We Love Because He First Loved Us

In a dream

In a dream

One of my longest running struggles in life has been “guy stuff” (this is what Lee Anne and I used to call porn, before we decided that made it sound okay). When I was younger it started with nervous curiosity but I was never bold enough to try anything with real girls so I found ways to satisfy my curiosity otherwise.

Over time I continued to struggle against the urge to give myself this mutant version of sex. At times I thought no girl would ever want me because I looked at porn, so I should just give in to this fake but immediate solution. Other times I fooled myself into thinking that viewing whatever porn I found would help me become some kind of super seducer. So many years went by and the struggle remained mostly consistent – a cycle of initial resistance, followed by convincing myself that I should look at porn, then a big failure and a version of shallow, guilt-based repentance (which actually set me up for future failure).

That was all before I met Lee Anne. She was the first girl who wanted to actually know me.
Not the public, funny and carefree me.
Not the smooth, fast talking me.
Not even the me I convinced myself I could be if I keep faking it long enough me.

She wanted to know the me that was bound up inside, that I didn’t let out for fear I might be rejected – the same rejection I felt many times as a kid whenever I would let this real me escape into the wild.

Acceptance, by another human, by a friend, by a woman, acceptance did something to the way I understood life and Jesus and even the term “salvation.”
Acceptance meant I could be me – all the time and anytime I was around Lee Anne I was just me. Acceptance meant I could let parts of me become part of the regular me instead of only showing themselves after a couple of drinks. Acceptance meant the things I felt, thought and struggled with mattered to someone else.

Now you might think with such amazing acceptance and love that I would have been a totally changed man right away – at least that is what I thought would happen.
Instead it has been a long painful battle for Lee Anne as well as for me. When Lee Anne reached out in love and accepted me fully, she didn’t accept any part of me that wasn’t true to the real me. Like porn, like my defaulting to failure, like my cynicism about my life and the world. Those parts hurt her, she embraced the now me while accepting the true me and that meant and often still means pain.

A lot of pain.

Jesus did the same and it cost Him a life full of painful interactions with the people He loved and a death that goes beyond what I can even imagine – and I was an extremely vivid imagination.

Jumping forward in time, it has been about 2 years since I binged on “guy stuff” BUT this doesn’t mean I haven’t hurt Lee Anne. I have looked at things that aren’t technically porn and used them to lust in the same way. And one of the biggest struggles, because of my vivid imagination, has been the memories of everything I have ever looked at. After 15 years of struggling and failing at porn, there is more in my head than I could ever exhaust if I left myself drift into those “mutant sex” memories.

This morning I realized there is a new struggle: Inception.

During my dreams last night I found myself in a convenience store (always on some kind of spy type mission) and I walked by a magazine rack that had X rated mags, they were covered by the little plastic thing but I knew if I picked one up it would have real images inside. One by one each section in the store started to have X rated materials, I would walk by something and then walk by it again and the second time the X rated something would be there – covered but there. I realized that the only way to escape was to wake up. So I did.

The struggle against porn is a struggle to wake up. To realize the beautiful family that awaits me at home or that Lee Anne will be free from feeding our sweet baby soon or that someday I won’t feel this disconnection.

Someday we will all be connected in a new earth, we will wake up from this reality to realize the greater truth and be connected to Him in Heaven forever.

6 Comments

  1. John, it is awesome how you opened up your heart and are so honest about your struggles – that’s definitely not easy to do, esp. in a public place like your blog. You never know who may come upon We Roquemore and be encouraged by your post. Yes, the flesh desires are so hard to deal with….what matters is that we are aware of them, coming to repentance, and striving to become more like Christ. I also wanted to say that it is such a blessing that you, Lee Anne, and Amelie have each other – I see so much love within your family. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Iris,

      It means a lot that you would read this and share such encouraging words. Life has been so different since I met Lee Anne. One of the main ways Jesus gave me freedom was the simple act of showing me through Lee Anne, my family and now you that I am loved, faults and all.

      Keep loving and living connected to people. It is the best life.

      John

  2. Courageous transparency and vulnerability – and excellent writing! This is the ‘true John’ that won our daughter’s heart … and mine. Some say people never really change (short of massive trauma), but you’re proof that deep and profound change can be consciously chosen and willfully achieved, for the better. I’m proud to call you ‘son’.

    • A few weeks ago I got fed up with the fluff in my life (helped that one of my best friends called me out in a big way). Told Lee Anne that I am done holding back with our readers.

      Thanks for being part of my journey. Change only happens when Jesus uses a community to bring the truth to one’s attention. In this case, Jesus used several communities and two families!

  3. Beautiful writing John. I can’t say that I would have the guts to share something like this so openly myself. I assume both you and Lee Anne write about your guys’ day to day experiences and thoughts to share with others and seek commentary. Your struggle is very moving and inspiring to those who have difficulty with the same issue.

    It seems you and Lee Anne have a beautiful little family that the Lord has blessed you with. I don’t know if I am reading certain parts incorrectly, but I hope you do not feel disconnected from your wife simply because she nurses Amelie. Please correct me if I am wrong. Anyways, I personally enjoy reading your guys’ blogs from time to time. God bless you both.

    • Quin,

      I am blessed with an amazing family and I am always honored when friends take the time to thoughtfully comment on anything I’ve written.

      All I meant by that little section was that I need to be reminded that Amelie won’t nurse forever and I will have Lee Anne’s full attention again. I love that Amelie gets the best food from the best source.

      Thanks for reading.

      John

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