Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Modesty, Lust, And Emotional Rape.

The slow thud of pounding bass through my bedroom walls shook me half-awake. I kept my face in my pillow and wondered why it was necessary for music this loud to be played in our family's home at 7am on Saturday mornings. I pulled my comforter back over my head, and drifted off to sleep for all of two minutes before the fire alarm went off.

Breakfast was ready. And that fire alarm dug it's nails into my soul.

15 years old. I stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes and brushing hair out of my face.

"Back upstairs, Lauren." My mom stood at the stove, waving her spatula at me.


"UPSTAIRS. You know you can't wear that around your brothers."

I shook myself fully awake and glanced down to figure out what she was talking about. Sweatpants and a cami. I guess you could tell my breasts were developing. A little late, I might add.

"Mom, I just woke up."

"You can't wear things like that around your dad and your brothers. It isn't appropriate. You're distracting them. Shame on you."

A sickness crept up in my stomach and I felt it in my skin. I pushed memories out of my mind.

Memories like the week after I turned 13, and I shyly put my balled up, polka dotted underwear in my mother's hand because I was too embarrassed to speak the words, "I started my period." She wanted to show Dad, and I was paralyzed. I stood in an aching stillness, cold feet on the kitchen tile floor, while my little girl mind shifted and groaned and made way for a developing normal that felt like being forced to stand naked in front of a man. Memories like my dad reading my diary against my will. Memories like finding naked women on the computer. Memories like hiding. Pretending. Keeping quiet. Shaking. Hush all these things.

Three years later and the boy I loved broke up with me. I thought it was for a girl that would do more with him.

Six months after that, I kissed a boy. I told him he was my second kiss, thinking that it would be something special to him - and I never saw him again. I found out a week later he'd kissed me on dare from his friends. They had seen my picture, I was super hot, and they didn't think he could "get me."

Harassed on the street by a man who wanted me to model nude for him. "I had to." I was too beautiful, I owed it to him.

Being banned from an organization because I wore a shirt too clingy and was making the boys stumble.

A man I viewed as a father figure coming on to me, shattering one of the only safe places I had left.

A co-worker trying to tape me when I didn't know it.

A first date who got violent when I refused to sleep with him after he bought me dinner.

A lifetime of awkward visits to the pool in one piece swimsuits and shorts so that I wouldn't be responsible for causing men to sin when they looked at me.

A close friend's father asking me, begging me, pressuring me, cornering me to watch a movie with him in bed.

Debilitating self-consciousness for years because I was constantly made fun of for how "homeschooler" I dressed.

Men who have put their hands in places I wasn't strong enough to protect.

Four times my life has ended, and I've created a new one out of nothing on the opposite side of the country. And in every life, they find me. These men who take and do not give. These women who shame me into believing it is my fault. The church's endless list of standards that declares my body is at the core of what is wrong with society. These people who wrap their own sins in guilt and shame and lunge them at my heart, commanding me to carry their weight for them. Hiding. Pretending. Keeping quiet. Hush these things.

All my stories? The ones I brace my spirit to share, and the ones I don't have enough courage yet to tell? My stories are no different than the average woman. Every woman I know has experienced these things. Every girl I've spoken to is wearing thin from the men in her life who have taken and not given. And all these women march forward in brokenness with a church who blames our injured hearts on our own precious bodies. To inflict pain and then blame the injured for the violence does permanent damage to a heart.

For 24 years my suffocating modesty doctrine has kept me from wearing outfits that I love, has dictated the way I dress, and has now brought me to the morning where I stand in front of my closet as a married woman, realizing that I have nothing sexy to wear for night out with my husband.

24 years of hiding so that I won't be blamed for men fantasizing about me has brought me to my husband wrapping his arms around me, telling me how beautiful and sexy he thinks I am, and that he hates seeing me hide in my clothes because I'm too afraid to wear what makes me feel beautiful.


For the last month, I've been suffering a daily barrage of comments and emails criticizing the way I dress. Questioning my character and my salvation. Challenging that I can't have the influence on women that I want to have when I'm wearing an oversized v-neck shirt on a date with my new husband. Rebuking me for causing men to stumble. Telling me that all the good I am doing is being canceled out by the fact that I have a great pair of legs. That I'm selling myself short by being attractive.

Last night, I received this comment on my blog: "Maybe when you talk about pornography, you could refrain from wearing such low-cut shirts."

The sickness crept back again. I crumbled. And I sat on my bedroom floor in the dark and cried. The ache was back.

The emptiness in my chest. The pain of having it all taken. The shame of being blamed. The desperate desire for someone to stand up and shout, "IT'S NOT HER FAULT."

And He did. You know, He whispered, "It's not your fault." He whispered, "I made you for this. I made you for Me. I made you for him." He told me I was beautiful. He told me I have nothing to hide. He told me He knows. That He will never take from me. That he knows every man that tried to take. He told me that it was never my fault.

And then my husband came and wrapped his arms around me and whispered all. the. same. things. in my ear.

My Jesus has proclaimed that he has given me life so that I can have life to the full.

My God says He looks at my heart and that He loves me sacrificially, and Paul begs of us to be perfect in this way that our Father is PERFECT. (Matthew 5:48, I Samuel 16:7, John 15:13, & Matthew 23:13-28)

Have you missed this? Have you missed what the God of the Universe has deemed as PERFECT?

Perfect is sacrificial love, not shifting blame for a selfishness that ravages through the souls of men, urging them to take take take.

Perfect is knowing we are all sons and daughters, made in the image of God, redeemed and restored and spotless before Him.

Perfect is looking at one another's hearts, and knowing that the outward appearance shows NOTHING of their character, their value, their salvation.

Perfect is living in the freedom that Christ died for. Not under a higher, more impossible list of standards that is so impossibly human it could not have come from our Lover. (Isaiah 28:10)

Dear men: If you believe my neckline is causing to stumble, you have bought into the lie that women are the problem, NOT YOUR LUST.

Dear women: If you believe you are responsible for your fellow man's sins, you have bought into the lie that YOU are the problem, NOT SIN.

Dear men and women: Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

When you believe that your struggle is against a man or woman's body instead of against the spirit of death, you have lost and will continue to lose.

I rebuke the spirit of lust, of rape, of prostitution, of religion, of addiction, and of immorality that continues to try to shackle the body my Maker designed and gave to me with it's guilt.

I declare freedom, life, joy, purity, beauty and love over my body and my spirit.

Oh, by the way. If you are still following me by this summer, you will most likely see a photo of me at the beach in a bikini at some point.

And I will not be apologizing for it.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Comments have been disabled for this post out of protection for my heart. <3

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Video Series: "My boyfriend is watching porn?!" #2

Second video in the series is up! You can share this link: http://vimeo.com/37043951 or you can view the video below.

The first video is here: vimeo.com/36867113

Recommended reading for this segment is Chapters 1, 2 & 3 in "Living With Your Husband's Secret Wars" by Marsha Means. You can purchase it online, used, for about $5 including S&H at bestbookbuys.com. If you are committed to staying in this relationship with your boyfriend, I ask you to invest in purchasing the book as well as Sex & The Soul Of A Woman by Paula Rinehart, Pure Eyes by Gross & Luff, and Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend.

"My BF Is Watching Porn?!" #2 from Lauren Dubinsky on Vimeo.

In this video, Lauren talks about:
#1 - Validating your hurt, grief, betrayal
#2 - Different types of natural responses - unhealthy vs healthy
#3 - Evaluating your personal emotional health
#4 - Identifying the lies you believe (IE. "this is my fault")
#5 - Co-dependency tendencies & healthy detachment
#6 - Finding community & a confidant
#7 - Coming to terms that you cannot change or save him
#8 - Evaluating the relationship as a whole

You can grab the full outline of the video in PDF here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Video Series: "My boyfriend is watching porn!?" - #1

HI EVERYONE! I'm a little tired of writing so I'm beginning a new 7 (ish) part video series to answer the very big, very important question, "I just found out my boyfriend is addicted to porn! What do I do?!"

I'm intro-ing the series with this little video below. I wanted to do a bit of an explanation, as well as share some stories of girls who just found out their boyfriends are watching porn, and establish the foundation of the next 6 or 7 videos. If this is an issue you are dealing with, please watch this first one just so we're all on the same page and know what our perspective and goal is. I'll be posting them hopefully once or twice a week, so make sure you follow me on Twitter (@laurendubinsky) or Subscribe to my blog via email so you don't miss them.

Oh, and please pardon that I looked exhausted in this video and kind of sound like a 7 year old. I'm trying really hard to grow up, y'all. I even got married and everything, but I'm still clearly not there yet. :P

Intro to "My boyfriend is watching porn!" from Lauren Dubinsky on Vimeo.

Boundaries - Cloud & Townsend
Pure Eyes - Gross & Luff
Living With Your Husbands Secret Wars - Marsha Means

Purchase them for ~$5 at bestbookbuys.com or on Amazon.

Future Videos: (subject to change)

#2 - Emotional Safety & Security
#3 - Becoming Educated About Porn
#4 - Setting Boundaries
#5 - Confronting & Communicating
#6 - Leaving or Staying
#7 - Stories & Resources

LOVE to you all. If you have something important to share, feel free to email me at laurennicolelove[at]gmail.com. If you need to share your current struggle with someone, please reach out to a woman in your church (or any church in your community - sometimes anonymous is very helpful) to ask to meet her in person. I am trying very hard to set healthy boundaries for myself and protect my time with my husband, so I am unable to answer emails on this topic right now. Thank you so much for understanding. <3

- lauren xoxo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

You Can't.

For whatever you are going through today, whatever makes you say, "I can't _____."

Know that you are right. You can't.

You can't stop thinking about your weight. You can't just "know" that you are beautiful. You can't stop sleeping with your boyfriend. You can't stop watching pornography. You can't make enough money to pay your bills. You can't get out of bed and face that person today. You can't make it through this breakup. You can't make it through this divorce. You can't overcome your depression. You can't.

There is no solution, no formula, no magic number or word or "thing" that can move you from "I can't" to "I can and I did...now look how far I've come!!"

And yet we all know someone who did. We do know someone who isn't binging or purging anymore. We do know someone who is abundantly full of life without sex being part of the equation. We do know someone who is sober from pornography for 2 years. We do know someone who paid rent last month when it wasn't possible. We do know someone who made it through a break-up worse than this one and is now in the best place of her life. We do know someone who is divorced and still fulfilled in their single life. We do know someone who has overcome severe depression and extreme grief, and now knows joy and contentment and peace.

So what happened? What happened when "they couldn't _______."

Christ moved.

These are not physical battles against our bodies, our beauty, our eyes, our skin, our genitals, our brain, our blood-pumping hearts. These are battles of the soul, where an enemy is daily waging war against our value, our peace, our worth, our contentment, our comfort, our belonging, our love, and our LIFE.

What you don't need is world-acknowledgement that you are the most beautiful woman on the earth. You need the heart-belief that you are created to be beautiful and have inherent value despite what just-as-broken people may tell you.

What you don't need is to white-knuckle it against sex and pornography. You need the heart-belief that you are not alone and that you are deeply truly loved, and that your Father is proud that you are his child, despite how it feels.

What you don't need is one more person telling you to just be happy because you have a pretty good life and you should be ashamed of your unwarranted depression. You need the heart-belief that your spirit was covered in dirt and pain before Christ himself fought the greatest war of all time to present your spirit before God as pure, complete, and wholly loved, even if you can't get out of bed. And that God will never see you as anything other and pure and valuable. He will wait for you.

What you don't need is one more sermon on how pre-marital sex is sinful. You need the heart-belief that Jesus hasn't left your side a single moment and is willing to do a supernatural work in you the very moment you begin to slip into behavior you feel you cannot control. You need the heart-belief that God never forgot about you, and that there is a man who will love who you are more than he will love sleeping with you.

This is not a physical war, and there is no physical solution. This is a war for your heart, because there is nothing in all of existence that is more valuable to God than the heart of a man or woman. This is a war that we cannot win unless we let Jesus fight it for us.

I was the girl who couldn't stop sleeping with her boyfriend. I was the girl in the ER having a panic attack that she couldn't control. I was the girl who thought the earth would swallow me up because the break-up was too painful. I was the girl who skipped meals and hated to see herself in the mirror every morning. I was the girl who watched pornography because I had no other way to cope. I was the girl who couldn't get out of bed and was numb from the anti-depressants. I was the girl who lost her family and could not see a future for myself because the grief was too heavy.

I was the girl who couldn't.

And I am the girl that learned that Jesus could.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We Are Abominations.

Everyone keeps asking me what my beliefs are on homosexuality. And everyone keeps telling me that it’s an abomination before God. "If you are a Christian you must preach that it is an abomination! People must know the TRUTH! Stop with your washy Jesus-just-loves-everyone-new-age-love-fest Christianity!"

Do you know why this is a knife to my heart? Do you know? Do you feel this knife?

Because very few of you seem to understand that a human being’s sexual orientation is so extraordinarily intertwined with their very existence, that every man and woman hears nothing but, “you are an abomination to God.”

Bear with me for a moment, and imagine that your family and best friends shun you because your desire for the opposite sex warranted the label of “Abomination.” Tow’ebah, in Hebrew.

No one stopped to ask you if you chose Abomination or if Abomination chose you, but what does it matter? You are.

Where is the verse that says Jesus died for every man but the one who loves men?

Where is the verse that says God is a father to every child but the one who will realize his sexual orientation 7 years down the road from now?

And where is the verse that says once we love Jesus enough, our sexual orientation will be miraculously reversed because our sexual orientation bears weight on our eternal spirit?

To ask a person to walk into a church gay and then walk out straight is as outrageous as having someone pray over me and have me suddenly be “turned gay” in order to be a better Christian. Or worse, to prove that I am one.

To ask a person to be prayed over, and then judge the condition of their heart for the lack of miracle that you decided needed to take place in order to confirm their salvation, is to play the role of God. God promised to create in us new hearts, not new bodies.

We will receive our new bodies in paradise, but until then, each of us will live in the brokenness that we were born into, strung painfully between heaven and hell.

Coach a small child to despise the color purple, and have him shun its every appearance. From day one, speak out against it, barricade your church doors from it, pray against it, and refuse to touch any garment in the color purple. And then, introduce him to a man wearing a purple t-shirt. What response could you possibly expect from your child?

He will despise, judge, and run from this man in the purple shirt.

At the very best, he will welcome the man into his home but sit uncomfortably and offensively in the corner, terrified of nothing but a shirt.

I challenge you to stop using the phrase, “hate the sin, but love the sinner.”

I challenge you to simply love.

I challenge you to stop adding buts to your salvation. To stop saying outrageous things like, “But if ______ was really saved then ______.” To stop re-interpreting scripture to make someone feel accepted as they are, because THE SCRIPTURES ALREADY SAY THEY ARE ACCEPTED AS THEY ARE.

I challenge you to recognize that as we grasp for heaven with gravity pulling us ever downward, we MUST let our brother and sister stand on our shoulders in all of their brokenness, and we MUST stop looking at the outward appearance, as God looks at the heart.

I will tell you what is an abomination to God.

I will tell you what is tow’ebah.

People that cause conflict. (Proverbs 6:19)
Believing that we are better. (Proverbs 6:17)
Dishonesty. (Proverbs 11:1)
Lying lips. (Proverbs 12:22)
Meaningless church attendance. (Isaiah 1:13)
Worshipping things instead of God. (Isaiah 44:19)
Oppressing the foreigner, forgetting the fatherless and the orphans. (Jeremiah 7)

God has made it clear in hundreds of verses what he considers tow’ebah: We are tow’ebah without Jesus. And with Jesus? We are stainless, spotless white.

No conditions. Pure, permanently, forever accepted.

Bring me the verse that claims one man's actions are an abomination, and I will bring you the Creator of your Life whose very skin was shredded for all of your tow'ebah.

Our un-grace, our conditional love, our chronic handicap of evaluating and hating someone else’s sin while we can barely see through the plank in our own? We choose tow’ebah every day, over choosing our forgiveness.

Oh, dear church, I beg of you to love as your Father saw fit to love you. To die for you despite knowing that you would continue to sin, continue to play your own little god, continue to fall in the dirt - as we all do, children of God with bodies of dust.

Oh, dear church, I beg of you to know that we were all tow’ebah, before Jesus became tow’ebah in our place.