Is Chastity Possible in the New Millennium?

Since I’m a married woman, you may be wondering…

“Tamara, why are you writing on chastity?”

I’m reading an excellent book by John Michael Talbot – The Lessons of St. Francis-How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life, where Talbot discusses how to apply the spiritual disciplines taught by St. Francis in our modern world and relationships.

As I was reading the chapter on chastity I was prompted to write a blog that relates chastity to the challenges sex addicts face today.

With the hyper-sexualized media that’s thrown at us today, many are desensitized. From fashion magazine at the grocery checkout, to billboards on the freeway, to commercials on TV. It’s almost impossible to avoid the near naked images of provocatively posed models vying for our eyes and pocketbooks.

For some of us, this is a serious battle, continuously waged; always careful to look away, preventing possible triggers from being set off. Sober now 5 years from sexual addiction, Praise God today these images are not a big problem; not that I dare let my guard down.

Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman [or man] lustfully has already committed adultery in his [her] heart.”-Matt. 5:28

I take these words very seriously, because I know it only takes one look to lead to… a fantasy, which, if meditated on long enough, can easily be acted out on.

Chastity, along with celibacy, is usually seen as something only practiced by men and women who’ve made specific vows to God.

I’d like to challenge that thinking with the idea of celibacy and chastity to heal or improve sex in a marriage relationship.

Celibacy is critical in the very early days of sex addiction recovery. It’s important the sex addict refrain from all sexual stimulation for a period of 3-6 months, this may vary by individual. (includes sex in the marriage and self-sex). For an addict beginning recovery this is very difficult, but crucial to recovery.

Chastity in a marriage can be as simple as cherishing your sexuality as a gift from God, using it in appropriate holy ways that respect God and your mate, resisting any temptation, no matter how small, when they come your way.

Our marriage relationships are tender gardens that need to be cared for. If we’re not careful, the weeds of fantasy and comparison can easily tear down any healthy growth, if not kill it completely.

Talbot writes from an interesting perspective on sexuality:

“I’ve personally lived through at least three completely different approaches to sex: the freewheeling sensuality readily available to a rock musician; the cleansing fire and spiritual passion of repentance and sexual abstinence; and the rejuvenating joy of marriage, a union through which the church has long honored sex as a sacrament, and which helps me see sexuality as sacred and God-given.”

Talbot further notes that many people don’t remain faithful in their marriages because they never learned the value of sexual control.

I heartily agree with this last statement and will even go further to say, when you make a covenant with your eyes, to not look at another person with lust, examining them like they were the roast about to be served up for lunch, you’ll have more desire for the mate God has given you.

If marriage was respected as the sacred covenant that it is, with its vows taken as seriously as our brothers and sisters who take a vow of celibacy, we’d have much healthier sexual relationships.

Similar to Talbot, I’ve lived through three different worldviews of sexuality:

  • Relational sex is part of a loving relationship; without commitment to marriage
  • Recreationalsex is purely for pleasure; dispenses with romance and spirituality
  • Traditionalsex is exclusive with mutual respect; emphasizes lifelong commitment

For most of my life I used sex to substitute unmet emotional and spiritual needs.

After trying all the world has to offer, sexually speaking, I tell you today, without a doubt, sex kept simply between a husband and wife, with no toys, no fantasies, no porn; is better than any orgy, better than being hyped up on drugs using every toy one can imagine.

If you would’ve asked me 5 years ago:

“Is ‘Meth sex’ possible without the Meth?” I would’ve said, “NO WAY!”

Today, I tell you it is! Because with God, ALL THINGS are possible!!

By God’s grace and mercy, practicing the discipline of chastity in mind, soul and body, God has not only restored my marriage but continues to renew our desires in ways we could never have imagined before sexual sobriety.

If you struggle with sexual sin or are just playing with the idea of it, I want you to know first of all you are not alone.

Millions of women struggle with sexual sin even in the church.

Find someone you trust and share your struggle with them; that’s the first step to freedom.

Whether you’re single or married; one who struggles with sex or not; I encourage you to make a covenant of purity with your eyes, your heart and your mind.

It will change your life!

Question: What’s your world view of sex? How important is chastity to you? What are you doing to maintain a pure heart and mind?

Review: FREE BOOK by Brian Tome

Reviewed by Tamara Mapp

Posted February 26, 2010

Free Book by Brian Tome

Thomas Nelson, February 2010

230 pp., $14.99

I recently joined a new kind of book club: BookSneeze. As a member I receive a free book in exchange for an honest review on my blog. Upon joining it didn’t take me long to choose Free Book by Brian Tome because I agree with every word in the subtitle:

“I am a fanatic about freedom. And I’m fanatical about coming at you hard in this book. I’m tired of seeing people beaten down by the world’s systems and by religion. I’m sick of seeing people live safe, predictable lives while their God-given passions die. I hate the assumption that getting close to God means more rules and restrictions. No more. God’s offering real freedom. Get yours.”- Brian Tome

Brian takes a little different approach to the subject of freedom. You may not agree with everything he says; but give him credit, he passionately covers all areas of life & how to walk out a life of freedom. This was an excellent book. I highly recommend it for those who are serious about living Free!

Here are a few of the topics he discusses:

  • Be Void of Fear – cast off whatever hinders you; go after the grand adventure of experiencing God while you experience all of life.
  • Be Who God Designed You to Be – live free of condemnation & others’ concern; develop a healthy conscience; not allowing your past to taint your present or future.
  • Jesus: the Ultimate Freedom Giver – freedom requires a decision to follow someone; it’s about the one who’s leading you and the way you choose to follow.
  • Ride the Forgiveness Freeway – staying free means going with the flow of forgiveness; the more we give the more we receive.
  • Live an Unbalanced Life – instead of over committing & striving for balance in multiple areas, throw your weight behind one focused effort; push to experience the fullness of God’s blessings.

Don’t go through life burdened by strongholds and fear; struggling with relationships or finances.

Experience the grace and truth with which Christ brings us True Freedom!

Read Free Book by Brian Tome.

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

SURVEY: Is Your Church Taking a Proactive Stand Against Pornography?

My husband and I had the opportunity to phone conference today with another ministry. Freedom Begins Here is an organization focused on putting much needed resources in the hands of churches and individuals to curb the pornography epidemic we are facing in our culture today. This week on their site they blogged about a men’s ministry leadership conference they attended recently:

“The epidemic of pornography (now in the church) was mentioned at least 4 or 5 times by the speakers from the stage. The struggles that Christians face in regard to this temptation and stronghold as well as the enormity of the crisis were thoroughly addressed. Yet, very few came by the Freedom Begins Here booth to learn how this may be dealt with in their men’s group or church. Very few were looking for resources, plans, ideas, or thoughts. Why? Is it fear? Is it a refusal to face the truth? Is it because it is hard to deal with real issues as opposed to just talking about them? Were they struggling with this issue themselves? Did that make them believe that they, therefore, can’t address it in a group? Or, do they just really not care? I do not know.”-

Christian Churches: Pornography Statistics

51% of pastors say cyber-pornography is a possible temptation,

37% say it is a current struggle. (Christianity Today, Leadership Survey, 12/2001)

Over half of evangelical pastors admit viewing pornography last year.

20% of the calls received on the Pastoral Care Line are for help with issues such as pornography and compulsive sexual behavior.

33% of clergy admitted to having visited a sexually explicit Web site. Of those who had visited a pornography site,

· 53% had visited such sites “a few times” in the past year, and 18% visit sexually explicit sites between a couple of times a month and more than once a week.

29% of born again adults in the U.S. feel it is morally acceptable to view movies with explicit sexual behavior. (The Barna Group)

57% of pastors say that addiction to pornography is the most sexually damaging issue to their congregation. (Christians and Sex Leadership Journal Survey, March 2005)

The church as a whole isn’t being proactive and won’t until ministers and pastors start addressing it directly from the pulpit. The above numbers are very dated and unfortunately, we don’t have any more current numbers. So we can only imagine what the statistics would be today. Considering that, I don’t see pulpits addressing addiction across the board anytime soon.

My personal barometer: If a pastor isn’t addressing porn there’s a good chance he or she has a personal porn problem.

With most things change begins at a “grassroots” or lay person level and moves up. It’s up to us to call our pastors and leadership to accountability. But with over 50% of the grassroots/lay membership addicted to porn most don’t care about dealing with it either! With so much shame and embarrassment attached to the issue people are afraid to even discuss it.

What we have here is the typical AA ‘invisible elephant’ that no one wants to talk about. Instead of the elephant being in a family living room, it’s in the church sanctuary.

As a minister called by God to address this issue head on, I believe if we are going to even begin to make a dent in our country’s #1 addiction, the pandemic that’s destroying lives and families, we must hold our pastors and leadership to a higher standard. To make our churches what they should be, a safe place where hurting men and women can come to find healing and wholeness. It’s not about shaming or condemning anyone. It’s about sharing the freedom only found in Jesus Christ.

At all times we must remember Jesus cared just as much about the woman at the well as he did any other person he came in contact with.


Is your pastor or leadership team addressing sexual addiction at all from the pulpit?

How is your church addressing this critical need in your community?

If so what are they saying and doing?

Please give me your feedback.

Seriously, I want to know!

Treading Water in Times of Trouble???

Many of us are in seasons of transition; job, finances, relationships maybe even in our recovery journey. During these times we often feel like we’re treading water; not making much progress but expending a lot of energy just to stay afloat.

The Lord is my light and my salvation-so why should I be afraid? The Lord protects me from danger-so why should I tremble? When evil people come to destroy me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will know no fear. Even if they attack me, I remain confident. The one thing I ask of the Lord- is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his temple. For he will conceal me there when troubles come; for he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. Then I will hold my head high, above my enemies who surround me. At his Tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music. –Ps. 27:1-6 NLT

Let’s find hope in this passage for our struggles:

  1. Make God Our Stronghold: We must know without any doubt that God is our protector. He will not let us drown!
  2. Abide with God Daily: Set up camp with God; get in God’s boat, live with Him.
  3. Be Astonished by God: Stay in awe of God of his love and mercy. Find joy in His creations; delight yourself in Him throughout your day.
  4. Seek His Fellowship: In God’s presence we will find direction for our life; His shining light with show us the pathway.
  5. Get the Big Picture: No matter how hard times may be, it helps to keep things in perspective. Look up; see things from God’s viewpoint. He really does have a plan!

It’s important that we learn how to live and act during times of pressure. God wants to be the stabilizer in our lives. If we try to do it on our own we will fail. We must determine, one day at a time, to follow God and His plan for our lives. Patiently waiting; confident that He will protect and lead us all the way to our victory!


Most of us at the beginning of our recovery are feeling wobbly, unstable and unworthy to be in God’s presence; not to mention undeserving of His love, mercy and forgiveness.

How do we get past these feelings & press in to healing?

Summer 2004 I began working on sobriety but had no real strength within myself. I had clear choices in front of me — I could go back down the familiar path of darkness that had caused untold destruction to my family, and would now lead to certain death. Instead I chose to go forward into the life offering, healing light of Jesus Christ.

When I walked down the church isle on December 26, 2004 it was like an out of body experience. I don’t remember what the preacher said that day, I just knew this was the only answer to my problems. I had such a sense of unworthiness that I couldn’t stop crying. It wasn’t an easy step to take, but it brought such peace and security.

When I talk with some in the beginning stages of their recovery, I get frustrated at the lack of commitment I see.

If we are to make it for any length of time in our recovery journey we must have a firm commitment, not only to ourselves, but to God and to what He wants for our lives.

We can’t be on the fence at this crucial time.

We must get to a place of clear decision and dive in with all we have.

This isn’t a foreign concept, after all isn’t that what we’ve been doing, diving in head first into God only knows what?

I don’t know about you, but for me it’s either all the way or nothing, no matter what I’m doing, I don’t do anything halfway! That can be good and a bad thing, if you know what I mean…

But seriously, how determined are we?

What are we willing to give up to be successful in our sobriety?

Early on, I had to make some tough choices about the influences that were sure to effect my walk with God and my sobriety. It was uncomfortable at first but over time I didn’t miss the friends, the television programs, the secular music and the magazines.

Sobriety soon became easier and I began to see an added benefit, I could think clearer and retain the things I was studying. I was actually learning, growing and even changing into a new person…the person God wanted me to be.

Dig in.

Perseverance and determination always pay off.

It may be a while before we see any results from our hard work, but eventually we will reap a reward if we just don’t give up!

Change doesn’t happen over night, after all we didn’t get in this condition of addiction over night either!

Sobriety is a life long process of little deaths — surrendering each day to new patterns for our life.

The best news is we don’t have to do it on our own anymore! Praise God! Jesus is there to carry our burden for us if we will just give it to Him!

Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. –Galatians 6:8-9

(Originally posted Sept 20, 2008)


PORN NATION: Conquering Americas’ #1 Addiction
by Michael Leahy
One of the most important books to read today!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of the escalating problem of pornography addiction in our world today; and with increasing availability the problem will only get worse.

THE CRACK COCAINE OF SEX ADDICTION – porn/sex-related sites make up nearly 60% of web traffic.
20 million Americans spend hours on porn; maybe it’s even in your home after the family’s in bed
30% of Christian women admit to the use of pornography
50% of pastors say they struggle with porn
This book is not just for sex addicts but should be read by everyone!
· Women: they themselves may be teetering on the brink of sexual addiction or may be married to a man like Michael Leahy who hid his addiction from his wife their entire marriage.
· Men: based on statistics today, there’s a good chance they’re in denial of their own addiction or be surprised to find they’re married to a closet sex addict themselves.
· Every parent: should be aware of the potential dangers their children face each day.
· Teens and college students: it’s likely they’re being exposed to pornography on a regular basis and don’t see the trap that’s being set for them.
A poignant story of a 30 year battle with pornography, the loss of a marriage and children because of addiction; but more than that it’s the story of America – our porn nation. How porn’s affecting all of us, how we see ourselves and others and what can be done about it.
For those concerned about the sensitivity of the subject matter, not to worry, the author is a Christian man and gets his points across without graphic details.
Leahy covers all sides of the porn story.
The addict’s perspective: how easy it is to get addicted to pornography and the difficulty getting free and staying free from it.
The big picture: the hyper-sexualized media, and the increasing availability of pornography especially to young children.
The reader who may be an addict: to one hiding in shame and denial, much needed words of encouragement and excellent resources to aid those seeking freedom from pornography’s grasp.
“I believe when it comes down to really understanding how far our sociosexual pathology has taken us, you needn’t look much further than our own personal experiences, our current attitudes, and the people around us. Think of how your own sexual viewpoints, beliefs, and behaviors have changed in the past ten to twenty year. When I talk with college students and share what junior high and high school students are doing sexually, most of them are shocked. The lines of decency and sexual integrity have shifted, and old values are constantly replaced by new ones. But at what price? How far can the boundaries be pushed before someone gets hurt?”Michael Leahy, PORN NATION
As a recovering sex addict I highly recommend this book. In fact, I’ll go a step further and tell you if you don’t read PORN NATION there’s a good chance you’ll be ignorant to one of the worst epidemics this country has ever seen.
With sex addiction statistics as they are, even in the church, it’s almost certain someone you know, maybe even you or a member of your family struggle with this issue.
There’s so much shame linked to this particular addiction for women, that it’s nearly impossible for them to reach out for help. If you read this book maybe you’ll be able to spot specific behaviors and help them before pornography destroys their lives.

New Feature Coming!

Not long ago one of my readers asked me about the list of books on my web site. She was looking for help but didn’t know where to start.

After that conversation I decided to add something to my blogs. As a new feature I will frequently post reviews of books that are essential readings, not just for those of us in recovery, but for every woman.

They will all be books that I’ve read and have either had a deep impact on my life personally or are great resources to help us as we strive to impact the world around us.

If you know a book that would be good for the blog site, feel free to make suggestions.

I look forward to your feedback!


Are You a Spiritual Streaker?

You may or may not recall the popular fad in the 1970’s called streaking. For various reasons, to fulfill an individual dare, en masse, or just as a hobby, men and women alike were running au natural across college campuses and professional football fields. Even the Academy Awards wasn’t without its own flashing blur. Not long after the awards show incident, Ray Stevens, Country & Gospel singer best known for his novelty songs recorded The Streak. It became a number one single and was certified a gold record in 1974. Needless to say, the sensation took the country by storm.

In our busy lives today are we running through life as a Spiritual Streaker” living unprotected, setting ourselves up for attack from the enemy? The Bible tells us we must prepare ourselves for battle with the spiritual armor of God.

In his letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul writes:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. – Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV
What strikes me about this passage of scripture is that in order to be strong in the Lord’s mighty power, WE have to put on the armor. God supplies it for us but we have to put it on! Let’s look at the individual pieces of armor, their spiritual meaning and apply them to our daily lives.
  1. The Belt of Truth – Naturally speaking, a belt is used to hold things in place; spiritually the belt of truth does the same thing. Truth keeps us secure in Christ and makes effective all the other pieces of armor. We must keep God’s Word of Truth securely wrapped around us every moment.
  2. The Breastplate of Righteousness – The breastplate is made of iron and covers the chest. In our case it covers our heart and is made of righteousness. To be righteous is to be made right with God, free of condemnation. If you’ve accepted Christ as your Savior YOU have been made right with God and are indeed robed in His Righteousness!
  3. The Shoes of Peace – Natural shoes protect the soldier’s feet as she travels to battle. Spiritual shoes aid our movement and defense. Equipped with truth and the confidence of being right with God, we journey with purpose, in The Shoes of Peace. With a focused and clear understanding of the Gospel, we’re ready to make Christ known to the world around us.
  4. The Shield of Faith – The shield defends not only the soldiers whole body but also the other weapons. A skilled soldier moves her shield with the attack holding back the enemy’s darts. Faith is produced first when we hear the Word of God, then drops into our hearts when we receive Christ as our Savior. It keeps us from doubting God’s Word, reminds us because of Christ we can stand freely before God the Father. Faith is the foundational message others will see walked out in our daily lives.
  5. The Helmet of Salvation – The helmet is of course a protective covering for the head; without it the soldier would be very vulnerable. Spiritually, we too are vulnerable without it because the mind is usually the first place the enemy attacks. While continually filling our mind with God’s Word, working toward transformation, we must diligently guard its inputs as if our very life depends on it, because it does!
  6. The Sword of The Spirit – Last, but certainly not least, the only offensive weapon in the group, the sword. A soldier wouldn’t dare attempt battle without her double edged sword. She might be able to protect herself for a minute, but without the sword a soldier will never win the battle! Did you notice the word SWORD = S + Word? I love that! Our Sword is literally a Spiritual Word! Spiritually our sword is God’s Word. We must use it consistently and effectively in our daily lives.

Notice that God’s Word is linked to every piece of armor: without it we wouldn’t know The Truth; we wouldn’t be covered by Righteousness; we wouldn’t have a Message of Faith or a mind worth sharing it with!
When we dress to meet the day, our natural armor – our clothes, don’t automatically jump on our body; we have to physically put them on. Are you prepared today or are you setting yourself up to lose by walking into your battle spiritually naked?
God has graciously given us armor to protect ourselves with but it’s up to us to use it! Take out your Bible; find scriptures that relate to your battle today. Put your Sword to work by speaking aloud God’s Word over your life and the lives of those around you!

CHALLENGE: Print out the picture of the woman soldier. Post it on your bathroom mirror. As you dress, consciously put on your armor each day. It will make a difference in your life!
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: What are some creative ways you can remind yourself to put on your Spiritual Armor each day? To keep it on throughout the day?

From Uh-Oh to Awe!

Slogan writers and even we as a culture haven’t come up with a name to call the 2000’s decade. The 1900’s were popularly called “The Oughts”, so some want to call the 2000’s “The Naughts” in reference to how badly the decade went. Other’s refer to it as “The Oh-Oh’s (00’s) a pun to “The Naughts.” I personally will call it “The Uh-Oh’s!” Since I started the 2000’s making many bad choices, some I’m still paying for.

Fortunately, God allowed me to learn from my mistakes. I’ve been able to turn my mess into my message and create a ministry for women struggling with the same issues I had. I regret many of the things I did in the first half of the Uh-Oh decade, but if I hadn’t been through those experiences I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I don’t want to forget those years and what God delivered me from; the darkness, the loneliness, the emptiness; so I can fully relate to those who are still there today.

After hearing a visiting evangelist speak about 2010 being the year of restoration, I did some research on the meaning of the number ten. The Biblical the number 10 deals with completeness that happens in a divine order or completed during a course of time. There’s nothing left wanting in the cycle the number ten has just completed.

We were estranged from two of our adult children for most of the Uh-Oh years. Our youngest son recently returned not only to us, but to the Lord. We’re expecting to see full manifestation of a vision God gave me 3 years ago, both our sons and daughter standing together with us, one in Christ.

Yes, it’s a new day, a new year and finally a new decade! But it took the second half of the Uh-Oh’s to get here! Praise God the hardest part of recovery is behind me and my family.

We’re believing for complete, divine restoration of our family.

Until that time comes, we labor to rest in the Lord… in awe…

QUESTION:What are you believing God for during this upcoming decade?

Don’t Take No When God Says, “YES!”

Last week I had an opportunity to travel with my husband to meet our new company’s board members and investors. During our stay in Dallas I caught up with my small group from Gateway Church, reconnected with my friends Susie, Cindy and Mary, and met new friends Tonya, Monette and Diane. God always shows up in this group and this day was no exception. Cindy shared what God continues to speak to her: “We must not take no when God says, Yes!” She has shared these words with us on more than one occasion, but this time it came to me with a fresh meaning.

Let’s do a little grammar and look at the tense of the word. It isn’t said, in the past tense, but in the present tense, says. Meaning, the promises in the Bible were not just for the people in Old and New Testament times. The Power of God’s “Yes” is for us today!

God says, “Yes!” to so many things that I think we sometimes take it for granted. Maybe we don’t even realize what He says, “Yes!” about to begin with. He says, “Yes!” to marriage and family restoration; emotional, mental and physical healing; financial breakthroughs; deliverance from low self-esteem and freedom from addictions.

Our problem is that we choose instead to believe the voice in our head that continues to repeat messages from the enemy; messages of doubt and unbelief, confusion and uncertainty, discouragement and defeat.

QUESTION: What are you saying no to today? Physical healing, your marriage, addiction recovery…

CHALLENGE: This Christmas say “Yes!” to God’s love; love that was brought to a hurting and lost world in the form of a baby boy that Holy Night 2000 years ago. No matter what may be troubling you, there’s no hurt, no problem too big for God to overcome. Don’t wait another minute, say no to the enemy today! Open your mouth and tell him God say’s, “Yes!” Yes to your body being healthy and whole. Tell the enemy God say’s, “Yes!” to your marriage being fully restored in Christ. Tell the enemy God say’s “Yes!” to your freedom from all addictions! Don’t take the enemy’s no; God has given you The Power of His Yes! Believe it and receive it today!