Feminine characteristics

feminine characteristic - when sex hurts there is hopeI recently had the opportunity to attend a yoga for pelvic health retreat which was absolutely amazing!  (They have another one planned for October near Boston…you should check it out!)  The women I met there made such an impact on me that I want to introduce all of them to you.  Maybe I will eventually be able to convince them to share their own unique stories on this blog.  In the meantime I would like to introduce them through the most impactful feminine characteristic they embodied during my time with them. Continue reading

Do love

do love - when sex hurts there is hopeAs February comes to a close, I wanted to share an amazing message of what love is from a couple who knew pain and hardship in ways most of us will never experience.  Three years ago a woman named Carol shared this post about her husband in the midst of his four-year-long battle with leukemia.  And while I realize pelvic pain isn’t leukemia, I think many of us who have experienced what painful sex can do to a marriage agree with her thoughts on love.  You can read the full post on GodsGotThis.org, but here is an excerpt.

What is love without a little proof? What is love without inconvenience and without sacrifice? It’s hollow. It’s empty. It isn’t real. One thing is sure, we don’t need to test each other’s love. That’s a game that will backfire and destroy. Life does enough testing on its own. Medical challenges, financial struggles, circumstances and difficulties of all kinds happen. They really do happen. Sometimes it’s a slow boil over time and sometimes it comes suddenly out of the blue. Love isn’t always pretty, and it most certainly isn’t always convenient. It doesn’t always feel good, but it is always good. It always encourages and lifts up. It always makes us better people. Love can seem like an intangible, but it isn’t because love is something you do. We feel love and we say love, but it isn’t real until we do love. Continue reading

A day of gratitude

I love that we have a day set aside just for gratitude—for thanksgiving. It’s a great time of year to consider how far you’ve come and how full your life is. Sadly, we tend to view Thanksgiving more as the first day of the busy holiday season. Stores now open on Thanksgiving Day to start the Black Friday shopping rush. And what a consumer driven world we live in. Be honest with yourself for a moment. How much time do you spend thinking about what you do not have—what you want or maybe what someone else has? And how much time do you spend actually being grateful for what you do have? I’ve seen many articles about how gratitude is good for your health. It is sad to think that we do it so infrequently that we need to be reminded that it’s a healthy habit (like eating your vegetables or exercising). Gratitude should be more like breathing or laughing. It should be part of our everyday, part of our perspective in how we view the world around us, part of who we are. We are human beings after all, and we have so much to be grateful for.

Maybe try gratitude, at least for a day. Think about all of the people that you are thankful for—maybe even tell them that you are grateful to have them in your life. You might be surprised at how it makes you feel—like a deep breath of fresh air. Even if you’re in pain—especially if you’re in pain—take some time for gratitude. It might take gratitude - when sex hurts there is hopeyou longer to push past the negative thoughts. But clear away those dark clouds and you will find a bright sun shining down on you. What are you thankful for? Maybe it’s the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin in the air. Maybe it’s the changing leaves on the trees or the chill of a fall night. Maybe it’s your favorite blanket or an excuse to listen to Christmas carols. Or, maybe it’s the sense of pride and accomplishment of another year well-lived, the thought of new friendships formed and new dreams envisioned. Whatever it is that you are thankful for, show some gratitude. Most of all, show yourself some gratitude—you are more than worth it!

I am thankful for you—close friends who support me in reading this blog and far away friends whom I haven’t yet met. Perhaps you stumbled upon this blog looking for hope. You are who I write this for. You are part of my year well-lived and my new dreams envisioned. I am grateful for you!

See, that wasn’t so bad (it’s much easier than getting in your 10,000 steps). Now it’s your turn to practice being grateful. I would love to hear some of the things you are grateful for. Please post a comment (and you can use an alias if you prefer to remain anonymous). May you have a blessed and gratitude-ful Thanksgiving!

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

I still need healing

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 I still need healing - when sex hurts there is hoperelationships 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… Continue reading

God at the center

God at the center - when sex hurts there is hope

I truly believe that the number one factor in a successful marriage is keeping God at the center of it. I have met some amazing couples who have been through their share of life’s struggles and yet have the strongest connection to each other, a passionate love that you can see in every interaction. And they will tell you how it hasn’t always been easy, how they never could have done it on their own. They will tell you of times that they wanted to give up and times that it was just too difficult for them. Then they will tell you how God at the center is what made all the difference, giving them the courage and strength they needed to overcome. 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