For a woman who resists and avoids sex, the prospect of making sexual changes is daunting. If sex were easy for her, she would have already figured it out, right?
She may have a pretty good idea what issues she’s going to have to face. Or maybe she has not idea. Either way, she knows it is going to be difficult and probably a little painful.
She may wonder if she can do the hard work. She wonders if it’s really worth the effort.
My own effort required me to dig deep with God. I confronted painful memories and self-reflection. I admitted my failures, my weaknesses, and the choices I’d made. I recognized the truth of how others had suffered because of my words and actions. I opened my eyes to the full truth of how I’d hurt Big Guy in my years of resisting sex and dismissing his sexual desire for me. I saw the ways my kids had been hurt by their uncertainty of family stability. I looked far into my past and faced my oldest and most core insecurities and hurts.
The path I traveled was washed by a great many tears.
I’m not talking about the kind of tears that glisten on the cheeks and are beautiful. I’m talking about tears that are part of full-body sobs and include mucous and moaning and the hope that no one is within earshot.
Basically, my work with God involved a lot of ugly-crying.
In the midst of my ugliest tears, God always showed up. He sat with me while I experienced my anguish and expressed my sorrow. Every time, I was reminded me of His love for me. He had known me since before I was born. He had waited for years for me to return from my prodigal years. He loved me so much that He sent His own son to die for my sins just so I could spend eternity with Him.
Although I’d hurt others, He reminded me that He loved them even more than I did. He showed me that they were in His hands, not mine. The pain I’d caused was nothing He couldn’t handle for them.
The ugly-crying was painful and difficult, but God pulled me through it.
He saw my raw places. He invited me into wholeness and healing.
In my faith that had being growing as I traveled this journey, I presented my brokenness to God. His response was to say, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”
Even after my tears had dried, the crying knocked me on my rear for hours. My muscles ached from the sobbing. My eyes sometimes felt puffy and swollen for several days. These physical effects of my tears served as a tangible reminder to me of what I had faced—and that God had been there with me.
Although I carried physical reminders, my heart was at peace. I’d laid my sins and worries at the foot of the cross. I went in peace, knowing that part of me had been healed.
I’ve been on this journey for seven years, and I still have moments when I need to face difficult truths about myself. I still have times when I ugly-cry while God sits with me.
One of those times was this afternoon. I’d been reminded recently of several ways I’ve failed, and I knew I had to dig in and deal with something. I wrestled with a weakness that has shown up in multiple areas of my life. I faced some unpleasant truths about myself.
As I write this, my back aches. My eyes are swollen. More important, though, my heart is at peace. I experienced healing of a wound I didn’t know I had. I know that God is with me, always.
When we want to make real change in our marriages, we often have to do deep and serious work on ourselves. We need to face things that are painful. We have to acknowledge our failings and weaknesses. Confession and repentance are right, but they are not pleasant.
This work to address the issues that contribute to sexual problems is neither easy nor pretty. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
So why do it? Why did I spend so much time ugly-crying with God if it was hard and painful? Why am I still willing to do it now, even after our marriage is so much better?
All those times I ugly-cry with God, while He sits with me? These moments strengthen my intimacy with God. I come away with healing and peace because I have just spent time in the presence of the Holy One.
The earthly benefit of all this work is that I have deeper and better intimacy with my husband.
The eternal and heavenly benefit is that I have deeper and better intimacy with God.
If you are facing difficult heart work as you address sexual intimacy in your marriage, I want to encourage you. I know it is hard—but it is necessary if you want to move forward.
Whether or not your work involves ugly-crying, you can find healing in the difficult and painful moments.
Present your brokenness to God. Lay your sins and your worries at the foot of the cross.
Sister, your faith will heal you. Go in peace.
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