I was on the phone this morning with mom’s best friend, my mom has been gone for nine years this last month, and she and I talk way too seldom. She was such a good friend to my mom, all of her friends were precious to her, and to me. She has been following our blog since we first began 224 days ago and when she realized we were doing this she called me. She was so kind, at the end of that conversation eight months ago she said to me, “I don’t know how your mom would feel about you doing this, but I want you to know she loved you dearly”. Today, she said to me more than once, “Your mom would be proud of you Chandra”, that was a gift.

This year has been a roller coaster, I had no idea what God was thinking when He asked us to do TheChallenge, I honestly had many questions rise in my heart, when i felt judged by others when they didn’t agree that GOD would ask anyone to have sex that many days in a row, must less ask me to invite people in to my sex life. I never had anyone say this to me but my dad, but I got looks. It felt like, “is she really a Christian woman? What right does she have to speak His name if she is going to talk about her sex life?! I am in a group on Facebook that started because of a book called Scandalous, written by one of my girlfriends’ friends from Muskogee where I grew up. (Sidebar, I was talking to Dad yesterday, thinking about Christy Nockels, the Christian Worship singer with the voice of an angel, that I got to befriend as a child. Our conversation wandered to women from Muskogee that He is raising up to speak His name and this book may not be the exception. He is bringing up women with voices for Him from our little town, and it makes me think about the moms that raised us. What a testament to the little town my mom and her mom grew up in. I divert.)  It is a safe place for women of all walks of life, Christian or not, where we can talk about sex. The author has a theology degree and loves Jesus, I have now had the opportunity to get to know her on a personal level. I know the enemy has closed down this conversation and I know I, for one, feel alone sometimes, not understanding myself or my husband physically or intimately. Each time I heard those questions in my head, knowing I hurt family by honoring Dad in it, losing family even, I had to keep my eyes on Him. I always pray that I honor God and my mother with anything I write in our blog. I hate how the enemy has taken what God meant for good and made it into something that is costing this world marriages, good marriages. It is so pushed under the rug so far, that women don’t know how to please their husbands in bed and neither does he, because frankly, it’s scary to talk about. When we began, we were in a good place because my health issues were once again at bay, and we both were so grateful that maybe, just maybe, this year would be easier than 2015. Physically it has been tough as God and I are rebuilding my body, losing 35 pounds last year left me a shell. As I continue to daily see my strength return, I continue to thank Him for faithfulness.  I think at this point I have decided that “easier” isn’t necessarily “better”. 2016 has definitely not been one of my “easy” years, but it has been one of my best. Hubby and I are connected in a way that I only dreamed about as a young woman, so full of hope for marriage and what it offers. That connection, that is what God was doing, and so much more!

Today is day 224, can you believe it??? We missed seven days in the course of TheChallenge, making them all up and then some, I assure you! We have prayed, laughed, cried, and prayed some more. Hubby and I pressed in to God this year and He has blessed our obedience, something I know I am not great at. At the beginning of the year, we might have prayed together, other than before meals, once a week, if that. Today, we pray together daily, typically more than once! We are battling this world together and that is what God was doing!! The connection that hubby and I have gotten to this year is worth it all. There were days that I truly “hated” hubby, not him really, but things he did or said, only it wasn’t him that I hated at all, it was me. It’s interesting how God shows you things in yourself that you dislike about others and don’t even realize you do those things too. Life is funny that way. We are reading in Ecclesiastes right now in our “bible in a year” plan, it was written by Solomon, the wisest man (king) to ever live. He wrote  many of the Proverbs earlier in life, then as his life was nearer to the end he summed things up (I didn’t know that earlier this year, wow what a difference a year makes!)  He talks about everything having seasons and life not adding up to much in the scheme of things, our lives are a puff of wind in the course of our world and eternity. Everything seems so big to us, our sadness seems like it will never end when we are in middle of it. Our joy promises to last forever when we are in the middle of it, then disaster strikes and it is gone in a breath. You know, that phone call that comes, at the least expected time, and you find out your sister in law has been killed in an auto accident. Life changes in a breath and we have no idea where we will be in a month, much less a year.

I look back to the beginning of TheChallenge, where we were personally and with one another. Where I was with my extended family, and where I am today is completely different, I am an orphan in this world though my family is still among us. That is one thing that God brought me through this year that, if hubby and I hadn’t been as connected as we were, could have been something that would send me into depression as it had so many times before. But, God said, “not this time!”! He has been so faithful to us, to me, this year as we were obedient to Him. I want to share with all of you that have been following us this year, I have, and will continue to, pray for you and this has not been easy. Two years ago if someone would have told me God told them to do this, I would have judged it better than anyone! My critical, judgmental self would have jumped without asking God about it, I promise. I definitely have wondered why God would ask us to do a sex challenge and share it! I have been embarrassed to share it at our new church only for the reason that, they don’t know us at all. God opened the door last week for me to share with one member of our new congregation and I heard how she might need a friend to talk to in the covenant of Sisterhood about this very subject, ONEness. I know God will open the door for more sharing as this year wraps up and we continue to pursue His heart as He pursues ours. I know He asked us to do this and I know He is blessing our obedience, and for that, I am grateful.

I heard a sermon this year where the pastor told me that God loves us all, but that He has a reward system that follows obedience. One scripture that I am continually reminded of is this one…

“Seek first God’s Kingdom, and His righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well” Matt 6:33

I was not seeking Him in 2013, I was sick and had gone through nearly dying and could not see any way out. The Bible tells me in two place that He will always give me “a way out” of every bad habit, venomous thought, straight into His arms, Jesus came for me. He came for me, a broken vessel of sin, doubt, and unbelief. He came for me. I doubted, I was afraid, and I didn’t know if His way was better than living however I wanted to live. In 2016, I began to ask Him to make my heart desire the things He wanted for me more than the things that I thought made me happy. I can say today, He has definitely made the things of this world grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

TheChallenge isn’t completed today, it really has only begun. My mom’s friend said she thought it would be nice for us to be able to make love when we felt like it and not everyday because we have to. Yes, not “having” to make love every day will be a good thing, we are in our mid-forties, we are tired some nights, lol. I can say that it definitely isn’t a bad thing to have daily sex. We are good at it, we have only done “quickies” a hand full of times this year. Typically, it is a full session of ONEness that impacts our day and lives, that leaves us in Unity with one another. I am so grateful for hubby and his dedication to our marriage.

Our blog isn’t going to end just because TheChallenge comes to an end. God has been speaking to couples through this blog and I have heard so many stories this year about marriages that have very little to no intimacy. My heart goes out to them and any of you that are reading, I cannot imagine “no intimacy” in our marriage. I pray for you today and continually, Jesus will come for you too. He truly would have died only for you, only for me, He loves us that much. I definitely do not have all the answers, only God does, but I know how to be obedient (I’m not great at it, but I am definitely growing in it, right hubby?), and I pray I continue to give that obedience to my Dad, and that He continues to give me all I need.

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