Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Reason I’m Blogging Again

An open letter to our family and friends:

By now, you’ve probably seen the news circulating. You’ve probably gasped in shock and double checked to see if you read it right. I had a similar reaction when I found out.

I found out in May of 2015 that Zane had an addiction. Like 85% of men, he had struggled with pornography. Only for him, he had gotten addicted at age 13. Occasionally, the addiction cycle would pull him into downloading the same underage material he’d viewed at 13. Luckily nothing was considered “hard core”, but enough that the authorities tracked the download and showed up at our house one Thursday night in May.

Just as you are probably shocked to read this, I was devastated, confused, hurt, and angry. Zane has always been one of the most strong, Godly men I’ve ever known… it’s a big part of why I married him. His faith has been well known in our community, especially after the tragic accident that burned 58% of his body in 2010. But, he is also human, and is capable of being attacked with addiction just as much as any of us.

I’ll be honest, I struggled with the fact that it was underage content. It took me many months of researching the psychology behind these things and studying addiction to understand. Through my own personal pain, I began to see things as they really were: He was still the same man I married; the same man I fell in love with. He had been fighting this battle by himself for 16 years. He so badly wanted to be free of it, but the shame and stigma that is attached to pornography was so great that he didn’t feel he could reach out. It breaks my heart to know that so many people fight addictions silently and on their own for fear of judgement when they ask for help.

Although that was a terrible day, it marked the date that Zane was set free. He met with our pastor and started seeing a counselor right away. I am incredibly proud to say that he has been completely clean ever since. Let me be clear on a few points, as I know there will be gossip: In no way, shape, or form has Zane ever been attracted to underage girls in his real adult life. He was caught and charged with possession of the material only- he never shared it or had contact with anyone either online or in person. And yes, he 100% sees how terrible and wrong this was, and he will face the consequences of his actions.

We didn’t hear from the authorities for almost a year. Last March (2016) we got a letter stating that they intended to prosecute and Zane should get an attorney. After hiring who we believe is one of the best in the state, we found out that the penalty is typically 3-5 years in prison. We are praying for a miracle when it comes to that sentence. The sentencing hearing is likely to take place within a few months. Zane was taken into custody today after pleading guilty. He had previously entered a not guilty plea in order to keep him with family through the holidays. Although the ramifications are extremely painful for our family, we take solace in the fact that he is free of this addiction and can look forward to truly living without that enormous weight on his shoulders.

I don’t want to undermine his crime or make light of the situation- believe me, I of all people, am fully aware of the pain it caused. And although I didn’t talk to a single soul about this for almost a year, I won’t pretend that it wasn’t the hardest year of my life. Many of you know about my health challenge with pregnancy, my business expansion, and the struggle of being a new mom. I’ve most definitely gone through my moments of anger that I have to deal with this, and I understand if your response is one of frustration or confusion. I was there. But I do want to ask for your grace.

My husband is human, and is susceptible to sin and struggle as much as anyone. He accepts full responsibility for his actions, and has worked incredibly hard since that day in May to completely change his life. And he has. I have witnessed the most remarkable transformation and healing.

I pray that you see that humanity. I hope that you can find grace inside of you. Please know that Zane is sorry. He wants so badly to speak for himself, but I’m speaking on his behalf for the moment, as we fear the public isn’t going to be in a place where they will even hear his voice.

We need your prayers, as we face a difficult road ahead. There will be days that will be incredibly hard. Although we have both experienced much healing, your words still have the power to break us. And as much as I appreciate any support I personally receive, what tears down my husband will tear me down too. We have a sweet little boy who is counting on us, so we need all the strength we can get. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for allowing me to state the facts and speak from a very personal level. This is not the first great challenge we’ve faced, and although this is very different, I will say the same thing I did through Zane’s accident in 2010: God is faithful, and He will take care of us.


Christie said...

God IS faithful and He will walk with you through this. I appreciate your willingness to expose your humanity. Where shame could paralyze you both, you have called it out and your husband has taken accountability. I'm so sorry this year has been so difficult. This IS heavy stuff but our God is there for us! Grace is important to ask for and I pray many will give you that. This world is tough enough. We've got to stick together. I pray you will find the support you need. I will pray for you as well. Courage my friend. Xo

Mama Zee said...

Dear Courtney,
My heart is breaking for you, Zane and the family as I read this. I wish I could find the right words to comfort you at this time.
It's been wonderful watching you both fall in love, get married and start a family. When Zane stayed with me a few months ago I had the pleasure of getting to know him a little better as a grown man, when we first met you both you were so young. I know he has a heart for the Lord and he loves his family.
We have prayed for you all when he had his accident and when you were pregnant. We will pray that he will not have to serve any time and you will be able to move forward.
Remember the thief comes to steal kill and destroy, he keeps trying to destroy your family, you can't let him. Jesus came so that we may have life and have it more abundantly.
I heard a pastor say recently that when your worship life is in order everything else falls in place, he was speaking about one of my life verses:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:33-34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
I will continue to keep you all in my prayers. God bless!
Mama Zee Seetaram.

Anonymous said...

Peace be with you

Anonymous said...

Peace be with you, but my heart and prayers are also with the hundreds of children that were violated by real men in the images that Zane downloaded. Let us not forget that those children were sexually assaulted and abused, and that is more than "underage content pornography."

Anonymous said...

Courtney please keep in mind that people are harsh! Its only but by the grace of God that no one in our families have fallen to addictions. It's easy to judge from outside and you are correct its a high percentage of men who view pornography. And yes Zane will serve a punishment I'm sure but good for him for taking responsibility. Stick with Jesus, you'll make it thru I think you have good support in your family and church. Prayers to you all!

Anonymous said...

Praying for guidance and peace for your family through this difficult time.

Jo said...

If you are going to make remarks like this at least own it and put your name on it.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing, forgiving, Christian woman/wife you are. My prayer right now is for YOU.

John said...

Stay strong. Very well written and from the heart. Through sickness and health. Zane is a lucky man to have you.

John said...

Stay strong. Very well written and from the heart. Through sickness and health. Zane is a lucky man to have you.

A. Kierstead said...

I feel for both of you, and honestly as horrific as it seems, I'm afraid poor Zane will feel the consequences for years to come, whether or not time is served. I understand what it is like for all of your sins to be worn on the outside, whether by an overly honest spirit or by accident. I don't need to reiterate that it was wrong, you guys feel it everyday but you find out how cruel people are. Everyone sins. Everyone. Some sins have fewer consequences and a lot of people are better at veiling them. I pray God brings people into your lives who are genuinely supportive, who don't pray curses. And yes, God is just and you must accept his will. He will bring good out of this. We don't always get to see it but I truly believe it.

Kevin Jackins said...

Courtney I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through this. You have an amazing family and an amazing God that will hold you close through these tough times. You are in our thoughts and our prayers. Hugs from us.

Britany Tompkins said...

Thank you for being vulnerable and opening up your life to the public, knowing that people are cruel and harsh and will say horrible things through this process and probably for the rest of your lives. You are an amazing woman who is strong and admirable for standing to your marital vows- for better or worse. And though the things Zane did are wrong and not being justified on any level, you do not deserve the comments and hurt that are being said about your family. We love you and Zane so much and we are by your side through all of this and will continue to be beside you. I pray that those who are being harsh never have to have a loved one go through something similar. I pray for those children and their families as well. I pray grace and love surround you as you go on this journey and I pray for peace to come upon you.

And let us all remember that we all fall short of the Glory of God. We all have sin and are all not worthy of Grace but Jesus came to give us grace through repentance.


"How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" - Matthew 7:4
"He without sin cast the first stone" -John 7:8

JodiT said...

Praying for all involved. Courtney, anyone who knows you and your family will respond as I have... not one of us thinks that the devastation you felt was selfish. I'm so sorry for the closed and naive lashing out that these anonymous commentators have made the decision. Clearly they were not taught to bring others up. As a nurse working directly with a very large variety of sickness, I have learned something that I'm confident your mom can attest to: the brain is an organ in the body, just like the Lungs; it too can get different levels of sickness. We don't just and condemn those who hide the fact that they smoke because they struggle with quitting the addiction and then get COPD....yet we shame those with mental health issues they try and hide.. these both can cause either direct or indirect harm to others.... we congratulate those who come in with lung damage for quitting smoking and pray for healing... and you better bet that society must do the same for mental health. The brain is an organ. Healing will happen. Especially with the prayers coming your way. I'll pray that whatever going on with those people being cruel to you and Zane take that seriously. I'll also pray that whatever happened in their lives to make them so mean will be also healed. You are one of the few women in my local generation that I look up to and I'm confident you can get through anything and have the resources to do so. Lots of love, my friend. ❤❤❤

Luke's Mommy said...

My prayers are with you and your family right now. I can't imagine how you are all feeling right now, what a very hard situation for all of you. Just remember that God is with you during this time, lean on Him.

Brenda said...

In our weakness, He is strong. Keep your eye out for a lot of strength to show up! God bless you all. Sending love and prayers. You are wise to disarm Satan by exposing the truth, not hiding from it. You know God can take our lives and bring glory to Himself. I expect nothing less! Love to you, Zane, Noah, and the whole family.
--Brenda Johnson

Elani said...

I don't know your family. But I love your heart and your trust in God to heal what sin has broken (Praise God. He's already paid the price) and your willingness to see the work He is doing already. Sending love and support through an incredibly difficult time. We are never closer to the heart of God than when we realize our spiritual brokenness and seek Him. Luke 7:47 can bring us all hope. Sending love!