Christian women who do NOT feel like a Bride have many struggles with their Identity in Christ. If they don’t view themselves as “pure and spotless” before their husbands, how can they feel “pure and spotless” before their Savior? Helping Christian women “become the beloved” in their hearts seems to be a new message God is bringing me in my work.
I am saddened at how destructive childhood or teenage sexual abuse can be for a woman in her relationships, especially with her husband. I remember a young woman I worked with once. Her exact quote that she’s given me permission to use was, “I thought marrying a youth pastor would make me feel clean on the inside. Instead, I now feel even dirtier and like a phony to boot.”
Past sexual abuse brings many episodic memories (memories that are more powerful because one of the five senses is attached to them…touch, smell, etc.) for women. It is these memories that get brought forward in the times of deepest intimacy with their husband. At just the time they are supposed to be connected in the most intimate way, they shut down their hearts and go through the motions. This very act of “shut down” mode causes even more damage to their hearts.
The enemy uses sexual abuse as a repetitive message that follows a woman the rest of her years. I’m so grateful God has given me amazing ways to free women from these memories. He gets the glory when “His Brides” become the beloved in their own hearts and minds.