Amazing Stories

baggageThis year, the biggest change in the Awaken-Love class has been asking women to share their baggage and it has been AMAZING! Our stories are a testimony of how God works. We need to share our stories – even stories of how God has healed or forgiven us in our sex lives.

In class I used to be afraid to ask women to share their baggage, but I have decided the Awaken-Love study is not just about the women in the class. It is about every friend, relative or co-worker that their lives intersect with. Awaken-Love is one step in changing the whole culture of Christians and how they interact with others about sex. Christians ought to speak truth about sex everywhere they go – with their husband, with their kids, with their friends – even with non-believers. Sharing their stories of brokenness, how  God healed and redeemed them and the freedom that they now enjoy gives others hope that God is indeed a good, good God.

So during Week 3 of class, when we talk about Lies, Baggage and Body Image Issues, I ask everyone to bring at least one piece of baggage that they can share with the class. It can be a small carry on or a giant suitcase. We don’t share specific details, but in respectful general ways, we communicate our experiences, how they affected our marriage bed, and the steps to gain freedom.

I have been astounded by the response and humbled by the trust and support that these women show each other. Every class has responded by fully entering into the process of reflecting on what their past baggage is and sharing openly. I have heard everything from…

  • innocent child play or body discovery that lead to years of shame
  • not knowing how to say no
  • non-consensual acts that led to promiscuity spinning out of control
  • not holding the lines of purity before marriage
  • struggles with porn or erotica
  • strong church messages of purity that led to inhibition
  • messages of sex being about fulfilling a husband’s needs

Every woman seems to have something and what might seem like nothing to one women can be a huge deal to another. Sometimes it is not even what happened, but it is the over reaction of a loved one that leaves a huge impact.

As teachers, we try to discern if there are next steps that need to happen. Sometimes we ask if we can lay hands on a woman and pray for her. Sometimes we sense that she needs to claim this for herself by asking God right there and then for exactly what she wants as we gather around her in agreement. Sometimes we discern that a wife needs to share with a husband and pray with him or ask a husband to pray over her.

I have seen women return to class the next week with smiles on their face and burdens lifted. Women have shared that they went home that night to have amazing conversations with loving husbands.  Women have released things that they were not supposed to carry and they have found a taste of the freedom that God desires for them.

You know, I used to say that God can heal in an instant or it can be a process. But recently I have realized that God may not always heal. Sometimes we are left with a thorn in our side like Paul and we may struggle our entire life. That thorn does not have to define us, or control us, but it can lead to a greater dependence on Christ as we live out surrender on a daily basis. We don’t have to hide our thorn from our loved ones, but we bear it with the one that fully knows us. And so, there are some intentional choices that we make as we step into living the life that God wants us to live – even when it is not easy.

My hope and desire is that the freedom these women experience as they throw away the code of silence, doesn’t just exist for them, but that it becomes a part of their testimony of God’s goodness. There are so many women that have experienced pain in their sexuality and it is time to start talking. Healing happens when you speak it out loud with another and you take it to the foot of the cross and you surrender it. God wants women to be whole.

Have you broken the code of silence about sexual baggage and what difference has it made for you?

Ruth Buezis


Dealing with my baggage had a profound impact on my marriage. I dug deep into my past, remembering the pain, and speaking it out loud to my husband. Tears flowed as I shared what for years I had brushed off as “no big deal.” Years of silence no longer held power as I reflected on how I had allowed these past experiences to affect my present. I prayed for healing, I prayed for forgiveness, I prayed for letting go and I prayed for freedom. Piece by piece, I dug up the stink, and every time God showed up.

Some of my baggage was child play – experiences which some might argue were completely innocent. But for whatever reason, these experiences had filled me with shame. Shame that had placed me in the virtual back corner of every room, just hoping to go unnoticed. No one knew -for over 40 years.  I remember while reading Kevin Leman’s Sheet Music out loud to my husband one night, he shared how many times wives share things with a counselor that they have never told their husband. I suddenly knew that he was talking about me and the floodgates opened. That night in my husband’s arms I shared about my child play experience and the shame that it filled me with. I had let silence hold so much power over my life and it was time to break down the walls.

Raised in a Christian church, as a teenager I had committed to wait until marriage to have sex, but years at college took me far from God. When I met my husband, I was still a virgin, but immediately fell head over heels in love with him. I knew that during a couple of serious relationships, he had been sexually active. So I decided if he was going to fall in love with me, I needed to have sex with him. All the years we were married, I resented him for the fact that I was not a virgin bride, and yet I was the one that had initiated sex. He never forced me or coerced me, I brought sex up. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I began questioning and wondering why he had not initiated or tried to coerce me. Did he really desire me or was I the consolation prize?

Now you need to know that I have the best husband in the world. He has never done anything to make me question whether he loves me. He has kept his eyes pure, he has always served me, loved me, encouraged me and provided for me. I let this baggage worm away in my head and question reality and truth. I had to confess my resentment to my husband, ask for forgiveness, and I had to pray to let go of my husband’s stuff.

Some things are harder to let go of than others – my husband’s past relationships – was probably the hardest. It was a choice to stop wondering, comparing and questioning whether he chose me or if I was a consolation prize. I had to consciously decide to believe my husband instead of letting my head spin wherever Satan would take it. But healing has come and it is amazing. My healing has also lead to my husband having more confidence in himself. He no longer has to tip toe around wondering if I will question and prickle and look for ulterior motives. I simply take him at his word. I believe him. And I trust him.

This renewed trust  has opened up doors that I never knew possible. I believe my husband when he adores my body and I love his eyes on me. I am confident in my own desires and know that when I share them it is an absolute thrill for him. My husband has even begun to talk about some of his baggage, because I am no longer hyper sensitive when he brings up his past. We freely share in bed – all kinds of delights and we delight in each other.

But most of all, God has shown up and in very real ways shown us the power of prayer. He is good.

How has dealing with your baggage changed your marriage?

Ruth Buezis



Turning Shame into Praise


Shame is more than feeling bad about what we have done. It is feeling bad about ourselves and feeling defined by what has happened.  It speaks to our perceived self-worth and binds us to the past. Shame is the antithesis of God’s intention for us. We are designed to be free and unashamed.

I spent too many years accompanied by shame. It wore me down, held me back and robbed me and my relationships of the joy and freedom that God intends. Thankfully, I have been set free in Christ and no longer walk in condemnation.  As the Lord has led me to reflect on the impacts of shame, I’ve come to a few conclusions.