Although I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions, I do love the fresh feeling of a new year.
It isn’t exactly a new start, because life continues on from the previous year. The first laundry load of 2018 included clothing worn in 2017. I shopped in 2017 for food that I would eat as we moved into 2018. Still, a new year is a good reminder to reflect on how things have gone, refresh energy and ideas, and reshape how some things work.
Launching into a new season of marriage is a little like starting a new year. When I decided that I needed to address sex, I was still carrying around all my old thoughts and beliefs. My good intentions happened on a foundation of long-time negative patterns of behavior.
Still, the new season in my marriage led me to reflect on how things had gone, refresh my actions and thoughts, and reshape how I would interact with my husband going forward. I learned the value of being intentional and prayerful in how I approached our marriage.
A Fresh Season at The Forgiven Wife
The combination of intentionality and prayer was so helpful in my marriage that I’ve used it in other areas of my life as well—including in the ministry work here at The Forgiven Wife.
Several weeks ago, I did an at-home ministry retreat to help me reflect on what God has called me to do. Through reflection, prayer, and study, God led me to three realizations about what is next.
More Transparency and Stories
Stories are a powerful way of helping others understand that they are not alone. They also shine a light into the darkness of pain, struggle, or shame. Our stories invite others to the path that leads to their own growth.
I’ve always considered myself fairly transparent and open on this blog. In fact, when I began the blog I promised God that I would be open and authentic even when something showed me in a bad light. I’ve followed through with this promise. I’ve written so many posts in which I share my inner thoughts, frustrations, and fears.
During the past year I’ve backed away from the posts that require much in the way of transparency. In order to be open about some things, I have to dig into my heart and memories in a way that can make my heart ache. Frankly, I needed a break. The last several years have given me some difficult situations to deal with, and I was tapped out. I needed to rebuild and tend to my emotional and mental wellness—and it meant that I needed to have a rest from a certain type of writing. God has shown me that it is now time to move back toward sharing my own stories with you, along with reaching out to you with other women’s stories.
Sexual Healing and Wholeness
Although much will stay the same at The Forgiven Wife, a significant theme has already emerged on the blog: sexual healing and wholeness.
God designed women to be sexual and to enjoy sexual intimacy with our husbands–yet so many of us struggle with sexuality. How can we restore what was lost or broken? When we experience a life change, how can we integrate a “new normal” into our sexual intimacy? How can we pursue sexual healing and sexual wholeness?
I’ve already written quite a few posts about sexual healing and wholeness. This theme will become more prominent in the coming year. Although my overall mission here will not change, my mission statement may be refined just a bit to highlight this theme.
One way you will see more attention to the theme of sexual healing and wholeness is a series I’m excited to bring to you this year. I’ve invited some wonderful women to share their stories of sexual healing and wholeness with you this year in a Sexual Healing and Wholeness Series. Some of their stories may surprise you. Some may resonate deeply with you. All of them will invite you to take a step forward in your own journey toward healthy and whole sexual intimacy. These stories will come to you throughout the year.
The third thing God has shown me isn’t about the content of The Forgiven Wife. Rather, it’s about the means through which this ministry happens.
My dream from childhood was to write. When people ask me what I do, it is such a privilege to be able to say, “I’m a writer.” More specifically, I say, “I’m a writer who blogs in the area of marriage ministry.”
I’m a writer, but I’m something else, too. I also am a marriage minister who writes. God has reminded me that while my dream was always to be a writer, my heart has always had a passion for helping and supporting women. God has given me writing as a way to do this, but He has slowly encouraged me to reach out in other ways as well.
One way this has happened has been through the podcast. Instead of writing about sex, I’m listening and talking about it with the rest of the podcast team. With a year of podcasting under my belt, I’d wondered if perhaps God was preparing me to branch into speaking. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a couple years. In fact, when I sat down to do my at-home retreat, I expected that speaking would emerge as something to pursue this year.
To my surprise, God showed me a different area to nurture in this ministry: small group and one-on-one mentoring. My strengths have always been in working with one or a few women at a time, building relationships in which encouragement, support, and truth can thrive. God is asking me to grow in this area with the ministry of The Forgiven Wife.
I don’t know what form this will take. Does it mean creating a community? Leading a series of study groups? Offering workshops, either online or in person? Doing one-on-one mentoring and coaching? Offering Skype sessions? At the very least, it will probably involve getting caught up on my email. (Yikes.)
A New Season for Your Marriage?
Some of what I discovered through my retreat will require planning and effort to put into motion. But some of my realizations were about things that have been underway for some time already. I recognized the new things I had already begun to do.
When I’ve been intentional and prayerful with new seasons in my marriage, I’ve found the same thing. I discover new things I need to pursue, and it will take planning and effort to put these things into motion. But most times, I also recognize that some of what is in front of me isn’t new. Rather, it is what God has already been growing in me.
If you are beginning a new season in your marriage, I encourage you to spend time with God as you reflect, refresh, and reshape with intentionality and prayer.
While you may discover some new directions, God may also show you that He’s already been growing some new things in you.
May God bless your marriage and keep it fresh throughout 2018.
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