Introducing the Latest Awaken-Love Teacher – Beth in Ohio

When a woman wakes up to the importance of creating a great sex life with her husband, sharing that truth with friends doesn’t always goes smoothly. But real transformation is hard to keep to yourself. Beth became an Awaken-Love teacher because she did not give up when God called her to share how important sex is in marriage.

Beth’s Story

Beth began her journey when an eminent life change required changes. As her special needs daughter out grew school  care, she made the hard choice to stay home in preparation for providing full time care. When a job placement for her daughter came thru, Beth  had time on her hands for the first time in years. Beth started reading and found books like Sheet Music. Diving into the world of online Christian blogs and podcasts, she devoured information as she suddenly realized what she had missed out on all those years.

As a parent of 4 kids, one of them special needs, Beth had spent years putting intimacy on the back burner. How could she relax and enjoy sex when her head filled with worry for the next day? The high levels of stress over the years depleted her desire. Trying to provide a normal family life for their kids left little to no energy at the end of the day. On some level it almost felt wrong to seek pleasure while their daughter suffered.

As God revealed to Beth his design for sexual intimacy in marriage, her perspective shifted. She took the first step of opening up by telling her husband what she was learning. Beth apologized to him, asking forgiveness for the years of not making their sex life a priority. Beth backed her words with actions increasing their times for sexual connection.

After her awakening Beth heard about the Christian based Sexy Marriage Radio Getaway. With her boys finally old enough to take care of her special needs daughter, Beth was determined to go. Though her husband was happy to
get away, he didn’t know all of what the weekend really entailed. Over the next 4 days, Beth shared with him her hopes for their sexual intimacy going forward. Together they began discovering all that God desires for their marriage bed.

Growth in marriage takes time, communication, and endurance. It is one thing for a person to read about ideas and another for a couple to put them into practice. Change came 2-steps forward and 1-step backward. Expectations were slowly exchanged for an appreciation of discovering new things.

Awaken-Love Classes

When Beth first started her journey, she tried sharing with a couple of friends by giving them a copy of Sheet Music to read. But when one of her friends returned the book with exclamations of, “my husband isn’t like that!” she worried her openness might have ruined a friendship.

Beth started following Awaken-Love years ago when it was called ChristianSexClass.org. When the Awaken-Love video class launched, Beth wanted to host a group but didn’t know who she’d ask after her last experience. After emailing me and explaining her situation, I suggested she skype into a live class. Though technology didn’t always cooperate, the class profoundly impacted Beth. The 6 weeks of class brought to life the culmination of what Beth had discovered on her own. God has an amazing design for sex in marriage.

After class, Beth couldn’t shake the feeling that she should share the experience with others. Friends had noticed the difference in Beth’s marriage and asked what changed. Beth finally gathered her nerve and spoke to her friend at church that ran family ministries. To her surprise, her church immediately offered support and encouraged her to host an Awaken-Love video class.

Beth’s Calling

Last June Beth hosted her first video class with three close friends. The nervousness in the room disappeared as laughter broke through. Together they experience real growth and change as they encouraged each other in their journey toward intimacy. Class opened a door that gave these women a glimpse of all that God wants for their marriage bed.

Since that time Beth has continued to teach video classes – even if only one woman can attend. Doors have opened for her to speak at MOPS groups to encourage young moms in their sex life. Her church continues to support and encourage her as Awaken-Love becomes a ministry of the church.

Beth has a special place in her heart for moms of special needs kids. She understands the struggles they face. Close to 80% of marriages with special needs kids end in divorce. Beth thinks back to the sleepless nights of worry and wished she had known to seek refreshment and refuge in her husband’s arms. God created sex to help hold marriages together that face enormous strain.

I am beyond thrilled to introduce Beth from Ohio as the latest Awaken-Love teacher. She has been called by God to teach His truth, to share what she has learned, and to encourage others that it is never too late.

Sex Advice For Engaged Couples

When Jim and I married we weren’t exactly clueless about sex. We had already crossed many lines. Even though we understood the physical aspects of sex, we knew little about God’s design. We had no idea how to talk about sex, or how lies would impact our marriage bed. I wish someone had sat us down and not only shared the truth, but modeled comfortable conversations. What if we didn’t wait until couples had years of bad habits and hurts? What advice would you give to engaged couples?

Twice a year Jim and I teach the engaged class at church and we often wrestle with what to teach about sex. How much do I tell them and what should they discover on their own? Where is the line between setting reasonable expectations and creating self-fulfilling prophecies? How personal do I get and how much do I get into their business?

I have found most engaged couples are thrilled to even have the topic of sex addressed. Few pastors talk about sex during pre-marital counseling. Most of them just gloss over it or recommend a book to read. This summer, Jim and I are excited to record a pre-marital video class  couples that pastors can use or that couples can view on their own. I am excited to offer engaged couples a tool to get off on the right foot.

As we prepare for recording, I want to share what we teach in class and ask, “What else do you wish you knew about sex before you got married?”

Open Up Conversation and Create Self Awareness

After introductions, I dive right in by opening conversation with a few questions….

  • What did you hear about sex from your family?
  • What messages about sex do you remember from the church?
  • How does media portray sex in marriage?
  • How about sex outside of marriage?
  • What does the world tell you about men and sex?
  • What does the world tell you about women and sex?

Couples need to get comfortable talking about sex, and learn to create a safe place for their spouse to share. But even more than that, they need to start realizing that we don’t start with a clean slate when we marry. We come with all kinds of expectations for sex. We also have preconceived ideas about how our spouse will act and their motivations. Unless we grew up in a family that openly shared how awesome sex was in marriage, the twisted messages from the world far outweigh the positive ideas about sex. Before we can hear God’s truth we need an awareness that we view sex through a distorted lens. We need to start with a clean slate so we can hear God’s truth.

God’s Design

God’s designed sex to create life, but also to make us into one. God intended that we spend a life time getting to know each other through sex. He wants us to experience pleasure, and comfort through sex. When we are completely captivated with each other, sex creates a defense from other temptations. But more than anything else, sex helps us understand the depth of intimacy God wants with us. When we aren’t sure what is true about sex, then we can compare it to our relationship with Christ.

Couples need to understand how God’s design tends to play out between husband and wife. What comes easily to one and requires trust and growth from the other. They also need to understand the drastic contrast between God’s design and what the world says about sex, especially for wives.

Boundaries

Within the confines of one man and one woman, God gives us much freedom. We have to remember that ultimately God designed sex as a way to love each other. As we make choices about what we enjoy, we must constantly ask ourselves, “Are we both comfortable with this?”, and if not, “why?” Baggage impacts us and working through baggage will help us to know each other in a deeper way. We also ask the question, “Does our choice create intimacy between the two of us?”

I want to equip couples to talk through differences, and to discern what God wants for their sex life. I don’t have the answer, God does.

Pornography

We also spend time talking to couples about pornography and make it very clear that getting married will not fix their struggle with lust. The best thing they can do is commit to start getting clean before marriage – by disclosure, accountability partners, smart choices about technology and going after deeper issues. Having an understanding of what porn is and opening up the conversation will help couples battle together.

Then we help them understand each other.

Men, you need to know that she ….

Women, you need to know that he ….

  • Is aroused by sight.
  • Can be ready at the drop of a hat – or not. Some men are impacted by stress, anxiety or whether they feel emotionally connected.
  • Needs an average of 2 minutes of stimulation to orgasm.
  • May have a hard time lasting as long as he wants, and feel like a failure if he doesn’t. Take the pressure off by communicating, and providing other pathways.
  • He wants you to enjoy sex as much as does. Take the time to figure things out for yourself. Show him what you like. Share initiation.
  • Erections are not always under his control. They just happen because he thinks you’re beautiful.

I also touch on vibrators and advise taking at least a year to get to know each other before they consider incorporating one.

The Wedding Night

We encourage couples to talk through their wedding night in advance. How late will it be? What will you wear? How much do you want to see? What would be a good way to relax and transition from the wedding events? What kind of  lubrication will you use?

We challenge couples that have not waited to abstain for a period before their wedding. Maybe from now until their wedding night, to say to God,  “I am going to trust you in this”. To say to their spouse, “You can trust me to be faithful.” And to say to themselves, “God made me sexual and that is a good thing. But my sexuality does not control me.” Abstaining will help them get off on the right foot and create anticipation for the big night.

What Else?

So, if you were getting married in a couple of months, what do you wish someone had taught you before your wedding night? What do wish you had discussed with your fiancé beforehand? What resources would have been helpful?

Ministry on the Mission Field – One Woman at a Time

Marie serves on the mission field and for years has quietly spoken truth to women about sexuality, one woman at a time. This year she discovered Awaken-Love and  was able to take the class using the internet. She hopes to use the Awaken-Love videos to minister to other women on mission field. But I believe God smiles down at the quiet mentoring she does in her village. Here is a little glimpse into her world. 

 Ruth

Held

The other day the word “held” and the variations of that word made me pause and think. One simple word and yet so profound. Welcome to my corner of the world where I am held by God to bring His life to a country where villages are nestled high up on mountain sides or lie sleepily in the valleys below. Where people quickly welcome you into their family.

Ministry in Another Country

This world in which I live is the reason why I feel compelled to share the Awaken-Love lessons I have learned. When people come to visit they are often touched by the warmness of the people and the rugged beauty of this place. I too shall never grow weary of the beauty – the beauty of the people, the beauty of the deep relationships I cultivate, the beauty of the mountains, valleys and lakes. My heart, however, is affected in another way.

As the years go by and as the women here age, you can literally see the years of heartache and disappointment etched into the lines on their faces. They carry the heaviness of the burdens upon their shoulders. Arranged marriages are normal here. Some arranged marriages work and are beautiful. Other times lost hope and profound sadness, coupled with years of hard manual labor in homes, kitchens and fields make the women humped over. They look overwhelmed by the burden of struggling to survive not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

Transformation

I am ever so careful of how I address the cultural mindsets here as I mentor some of the ladies. I love seeing transformation as the ladies begin to dance in the arms of their Savior. They hear Him sing an intimate song of loving and belonging to Him. My heart is filled with joy as I see understanding light up in their eyes. They begin to know they are more than a cook or an excellent housekeeper. Yes, those things are important, but it is only a small part of who they are! God the Father calls each of them by name as His beloved daughter. As they realize their true identity,  a change begins within them that has a positive impact on their closest relationships, beginning with their spouse, and then extending beyond that into their extended family and friends.

I live in a land where old traditions and superstitions still hold sway over the people today. Young ladies in this society can never walk alone publicly. A male family member must escort them everywhere they go.  Or a group of girls together may venture into town. Even middle-aged and older ladies cannot walk alone after dark. A young lady’s maidenhood is protected, which is a good thing. Sex education is taught in great detail in schools, but never mentioned outside of the school walls because it is scandalous to mention the word “sex” in mixed company. In situations when I am teaching only females and I even hint about the beauty of sex between a husband and a wife, the girls feel embarrassed and even ashamed to talk about the subject. With eyes cast down – they think, this should not be!

Mentoring

We are beautifully and wonderfully made. He knitted us in our mother’s womb. Young brides feel extremely nervous about their wedding night. No one has told them about the beautiful gift of sex and how it connects them to their husbands. God has created this gift for our pleasure and His glory. Making love to our spouses is right and good in God’s eyes. Fear dissipates as I explain how we can be both a godly wife and a sensuous lover to our husbands. I rejoice when women understand that God created pleasure for the both of them to enjoy.

So, I will continue to teach these precious ladies, even though the context is almost always one by one due to the culture. I will continue to give what I am holding – the knowledge that they can be free in Christ. Free from the shame that seeks to cling to them, holding them back from freedom and joy. I am holding a precious gift, given freely to me, and I pass it on to many others. I teach them to arise and dance in the arms of our loving God and to enter into the freedom of enjoying the pleasure of sex with our husbands. And so I hold these precious people in my own heart as I myself am held safely and securely by my Heavenly Father in His arms.

What’s Cookin’ at Awaken-Love

I feel like I have a dozen pans in the oven, and I am not quite sure how to keep track of them. The last few months have been super busy for Awaken-Love and I don’t see things settling down anytime soon.  I have meetings with churches, a book to publish, administrative tasks for classes, development of the men’s curriculum  for videos, dreams of making a video for pre-marital counseling, another book running around in my head, missionaries developing online communities for skype video classes, a list of articles to write, and a dream of someday selling Awaken-Love t-shirts. My list seems to constantly grow and I find myself struggling to focus.

Help Wanted

I am beginning the process of looking for a very part time virtual assistant. Someone who can grow my social media presence, help cultivate community, improve marketing and perform some minor administrative tasks. But most importantly I want someone that understands the mission of Awaken-Love. If anyone has interest, please contact me.

Speaking

Since January I’ve had the chance to speak to about 8 women’s groups. The reception has been so positive as we discuss a topic rarely addressed – sex. Women seem hungry for information, and not the same old message of “Do it for your husband.” Many wives had tears well up in their eyes as they realized some of the assumptions they made about sex or their husband. I pray that many women find healing and  follow through by taking a video class to redefine sex.

Class Sign Ups

Over 170 women have signed up for either a live or video class since January. I am so blessed to work with other women investing to teach or facilitate Awaken-Love classes. They faithfully give their time because they know the importance of creating strong marriages. Women in Ohio, South Carolina, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota and even on the mission field. I am praying that God will raise up more warriors that understand the importance of reclaiming sex to strengthen marriage.

If you feel a nudge to make a difference in your local community, I would love to talk more with you. I am teaching a class starting April 12th from 7-9 PM CST that you could Skype into and experience Awaken-Love first hand.

Even if you can’t take a live class, anyone can host a video class. The videos provide all the teaching and discussion prompts. You create a safe place for women to learn, process and minister to each other.

Video Classes

Hosting a class is super easy. Once you find a private meeting place with good internet access, a screen for viewing, and 6 class dates, simply register yourself online. Afterwards you can send invitations to your friends and get ready to see God move. The cost is minimal – $10 registers each woman on the website and gives her access to the videos, curriculum and the daily emails as part of class. You can always contact me with any questions or assistance.

In the last 6 years, Awaken-Love has spread primarily by word of mouth. Women telling women, “you have to take this class!” Everyone from newlyweds to married 50 years. Women with great marriages and women trying to revive a marriage. Today over 1000 women have experienced transformation through Awaken-Love.

Changing the Culture of Sex in the Church

Now is the time to start talking about sex. To provide real answers to hurting couples navigating a world that has distorted sex. Now is the time to invest in marriages and families. We have to move beyond reading about sex and open up face to face conversations. If we want to change the culture of sex, then we have to get comfortable talking about sex. It is God’s domain and we ought to love sharing the truth.

Awaken-Love classes are a unique, no holds barred vehicle to break open respectful conversations about sex that is based on God’s word.  If you want the church to start talking about sex, then realize that you are the church. Don’t wait for you pastor, or women’s ministry director to offer a class. Have the courage to sign up for a class and invite your friends. You have no idea who might be desperate for help.

I remember the first year I taught classes. I was terrified. What if something came up that I didn’t know how to handle? What if I didn’t have the answer?

Guess what? After 6 years of teaching I still don’t know all the answers.  But God is good, and when I have no answer, I hang onto His truth.  When I don’t have the right words, someone else in class always does. I know that I will mess up, but God will work through all of my faults and weaknesses. I do not change lives, God does.

If you are interested in learning more about Awaken-Love, please contact me. I would love to talk to you.

Beth – The Latest Addition to Awaken-Love Teachers

Meet Beth, the most recent addition to the Awaken-Love teaching team. Beth will teach in Plymouth Minnesota at her church Wayzata Free.

I first heard Beth’s name several years ago when a student in class mentioned that her counselor had suggested she take an Awaken-Love class. Unbeknownst to me Beth was a huge fan of Awaken-Love and already spreading the word to women that needed help.

About a year later I got an email from Beth saying that she had been following my blog and so appreciated my stance on sexuality in marriage. Her words were kind, affirming and quite honestly, humbling. Here was this pastoral counselor thinking that I had something of value to say about marriage and sex.

A Lifeline

About a year later, Beth signed up for a class at just right the time. That winter I struggled with depression like I never had before and Beth became part of my lifeline. She tenderly created a safe place to grieve the loss of a ministry partner. Our times were steeped in prayer and asking God for answers.

In order to better understand my strengths and weaknesses Beth suggested I take some personality assessments. When she viewed the results, she immediately understood how hard ministry has been. Everything that I do –  teaching, speaking, writing, and stepping into emotional situations – does not come naturally for me. God called me to a ministry that requires dependence on Him instead of relying on my own abilities.

Beth also helped me to, shall we say, “Get my house in order.” I had started letting my emotions rule my life. The Holy Spirit needed to guide my spirit, my spirit to guide my emotions, and my emotions to guide my body. God gave me emotions to help me understand life, but they aren’t always an accurate guide, unless they are under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Beth was such a gift from God during that very hard time in my life.

Beth will make an amazing Awaken-Love teacher.

She has a powerful story of God’s redemption in her own marriage that has encouraged countless couples. Her sweet, gentle spirit constantly asks for wisdom and answers from the Father. Beth understands the importance of staying connected with her husband and continues to strive towards more freedom in her own marriage bed. But most importantly, I have met few women with as intimate a relationship with Jesus as Beth.

I am excited to watch God work through Beth as she joins the team of Awaken-Love teachers bringing God’s truth to women about sex.

Straight Talk on Female Ejaculation

A woman from class shared that a friend confided recent episodes of urinary incontinence during sex. Even though bladder control wasn’t an issue at other times, she was concerned enough to make an appointment at the doctor. I immediately suspected the real source of the fluid as Female Ejaculation. Just like this woman, few of us understand our bodies and the responses it is capable of during sex.

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Don’t Wait Until a Marriage is in Crisis

” I’m learning so much and hope to be able to use what I’ve learned one day. I will pass the information on to my daughters to hopefully prevent them from making the same mistakes I have made. Thank you so very much for your class. I wish I had found it earlier in my marriage, or even a couple of years ago. We would be in a different place I am sure.” former student

Women in Crisis

Sometimes women whose marriage is in crisis sign up for an Awaken-Love class on the advice of their marriage counselor. Years of neglect and damage lead them to a desperate attempt to salvage their marriage. With nothing left to lose, they sit through six weeks of discovering God’s desire for their marriage bed. All the while wishing they had known the truth earlier or done something sooner.

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Webinar – Claiming the Gift of Sex with Dr. Jessica McCleese

I had the pleasure of joining Dr. Jessica McCleese for a webinar called Claiming the Gift of Sex. We talked about some of the differences between men and women as well as God’s Design for Sex. Check it out.

Lasting Impacts of Awaken-Love Classes

Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak at a moms group in the Twin Cities. Several women took the Awaken-Love class 9 months ago and recommended that I speak on sex.  While there, I got to reconnect with the women and hear the lasting impact from class.

Live Classes

One woman shared how eye opening the class felt when many of her assumptions about sex and about her husband did not align with God’s word. Even though she had grown up in the church and remained active, she never felt like they had provided any real answers. Left to her own assumptions and influenced by silence, awkward talks, and cultural messages, she landed where most women do – sex as an obligation to fulfill her husband’s needs. Conversation in class about God’s real intent for sex had literally shifted her mindset 180 degrees and continues to impact her marriage and attitude today.

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Creating Community at Awaken-Love

When I first found Christian sex blogs, I quickly realized that I learned as much from reading the comments as from the articles. The information authentically shared by individuals gave me a window into the struggles and triumphs of men and women just like me and my husband. But this window didn’t just inform me, it spurred me on towards growth. As I heard the testimonies of others I began to believe that God could change me too. Community creates growth, whether in person during an Awaken-Love class or anonymously on the Awaken-Love blog.

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