Hope, Encouragement, Love, and Direction for Women and marriages wounded by sexual sin.

I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you;
I will uphold you with My victorious right hand.~ Isaiah 41:10

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Creating Intimacy with God and Man

To create intimacy with man we must first understand how to have intimacy with God. 

I have heard this said on multiple occasions, and find the concept life changing for many reasons.  
Now understand that when I am talking about intimacy, I am not talking about simply sex. 
Notice here that sex is actually the final piece when the dictionary defines Intimacy:
1 : an intimate quality or state: such as a : emotional warmth and closeness 
  the intimacy of their relationship
b a quality that suggests informal warmth or closeness
 The band liked the intimacy of the nightclub.
2  : sexual relations

To create intimacy with man we must first understand how to have intimacy with God. 

When Ray and I embarked and re-embarked on healing for our marriage I found it continually harder to be intimate in ANY and ALL senses of the word. How do you feel emotional warmth toward someone who betrayed you time and time again? How do you have a close relationship when you are constantly afraid that you are being lied to? How do you have sex when you aren't even sure he loves you? Do you ever have these problems? 
I know the depth of the pain I felt, and had I given way to it, I think it would have eaten me alive. I remember laying in the fetal position on my bed one night after a fight with Ray, I was pleading with God to make my husband into a man who actually loved me. I was begging him to help me figure out how I would ever have children with a man who I wished would never touch me again. I actually think that the first times of infidelity were easier…the more it happened…the farther and harder my heart grew toward Ray when it came to intimacy. I still wanted God's best for my marriage, and I wanted Ray to find freedom and healing, and I knew that the concept of 'keeping myself from him' would only backfire; I mean he was a sexual addict for goodness sake…that wasn't gonna work!! Right? The pressure I felt to meet his needs, only intensified my own pain and fear. How was I going to protect myself??
And there it was….If I was vulnerable with him, trusted him, was intimate with him…what if he hurt me again?? 
If I just shut it all off and don't care…maybe then it won't hurt so bad next time. 
The reality of my subconscious belief hit me like a ton of bricks. Who am I to think that I have any power at all to protect myself by putting my husband at arms length. The truth is whether I am intimate with him or not, the betrayal hurts the same. The real person I put at arm's length when I choose to protect myself is GOD. 
All I was doing was saying to my heavenly father "you don't do a good enough job protecting me, I will take over from here." 
To create intimacy with man we must first understand how to have intimacy with God. 
Remember that one?? I knew at this point I had a trust issue. So I went back to intimacy. "Lord, help me" was about all I could muster. A flood of love and compassion was what followed. I knew that Jesus understood the depth of my pain and that he cared about the success of my marriage. He also cared that the intimacy I needed with my husband for our marriage to be able to move forward. He began to assure me that even though I felt totally unable to trust my husband…I could trust him. I began to focus my attention on building intimacy with Jesus, knowing that he would show me how to transfer that over to my marriage. Our quote above interestingly enough does not say that "to be handed intimacy we must have intimacy"…no it uses a much different word doesn't it???
Let me make myself clear, I have ZERO power to create anything myself, but I do have the power to choose obedience…which then creates an environment where God himself can meet with me and we together can create a beautiful relationship. I knew I needed to partner with God to create intimacy with him before anything else could move forward.  I made time to be in his word and to PRAY for my marriage and my husband. Most days my heartfelt prayers were pitiful at best…but I believe God uses our broken prayers just as much as he uses our eloquent ones. I would even pray for things as simple as "help me believe that my husband CAN change." During this time I began to experience a kind of relationship with The Lord that I had never had before. But like all things in life, I had to work at it. I had to make choice to pursue my relationship with God on a regular basis. As I was faithful in this, The Lord was faithful to me. I will never forget the day that I felt the Lord whisper to my heart "Be with Ray as an act of worship to ME." I love my husband very much, but as many of you know all too well, physical intimacy and betrayal are never good friends. I could hardly manage the thought much less the act. And there was that ugly feeling again I HAVE TO PROTECT MYSELF. But that was why it was an act of worship. It wasn't about Ray, it was about me. I had to take an obedient and deliberate step forward into the trusting arms of my Father. Could I trust HIM enough to restore my physical relationship with Ray, with full awareness that Ray might hurt me again? And guess what? Ray did hurt me again…and again…but each time my Daddy would hold me, protect my heart, and cultivate his perfect will as I grew through those experiences. Each time was battle ground revisited…but each time as I surrendered to the intimate relationship I had with my Jesus, He would help me heal and trust again. 
The single act of obedience to be physically intimate with Ray as an act of worship to my king, was the best thing I ever did. I won't lie and tell you that it was easy, but I will tell you that as I looked past Ray, I saw a gracious and loving God who was proud of me. And who honored my obedience by making it less painful, and to this day…I have a wonderful intimate relationship with my husband. Sometimes I have to hold my ground and take thoughts captive when the enemy tries to reignite the pain, but all in all, I have been so in awe of the healing work that God can do when we surrender and let him heal every part of us. It may require great steps of faith in your life, maybe it involves being willing to be intimate again, but maybe for you it involves just being willing to trust God for a change to happen in YOUR heart toward your husband. Either way, remember…You and you alone can choose to partner with the Lord to create intimacy with him and the people you love. 

If you want to learn more about how to take your thoughts captive when the enemy bombards you, be sure to check out next weeks blog post!!

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