Welcome to the CMBA Newsletter!
God knows the importance of rest (see Genesis 2:3), yet rest is something many of us are tempted to neglect. We get busy with our families, with church activities, with one thing after another—and even with our blogging. Somehow, rest is the thing that we often plan to get to later.
Rest is important for those of us in ministry—even if that ministry is through a blog rather than face-to-face. Just as we are told on a plane to put on our own oxygen masks before helping others, we need to care for ourselves in order to be able to care for others as we do.
What are you doing to care for yourself and your marriage? Are you remembering to rest? Make time to tend to yourself and your marriage. Build time into your life to rest.
This month’s newsletter points you to a couple new books, gives you a beginner’s guide to Twitter, and introduces you to Ruth from Awaken-Love. We hope you enjoy the newsletter–and take the rest you need.
The following blogs joined CMBA since our last issue. Do visit their sites and share an encouraging word.
From the Forum
The CMBA Member’s Forum is a place for us to gain insight, encouragement, practical help, and prayers from others who face the unique challenges of marriage blogging.
Do you have a prayer need? Consider posting in our Prayer Requests forum to ask other marriage bloggers to lift your needs in prayer.
Are you on social media? Follow CMBA!
- Pinterest (If you would like to be added to CMBA’s collaborative Christian Marriage and Sex board, email Bonny at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is easiest if you follow CMBA first.)
Please promote CMBA posts on your own social media. It’s a great way to support other bloggers and point your followers to some great material.
25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask about Love, Sex, and Intimacy, by Dr. Juli Slattery of Authentic Intimacy
This just-released book tackles important questions many women have about their sexuality. Topics range from what’s okay (and what’s not) and embracing sexuality to single sexuality and healing from sexual brokenness.
Each chapter covers one question, and the book is designed for women to be able to skip around rather than reading straight through. This book is for married and single women. It is a great resource for women who want to learn more about topics that can be difficult as well as know how to be a resource for other women.
Purchase the book or learn more here.
For Better – Or What?: Observations on Life, Love and Marriage, by Rosemary K. West of For Better – Or What?
Recently released, this book invites us to grow in marriage, enjoy each other, and conquer our difficulties. You can find the book here.
If you have a resource that you’d like help promoting, send an email to Chris at email@example.com to have it included in a future newsletter.
How Do I . . . ?
Twitter for Beginners
By Bonny Burns, Bonny’s OysterBed7.
So, you’ve got this ministry and you’d like to share your thoughts with more than just your friends and family. Social media is how you get your work noticed by the public.
Today, I’ll just say a few things about Twitter. Twitter intimidated me at first with all the # and @ symbols. I had mastered Facebook with all its unspoken etiquette. However, Twitter was unknown. I didn’t want to look like a fool or step on any toes so I was tentative about tweeting.
I was fortunate that Erin Baxter of Mystery32 and J of Hot, Holy & Humorous took me under their twittering wings and helped me figure out how to not look like an idiot. In paying it forward, I want to help you.
First off, I’ll refer you to the expert on Christian social media promotion, Michael Hyatt’s Beginner’s Guide to Twitter. He explains that the key to engaging your followers is through a variety of tweet types.
The hashtag (#)
The hashtag is a search tool that you can add to your 140-character tweet. You can type #christiansex or #CMBA in the search bar and all the posts with those hashtags will appear. You can create your own hashtag or latch onto one that is already being leveraged.
Adding someone else’s handle (i.e. @oysterbed7) to your tweet.
This will draw the attention of that particular person. Say I’ve just read a great article by Chris @Forgivenwife and want to share it. When I write my tweet, somewhere in the text I include, @ForgivenWife, so that my tweet will be brought to Chris’ attention.
For example: “So much great stuff @ForgivenWife today. Read her most recent, How To Say I’m Sorry Through Knitting. #christiansex #knitting #christianmarriage #marriagetip”
I’ve had a lady add me to some of her tweets because she wants me to read her articles. This is one way to draw attention of certain bloggers. I see it as asking that blogger to check out your work and leave a comment. However, if you do this, you should also promote that blogger’s work. You can’t just ask for 5 minutes of their time to read your stuff if you don’t give something in return. Even if you have only 5 followers, tweet something of theirs. This creates goodwill and shows that you are a team player.
Thank you’s are important.
If someone does promote your work through an RT (retweet) or newly created tweet, it’s polite to respond with a quick ‘Thanks for sharing my post” kind of thing.
Although not mandatory, you can thank each new follower. I’ve seen it done as a public tweet (@HotHolyHumorous Thx for the follow! Hope you like this week’s post on peanut butter) or a direct message which is private (only you and the other person see the message). An example of a direct message: “Thanks for the follow. More low-libido information for wives can be found at www.OysterBed7.com.”
Just start reading the tweets
The best way to learn is to just start reading your tweet feed. The tweet feed is the posts by all those you are following. You will quickly see patterns and understand the interaction between everyone. If someone is posting things you don’t want to see, just unfollow them.
If you have any questions about twitter, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet to me @OysterBed7. I’m not Michael Hyatt, but I’ve been twittering for a few years. Oh, and if you follow me, I’ll follow you back.
Note: Also check out How Do I Use Twitter for My Marriage Blog?
Behind the Blog
Meet Ruth from Awaken-Love!
My name is Ruth Buezis from Awaken-Love.net. You may also recognize my former blog, ChristianSexClass.org, which was recently consolidated into Awaken-Love.net. I never imagined that I would be writing, teaching or speaking about sex. I was that quiet person that built things, served in the back ground and made sure never to get close to the spot light. But five years ago God transformed me and brought me into a deep intimacy with Him and with my husband. Part of that change was taking the time to figure out this thing called sex. I had so many wrong ideas, and I failed to recognize the power of sex and how important it was for me. I was at times resentful and closed off towards my husband because of the baggage I carried around. I also failed to fully understand my body, what it was capable of, and appreciate how amazing God created it. So I went on a journey to figure out some answers and found The Marriage Bed, Christian Nymphos, and the books Sheet Music, The Sexually Confident Wife and Intimate Issues. I was amazed by such great resources, but puzzled why nobody at church was talking about them as marriages around me were falling apart.
I remember walking into my pastor’s office and saying, “You’ve got to do something about this. All we ever hear is don’t do it, but nobody tells you how important sex is within marriage or how powerful it can be.” He had this blank stare on his face like, “What do you think I’m going to do?” Thankfully my pastor patiently met with me for several weeks, until I figured out God wasn’t calling him to do something. God was calling me to do something.
I outlined a six week curriculum for wives based on resources that I had read that would take them on a journey of sexual awakening. I wanted to not only provide the right head knowledge and attitude, but a complete picture of how our body works. I included application homework to put into action what the women were learning. Six months later, I taught my first Awaken-Love class to nine close friends. Honestly, I was so nervous that my lip quivered. I was plagued with insecurities, but within a couple of weeks, the wives were raving about how much closer they were to their husbands.
Three years later, I have taught over 300 women and seen so many stories of how God has changed lives. I remember one woman sharing how challenging it was because her husband wasn’t in the same place spiritually. She made the conscious decision to minister to her husband through sex and within weeks he was in church with her every Sunday and that summer took a mission trip to Africa. I remember another young woman sharing how her promiscuity before marriage had limited what she enjoyed in her marriage bed. The class helped equip her to talk to her husband and reassure him it wasn’t him, she was just in the process of healing from past junk. Another woman that had sexual abuse in her past connected the dots and realized sex had always been something that was used. Either sex had been used against her or she had used it with others. She prayed that night for sex to become a way to love her husband, and to receive love from her husband. Amazing transformations takes place in safe groups of women where we share our struggles, learn God’s truth and encourage each other as we take steps of growth.
I began ChristianSexClass.org to encourage women that have taken Awaken-Love classes with a weekly article that challenged them to grow in how they see themselves or how they love their husbands. The blog grew to a place for me to wrestle with what I believe and how to communicate it respectfully. I resist accepting the norms of who men and women think they are, and choose to constantly measure everything against God’s truth and His design for us and for intimacy. Ephesian 5:31-32 provides a gage of what God desires in intimacy with our husband. For instance, you constantly hear that women need to feel emotionally connected to their husband before they can have sex. In other words, if he will talk to me, then I will have sex with him. But isn’t that essentially bartering? And does God barter with us? Do we have to do certain things to earn His love or does He love us no matter what?
Writing does not come easy for me. It is a slow, laborious process that is filled with caution and whittling words. Topics come from my own journey, class discussions or digesting what I have read. Often as I prepare to teach a class or speak, I write articles around those topics to practice putting words to this thing that is often unexplainable – SEX. I have made a vow not to publish anything that I would not feel comfortable saying in person or during a class
This year God brought me a ministry partner from Austin, Texas. Melanie skyped into class last spring, helped reformat and complete the Awaken-Love curriculum, and has begun posting on the blog. She is teaching Awaken-Love classes in Austin and has seen God work powerfully. Our partnership has been confirmed by God again and again. We are excited to see what He has prepared for the Awaken-Love ministry.
I used to constantly pray before class, “God, even if it is only one woman, use me.” Recently, I have found myself praying, “God, even if it is a thousand women, use me.” You see, ministering to large groups is terrifying to this reserved, awkward introvert that prefers to stay in the background, but God may have other ideas. I am convinced that God wants to use the Awaken-Love classes to transform marriages around the world. I have no idea what that looks like. It could mean that we train up teachers through online conferences or videos to teach in their churches. It could mean that we come up with an interactive video that small group leaders walk a group of women through. I don’t know, but I am confident that transformation takes place in safe groups of women.
God has also led us to create a six week Awaken-Love class for husbands. We are in the very beginning stages of its development, but are confident that God will provide all that is needed to launch this new class. He has confirmed again and again that a men’s curriculum is needed too. So many programs and studies for men focus on purity, going from an unhealthy place to a healthy place with sex. Our Awaken-Love study for men will take them on the next step of the journey to help them discover God’s desire for intimacy in their marriage bed.
I hear over and over from women taking the class, “Why doesn’t the church talk about sex?” But aren’t we the church? Addressing sex from the pulpit is problematic at best. Instead of waiting for pastors to stick out their necks in teaching truth about sex, maybe we are supposed to be the ones teaching God’s truth and design and encouraging each other as we find freedom.
There is an urgency to equip men and women to talk about sex because that is how we battle pornography. We battle pornography through open communication about Godly sex. We make sure that our kids know they can ask us anything without embarrassment or shame. And we let our kids know that sex within marriage is wonderful and that it is a priority in our life.
The mission of Awaken-Love is to equip and encourage men and women to claim God’s design for intimacy and to share that truth with others.
In addition to offering truth and encouragement, our goal for Awaken-Love.net is to be a vehicle to find men and women around the world to teach Awaken-Love classes. We want to find Christians that are fully dependent on God, have a marriage that is rock solid, understand how important sex is within marriage, can create a safe environment and are willing to be real. Most importantly we want to find men and women that feel absolutely called by God to share His truth about sex in marriage. If you feel called to support our mission, please consider having us write a guest post on your blog explaining the Awaken-Love ministry and our desire to equip others to teach about God’s amazing gift.
If you would like to be featured in one of our upcoming newsletters, contact Chris at email@example.com. We’ll provide you with some questions if you like. It’s a great chance to bring some fresh attention to your blog and let us know a little bit about you.
Image credit NovemberRaindrop|morgueFile.com