I was very much reminded today about how much I still need healing. The sermon series that my church is speaking on is about doing love and sex God’s way and today’s message was about how to have great sex (no, I’m not kidding, that was seriously the topic). So before the pastor began they had a special music solo—a love song. It was a great song but as I started listening to the words I just wanted it to hurry up and be over. The soloist was singing about what love is like—what it’s supposed to be like but wasn’t for me. The chorus said something about give your all to me and I will give my all to you. I’m grateful the lights were low so I wasn’t quite so noticeable as I dug out whatever tissue I could find from my purse. Just hurry up and finish this song I kept thinking, trying to shift my thoughts to any distraction I could find.
And then there was the sermon message. I guess I should’ve known, I should’ve expected that a message about great sex would be difficult for me to hear. The pastor did a good job and shared important principles, but it just made me sad. It reminded me of the hurt, it reminded of how far from that ideal my marriage had been, and it reminded me of how broken I still am. I think the principle that hit home most was how great sex is secure. It is safe—there is no judgment or condemnation—you can be completely vulnerable. That is certainly a big piece of the healing puzzle for me. I never truly felt secure in our sexual relationship.
In the past few weeks God has been giving me glimpses of how He is doing His work to heal me in this area. I have begun to realize how I never feel secure enough in my relationships with men to be vulnerable. Obviously the true place for full vulnerability is in a marriage relationship, but even in friendships I have a difficulty being truly authentic in a way that opens me up to vulnerability. I am still afraid, perhaps because I am still putting too much emphasis on how others view me. But, maybe it’s just that I’ve been hurt—I’ve been made to feel less than desirable, like I’m not worth it—and that has made me afraid and left me broken.
Here is an excerpt from my prayer journal earlier this month which describes this need for healing in more detail…
“Thank you for the work you are continuing to do in me. You are not content with leaving me as is, leaving me less than perfect. Thank you for how far you have brought me—the healing and transformation you have already worked. And thank you for letting me see it. What an amazing thing it is when I catch glimpses of you at work in my heart. I believe that my dream last night was telling me, helping me realize how you are working healing in my heart through the men in my life. I am surprised at how many quality friendships I have with men because I never had this before. And I am learning to be more open and honest and to have more authentic relationships with them.
I realize that you are using all of these friendships to work your healing in me. There is a part of me—call it my heart or my soul—that has been hiding, that I have built up walls around, whether intentionally or not. I think much has been this way since childhood, or at least since my teen years. It is difficult to be a girl and a young woman in this society. I think I have held back, afraid of not being liked, afraid of the reaction—so much of what junior high and high school is about. Yet somehow I’ve taken that with me. I have even buried some of it deeper because of the hurts in my marriage.
It’s interesting that I have always been viewed as strong and self-confident, secure in who I am. And that’s true in a lot of ways, but I’m not so sure that’s true that I am self-confident as a woman—as a true, authentic, vulnerable version of my feminine self. Even now with all the healing you have brought me, I still feel like I am looking for that feeling of worth. Even though I can say that I know how valuable I am to you and your love is all I need, if I am honest I still feel a need to feel wanted and desired as a woman. And not just superficially—I feel like I have a need to feel wanted exactly as who I am—that someone loves me or is attracted to me or just recognizes that I am worthy. I am a prize and a bride, valuable just as I am.…
I just want to feel like I am worthwhile to be valued in that way. It’s hard to describe, but you know my heart. You know it better than I do. Thank you for how you are doing that work and enlisting the help of many to do so.… You have blessed me with so many quality friendships to do the work to build my heart back up better than before. And I feel like at every turn, when I take that small step towards being more authentic, really more vulnerable, you reward it with another building block—a kind word, a reciprocated appreciation, a proof that they place the same value on our friendship, that I mean as much to them as they do to me. I am surprised when I realize just how much I needed that, how much I am actually seeking that. And that can be a dangerous thing, yet I feel like you are protecting me by bringing the right men around me to help provide that, each in their own way, and in a safe way.
I still have much to go, I want to be in that place where your love is truly enough down to each and every hidden place in my heart and soul. But just like in that dream I couldn’t help with the work. I had to just walk away and wait for them to complete it. I feel like in a way it’s the same in my life. You are the architect, the construction manager, making sure the work is done correctly, making sure you’ve got the right men for the job. I just need to get out of the way and let the work be done. Help me to continue to take those steps to become more authentic and ultimately more vulnerable. Help me to continue to recognize these areas that you’re working on me.…”
As my prayer describes, and as I was so clearly reminded again today, I still need healing. I want to be able to listen to a beautiful love song and not be filled with sadness. I want to be able to hear about God’s great gift of sex and not feel sorrowful. It’s not even that I feel anger or resentment that I have been dealt this pain issue. I just feel sadness over all the hurt and heartache it has caused me. I want to believe that sex truly is a great gift from God, even if it’s not a gift He has given me freely. I pray for healing—real, true, complete, through to the depths of my soul, healing. If I have made it this far, if God has healed me this much, I know He can bring me to that place of complete healing. I know it has taken a lifetime to create this much brokenness. I know that there is still so much buried deep down that I haven’t even realized is there. But I also know that God is able to do all things, infinitely more than we might ask or think. And as I pray for my own healing, I am also praying for yours. When sex hurts there is sadness, there is heartache, there is brokenness, but when sex hurts there is also hope!