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I was digging through my email inbox not long ago, and (embarrassingly) came across an email to which I hadn't responded in more than a year.
Yup. A year. Ugh.
It was from Joy McMillan, author of XES: Why Church Girls Tend to Get It Backwards... and How to Get it Right.
In her email she was complimenting me for a guest blog post I wrote on another site.
I humbly responded to Joy, tripping over myself with apologies for not responding sooner.
Boy am I glad I didn't let my embarrassment stop me from hitting the reply button!
Here's the deal.
This woman is a crazy good writer.
Cra. Zy. Good.
Which is why you should have on your nightstand XES: Why Church Girls Tend to Get It Backwards... and How to Get it Right.
At first I couldn't tell if this is a sex book masquerading as a marriage book or a marriage book masquerading as a sex book. But by the time I reached the end, I decided.
It's both a sex book and a marriage book, and a delightfully authentic one at that.
What I like about this book is what always draws me to good writing: Joy doesn't hold back in being transparent about how hard marriage is (let alone trying to build authentic sexual intimacy in the midst of it).
She is real about her own marriage and what nurtures or destroys sex between a husband and a wife. I found myself nodding a lot and saying "yes" to her many great insights about passionately pursuing and enjoying sex in the oneness of a marriage covenant.
All of that would be enough, but she goes further and lets us in on the story behind the story, so to speak. (We really don't see most of this till we near the end of the book, but it's worth the wait).
She courageously bares her soul about what it took for her to shed light on and heal from the devastation in her past, including promiscuity, sexual abuse and criminal activity.
That kind of authenticity is so attractive.
It equips and encourages women to trust in the forgiveness and redemption of the Lord.
And it reminds all of us that through the ups and downs and in-betweens of doing life as a married couple, anything profound is always found on the other side of intentional heart (and hard) work.
Joy loves the Lord and loves her husband, and she shares with humor, heart and humility the reality of a faith refined and rekindled in the ordinary and the extraordinary.
Each chapter includes questions at the end to compel you to dig deeper.
I believe there's no sense reading something if you aren't going to glean from it and apply to your own situation the nuggets of gold that are transformational.
And this book is definitely one from which you can glean.
It's not a quick read. And it's not an easy read. But it's a rich read.
Joy McMillan is a crazy good writer. Personally, I'm glad she didn't keep it all inside.
I think you will be glad too.
"It's easy to wait until your marriage experiences a crisis to spring into action, but having a thriving marriage means doing the work, consistently, and often behind the scenes, on a daily basis. It means little by little putting things into place before they're ever needed.
"It's choosing to intentionally stock your marital tool belt with effective tools, carve out time for each other daily, and prioritize your intimacy -- spiritual, emotional and sexual -- when things are going well so that when things aren't, you're prepared."
Thank you Joy! The marital landscape is a better place with Christian books like yours.
Copyright 2016, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.