comprehensive sexuality education without the shame

Psalm 139

Psalm 139:13-15 NIV

    “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the Earth.”

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms.  For me it illustrates the relationship God has with us, a relationship built on intimacy.  The phrase of being created and knitted together in the mother’s womb is body, is touch, is love and tenderness.  Knitting takes time, energy, attention to detail, and care.  It is a craft, an art.  It explains the way that God was intentional with creation:  intentional with all of us on race, gender, identity, body, given gifts, orientation—all of this.  

In the beginning of Psalm 139 it talks about how God knows us, that wherever we may be in life or spirit or location, God knows and God still cares.  We carry lots of guilt and shame around especially related to our sexual identities. By this I mean, who we are, what we do, think, act out or on.  In short our sexual identities are how we are in relationship to one another and to this world.  God knows of our shame and guilt and we are still claimed by God.  I recently got a tattoo with the phrase, “Fearfully and wonderfully made,” written around it.  I did this because this is how I want to live my life, how I want to see myself.  It serves as a reminder for me when the guilt and shame that we have been trained to feel daily gets too much.  I need a reminder that the core of me is how God envisioned; it’s just that life around us can get a little messy.

I often think of the phrase, “secret place and being woven together in the depths of the Earth.”  What was this secret place and what did God tell me that I have not yet learned?  Was it a time where God showed me what love feels like so when I encounter it I would know instantly?  Was it the secret whisperings we get when we know our own truth of who we are even though others aren’t on board yet?  And this Earth, the damp rich soil where our flesh comes from, it’s organic, full of nutrients, and sexy.  Dipping your hands into the kind of soil that when you clench it, it holds on to you right back before releasing it between your fingers.  You can tell something good will come from this kind of soil when you plant with it in your garden.  We are connected through this rich soil and through the secrets we hold.  All of us feel unsure, all of us wonder, “Am I okay?”

It’s incredibly important for all of us to recognize our worth.  We are worthy to be loved, to love, and to repeat the process over and over again until we can truly recognize it ourselves.  This takes time for many of us.  However, that is what living and relationships are.  We work through what we might not have received initially.  We learn where we can trust, where our strengths and weaknesses are, we recognize where our walls go up, and what we need to bring them down.  In our journey of understanding that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” we need to remember our connectedness to one another.  We share a lot more similarities than differences. The main similarity is just this: finding our worth, wanting to know that we belong to someone or something—that our existence matters.  

We are entering a new time where our leadership has already told many of us that we are not worthy.    Skin color, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, abilities, and age have all been referred to as less than.  This message affects us and cuts to our core, and consequently affects how we function in relationship to one another and with our partners.  I just finished reading Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.  In one of her essays she wrote about how most people believe the opposite of love is hate, but what she has come to learn is the opposite of love is fear.  I do believe many people operate out of fear of what they can’t understand and sometimes that fear can be because it   resembles what they are not able to accept in themselves.  We need to fight through fear for others and ourselves to give us the best chance of loving and being who we are.

Each of you is fearfully and wonderfully made.  You were knitted together with great care and intention. Please don’t let someone else make you feel that you aren’t.  There was no mistake in the creation of you and don’t ever apologize to anyone for who you love, are attracted to, what color your skin is, or who or what you believe in.  


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