Conlin083

Sexuality is defined as the whole way a person goes about expressing himself or herself as a sexual being. We are spiritual, emotional, physical and sexual beings.

Yes, sexual beings…we are not always comfortable with this thought.

Maybe because we have been made to think of our sexuality as

dirty,

inappropriate,

a private matter,

unacceptable,

a secret.

Some of us have been shamed in our sexuality because of unhealthy others crossing invisible boundaries that were never meant to be breached –

dirty touch has left us feeling dirty.

Some of us have been broken by the choices we made to offer ourselves in exchange for love, approval, security, acceptance which did not render itself available –

wanted touch has left us feeling unwanted.

Some of us have been hushed and made to feel embarrassed of waists curving, breasts cleaving, skirts creeping up lengthening legs, unable to embrace our changing bodies all in the name of modesty and whatever else they called it –

normal changing has left us feeling abnormal.

Some of us have been compared and cheated of our own sexual beauty by magazine covers, pornographic images, infidelity and lust, lost in the throws of “not enough” and lacking, we compete in a game we can never win –

desire has left us feeling undesirable.

So many reasons our sexuality has been broken, misused, abused, stolen.

And so we are left unfinished, undone —

a piece of us missing, wholeness elusive, complicated incompleteness…

 

For those of you who know me, you know I am a teacher, I love to give back what I learn. It’s just the way God wired me, I learn it and I have to share it. The book I am gleaning from, I buy for all my friends! The quote that moves me, I post all over social media! The podcast I listen to, I forward to everyone in my phone and email list – it’s just my way, I have to share it, I want you to know it too!

My healing journey started 18 years ago when Jesus captured my heart and I gave it to Him – He healed me spiritually first. In 2003 I started healing emotionally by leading a small group of women through John and Stasi Conlin114Eldrege’s book Captivating, followed by Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries work and in 2007 joined an inner healing class where I learned the beautiful process known as formational prayer entering into an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, the lover and healer of my soul. In 2010 God took me on a physical journey which started with a 40 day fast and ended with the creation of a healthy image class called “Made In His Image” that helped me lead girls through 8-weeks of material to heal our self-image, learning to love and embrace our physical bodies. Spirit, Soul, Body…I thought I was done! (I mean not really, we are never really done, but I thought I had all parts covered.)

But I missed one…one more part that I hadn’t considered – my sexual self!

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So I am on a journey to reclaim my sexual self and I am, well to be quite honest, scared to death to share this with you all. I feel embarrassed, my face flushes at the word “vagina,” my shoulders hunch as I feel the urge to shy away and cover my double d chest, it feels unnatural to love myself unashamedly, to want to understand my sensual, erotic self, to express myself as a sexual being and own my desirability.

It’s uncomfortable and intriguing all in the same breath.

And I know myself, I am a teacher, and like with everything else God has done in my life, as God heals me in this area I won’t be able to NOT share it with you, it’s just what I do!

So stay tuned, get ready, it may get R-rated and risque,

I am sure some of you will blush,

some may feel offended and uncomfortable,

some will breathe a sigh a relief as you scream, “Hallelujah, finally!”

some will be challenged,

some will want to shy away,

but ladies if you press into it – uncomfortable as it may be – all of us will be FREER on the other side!

Come on- we are in this together! (no bra burning I promise!)

 

Learning to love myself – spiritually, emotionally, physically and sexually – all parts – all created by God – all of me – whole, healed and free!

heroine

I am the heroine of my story!

 

 

You know, we really work against ourselves so many times. Spinning in a rut we can stay stuck far too long, immaturity keeps us holding on to things that we were never meant to pick up, lost on our paths to nowhere.

Let go!

Look past!

Stop living small…there’s too much to do in this life!

A friend reminded me today of all of this as she whispered,

“It’s time to come out and play!”

Indeed it is!

So let me be that voice in your ear, “Sweet friend stop spinnning, let go and start moving forward, you have work to do, come out, come out wherever you are – it’s time to play!”

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happyweightMy 9 year old (almost 10) came in this morning and asked,”What are you reading?” I felt shame flood my face as I responded, “It’s called Happy Weight.”

Hold the phone….what the heck is that!?

My mind floated back to a memory of a group of women in one of my classes years ago. The class was designed for those struggling to come to terms and heal from sexual abuse in their past. It was a book study through Dan Allender’s Wounded Heart book, I remember how many of those women would hide their books from their children, coworkers, friends because they were ashamed to admit this was part of their story. And I sat on my loveseat this morning as that same feeling gripped me. Wounded Heart never solicited such a response from me, but this book, this “weight” book – GRIPPED!

So I am pondering…memories surfacing. In second grade my best friend was befriended by one of the, what would be in our later school years, “popular” girls. I remember her giving her a piggyback ride at recess. I remember at 8 years old knowing that the girl liked my friend because she was small and cute. She was a tiny girl – always was, even as an adult, short and cute and perfectly tiny, everyone liked her compact size and people were drawn to her because of it. I remember as I look back thinking, “they like her because she is small.” Fast forward to 4th grade and being one of the first girls having to wear a bra that could be seen through those paper-thin, white, private school, uniform shirts. Boys popping bras and making comments left me red-faced all year long. 12 years old, an off-handed, seemingly sarcastic comment from an aunt at a family gathering about the jewelry I was wearing left me feeling “unacceptable,” I don’t think she intended that to be the result but little girl’s fragile hearts are so impressionable! And then my highschool years were brutal – flavored with distasteful, one thing on their minds, boys who objectified and murdered my offered, tender heart for approval, affection and misguided love. “Never enough” was the theme in my life – not because they projected that onto me but because I already believed it and looked for the evidence to support it.

We do that you know? Our beliefs about ourselves and this world look for the support they need to keep thriving – you don’t have to search far to find someone or something to confirm what your heart is set on believing. It’s brutal!

I eventually married with these same crushing beliefs about myself leading the way. Marc and I struggled for years in our marriage, me with self-esteem issues, him with lust issues – it was a recipe for disaster, a train wreck on its way. He couldn’t control his eyes and I took it VERY personal as those behavior solidified what I believed about myself —“I am not enough!” We struggled for a long, long, long time! It sucked! Honestly, it was the hardest thing my heart ever dealt with. So painful, so debilitating, so paralyzing. We stayed stuck in that for so many years and it was a hellhole to climb out of.

As memories flooded back this morning I shared a little with him of the aches of my heart around this issue. Thankfully, my heart has healed from the pain of all those gawks, stares and looks at other women in my presence, at the sacrifice of my heart. When I remember those few moments that linger I am so thankful for Jesus who came and offered His heart, healing mine and cleaning up the mess in those memories.

But I am stuck a little today as I reflect – angry about my years stolen during pregnancy – not able to enjoy my pregnant body, my newborns, nursing, because of the felt pressure to be thin again, pre-baby weight. We both had sadness about it today- it’s sad for both of us – he was robbed too by the world and what entangled his heart.

I felt the anger give way to

forgiveness a little more,

healing of my body image a little more.

So I am gripped – I hate that THIS is “my” issue -it feels so petty, small, stupid. Who gives a good crap really?! And in a quiet, dark corner I see a reflection of my little girl self raise her hand acknowledging the pain of a broken body image.

It is my giant –

less days than ever before,

with less energy than ever before,

with less hold than ever before…

but it can still, on some days, grip me!

It’s a part of my story…  

…a part I would like to shake loose…

I want to love myself no matter what size pants I find myself in, no matter what blemish erupts on my face, no matter what Marc does or does not do, no matter how cute that dress on that mannequin model does NOT look on my body, no matter what I choose to eat, no matter that I didn’t get up early and bust my butt at the gym. NO MATTER!

I do know all the right things to think, say, do. I have taught the healthy image classes, the inner healing classes, the boundaries classes – so it frustrates me to not be free –

but some days we just aren’t!

balloonAND that is as much about loving myself as anything–

giving permission to be fonky and right where I am,

bringing it to God one more time

as He peels the layers and digs deep into my heart.

So I offer my heart and am reminded as I read Happy Weight, which ironically has nothing to do with weight at all but rather the healing of our body image and how we see ourselves and others. This truth jumps off the page —

“The truth is,

you are already the most amazing person you know.

And if you aren’t sure that’s true, you just haven’t met the true you yet.”   

Isn’t that lovely? My heart jumps up and down about this sentence because it is so true, so true! You, me, we are the most amazing persons in the entire world – today, I believe it a little more and tomorrow I will read again and believe a little more and then the next day…a little more as the grip that’s left loosens, loosening and forever letting go!

enough