Gratitude is harder than it looks

gratitude is hard - when sex hurts there is hopeI started this year with an intention of being more intentional about being grateful. But several months later I have to admit that gratitude is harder than it looks. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to be grateful for. God has continued to bless my life in amazing ways. It’s that “state of being” part that is a constant struggle for me. Continue reading

The power of your perspective

power of your perspective - when sex hurts there is hopeHave you recognized the power of your perspective? Do you realize the difference that your outlook on life or your perception of a particular situation can make? I have heard this concept discussed many times, and I have believed it on a general level for most of my life. But, it hasn’t been until more recently that I’ve begun to realize just how powerful our perspective can be.

Let me share a very recent example of my own experience of perspective. I have been feeling very overwhelmed these past few weeks, inundated with life stuff, both good and bad. I feel exhausted, wondering why I always seem to end up in the middle of everything, and just wanting a nice long break. Without even realizing it, I have let negative thoughts take over my mind. And not necessarily the obviously negative self-criticism or ‘doom and gloom’ thoughts, just generally negative. Concerns about a friend’s difficult situation and what specific steps she needs to take to get back on track, if only she could see it. Worries about this year’s goals at work and how big and overwhelming they seem. So many constant thoughts that are unconstructive and discouraging, filling my mind so there is no room left for the positive. No wonder I have been feeling so tired and overwhelmed!

Once I realized what I had been doing, I was able to make a conscious effort to flip those negative thoughts through a positive perspective. Continue reading

Clouds make life more beautiful

Have you noticed that we often use the analogy of weather to describe our lives? We talk about rainy days, weathering storms, and the sun shining down on us. Most often we describe clear skies as the best weather to have in our lives, wishing to avoid the clouds altogether. After weathering some storms in my own life, and living with some clouds that won’t seem to go away, I have come to realize that the clouds actually make life more beautiful.

clouds make life more beautiful - when sex hurts there is hope

Think about a sunrise or a sunset that you may have seen recently. Have you ever noticed that clouds are what make a sunset so much more beautiful? The sun setting on a clear horizon is nothing compared to when the streaks of clouds transform its light into so many beautiful shades. I don’t think I have ever taken a picture of a sunset in a cloudless sky. Yet I have gone to great lengths to capture images of sunsets made beautiful by the array of colors reflecting off of all kinds of cloud formations. Even the first image you see on this website is that of a disappearing sun in a cloud-filled sky.

You could describe this analogy of a sunset in a lot of different ways. The sun might represent the source of light and life, or perhaps your soul or source of being. And if the sky is the canvas of your life story, don’t we need some clouds in there to better reflect the light? As much as we hate to encounter those clouds—trials and painful experiences—isn’t it precisely those difficulties which reveal the truer colors of ourselves, developing who we are as individuals? Continue reading

A year of gratitude

a year of gratitude - when sex hurts there is hopeI should probably begin by explaining what 2014 was for me. When everyone was preparing to ring in the New Year at the end of 2013, I was reflecting on all that had happened and what a shift in my life had occurred in just one short year. I think the 13 in 2013 was rather appropriate considering it held some of the worst moments of my life. And with the end of my marriage also came an end to my life’s plans and expectations as I had once held them. No more did I see a future centered around a marriage and kids. So what did I now see? Instead of making a list of resolutions for the New Year I knelt down beside my bed at the stroke of midnight and prayed that 2014 would be a year full of new beginnings.

1 John 5:14 says “…if we ask anything in His name He hears us.” Well God certainly heard me and filled my year with a multitude of new beginnings. Continue reading

Share your struggles (part 2)

I described in an earlier post about how important it is to share your struggles. I made the mistake of not sharing my struggles at the beginning of my pain journey and instead kept the physical and emotional brokenness inside. This resulted in me carrying a weight that was too much to bear, and left me disconnected from those around me. Fortunately, I learned from this mistake by the time I was faced with something even bigger than painful sex. I was able to share my struggles with friends and family who supported me through the most difficult time in my life.share your struggles - when sex hurts there is hope

When my marriage started crumbling around me I made a decision to reach out in honesty and authenticity to those closest to me. I didn’t hold anything back—I didn’t try to hide the full extent of the pain or downplay the effects it was having on me. I was blessed to have people who cared enough about me to listen and share in my suffering. Continue reading

Share your struggles (part 1)

Something I have learned through my journey with painful sex is how important it is to share your struggles. Hiding your troubles or trying to handle them all on your own creates a burden that you are not able to carry. I know from personal experience because this is what I did throughout most of my journey. Even my closest friends and family didn’t realize the extent of my pelvic pain, the difficulties of my search for a diagnosis and healing, or how broken my marriage was.

share your struggles - when sex hurts there is hope

I think a lot of why I didn’t share was rooted in pride, at least when it came to my marriage issues. I have always taken pride in my sound decision-making. I typically put a lot of thought into things and never make rash decisions. This prudence is a part of my identity—as is my independence and ability to handle things on my own. So admitting that my marriage was struggling so much was like admitting that I hadn’t made a good decision and I couldn’t handle it myself. Continue reading

Don’t give up

If you are still searching for a correct diagnosis, or waiting for treatments to work their healing effects, I want to encourage you to keep searching and keep working. I know how discouraging it is to go from doctor to doctor trying to find out what is causing painful sex. I went three years, through six different doctors and multiple tests and treatments before finally getting a correct diagnosis of hypertonic pelvic floor muscle dysfunction. Then, after two years of physical therapy I went through a couple more doctors to address the pain issues stemming from unbalanced hormones. During that first searching process I actually did give up at one point. But, the pain kept coming so I had to keep going.

It takes courage to not give up when doctor after doctor tells you they don’t know what is wrong. Draw that courage from wherever you can. don't give up - when sex hurts there is hopeMaybe it is from the countless others who have dealt with and overcome similar pain issues.* Or perhaps by connecting with those who have overcome other types of obstacles. Maybe you can draw courage from your spouse and the hope of what can be on the other side of healing. For me, I was able to draw courage from my faith.  Knowing that God was with me helped give me courage to keep trying. Continue reading