topics:
Courage

I read this book called, The Cure.

It opened me wide and took me back to the gospel; it’s taking me back to how desperate I am for friends.

For community.

For real, vulnerable, come-as-you-are community. I want that. I need it. I’m asking God for it.

I watched 500 Days of Summer and there was a scene of a few co-workers/friends in a bar talking and laughing and singing karaoke and I yearned for that. For the fun and the real; the laughter. It wasn’t about the bar or the drinking, it was about the connection these friends had.

In The Cure the authors talk about living mask free, being authentic with all our ugly. Not that we boast in the ugly or want the ugly, but that we don’t hide the ugly away pretending it doesn’t exist. It is so easy to tuck away the sin; the things we are ashamed about. The secrets that haunt us at night as we’re falling asleep. When we keep it in the dark, it’s power over us grows. But when we expose it to the light, and we let people into our ugly, and we trust people (even when it aches), sin loses it’s power. We let people love us. Grace-light banishes the dark.

And we can be free.

I want that kind of freedom with friends, with community.

So here’s a secret, my friends, my community. I struggle with intimacy. I have walls a million miles thick with my husband. Even kissing is hard; sometimes kissing is the hardest. When oneness is supposed to be beautiful and filling, I struggle with feeling dirty. Sometimes I want to scream, and sometimes I just cry quietly. Sometimes I’m okay, and love is good, but other times it chokes me.

In order to be intimate I need to escape myself, put myself in other places in my mind. I have to go away and become something else; I am replaced. It’s how I cope, sometimes.

But I’m in counseling, and I’ve talked to God about it and He knows I can’t fix me. I’m undone. But He weaves together, and I trust Him in this darkness because He is light.

I’m open wide and I like it because I can feel the breeze. I won’t stay locked up in the dark, and I won’t hide. I’ll let the Holy Spirit blow through this woman and do the work.

By Sarah Mae, SarahMae.com 

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  1. 1

    Oh, friend! This sounds so familiar to my heart. And what He’s done in me is undeniably an amazing thing. It’s the learning about His grace and seeking after it…and receiving it…that broke the walls in my heart that craved intimacy and yet shirked from it. I never felt good enough. And now…I can stand tall and declare the beauty that resides in me–all because of Him.

    Your raw honest confession here is what blesses His heart and makes Him revealed in such powerful ways. It’s your worship, Sarah Mae. And your obedience to the call is what I pray He richly blesses.

    (I’d be happy to support you as best as I can, if you’re up for a chat sometime. It’s totally He who leads me to offer. Please consider? I think we could learn a lot from each other.)

  2. 2

    You are precious. I’m so grateful you shared that. That was brave and loving to speak those words.

    I haven’t had a boyfriend in over 20 years. I’ve been single all my life.i can be intimate with God but not with a gentleman. It’s very sad and very confusing to me and to them.

    Thank you. I’m sorry that you’re hurting. I’m glad the Lord can work on us.

  3. 3
    Christine says:

    You are stronger than you know. Your words share an intimacy deeper than your body knows. Trust.

  4. 5

    Your honesty is a gift. Thank you for your willingness to tear this one wall down and share your struggle–it is not yours alone.

  5. 6

    We all have walls-I sit here-wondering if I am brave and faithful enough to put down my pride and truly be transparent-thank you for sharing your heart so that others can tear down walls and live a life of freedom in truth

  6. 7

    Thank you for sharing your struggle. Every time we are transparent we risk being judged. But we also open the door slightly wider for everyone else to be transparent too. To stop hiding and come out into the light.

  7. 8

    blessings to you as you invite Him to come behind the wall with you…when He is with us…He will dismantle every layer of pain…lies…shame…all that have enclosed us…away from Him…away from others. He is gentle in His ways…He dismantles with kindness and patience…and Grace covers all his works. Thanks for being honest here…He is doing a great work…and I am confident of this very thing…He who began a good work will complete until the day of Jesus Christ~

  8. 9

    Wow, I felt like everything you wrote could have come straight from me! Thank you so much for sharing. I know it is so difficult, but I was encouraged by it. This struggle is something I have felt so alone in most of the time. My husband is compassionate and tries to be understanding, but he doesn’t really understand. The few other people I’ve told tend to just stand there awkwardly and not know what to say. I have one friend who understands but as she is not married and probably even further back on the road of healing then I am….well, she’s awesome to talk to when I want to be understood, but I have nowhere to go for practical advice on how to ever be different.
    So thanks again for sharing. If you discover any practical things that help, please let me know!

  9. 10

    I hear you, Sarah! Beautiful. Honest. Raw. Real. I love it. Thank you for being vulnerable!
    xoxo

  10. 11

    I so resonate with that longing for the laughter and fun of community. I’ve had it before, but things change and people move or move on and I feel left here. And not sure I have it in me to risk and try to build it again.

  11. 12

    I think I can relate on every level, Sarah Mae. I struggle with friendship too, as well as intimacy with my husband. I suppose much of it comes from having moved so much during my life that it’s just easier to wait it out until we move again rather than get down and dirty in the messiness of connection (of course that’s trickier with my husband who will be with me always, lol).

    I often feel alone in large crowds and see scenes like the one you describe and feel the exact same way. (I got an email from someone the other day who said she talks to her best friend on the phone 3 times a day. That flabbergasts me. I have no idea how to even do that. I realize I’m probably overthinking it, but really, it totally escapes me.)

    Blogging suits me well (or not-so-well) in that it gives me the illusion that I’m connecting with people but really it’s all superficial. It’s one reason going to blogging conferences is difficult–it reveals just how unconnected I am (and how absolutely connected others seem to be!). I’m a total mess with ya. :)

    Pressing on because I know it’s worth it but so in need of God’s grace!

  12. 13

    Thank you.

  13. 14

    Beautiful Sara Mae,
    You are correct sin has no power in the light and “grace-light” banishes the dark…He is the light of the world and in Him there is NO darkness He is full of grace. You have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light and it is beautiful you are allowing God to expose and strip away everything that is not of Him. He is the wonderful counselor and will use this testimony to draw others to Himself and for your good because you have already been called to His purpose and you love Him!

    About authentic friendship…God taught me about the purpose of friendship in 1 Samuel 18 with David and Jonathan:

    “Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.  Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor including his sword and his bow and his belt.” (1 Samuel 18:3-4)

    Aside for how personal these items were to Jonathan, I also see the symbolism of these items he freely gave:

    Robe that was ‘on him’: His right to the throne (Here, take what I have, even my position)
    Armor: He let down his defenses and was vulnerable, open, transparent (I choose to trust you with my heart and feelings)
    Sword and bow, belt: He gives up weapons (I will not harm you)

    May God bless you and your husband according to His riches as you let down your ‘armor’ and LOVE one another as yourself….Holy Spirit bring healing we know it is not by power or might but by Your Spirit…we are praising You God!

    Praying for you sweet one and thanking God for you!

    *a song that came to mind when I read your post: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe1yKciSlT4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    *What God taught me re: friendship: http://altarofheaven.org/2012/03/10/the-gift-and-purpose-of-friendship/

  14. 15

    Thank you so much. We just changed churches because we couldn’t find that community, friendship that I so long for (he couldn’t care less it seems). I know we’re supposed to be a friend in order to have a friend, but I guess I don’t want to risk the rejection and there are so many obstacles, probably all in my mind. With the husband, it has taken years, but, for me, it was a matter of do I trust him enough to let go? Embarassing, sometimes, wonderful, yes, funny, yes that too.
    My daughter is outgoing and her desire for playdates and friendship is helping me to connect, albeit very slightly, with other moms. Isn’t God awesome?

  15. 16
    Julia, Somerset, NJ says:

    God made you, and him, and every nerve ending that can thrill or tremble. God made you perfectly to satisfy each other’s physical needs. Your body isn’t dirty, physical intimacy is itself an act of worship, celebrating and rejoicing in the creation. Just like swimming, or enjoying a good cup of coffee and a muffin in the sunshine. The devil is trying to steal your joy. Don’t let that happen!

    You probably know all of this in your head; i will pray for you and your husband, starting today, every day at 1:30pm. I pray you will be blessed. And even if you struggle with this for the rest of your life, you have the chance to break this pattern for your daughters. Make sure they know they are beautiful the way God made them and help them understand what God has for their future is beautiful as part of His plan.

    My dear, I wish I could be your friend in real life. To paraphrase jm Barrie, make yourself laugh at everything and you won’t be able to weep.

  16. 17

    I hope you realize that God really is using you to touch and bless other people especially with this confession. Life is so difficult some times. At times, I too struggle with this. I also know that it is just one way the devil is trying to move in my house. Keep fighting!! The devil has already been defeated. Blessings, Diane Roark http://www.recipesforourdailybread.com

  17. 18

    I’ve been right where you are. I’ve blocked out all that was intimate and good. The reason for me….was layers of shame, abuse & sin.
    I’m so grateful for a husband that insisted I talk to a counselor. While it was painful & ugly…it saved me from my own self.

    Still today….I struggle with being completely at ease with ME. Past abuse & mistakes are satan’s favorite way to flub up the Christian woman. Don’t be fooled by his tactics and for goodness sake keep sharing your good words!! :)

  18. 19

    “I struggle with intimacy. I have walls a million miles thick with my husband. Even kissing is hard; sometimes kissing is the hardest. When oneness is supposed to be beautiful and filling, I struggle with feeling dirty. Sometimes I want to scream, and sometimes I just cry quietly.”

    Sarah Mae – I thought I was the only one. My husband doesn’t understand…I don’t understand. For years, I’ve done counseling … a total waste of time. I cry out to God – on a daily basis, “Change me! FIX me!” … but NOTHING happens. I want to feel a refreshing. A shift. Just some indication that this is going to get better. For my sake…for my dear husbands sake.

    I worry that he will tire of me and something horrible will happen. He assures me that is not an option – but still I worry. Because I wouldn’t blame him.

    And I feel like a fake. Isn’t the fulfilled Christian woman supposed to have that all figured out? I feel that no matter what else I am or do, this one thing disqualifies me from … what? Acceptance? Validity? Certainly wholeness. Instead I feel shame because of this secret I carry. I am a fake…and a failure.

    • 20

      You are not a fake or a failure. I went through this after I became pregnant with my first child. I struggled with being intimate with my husband for years after he was born. I felt like I was just a mother. I was content with that. I love being a mom. I felt like I wasn’t a lover anymore. Just partners and friends.

      As a child I had felt abandoned by my mother because of her sexuality and misuse of it. I was determined to not be this way!

      Even though we had been married 4 years before we began a family, it changed me and caused me to hide behind walls ” a million miles thick”. We had both saved ourselves for marriage, but I felt dirty and ashamed. Every time. I kept pleading and crying out to God and had confided in a friend or two but nothing in my heart changed. My husband was amazing, he was faithful and compassionate in so many ways, but it wasn’t about him. It was about me. It was about me not wanting to be cheap, dirty, sinful in the eyes of God, even though God had joined us. It was about me wanting to be the best mom ever, the mom I never had.

      Before the pregnancy with our second child I sought God to heal this in me, or I would have children and no marriage. He led me to confide in my very sweet, quiet, meek and mild 60ish Pastors Wife! I was mortified! But I did it and she understood. She had gone through the exact same thing! Wow! I had never known anyone else with my struggle. She was so amazing and prayed with me that these walls would come down because after all they are not based upon God, but in the lies and fears of Satan.

      After that, intimacy with my husband started to become enjoyable, fun, and exciting. Not all at once, but steadily and surely. I’m happy to say that after 10 years of marriage we are two very active, happy and satisfied man and wife. Shame-free.

      There is freedom in Christ. There is freedom in the community Sarah was talking about.

  19. 21

    You are so brave for sharing your struggles. Things can change…in time.

    You can do all things through Christ.
    Phil. 4:13.
    ((hugs))

  20. 22

    “I struggle with intimacy. I have walls a million miles thick with my husband. Even kissing is hard; sometimes kissing is the hardest. When oneness is supposed to be beautiful and filling, I struggle with feeling dirty. Sometimes I want to scream, and sometimes I just cry quietly. Sometimes I’m okay, and love is good, but other times it chokes me.

    In order to be intimate I need to escape myself, put myself in other places in my mind. I have to go away and become something else; I am replaced. It’s how I cope, sometimes.”
    Such transparency here, Sarah Mae! I am inspired and challenged to chance the same in my own little world. It is most defintely freeing.
    I had to write and say thank you, and also I was reminded how your words echoed my own struggles with intimacy with my husband the first 12 or so years with my own husband. I’ve experienced so much healing and restoration in this area, through yes, counseling, and also many times of just the Holy Spirit doing his own surgical work on me during various church services or conferences. How true it is that when we are contending for and pursuing wholeness, He will meet us anywhere, at anytime and Answer Us. Respond to our desire with his ever-ready “YES!” Afterall, it’s what He’s been waiting for, our desire to line up with His in this area. He will be faithful to you too! Coming from one who now enjoys the joys of intimacy and the “beautiful and filling” (loved that by the way, it’s exactly right) thing that it’s meant to be, I am confident He’ll complete the good work in you.
    Anyhow, love you. Praying for you.

  21. 23

    I totally understand. I’m in the process of coming out of the same situation. God has used many ways to bring me to healing, but I would like to recommend an excellent book, Sacred Sex, which breaks down so many lies about intimacy. It is totally based on Scripture and is renewing my mind and bringing me to freedom. Praise the Lord!! The author is Tim Gardner.

  22. 24
    Barbara M. says:

    All I can say is I knew exactly what you meant, just from the title alone. I have done the books and a lot of the healing, but it’s still a process. Maybe it’s just that I like the walls too much?

  23. 25

    Thanks for sharing – I can be intimate with kissing and hugging, but so long for really close friends. Sometimes I feel so along and it makes me very sady.

  24. 26

    That could have been written me! Thank you for sharing something that I know is helping so many women today. My husband and I have been married for 35 years, but still I have have trouble in this area. When you shared this today and brought it into the light, it showed so many of us that we are not alone in our struggles, and we can go to God.

  25. 27

    Sarah,
    I am hungry for authentic community too and have been for so long. I listened to John Lynch’s Truefaced Two Roads Message on youtube (I may have found out about that from your blog or one of the other ladies) and it really confirmed the longing that I have to begin to break down the walls and tell people about my weaknesses in hopes that others will share theirs. Thanks for your transparency here. I need to get that book. May God bless you and may you find the community you are longing for.

  26. 28

    I went through this after I became pregnant with my first child. I struggled with being intimate with my husband for years after he was born. I felt like I was just a mother. I was content with that. I love being a mom. I felt like I wasn’t a lover anymore. Just partners and friends.

    As a child I had felt abandoned by my mother because of her sexuality and misuse of it. I was determined to not be this way!

    Even though we had been married 4 years before we began a family, it changed me and caused me to hide behind walls ” a million miles thick”. We had both saved ourselves for marriage, but I felt dirty and ashamed. Every time. I kept pleading and crying out to God and had confided in a friend or two but nothing in my heart changed. My husband was amazing, he was faithful and compassionate in so many ways, but it wasn’t about him. It was about me. It was about me not wanting to be cheap, dirty, sinful in the eyes of God, even though God had joined us. It was about me wanting to be the best mom ever, the mom I never had.

    Before the pregnancy with our second child I sought God to heal this in me, or I would have children and no marriage. He led me to confide in my very sweet, quiet, meek and mild 60ish Pastors Wife! I was mortified! But I did it and she understood. She had gone through the exact same thing! Wow! I had never known anyone else with my struggle. She was so amazing and prayed with me that these walls would come down because after all they are not based upon God, but in the lies and fears of Satan.

    After that, intimacy with my husband started to become enjoyable, fun, and exciting. Not all at once, but steadily and surely. I’m happy to say that after 10 years of marriage we are two very active, happy and satisfied man and wife. Shame-free.

    There is freedom in Christ. There is freedom in the community Sarah was talking about.

  27. 29

    Thank you for sharing. I felt like you were telling my story as well. I pray that we both find that sense of community and intimacy that we yearn for.

  28. 30
    Tameka Newkirk says:

    I needed so badly to read this. I have been going through so much lately. It’s not like I did not already have walls up, but during this trial, I really have put them up. I won’t even let the ones closest to me in on this one!! People have so much confidence in me until I hide how I am feeling, especially if I have done wrong. People don’t even know when I am hurting because I know what mask to wear to keep them out of my world. I am thinking of going to counseling myself. I just need to talk to someone that I can be myself with. Someone that I dont’ know, someone who will not judge me, someone who I can confide in that will not tell my business after I walk out the room!! Lord, I need someone. I struggle because I want to be loved and it seems like noone will ever love me the way I deserve to be loved. Everytime I put my heart out there it winds up hurt, rejected and disappointed. So I say, why love anymore! Thanks for the post, I needed it this very day!

  29. 31

    I’m just weeping as I read your story and the stories of others. My walls are very thick as well . I feel if I totally let them down then I risk being hurt by my vulnerability to my husband. I fear betrayal/abandonment.
    I would give ANYTHING for a friend! We moved 3 years ago and I have yet to find new friends. I’m as real and as authentic as they come, I’m fun and I’m a good friend. My secrets have kept me from reaching out to people. Thank you for your honesty!

  30. 32
    Bonnie Jean says:

    Dear Sarah Mae… oh how beautiful you are inside and out. No one like me would ever guess that we share the same longings for fellowship and community… or that we struggle with intimacy when it should be beautiful and fulfilling. Counseling is helping me… as is the Spirit of God within… but it is different for everyone and a process. I have also found a lack of Christian books or conversation about Intimacy in marriage… especially the physical aspect of it. Yet many of us are hurting or building walls or escaping to be able to bear it and I know that cannot be what God intended in the beginning. Oneness should be intimate, beautiful and fulfilling… not the painful, sometimes shameful, or extremely difficult experience it sometimes is for so many of us. Satan has tainted everything that was and is pure and good in this world. Even that which God has Blessed and called good. The fall created the walls. We just build them higher and wider. I believe that God will one day answer our prayers, Sarah Mae… both for community and intimacy in all the wonderful ways we are meant to experience it. Thank you for being so vulnerable and transparent. I needed to know I am not the only one.

    • 33
      Anonymous says:

      Bonnie Jean, I want to recommend to Christian books that deal quite well with intimacy. Intimate Issues, and Sheet Music. The first is directed specifically at women, and the second is for couples.

      Blessings,
      ~k

  31. 34
    Susan Miller says:

    This is my story, as well. I pray contstantly that God will push back the stone that covers the entrance to my heart. I am so lonely but I know this is my fault. The hurt experienced in the past has distanced me from others. I’m am so scared of being hurt that I will allow no one to get close. I will add you to my prayer as I seek transparency, trust and community.

  32. 35
    Susan Miller says:

    This is my story, as well. I pray contstantly that God will push back the stone that covers the entrance to my heart. I am so lonely but I know this is my fault. The hurt experienced in the past has distanced me from others. I’m am so scared of being hurt that I will allow no one to get close. I will add you to my prayer as I seek transparency, trust and community.

  33. 36

    Beautiful, Sarah.

    “I’m open wide and I like it because I can feel the breeze. I won’t stay locked up in the dark, and I won’t hide. I’ll let the Holy Spirit blow through this woman and do the work.” ~ I’ll be holding tight to this for a good long while.

    Thank you for all you give and the grace you show. I love you!

  34. 37

    You are the one person who I will stop everything for to read. Thank you for your heart.

  35. 38

    “I’m open wide and I like it because I can feel the breeze” I especially liked like line. I am learning this too. This opening up, exposing myself to community. It’s a hard thing, but it’s a beautiful thing. I had the chance to really share Jesus with a dear friend. The moment that it caught her was the moment that I showed her the broken, human parts of myself, not the moment that I eloquently put the simplicity of the gospel. Made me think of how Paul said something like “We have this treasure in earthen vessels so that surpassing glory of God will be from God not ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) He’s talking about light, and God’s glory and how God works a miracle in us when we bring Him glory… for His glory is placed in clay pots, our humanity, and completely incapable of shining any kind of light in and of our own will. Amazing!!

  36. 39

    Thank you! It is not a coincidence that you were able to share this with us today. I have struggled with intimacy for years and my poor husband has endured.
    “In order to be intimate I need to escape myself, put myself in other places in my mind. I have to go away and become something else; I am replaced. It’s how I cope, sometimes.” That is me.
    These words you all post are encouraging to know I am not alone in this struggle and also in that I can break down the wall.
    My husband experienced an extremely dysfunctional and unstable childhood. As a result the anger he had spilled over in to our marriage and to me. We lived this way for the first 6 years of our marriage and during that time I put up some very big walls in order to avoid being hurt. Three years ago, and only by God’s Grace, my husband met a man who introduced him to Christ and has mentored him through a lot of his pain a grief. I give thanks to God daily that my husband has been able to heal, however I still have that thick wall up. I am faithful that through prayer, thanks giving, and living in His Word that I too will heal and be able to break down that wall.

    Thank you for your honesty!

  37. 40

    Friendships, I mean the real friendships where you are honest and open and trusting are impossible, they don’t exist! Since my early 20′s when I was asked not to attend my church (6 years I went to that church on my own as a child) because I had gotten pregnant I have been building, building, building!!! Simon and Garfunkles song I Am A Rock became my theme song. “I have no need for friendship, friendship causes pain…” . Over the years there have been times when I’ve wanted to take a brick down for sure. I’m the kind of friend who rushes in when everybody else rushes out. I’d never leave anybody high and dry the way the churh did me. On Tuesday someone who I thought was a friend and to whom I have been a friend, crushed me with her words. Crushed me. I have to keep the walls thick and high. I trust nobody. Being a friend makes you vulnerable to rejection. It causes pain. 17 years of a wonderful marriage (ok, I trust my husband!!!) 4 wonderful healthy boys, a daughter who was given up for adoption and then reunited with, all of this…and 27 years later I still have not learned my lesson. I wonder, can God get through the wall? I’m back to really desiring and striving to be a rock and an island.

  38. 41

    I believe a lot of women struggle with this issue. Thanks for sharing your heart. It’s difficult to be vulnerable because we will be undone and naked so to speak. Who wants to really show off all of their selves when there has been hurt and we are marked with scares. Thank goodness for the eyes that God has for us, don’t you think? He sees us as beautiful and wonderful and a true masterpiece of His design. It’s easy to say those good things, but to believe it is another story. Going through it with you. And yes, letting the light shine in those places of darkness forces all of that “ugliness” away and really shines the true beauty out. Thanks again for your words.

  39. 42

    You are simply beautiful. Your honesty, your pure unmasked you. Your willingness to walk these words out here.

    Bless you as that fresh breeze comes blowing across your spirit. Healing you with every new breathe you take, breathing in Him, breathing out fear.

    Warm gentle embrace, friend.

  40. 43

    Thank you for your honesty Sara. You are certainly not the only one who struggles with intimacy. Thank you for being willing to be the first to voice it, there aren’t many who do and it can feel like a very lonely world. Thanks for letting the Lord speak through you, you are an encouragement to me!

  41. 44

    Well said. Beautiful post.

  42. 45

    Tears came to my eyes as you shared about your walls. I can totally relate and have been on the same journey, for the walls to come down and to enjoy the emotional intimacy God created me and my husband to have. As I seek God the bricks are being removed…the lies I have believed, the vows I’ve made. I know God is good and there will be a day I will walk in the fullness of all that he has for me in this area- AND YOU WILL TO!

  43. 46

    Thank you Sarah for being so real and authentic! I like you struggle with intimacy. How refreshing to tell someone that! I long for real true friendships and have been praying for those women of God to connect with. I know that He is faithful and will continue to work and ‘weave’ His goodness in my life and yours! Praying for you sis!

  44. 47
    Impressed says:

    Thank you for sharing, your courage will bless many I’m sure, since this is a widespread problem that isn’t talked about. A great resource is Beth Moore’s Breaking Free book and/or study.

  45. 48
    Rachel E. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Sarah. I am not married yet but I know I’m going to go through the same thing because of where I am now. You are so courageous and I hope that as God brings me through the process of healing I’ll be able to share my journey with others and encourage them the way you are.

  46. 49

    Thank you for sharing!

    I recognized recently that life felt awfully predictable and safe…as one who is known to be gregarious, take risks, and allow faith to lead me everywhere, to feel predictable and safe is my clue that I have walls. I thrive in creation and connection, yet can “hide” behind my computer, *even if* I am creating new and different or connecting with a wide range of people.

    So, I have taken to watching the sunrise in the mornings, and the sunset in the evenings, walking along water’s edge on the beach, allowing Divine to touch me in all of the places that feel raw and tender. A daily invitation to open my heart to celebrate the beauty, joy, love, grace in this moment…

    Your words are an affirmation…we tend to wish to connect through our “strengths”…vulnerability is the most genuine, authentic connector of them all…

    Thank you :)

  47. 50

    Wow, thank you for being so very real…I desire that same reality in life also. I have discovered that reality in Celebrate Recovery and I am at home there with real people with real issues and wanting to be transparent open and just loved for who we are. That is the way Christianity is supposed to be but we have created an environment that is just the oposite. If we live open and honest with our struggles it makes life so much easier because then we are truly loved, truly open and who God created us to be. And only then do we show Christs love to others, because we are then free to do so. That is what I believe is what Christ was talking about when he wanted the church to be a reflection of Love, Christ’s love.
    We can also have the support we need and we find out we are not alone in those struggles.
    Thank you again for your openess I pray we all learn to be that real and that open!

  48. 51

    sarah…god has called me recently to open myself wide to an audience of those who have known me since childhood. terrifying. but he has handled my trust turned action with care and healing as he will yours. love you already as a sister in his family. xo

  49. 52

    “I’m undone. But He weaves together, and I trust Him in this darkness because He is light.”

    This perfectly describes where I’m at in life right now. Thank you for putting these feelings into words!

  50. 53

    Sarah – thank you. Your transparency is an inspiration. I too found this out a couple years ago as well. Things in my past were keeping lies in my head that put walls between my husband and I. I didn’t realize how much those things could affect me, and I am still working away at it with the Lord’s help, I could never have gotten as far as I have without Him enabling me. Thanks to that help, my husband and I have been more close then we have ever been, and we’ll have been married 9 years this October. God is so good, so willing to help us when we ask for Godly things… and intimacy with the person God as set aside for us is key, we are to mimic what Christ and the church look like! I am always encouraged by your daily emails from your blog, we are very alike you and I, and I would love to chat with you more if you do that type of thing. Keep on keeping on, the first step is admitting you have a problem :) Love you sister, and I’m praying :)

  51. 54
    Impressed says:

    I’m finding I could go on and on with things that have helped me…here are just a few more: 1) getting a good grip on grace-we are covered with the “white robe of righteousness”, we never have to feel exposed or naked! 2) realizing that the lies in our head burn pathways in our brains that take time to change, they need to be replaced with new ways of thinking… 3) the book Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge is another excellent resource
    Again, thank you for your transparency, I’m sure the women writing in are a tip of the iceberg of women who are being blessed! I’m praying for protection for you today, as I know the enemy doesn’t want you out there helping other women in this way, he wants to keep us in our little prisons…

  52. 55
    Erin Mizell says:

    Your confession has started your journey to victory. Such a mighty princess warrior you are! Stand firm knowing that the One who knows you best loves you most and He is most faithful.

  53. 56

    Wow. That was honest to the core. Thank you for sharing something so personal.
    Even in a community, we (read… I) can feel like we are hiding… only putting on our best face. Then, when we show the real thing, we brace for impact… will I still be loved? We are “desperate for friends” and most desperate for Him. Thanks for putting your real self out there. A brave blessing.

  54. 57

    oh yes, i too know this feeling – living it and working on it – laying it all at His feet for I know I cannot change on my own.

    thank you for sharing this – so brave!

  55. 58

    My heart is aching and splitting open along with you. I have built up walls toward my husband since the birth of our second baby. I’ve dealt with anxiety, been so overwhelmed, felt so alone. We are working through things though, remembering to connect in little ways, to see each other. Remembering how to laugh together, to have fun. I struggled with intimacy for awhile, always thinking about something else, feeling guilty… It helped me to purposefully give thanks for specific things about my hubby (in my head), and to push aside the bitter thoughts. Praying for you, and all the ladies here. May the Lord see our hearts & help us love.

  56. 59
    Kristie says:

    Wow! I deleted this email in my box because I was so busy and it appeared again – mysteriously. (Smile – thanks God) . At the same time I was reading this, the song by Carly Simon “Do the Walls Come Down” was playing. That was my favorite song when I was dating my husband 14 years ago. I needed to read your post. My walls are so thick I won’t even say why I needed to read it but THANK YOU!

  57. 60

    Thank you. As a rape survivor this hits very close to home. Thank you.

  58. 61

    Thank you for your openness, honesty and vulnerability. It made me take a long look at walls I thought I had torn down a long time ago. My husband and I will celebrate our 8th anniversary in just a few days. I think it’s a good time to tear down walls.

  59. 62
    Del Marie says:

    Thank you for opening up and speaking out about your struggles. Sarah, you have touched my heart and had the courage to say exactly what I have not been able to put into words. Like many women, I thought I was alone and no one could possibly understand what I was feeling. Thank you. Thank you so much for your honesty. God is using you and what you’re going through, to touch the lives of many. I know my intimacy walls go deep. I pray that God will give you the oneness you desire with your husband. I pray that He will bring you community. I pray that God and all His glory, will break down your walls, even if it’s only a rock at a time. I thank God that you’ve had the courage to share your heart with us today.

  60. 63
    Beth Williams says:

    SaraMae,

    Thank you a million times over for being so open & honest here. It is refreshing to people–especially women–to know that others are going through the same struggles and that there is help out there!

    You are a very brave woman of God who is following His leading! Thanks sooo much!

  61. 64
    muchalone says:

    Thank you for sharing this post…and for giving us space to express things that wall us in and hold us hostage.
    I did a crazy thing–I climbed right over my wall…actually, jumped over in giddy joy! You see, I had a new name…a name that said I was chosen, loved, cherished, and beautiful. With my new name, I thought I could be a new me, one who didn’t have to hide or be ashamed. And it worked…for a while…
    But then came life…and sickness more than health…and blaming…and my new name became tarnished. Friends walked away, leaving me with the sting of rejection and unending echoes of cutting wrods.
    And shattered vows shattered my heart and shredded my new name. And I remain between two walls…one that says I was never worth enough, and a new one that says I never will be.

  62. 65

    It’s very clear that God is working in you, providing healing, and using your story as a powerful witness. Your honesty is always appreciated.

  63. 66

    Thanks for sharing this post. I feel your pain. I struggle with being open and vulnerable with others. Right now no one knows how much of a mess my marriage is and how much I just want to leave. I am also struggling with my past. I can’t remember most of my childhood. For the last year, something in my gut tells me that I was molested as a child. I am praying that God would bring back the memories so that I can deal with it and move on. Thank you for letting me share this here.

  64. 67

    Brave woman. Awesome post. Thanks for sharing. I hate karaoke, but I think it would be fun with you! Walls be darned.
    The Holy Spirit will do his work. Praying for you.

  65. 68

    SaraMae, Thank you for sharing your beautiful messy heart. You are a gift to many of us and I pray that your vulnerability will lead to healing not only for you, but for a lot of us who struggle with intimacy, too. Intimacy hurts and when it does, you learn quickly not to “go there” again. Learning to live secure in His love so that I can love myself and others. Praying for you sweet sister. ***HUGS***

  66. 69

    Thank you for saying what so many are afraid to say (including me!). Mile thick walls protect but they don’t allow the good in. I’m learning that without taking risks, I don’t grow. If I don’t grow, I die.

  67. 70

    THANK YOU! i thought i was the only one with walls even in the presence of my husband. i love you for sharing this!

  68. 71
    Shannon Turek says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggles with intimacy. I too am struggling with feeling ‘dirty’ and am not sure how to overcome it. Is there anything that has helped you or advice you’ve gotten? I have talked with my friend who is a priest and another good friend who is a very devout Catholic.

  69. 72

    Hi there. I just came over to (in)courage today via Tsh of Simple Mom, and I am so glad I did. What an amazing place!

    I JUST watched 500 Days of Summer for the first time a few days ago! I loved that karaoke scene too! I love any scene like that in a movie where easy community is depicted. Why does it seem so attractive and easy in the movies? Knowing movies aren’t real-life, I still often try to think of how I could make mine more like the ideal I see depicted on-screen.

    I wish Christians could/would talk more openly about intimacy in marriage. I struggled a lot for years prior to marriage wondering if I *could* be intimate, wondering if I even wanted to be. I had so many mixed up views and feelings on the topic–I think mostly from early and worldly exposure. My husband was VERY patient . . . and a turning point was when we became friends with a couple who placed a huge priority on their marriage and wanted the same for their friends. And they openly (always tactfully) communicated that they enjoyed each other. In a women’s meeting at a former church, when some mature ladies were speaking on a panel about sex and were specifically mentioning how we *need* to do it even when we don’t feel like it and encouraging us to consider our husband’s needs, this friend raised her hand and asked, “Can we talk about doing it because we enjoy it??”

    I was floored. Why was that so shocking? Why do we rarely/never hear about intimacy from this perspective?

    As I write this, I am realizing that it was an open, honest friend who I lived with in *community* that God really used to start changing me. I started out on a quest to enjoy intimacy-to think about it and figure out how! It’s such a process. But talking with other women is so helpful (so is laughing with your husband!). I am sure you already know these things. I applaud you for putting it out there in this space. What an example. You will pave the way for many to receive help because you have been willing to be humble and let others peek around those walls.

    I plan to check back often from now on. So glad I found this place! I wish I could be friends with and personally get to know everyone who has commented on here. My prayers for God’s comfort and healing to all.

    xo

    • 73
      Sarah S, Bristol, UK says:

      Amber, this is the sort of thing I was thinking in my reply below but didn’t see yours till it posted.
      I want to become more like that friend of yours, taking intimacy out of the bedroom and away from the shame into all our relationshps.
      Thankyou

  70. 74

    “Beautiful and filling.” I really like your choice of words for the intended result of intimacy. I struggle with no libido when it’s connected to my husband….it’s been 2 years. I finally said out loud to him that I was praying about it, and that it wasn’t just for HIM, that I was also SICK and TIRED of having no libido anymore after having a high one. And guess what happened last week?

    yep.

    I haven’t felt that good in 2-3 years. Certainly not in marriage anyhow. :)

    He answers all kinds of prayers. We just have to ask once in a while. :)

  71. 75

    Thank you for sharing that. I went through this process a couple of years ago and it reminds me of cloth diapering. Sunlight and fresh air are the best ways to care for them, just like our souls. We need His light and His Word to truly disinfect our sins and our hurts to bring us healing. But, we need to do the dirty work and expose that which soils us to his light. Isn’t He awesome??? He’s been my bondage breaker from day 1.

  72. 76

    Thank you. Just thank you. Shared secrets are powerful.

  73. 77
    Sarah Royal says:

    Sarah,

    “In order to be intimate I need to escape myself, put myself in other places in my mind. I have to go away and become something else; I am replaced. It’s how I cope, sometimes.”

    This is exactly what I needed to hear at this very moment. I absolutely relate! We are not alone and somehow knowing that helps me breathe this morning.

    Thank you!
    Sarah R.

  74. 78
    Sarah S, Bristol, UK says:

    I too feel you are giving voice to so many people’s most hidden terror. I have been aware of this in myself for several years now (all 5 of my marriage actually, I’m 28). I am married to a non-Christian 5 years my senior, the kind of good person that puts many Christians to shame and would be soooo dangerous a man when he finally goes to God ;-) He has been with women before me, and opted the safer route of asking permission to kiss me the first time, and made me cry the first time his hands just went wandering. He waited so patiently for me, and was so gentle, yet unerringly persistent in expressing his love for me I don’t know when he finally got in behind my walls and was accepted. I’ve no idea when that changed it just did. And it opened new ideas of intmacy for me in my other relatonships, my Mum, sister, best friend too. Do not think I have found one of those blokes in a million, discussing this with him and his brothers and cousins is showing me the basic man is the same – made in His image.
    I think it comes to 3 things:
    1. Young girls in Christian or similar quiet, clean-lived families are not able to explore love and intimacy sometimes until they are married. We don’t speak about it, or have frank conversations until our little sisters or friends tell us they are struggling and then we realise we are normal. I don’t know how this shoud be instead, but I know something here is wrong. Intimacy and not sleeping about have become tarred with the same brush, and both are made dirty and secret without ever meaning it. Public intimacy is forbidden, confined to the bedroom.
    2. Intimacy and sex are not the same for women as for men. I have dscovered that there is intimacy, there is sex, and there is intimacyANDsex. Sometimes my husband and I are after different things, the two are more often combined for him, whilst may need intmacy and no more, but get sex and feel used. That’s why he didn’t used to understand why it was all so emotional and raw for me. I have learnt that while I strive for depth of relationship with a female friend, he is content to sit in silence beside another bloke at the pub with a pint – I thought it was about the drink, and that I was pushing him away with my spiritual ugliness. I have since learnt that in these times he is simply stilling and bolstering himself to be strong for me again when he returns. Now I am a little less insecure, sometimes it will be me sat in contented silence in such a place, sharing our intimacy.
    I have forgotten the third thing in the writing, but expect there is more.
    Thankyou to all of you, Sarah-Mae for writing this, and all the responses prompted. We need to find ways of helping the beauty of intimacy be freely shared in a safe church family, so our daughters can live outside their own walls x

  75. 79

    Sarah Mae,
    I can sense the tenderness in your heart as I read this post. Thank you for being brave enough to say each word and to challenge us to live more fully in the light. I have known too many people who have been strangled by secrets and am convinced that it’s one of Satan’s best tools for keeping believers isolated and lonely. So glad that you’re pushing through the veil of darkness and finding ways to move into the life you want to live.
    You are a blessing to many.
    Jane from Allume :)

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