A profound change happens during week 3 of Awaken-Love, as we take turns sharing baggage that has impacted our marriage. I ask the women to share whatever they like, large or small, but to focus on how the baggage has impacted them or their marriage bed.
We share our baggage for several reasons…
Sharing our stories helps us to realize we are not alone. Every woman in the room has something that has impacted her marriage bed. Stories of shame or pain are received with grace and love. Stories of bad messages are greeted with nods that know and understand. Women recognize their own story in each other. Even though the details of our lives are different, we have much in common.
Healing comes from sharing hurts and sins with one another.
James 5:16 says, Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Healing comes simply from speaking things out loud to others. I have heard women share stories of shame carried from their childhood that they have never shared with another soul. Given an opportunity, they wrestle thru tears and pull themselves out of their hiding spot. The question lurking in the back of their mind, “What if someone finds out?” no longer paralyzes them as they are received with acceptance and compassion. As shame loses power, women go home to share with their husband and continue healing.
Sharing our baggage forces us to dig deep and really examine what past experiences have impacted our marriage bed – even small things. It is funny what God brings to our mind…
- the overreaction of a parent when we received a dirty phone call as a child
- the constant message that we should not enjoy anything too much
- feelings of violation caused by powerlessness at a doctor’s exam
- the confusion of knowing their parents enjoyed sex together but ultimately divorced
We all have things that have impacted what we believe about sex, or about men, or about us. Something that might seem like nothing to someone else can have a huge impact on us. When God brings something to your mind, there is a reason.
Most important, we share our stories of sexual healing because they are a testimony of who God is. God heals our sexual baggage and hurts. He forgives our sexual sins and he can make us new again. We are not ruined or condemned to an awful sex life because we had sex outside of marriage. God can heal anything. He can heal us from the effects of abuse, promiscuity, shame, or wrong messages. He wants us to step into freedom in our marriage bed and He is reaching out His hands and saying, “here, take it. A free gift.”
Other women need to hear our stories, not just the women in class. Our testimony of sexual healing is powerful and we need to watch for opportunities to speak life into other woman. They need to hear our testimony of how God healed us and forgave us, and how we stepped into the freedom He has for us in our marriage bed.
I have to be honest, baggage night is really hard for me. I hear a lot of heart ache and pain, and all I want to do is take it away and make everything ok, but I can’t. I am completely powerless. God is the one who transforms us and makes us new. So we pray. We gather around women with huge hurts, and we ask God for big things. We ask God for very specific things that only He can do, we challenge women to take a step of faith into freedom, and then we trust God.
Sometimes I think afterwards, “What if God doesn’t show up and do what we ask?”
But the truth is, “He already has shown up. He gave women the courage to brings things to the light”, and things are always better in the light.