappointing blank stare. The ones that stay with you forever. The ones you never forget — ever.

My marriage has never been the same because of here.

When I look at the photo above, I’m reminded again, and I grieve some more from the loss that here has handed to me.

Let me tell you, we reap what we sow alright. No one in their right mind can deny that. It’s a spiritual certainty. (tweetable)

It’s something like the spiritual equivalent of Newton’s 3rd Law.

Even suggesting to tweet that phrase above just seems silly in the context of the gravity of this story — eh, this mistake that is.

I remember growing up and hearing that phrase again and again, you reap what you sow, always thinking I would be some sort of exception. Like for some unknown reason I would escape punishment, I could avoid being caught. Caught for what I didn’t know then, but whatever it was I would sow, I just imagined that the reaping would be for someone else, not me.

Boy was I wrong.

I’m sure by now you’ve discerned that in the story of my marriage exists some darkness. Some places I’ve been, decisions I’ve made, and patterns of behavior I’ve committed of which I hate. Stuff that, sure, The Father, in only His loving-kindness graciously redeems, but the wake of which continues to pierce old wounds.

Trust is an extremely sacred thing. Once it’s fractured, it’s not so easy to repair. Only affections of the heavenly realm can mend that which is broken.

I understand that now more than ever.

For me it started early as child, discovering a stack of Playboys in the bathroom — at least that’s how I remember it. That beast grew as I fed it, until there were just remnants of innocence left. Pornography sank its ugly teeth in me early as a child and wouldn’t let go till it nearly took everything from me.

I know God has a plan, I’ve always known that. Some of the fondest memories I have of my grandmother are her writing those words in birthday cards, holiday cards and handwritten letters. I know He takes our messes and turns them into messages, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to hate who I was back then.

I’d give anything now to be able to travel back in time and rescue that little boy, love that 13-year-old or even beat the crap out of that 20 something.

I was so foolish to think that I could hide it forever.

It wasn’t but a few short months after our wedding that Mary caught me the first time.

Somehow I wasn’t as careful as I thought and she found some traces of something disturbing on the computer. Suddenly I was found out. I was trapped with nowhere to hide.

To be honest, I was scared and embarrassed. I mean we had talked about it a little bit when we were dating. And when I say a little, I mean, I did what all of us men typically do when we’re sorta kind of fessing up to something; we try to candy coat things. Like how when we’re late for something we’ll tell someone we’re farther down the road than we actually are.

Only when Mary refused to come home, did it really start to sink in on just how serious things were. I couldn’t ignore the plank in my eye any longer.

I hate that it didn’t stop there.

I hate that at that moment things would change for years to come.

I hate that for years to come I would continue to struggle with pornography.

“We are always, always the last to see our self-absorption.”Tim Keller

The greatest storytellers in the world talk about story in the context of redemption. They tell how we all have parts of our stories that God redeems. I certainly talk about that a lot as well. But it’s always nicer and neater in the context of someone’s else’s story. It’s always easier to tell someone else’s story, than the dark parts of your own.

That is until the sunlight breaks the dawn, until the freeze lifts and makes way for new warmth and until that fateful stone rolls away.

There’s a new song in my heart these days, one that I can’t stop singing. One that draws deep into the well of my soul producing a flood of tears. The words covering each and every broken reminder of that place, that man I once was. It’s called The Rock Won’t Move by Vertical Church Band. The chorus reads:

The Rock won’t move and His word is strong.

The Rock won’t move and His love can’t be undone.

The Rock won’t move and His word is strong.

The Rock won’t move and His love can’t be undone.

The Rock of our salvation.

Even though I can’t say that the story ends here, and that the morning sunrise chased away all traces of darkness and pain, I can boldly proclaim that The Rock didn’t move. He was right there in the middle of it all. His words are strong and His love can’t be undone.

Again, right in the midst of the storm, while the storm was still raging, as scriptures describe, Jesus calls to us all. He certainly was for me and promises to continue to do so for you today. No matter what your storm looks like.

The disgusting statistics of those addicted or struggling with pornography are astounding. They tell us 1 out of every 2 men are addicted to pornography. While I’m empathetic and compassionate for those struggling, can I get close and step on some toes for second? There’s only one thing at the end of that tunnel — death. If you or someone you know is struggling, get help. Do whatever it takes.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Josh Collins

Josh Collins is a Communicator and Experience Architect who lives in Franklin, Tn. His passion is to create awesome experiences that change the way we engage audiences and help you do the same.
  • http://www.rocksolidfamily.com/ Anastacia Maness

    I don’t think anyone should hate you for this confession. It’ll obvious you are repentant. Pornography is a demon every man has to fight because it is so prevalent in our society. Even the magazine covers in the checkout line are full of images I try to hide from my sons.

    The question I have is: what steps did you take towards conquering that demon? That would be a very helpful blog post for others facing the same challenges. I would especially like to know how to protect my sons from getting caught in that trap.

    • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

      Anastacia, thanks for your comment. I’ll share more in Part 2 about the steps I’ve taken and I’m also working on some more stuff that’ll be shared at a later time as well.

  • A

    Josh- a good friend of mine shared this article with me. It hits home with my marriage. Maybe not in the same ways that it affected yours, but we simply have a different story. Unfortunately, deep wounds similar to the ones you described have taken place with us as well. Out of curiosity…how did your wife handle it all? I know you said she left the house, but…what happened? How did she respond to you? Where are you guys now with it all? Thank you for being so vulnerable and allowing God to use this for good. I believe you will bless a lot of people with your vulnerability- no matter how hard or ugly the sin may be. We all have hard & ugly sins. Not everyone is bold enough to talk about them. Thanks for blessing me.

    • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Your questions are great questions and certainly are crucial parts of the bigger story being told here. Without giving too much away from the rest of the series, I believe they’ll be answered in the following posts.

      But I because I believe this is such crucial dialogue, I’m praying about a series that would dive deeper into some of these specific issues.

  • http://www.joyceglass.org/ Joyce Glass

    Josh, What a refreshing change! Rarely do I read men being open and honest about their problems. Thank You for sharing in such a raw and authentic manner.

    I have someone dear to me struggling with this addiction. I think they are doing better now, but not completely sure.

    I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I pray more men step and and share what a demon this is. I think a lot of middle school & teen boys do not realize the pain and damage they are causing themselves and their future mates.

    Women struggle with this too, which is hard for me to understand, but evil is evil and is no respecter of gender.

    From your fellow Tribe Writer! Thanks for sharing your heart.

    • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

      Joyce, you’re so right! Although there are some good people speaking into the teen/youth space about lust and pornography, more is needed! Everytime I get the opportunity to speak and share with teens, this is something I touch on!

  • http://www.annepeterson.com/ Anne Peterson

    Josh,

    I too, echo that it’s refreshing for someone to be vulnerable in this world where everyone airbrushes their faults away. I appreciate your honesty. I pray that God uses it in the lives of others. When my son recently shared about his suicide attempt when he was younger the mom part of me felt so guilty, so below par for being a mom. After all, couldn’t I have helped him in his pain before it got to that point? God does bring good out of anything. Even those things we wish we could go back and replay.

  • http://ayearinthespirituallife.blogspot.com/ Dayna Renee Hackett Bickham

    As a woman who cheated in my marriage, I understand more than you know about this sin. It weighs heavy and it is like an itch and a sickness all at the same time. But, God can and does deliver. I believe the key is less in accountability than it is submission to God in that moment. I know that my marriage survived by God’s grace and love. He is unmovable and anything that crashes into Him must break. Slavery to sin is broken by the Rock.

    I want to encourage you. I know you may have lost friends over this, and for that I am sorry, but remember this: when we submit to Christ and live lives that are transparent and open, we allow others to see all Christ has done. His redemption, his healing, his power courses through our lives; these events and their outcomes are like lifelines for those around us. They create hope that others latch onto.

    Thank you for sharing this. It will have an impact for years to come.

    • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

      Dayna, thanks so much for sharing your story! What an encouragement!

  • http://www.ricktheule.com/ Rick Theule

    Josh thank you for your post. So many men struggle here and I truly believe it is a key component to broken and fractured marriages. Thanks for being bold and willing to put your story out in the world for all to hear. Keep it up.

  • http://www.rawrealhope.com/ Jeff Raymond

    Josh I read your words and love your courage. I find it so cool to think that Jesus looks at you no different than the gossip or cheat or glutton. For it is in His grace that we find forgiveness and what we need from Him and others to walk away from our addictions. May God use your boldness to reach other men stuck in this nasty trap!

    • http://thejoshcollins.com/ Josh Collins

      Thanks Jeff!

  • http://www.jenniferkaufman.net/ Jennifer Kaufman

    Thank you for sharing this. As a wife who has discovered the same things, and been down perhaps a similar journey, I am grateful for your openness on such a tough subject and anxious to read more. Praise God that he IS able to redeem marriages.

Posted on: October 30, 2013

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