Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sex and the Gospel


This is something I’ve wanted to blog about in the past but have always decided against, for obvious reasons! And yet as I’ve continued to walk in newness of life in this area, I’ve realized that this part of my story is every bit as reclaimed, renewed, and transformed by the gospel as any other— and therefore to not speak of it at all is to keep secret something that should be shouted from the rooftops: the God of rescue rescues us totally. He doesn’t only heal some parts of us from the damaging effects of darkness. He doesn’t just rewrite part of our story, the part that’s easy to talk about and popular to confess. He redeems and restores the deepest, darkest, most personal part of who we are and that includes our sexuality.  (I’ll pause here: it if weren’t for others who were willing to talk about God’s rescue in this area of their lives, I might never have sought the healing God has given me. So I encourage you to talk about it yourself with someone trustworthy, if you’re in need of healing or help in the area of your sexuality.) That being said, I’m going to proceed with extreme caution because sharing “gory details” (I happen to know from experience) usually does more harm than good. And I want what I share to be edifying, not distracting. 

So. Now that I’ve dropped the bomb…what do I want to say? This may turn into more posts in the future, I’m not sure. I’m going to be praying about it, though (and I’m open to input!)  I’ll start with a little context. I have an, er, variegated past. A variety of experiences—both that happened “to” me and those that I participated in— shaped my understanding of sexuality, love, intimacy, and my identity as a woman.  Add growing up without a father to that cocktail of broken experiences and out comes a pretty confused perspective on sex and intimacy.  This doesn’t make me unique! Honestly, who hasn’t been negatively affected in this area, one way or another? But it does make me in need of the life-changing, life-restoring power of the gospel. And lucky for me (and for all affected by sexual brokenness!) the gospel isn’t just an idea or transaction affecting our status in the afterlife. It’s the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ putting to death in me what needs to die, and raising to life in me what I’ve buried because of sin.

God has been at work in me. Putting to death those deeply (even subconsciously) held beliefs about what it means to be a woman or what it means to give and receive love. He’s been at work exposing lies that have choked my life and relationships for years. He’s also been at work bringing me to life. Restoring a sense of dignity and delight to my body. Transforming my understanding of what it means to be a woman. Giving me courage to feel again, to take the risk to really love and be loved.

Pretty words, I know. But it hasn’t been a pretty process! It’s been long and hard and painful. And messy.  But God is willing! He’s walked the long road with me— even when at times, I’ve wanted to turn back. At times I’ve kicked and screamed in protest to His painful healing in this area of my life.

I’ve been blogging about this a lot lately, how Jesus is willing to make me uncomfortable in order to bring about greater healing. In order to rescue, renew, and redeem me. Just like a doctor has to inflict pain in order to restore a broken bone or a parent will allow a child to feel the pain of a poor choice in order to teach him, my God is willing to let me experience discomfort so that I can learn to walk in the newness of life bought for me in the gospel.  An addict can know that a sober life is better, and he can truly want it— but that doesn’t mean he’ll be able to avoid the pain of withdrawals, and the awkward, uncomfortable season of reintegrating to life and relationships without drugs— in order to have it. In the same way, I’ve known that God’s definition of sexuality is best; I’ve even wanted it! And yet, it’s been a painful, uncomfortable, and awkward road learning how to “unlearn” what I’d believed for so long about who I am, who God is, and what that has to do with my sexuality.

So, I realize I haven't shared a lot of specifics of the healing yet. If you have strong opinions about whether or not I should keep going, feel free to comment or message me privately. If it’s just not your cup of tea, I’ll warn you to stop reading when you see the word “sex” in the title! And if you’re someone who needs to talk, please know that I am a safe person to start that conversation with at the very least! I know that it can be paralyzing to think of actually inviting others in to this part of your soul; but the reality is that this is a deeply significant part of our stories, and can be deeply transformed by the gospel. Hard, but good. Painful, but freeing. Life-changing for me. Do you want that too? 

2 comments:

Mrs. Stone said...

Hannah,
Thank you for being honest and open. God will use you in a mighty way!

Anonymous said...

Definitely post something more on this. There is no need to be ashamed or embarrased about ones sexuality. Even the bible has stuff on it. For example, this from Solomon's Song of Songs:

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How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
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Sex and sexuality can be a beautiful, sensual, pleasing and a true act of love between partners. It can be exciting and beautiful and it can give the wondrous miracle of life. It is sacred, in the sense that it should be treated with care and can give you the most wonderful presents and feelings and a brief escape from everything else, an opportunity to live in the moment for a little while. Two people together as one. What can be more beautiful? Part of the problem about sex and sexuality is how the media displays it and how porn miseducates people on how it is and should be. It is not like that at all. It is not dirty, it is gorgeous.