empowerment

5 Steps to De-Stress Your Holidays

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Are you done with feeling stuck like a 12 year-old when you go ‘home’ for the holidays?

All those family expectations, and roles we fall into, are draining. Somtimes it happens when we aren’t even aware of it. What if you didn’t have to get drawn into everyone else’s emotional chaos and you could choose how you wanted your family time to go?

You can.

De-Stress the Holidays

Here are 5 practical ways to maintain your peace and reclaim who you want to be.

  1. Practice daily self-care and check-in with your feelings.

    This could look like a five-minute step outside to get a deep breath and release tension. You have to be intentional and continue to validate what’s important to you. It’s okay to meet your own needs.

  2. Bust relationship triggers before they occur so they can’t derail you.

    This means you need to antiicpate Aunt Beth’s caring, but overly inquisitive interest in your love life. (See one-liners below.)

  3. Empower healthy boundaries for your time and energy.

    You don’t have to attend 3 dinners in one day. Even if your family doesn’t understand your new choices, you’re only responsible for you.

  4. Personalize ‘one-liner redirects’ to take the pressure off.

    Responses like, “Thanks for sharing.” “I’ll get back to you.” “What do you think I think about that?” will politely acknowledge the interaction but provide a way for you to not reveal any more than you are comfortable with.

  5. Create your own traditions that support your sense of happiness.

    The holidays (even if you’re going through a big transition) can still be a special time. Find little ways to capture meaningful moments.

Remember, being the authentic you is the best gift you can give yourself. And when you are at peace and fulfilled, that is the best gift you can give eveyone else.

Happy Holidays!

What if You Read ONE New Thing that Changed Your Life Forever?

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Have you ever read or heard something at ‘just the right time’ and it changed your life? 

This audio book did it for me and I hope the idea it sparked will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of women.  Want to hear more? 

My 24/7 mission is to make it easier for women to come forward for healing from sexual wounds.  I pray about this all the time and keep trying new ways to make the first step not so scary. I want women to see beyond the ache, the shame, the stuck lifestyle, and the loss of hope. I want them to know the ultimate healing and restoration that comes from being made new, and  fresh and beautiful through Father God’s love.  

And as I stood at my book table at last Saturday’s conference I saw how difficult it was for women to talk to me because I’m, you know, the ‘sex lady’. If they talk to me it means they have something to say to me. That’s a ‘duh’, but being associated with sex is a definite black/white issue with no gray.

So, that first step is a big one and they’re either ready or NOT ready. 

Usually, I have a couple of interactive boards for them to participate in. There are big questions like: “What brings you the most joy in your relationship?” “If you could put one fear about your relationship behind you, what is it?” These are great starters. Women use little sticky notes and post their answers all over the boards. But my table space was shared, so I wasn’t able to do that. That limited my display to my books.   

All around me vendors were engaging the crowd. Body butter, exchangeable-cover purses, exotic jewelry, flowy dresses… you name it. I was happy for them, of course, but still pondered…

what I could do.  

Then, Monday came and I was in the car for a four-hour road trip. Armed with a selection of snacks and audio books, I started my journey. Well, it didn’t take long to get into Joy Mangano’s story. I saw the movie “Joy” a couple of years ago and knew this book would be the real story.   

She emphasized two things about how she got to where she is today. First of all, from childhood up, she firmly believed- “My Voice Matters.”  Secondly, she was driven to “Make Lives Better”.

These points are foundational. 

As her story of triumph over so many “No’s” and scary obstacles continued, I felt a ROAR rising up within me. New purpose and determination surged inside of me. “Why Not Me?” “Why Can’t I also Come Up with an Amazing Idea?” 

So while rolling down the green landscape of the very-much-still-summer Florida highway, things began to click for me.

My Amazing Idea

A. I want to make it easier for women to take that first step.

B. What if there was something beautiful and intriguing they could do or buy, as evidence of a commitment to themselves to make the journey?   

Hmmm…. And then it happened. 

I have another friend who represents artisans all over the world who are survivors of human trafficking. She buys their products, resells them, and puts the money back into their lives. It’s an amazing! https://thescarletthreadstore.com/    

I had previously talked to her and knew she had artisans who made pieces that were similar to my logo- the infinity hearts. But now I’m thinking… wait a minute, what if… that double heart had a unique and specific meaning? What if it meant… “I value my heart and choose to stand up for myself AND I choose to receive Father God’s love (honor, beauty and wholeness).”  

The two hearts mean- “Love Your Heart. Receive God’s Heart.” 

It’s still in the brainstorming stage, but I’m super pumped. I’ll need to get the exact phrase and marketing piece together, but this could be such a beautiful gift. An inspiring way to give life to yourself.  

When a woman chooses to love her heart (by standing up even through the pain of a sexual wound)  and partner with ALL of Father God’s restoration and transformation… she has her identity, dignity and destiny back. She’s now among the living again.

That, says, “My Voice Matters. My Life is Better.” 

Please stay with me and follow this story to see how many captives we can set free and doors we can open.  It’s time for NO women to remain in her place of sexual wounds.

It’s time for #FreedomNow!

Frustrated Wife Disease and the 3 Mindset Shifts You Need to Overcome it and Get Powerful in Loving You

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If you’re breathing and alive on this planet, frustrations are a given, but sometimes there is a situation where they escalate and need immediate attention. Could that be you in your marriage?

 

What is Frustrated Wife Disease?

1. Not receiving the personalized love and attention you want (includes romance)

2. Being uncomfortable with sexual expectations (in marriage) because of lack of emotional connection

3. Giving up hope he will change or ever do anything different than what you’ve always known

 

Does that ring a bell?

 

Sure, these are legit bummers. As wives, we do have dreams, images of beautiful marriages, and expectations for certain behaviors. But do you know what I noticed? All of those frustrations are about him, his actions (or lack of), and his perceived mindset. Hmmm…

 

Can you control him or his actions… like even one little thing?

 

That would be a “NO!” He is responsible for himself. You are responsible for you. So what can you do?

 

Here’s what you have control over. Here’s what you can do:

1. Act on your choice.

Your choice is either being power-ful or power-less. That’s right. You either choose to control yourself or choose to let others control you. It’s a head-scratcher, I know, but hang with me.

2. Know what you want and how to ask for it.

Does this seem like a ‘no brainer’? “Of course I know what I want!!” But sometimes we let our emotions get in the driver’s seat and take control, to the point that the issue is clouded and we don’t know what the problem really is or what we want to be different. And even after all of that we need to know how to put into words he will get… to stop an argument even before it happens. Yesindeedy, the plot thickens. There is more depth to this idea than meets the eye.

3. Face the problem.

When you gain truth about where your relationship really is (not just where you are hurt, or think he is wrong, or the what ‘always’ happens) then, and only then, can you find a specific solution. That will build trust and vulnerability, which leads to intimacy- both emotional and sexual.

 

Look at that!! You are so powerful! You can truly impact your marriage right where you are, regardless on ‘him’. Now, I’m not saying husbands should do nothing, but if you are only waiting on him to make the difference in your marriage, well, you have given away your power.

 

When is it ever a good idea to give away your power?

 

Exactly! The answer is… NEVER.

 

So, if you are on board for becoming more powerful in who you are, then I have the most perfect program for you. It’s called “Healed and Happy Intimacy in Marriage”. I will help you to-

~Heal your heart from past sexual wounds and lies

~See your identity in God (loving yourself through His eyes)

~Create a plan to share ‘you’ and grow the understanding in your marriage

 

Wowser! That’s amazing! But there’s more.

 

I’m offering this at an Introductory price- 50% OFF- the regular price of $497.

For a spectacular $247 you get:

~4-weeks Healed & Happy Intimacy in Marriage program

~ (4) 1-hour private sessions

~4 weeks of communication and relationship skills, specific to where you are RIGHT NOW

~4 weeks of unlimited email access, for those urgent “Yikes!” moments when you want to keep your new skills fresh in the midst of… you guessed it, Frustration

 

So, what are you waiting for? Sign-Ups begin on Oct 4. There are only 5 spots.

Let’s set-up a call so you find out how this will meet what you want now. Plus, as a bonus, I’ll give you a Self-Value & Peace Growing Tool to help you TODAY!

And… I have Payment Plans.

Sign up for a call here:    https://calendly.com/mary-19/relationship-breakthrough-session       

  

Assertiveness Tips that Bring Clarity and Kick Fear OUT of the Picture.

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When delicate issues arise, that you REALLY want to talk about, it helps to have a clear plan. Part of that is settling some vulnerable areas in yourself, first. Fear maybe lurking around (disguised as anxiety, hurt or even resentment) and it will skew all of your attempts to clarify. No one likes to be on a ‘runaway feeling train’ so let’s see how tapping into God’s limitless love will bring peace, direction, and favor.

The Assertiveness Journey Helps You Know and Love Yourself.

1. Know What You Want

Although this may seem like a silly point, it is a great starting place. Step outside of the emotional turmoil caused by the tension in the relationship, and ask yourself what you’d love to see happen. Picture it vividly. Get in touch with the great feelings that come from this positive place. Journal the idea to keep it fresh, as a focal point.

2. Give Yourself Permission to Want It

This is where the confusion may lie. Have you put your desires at the bottom of the list, after everyone else… but you still want MORE from your relationship? That’s when resentment creeps in and you can feel justified to stay there. Let your self-awareness rise-up to pinpoint what mixed messages you’ve internalized about ‘you’ receiving what’s good for you. By the way, this is not a selfish practice or goal.

3. Settle the Fear Issue

When questions arise, when control is gone, when doubts get loud, we are walking in fear. It’s not all ‘bad’, but we want to get on the healthy side. Here’are a few reminders: You’re only responsible for you. You’re not a mind reader, and neither is he. Quit playing both sides of the conversation in your head. That closes the door and creates distance and more fear before you even start.

4. Establish Your Self-Value and Identity  

You have a choice about how you see yourself. It can either be God’s way or the way of the world, filled with junk. That may seem blunt, but if you want transformation, that’s the truth. It takes a little digging to discern what messages are building you up and what you need to let go of, but it’s worth the work. Restoring your self-value frees you to love courageously, to see the best in everyone, including you.

5. Ask for Your Wants (with Understanding as the Goal)

Growing closeness in the relationship means you want to share what’s going on inside of you, bringing some missing information to the communication. Find the best setting for you both. Use a supportive tone. Select nonjudgmental words, preferring more “I feel…” statements to open up vulnerability, empathy, and intimacy. Ask for him to listen. Be ready to really hear him in return.

Women Who Take Action Change Their Relationships.

If you’re a woman who ‘has it ALL’, but your relationships are more disconnected than close, you’d trade everything just to recreate the magic, especially in your marriage. Thankfully, there are powerful communication tools that will bring clarity, kick out fear, and revitalize true connection. Let’s talk more and see how Relationship Coaching will open the door to ‘Limitless Intimacy’ and  courageously loving in your marriage.

The Magnolia Girl Story

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Years ago, during a very vulnerable season in my life, a young woman had a word for me about being like a Magnolia. She described how strong the blooms were, with leathery blossoms. At the time it was encouraging, but I was in such a place of hurt that I couldn’t process it all.

Fast-forward to 2016 and what God had placed on my heart to minister to women recovering from sexual abuse and dysfunction. (These are also Christian women who can’t quite bring themselves to come forward because some of their very issues revolve around mixed messages from the church.)

I didn't know how to frame my message.

I had the calling, the understanding, the personal and professional experience, but I’d been praying for the right image and words to connect with other women. It finally came to me, while visiting a state park.

The Magnolia is a beautiful flowering tree with a sweet scent.

What most people don't know, though, is it has an ancient existence, even before bees. It required pollination by beetles. That's one of the reasons the blooms are so tough, to allow the beetle to walk on the flower. But the beetle’s method was unorthodox by human standards and altogether repugnant. The beetle ate its way through the flower while defecating and rolling in it… relishing in the pollen. Even so, the Magnolia stood regal and continued to not just survive, but receive acclaim as the symbol of grace and strength.

Women are like Magnolias.

Some women have been walked on, robbed of their life-giving essence, and then defiled by filthy disgusting treatment. And yet… their divinely designed beauty and strength continue to flourish.

I combined my idea of supporting women with the history of the Magnolia.

‘Magnolia Girls’ is for women who have experienced the devastation of being used (trashed by other’s harmful and selfish sexual pursuits) and yet retained their strength as their true beauty. It's for women who have struggled with intimacy in their Christian marriage and the taboo of being able to talk about their concerns. 'Magnolia Girls' is for women seeking restoration from God for their delicate battles regarding sexual intimacy. Identifying as a ‘Magnolia Girl’ gives privacy for healing as the image is so positive (beauty, strength, and grace) to the public.

At this time support is available through small group sessions and private coaching with individual prayer ministry. For more details see http://www.marywhitmanortiz.com/magnolia

Support is also available for Christian leaders who want training to minister hope, truth, and grace to women with sexual intimacy struggles. Joint sessions are open to men and women who both desire more information. Personal ministry training is designed for women to minister to women. For more details see http://www.marywhitmanortiz.com/church  

 

Christian Women Face Additional Obstacles to Sexual Intimacy

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If God says sex in marriage, between a husband and wife, is good, then why aren’t we celebrating it? Yes, sexual intimacy has been perverted by the world, so we know to abstain from some of those practices. But even sadder than that, it’s been shamed by the church, the very institution that could best represent God’s view.  No wonder Christian women, in church circles, find themselves struggling with even more obstacles because we as the church aren’t embracing God’s design.

 

What obstacles do women face?

 

1.       “How do I say, “Yes”, after saying “No” for so long?”

Thankfully, we are raising some kids who are keeping their purity until marriage. That is truly a blessing and helpful in so many ways. But, we don’t always prepare them with a healthy mindset about Godly sexuality. They get the ’No! No! No!’ message, and not the ‘Save Your Gift for Your Spouse to Express in a Free and Honoring Way!’ message. 

So, they reach their wedding night and don’t know how to transition to a new way of managing their sexuality. Awkwardness aside, who are they going to tell about their dilemma? They feel embarrassed with thoughts like, “I’m supposed to know what to do. This is supposed to be okay, but it doesn’t feel that way. Is something wrong with me?” And they don’t open up. Instead, they create a very unhealthy pattern of sexual activity without vulnerability, emotional intimacy, and transparency with their spouse. It’s the start of something very damaging.

2.       “Can a Christian woman be ‘Hot’ and Holy?”

Women typically connect everything in their life together. They’re more intuitive, so knowing about the kids’ school projects, the church fellowship dinner, and their husband’s big problem at work get intermingled, all the time. But when it comes to combining their Christian walk and their sexual being… not so much.

They keep these ideas very separate. Yes, they can embrace their love for God with as much commitment and passion as possible. But honoring their sexuality (in beautiful, Godly ways within marriage) still feels very OFF LIMITS, like they’re not supposed to even think about sex… and they’re married!!  

They almost have to disassociate with who they are at their core to even participate in sexual intimacy with their husband. It breaks down their identity as a woman and wife. They don’t know that they can be free to express themselves with the Father’s blessing.  And, again, who are they going to tell? This is the very reason they are having the problem!! There’s no safe space to have this talk. A healthy, whole view of mutual respect and pleasure (in marital intimacy) seems to be missing.

3.       “But, doesn’t the scripture say… ‘your body is not your own’?”

Scripture is often twisted. Whether intentionally communicated with a slant, for selfish motives or authoritarian control, or unintentionally perceived through a negative filter. Certain passages are highlighted that limit one’s freedom of thought and expression. This is sad for any topic it affects, but particularly harmful when it comes to the marriage bed. There are wives who feel like they have no say in their marital relations. Even though many scriptures highlight mutual respect and submission, those are not the passages they’re hearing the loudest.

These wives sense that if they displease their husband in this manner that they are displeasing God. So they are earning their place of acceptance in God by performing sexually for their husband.  It’s as if their value and Christian identity hinge on measuring up to a certain sexual standard.  If this pattern continues women feel if they choose to stand up for themselves and honor their bodies that means they have chosen to ‘leave God’. Why should they ever feel they have to choose between self-protection and being obedient to God? That is never how the Father wants healthy sexuality to be viewed.

4.      “Everybody watches porn, right?”

Pornography is wrong in every possible way. We know that it’s not a real representation of love-making. The people are actors and often there through sexual exploitation. We know repeated pornography usage reduces one's ability to interact easily with their spouse. It also breaks down neurological connections that can cause misfiring and permanent damage.  These facts are known in the secular understanding as dangers of pornography.

For a Christian wife (and/or husband) there are additional pitfalls. The Christian couple stood before God on their wedding day and made commitments to shared values. These values established heart choices towards each other and God. When a spouse chooses pornography as a lifestyle they betray their partner. Some consider this to be on par with adultery. This pornographic habit is also a choice to participate in a vulgar sin unto God. They bring that sin to their marriage bed. They have sinned against their own body and their spouse’s body as well. Shame sets in even if the activity is hidden. It not only destroys the individual but also their partner and family.     

5.       “I asked the church for help and now I feel worse.”

In the world, there are support groups for everything imaginable. Although the advice given isn’t always Godly or healthy, there are still open ears and kind hearts to listen and embrace. In the church, there has been some success for groups like Celebrate Recovery and a few others, but in general, there is limited support for women who want guidance for healing in regards to sexual intimacy issues.

So when she gathers her courage and seeks help through the church, but is pushed away or made to feel 'bad' about herself, she is crushed. It may cause her to shut down permanently and never get the help she needs. It’s as if her issues are doubled. The original pain has now been compiled with rejection. It’s so much hurt that she may choose to never become that vulnerable and trusting again. Once more, the very institution that could best communicate God’s message of hope has been a vehicle for darkness.

Now to their defense, I realize that we all have previous experiences and filters that shape our view. These church leaders are only operating out of their own understanding. They don’t know what they don’t know. It’s not a malicious oversight, but still, one for which they are responsible.     

 My prayer is for more truth to be available for the church at large so that more opportunities exist for freedom.

 

 What can we do about It?

Let’s grow a church culture that partners with God’s view on healthy sexuality and celebrates His goodness. Let’s identify and encourage female leaders with a propensity to minister grace and truth in this delicate topic. Let’s create a safe space for talks about intimacy.

For more information on services I offer to church and ministry leaders, and for individual women check out:

http://marywhitmanortiz.com/church