Friday, July 17, 2015

lets talk about sex, baby!

I am about to get real REAL.  This is my story about sex.  I don't care if you can only identify with one sentence in it...if God can use this story to encourage you, I will call that a victory.

I got married at the age of 20. Both Bill and I chose to wait until we were married to have sex...So I was SUPER excited for our wedding night and honeymoon. My excitement was dashed immediately as I realized that my body didn't seem to understand that it was suppose to RESPOND to this beautiful gift that I believe God created and meant to be enjoyed.

This quickly turned into frustration for both my sweet husband and myself. I cried all the time b.c I didn't understand why this was so hard. He was sad b.c he felt it must be him....maybe I wasn't attracted to him (which wasn't the case at all).  In my young, immature mind, this became all about me. Which means we basically stopped having sex. In our first year of marriage it would easily be a month or more at a time in between.

A few years into our marriage we attended a sex seminar at my aunts church that taught us a few things. The biggest thing we took away from it was implementing an every 3 day system. This was brilliant and we used it for at least 10 years. The way it works is like this: one of us initiates today and then the other person has 3 days to it can be the next day, or 3 days later...but it has to be within 3 days. It was a great system b.c it helps both to be initiating. Bill was gone driving truck 3-4 nights a week so we had very limited time together. Our time apart didn't help my desire to have sex, it just made me more tired. So the every day rule was very necessary in helping us have sex regularly.

Clearly I still didn't realize the REAL importance of sex. It became more of a "duty" to "make my husband happy" kind of thing not a way to connect and love my husband.

Then after we had our second child, we read the 5 Love Languages together (if you haven't read it, read it TODAY!!) This was HUGE for me...Bill's primary love language is physical touch. Through this book I learned that sex wasn't just an act for him...its how he FELT MY LOVE! Just like when I rubbed his back, played with his ear or held his hand. I was overwhelmed with the fact that I had not been loving him the WAY he needed to be loved. It was at this time that I stopped focusing solely on myself in regards to sex. I started asking God to really help me view it as a way to love my husband.

We continued the every three day thing....And although my attitude got better, I wasn't necessarily EXCITED to have sex. Of course Bill could sense all of this so we would fight about sex every few months. Nothing ever was just the same old fight. Mostly he would end up apologizing for wanting sex so much and I would allow him to apologize. Because if I am honest, I felt like he should "back off".

Bill ALWAYS wanted sex and I never did. The three day thing helped with this a lot....but it didn't eliminate all the fights. I felt like he never left me alone. He felt like I never wanted him. The more he pursued me, the more I pushed him away. I started to get mad at him for trying to kiss me or even hug me when I was in the middle of something b.c I felt like he was disrespecting the fact that I was in the middle of something and couldn't just stop life to have sex. Of course this hurt him tremendously and caused him to pursue me even more because he would start to feel desperate for my attention and love.....which caused me to push him away even more...and the vicious cycle continued.

Bill LOVES how I look...I mean, its ridiculous actually. He thinks I look better now after 17 years of marriage than he did when we got married. And I will be 100% honest, that bugged me. I didn't see it as a gift...I saw it as an annoyance. When other wives told me that their husbands didn't want sex every day I was jealous of them. So, I thought a lot about how much I wish his sex drive would decrease....rarely did I entertain the idea that maybe I could pray that mine would increase.

A few weeks before our 17th anniversary, we were going through a hard time. We have found it to be very normal to struggle on some level at least one time  a year. We have learned not to be panicky  b.c we always learn from it, heal from it and more forward. I don't love when we struggle, but I also know that it makes our marriage stronger.

Well, during this specific time I really started to be angry about sex. You see, my love language is completely different. Physical touch is the the BOTTOM of my list. And as much time as I have spent over the years trying to love Bill in the way he needs to be loved (whether I did it well or not didn't really matter to me)  he has not done as good of a job of loving me in mine.... He would admit to this completely. To be honest, I understood. He use to work 80-100 hours a week. He had nothing left to give when he came home....and although it hurt sometimes, for the most part God granted me grace towards him.

But now, he has been off the road for 1.5 years, he works maybe 50 hours a week (which is nothing compared to what it use to be) and yet he still wasn't taking care of my love language any better. So I got angry. I was hurt. And I was sick of "catering" to his needs.

One morning about a month ago, I was sitting on my front porch talking to God like I do every day, crying and mad. Suddenly, it was just like he was sitting next to me and spoke loving conviction into my soul.

He said "Melissa, I have gifted you with a husband who has loved you at your biggest and smallest, at your ugliest and most unhealthy, at your kindest and your messiest....he could care less if you are 9  months pregnant and 50 lbs over weight or a size you he sees you all the same. He doesn't want other woman {please know that we have struggled with the ugliness of pornography in our marriage as I know SO many of you do and his eyes haven't just been on me...and yet I KNOW that he only WANTED me. I hope that makes sense}...he wants YOU. He craves you and desires you just like I speak in the bible (basically all of Song of Solomon). And yet you treat it like its a hindrance. Like its an annoyance"

If something doesn't induce tears like the father being REAL straight with you....nothing will.

As I sat there and cried and asked God to forgive me...He also gave me a vision. It was like I was watching a movie....but this movie allowed me to FEEL what the main character was feeling.

Bill was the main one scene I felt what he must feel like when I "push him away" all the time. When I make him feel like sex is a chore, a task to be checked off a list. He was sad, regularly frustrated....really, he was just always hurting to some degree.

The next scene  I saw and felt what he would feel like if I walked towards him when he wanted me. If I prayed for god to increase my desire for him vs. praying God would decrease his desire for me. If I made him feel desired and wanted! He was alive! Ontop of the world! He was filled to the brim, becoming an even more amazing man of God than he already was b.c he NEVER had to wonder how his wife felt about him!

I will NEVER forget that morning on the porch. God reached into depths of my heart and pulled out all the ugliness that was preventing me from loving my husband truly....and it fueled my intense desire to meet him where he was at. Right then and there I committed to never being annoyed at how he wanted me again. I decided I would never allow him to fell like he was doing anything wrong again...because he wasn't doing a THING wrong! I thought about how awful I would feel if he made me feel like "come on, lets get this over with" when he took me on a date. Or made me feel like I need to apologize for the fact that I need really good talk time with him!

Woah. I will never be that woman again. And I started by apologizing to him. That in itself was so healing in our marriage.

But what about him loving me the way I need to be loved...I KNOW this is a question a lot of you are asking. I know b.c I asked God the same question. What God showed me was that we were created to live this life FOR GOD. Not for US. He has a plan and a purpose for us and we get confused and think our agenda and plan trumps his. We spend more of our time thinking about ourselves than we do others.

My desire is to love GOD above all else. To let HIM flood my mind over thoughts of myself....and part of loving God is loving people. And so if I REALLY want to love God with everything, I have to love those around me MORE than I love myself.  Which means when I love my husband well, I am loving God well. And if  I want to really love God well, then I wont care about ME or if I am being taken care of the way "I" want...I will trust that God will take care of me even if my husband doesn't.

So, maybe Bill will love me in my love languages and maybe he wont...but that's not the point. I LOVE seeing my husband FEEL wanted. I love saying yes when he starts nuzzling my neck or smiling his "you are hot and I want you smile".... the funny thing is, most the time it doesn't even lead to sex...bc he knows all the kids are awake or we are about to leave the house or I am in the middle of something. But pausing to kiss him or flirt with him has created MORE joy than I ever imagined.

Of course I am not perfect at it...I am still human and get tired and crabby...but I believe every week, every month, every year I will be less and less of the woman I have been  and will instead be this new creation. I have had a heart change. I pray daily that God will show me how I can make my husband feel wanted. Sometimes it as simple as tickling his arm while he drives.

For the record, the more I am loving him well the more he is loving me well....just like vicious circles happen, so do beautiful cirlces. And beautiful circles change lives.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

heck yeah!

At one point in time, If you ask me if I believe God can do ANYTHING I would have said  HECK YEAH!!! your life. But probably not mine.

Ok, that's not exactly true. I believed He COULD do anything in my life....I  just wasn't sure he WANED  to.  Life has not been easy most of the last 15 years. We  had to fight to keep our marriage healthy b.c we lived apart most of those years. We went without a lot of the first world desires and luxuries  that most of our friends and family got to enjoy. We had to figure out how to parent while being thousands of miles apart more often than not. We had about a five year span where I can not count the number of ER visits, hospitalizations, illnesses and hours of exhaustion that goes along with these things. My dr really wondered why I didn't have a frequent visitor card! lol
No matter how much debt we paid off, finances didn't get easier b.c our income went down. Almost every single time we had ANYTHING planned to take care of our marriage in way of a date or a weekend alone it got canceled b.c of something out of our control.

And, when we DID get something exciting (like a date or a new couch for the living room) someone else got something BETTER (like an entire vacation to somewhere tropical or a whole new living room).

So, it SEEMED as if God wanted to take care of my brothers and sisters in Christ to a more luxurious level than he wanted to take care of us.

You thinking was flawed for a LONG time. I assumed bc life was hard that God desired to take care of those around me over me. That maybe I wasn't one of the "lucky ones" who got to roll in his blessings. Instead, I often had to fight to recognize the blessings in my life.

What I failed to see was that God wasn't ignoring me throughout all those years. He was teaching me. He was teaching me Joy and Contentment and Grace and Peace and Humility and Boldness and Gratefulness and more things that I can ever list. And when the Bible says that treasures on earth don't compare to the treasures in heaven.... its not a joke. I literally can not emphasize HOW much I needed that teaching (and all the teaching that is still happening and is to come).  He was treating me as  his CHILD! Because I am his Child.

As a mom, I would never lavish my children with material blessings without teaching them contentment and servant-ship and gratitude and joy and correction and discipline. What kind of mom would I be?

Its not uncommon for me to hear one of my 6 kids say "why are you teaching and correcting me so much more than you are the other kids?". My response? You have no idea how much I am correcting and teaching them b.c its NONE of your business!!

Yeah, pretty sure that is what God was trying to say to me for all those years. I cant pretend I remember this all the time now....but I am becoming MUCH less concerned with what he is or isn't doing in the lives around me and instead remembering that He is God. I can trust him fully.

We are always asking our kids if they trust us....some of them trust us easily. Some don't. But what I can tell you is that the ones who think we "do" more for the others over them...this breaks my heart. Because its simply not true. We love them all equally. We desire great things for them all equally.  And if WE, in all our human-ness, can want these things for our much more does GOD want these things for us?

So, I am learning that God does INDEED want to do ANYTHING beyond what I can MY life. Because I am his CHILD! And, he is GOD.

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave tending life. Its ADVENTUROUSLY expectant, greeting God with a child like "whats next papa". Gods spirit touches our spirit and CONFIRMS WHO WE ARE. Father and Child. And we know we are going to get whats coming to us- an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times withh im then certainly we will go through the good times with him! Romans 8:15-17

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

how I came to desire adventure

I use to dream of simplicity. Easy going days. No fights or arguments, drama free, wind gently blowing, sun always shining, worry free days of simplicity.

Then I started to realize that I can not actively, whole heartedly,  follow Jesus AND simultaneously  live a simplistic life. The life of a die hard lover of Christ will be full of adventure and trials and storms to endure and fires to walk through. This life will witness some of the highest mountaintops with the most spectacular views and some of the lowest pits imaginable. Think about the best movies you've seen  and books you have read....they are anything but simplistic! We wouldn't stick around for simplicity. The characters wouldn't develop and grow and realize who they really are and for what purpose they were truly created.

And so my desire for simplicity faded and instead a thirst for the adventure developed. 100% of the time the journey looks nothing like I would imagine. Its not always easy, but so far it has ALWAYS been purposeful and rewarding.

If I look back on my adult life I would say I am in chapter 5 of my life. Not too many chapters considering I am nearing the age of 40. But If I were to title the previous chapters they would be:

Chapter 1:
Waking up

It was right after getting married at the age of 20 that I started to recognize the desperate need I had to know Jesus. I don't mean the kind of "know" like we "know" our neighbors. I mean KNOW him. To  the point where I couldn't go a day without thinking about him. And so, I started Waking Up.

Chapter 2:
The Tilling

It turns out that when you are young and foolish and self righteous and newly married and yet are asking Jesus to transform can get hard. My mind was messy and my feelings matched. So, much uprooting and tilling was required for the future planting God had in mind for my life.

Chapter 3:
The Joyful Darkness

The Tilling was painful in so many ways...but it started to produce fruit in my life that I hadn't  truly experienced before. Joy being one of them! But this was a hard HARD painful chapter in my life. It span the distance of a decade, my husband was gone more than he was home and we were in the throws of toddlers and babies (5 times in under 7 years).

Chapter 4:
The Hope

God started showing us glimpses into our future. He started filling our hearts with desire for so much more than we could ever imagine....and I don't mean material things. I mean Bill being home every night, being debt free, being in a position to take care of people in a way we never dreamed and adoption. These glimpses brought such a mighty hope.

And now, I am in the beginning of Chapter 5. I would say this chapter just may be called "The Reveal of the Promise"

 It is really starting to become clear to me that this life that God has given me is NOT for me. Its for HIM. He has things He has had planned since the beginning of time just for my life. And just for your life. As I am starting to wrap my head around this makes me SO excited to see what He has planned. And I am determined to not get in his way!

(you can watch my story up this point here: