Think about it. Sexuality is one of the most conflict-ridden aspects of life.
For the single – How do I live pure and content without resentment, while still experiencing God-given natural sexual desires?
For the abused – How do I find healing and hope after the shame and pain from the evil done to me?
For the addict – How do I find redemption and freedom from that which consumes me?
For the confused – What do I do about these desires and attractions I have that people say are unnatural and sinful?
For the church – How do we define sexuality and what do we do about those that believe differently?
For the married – How can our sex life be all that I want it to be rather than the place where so many issues come up?
So let’s dive into answers for all these questions, shall we?
Because there are no simple answers to any of these questions, it’s easier to just not talk about sexuality.
Because it involves vulnerability about privacy and honesty about shame, it’s easier to just avoid addressing any of it.
Because there are STRONG opinions on all sides, it’s too hard to get anywhere, so let’s just pretend these conflicts don’t exist. Maybe they’ll go away.
And so sexuality becomes the huge elephant in so many lives that no one talks about. Yet this contentious elephant is destroying the abundant life God is longing for us to experience.
Here at Velvet Ashes, we never pretend to have all the answers. You won’t find a lot of pat three-step solutions around here. Instead you’ll find a community of women engaging in the hard, messy questions of life. We’ve touched on sexuality issues here and there, but we’ve never before devoted a whole theme and week to it.
That’s what we’re here to do today. We’re here to be that safe place to share and wrestle and encourage. So whatever is on your heart or in your life when it comes to sexuality, we’re not afraid to go there. You can share as anonymously as you want to in the comments. (Just use an email address that is not in your gravatar. If you don’t know what gravatar is, then you’ll be fine.)
We’re also here to be a connector, to point you to sources that can be the help the Holy Spirit wants to bring you.
So to get us started, here are some resources for each of those six areas as they relate to sexuality: (We’ll save the married section for last and share the results of our recent survey on how living overseas affects a couples’ sex life.)
For the single –
Why Singleness Matters – How should you feel about the very real sexual desires you experience?
The Unmentionables Part 1 – This bravely addresses the topic of masturbation.
For the abused –
Our very own Laura Bowling experienced a home invasion, rape and kidnapping while on the field. She shares about Choosing Openness and has written an amazing series about healing called “Beauty from Ashes.”
Elizabeth Trotter shares her story in The Journey to Heal Starts Small.
Mary DeMuth is a powerful author and speaker who knows childhood sexual abuse and is passionate to help others. Check out her book, Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse. Also be sure to see the posts that Mary wrote just for Velvet Ashes: You are Not Marked and What if You Could Change Your Story?
For the addict –
rTribe is a daily app for recovery from porn and sex addiction. Enter into an accountability community even overseas.
For the confused –
LivingOut.org is a site designed to “To help Christian brothers and sisters who experience same-sex attraction stay faithful to Biblical teaching on sexual ethics and flourish at the same time.” It is coordinated by three Christian leaders who experience same-sex attraction.
For the church –
Seven Things I Wish My Pastor Knew About My Homosexuality – Writing from her own experience, Dr. Jean Lloyd, who has dealt with same-sex attraction in her past, offers advice for pastors who want to care for LGBT+/same-sex attracted people.
How Can a Pastor Minister to a Gay Member Who Continues to Struggle with Sexual Sin? – the last in a helpful three part series of short videos.
Same-Sex Attraction and the Church by Ed Shaw. When Christians have same-sex attraction, how should the church respond?
For the married –
Many of you took our survey on how living overseas affects a couples sex life. You can view the all results of the survey by clicking on “responses” tab in the top middle. The responses are intriguing. Here is a major take-away from the survey:
Stress is a huge issue. An overwhelming 74% said that their level of stress affects their sex life overseas. 45% reported having experienced an inability to orgasm due to stress levels caused by overseas life and ministry. Clearly, stress is not unique to living overseas, but living overseas does create unique stress factors. The enemy seeks to destroy both our marriages and our ministries.
The Gottman Institute has a host of marriage resources including:
See all of your marriage resource recommendations in the survey responses.
What stands out to you from the survey responses? Let’s talk in the comments.
Velvet Ashes Resource Page offers opportunities for counseling and coaching (including long-distance).
Maybe you’ve been hanging out silently all week, waiting to see if we’d bring IT up. Whatever your IT is, the enemy wants you to keep it hidden in secret, because that’s where he wins. Can I challenge you to bring it into the light? Maybe you and your husband need to have a vulnerable conversation. Maybe you need to talk to a trusted friend or mentor about a struggle you’re having. Maybe you need to contact a counselor or coach, because you need someone to intentionally guide you through this. Maybe you need to reach out and ask this understanding community to pray for you. We’re here in the comments to do exactly that. Whatever you do, don’t go to bed tonight with your IT still in darkness. Shine some light on it. His redemption is waiting.
What resonates with you?
What is a struggle with sexuality that God has redeemed in your life?
What resources would you add to the list?
What surprised you from the survey results?
What factors of overseas life affect sexuality?
This is The Grove. It’s where we gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art. So join us in the comments. Link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt.
Click here for details and instructions.
Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesSexuality. You can add yours!