Christmastime is full of a lot of happiness and good tidings, but it can also be stressful and add to the difficulties we face with pelvic pain. I think a lot of the stress is because we have distorted what Christmas is really all about. If we are honest, the underlying motivation to most of the shopping, decorating and other busyness is the opinions of others. We want to impress, and we certainly don’t want to disappoint. Think about it this way. If you took away all of the thoughts and opinions of others around you—friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors—how much less would you do this season? Would you put up fewer Christmas lights, spend less on gifts, or skip a few holiday parties? And would you spend more time on things that you enjoy, even if others think you are strange for enjoying them?
I recently came across a beautiful article on PropelWomen.org that struck a personal chord. It brought up a very real and personal struggle of mine, but it also brought me back to a precious truth about Christmas. A truth that gets so easily overlooked in the hustle and bustle of this season. I certainly know the Christmas story—Mary, Joseph and the baby in a manger—but I don’t often stop to consider the deeper meaning within the humble beginnings of Jesus’ life on earth. Here is an excerpt from that article:
We don’t want to be different, you and I. We work hard to hide our inadequacies, cover our disabilities, minimize our poverties. We want to display strength, beauty and talents. Not weaknesses, insufficiencies and lack. And so we hide the humble parts of ourselves and do our best to present only those things that make us proud.
The problem is, sooner or later, we cross someone on the street who calls us out. A friend or family member or church member or stranger who recognizes what we try so hard to hide. And when that happens, the shame rises and, with it, pain. In many cases, we withdraw or retaliate, shut down or double up our drive to impress. But the hard truth behind all those reactions is that, at some level, we’re ashamed of who we are.
Perhaps this is why at Christmas, I find great comfort in a Savior who chose a humble birth. Although completely without defect or disability, he chose mortality. He exchanged unpolluted glory for filthy flesh, unlimited wealth for devastating poverty. He left a throne for a manger, a heavenly body for a human one. I can hardly breathe for the thought. In a world of men and women and children who fight for attention and affluence, he determined to assume none of it. Why? Because He wanted us to know we are loved, in all our insufficiency. And He is with us.
Wow. I have worked hard to hide my inadequacies, especially my pelvic pain. When I was in a difficult marriage struggling with painful sex, I never wanted to show it to the outside world. I was ashamed of it, and in some ways I am still struggling with feelings of shame surrounding my pelvic pain. But God sent His son to this world in the most humble of ways. Vulnerable and inadequate in every way the world measures, both then and now. Because the truth about Christmas is that it doesn’t matter whether you give the coolest gifts or your Christmas lights are the brightest on the block. What matters is you are loved—down to every hidden hurting part of you.
What if we could change this season so that the real motivation for everything we do is the truth that we are loved? We are loved exactly the way we are with all of our inadequacies, whether pelvic pain or something else. So that is my Christmas wish for you—that you would know just how loved you are. Merry Christmas, and always remember that when sex hurts there is hope!
*You can read the full article by Michele Cushatt here: The Glorious Humility of the Nativity.