wife

Adventures in Faith

I'm Straight and Still Beg God to Reinvent My Sex Life

It started with Miss Piggy and her pretty pink curves at age three.

Then our baby sitter, then Debbie Gibson, a girl in my 4th grade class. I’ve got a list of crushes into the hundreds. From my earliest memories I was strongly attracted to many different women.

My first female obsession.

My first female obsession.

I was not born a "one woman man."

Maybe its genetic, I'm not sure, I just know my attractions, should I follow through on them, is not God's plan for me.

I was born in "original sin." 

In high school I wrote poems about women. In college, I took philosophy of art, beauty, and aesthetics courses and a figure drawing class where I'd sit for hours drawing naked women three years in a row. 

I waxed poetic about the lusts of my flesh as justified, natural, productive, a celebration of God's penultimate creation. 

Despite my parents stern warnings against sex before marriage, the allure of women was too much, my roots in the gospel too weak, and I not only succumbed to a life of sexual sin, I dove in proudly.

My world got ugly fast.

Me prowling the streets of Philadelphia circa 2010.

Me prowling the streets of Philadelphia circa 2010.

Deception in relationships, broken hearts, barely dodging pregnancy and disease, embarrassment and walks of shame, all as I slid into a pattern of companionship that left me ever lonelier. 

I often self medicated to enable myself to do what, in the depths of my heart, I knew was wrong. It was a raucous and wicked downward spiral. 

I had no idea that with each woman I slept with an imprint was being left on my soul that would not easily be washed away.

By society's standards I was a stud, playboy, lady killer, the character many men aspire to be. I fed on the attention.

My sin was about to be exposed.

Then I found a Godly woman.

The high of meeting a good woman, one who seemed to emanate light and goodness, was quickly followed by dread. As I learned of her strong faith and remembered what I knew about the tenants of my own, I felt like a stained rag. 

"What was I thinking?!?" I lamented. The gravity of it all hit me at once.

A long road of pulling myself out of the pit of  doing sex my own way instead of God's way was before me. 

Hard conversations. Shock by her at how calloused I had become. The effects of so many tangled relationships constantly popping up in photos, old social media posts, phone calls and texts I didn't want to get. 

It was a terribly painful process.

I had trouble not resorting to deception or half truths. It was hard to discern what to reveal and when. I subconsciously wondered how I could let the depths of my depravity be known.

We worked through it--this Godly woman and I--as she showed me unending grace. 

Marriage = doing sex God's way! (or so I thought)

Once I entered into the freedom of the marriage covenant with a woman I was wildly attracted to, I finally had sexual freedom! But the twisted tentacles of sexual sin began to pull at my new marriage in unexpected ways.  

As I drove home from work one day, knowing my wife would want to be intimate, I dreaded that I would not respond appropriately.

How could this happen? Never in a million years! This is a curse!

I gripped the steering wheel and pleaded to God, "Lord, please reinvent my sexuality!" Right away I heard God whisper, "Ryan, be selfless and make this about her, not you." 

I was learning how to love in a very different way, my very sexuality being reprogrammed from that of a predator on an unending hunt to someone willing to love unconditionally and sacrificially. 

Encouraging bumper stickers as I worked through my stuff. 

Encouraging bumper stickers as I worked through my stuff. 

Paying for my past.

My old life reared its head with certain triggers, like staying in hotel rooms while traveling, staying up late drinking, seeing old flames around town or online.

They were all major challenges that I've had to attack in repentance, prayer, talking with Whitney and other men who hold me accountable. 

A thousand times I've asked God to wipe clean my memory, to delete the images that are stored in the depths where I no longer want them. Over time, he seems to be hearing my plea. 

I've also found myself incredibly sad for the woman I was with. Many probably have deep wounds I can never fix. Even as I know I'm forgiven, it grieves me to know what I did to these young women who are made in God's image. 

Further, I've come to realize that in my sin my whole way of thinking about sex had become warped, self-centered, and in need of a complete overhaul. 

An awful nightmare woke me up.

The good news is that, as I battle to do sex God's way, the trajectory of my sex life has moved closer and closer to His plan. There was one instance, however, that resulted in a giant leap forward.

I had dabbled in sin, I can't remember what it was, probably looking at porn online.

One night I had an awful dream. I was being seduced by a woman and as I eagerly pursued her I was also aware of my wife calling out in search of me nearby.

I awoke terrified at what I was doing and in that moment God exposed my patterns of deceit, bitterness when I don't get what I want, bartering and manipulation for sex, game playing, all the effects of separation of sex from God's plan. 

I had a wave of fear hit me--fear of the coming wrath of God. So much so that confessing to my wife seemed like the easy thing to do!

The next day, while at work I texted my wife that we needed to talk so I couldn’t chicken out later.

My wife and I have come a long way since we were married in 2012. 

My wife and I have come a long way since we were married in 2012. 

I repented and asked for her forgiveness, and it led to a several week long conversation that was uncomfortable, and yet freeing.

Something changed in our marriage, I couldn't put my finger on it, something spiritual and good and necessary. This ugly sin that was confronted and lifted before God had somehow drawn us closer. 

It's a lesson I haven't forgotten. 

Stopping sexual sin in my family.

I take this sin seriously now, especially since as a society we openly invite sexual sin into our eyes and hearts, and we drift further from God's plan for sex and marriage. 

King David, a man after God's own heart, saw his sexual sin wreak havoc in his family. So I pray over my boys weekly, "Lord, please don't let my sins in this area affect them, please protect them."

I'm much more open about this issue now than ever before (this blog as a case in point). I talk regularly to other guys about this, a community that has bolstered my defenses.

My wife and I actively work to guard my heart, for example, we don't watch racy movies, and she thumbs through magazine's I get and tears out the soft porn that now comes in health, technology, even cooking publications. 

Regular immersion in God's word and in prayer is a hedge of protection. I also avoid the circumstances where I know I am weak and tempted, such as drinking too much, exhaustion, or mindless web surfing late at night.

Victory is possible.

I wish I could tell you God wiped away my whole past, but He hasn't. The pictures in my mind and perversions in my thinking have regularly eaten away at our intimacy.

I have a daily battle to take captive every thought and hold it up against God's plan for my life. Often after months of victory the ugly sin of lust will rear up from out of the darkness to try to devour me. I've had to learn to be vigilant and ready to do battle at any moment.

And yet, I feel increasingly that I'm no longer a slave to my physical urges. I've become mostly rewired to recognize that sex, even in marriage, is not about me, but is as is described in 1 Corinthians 7, where we learn that our bodies are not our own, but are given to each other. 

I yearn for the day when I have complete victory, when the thought of sex outside of God's plan repulses me, and when I see women not as objects for my own pleasure but as wonderfully made daughters worthy of love and respect. 

Even the fact that I can write that last sentence as a goal for myself, and not be so blind to the err of my ways, is a testament to what God has done in my life, and what he can do in yours too. 

And wildly, as God is apt to do, he's taken this weakness of mine and redeemed it as men now seek me out for counsel for sexual sin. Sadly there are so many who are lost. 


A quick guide + a sermon packed with truth.

After talking to lots of men about this very issue I created this short guide on what's worked for me to overcome sexual sin. 

If you want a biblically sound eloquent dive into this topic, watch this sermon by my pastor, Paul Anderson, of Grace Valley Fellowship, framed by his conversations with a gay Texas millionaire.

In closing.

When I first started to get serious about my faith, I remember hearing that some of the guys at church didn’t even masturbate, and I remember thinking, “I don’t think that’s even healthy!”

I never imagined that one day I would earnestly seek to save all sexual energy for my wife alone. And if someone had told me I needed to do that to be a Christian, I might have turned and run.

The point is, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Start by reading the Bible, and pray and ask God to reshape your thinking. Ask him to put people in your life you can talk to about this, someone with a Godly perspective. He answers when we knock.

Over time, through Christ alone, victory over sexual sin is possible.

...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 1:6

Other posts on sex...

Adventures in Faith

My Godly Wife

So the other day my wife shows me a post she put on Instagram, and as I looked through her posts, I realize that she's putting all these wonderful little nuggets of her faith online too. 

I mean, I know that these things happen in her life all the time, but to see how she documents it, life through her eyes, well, let's just say I'm one proud husband.

And the best part, look who get's the glory!

Adventures in Faith

I Want to Die

Every week I get to a place where I'm desperate for the Word of God. Sometimes I don't get my fill and the desperation grows. I know that the longer I stay away, the more I'm doing things in my own power, in ways that make sense to me, and the risk of being outside of God's will scares me.

Eventually I succumb and collapse at the feet of God. He's so gracious He's always there to pick me up, invite me to sit on His lap, and gently instruct and guide me. 

The point is that there are so many forces pulling me away from God. Yet, I'm already tuned into His Word, I've had a taste, I've submitted my life to Jesus, and there is no turning back. But staying there, well, its a daily battle.

The further I go into my faith, the more I see the miraculous unfolding in and around me, the more intense the battle rages. I get emails now from people who say my words or prayers or something I did brought them healing, it stirred up their interest in Jesus. I know this is God, just my making myself available to Him in some small way.

Alicia God.JPG

You'd think that with these kinds of things happening that I would be ever so committed. And in some ways I am, but in other ways I feel the opposing forces growing ever greater. I'm like the Stretch Armstrong doll being pulled to the limit, until I finally get the wisdom and courage to shout to the enemy "let go, out of here, in the name of Jesus!" Then I go springing toward the prevailing force, that of my savior. 

Is this all about shaking my hand free from the enemy that's trying to pull me away? I think that, rather, its about choosing the hand that is outstretched to me so fully that I no longer have an open hand to the enemy. 

This isn't easy. I mean, on one hand (excuse the pun) it IS EASY. But then again, no, it's not. This is a struggle because I am at war with my flesh. I am at war with the world. I become interested in the pleasures of the world. The comforts of it. Even the comforts of the church and what I see and hear preached.

Lord, help me, save me, show me YOUR WISDOM. Not the wisdom of men.

I saw this sermon by Francis Chan. This brother, well, just listen to what he says about the church in China. That desperation, that abandon of self, I crave that. I crave to give up my life for Jesus.

I was thinking this last night. Then I cracked open my Bible to pick up with my reading this morning, and the verse that I read is John Chapter 10. You should read it, anyway here's a verse that jumped out at me:

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.
— Jesus speaking in Matthew Chapter 10, verse 17-18

So, here I am, sitting before my computer, and before God, and before you, and I'm asking, "What does it mean for me to die to myself?" I have a couple ideas, here they are:

  1. Die to wasting time with mindless activity, and replace it with studying God's word.
  2. Die to over indulgence and comfort that robs early morning hours in prayer.
  3. Die to the sense that I can manufacture success, and bathe every effort in prayer.
  4. Die to the obsession with my self and own image, and seek instead of build up others.
  5. Die to free spending on things I don't need, and give more money away.
  6. Die to my instinct to criticize, and instead practice holding my tongue.
  7. Die to shortness with my wife, and practice assuming the best and active loving her.
  8. Die to the apathy I have that God is moving and drawing people all around me.
  9. Die to my lack of focus on learning songs of praise and memorizing Scripture.
  10. Die to judging those who wrong me, and instead pray for and seek to bless them.
  11. Die to the lust of the flesh and focus heartily on my wife, purity, cleansing in the Word.
  12. Die to avoiding service to the church and rather build it up right where I am.
  13. Die to favoring quick and dirty responses to the issues of the day versus being rooted in the bigger picture and more sustained faithful efforts.

I've had a taste of most of these things at times, and it is gut wrenching. I have a sense about the direction God wants me to go, the direction he's pulling me toward. I've gone down these paths, sometimes only to turn around the other direction. Or I go but look back. Or I go and lament going for a time, I grumble. Or I go, and sometimes, I embrace the great escape, the freedom, the power of overcoming the world, overcoming my own self, overcoming death for life, and in doing so, the Gospel and my faith comes alive.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
— Jesus in John Chapter 10, verse 10

Prayer, Most Read

Prayer Changed My Home In A Big Way

Recently, I knew something was bothering my wife.

I had clues about the reason--a recent cut in pay, a second baby due to be born in a few months, a list of things we wanted to accomplish that wasn't getting shorter, not to mention the aches and pains of the third trimester after long days mostly alone with a toddler. No shortage of possibilities here.

But what could I do about it? How can I help? This was the question I posed to God while driving home.

God gave me this right while I was driving (as in, this thought popped into my mind and it made a lot of sense, gave me peace, and would not be something generally that I would thing): He told me to talk with my wife and write down all the things that were concerning her or needed to be done, big and small. Then, pray for those things and trust Him.

I've had enough of these thoughts sweep into my head in prayer before to believe right away it was from God, and it immediately lightened my spirit and made me excited to arrive home.

Once inside I initiated the conversation with a question, "Honey, what are the things on your mind, tell me everything that maybe concerning you?"

She opened up quickly, and the first few were directed right at me. A less grown version of me would be defensive or discouraged, yet I was almost excited! The sense that God gave me in the car established my foundation; I began to write the list:

A brief interpretation of this list goes like this...

1. Man Up - when the baby comes, I need to be stronger. I can't repeat some of the antics from baby #1, such as telling my wife to "suck it up" or wonder aloud how women without modern conveniences "do it."  

2. Hear + Wake Up - my wife is concerned that when the baby cries, I won't wake up, and she'll be left handling both the toddler and the newborn all the time. As a deep sleeper, I need to be more sensitive to getting up.

3. Be Joyful - when I help out with the kiddo in the morning, I tend to walk around like a big sleep deprived grump, and my wife, whether she feels good or not, is always joyful. She does this, she says, so that our children are shaped by our joy. I need to adopt that approach.

4. As we talked about the birth, it became clear she felt alone the last time around. I wasn't much help, as I was concerned for her and not great at the techniques we learned in class. Could someone else like a family member or doula be in the room to help out? 

5. The last birth was a tough healing process, all kinds of soreness and flare ups. Let's ask God for a better time around.

6. It's hard to find people to talk to, that listen, don't continually add their own stories, know when to encourage, and so on. We want that person for Whitney here.

7. Could Whitney's family be here to help? That's the prayer.

8. Could my family come out to help afterward too? We hope and pray.

9 & 10. We want a safe, secure, organized space for the baby, which we don't have now. 

11. Lord, let the feeding be easier this time around. Boden, our first, had a number of issues that caused both he and mom a lot of pain.

As this list came out of our conversation, I felt that I was gaining understanding of where my wife was physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Immediately I prayed over this list and the results were incredibly fast! Literally that same night I saw the whole tone of the conversation shift from one of being anxious to hope.

We started to explore in conversation how we could make things work. On the back side of this paper, I began to write down tasks to move things forward. By the next morning, several of the larger issues, such as feeling a weight that we needed more space, even a new place to live, had melted away. Within two days, as I began to finish some of the tasks, we began to delight in our existing place and didn't want to move if we could. Within a week it was a new narrative altogether, and I found extra energy to tackle the list of tasks, skipping weekend naps to be productive, which impressed my wife.

While one might point out my extra effort as the reason for the lifted anxiety in our home, I know that it started in prayer in my car lead by the Holy Spirit to a solution I would not have thought of on my own, gave me a resolve to see it through even when I had to take some criticism, and propelled me forward with a new energy. This is the hand of God and as I look back I stand in awe that God could do so much so quickly in our hearts, marriage, and in our home. 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
— Ephesians 5:25

Adventures in Faith

I Just Turned Down a Sweet Job

attachment-54ac5b27e4b0c9d38e22f3bd

Colossians 3:15 -  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

So I had this amazing opportunity presented to me. An international diplomat with a vision to launch this really cool business start-up in Silicon Valley, through a wild set of circumstances/connections was introduced to me. And, low and behold, after a few Skype calls, felt like I was the guy to launch this thing in Silicon Valley, and I had to turn it down.

As the opportunity unfolded, I put a lot of prayer into the decision. And what I heard early on was Colossians 3:15. When I say "heard" what I mean is that I opened my Bible for guidance and when I read it, that verse jumped off the page. Then, it showed up in a devotional. Then, when I talked to a pastor about this big decision, he brought up the same verse without knowing it had already come twice before.

This pastor told me that the word "rule" in that verse, in the original language (Greek  βραβεῖον), it means to umpire or call the shots. He told me that whenever he has a decision with lots of little steps, like an interview process, he let's the verse guide him. And so I took that fact that this verse had popped into my life three times in a row, well, I decided to let God's peace rule in my heart too. 

And so as I take these steps, I let God make the calls, if I get peace about it in prayer, in reading Scripture, through my wife, etc. then I know that I am in God's will, if I do not, I simply backtrack and move in another direction.

That was easy when I had peace about it. Then, something strange happened. A few communications with the parties that were involved left me feeling less at peace. There weren't any huge red flags, by all means, I still wanted to take the job. But, the peace was fading. So, I brought in the big guns, my incredibly discerning wife, to see what kind of peace she had. And, as we reviewed the details, she had great insights, and she too had a fading sense of peace.

There were still a couple of steps to take short of taking the job, and so I decided to take them, and continue to see what happened with this feeling of peace. Within another week, it did not return, and so I reached out to the various parties who were now involved both in Silicon Valley and abroad to withdraw my application. 

The good news is that these guys are also Christians, and I knew they were praying about this whole thing too, so I figured it wouldn't end badly. And, in fact, they were so gracious in their understanding. We agreed that this was the best solution, even if it wasn't predicted or convenient. I resolved to continue to find a way to serve the project and certainly pray for it.

Within 48 hours I realized that the contacts I believed would serve this start-up should still be plugged into it, even without me at the helm. And so I reached out to make those connections. I continued to pray for the project, and then a dear friend of mine, who I had discussed this whole thing with, sent me another candidate for the job. So, I reached out again with a new candidate for the job, someone with arguably a better skill set for the position that I have.

The conversation continues. The team that is in place to launch this enterprise, well, they are Godly men, they're praying too and while we know that I won't work with them in a legal sense, I know that in God's Kingdom we are all co-laborers, and I have a high level of certainty that we will continue to serve each other in our efforts. This is the kind of really sweet relations that can happen even in rejecting a sweet job offer when one is dealing in the Kingdom of God. 

Tools That Work

A Prayer for Husbands

attachment-54ac7a8de4b0c309d030ac1d

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Colossians 3:12-15

An old pal from college calls me, I'm not even sure if he's a Christian. Doesn't matter, I love the guy. Anyway, after pleasantries, our conversation went something like this:


Him:  I need help man, my marriage is in trouble.

Me:    Sure, what's up?

Him:  It started small, I can't even remember the fight a month ago. Now we can hardly look at each other. If it wasn't for the kids, I'm not sure if we'd stay together.

Me:    Alright, bro, well, look, I've been there. I know what its like. The difference is, as you know, I believe in God and the Bible and its a great tool in a time like this. So my answer is going to come from there, you know that, right?

Him:   Yeah.

Me:    Alright, well, here's what you do. Take your lunch break at work tomorrow, a good hour at least, and sit quietly and pray. I know you're unsure about God, just pretend you believe and that He's there and he's your friend. Ask God to show you how He sees your wife because he made her and he sees her differently than you do right now. And if over the hour of just listening, if God gives you any thoughts about your wife, write them down. Then go to your wife and tell her the things that God showed you as a way to break through the downward spiral. Do you think you can do that?

Him:   Yeah.

Me:    Alright bro, can I pray for you guys too? Prayer is powerful.

Him:    Sure......


I got off the phone and we didn't talk for at least a month. I had no idea what happened, but I prayed for him once or twice. 

Some time later, he calls me just to catch up. I had actually forgotten about their fight. He brought it up, telling me that I was a lifesaver during that time. He said he did what I said and God had given him things to share with his wife, and that it got things moving in the right direction, and everything was going much better now.

You can imagine how encouraged I was to learn that he went to God in prayer, that despite his unbelief God revealed himself to this friend of mine, that through it all the division between him and his wife was overcome by love. This is the God of the Bible that I serve.

People Getting It Done, Miracles

Jack Deere: Spirit Led Man

I first met Jack at the New Canaan Society, and in the hallway he spoke to me like a friend. His calm approachable spirit struck me; with people eager to speak to him, we had a leisurely five minute conversation. Me a young man who knew nothing of his journey, his books, anything.

After that conference, I learned that Jack had a son who went through Cityteam's addiction recovery program, was clean for awhile, then relapsed. When he did, he was discovered in a park by a wealthy Christian family in Silicon Valley that took him in to live with them. Somewhere shortly after that, he committed suicide. 

Jack's story intrigued me, and I've attended his workshops and have picked up his book, "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit," but admittedly, have not read it yet. When he preached at the NCS conference in Washington, D.C. the Spring of 2014, he laid his heart out before 700 men in an intimate and graphic way regarding the near death of his wife, his struggles before God all the while, and now his care-taking of her. 

Currently, I see Jack is posting about caring for Leesa on a Caring Bridge site here. Jack is a soldier who's wrestled with his faith publicly, he's stared death in the face, he's pastored churches, he's cared for many, and I see a man who is bearing himself naked before God, and before others to the glory of God.