Gleanings

These are my confessions…

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The struggle…

One of my greatest friends called me out recently on a picture I posted that linked to my blog for wives.  The picture was of a woman in lingerie posted in advertisement of a service called boudoir photography.  If you know me or follow me on any network, you are probably already aware I not only support this service personally, but I also encourage wives to do the same for their husbands.  One of the greatest, most sacred of benefits of this service I have found, is the acceptance and embracing of your physical body as a woman in such a way that not only arouses courage and confidence in a unique way, but most of all brings LIFE to self-acceptance with your body – something I have struggled with all of my life.  The woman’s body is absolutely exquisite – at all sizes and in all shapes.  Accepting my own body has released a weight of self-focused burden that jacked my priorities and perspective.  I don’t want that for you.  It’s a beautiful gift for your husband to celebrate the curves and lines, breasts and thighs, hair and eyes, and bare skin body of a woman for her husband. You’ll find references the the beauty of a woman’s body in scripture if you peek back at Song of Solomon…

How beautiful you are, my darling!
    Oh, how beautiful!
    Your eyes behind your veil are doves.
Your hair is like a flock of goats
    descending from the hills of Gilead.
Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn,
    coming up from the washing.
Each has its twin;
    not one of them is alone.
Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon;
    your mouth is lovely.
Your temples behind your veil
    are like the halves of a pomegranate.
Your neck is like the tower of David,
    built with courses of stone[a];
on it hang a thousand shields,
    all of them shields of warriors.
Your breasts are like two fawns,
    like twin fawns of a gazelle
    that browse among the lilies.
Until the day breaks
    and the shadows flee,
I will go to the mountain of myrrh
    and to the hill of incense.
You are altogether beautiful, my darling;
    there is no flaw in you.

Mmmmm… so beautiful, I love this passage.  I love that my husband sends me excerpts from these scriptures from time to time.  We are both very indulgent in the celebration of sex and physical beauty within our marriage and also both open about discussing these things with others.  In fact, after I have completed my candidacy for the two licensures I’m currently pursuing, I plan to pursue accreditation towards sex therapy to further be a resource for ailing marriages.  The fact is that if your sex life is suffering in marriage, your entire marriage is suffering in one way or another.  Finding ways to build a healthy, open communication about the God-given gift of sex is important to my husband and I and that is what my blog post was about.  I directed my personal thoughts to women who are married and challenged them to make some bold moves in gift-giving for Valentine’s Day.

The issue is the picture that I chose for the blog that was filtered into the public facebook feed.  For a man, this picture may have aroused thoughts or feelings that are not tied to your marital partner, but to a deeper issue or personal struggle – and that was in no way my intention.

Within this verse is the tension…

WE WHO ARE STRONG HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO BEAR WITH THE FAILINGS OF THE WEAK, AND NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES.  LET EACH OF US PLEASE HIS NEIGHBOR FOR HIS GOOD TO BUILD HIM UP.  ~Romans 15:1

From one perspective, it appears that I am not taking responsibility for others that may struggle in this area.

But from my perspective, my full intention was to adhere to the 2nd sentence and use this picture attached to my blog with the intent of building up wives and marriages.

I don’t intend for this to be a debate or even a response so much as just for myself to process my own thoughts and writing does that for me… my prayers and thoughts over this have gotten my thoughts swirling – not about who is right or wrong regarding the woman in the picture that showed up in your (and your husband’s) facebook feed… but about struggle.

We each have things we struggle with – and I’ll be the first to tell you that my posts are all over the place.  I’m sure some people have a problem with me posting pictures of margaritas and birthday shots, while others have specifically thanked me for being open about posting alcholic drinks and feel that it’s a positive thing for the Christian community that has often manipulated and perpetuated the lie that drinking alcohol is a sin.    Another thought… I can assure you that I have alcoholics and/or recovering alcoholics that follow me.  My pictures could be causing temptation for them – or maybe they prove that you can enjoy drinking without getting drunk and still love God? I don’t know, but I don’t not post them because of who follows me.  Is that wrong?  Hmmm… Here’s the thing, I don’t post for that reason, I just think my cocktail is damn pretty!

Speaking of “damn”…  if you happen to attend one of my adult dance classes, there is a good chance you’ll hear a song with an amazing beat played as it was originally released in an “unclean” version.  You may dance to the word damn.  Oddly enough, I’ve only seen my students find freedom in the fact that I don’t make a big deal about it.  We just dance.  And yet, there’s good reason for me to not use those versions in my 5-7 jazz class.

I have a close friend that recently gave up alcohol and cussing.  There’s a reason she chose these 2 things in particular and I supported her, but it did not keep me from posting my date night mudslide in all it’s glory.  She could have unfollowed me, forever or temporarily.  I love her but that wouldn’t have phazed me. Maturity in social networking will teach you that you are responsible for your news feed on any media.  I have been unfollowed by pastors, Christians, family, and friends – and I have unfollowed pastors, family, Christians, and friends.  As @bereolaesque once tweeted “I have friends I don’t follow because I wish to remain friends.  Favorited.

Do not follow people that make you mad, increase your anxiety, or cause you to stumble.  The very thing they may say or share may be LIFE to one person and at the same time cause issues for another person.  Dialectical behavior therapy is a powerful study and treatment I got to participate in during my grad school internship, and I became so aware that there is more tension in this life than we realize and there are times when two things are opposing, and yet both are true.  There is no doubt we have a sphere of influence that goes beyond our awareness, especially with social media literally directing much of our lives and how others see us.  We have to take responsibility for that, and find balance in the freedom of being who we are.  I chose that picture.  Intentionally.  I even prayed about it before I posted it, and further discussed it with my husband who is my spiritual leader and he affirmed that decision.  I thought it was tasteful, beautiful and the most powerful visual display to attach to my blog and get people to click on it.  My intent was not to hurt others, but to get people to read, and hopefully spark some bravery in married women.

At the same time, I am grateful for the challenging and sharpening.  In my heart it is no longer about right or wrong, but about the person… the people all around me and myself who struggle.  Whether it be pornography, alcoholism, foul language, or just good old pride, we all struggle.  And with that, I want to affirm to you that you are not alone.  I suck at a lot.

I struggle with smoking.  I have since I was 13.  Even as a cancer patient, I craved it.  And if you looked in my purse right now, you’ll find a purple vapor (nicotine free) that I keep, just in case.

I struggle with food and downright gluttony.  I don’t like to eat, I like to eat a lot.  I can remember experiencing anxiety as a child when our family would sit down to eat and I was afraid there would not be enough for me to have seconds so I would eat as fast as I could just to not miss out.

I struggle with co-parenting with an ex that has very different values for our child than I do.  And that is the nicest way I can put it to you.  But, the reality of divorce is that you never fully un-attach from a person you have a child with – and you have little to no control over what they see, hear, and experience when they are in their other parent’s home and care.  When my child leaves for a visit I begin to fall apart and do not feel whole or fully functioning until she is back home.  Some nights I can be found in a ball of screaming, weeping breakdown mess over missing my daughter and the painful consequences of my own life that her life is now dictated by.   Divorce is a hell I wish for noone.

I struggle with gripping shame for hurting my ex in the worst way a woman can.  I was that adulterous woman Proverbs cautions you about, every bit – and it kills me something wretched inside.  I don’t even know that woman, how I became her, and some days I struggle with surviving even the thoughts of her.  But she is me, and I would give anything in the world to take that back.

I struggle with children who run away from me, friends who do things without inviting me, a sister who loathes me, and a daughter who does not say “I love you” back to me.

I struggle with feeling pure unadulterated anger when I hear someone gossip or see a &^#* subtweet.  I know the deep and cutting pain of these things first hand and I can tell you, sticks and stones may break your bones, but words break your heart, and that’s a hell of a lot worse.

I struggle with forgiveness.

So much pride.

With praying.

I struggle with putting my phone down, budgeting and co-budgeting, and keeping organization in my household to the point that it can bring on sheer depression.

I suck at a lot.  And yes, you influence me – but only to the degree that I allow you.  So, I don’t follow subtweeters, my ex is blocked, and I pray even when I don’t feel like it. I also follow people who tell me to pray and challenge me to forgive others, and to forgive myself.  I follow boudoir accounts, foster care accounts, pole dancing, weight lifting, cake baking, scripture professing and shoe wearing accounts.  I even follow some gays.  But, I don’t follow politicians.  That’s me.  It may not be right, but it’s real.  I pray that I can be the type or person to do the second part of the that verse.  I want to spend my life building others up in every way I can possibly do that.  And, I’m human – I’m not going to do it all right, but I hope at least my heart is understood by some because I will never please or agree with everyone.

And if I’m not helping people that struggle through my use of social media then I don’t want any part of it.

I don’t post anything I wouldn’t feel comfortable with my own children seeing – including my 12 yr old girls and my 23 year old son.

And, please know that I don’t mean to say any of this in a boastful way, I mean to say that I suck at a lot, but I’m growing and I’m learning and most importantly I love you. I truly love you even if you don’t love me, even if you don’t know me, and especially if you are a girl from 2 days to 202 yrs, and I want the best for each of you and I am grateful that you all continuously make me better, too.  ❤

 

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13 thoughts on “These are my confessions…

  1. Loved this. Love that you shared from your heart about where you are & where you’ve you been. I think a lot of people look at your life and see it as “perfect” and don’t realize you struggle just as much as the next person. It’s because of what I have seen you go through that helped me get to where I am now. Without you I would have NEVER unfollowed _ANY_ exboyfriend ever. Or friends turned enemies that subtweeted about me. Or family members that talked crap. I would have let it alllllll get me down. But you taught me how to let go. Took about 7 years, of course. But it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever learned. I love you. Forever.

  2. Wow. I am loving this post for so many reasons. I’ve read a lot of your past posts but this one was rather personal for me. I struggle with so many different things. One of them being sex with my husband and it makes me sad. We used to have a wonderful sex life but I, too, became that adulterous woman. He forgave me but it’s never been the same. Only because I can’t forgive myself. I don’t really know you (I know Stephanie although we were unfortunately the furthest thing from friends back in the day:)) but I always looked up to. Now I have another reason to think you’re pretty great. I’m going to keep you in my prayers because I am excited to know that you are helping marriages. Thank you for your candidness. You don’t know how much it helps my ailing heart.

  3. You know I love you and all that makes you who you are. If we were all perfect we would not be interesting and we would not be forgivable and we would not be healable by our amazing Daddy upstairs. You are You. You are Perfect in His Creation. You are my Kindred. This blog is amazing being amazing. Seriously. Your openness and love go beyond anything that may be interpreted at face value. If people interpreted me at the face value they get (outside my social media posts) they would not like me. At all. (more than likely that is) … Humans are deep and an intricate species … and we are created and made whole by Him. Thanks for this blog. A lot that you wrote about I needed a reminder in myself. Love you! ❤

  4. Hey Stacy, I wanted to say thank you for his post!! its amazing how open you are. i am glad i get to have the joy of knowing you!! Love ya Lady!! you are Beautiful inside and out!!!!

  5. I love you!! Thank you for those wifey Wednesday posts. They are SSOOOO helpful to me to remember so. many. things!! About who I am supposed to be as a wife…being open, being sexual, being ok with me…I think just about every woman (to some extent) knows what it’s like to be unhappy with her body…also you remind me to take care of him…wear a lil summin summin now and then, do things he wants and enjoys FOR HIM!!! Thank you for being so open!!! I think you are a brave and beautiful person!! I needed to know I’m not the only one who struggles with things…ALL THE TIME!! Thanks for being you!!!

  6. If only you knew what you have done for me over the past two years. I found myself lost in my own world self consumed not able to read scripture, listen to Christian music, open the bible or go to church but for some reason the fact that I see you so real I suppose is why I was able to read yours and only Your posts. Do you get that? I know it’s just me and I am just one person but this one person is grateful to YOU (and Christ) and what you allow Him to do through you. I don’t know why my spirit was open to just reading what “you” post and yet skipping through “everything” else (no joke). But I owe you the world of giving me that glimpse in my darkness at that time and keeping Christ alive through all your random posts on your social media and not allowing me to drowned. But yet giving me oxygen through a tiny air pocket. I have never once judged you for any post but grateful for everyone. From your kids, drinks, dancing, friends and even the yucky Cowboys games 😉 I have loved it all. Christ arranged for you to post “everything” and for me to read. Thanks for writing this blog. I was just telling a coworker/friend again about you yesterday (as we talk about you often 🙂 and how I was able to glean from you during my time of being hurt by others outside of family through lies which hardened my heart. And again why am I awake at 3am reading your blog and commenting. I sleep so hard and sound but of all nights, tonight I was meant to be awake. Being unable to sleep I realize it was for this purpose and the purpose to pray. To pray for you and so many others. See did you get that part too? Yep I said PRAY. I am able to now and have been over the past few months. Stacey I hope this makes sense because after all it Is 3:30am I love you to Pieces.

  7. I just wanted you to know that your blogs are amazing and inspiring. Please dont ever stop sharing your thoughts….You never know whose heart you are touching.

  8. Have you read the book sacred sex? If not, you should! It is such an eye opening book and really changed my marriage!

  9. I love how you let people see who you are. And you are not the bad that you’ve done in the past. God has already forgotten about it and erased it with his big ole eraser he has in heaven. 😉 hey I currently have a blu cig with nicotine in it, my GI doc said I can use nicotine, imagine that lol I find your drinks to be lovely, colorful and festive too. It could be bad for an alcoholic to see them and would be all your fault if they fell off the wagon and started drinking again PULEASEEE!!!lol Alcoholics like to play the blame game. No one is forcing anything on them and if seeing a drink bothers them, they shouldn’t look. They drank wine in the Bible and the Bible also cautions on drinking ‘too much’ as being foolish. We have to be held responsible for what we do in our lives and our children’s lives and if we don’t feel convicted of it being wrong to have a drink then it’s okay. My opinion.
    We ALL suck at a lot and no one is perfect. I have made some bad decisions in my life but they have helped me to make right ones later on.
    Love reading all your ‘swirling thoughts’. 🙂 love ya
    PS I taught a single moms class using Search for Signficance book and
    It was really awesome. Check it out. Great read for all Christians. All about our self-esteem. I need to read it again….

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