A year ago, I published my first post on this blog, wondering if anyone would ever find me, read what I wrote, or find any of it useful. Starting this blog was an act of obedience to God, along with the transparency I try to have about my journey. Quite frankly, I wasn’t sure I’d make it three months—but here I am, one year later, still posting.
I’m going to indulge myself and talk about my blogging today. After all, it is my birthday party. 🙂
Apparently I’ve had a lot to say, as I’ve written quite a few posts during this year. As you’ll find on any blog, some posts are better than others—but I do have my favorites. I like these particular posts for different reasons. Some were simply fun to write. Others helped me see and appreciate how far I’ve come on my journey toward intimacy. There are some posts where I strongly felt God writing through me. Other posts have ministered to my own heart.
I picked a favorite for each month I’ve been blogging. There are a few months where I couldn’t decide so I let myself pick two favorites for that month.
- April Prodigal Wives was the first post I wrote that captured a struggle I was experiencing at the time and not just something I had already learned. When I began writing here, I promised God that I would not hide my own struggles.
- May Oral Blessings is the first of a series (the others are here and here and here, or you can read them all as one article at The Marriage Bed) about oral sex. Husbands wrote to me to thank me for this one. Every once in a while, I’ll point out to Big Guy how many people have read my oral sex tips. He sometimes suggests that I need to do more research. 🙂
- June Writing The Heart of Gomer was a ministry to myself. I nearly didn’t post it, thinking it was too personal or wouldn’t speak to anyone but me.
- July Naked and Broken was written in my head while on the way home from seeing Wicked. When I sat at the computer, it just poured out of me. I love when this happens.
- August The Macaroni and Cheese Lesson: Stepping Your Toes Outside Your Comfort Zone compares macaroni and cheese to sex. I mean, really, who does that? I like what the post says about how doing something new doesn’t have to be a dramatic change.
- September Holding On speaks an important truth to me. The more I hear from women about their sexual gate-keeping and refusing, the more I see how much we struggle to give things to God and let them go.
- October I couldn’t choose. I loved writing Sex Is a Rock, and it is one that spoke to a lot of readers. But the one that spoke most loudly to my own heart is Sex: It’s Not What It Used to Be. Sex is such a different experience than it was just a few years ago. I still have moments when that blows my mind.
- November I was on fire in November. I wrote a lot of posts that I love during that month. There are two that stand out, though. Unbearable Lessons was written for one woman in particular. I have prayed consistently for her for well over a year, and parts of this post had been in my heart for some time. The post I really loved writing, though, was Keeper of the Gate. I was actually giggling while I wrote it. I wanted to write about gate-keeping, and as I started writing about Song of Solomon, my mind went off on an unexpected track and landed in this post.
- December Lessons Learned from Premarital Sex was a hard post for me to write. I don’t enjoy talking about my premarital sexual experiences—and frankly, there are aspects of it that I’m not sure I’ll ever get into here. These experiences constituted the majority of the baggage I dragged into our marriage. Writing about forgiveness for this sin was healing for me.
- January Sex in the Middle reminds me that even though I avoided having and enjoying sex for a lot of years, over time, my husband and I still managed to learn some things about each other’s body.
- February I couldn’t choose a favorite for this month, either. In Climate Change, I wrote about things you can do to create an environment which removes some barriers to a spouse’s growth. While the strategies I shared there don’t guarantee a spouse’s change, they do allow us to know that we have to create the best possible environment for growth. I also really liked 12 Marriage Lessons from Candy Crush Saga. It was fun and silly—and the next morning I beat a level that had been frustrating me for a few weeks.
- March A Moment of Hard Truth invited you in to the moment I was broken. At the time, it was an awful experience. Now, however, I see how that was the beginning of an amazing journey. The fear I’d had of that moment had held me back for far too long.
I don’t know that I had any expectations of what writing this blog would be like for me. I had another blog that I tended only sporadically for several years, mostly about gynecology, my husband’s unemployment, and politics. I wrote a few good posts there, but not many people read it. I figured that with The Forgiven Wife, I would write a few posts a month, some people might comment, and if I were still at it a year later, I might have an idea what I was doing.
I have been surprised and blessed in so many ways.
- Blog stats fascinate me, and it isn’t just about the numbers. I see what pages include links to my blog. I still am touched (and sometimes I’m even a bit giddy) when one of the “real” marriage bloggers (in other words, bloggers whose writing inspired my own journey) links to me. Sometimes, though, I am linked to by sites that are definitely not Christian. My stats also show what search terms people are using when they see a link to my page. I chuckle to think about what people think they’re looking for and how surprised they must be when they land here. I hope some of them have stuck around.
- Sometimes I write a post and know that the one person God meant that post for was me. My prayer with every post is that it touches just one woman—and if that one woman is me, well, that’s okay.
- I have no idea when I’ve written something good or not. Sometimes I’ll write something and think, “I am pretty sure that makes no sense at all.” Or, “That is totally dumb. I can’t believe I just wrote that.” Or, “Oops, did I just click the Publish button? I meant to click the trash can.” And sometimes those are the very posts that elicit the most amazing and heart-felt responses from readers. Sometimes, I write posts and think they’re pretty good—and hardly anyone comments or shares them. Oh, well.
- I didn’t think I would ever reveal my real name, but I have. Big Guy and I have reasons for not doing a full reveal of who I am yet, although I am fairly certain we will get there soon. I started off as Chris in the Midwest. Now, you can see my first and last name in my copyright line at the bottom of the page, and I think I say somewhere around here that I live in Wisconsin. The picture of my eyes has been replaced by a picture that shows more of me. One of these days I may show my smile and glasses.
- I did not expect to become part of a community of bloggers, and I am so glad I did. I have exchanged emails and other messages with writers who are doing such important work. They have supported and encouraged me; their work inspires me to do and be better.
- I am so thankful every day for the friendship of Bonny at Pearl’s OysterBed. She and I still keep learning things about each other that elicit a “me, too!” response. I have loved getting to know her, and I am so excited that I will get to finally meet her this summer. I can’t wait to give her a real, in-person hug. I will probably cry tears of joy when I do. Okay, not probably. Definitely.
- The biggest surprise of all is how readers have opened their hearts to me. I am humbled by the trust and sharing from people who don’t even know me. Amid the heart-breaking emails I get from both husbands and wives, I also get messages that something I’ve written has touched or changed someone. I still have days when I am stunned that anyone reads my blog, especially when I’ve written a post that seems like I’m just babbling on about my own problems. Yet people reach out to me in joy and in pain. It is a daily privilege to be a part of God’s work.
- I’ve become real-life friends with a couple of my readers, and that has been awesome—especially the one who took me out for a birthday dinner and the one who sends me yummy treats in the mail. I also exchange emails regularly with a few folks. I am honored to have been invited into their lives.
- The past year has been full of challenges for me. My kids have faced transitions and challenges. My husband and I have both experienced job loss (although he is working now—yay!). So many of you have reached out to me with encouragement and prayers. I thought this blog would be about how I can help others. It never occurred to me how reciprocal that would be.
- I have been at a professional crossroads and am taking steps further and further along a path that is not what I had expected in my life. When I reached out and asked for your support in money or prayers for pursuing this path (click on the GoFundMe button or go here for information about what I’m up to), you responded. I’ve hit the halfway mark of my fundraising goal, and I’ve committed to attending the She Speaks conference. I have responded to every single donation with tears. There was one donation that overwhelmed me so much that I cried for half an hour. I can’t help it. That’s just how I roll.
I am excited about what lies ahead. The blog will stay the same, and I have some other things in progress, too
- I’ve been working on various pages for the blog to help wives find what they need depending on where they are in their journey. There’s a page for husbands, too. I will continue to work on these pages, but I have a good start on them.
- Professional development is in my future. I am going to the She Speaks conference (thank you again for your support in getting me there!) to inspire, encourage, and train me to be better at what I’m doing here. I’m looking at a couple other conferences and retreats that are local or online as well.
- I am thinking about a book. It isn’t exactly like my blog, but pieces of the blog will show up there. I have pulled together an outline and am working on a book proposal.
- Bonny and I are working on Heart Craving, our collaborative site that at the moment is mostly a Facebook page and Twitter account. Our ministries complement each other so well, and I’m excited to see how our ideas will take shape in the coming months.
Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing my posts. I am grateful for you and for all the ways you have blessed me.
Image courtesy of m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net