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The Beauty of Sex in a Godly Marriage

Sex and beauty are not usually two words you find in the same sentence. But they should be! Unless, you were like me, raised to believe that sex was anything but beautiful.  I learned about sex from my peers and the various rap songs that I listened to. It was believed that if you were still a virgin by the age of 17, then there was something very wrong with you and unfortunately, this view still remains.

I was 14 years old the first time I had sex. I thrived off the attention that I received from a guy who was much older than me. The attention I received from him helped me to take my mind off the misery that was my life. My mom had a serious drug and alcohol problem and although she was one of the most loving women you’d ever meet, her demons overwhelmed her. My sister and I pretty much did whatever we wanted to do. (For more of my story, check out my book Love, Jesus, Sex: Experiences & Lessons Learned)

Why am I sharing this? What does this have to do with marriage? Tons! The evil lie that the enemy wants us all to believe is that sex before marriage is okay and there are no consequences. Even if you didn’t get pregnant or contract a sexually transmitted disease, there’s still damage done. These are the lies that I believed and they almost destroyed our marriage. Sex is a spiritual act, so just because something didn’t happen in the natural, something did happen in the spirit. Soul ties were created and guilt and shame were given a doorway into your life. It. Is. Not okay! To read more click here!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

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Poolside Observation

I just came back from vacationing on a beautiful resort in Florida. Definitely a God thing! While there, we spent everyday poolside, just wonderful! I hadn’t spent this much time in a bathing suit since I was a kid, and even though I’ve lost some weight, I was just a little eency bit concerned about how I looked in my new bathing suit.

Most interesting was what I saw while there.  I saw women of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds in one-piece bathing suits and bikinis and as I observed, not one woman looked worried, concerned or bothered by what anyone else may have thought about them! Everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.  I saw stretch marks, saggy bottoms and breasts, and cellulite worn with pride! I saw “normal” bodies! It was like an awakening because what I saw definitely didn’t match what I see everyday on TV.  I’m not judging at all because I am a proud wearer of stretch marks myself but being in that surrounding and noticing the quiet confidence of the women around me, put me at greater ease and I was able to enjoy being in the pool with my daughters with no qualms at all. I’m only speaking of what I observed.  These women may have had their own insecurities but they didn’t allow them to hinder their time with their families.

real women in bathing suits

Not saying that I’m not confident in my own skin, but just being in a non-judgemental environment was freeing and awesome! Which leads me to think, what if everywhere we went, we felt this freedom from judgement about our looks and just felt accepted? There were some women there who had very fit bodies but it wasn’t the majority. While I know that this acceptance may never happen on this side of Heaven, we should, as women, accept our sisters and encourage one another.  We don’t know the stories of our sisters, don’t know what they’ve been through or what they’ve had to endure. We’ve all been through or is going through something.  After pregnancy, for most of us, not all body parts return to normal, we are not all a size 4-6, and most likely, we all have something that we dislike about our bodies.  We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other and encourage, love and accept each other.

The time spent poolside also further proved to me that the way things are portrayed on TV are so totally messed up! The messages are extremely misleading, discouraging and unrealistic.  Yet, we buy into them everyday. We think that we must look a certain way, act  a certain way and have all these “things” in order to be accepted, but this isn’t true.  God has already accepted us as good because He created us as good. He’s more concerned about our hearts than our outer appearance.  You can be “beautiful” on the outside but ugly as heck on the inside!

Anyway, if you’re planning on wearing any type of swimwear this summer, don’t forget about modesty, wear it proudly and show your sister some love and grace!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon

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God’s Protective Love

Lisa was a beautiful woman, smart and intelligent. She had everything going for her – her own car, house, and was working in her career field. The only thing she longed for was love from a man – her soul mate, her partner in life to share all of life’s ups and downs. One day, she meets Mark and he seems to be all she’s ever wanted! He’s handsome, smart, and has everything going for himself. Unbeknownst to Lisa, Mark knows he is a great catch and he uses his success and status to his advantage. Sadly for Lisa, she feels she has to accept his bad behavior and the way he treats her. This is because she so desperately wants to be loved and cherished. So, she tells herself if she continually shows him that she is his, will be there for him, and will do whatever he wants, he will come around and be all that she wants and needs him to be.

Time goes on and it seems that no matter what Lisa does or doesn’t do, Mark will not commit to her. He just refuses to love her wholeheartedly. Thankfully, they broke up! Lisa endured her experience with unrequited love. Have any of you been there? I know I have and it doesn’t feel good at all! It’s painful to be in love with someone who will not return or reciprocate your love. It has the potential to sap the life out of you, cause you to be down and hard on yourself as if you’re the one who’s done something wrong! This, ladies, is a trick of the enemy.

The old adage “hindsight is 20/20” is very true, as I see better now. I loved with all I had, yet nothing was returned! Looking back, instead of seeing what I could have done differently, I look at this as God’s way of protecting me. In Lisa’s case, she was being protected from settling for less than God’s best for her. The sad thing is that so many of us beautiful women make the same decision to settle! God, the Creator of all things great and beautiful, did not create us to settle. He has great plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and He knows whom He has set aside for us.

Now, if I’d settled for the guy who I just knew was “the one,” I would have missed my husband! The thought of that makes my stomach turn! My husband is everything I’ve ever wanted physically and all that I need spiritually as the leader and head of our home. Had I not let the bad go and trusted God…well, let’s not go there. The point is, sometimes when things don’t go the way we want or hope, instead of getting depressed and upset about it, look at the lesson in the situation. This goes for jobs and business opportunities as well. We have to remind ourselves that what’s good isn’t always God.

Sometimes unrequited love is our visual, our proof of God’s protective love. He guides and leads us as we would guide and lead our own children. The great thing about God is that He can see the bigger picture; He can see what’s ahead of us. Why not trust Him to protect us? Even more, why surrender our lives to God and not trust Him in every area of our lives? In dealing with unrequited love and the pain involved, why wouldn’t He want to protect us from it? Here are some examples of God’s protective love:

Defends us: No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 54:17 NIV).

Guards us from attack: For the scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you’ (Luke 4:10 NLT).

Protects us from invasion (of heart, privacy, life): The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? (Psalm 27:1 NLT).

Protects us from loss: He gives prosperity to the poor and protects those who suffer (Job 5:11 NLT).

Protects us from insult: Let me not be put to shame, O Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and lie silent in the grave (Psalms 31:17 NIV).

Covers or shields us from injury or danger: The Lord Himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade (Psalms 121:5 NLT).

There will be many opportunities in this life of faith to be redirected by God’s protective love.  It’s in how we respond to it that will show if we will reciprocate His love for us, or if His love for us will be unrequited? Don’t look at redirection as the end; look at it as the protective love of God and be grateful for His hand in your life. Unrequited love could be the best thing that’s happened to you!

Be blessed & encouraged,

Shannon