Category Archives: Intimacy

Is It Warfare?

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We must learn to live in the tension between the real and the ideal.
It is in the tension that the beauty of salvation is seen.

~a paraphrase from Andy Stanley

When he said that yesterday, I felt more grace flood my soul than I have felt in a very long while. For someone to recognize the tension between the real and ideal, and then allow for a “less than perfect” reality … Well, I haven’t heard that kind of grace spoken much recently.

Another gracious word from a discussion over the weekend:

Satan calls you by your sin.
God calls you by your name.

And that’s when I remembered, this is warfare.

The names I’ve been called reveal the disappointment others feel toward me.
And the names I’ve called myself reveal my own disgust.

It feels like a flesh and blood battle when flesh and blood people are speaking the words.  But, I must remember that we do not war against flesh and blood.  Satan can speak through people, without them even realizing they are being used.  Remember Peter?  One moment he’s declaring Jesus is the Christ and the next, Jesus tells him to “get behind me, Satan!”

It wasn’t that Peter turned into Jesus’ enemy, it’s that he didn’t understand the Father’s plan for Jesus’ life. And in his misunderstanding he spoke.

We do this all the time when we assume we know what God is doing in someone’s life.  We imagine we can see where they need to be headed, and yet, only God knows the plans He has for each of us.  He is the One working out our salvation for His good will.  He is the One empowering us to do the “good works” He has planned for us to accomplish from the foundation of the earth.  He is the One who sees all the intricate details of each of our lives and is directing our paths as He sees fit.

Remember, Beloved, when others speak untruths concerning you, when you are “labelled” as they see fit, know that is not My name for you.  I call you Beloved.  I call you Redeemed.  I call you My Child.  Stand firm in the armor I’ve given you.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil,

so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.
Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness
For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News,
so that you will be fully prepared.
In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.
Put on salvation as your helmet,
and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
~Ephesians 6:12-18

The Hurt Runs Deep

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A note to the reader: For any who hurt due to abuse, it’s okay to stand up and speak out.  It’s the hardest thing to do, but it will allow the healing to begin. Also, “you” is meant to be universal…I have had too many abusers in my life to name just one.

I am not your punching bag anymore.
I will not stand by and take whatever abuse you choose to dish out.
I will not remain in your presence, because your words are a lie straight from hell.

God says I am His.
God tells me I am beloved.

You tell me I am not worthy…not beautiful…not real.

I know I’m real.
I know what I feel and I know why I feel as I do.

I became a non-entity to you.
I filled up whatever need you may have had for a time…
And when I realized I couldn’t keep it up, I would never be enough…
I curled up into my shell.

And you left.

I was the butt of your jokes.
I was the blame behind your anger.
I was the target of your rage.

No.  more.

I learned I was an object at two years old.
Now, at fifty-two, I’ve decided to become a person.
I will be seen…by those who choose to cherish and not condemn.

I believe it’s time to realize I am worthy…
Because He is worthy.
He sacrificed Himself for me;
HE calls me His own.

Your names for me are a lie.
I choose to hear the Truth:
God loves me.

By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell…With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image…Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
~verses from James 3

When the hurt runs deep…
He is deeper still.

(I must say I’m having a very difficult time leaving this post up…yet, somehow I feel I must. After so many years of not believing I was worthy to speak up, taking this first step toward doing so feels so foreign…so vulnerable…I want to run. But, I know I can’t. I know I must get the words said for no other reason than having it written to look back upon, and know there was one day…a moment in time…I did feel I could speak the truth. I only hope I can survive the honesty…)

The Healing Path

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“Each day we either live for God or for other gods. In each moment of hardship we fear either God or man. When we choose to worship gods and fear men our lives will suffer an emptiness and turmoil that is not much different than trying to fill our bellies with dirt. At first we may feel full, but in short order our violation of God’s plan will lead to torment…

But God will not let his children wander in the realm of death without giving them some kind of wake-up call.

Relationship with God requires leaving, letting go (of other gods), in order to pursue his promises. He calls his followers on a journey that takes them beyond the limits of their sight. Hosea tells us that God will woo us to the desert in order to win us back to himself…

Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. In that day,’ declares the LORD, ‘you will call me “my husband”; you will no longer call me “my master” ~Hosea 2:14-16

And what is the desert? It is the opposite of Eden, the garden green with luxury and life. The desert is brown, rocky, and desolate. It is not exactly the most romantic spot to renew a broken marriage between God and his bride. So why would God take his beloved to the desert in order to restore her? Because only there can he reveal to her the magnitude of his love…

The healing path must pass through the desert or else our healing will be the product of our own will and wisdom. It is in the silence in the desert that we hear our dependence on noise. It is in the poverty of the desert that we see clearly our attachments to the trinkets and baubles we cling to for security and pleasure. The desert shatters the soul’s arrogance and leaves body and soul crying out in thirst and hunger. In the desert, we trust God or we die.

God not only leads us through the desert, but he calls us to walk through the valley as the sun sets and shadows spread across the land. To get to the table set for us by God we are called to walk through danger. Any valley is dangerous terrain. Not only can rocks roll down on us unexpectedly, be we are surrounded by higher ground on which an enemy can perch and rain down assault. No military tactician would willingly send his troops marching through a valley; it is a place of death. And if one must march through a valley , the worst possible time to do so is at sunset when shadows distort and make it impossible to pick out enemies hiding in wait.

Why would God have us walk through danger to get to him? Again, because valleys strip us of the presumption of independence; danger draws us to a greater dependence on the only one who can provide and protect. The desert brings us to our knees with craving; the valley calls us to cling to the hem of the one who leads us to safety. The psalmist says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4)

God is with us. His rod and staff and his sure vision, steady balance, and infinite knowledge of the terrain will guide us as we walk through the shadowlands. But don’t be fooled: His leading does not always guide us out of harm’s way. Rather, God often leads us directly into the hottest and most perilous point of the battle…

The healing path is not a jaunt in the park. It is a life-rattling, heart-revealing journey that takes us through danger, harm, heartache — and ultimately to new trust, profound hope, and a love that can’t be scorched by assault or destroyed by loss. The healing path is glorious, but the only way we will stay on course and resist the temptation to flee to safer ground is by comprehending more deeply the assaults and losses we will face on our journey. In the desert and valley we will pass through the dangers of betrayal, powerlessness, and ambivalence. These three realities will pull faith, hope, and love right out from under us if we are not ready for them.”   ~Dan Allender, Ph.D., The Healing Path

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff will comfort me.”

Why Did It Happen?

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I found this information very helpful…you might, too:

What is it about finding out that your partner is having an affair that unlocks the floodgates of emotion; emotions so strong and intense that they seem foreign and often disturbing even to those who experience them? Most would say it’s the betrayal, the deception and the humiliation that catapults them into an emotional abyss where feelings of despair and sadness alternate with feelings of anger and rage.

And even when the shock subsides, the focus of people’s thoughts remains on the sexual act mainly because it exemplifies the violation of a sacred trust between two people who have made a commitment to each other.

Is it an uncontrollable sex drive, weak mindedness, or too much to drink that leads a person into the arms of another? This question is asked many times by those who struggle to make sense of “why did he (or she) do it?” And while it is deserving of an answer, it behooves the person asking the question to consider that extramarital affairs have less to do with sex and more to do with unmet needs. This is not to minimize the gravity of what has occurred or down playing the pain caused by the partner who has gone outside the relationship. Instead, it is meant to point out that the dynamics of an affair, especially those with a history, are complex and go far beyond the sexual act.

extramarital affairs have less to do with sex and more to do with unmet needs

To understand what has happened, to be able to assess the viability of a relationship (if that is still an option), and do what it takes to move on in life, a good place to begin is in understanding the notion of intimacy and how it plays out in relationships.

Intimacy is the unique bond between two people that links them together emotionally, spiritually and sexually. The meshing of these elements forms the cornerstone of a monogamous relationship and explains in part, its distinctiveness to the human species. It also explains why its absence foretells non-exclusivity, suggesting that successful and healthy relationships require more than sex to function.

It is the feeling of connectedness that forms the basis of intimacy making it possible for relationships to grow and sustain the challenges that are often brought on by stress, illness, and work and family problems. Intimacy is the glue that holds relationships together taking over when the intense passion of a new relationship transforms into a more enduring union based on common values, love and commitment.

The feeling of connectedness … makes it possible for relationships to grow and sustain the challenges that are often brought on by stress …

For intimacy to develop and be sustained, a person must feel valued, cherished and respected by their partner. These feelings signify equity and balance in a relationship and secure the bond between the partners. Equally important is the need for effective communication of these feelings because without it, a rift can develop. If not reversed, the link between partners is at risk of being lost. Thus the greatest threat to intimacy is not exposure to attractive people of the opposite sex, but the inability of a couple to feel and communicate their connectedness to each other.

The circumstances that contribute to the fracturing of the intimate bond are diverse but most often involve transferring emotional energy that was once directed toward the relationship to other sources such as career, children, outside interests and friends. While good relationships can weather temporary emotional absences, if they go on indefinitely, they too will suffer. Under these conditions people may reconnect emotionally and spiritually with someone outside of their relationship by once again fulfilling their needs for acceptance and understanding. Relationships such as these often begin benignly but may later evolve by becoming sexual. This pattern is most typical of “affairs of the heart,” affairs that pose the greatest threat to the primary relationship.

So while sex may be the object of a partner’s scorn, it is really the breakdown of communication and the ultimate severing of a bond that once existed that is really at stake. In essence, the betrayal that is attached to sexual infidelity may have already occurred long before on an emotional and spiritual level. Thus, while it may be one partner who strays outside the relationship, the responsibility for making it work remains the responsibility of both. And while a person may claim that he or she was blind to anything in his or her partner’s behavior that may have signaled a breach in intimacy, this in itself suggests that he or she is out of touch with the respective needs of each other.

The effects of affairs can be devastating and there are no quick and easy fixes to repair the damage. However, if both partners are motivated, then patience, honesty and the skills of a professional can help the couple explore whether it is possible to reconstruct what once existed.

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Article from Reena Sommer Ph.D, author of The Anatomy of An Affair

Copied from WomansDivorce.com. Read more at: http://www.womansdivorce.com/causes-of-marital-affairs.html#ixzz2PK0vLY1Y