Divorce and Sex

Two words that carry a lot of weight in our world.  Unfortunately, the lack of one can lead to the other, so they are extremely intertwined from what I’ve experienced.  Growing up, I lived in a Christian home and am truly blessed by that, I also am a product of divorce.  I think because I was, I made some decisions early on that I wanted to be good at marriage.  I couldn’t imagine going through what I watched my mom go through and I was hell bent on not following in that track.  I determined when I got married, he would be my best friend for life.  I refused to bring children into this world without giving them some security that they are a part of a larger story.  I didn’t know what different looked like, but I can say that for me, it was the opposite of what led to divorce in my home.  So, sharing EVERYTHING with my hubby was vital and being transparent to hubby and our kids (within age appropriate limits) wasn’t even a question for me, I needed that!

I was married at 21, hubby was 19, and we started on a journey of combining our “raisings” and growing up together.  For us, young marriage was GREAT! He wasn’t looking for his parents marriage, although they have been married for nearly 40 years, hubby wanted something different, more exciting.  I didn’t want my parent’s marriage, divorce wasn’t an option and laughter was desperately needed!  Because of sex being a taboo subject growing up, it carried tons of shame.  For many years of marriage, I enjoyed making love but I was never quite able to understand that shame and how it made me feel.  After my first Captivating experience, it was like God opened a door I never could see through.  The enemy has come in and said to me that this is shameful, talking about this subject to the world?  What would my mother think?  I guess that is what he’s been doing in marriages from the beginning and thus, lots of divorce.  After that experience in 2013, I was awakened to my husband, I’d been asking for it but wasn’t sure God was going to show up for me here.  What I began to realize is this, we NEED to be talking about this.  Not the acts that are going on in the bedroom, that is for another site and another day if God leads, but for today, THIS is about my heart.

All of that being said, this week I became an orphan. I actually have been one since my mother died in 2007, the year my dad remarried for the third time. In three marriages, 43 years of him telling me with as many actions that I have no value in his life or to him, I chose to tell him the for the first (and I knew last) time that I have a good life with my husband and he wasn’t right about us. I believe he started hating me around three and I worked to earn it for that long. Today, I’m good with being an orphan in this world because I know who my Dad is. 

Today, hubby and I have formed habits and ways of dealing with differences in ways that are unhealthy. Maybe we thought sex would cure what ailed us. Maybe I did. It abut ally has led us to massive amounts of healing but we need some time apart. I’ve asked for two days to spend our individual time with God and not see each other. So, our challenge ends today and I will be the one to accept fault. We’re not done with our marriage and I believe we will recreate TheChallnge to work for us. I will also keep writing. 

We are not perfect and never want to claim to be. We are in desperate fight to have a marriage better than what was displayed for us. So, we are in counseling and we communicate constantly, we have to do so in healthy ways and with my childhood abuse, and his stuff, we must unlearn tons and relearn healthy patterns. Both of us. 

God still has a plan in this and I’m not willing to give that up. Nor are we throwing this away, it may have a few skipped days but we will come through to the other side because that is who WE are. We are ONE. Thank you for reading about our lives and keep watching my if you’d like to see how two people who love be each other and God work through some difficult times and a lot of bad habits. 

 

Sex? When I hate you right now?…

Today I was reading a blog on WordPress and realized it was Amy Groeschel, my home church’s first lady.  I love learning from her because I have heard so much truth from her leader in this world, Craig.  I wasn’t sure how today’s blog would start and decided to let my fingers flow because I have SOOO much to share!!  Reading her blog led me to LEADERSHIP and sex.  I’m relying on God here to open a door and give you a peek into our weekend that was INCREDIBLE!!! It was also REALLY hard, you may have experienced those weekends with your spouse, the weekends that you plan for, have such eager anticipation of, and EXPECT that it will be 100% beautiful and healthy.  Then, reality hits you like a perfectly shaped snowball that your best friend sent hurling at you and it smacked directly in the face!  I’m using a snowball because with what we learned this weekend and other disciples have taught me, by the time it hits the armed face, it’s sting is immediate but not permanent, it rolls off of our faces as the Holy Spirit dries our tears and brings us back.

We attended a Restoration of the Heart conference taught by John Eldredge and Dan Allender this weekend, so I was silent on here during the conference.  One of the best things that they asked us to do was turn off our phones.  I don’t know how long it’s been since my phone was updated because of me turning it off.  That is ridiculous!  The training we received this weekend guided us through some REALLY NASTY fights. What came up for me this weekend was a really frightened little girl, places where I learned to fight for myself and that really got in the way of our challenge to continue having sex for 224 days.  There were times in arguments when Matt would say something so awful that I felt my heart break.  In fact, God gave me a visual of how his words over the years have felt like a constant attack on the parts of me I’m THE MOST insecure about.  Doesn’t he know by our 25th anniversary (Wednesday) the things that hurt and since he “should” know, does he really like me?  Am I really his princess as he endearingly calls me?  Really, is it true?  Which one is true?  The actions, tone of voice, and facial expressions are not aligning here with Princess!  It was difficult to navigate through that MANY times this weekend.  Being vulnerable, it is a strength I never knew existed.  During one of our fights, Matt said the words…”I hate YOU when you do that”, sounds harsh right?!?  It was and yet, it gave me a scale and a very honest one.  In that moment, I was so joy filled, yes, I said JOY FILLED.

This weekend and it’s events have been a long time coming, I long for hubby to own his feelings and claim them for his own.  And.  I long for him to always have a voice and lead me well.  If I was easily led, I don’t believe God would have given me a man that has to work so hard at it with God.  I was hateful at times, scared even.  One evening I stormed out of our room and hid in the exercise room (I’m really glad that noone wanted to exercise at that time!) and I asked Jesus to come for me.  Tears were rolling down my cheeks and fear had gripped the inner parts of me, my heart was breaking and I was afraid.  “This is the leader you gave me God?  Am I really a princess in his eyes Dad?  Will he protect me in this world Dad?  In every way you designed him to be my defender, is he really going to offer that?” are the things the questions that came up in that fear…doubt and well, hate.  I will own my feelings too, my little girl was attacked.  Gratefully, Jesus came for me in those questions.  And in the answers. God asked me questions back in a way, he brought remembrance to the eyes that make love to me.  The deepest, most intimate eyes I see on hubby consistently due to our challenge, I surmise that this is another silver lining in this challenge.

Needless to say, there were many times that I used the training God has given me in capturing my thoughts.  I didn’t do it well by any means, but if I was able to steal away with the Lord, I was able to allow Him to fill those broken places in my heart with light.  I actually got a glimpse of that during the hardest fight of the weekend, boy did I need it then!  I was crying in public and hubby gets uncomfortable with that, I know that about him but this was a DEEP soul cry, one that there isn’t a lot of control over and we were hiking, eek!  Right after I shared a deep pain of abandonment, hubby saw people coming, I was in tears and his “autoMatt” acted.  That action your spouse does without thought or regard for your feelings and yet it has nothing to do with you?  He put his arm firmly around me and said in my ear, “I’m going to need you to not do that now”.  Ouch.  Ouch.  I cannot express, in words, the pain that oozed through me in that moment.  I’m telling you about this because I long for couples to know, the fighting is a symptom, the root is what God is attempting to reveal in you so that He can love you well through it.  God does know that hubby has punctured my heart repeatedly in our marriage, I have done it to him too.  It is what humans do, without a thought for the other person except for that hate, the hate that hubby said he felt toward me, in that moment.

So, for the answer to the title question, I will continue to answer in my next blog.  Sit for a minute, if you will, pray for Jesus to bring you a memory of an argument that damaged your child, ask Him to come for you there and ask Him, why do I protect myself there?  And, ask Him if He will teach you to ask Him to come into those memories and make Himself known.  For now, that is how I continued in my commitment to restoration in our intimacy and had sex every day.  I do know for girls, sex is way more complicated! Gratefully, hubby has read about girls and us being crock pots in the bedroom, compared to a man’s microwave so he works for me.  That being said, these fights are getting in the way, so my prayer is that we get through the complicated stuff quickly and with as little permanent damage and pain done in them.  Thank you for your prayers and continuing to champion our challenge with us!

Awaken?

Today was a good health day.  I’ve been working so diligently to get my physical body back that it’s getting easier each day to do things my heart thrives on and that is SO important! Last weekend was incredible and 5 weeks with the tube out of my stomach, and a 5 week fast from wine, I was able to climb with my daughters up hills (I’d like to say mountains!).  It was life breathing! I forgot how much I love to explore and climb! On the weekend we took to a cabin a few months ago, I began awakening to a desire that was there as a child.  It has been so cool awakening to the things that I didn’t even remember inside of me.  When I heard Stasi Eldredge and her team speak about that my first year to Captivating, spring 2013, it sounded foreign.

Awaken?  That sounded risky.  I didn’t have the same body I had as a child must less the overweight young woman that I became.  I had strength then but not now.  Awaken?  That could mean that I wouldn’t be able to do the things I used to be able to.  30+ surgeries?  I haven’t eaten well, actually I’ve eaten like a child most of my life.  I fed myself with junk fuel and said silly things like, “I don’t like vegetables”.  My children imitated my food choices for years, but now are modeling better choices for me!  For many years we all would order our food with special requirements, changing the way things come because we wouldn’t try new things (unless covered in cheese, of course).

I knew I didn’t have the abilities I had as a child so why dream? Why awaken something that isn’t possible?  I guess I get to take God at His word that He will revive and give us our youth back for our loss.  I serve a God of “and then some…” and I am so grateful that I am living out restoration in full.  Praise God!  The world says I should be in pain, that I am disabled.  I don’t think I agree.  The world says there could be surgeries in the future.  I don’t believe I have to buy in, I get to choose each as they come.

Today, I hurt.  I’m five weeks out and this body has now gone all out for several days.  I’m sooo grateful we leave tomorrow for a heart restoration conference.  I am in need of some heart restoration.  We have had some painful things come in the last few days but we’re working through them and we need a rest.  I’m so excited, we’re going climbing and I know I can do it!  Hubby is so patient.  My pain, hubby continues to remind me I’m right where I am and it’s all good.  I want so much more.  I want to relive the years we lost to these illnesses.  I’ve endured with my eye on a prize I didn’t realize was sooo worth it.  I believe 2016 is a year of restoration for the children of God!  And yet, I still hurt.  Today hubby pursued me with a massage from Groupon, thanks hubby! It was wonderful and needed.  So, I’m a bit more sore, but maybe even more relaxed.  Thank you for prayers, they help sustain!

“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” Galations 6:9

 

Two days to the start!

I am so excited to start this challenge and God is good!!  This weekend is already been a highly blessed one as we rev up to begin.  Hubby is at The Ascent, the second John Eldredge offers as The Advanced in Colorado, leading Oklahoma men into the message.  It is such an incredible opportunity that God has given Matt in leadership over the last several years as he’s managed several of these camps.  This particular weekend is a pivotal one for Matt, he is teaching a session of it! He is a really good teacher, he’s been teaching me for many years, he isn’t sure of doing it in groups.  We have been attacked by our enemy hard this rime around, hubby got sicker than he has EVER been.  He doesn’t really get sick and his stomach has seemed, to me, to be made of iron.  It. Was. Bad.  When I picked him up from the office, I found him lying in the floor, in the doorway of the restroom with a trashcan, sprite, crackers and a rolled up towel.  I felt so bad for him.  The enemy can get in to places that are unusual even when you are diligent.  I know that God has a huge plan in this weekend because of the size of the attacks we have been facing!  Please be covering Matt in prayer when you read this, it will be a weekend he won’t forget.

I am gone with our girls on a sisters! weekend.  It began last night with our drive out of town, God has blessed our conversation and favored us so beautifully!  Today, we’ve been pampered at a spa and now we are enjoying Pitch Perfect 2 and resting.  I love getting to know our girls as young women. Today beautifully pushed all three of us to face some personal fears and they both handled them as the confident, fearless young women I know them to be.   I must tell you, God gave us the perfect three children for us!  Each one blesses us in a unique a special way., consistently.  Please cover us in prayer as we spend three days laughing, loving and playing!

I’ve sensed so much prayer coverage, so if that is you…Thank You!  It is so appreciated and I ask God that He return it to you and then some…as you cover us, our marriage and our ministry! We will begin to post regularly next week, the challenge begins Sunday.  Please ask questions, leave comments and ask for prayer if you follow our challenge, we love hearing from you.  Hubby will start posting next week, he leaves it to me to do more because, he says, I’m better.  It definitely helps that I talk more and studied journalism in college.  We’re looking forward hearing your stories, God bless!

Let’s be honest…

 

Last night after our wonderful Valentine’s Day, after we topped it off with an incredible intimacy that I never dreamed possible, we were on our way to sleep.  We were spooning as we do, yes after 25 years, hubby had fallen asleep within his normal 2 – 3 minutes and panic set in.  I’ve never gone to sleep as quickly as him so this used to happen a lot.  I began to think about the HUGE number of 224 and I panicked.  Just for a minute, gratefully, but I thought, I want to share this with whomever the Lord brings to our blog.  I’m a wee bit nervous, let’s think about this…

For 224 days…in a row…we are going to make love.  Wow, what exactly does that look like God? I began to think back to 2010 when I began asking God to heal our marriage after my 20+ surgeries.  It was tough then, I remember barely having the energy to make love at the end of a life filled day.  I remember thinking, do we really have to do it tonight, I have worked like a dog and I’m tired.  I remember my mothers voice saying, “Chandra Ann, you make sure to take care of your husband, men need that.” , that was about the extent of bedroom talk that my mom and I shared.  It wasn’t a “normal” thing for good Christian women to talk about this stuff, right?  Wow, how the enemy has lied to us about that, I wanted my children to know what a gift it was, so I asked for more!  I had no clue what “more” looked like, but I have a great friend Kate that always says, “I have no idea what that looks like, but it is what I want and ask for”.  That was powerful for me, maybe I don’t have to know what healing looks like to actually receive it and be blessed by it.  So, in 2013, when hubby approached me with that Bible study, I jumped in and God’s healing became apparent.  So, I know that this too, brings even more healing into our marriage and praise God!  I’m still a wee bit nervous…what does this mean???

I have to be honest, I am going to share with you what it looks like for me, a woman who has been sick for nearly a year, to face the enormity of this challenge.  I ask God to give me the strength to give you what a “day in the life” of a woman that is blessed by a challenge WAY bigger than me looks like.  I will offer my vulnerability so that Christian women all over the world will begin talking about what love REALLY looks like.  Where is it that we fall short and where is that we want to have Jesus come for us?  I fall short, I am also human.  I ask my readers to pray for us as we embark on a season of exploration and favor.  I will pray for you as you begin to embrace a challenge of your own and ask that God prepare a way for you in it.  Ladies, let’s be honest, this is tough and gratefully God tells me that where I am weak, He is made strong.