The Importance of Being Selfish During Sex

Recently I read Love Worth Making by sex therapist Stephen Snyder. Rather than focusing on the physical aspect of of getting enough blood pumping to create orgasm, he focuses on the interplay of relationship dynamics and their impact on sexual satisfaction. An area of sexuality hard to measure or even study in the laboratory most women intuitively understand its importance. For us, the majority of excitement comes from our mind – how we feel about ourselves, how connected we are to our spouse and what we believe about sex. A key concept Snyder addresses is the importance of being selfish during sex

Mind Shift

That might sound a little strange at first, especially for men. Teaching usually focuses on learning to love your spouse by asking what feels good, studying them, and putting them first. These are all good and important principles; especially as young couples learn about each other.

But we also know that one of the most erotic moments during love making happens when our spouse lets and gives us a peek into their own excitement. Them desperately asking for the push they need to finish, or finally letting their body take over and move like it wants to, arouses us. Seeing our spouse get excited, gets us excited. Seeing them go after what they want, makes us hot. Selfishness feeds passion. Without it, sex feels mundane.

Can you imagine if every time you had sex, your spouse asked, “what can I do for you?” or “show me what you like?”

Maybe if they never asked before…, or once in a while… but what if they asked every time. How would that feel?

A spouse constantly striving to meet your needs would seem boring after a while. Rather than feeling wanted or desired, you would feel like they were meeting a duty or an obligation.

Do It Because You Want To

I often tell husbands; your wife does not want you to give her oral sex just to give her an orgasm. She wants you to explore, tease and devour her because you can’t help yourself, you love it so much. Your wife wants to know that you desire her. If you don’t like doing it, don’t do it. If you like doing it, then act like it. Giving oral sex should almost feel selfish because you enjoy it as much as her. It doesn’t matter if it is what you are doing to them, having them do to you, or doing together, you should enjoy it too.

The other morning as my husband and I lingered in bed I asked my husband what he wanted to do.  Immediately he tantalizingly described the position he wanted us to end up in. But when I asked him why, all of his answers had to do with why it was advantageous to me. Though I love my husband’s thoughtfulness, I gently explained that I would love to hear why he loved the position. For himself, not for me.

Selfishness Takes Courage

Being selfish takes courage. Sharing what you like or why you like something can back fire. Vulnerably exposing your desires can lead to scrutiny or ridicule. If every reaction from your spouse causes you to crumble, then you will crawl into a hole and hide. When you know and understand that you are God’s amazing creation filled with creative ideas and born into His freedom, then we develop a resilience to share ourselves openly. Sometimes things fall into place and you experience passion and intimacy beyond your expectations. Other times things don’t go quite as planned and afterwards you talk it through or laugh about it. But if we never share ourselves, then we settle for safe, vanilla, boring sex.

In order to create passion in your marriage bed, you need to be a little selfish. To let loose and say, “I want to ….” To do things to your spouse because you love to and not because you have to. To selfishly enjoy the touch of both giving and receiving. Dare to create passion in your marriage bed by being selfish.

 

Let Go of Your Watering Pot

Marie serves on the mission field and has quietly spoken truth to women about sexuality, one woman at a time. This year she discovered Awaken-Love and  has since become part of the Awaken-Love teaching team. She is learning to let go as she submits to God’s love and calling in her life. 


I have taught in many countries of Asia and in one country of Africa. Because homes often lack running water, women carry large pots to gather water from the community well. The water pot is such an essential household tool that no one would ever leave it unattended. A pot costs valuable money to replace. Without it one could not gather the water necessary for all aspects of daily life.

But in John 4:28, the Samaritan woman left behind her water pot at the well as she returns to tell her village about Jesus. Throughout the years, God has used this story from John to speak into my life and has asked me to lay down my own “water pot”. I need to let go of the things I rely on for my own preservation.

My journey with Awaken-Love

Earlier this year I took the Awaken-Love video class with another woman. God began to speak to me about incorporating the Awaken-Love class into my ministry to women here on the mission field.

For three weeks I struggled with the idea and wrestled with the Lord about it in prayer. How could I even imagine doing this here; in this country where the very word “sex” is barely mentioned in a whisper, if at all.  Tongues will wag for sure, if the townspeople catch wind that I am teaching this kind of class.

I tried to reason with God, citing that I am already pushing the envelope in this society. My firm stance on the equality of women and men impacts daily life and already puts me at risk. But God did not create women to just serve men and  simply acquiesce to whatever a man happens to say. How could God expect me to teach about sex?

God’s Truth

Once again God began to speak tenderly to me. “What emotion are you feeling right now?” “Fear,” I responded, “especially the fear of what others may think of me.” Once again God reminded me that fear is not from Him. God asked me to leave my “water pot” of safety, of doing what was accepted, at His feet.

God wants to send me into the villages to proclaim His truth about the beautiful gift of sex within marriage. He has filled me with His Living Water that heals and restores wherever it is given freedom to flow. And He wants His Life to flow out of me through Awaken-Love, to remove and replace the fear and the shame these ladies feel so deeply with His love and His honor. God wants to bring healing of the abuse some of these precious and beautiful ladies have endured and, in some cases, still experience.

Groundbreaking

For years I have quietly spoken to women about their sexuality, usually one-on-one. The only times I had a chance to speak deeply was when a lady approached me about abuse she had experienced.

God has begun to open new doors to speak about sexuality. God created sex for the wife to enjoy as well as the husband. Sex is a divine mystery of becoming “one” with our spouse and with God himself, and it has been truly groundbreaking. Women are slowly opening up about how they see themselves and how they think God sees them.

In the classes I can see the changes taking hold. Hope replaces shame. Joy replaces the fear of talking about sex openly among a group of Christian ladies. Body parts are still whispered about, even female body parts. Faces turn crimson from embarrassment, eyes turned down, because this subject is linked to so much fear and shame. But despite this, I can see God slowly knocking down barriers and bringing freedom to these ladies.

Humbled to Be Used

I am humbled that God is using me in this way – humbled and in awe that they trust me with such a sensitive subject in this country. Women’s reactions have varied. Some respond with tears, while others respond vocally, saying such things as, “I never knew my body could do that”, or “wow, I learned so many new things!” Once a lady approached me and said, “throughout the class I felt shame for speaking so openly here about this subject”. But she thanked me for addressing it and added that she only knew of a couple of other people in the whole country bold enough to talk about this subject.

Gradually these precious ladies are laying down their “water pots” of tradition and of shame, and replacing them with God’s powerful truth, His living water of freedom in Christ even in this area of sexual intimacy in marriage.

Beautiful at His feet

God is enough for you! And more, God says you are enough for Him! Our hearts are beautiful to Him. Our minds are precious and our entire being has been molded by Him out of His righteous love. What He called “very good” is just that. Awaken to the reality of His image of you as His Beloved!

As you read this, ask yourself: what am I “holding onto”?  Hurts, passions, grudges, or beautiful memories. Do you have a fear of being totally naked, physically or even spiritually? Maybe God has been telling you that you are truly beautiful, but you remain afraid to truly let go – to let go of things you are clutching tightly rather than allowing God to hold them for you. We all hold something. The question is, does God want us to hold that thing? Or does He want you to lay it down at His feet?

Discover Real Intimacy – Awaken Love Book

Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage

Releases TODAY on Amazon!!

God has changed me in so many ways. Sometimes I worry that I will forget how far I’ve come – from a wife afraid to fail and content to fill her life with activities and busyness, to a confident, sensual, beautiful woman constantly seeking more intimacy with her husband and with God. I want to remember; to dig deep and stand in awe of what God has done in my life, and in the lives of the women in class. Today my new book Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage releases on Amazon. I pray that through it you will not only have a better understanding of God’s design for sex, but that you will encounter Jesus’s redeeming love.

It feels both exciting and terrifying as I release a part of myself into the world. In Awaken Love I share my story about discovering the importance of sex, but I also reveal the battles I have faced along the way. Intimate sex does not come easily or naturally. In a world filled with lies and brokenness I had to uncover God’s truth and healing to claim freedom. I had to open myself up to new experiences, learn about my body, and start talking about sex with my husband. Deep intimacy comes with vulnerability. I could not have done it without depending on Jesus.

What Awaken Love Is

I wrote Awaken Love to help wives discover the sex life God wants for them. Though God created men and women very different, God wants wives to enjoy and cherish sex as much as their husbands. In fact, wives have important things to bring to the table, or should I say the marriage bed. Wives will stretch their husband to move beyond the mechanics of sex toward intimate connection. Though Awaken Love is written to women, the book is packed with stories and information that will help a husband understand God’s design for sex, the battles his wife faces, and how her body works. Awaken Love offers an honest look into how to create real intimacy in marriage, so you can find freedom in the marriage bed.

Filled with relatable stories and practical examples, the book will challenge you to move beyond head knowledge to heart knowledge. Discussion questions throughout the chapters will encourage you to bring sex out of the silence and start talking with your husband, friends or even your kids. Action Items at the end of each chapter will help you take steps of growth. The book is not theoretical it is real life.

Awaken Love offers everything women need to create the sex life they want; from understanding God’s design for sex, to unraveling the lies, baggage and brokenness that impact their freedom. With practical examples the book will equip you to both communicate and create excitement using words. The book will educate women about their bodies, how to make intercourse connecting and even different delights that create fun and excitement. Along the way we dive into the importance of feeling wanted and desired. When we change ourselves, we can change the message of sex for the next generation.

Final Thoughts

I have witnessed God’s transformation countless times when I teach classes to women and watch them awaken to the truth about sex. As I share my story and the stories of women in class, I pray that you will understand the power of sex to create intimacy. But more than that, I pray that you will understand how much Jesus loves you.

 

 

Get your copy of Awaken Love: The Truth About Sex that will Transform Your Marriage

p.s. If you live in the Twin Cities I would love to have you join me for my book release party on Friday Sept 21. Please RSVP on Eventbrite 

The Joy of Sharing Life

My husband and I are very different. We have different tastes, passions, and even things that we love during sex. As I have matured, I am learning the joy of sharing life. I find pleasure in  seeing delight in my husband’s eyes. I don’t try to convince myself to fall in love with something just so we can have common interests. I have fallen in love with seeing my husband’s love of life.

My Husband’s Passion

Recently my husband and I went on our annual getaway and Jim had an agenda in mind. He wanted to go to Watkins Glen race track in New York. To be honest, the thought of going to a car race used to make me bristle. That was part of Jim’s old life, with old friends about makes, models, and racers that I had no interest in. Sitting at a track in uncomfortable stands, listening to cars so loud that you couldn’t even hear each other speak, was not my idea of quality time.

But as we entered the track on Saturday, I watched Jim’s face. The face of a little boy, so excited that he forgot everything else. Sucking in the smell of unburned hydrocarbons reminded him of sweet times spent at the track with his brother that died far too young.  We spent the day looking at old cars displayed on the inside of the track. I marveled as he sparked conversation after conversation about the _____ on the _____  from the _____. With my encouragement he shelled out the dough for his souvenir t-shirt and we waited for the autograph he sought. I don’t have to enjoy the races, I just need to enjoy seeing my man happy. I want to see a piece of his world.

Differences

My husband and I are different. On vacation Jim loved the car race, while my favorite part of the trip was hiking the Watkins Glen State Park and marveling at God’s creation. When I ask my husband to share about his life, conversations usually revolve around work because that is where he spends his days. I spend my days talking about classes, writing and what I am learning about sex. Just like the rest of life, learning to enjoy sex has required us to give and take. I don’t want to just have sex the way that I want to have sex. Sometimes I want to see the delight of a husband that gets what he wants, and that has required growth from both of us.

Differences in Sex

My husband has certain activities during sex that he loves. It has taken a conscious effort for me to fall in love with the spooning position that provides no eye contact and little clitoral stimulation. Learning to enjoy doggie position  required me to face my fear that my husband was an animal and instead enter the eroticism of power. Other positions have required that I face my own insecurities or lies about the role of women during sex. But just as important, I have learned to like the activities my husband likes, simply because he loves them.  When he shows his delight, I get excited. That is the power of connection during sex. His arousal drives my arousal, and mine drives his.

But the give and take of sharing life is a two-way street, even during sex. My husband has stretched to enjoy what delights me. Jim has learned to use words before or during sex. He speaks what he wants to do to me, or makes up a scenario that I will find exciting. Jim has expanded his repertoire and mixes things up because I like variety. When I shake off one thing, he heads a new direction. He is more in tune to my body, sometimes moving slow and connected to let me catch up. Even the little things like turning on the twinkle lights helps me to enjoy sex, and he loves it because I love it.

Final Thoughts

Marriage involves lots of give and take, but we aren’t supposed to lose ourselves in the process. Your husband may not love car racing, or like the same things during sex that my husband does, but he should have his own desires. If we want to know our husband then we need to embrace who they are. We don’t just keep compromising and giving up our own passions. We boldly share our life with the person  we love, but also learn to enjoy our spouse’s enthusiasm. I love that God created my husband so different than me. He has shown me a whole new world.

Practicalities of Talking About Sex in the Church

The world is screaming at us about sex. Non stop sexual advertising, pornography, TV shows and movies all constantly communicate the worlds standards and ideas. The church remains shockingly silent. Which in itself communicates something about sex, doesn’t it?The only way for the church to take sex back for the world is to start talking about sex. And not just in vague spiritual ways. People are looking for real answers!

You don’t wait for your pastor to lead the charge. They have their own brokenness they are dealing with. If you know and understand God’s truth about sex, then you need to start talking about sex. With your kids, your friends, and people  you mentor. We have to speak the truth about sex , but how?

I want to share some things I’ve learned from the past six years of teaching and writing about sex in the church, in hopes that it will give you the courage to start talking.

Depersonalize

Most conversations can be depersonalized. You don’t need to share specific details about you and your spouse Rather you can talk in terms of,” most men or women…. “  To communicate empathy, you could say something like, “a lot of us have trouble with….” Talk in terms of general categories like men,women or Christians.

Educate don’t Prescribe – we are all unique

Every single person and couple are unique. We come with different baggage, insecurities and even physical bodies. What works great for you may not for someone else. Our job is not to prescribe or convince but to educate and let individuals discern what is right for them. Don’t start giving people “you shoulds“.

Use personal stories  – only when it helps them understand.

Sharing your own personal stories of struggle can be a great way to encourage others and to help them understand what you have learned. Share in general ways and filter everything through God and what He has taught you.

Focus on yourself, not your spouse

Always focus on yourself and what you’ve learned, not on your spouse. Always shift the focus from their frustration with their spouse, to what they can do different. Don’t ever take sides because you have only heard one side of the story.

Avoid first person – they should not be able to visualize you and your husband

When talking about the physical aspects of sex, always avoid speaking in first person, as if you are telling a story. What you say should not cause someone to visualize what you and your husband do in your marriage bed. Don’t say things like, ” The other night I was ….

If you can’t say it in person, then don’t say it.

Years ago, I woke up in a panic when I realized I had taken readers into my marriage bed by describing a scene. After retracting the article, I wrestled with where the lines are when I write about sex. I decided that I should never write something that I was not willing to say face to face with someone else. If I can’t teach it in a class, then I shouldn’t write it. Though you may not write about sex, many of us communicate using text or social media. Be very careful and don’t say what you aren’t willing to say in person.

Final Thoughts

People are looking for answers in the area of sexuality and it is a huge opportunity to minister to others. Instead of waiting for your pastor to start talking about sex, become a resource to others. Though we need to be careful about what we say, our attitude, comfort and tone communicate as much as our words.  Help others learn that we can talk about sex in good and healthy ways. Maybe even consider leading an Awaken Love class!

Talking About Sex in the Church – Walking the Tightrope

I have taught sex classes to Christian men and women for over 6 years. I have also written pretty detailed instruction articles on the blog for everything from oral sex, to frenulum orgasm, to how to enjoy intercourse. Along the way I have wrestled with what topics I should address and what felt like too much. At what point would I lose my audience because I wanted to educate and provide answers? Where is the line between respectful instruction and graphic detail? How do I vulnerably share the struggles and triumphs of working on my own sex life without letting people into my bedroom?

The lines for teaching about sex require careful discernment and humility. Though you may never  teach sex classes, I believe that only ways Christians can take sex back from the world, is by talking about sex. Like Juli Slattery says in Rethinking Sexuality, instead of letting the world disciple us about sex, the church, meaning us, need to disciple others about sex. We have to learn to talk about sex and walk the tight rope between helpful information, and going too far.

Providing the Whole Story

From the first class I taught, I always believed that women needed the whole story about sex. How could I just tell women how wonderful God intended sex to be in marriage without providing answers about how their body worked, or how to make sex fun and creative. As part of the class,women are emailed a short article about sex every day. Some of the articles get, shall we say, “pretty detailed”. I don’t send the articles to try to convince the women to participate in certain activities. Rather I send the articles to educate and empower them. I want them to decide with their husband what to enjoy in their marriage bed. I want to open their minds to consider the amazing freedom God gives us. We cannot provide answers to the spiritual aspects of sex without providing real answers on how to create a mutually enjoyable experience.

Respectful Details

Some of my favorite books about sex are secular books, Orgasms by Lou Paget and She Comes First by Ian Kerner. I like the books because they provide detailed suggestions for technique without becoming graphic. Using black and white sketches they make sense out of positions and acts in order to enjoy each other.  They depersonalize the information while still capturing the importance of relationship. When I teach or write, I try to provide important details that will help you to create the experience you want with your spouse. I don’t need to personalize instructional details.

Connecting with Stories

One of the most important principles we need to understand about sex is that it is a journey. I do not have everything figured out, and I never will. Through vulnerably sharing my own struggles, I hope that you will connect with my story of constant growth. Snowboarders say, if you don’t fall once in a while, than you aren’t learning anything new. The same is true in our sex life and in intimacy with God. If you don’t feel bruised once in a while, than you haven’t stretched yourself. If you don’t feel scared out of your wits once in a while, then you don’t really need God. I share my struggles because I want to spur you on to experience the highs and lows of going for it.

Final Thoughts

I consider how I speak and write about sex to be a reflection of Christ that is within me. If I am going to maintain credibility with church leadership or even other Christians, I have to understand that I must handle the topic of sex with the utmost care and humility.

But learning to communicate respectfully about sex is not just an issue for me or other Christian bloggers. If we are going to start talking about sex in the church, then we all need to figure out how to walk this tight rope. The best resource for a young bride in the church should be sitting down one on one with a married friend. Women struggling to enjoy sex, should find encouragement and guidance from married girl friends. Guys looking for answers should find Godly men willing to move beyond joking to have a serious conversation packed with answers. We all need to learn to talk about sex in respectful ways.

So next time I would like to share some of the practicalities that I have learned about talking about sex in the church.

 

 

The Courage to Follow God

Awaken-Love started 6 years ago when I taught my first class to 8 friends out on my back porch. I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that if I didn’t share what God was teaching me about sex, I wasn’t sure I could face Him. How could I call myself a Christian, a Christ follower, when I just ignored what He wanted me to do? So when God called, I followed, but that has not always been the case.

Afraid to Fail

I’ve done things I wasn’t proud of. Where I chickened out, and afterwards I hid and pretended like I didn’t know anything about it.

I remember one summer during college, my pastor asked me if I would lead a Sunday school class at my small church. Shyly I accepted, but feeling totally inadequate, unprepared, and ill-equipped I just skipped out. I didn’t even show up or ask for help. Afraid to fail, I didn’t even try!

Another time more recently, God called me to pray over a woman  at church. I didn’t know her well, but I knew her well enough to know that she had criticized the sex classes I was teaching. At least 3 different times, God brought her to my attention and said, “Go pray for her”. The last time I told God, “ok, if she is alone, I will go talk to her.”The conditions had to be just right! I didn’t want to make a fool of myself!

I never prayed with her, because I chickened out, and God eventually stopped bugging me about it. I often wonder what would have happened if I had just been obedient. Maybe it wasn’t even about her. Maybe it was about me.

Windows of Opportunity

I don’t know if it is biblical, but it seems to be true for me.  God opens up windows of opportunity for me to walk through. If I don’t act soon, the window closes. He prompts me, I know it and it scares me to death. When I drag my feet long enough, pretty soon He stops bugging me. The window will close.

When God prompts us, or makes our heart feel like it is going to pound right out of our chest, we are at a crossroads. A point where we can let go, and say, “OK,  I am going to trust you.”

I am learning to embrace opportunities. From the simple prompts to share in a group, pray over someone, or pause and give someone a hug. To the bigger things like teaching sex classes, embracing speaking opportunities, or writing a book.

The other day I was listening to the worship song “Do It Again”, and all I could hear in my head was a sweet friend of mine singing. She is going through a really rough time with her family right now. Though I haven’t talked to her in months, I knew that God was prompting me to just send her a simple note that I care. Her reply when I obeyed said it all.

I don’t want to insinuate that I have it all together. I still run away from commitments because of fear. But I know that I always feel worse after running away then when I just try, even if all does not go as I planned.

The Challenge

If God is prompting you to work on your sex life, I pray that God would give you the courage to take a step. To listen to Him, trust Him and go for it.

If God is calling you to host an Awaken-Love class and share what you are learning about sex or minister to others, I pray that He would give you the courage to register and that He would make a way.

Take a peak at this video of a woman that never thought she would ever teach a sex class, but is so glad she did.

5 Ways A Husband Can Help His Wife Feel Beautiful

I began the series on beauty by sharing the story of a husband’s concern for his wife who seemed uncomfortable when he watched her undress. I’ve spent the last several posts sharing my story about embracing my beauty in order to help other women. Realizing how my past shaped my self-image, that baggage created insecurities, that I am God’s unique and beautiful creation, and that practical choices  made a difference, helped me embrace my beauty. Though a husband cannot convince his wife that she is beautiful, he can help his wife believe he thinks she is beautiful.

Respect Her Wishes

Our story started with a husband asking what he should do if his wife seemed uncomfortable when he looked at her boobs  while she undressed. Though I steadfastly believe that a husband feasting is eyes on his wife is God’s good design to affirm her beauty, not all women are there yet. In the meantime, God calls husbands to love their wife like Christ loved the church. Jesus gave up himself for us and I believe husbands are called to do the same for their wife. If your wife hates your eyes on her, are you willing to give up looking at her, in order to make her feel loved?

I can imagine a husband having a conversation with his wife something like,

When you get dressed, I can’t keep my eyes off of you. I think your body is totally amazing! But it seems like sometimes you feel uncomfortable. Loving you is more important than being able to look at your body. If you want me stop watching, I want to respect your wishes. I want you to always feel loved and respected.”

The same attitude goes for grabbing parts of her body, or making comments about her body. If she truly doesn’t like it and she has communicated as much, then stop. Ask her how it makes her feel when you do it, empathize and love her through your actions.

You have to earn her trust and respect before she can freely share herself, and isn’t that what you want?

Keep Your Eyes and Thoughts on Her Only

A husband faces an uphill battle in gaining his wife’s trust with her body. Women have experienced too many men gawking, whistling, making fun of, or using a woman’s body. We know that men lust after images of porn or just visually undress women in their mind for their own gratification.

One of the most important things my husband has done since the beginning of our marriage was to battle lust. Without me even asking, he guarded his eyes during movies, or ads on TV. Until you take lust seriously and squash out every last bit, you will never gain real freedom. You cannot stop looking at porn and allow your eyes to wander on the woman jogging down the street. Your wife wants to know that you only think about her. She wants to be your only measure of beauty.

Speak What You Think About Her

Remember how I talked about God’s amazing design; a man has eyes that look at his wife and say, “Wow!”, while a woman’s deepest desire is to feel beautiful? Well, it doesn’t work unless you start expressing what you think about her with your words.

When I finally started embracing my beauty, I remember having a really hard conversation with my husband. I told him, “I really want to believe that I am beautiful, but if I am going to believe it, I need to hear you say it. I need you to tell me when I look beautiful.” And he replied, “Don’t I  tell you all the time?”

Now I don’t know if he had been telling me and I just didn’t hear it, or if he had been thinking it, and not speaking it out loud. Since that conversation, my husband has become a big part of helping me embrace my beauty, and I love it!

But your wife does not want you telling her she’s beautiful because Ruth said to say it more often. What she really wants is for you to take what you are thinking in your head, and speak it out loud to her. Your wife wants to know even your thoughts.

See All of Her

When I think about embracing beauty, I can’t help but think of Song of Songs and the passages where he admires her body with his words. Rather than just focusing on his favorite erotic zone he admires her from her feet to the top of her head.

Your wife wants to know that you love all of her, not just her boobs. You have to see and appreciate every part of her, especially as her body changes. If you keep your eyes pure and she becomes your standard of beauty, then you will love every curve, wrinkle, stretch mark, and unique feature you discover.  See all of her.

Match Your Wife’s Growth

Your wife sharing her body with you is as vulnerable as you sharing your fears and failures with her. Yet it is what most husbands desire most. Here is the real kicker, what your wife desires most is that you share your insecurities, fears and failures with her. She wants you to be vulnerable with her. Don’t expect your wife to grow when you are not willing to grow too. In fact, you don’t need to wait for her, you can lead the charge. Have the courage to grow in order to meet her needs first.

Final Thoughts

Marriage is this amazing people growing machine to grow both husbands and wives. Though you can’t force your wife to grow, you can spur her on by growing yourself. Give up yourself for her, take your thoughts and eyes captive, use your words, see all of her and match your wife’s growth.

May God bless you as you lay down your life for your wife.

Living Out Feeling Beautiful

After years of going to church and striving to do good, finally understanding God’s love instantly transformed my life. I started acting different, dressing different, worshiping with abandon and opening myself up to my husband and to others. But like anything in life, real lasting transformation is a journey. Insecurities continue to creep back in. I have moments where I feel bold and confident sharing my body with my husband and at other times I struggle to believe that he really loves me. So I thought I would share some specific choices that help me to live out feeling beautiful.

Spend time with Christ

Our identity must come from Christ. We must know and understand His unconditional love and we must spend time getting to know Him.

One of the hardest things God has called me to do was to sit still. To not run down to the wood shop to build anything, or work out in the garden, but to just sit still with Him. I had to learn to just be with Him, sometimes listening and even hearing from Him.

I learned that reading my bible out loud to myself helped me take His word to heart. Praying out loud, with pauses for Him to speak, turned into real conversation. Relationships take spending time together. Falling in love with Jesus had the biggest impact in how I felt about myself.

Spend time understanding what has caused insecurities and go after healing.

Wounds caused me to believe lies. Whether child hood situations of how others perceived  see us, or circumstances that impacted how we feel about ourselves. Opening up to my husband and praying over those situations and brought both understanding and healing. James 1:2-4 says,    Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 

Working through my baggage, lies and insecurities has caused me to grow personally, and has caused our marriage to grow.

Take Care of Yourself

I used to put everyone ahead of me – my kids, my husband, and my friends. I am learning the importance of taking care of myself so that I can be a better wife. Even little things like buying nice underwear, taking time to walk with friends, buying a new outfit that I feel good in, or getting to retreat have made a huge difference for me.

Guard Your Eyes

Comparisons are the bane of our existence. They feed our selfishness and breed discontentment. God created each one of us absolutely unique and beautiful. How boring would life be if we all looked life Barbie. Stop looking at photo shopped magazines, or even with longing at photos of your young self. Stop comparing and enjoy today.

We need truth tellers in our life.

When the insecurities creep back in, we need truth tellers in our life. My husband has gotten better and better at fearlessly speaking God’s truth over me. He constantly tells me how beautiful I am. I have friends that encourage me and that I feel safe to share my insecurities. They remind me of God’s truth.

Live fearless lives.

People might have thought I was pretty fearless because I did crazy things like jump off of rope swings into freezing water, rock climb, and teach myself to woodwork. The truth is, I only did things that came naturally.

I found real freedom when I had to trust God. Teaching sex classes, speaking to groups of women or writing a book were things I could have never done on my own. When I became dependent on God, I started living fearlessly.

The more we understand how incapable we are of accomplishing anything on our own, the more we understand God’s goodness. When we are willing to fail, make a fool of ourselves, share testimonies of our own struggles, or serve where He calls, then we start living. 2 Cor 12:10  tells us that when we are weak, then He is strong. When we get out of the way, then God works through us.

Final Thoughts

My husband tells the story that when he saw my 1963 perfectly restored VW bug, he knew that he wanted to get to know me. He also tells the story that when we were under my 1963 Chevy Nova station wagon that he suddenly he knew he should ask me to marry him. For years, those stories embarrassed me. But honestly, that is who I am. That is who God created me to be. And I am blessed to have a husband that knows me so well and loves me just like I am.

There is freedom in being who God created you to be – absolutely stunningly you. The only person that can decide whether you are beautiful –  absolutely gorgeous inside and out. – is you. Your friends cannot convince you, God cannot and neither can your husband.

So I leave you with a few questions that only you can answer….

  • What does it mean to be and feel beautiful?
  • Have you ever felt really beautiful? When and Why?
  • If you felt absolutely beautiful, how would you act differently? With strangers, friends, your husband and God?
  • What is holding you back from feeling beautiful?

Feeling Beautiful – God’s Amazing Transformation

My Transformation

In 2011, my life changed when I took a study on Song of Songs. Each week our assignment included reading Song of Songs out loud to ourselves and imagining that the Lover was really God speaking to us.  Over and over I read passages like,

How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes are doves.

And I would just cringe. Because I never ever considered that I was beautiful. I grew up climbing trees and playing baseball. The last thing that I was, was beautiful.

I spent time wrestling with why I felt so uncomfortable, because this wasn’t a man saying that I was beautiful, this was God.

I’ve spent my entire life getting my worth from what I did. Whether it was getting good grades in school, building furniture, remodeling, organizing events or, keeping my home in order. But being beautiful wasn’t something that I could do, I just was. God created me beautiful, inside and out, and He loves me exactly like I am.

Psalm 139:13-14 says,

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Ephesians 2:10 says, We are God’s masterpiece

We are His beloved, His child, God’s workmanship, a new creature, more than a conqueror, royal priesthood, an heir, forgiven, and redeemed. Jesus bought me for a price, and nothing I do can ever change how much God loves me.

We have to understand both the lie and the truth….

  • The lie says my identity comes from what I have done.
  • God’s truth says my identity comes from what Jesus did for me.
  • The lie is that my identity comes from what people say about me.
  • The truth is my identity comes from what God says about me.
  • A lie is that my behavior tells me what to believe about myself.
  • The truth is that my belief about myself determines my behavior.

Regardless of my past, regardless of the choices my husband and  I made, regardless of how much I strive to measure up. God loves me just the way He created me. Absolutely unique, and beautiful – big feet and all.

I always thought that when I shrank back into the shadows, I was just being humble, but the truth is that I was afraid to be noticed, afraid to fail, and afraid to be beautiful.

One of my favorite quotes by author Marianne Williamson is,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Being Beautiful is fearlessly being who God created you to be.

When I understood how much God loves me just like I am, He released me to live in freedom. To do things that don’t come naturally and sometimes make a fool of myself. To vulnerably share all of myself with my husband  in order to be known, and through that to create intimacy and an amazing sex life. God even set me free to enjoy and share my body with my husband, and to revel at Jim’s eyes on me.

Until I experienced the depths of God’s love,  I was afraid to be known. When I did not love myself, I could not let my husband love me.

But when you experience the love of the Father, it changes everything.

So, I leave you with a Love Letter From God to you…

You are so beautiful…. beautiful beyond words.

I know it is hard in this world; this world of primping, photo shopping and movie stars.  Don’t look at them – look at me.  I see you, I see your heart, I see your soul. You are so beautiful. When you draw near to me, you reflect my love and it is intoxicating to others. You radiate life, love and my presence to those around you. You are so beautiful.

Don’t be afraid to be who I created you to be. I love with a perfect love…such love has no fear… my perfect love expels all fear. Shine in your uniqueness, you are a lily among thorns. You may ask yourself, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You were born to glorify God by letting his light shine through you, not by trying to blend in with everyone else, a lily among thorns.

I love you so much and I will always be here for you. You have captured my heart…you hold it hostage with one glance of your eyes.  People will let you down, they are fickle, but I will not leave you. I will not lose faith in you, I will not lose hope in you. My love will endure through any circumstance. Just look toward me, just one glance of your eyes.

Your love delights me. The world will tell you to do, do, do…All I want is you. I want to know you.  Pour out your sorrow to me, I treasure every one of your tears. Share your joy with me, I want to dance with you. Give me your struggles, I want to carry your burdens. Stop doing, just sit in my presence and hear my voice. Your love delights me.

Don’t live in the confines of the world, live in my freedom. Come away with me. Experience a life that is filled with peace and joy and love. Come away with me, my beautiful one.

God loves you so much.

How has his love set you free?