But What If…?

Dear Fast.Prayers-

This is your reminder that we are fasting and praying this week for 1) marriages for those who long to be married, 2) the courage for men to walk upright and into relationship, and 3) the courage for women to be able to see where we need to change (and change).

And wow.  Sex.  The numbers of hits and comments have certainly risen in the last few weeks.  I wish we had the wherewithal to address every issue raised–and to do so in a genuinely personal, face-to-face context.  But as we bring our mini ‘sexuality series’ to an end, I did simply want to address the question “What if I’ve blown it in this whole area?” What if my body has gotten beyond my conscience or my longings have taken me down sexual roads that I now regret?  What if I’ve ended up in places I never dreamed of being when I was a little girl–tied by physical bonds with men long gone, open to intrusive sexual thoughts which can plague, ashamed of chunks of who I am or what I’ve done (or what has been done to me)?

For any of you for whom the above resonates (or who have friends for whom these issues are real), I  want to offer one word of encouragement, a few ‘to-do’s’ with which to start, and a handful of resources.

First, please be encouraged.  No matter what icky, sticky, or hollow feelings might ping around in your soul from sexuality misused, you are His beloved.  Truly.  As Jesus’ possession, you are beautiful.  I don’t know how to say this in such a way to make it register (maybe that’s God’s job anyhow), but all of these questions of sexual mistakes can only be addressed in light of this reality:  The triune God of the universe is jealous for you because you are his treasure, you are–as Ephesians says–his handiwork (Ephesians 2:10).  The Greek word is poeima from which we getpoem.’  You are has poem.  Even if there are words and verses in the poem of you that you are not proud of (and of course there are!), you are still his poem.

This leads us to our To-Do’s:

  • Ask the Lord daily to make this fundamental reality–your ‘poemness’–more and more real to your soul.  Ask him to help make grace and love (the grace and love he has for you) palpable.
  • Then, tell the truth.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us  from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)  Truly, we are robed beautifully by Jesus–and we get to feel that robe on our shoulders as we acknowledge before Jesus what is true.
  • And tell it to another, trusted person.  “…confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).  There’s something about revealing our flaws in the light of trusted friends that God uses to heal our hearts and set us free.  This has been a life-saver for me.

Lastly, if you want to do further reading, you might try some of the books below. Remember, there are numerous great resources; these are simply the ones I’ve read.

  • Best overarching book for understanding our sexuality as women and knowing where to go with mistakes and longings:  Paula Rinehart’s book:  “Sex and the Soul of a Woman.”
  • For facing shame–including the shame of how we’ve misused our sexuality (or it has been misused by others)–is a book by Breedlove & Ennis, entitled, “The Shame Exchange.”
  • For folks who have same-sex attraction issues (or friends for whom this is a struggle), “Strength in Weakness” by Andy Comisky is a good starting place.
  • “The Healing Presence” by Leanne Payne is a little more difficult reading (not a how-to book), and not everyone will connect with her Holy Spirit emphasis (though she is a very scholarly, Scripturally grounded author), but this book is great for understanding what healing of the soul, including our imaginations, means.
  • And on a slightly lighter level, I think my book 🙂 does a pretty good job with its chapters about “Not Gettin’ It” & “Gettin’ It” (that’s “Revelations of a Single Woman”).

So much more could be said, but will leave it at that, knowing really we’ve just scratched the surface.  But we trust that God  will lead you to your next step.  Just ask him.

Blessings this week in your journey,


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6 Responses to But What If…?

  1. Jen says:

    I just found your blog and love it so far – thank you!!

  2. Daniela says:

    Thank you so much for this post Connally! And Katy, you bring it right to the point – there might be women out here who have not shared too much of their bodies (lucky them!), but maybe too much of their hearts with some men in their lives. I think, as women walking with Jesus, we should always consider HIM as our husband (Isaiah 54:5). If I would be married to an earthly husband now, I also wouldn’t pour out my most inner feelings to another man, not to mention having any kind of inapporpriate physical contact.

    Furthermore, I can highly recommend the book by Paula Rinehart (Sex and the Soul of a Woman). This author has so many insights and it’s written so well. I would even recommend it to married women. Really worthwhile reading!

    @Connally: Is there a way to obtain your book in Europe?

  3. katy says:

    check out this post — http://www.fabsharford.com/?p=816

    It is one of the most encouraging posts on overcoming sexual (emotional, spiritual, etc) failure in relationships. because lets face it, we have all crossed lines we should not have…. whether sharing too much of our heart or too much of our body

    “What comes after sexual failure? for those in Christ Jesus, goodness and grace”

    These were the most healing words I have ever heard regarding physical/relational mistakes (and applied to other sins I have had that I thought I could not come back from)

  4. Ray says:

    This is so excellent, Connally, and so needed. Straight, loving, grace filled, and focused on the cross of grace. I’d add that David Hanke’s sermon today is an excellent and straight talk that is loaded perhaps more to the guys who are not becoming Christian MEN and taking their responsibilities to women and God’s calling to marriage seriously–for various cultural and spiritual reasons. Somehow and equally helpful approach is needed for the men out there who are not growing up in Christ. Only know the need right now but somehow these prayers must help coalesce a solution for the testosterone laden among us.

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