Intimacy and Striving to become Unveiled

I was privileged to get an advanced copy of Unveiled Wife back in December.  I’ve already written a review of this book and will continue to refer to it I’m sure.  There are some books you will come across in your life that will continually challenge you.  There will be books you will read that will shift your direction so profoundly that others will pause and take notice.  For me, this is one of those books.

From The Unveiled Wife:

“I spent a few days pondering her question (she asked me if I had an intimate relationship with God).  I had always associated the word intimacy with sex, so I needed to fully comprehend intimacy’s meaning before I could evaluate my relationship with God.  I went online to the Merriam-Webster dictionary site and typed in intimacy.  It read: ‘(1) the state of being intimate: familiarity; (2) something of a personal or private nature.” Then I typed in intimate, and it stated: ‘belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature’ and ‘marked by a warm friendship developing through long association.’ “

I could not believe the words on the pages of The Unveiled Wife.  As I read on, Jennifer Smith was not only baring her soul but mine.  Her conviction was mine, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I did some further exploring of the word intimacy and came across the summary “into me, you will see.”  Jen Smith went on to write:

“For the first time, I was confronted with the truth that I kept all my relationships at a distance, including my relationship with Aaron, and more important, my relationship with God.”  “If a woman cannot experience intimacy with God, how much more will she struggle to experience intimacy with her husband?”

There is was, how could I possibly expect 100% effort and engagement in my relationships if I was holding back my heart?  I have to admit there was immediate comfort in knowing that I was not the only wife who had to come to this realization, and yet there was also a heaviness knowing there was some tough work that was ahead of me. The Unveiled Wife book is the journey of learning to become unveiled in all areas of life, and staying there.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 says, but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

As Jennifer Smith writes of her conviction to become unveiled she writes many aspects that need to be explored.  Among those convictions is that an Unveiled Wife works to be real and transparent, and to allow God to transform her character with the purpose of reflecting His character.

For me, the process of having relationships of real intimacy with God and with my husband began with striving to become unveiled in these ways.  I needed to focus first on God.  I found this surrendering to being foreign at first, and yet, the more I spoke of this new conviction to trusted friends, journaled about it, and studied to see actually what this unveiling looked like, the more resolved I became.

How do you begin to open your heart to a God who you have distanced yourself from?  For me, it began with adoration. Slowly exploring and accepting the full character of God, echoing the prayers of scripture when my own words failed me.  My next step was to simply pray, “God, help me let you see my whole heart.”  That may seem silly, God knows all, so why would I need to reveal my heart?  Similar to Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve hid when they realized their nakedness, the action of showing my heart was on my part, not God’s.  God knew that Adam and Eve were naked, and He knew why, but He asked them anyway, and they spoke of their sin, revealing all of the truth. What I found most surprising in this process were the emotions that bubbled up.  The smallest things would bring me to tears, and my compassion and empathy for others around me were overwhelming.  I seemed to have torn down a brick wall surrounding my heart revealing emotions that hadn’t surfaced in so long I couldn’t even explain where they were coming from.

My initial instinct was to stop, to run, and embrace the comfort of not feeling so vulnerable, and yet I knew God had revealed the truth to me I was now responsible for. I needed to move forward in this process, and as I fought fear and continued to daily strive for intimacy in my relationship with God it became a little easier each day. Weeks went by, and I knew the time was approaching to have a conversation with my husband and share all I had been learning.  January 11th was my first attempt at sharing all God had been teaching me, February 14th was when the words finally tumbled out.  As I shared the convictions, I had been feeling, confessing my part in not allowing our marriage to be as consistently intimate as it could be I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t remember how long I talked, I remember at one point I was speaking and listening at the same time, thoughts I hadn’t formed yet were coming out clearly, and I was trying to remember all that I was saying.  That is a funny feeling. 🙂  My final confession brought me to my new desire.  I had concisely shaped my new steps forward.  My new desire was to hear “You have delighted me” from not only God but from my husband.  In a word “Tirzah.” I acknowledged I was far from this being consistently, and yet it didn’t seem to matter, the past was the past and from now on we would move forward.

In the past, I would have fought to be so vulnerable, feeling (incorrectly) that telling my husband I wanted to delight him would have been a standard he could hold above me.  Words that could be thrown back at me when I failed him.  I knew I was moving forward in steps towards intimacy because as we finished that conversation on February 14th, I felt only relief.  I had set a new standard for myself, and it didn’t matter what anyone else would say or think about it.  This was about a deep desire to know God and my husband as intimately as I could.

I am forever grateful for authors like Jennifer Smith who are willing, to be honest, and vulnerable.  Her boldness in writing her truth is what has allowed me to do the same. There are so many other things I could share about The Unveiled Wife, and I may do that, but I would encourage you to get your own copy.  I promise you won’t regret it!