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The Lover’s Gift

We travel to Texas and stay in a room next to the couple on Viagra.

All during the night I feel sick. I feel my insecurities, my inadequacies, I wonder if my husband wished I’d take a pill.

Morning comes and he knows me so well. “I stopped being desirous of sex a long time ago,” he says it soft, and it shocks me because I know him… but he wasn’t done. “I’m desirous of you. All of you.”

Oh how I know it. How rich those words are, how full of life and love.

How he shows me every single day and how I grasp for it and why can’t I just accept it and let it shape me? Why can’t I let go of the past?

Ever since before Christmas, he’s been telling me. He’s a January birthday and he’s been telling me what he wants for his present: 100 Days.

It scares me. I have issues. I think, “I’m not up for this,” but then I pray, “God, I want to be.”

“I want to be for him. For You. For our relationship. For me.”

Is it possible? Can someone like me find healing and grace and “energeo” for 100 Days? I mean, I’ve made a lot of progress, am still making it. But 100 consecutive Days?

If I could only believe…

I search scriptures, I cling to promises, I touch my toes in the waters. Will they part?

3 days left before “The Day” I do a Bible search. Is “100 days” anywhere in the Bible?

It is. Once.

At first I don’t get the connection, think it is just a grasp at straws. Then I see it.

The mina. 

A mina is 100 days worth of provision.

I’ve been given a mina.

A mina can either be invested… or buried.

I’m to invest my mina, because with the gift comes the provision.

The gift IS the provision.

I don’t know how I’ve missed that for so long, but gifts are made to be invested, not buried… and our sexuality is a gift.

When you come from backgrounds like mine, it’s easy to believe a lie. It’s easy to believe that sexuality is an obligation, something self centered and dirty, even a curse.

It is easy to believe that the so called gift doesn’t come with provisions… it comes with a hefty price tag.

Truth is, it’s a gift. But we’ll never experience the provisions and blessings of the gift if we bury it.

We’ve got to invest it.

This Valentine’s Day, we’ve got a perfect chance. It’s a timely opportunity. It’s the day to invest our gifts.

Forget all the hype and the pressure. Just take a moment to consider your gift and how you can invest instead of bury:

For singles: Invest your gift by guarding your purity for your spouse to be. Now is a great time to commit (or re-commit) to sexual purity according to biblical standards. 

For marrieds: Invest your gift by giving it away to your spouse. Is a 100 Day challenge too much? How about a 7 Day challenge? Or how about committing to double your current investment? Or setting a certain day of the week aside for something special? Or being in sync with his 72 hour cycle? Take a few  minutes to prayerfully commit to investing in some way.

 And P.S. It’s okay to be your own “flavor” in the bedroom- don’t let worldly standards be what shapes you. Just invest your mina!

Suggested resources (affiliate links):

Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

No More Headaches: Enjoying Sex & Intimacy in Marriage

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex: (And You Thought Bad Girls Have All the Fun)  (coming soon!)

Edited post from the archives
 

Rich or Impoverished? I wonder.

Dear Journal,

The kids had ice cream cones for the first time today.

That’s the thing about living overseas and coming back home: there is so much to discover and learn. When we first arrived back, Husband went to Walmart to purchase an atlas.

“Why are you buying this; you don’t have a TomTom?” the cashier asked.

Husband didn’t have the heart to ask what on earth a TomTom was. We had to learn about GPS’s and RedBox movies and what in the world American Idol was and about credit cards accepted at drive through’s.

A lot changes in a few years and today the kids learned about ice cream cones.

It was fun to see them discover something yummy and happy. And yet…

A piece of me wondered if we trade real riches for little yummy happies, impoverishing ourselves in the name of “treats” and “affluence.”

We do it with trips to the nail salon and trips through Starbucks drive through and shopping sprees and little meaningless purchases and pill popping and seeing what others are doing and following suit. Ever mimicking those around us.

We even specialize in being consumers of all things “christian.” It is just the way we do life in the west.

And in so doing, are we fancy looking “empty calorie” Christians, instead of being nourished and rich rooted ones?

I wonder.

I wonder at Grace that allowed me to live in a place where these things are not possible. Where all we had was each other. Where toys and treats and gadgets were replaced with people and serving others and pouring yourself out.

Where there were blistered feet after walking miles in sandals, humping a back pack with precious truth inside….not a trip to the pedicure place.

Where I got the haircut of my life for 55 cents …lordamercy…but got to share the Precious Name with a woman with scissors, someone who had never ever heard it before.

Where workbooks and second hand bible studies were unheard of but the pure milk of the Word was in abundant supply. At least in our home and on our walls and written in our hearts.

Where every morning I was wakened by street vendors and hawkers and school children running from mice and I thought I’d go crazy with the smells and the noise and the fact that floor cleaner was simply not available….but where I looked out and saw through God eyes and heard with God ears and touched with God hands.

Where we were targeted and pickpocketed and cheated and taken advantage of and spit on….and considered worthy by God for such an assignment??!

Where instead of internet and ipod was the Breath and Whisper of God.

Rich.

So as I watch children eat ice cream cone and ask for seconds with a bit of a pout when I say “no”…. I crack a little on the inside. I want to go back.

I want the shirt on my back to soak through again with sweat from the effort.

I want the chance to have blistered feet again.

I want my children to pray for others when they look in a shop and see idols.

If it comes down to it, I want them to know about the man without legs who sits begging in front of the noodle shop, not about ice cream cones.

Truth be known, journal, I’m scared. Because I’m not sure I know how to live in this affluence. I’m not sure how to raise my children here. I’m not sure I’m strong enough to stand the tsunami of consumerism and me-ism and have-it-all-now-you-deserve-it-ism.

God. How do I do this? Help me!

“I am your portion,” He reminds me. “And your very great reward. Keep your eyes on Me.”

There will surely be chances to try to make a name for one’s self. There will be opportunities to better one’s financial standing. There will be pursuits and little compromises that come knocking and the gang will all say “join in the ride!”

It’s just the way we do life in the West.

But El Elyon says, “Make yourself empty so that I can make you rich.”   “I am giving you a good land.”   “You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance.” (Numbers 18:20)

Have we given up our rich, goldy inheritance for worldly possessions and lifestyles of ease? Oh Lord, have I?

Let us not, O Sovereign Lord, let us not!

As I ponder the riches of Him, my appetite for the treats and treasures of the world turns to repulsion. Lord, my sweet Jesus, who have I in heaven but You? You are my Lord; I have no good besides You. (Ps. 16:2)

May it ever be, Lord, till my dying day, may it ever be.

Send me and spend me, Lord. Send and spend.

Husbands, Touch, and Turkeys

He reached for me and I recoiled.

It isn’t him, it’s me. The storms have intensified and when that happens I go into lock-down mode. He softly reaches out, tells me he can’t handle it when I draw back.

It shakes me, he leaves, we go our seperate ways.

I’m sitting on the couch folding clothes when he returns. The kids are in bed and he heads for the recliner, exhausted. I have a choice and the old me would like to make excuses and take advantage of his tenderness and willingness to forgive, say I’m sorry and let things continue, just this time, me on my couch and he on his.

But the new me wants more.

I go sit in his lap.  ”I’m sorry,” I whisper against his skin. “I’m so overwhelmed and we both know my natural response is to withdraw, clamp down, preserve what I have left. Sometimes I forget that’s not what I really want.”

I’m talking about the old Me, the one who for so long believed the lie that to preserve oneself, you have to self-protect, draw in, give the bare minimum.

But the truth is that to preserve one’s self, you give yourself away. To find your life, you must lose it.

Sometimes I can’t see when I’m falling back into the trap, back into the old habits and ways. Sometimes life happens so fast you start acting instinctively.

That’s when I need someone to tell me I’m being a turkey.

A turkey and an eagle both respond to the threat of a storm, but very differently. A turkey runs under the barn, seeking shelter and hoping the storm won’t touch her. An eagle, on the other hand, leaves the security of her nest when a storm approaches. She spreads her wings to ride on the air currents of the coming storm.

The eagle knows that a storm’s currents can take her higher than she could ever go on her own.

For many years I lived the turkey. It is very instinctive for me to self preserve. But somewhere along the way, through many, many storms, I got pushed out of the nest and realized I wasn’t a turkey after all. I’m an eagle.

The free fall was terrifying. But then Father Eagle was there to scoop me on His wings and my trembling eaglet body relaxed and began to discover the awe of what was happening.

It happened again. And again. And again. Each time, Father Eagle pushed me out of the nest I wanted to stay safe in, each time He swooped down to bear me up on His wings.

He taught me I was made to soar.

Until one day, when the choice was mine to leave the nest or to stay, I took the plunge.

It felt good… to deliberately choose giving up safety in order to soar. It felt good taking the risk. It felt good to live for something other than myself, to know my purpose.

The turkey in me still wants to run sometimes, to hide, to keep safe, to not leave security, at least what she perceives to be security. But the voice of a dear loved one can remind me I’m made for more than cowering.

Sometimes it’s another eagle who can show us what we’re made for. Because we all forget sometimes.

They help us remember that we don’t want security most after all. We want to fulfill our destiny. We want to be what He made us to be, do what He created us to do.

We want to soar.

So go soar my friend. Go soar.

One Mina

We traveled to Texas and stayed in a room next to the couple on Viagra.

All during the night I feel sick. I feel my insecurities, my inadequacies, I wonder if my husband wished I’d take a pill.

Morning comes and he knows me so well. “I stopped being desirous of sex a long time ago,” he says it soft, and it shocks me because I know him too, but he wasn’t done. “I’m desirous of you.”

Oh how I know it. Oh how rich those words are, how full of life and love.

How he shows me every single day and how I grasp for it and why can’t I just accept it and let it shape me? Why can’t I let go of the past?

Ever since before Christmas, he’s been telling me. He’s a January birthday and he turns 40 this week and he’s been telling me what he wants for his present: 100 Days.

It scares me. I have issues. I think, “I’m not up for this,” but then I pray, “God, I want to be.”

“I want to be for him. For You. For our relationship. For me.”

Is it possible? Can someone like me find healing and grace and “energeo” for 100 Days? I mean, I’ve made a lot of progress, am still making it. But 100 consecutive Days?

If I could only believe…

If I could believe this is for more healing than I can think or imagine… if I could only believe He will take this and do above and beyond all I ask or think…if I could only believe that with God all things ~ even 100 Days ~ are possible.

I think of Ann’s 100 day calendar I’ve downloaded but not printed. { Somehow I don’t think this use for it ever crossed her mind? }

I push the thoughts away for the day, knowing I’m running out of days before THE day, and I say a weak prayer. “Help me, God. Fill in the rest of these thoughts, write the rest of this story. And please, PLEASE, don’t let me miss out because of unbelief.”

Later I go back and print that calendar…because I’m afraid of missing out on something BIG… and I put it with his birthday card. With, but not in. I’m not committed yet. I’m still waiting. Still terrified. Still praying for something.

Can I do this? Can YOU do this?

I go outside and trample more snow. I go to the edges, where there are no footprints…unclaimed territory. I walk back and forth, making long furrows in the snow. I think of the gift of this snow and all it has shown me this week and I know He is for me. “You are for me,” I thrill over and over out loud as I tramp and tread and claim new ground.

I think of the conquests Joshua led. Victory was never in question; only finding God’s strategy for each battle was essential. Relying on God, not growing self-reliant, not ever forgetting that Victory is a Person.

Strategies are tailor made and I have no clue what the strategy for this particular giant should be and I dare not go into this without a strategy from Him.

“If You’ll give me the strategy, If You’ll go with me each step of the way, I’m in. But I’m not going without You.”

I search scriptures, I cling to promises, I touch my toes in the waters. Will they part?

3 days left before The Day I do a Bible search. Is “100 days” anywhere in the Bible?

It is. Once.

At first I don’t get the connection, think it is just a grasp at straws. Then I see it.

I’ve been given a mina, 100 days worth of provision.

I’m to invest it. Not bury it out of fear. I’m to give it my dog-gone all, no holds barred, come what may.

Maybe I’m not a servant with ten minas, but I’ve been given one and will I invest it or will I cave to fear? The question is not whether I can do this or not, but whether I will see this as a gift, as something entrusted to me. And with the gift come the provisions.

One mina.

I recognize the battle is against fear and will I learn His strategies for overcoming it? Will I let Him teach me?

Hands shaking, I go get the card, the calendar. “The Lord is with me. I will not be afraid. The Lord is my helper.” I say it out lout, tasting the words, testing them. I’m familiarizing myself with the strategy. I’m going to need to know it inside and out.

I fold the calendar and place it in the card. “If God spared not His own Son, how then will He not also freely give you all things?” More strategy, spoken out loud.

I am more convinced that this is about fear and He wants me to conquer it.

In the shower I try more strategy: “Do not be afraid! I will help you! Surely I will uphold you with My right hand.” 

I know what I’ve got to do. I exit the shower and go sign the card, slip the calendar inside, and seal it. Three days of waiting in anguish, with fear breathing down my neck seems like doom.

I repent of fear. I get on my knees and I repent of the selfishness fear demands, the retreat, the inward focus.

The card is ready. So am I. Finally.

When husband comes home, I ask if he wants to open his birthday gift early.

Update**The snow is melting now, liquid love dripping. It came, a gift, and ministered. And today His mercies are new and the mina’s provisions continue…we are over 2 weeks into our 100 days!

This post is humbly linked to Ann’s Walk with Him Wednesday where today we are talking about the Gift and Practice of Marriage. Care to join in? Check out this chocolate (with giveaway!!)

Reflection

He stands in the shadows and beckons.

For a moment, I think surely it was just the branches of my life momentarily resembling Him.

But no. No, there He is, moving in and out like light, a whisper one stretches forward to hear.

He is whispering an invitation…

It’s only heard in the stillness,  only revealed when sought after.

I lean in, pursue Him softly, as if I could scare Him away.

I’m on holy ground.

He won’t reveal much. A glimpse here, a breath there. He wants this pursuit, this wooing, this leading out. 

He wants this pumping blood and rising passion.

Does He ache like I do? Does He long for consummation?

As I run after Him now, following Him to His abode, His character, His nature, His essence, I see just how far He came to meet me in those shadows…

…how far He came to whisper. to beckon. How far He traveled and how long He waited for me to be still and notice Him, the Desire of man’s heart.

It makes me run faster.

I run until I can’t run and collapse in a heap of words calling. Of course He knows this.

“Show Yourself to me. I have nothing apart from You. And You, YOU, are the One who taught me that. You who gave me eyes to recognize You from the shadows, ears to perceive Your sweet breath of Wonder, desire to forsake all to gain You.

You birthed all this in me.

You, WONDER!, have laid hold of me.

So come consume me with Your essence. Burn me up until all that’s left is that which You breathed into me.

Here in this wilderness, out of sight, away from the makings of man’s pride, the skyscrapers to self, have me.

Have Me.

And I’ll be only Yours.

I’ll learn from You the ways of love. I’ll learn the Divine Dance.

I’ll become Your reflection.

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