Thursday, May 29, 2014

how possessing nothing is a beautiful ache #fmfparty #alifeoverseas #faithfilledfriday


Go ::

So I've been walking a trail these past few weeks
and it's weaving its nosy little way
into the pages of my story.

It's a blessed time of the face-to-face
with those dear who live mostly always now
an ocean away.


But the wailing it has been lulled and yet
piercing in its place keaning
of the wounded heart. 
the one deep in deepest me.


I seem to be picking off the scabs
in each present place...longing for more
in the meeting and seeing and hugs
full of tender caring
there is 
almost an immediate grief.

I've been asking why even as I know.
It's the part of the story that will 
never be written a page without pain.

It's the Longing for Home
for Heaven
I just want, you know, everyone
I have ever loved and longed for
to be together
with no time constraints.

My daughter is a mini me
I've seen her lay on the ground 
and wail when the goodbye
comes too quickly.
it is always too quick...

I am amazed, there is no teaching
of the grief here.
It's written in her soul that 
loves without restraint and I 
see a mirror.


A mirror to the pain of the goodbyes
they started so young for my 
third culture loves. And they 
aren't going to stop and the 
new friends. yes, they are with us 
in our new home. 

But there's heart languages absent
to overcome and spirit language 
to learn. there's amazing friends
called yet further away 
and in the end
there is only one place of rest

it's in the One who holds every, single 
tear. Who will never waste the pain
Who in the nothings of the lonely
and the surrender of what I would 
always, always, always want to keep

grants that I might possess a rest 
that clings to Forever. to Him.
and finds the strength to Live.

Joining the Five Minute Friday @ Lisajobaker.com

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Hollow to Whole



 “Behold, you are beautiful,

My beloved, truly delightful.

Our couch is green;

The beams of our house are cedar,

Our rafters are pine.”

Song of Solomon 1:16-17

Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!

It’s about the Song of Solomon and how it IS an allegory of God’s love for His people, which, these days, means Christ’s love for His Bride, the Church. BUT ALSO, the Song of Solomon is a song of the joy, beauty and worship of God through sex and how, YES! This is the desire of the heart of God for every marriage.


And it’s full of fight. For strongholds of lies to be broken. For my marriage (and yours) to thrive. For the truth of my life to be a song to the next generation that leads them to Jesus. For sex to be God’s in a brilliantly clear way that rises above the clanging of its vast degradation by the world.

It’s about living whole. It’s where I begin to trust God in EVERY area of my life, even and especially in the area of sex and sexuality. It’s living radically where I push through walls of misplaced shame, paralyzing fear, and crippling doubt. And, as a wife, it’s becoming whole in the only way that I truly can—through the experience of the one-flesh relationship of covenant marriage.

So, I am letting go of the holding-back kind of thoughts that would look at sex as hollow. That ‘thing’ at the end of the day that wants to take my last drop of strength. Or something meant to satisfy men and leave women empty.  

I’m also saying ‘no’ to the lies of the world about sex. The ones where great sex is the goal. Whether it’s the insinuation that the excitement of a one-time hook up is the way to the best sex. Or the lie that sexual pleasure must be heightened by domination that edges closer and closer to slavery. Or any falsehood that might weave into my thinking, lifting up a standard of sex or sexy through Hollywood, mass marketing, or pornography that beats down my self-image and steals my desire.


So I will choose the path to becoming whole, not hollow, through sex. By walking with God and my husband, I will constantly seek to find ways to grow in my understanding and practice :) of sex. I will NOT be afraid to dream big. I will relentlessly pursue God’s perspective and not settle for the pat answers that many good Christians have given for many years.

And I will constantly affirm God’s desires for sex in my marriage. It’s a green couch, cedar beams and pine rafters ;) A place of vibrancy and growth. Life-giving for both of us. A place of worship. A mysterious and glorious one-flesh union that requires my mental discipline so that it can be. (Did you know that 80% or more of sex for women is in the mind?? More to come on this.)

Someone who I love and respect told me that she keeps waiting for ‘more’ in this series. That encouraged me because I am waiting and hoping for more too. I feel like I’ve been given broad brush strokes and some pretty sweet views of the final glory of it all. Yet there’s a humbling sense of great depths which I cannot fathom, even as God in His Grace longs to deepen my understanding (yours too).


I can say the same thing about the journey Home to Heaven too. 

There are truths, promises, that guide us in everything. We are beautifully righteous in Christ. God is faithful, good and loving all the time. We are not who we once were AND ALSO are becoming what we will one day be. It’s the now but not yet that spurs us deeper in and further up. I can say that the light has shone for me in the area of sex so that I see in it all of the truth of God and the waiting and hoping for more of Him with a vividness that I never had before.

This is why I know I won’t give up the fight or go back to the murky confusion. Because my journey with sex, finding God in it, becoming one with my soul mate, and healed and whole in the process is meant to profoundly shape what it means to be God’s in this world…for the rest of my life. 


I cannot have my heart’s desire for deepening intimacy with God and a ho-hum sex life. 

I’m looking forward to continuing this journey. I hope you are too!

Sharing with Kelli , Laura, Jennifer & Sheila

Read the entire Pure Passion Series here! 

Join me next time for Pure Passion :: From Folly to Fun

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Need-to-Control to Letting Go



Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!

It's where I open up about my journey. My will-always-be-a-journey-this-side-of-Heaven journey regarding sex and sexuality. I am so thankful to walk with other brave women who are learning, like me, to trust in new ways. Learning to let go.

I couldn't really continue without weaving in some of this much-parodied and much-adored-by-little-girls-and-more song ::

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry

Frozen-movie-poster
image from the Disney Wiki

I won't try to make this song more or less than it is. But, it is catchy and lots of little girls are singing it. I am singing it. My kids had never even heard of 'Frozen' until the plane ride to America in early April. They have since watched it a 'few' times and I have only gotten most of it one time. Yet, we all can get this song stuck in our heads.

There's something there besides a song that spreads like wild fire. 

It's the struggle and the want to 'Let it Go.'

It's very hard for any of us to do. 

For the want-to-be-responsible-and-do-things-right good girl {or boy} in any of us, it seems like a bad thing. And yet, we so very much want to just. let. go.

We can blame this struggle on the stress and demands of a First World, competitive life. But, if you are like me, you know that it is much more than that.

Last time I talked about our fears and how they profoundly affect sex. Hand-in-hand with fear comes the need-for-control.

Our fears of letting go and what will happen if we do make us grasp desperately for control. I've seen this happen in my life ever since I first knew fear. That fear makes me choose situations I can understand or which are considered safe.

But, any control I think I have is just an illusion. I know that's true and yet, still, I seek to control. As I walk that tentative journey between fear and faith; the more steps I take in faith, the deeper potential for fear. The more I learn to trust, the greater the flailing for support/predictability/comfort when I stumble.

This struggle has been present in all seasons. As a single person. Even more as a wife. Then a mother once, twice, now three times. But also, living in another culture.

I am sure no one in their right minds would have thought going from 2 to 3 children six months into an international move was a good idea. I can say first hand it was an exceedingly humbling thing to do. So many layers of stability were gone. I was so desperate for control. Some allusive sense of normalcy.

But the more I fought to control, the less I knew that I ever could control...anything. And yes, it affected me in every area of my life.

You see, this journey to a deeper understanding of pure passion; of learning to live wild and full inside and outside the bedroom, is all connected. I can't live wound up, desiring control during the day in driving kids to school, taking care of a toddler, cooking dinner, speaking a new HARD language and then expect to let it all go for sex when it's time for...that.

It's the beauty and complexity of how God made women. He made us to see the whole picture. For me, this practically means, that I make the lists for our many travels, the menu's for dinner, the general running of the household, the ministry schedule, etc. It also means that I am carrying my emotions through much of life. It is rarely one thing that makes me lose my temper or one thing that brings me joy. It's a culmination of many things.

This is a hilarious video that illustrates just that ::

 

So also, sex is a beautifully complex culmination of many things for a woman. And the pleasure of sex is bound up in our ability to let go. I don't think it's by accident that God made it that way.

I knew that I was held back in my relationship with God when I was seeking to control. What I didn't know is that God intends for me to learn how to let go so I can draw closer to Him through the amazing playground of sex in marriage. 

Wow. Just Wow. {I'll be talking more about all of this in the coming weeks, so, stay tuned!}



Next Time :: Pure Passion :: From Hollow to Whole


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Monday, May 12, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Holding Back to Running Free {and why my mom is proud of #purepassion}





Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!

I've started talking.

A lot.

It's not that I didn't talk before {just ask my friends, family & hubby;}

It's that I didn't talk about sex. A word that has been hard to write, and even more, to say out loud, face-to-face.

I've been on a journey as to why that is true. This series is that journey. I’m sharing it out in the open for anyone to read. It’s crazy, I know.


And yet I am no stranger to crazy. My husband and I gave up stability and jobs and home culture for a new country, language and a bunch of unknowns. We did it all because we know God has called us.

This is the life of faith, of learning to be God’s in this world. It’s big and little yes’s that sometimes are easy, but, a lot of other times are hard. Like writing this series and taking that first step into a big unknown. Will I be laughed at, scorned, thought to be weird? Can I survive if this happens?

But, I’m starting to hear more loudly the other side of the doubts. I’m coming alive to the amazing possibilities of the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10. It’s a verse that has often been misconstrued to mean something totally different than what Jesus intended.

He meant us to be in Him and His Gospel in a way that nothing can shake. He wants us to live like the eternal life and forever Home he offers with Himself is where we are going and NOTHING will change that.

Where am I going with all of this? I thought you would know by now;)

This month marks 12 years since my mom went Home to Heaven. The same mom who gave me a book on gerbils to explain the birds and the bees.  After a little research, I found out Susie’s Babies is actually about hamsters. Turns out sex wasn’t the only thing I was confused about after reading it.

I can’t wait to see her again. To laugh about it all. And most, to rejoice together, before the Love of Eternity in face-to-face relationship with Christ. It’s where everything is headed. Even sex.

Before she died, my Mom gave a type of command to me. It came to me by my sister and was said in the final days of her ability to communicate. This is what she said ::

“Don’t hold back.”

So many times I’ve wanted to shake her for saying something that can be interpreted in so many ways. That is, until recently, when I’ve started to understand.

I probably always did.



You see, my mom knew me so well. She’d seen me hemmed in by fear and running free in faith. Her heart’s desire, just like God’s, was that I would choose to be free.

As lots of lights have been going on, chasing away that cloudy confusion that shrouded my understanding of sexuality, I can see how fear takes away so much when it comes to sex.

There’s the fear of being exposed, naked and vulnerable, only to be found wanting. This is when I live in lies that I am not enough. But also, I think that God somehow wants to take away everything but give nothing.  I KNOW, REALLY, REALLY KNOW that these are lies. 

Yet, how am I living?

There are no guarantees of how things will turn out in this life. Tragedy fills our news feeds and comes in a million ways each day. For me, and I think many women, this can lead to a lot of fear. We become afraid to risk.

But, it’s in the risk that we step past fear and experience life. It’s how God intends it to be. Because in the risk, we need to trust Him. We live out of the truth that He is good, nothing can separate us from Hislove, and that love is ultimately perfect, casting out all fear.

You see, no matter how wonderful our husbands are, there are heart places that open the door to deeper, fuller intimacy {yes, great sex} that they cannot open for us. This is something only we, in faith, can do. And we need to recognize that fulfilling sex is something God wants for our marriages, but also for us as women.

We also need to see that there is an Enemy, a Great Liar, who is trying to stop that from happening. When we experience walls, the things that hold us back, we need to find the right kind of fight. We aren’t fighting our husbands, but the One who is a thief and seeks to steal and kill and destroy our marriages.



So, when we learn to run free in the bedroom the angels rejoice. There is victory in our silly, crazy, sexy journey. We’re willing to try new things. And when they don’t go well, we laugh and so do our husbands. We live in faith that we will experience God through sex as we keep choosing freedom instead of fear. And we don’t give up. 

And we help each other to remember. It is a great journey, but it IS a journey. There will still be exhaustion, stress, struggles, fears and doubts, but the choice is clear. And running free is how we are meant to be.

Are you with me? Would your mama be proud? I know mine is.

Sharing with Kelli, Jen, Laura  and Sheila


Join me next time for Pure Passion :: From Need-to-Control to Letting Go

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

#FMFParty :: Grateful {oh yes I am!} #missionarylife

Five Minute Friday @ lisajobaker.com
Go ::

it's a humbling thing to be loved.

as I am.

in my mess.

it's a thing full of thanks.



it's a humbling thing 
to know that I couldn't
walk a step in this life
without another...

mama
twin
sisters
brother
daddy
friends who become sisters
who walk with me as a mama.


who share what it is to 
be a woman
in these crazy days
of busy
and grey
and all that can make
us forget a love
so thankful for you 
always, always
you.

and for the family who 
sends us over the ocean
who prays for kids
and prays for teenagers
they've never met
a country most will 
never see


and who give time, money
and lots of heart-love
to send one family
on a journey that 
is all for Jesus.


the humbling things that come
when your car needs
to be jump-started
and it's already borrowed
and the friends who 
are keeping your kids
so you and hubby can 
have time...they come 
& help
and the father-in-law
up before dawn comes
late in the night
to jump start again & 
then the keys somehow
get locked inside 
and it'll be a longer 
time to that bed for 
my tired daddy-on-call.

but it's not the things
like these that those
who kiss our cheeks
and give us hugs 
make us feel. no, it's
the really special
as we break bread & 
take three little kids
to meet face-to-face
those who pray & pray &
pray, though they've never 
met us.

Grateful, yes, oh yes I am!

THANK. YOU. ALL.
WE. CRAZY ALLEMAN MISSIONARY FAMILY.
LOVE YOU!!
WE THANK JESUS FOR YOU!
WE ARE SO BLESSED TO WALK
HAND IN HAND, HEART TO HEART,
LIFE TO LIFE, SPIRIT BY SPIRIT 
WITH YOU...
THIS LONG
JOURNEY HOME :)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pure Passion :: From Duty to Beauty {Sex in Marriage}



Welcome to the Pure Passion Series!

This series is my story. Pieces of it anyway, especially related to how I have viewed sex throughout my life. I always knew I was a 'late bloomer' and this is so true, for me, as it relates to sexuality. I've been a shy Christian girl, trying to do things right, and early and strongly I got the message that that meant I did not talk about sex. That girl is hiding behind these writing fingers, blushing and asking me to please stop.

If you are like me, and even if your journey has been very different, you know that innocence in a world hell-bent on sex-done-wrong is an exquisitely precious thing. This innocence that I have carried through life is a pearl-of-great-price and yet it is not THE pearl-of-great-price, namely thekingdom of God through saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

And that is where we are ALL in this together. No matter our past, we are all one in Christ. We are pure brides being adorned for our Heavenly Husband. We are His. And He is doing a new thing-- continually bringing beauty for ashes,gladness for despair, whole for broken, courage for fear, His Life for our own. And ALL of this means amazing things regarding pure passion. 




So, I think it's time to move to the bedroom.{There really wasn't a good Segway for that, you all!!}

Last fall, a little over a year and a baby into our international move, I was tired. Tired. Tired. Tired. It may have been the hardest time in my life to date. I felt so far from everything that made me, me. I didn't know how to make it better, but I did cry out to God for hope.

Enter sex. Yes, enter sex. One night I somehow {it was God, now I know} found this book. {also available for kindle, which is where I found it;} My hubby came to bed and I said "Do you want to go through this book together?" Well, you can imagine the answer was an enthusiastic "YES!"

You see, the whole sex, making love, intimacy had become a heavy-weighing duty, for me. We were married almost 11 years ago and we came to each other virgins. It's amazing, I know. And so, we had an incredible beginning to our marriage! We could not get enough, I tell you! {blush, blush:}

So how did sex become a duty--dull, lifeless, and something that made my already tired self even more so? It's hard to say, but I think it's just that life happened. For us, this has been transitions. Big transitions. Kids. More Big transitions. More kids. Then, sex wasn't new anymore and I was too tired to work through what was holding me back.

Here's where guilt for not giving my husband what he needs and wants becomes that thief who kills and destroys. A sense of duty and a heap of guilt are a BAD combination in the bedroom.

Then came that pivotal night after I had been crying out to God for a freshness of promise. I stumble upon a book, hubby and I begin to re-connect. {Yes, we had sex that night, but it was so much more than that!}

And the next morning I woke up with a profound sense of hope.

It was a strange thought to me. Really, God? Sex and hope go together?? The silence and misplaced shame of my past would NEVER have thought that!


But, it's true.

And, now, a few months later, I can say from my heart I have seen that hope renew my marriage. This duty-bound girl has found beauty in sex.* I have found God in sex. My desires are being satisfied by His goodness through this glorious gift and that renews my youthlike the eagle's.

I’ve come full circle--back to that college girl who was awakened by Grace. Who first experienced pure passion for God and nothing would stop her. But, it’s full circle and more as the 20+ years since then have brought much in pain, joy, loss and love.

Exchanging sex as duty for sex as beauty is a shift in thinking that, for me, has been revolutionary. And I know I can't, won't, go back to the way I was. Because this hope is about so much more than sex or even, strengthening my marriage. It's about God. It's about eternity. It's about an incredible way that I join my best friend, co-journeyer, and we touch and taste Heaven.

And I believe it can fill us and our marriages with a stunning brilliance that spills out and changes the world.

*The 'duty to beauty' phrase was something I first heard Tim Keller use in a sermon...I can't remember which one, but it was definitely him!

Joining #TellHisStory, Wifey Wednesday & #ImperfectProse

Read the entire Pure Passion Series Here!

Next week I'll continue with Pure Passion :: From Holding Back to Letting Go


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