The mission of the Awaken-Love ministry is to encourage men and women to claim God’s design for intimacy and equip them to share that truth with others.
Our desire is that your marriage will be transformed as you gain a true understanding of what God intends for your sex life and that God compels you to share this truth with others. For so many people, sex is a very painful area of their life and they may never attend a class on sex, but they may be willing to have a one-on-one conversation with a friend. When you take an Awaken-Love class, it is not just for your marriage and relationship with God, it is for all the doors that God opens up for you to minister to others as well.
We invite you to be part of the revolution of Christians speaking God’s truth about sex and encouraging Christians to embrace a lifelong journey of growing in intimacy with their spouse and with God.
Everything taught in Awaken-Love classes is grounded in God’s Word. When the Bible is not black and white, we encourage men and women to seek discernment from the Holy Spirit to determine what is best for them and their individual marriage. We measure everything that is shared against God’s perfect design for marriage. We believe…
- God can transform you and your marriage.
- God created sex for wives as much as for husbands.
- Sex is a powerful gift from God that connects us in ways that are unexplainable.
- Sex must be measured against God’s design – oneness, knowing, pleasure, etc.
- God desires freedom in our marriage bed, but we must deal with the lies, baggage and body image issues that hold us back.
- God wants us to experience so much more – marriage is not supposed to get boring.
- Sex is much more than intercourse – it is seeing each other naked and unashamed, it is joining two into one and it is a holy communion with God.
- The best thing we can do for our kids is have a lifelong love affair with our spouse.
- We can learn to talk about sex in good and healthy ways that equip and encourage others.
- Intimacy is always about our relationship with God – it is a mirror.
For 29 years I have been blessed to be married to my wonderful husband Jim and we have 4 amazing daughters. For the first 23 years, we had a good marriage, and sex was good, but it didn’t happen very often. Honestly, my hormones determined whether we had sex. Years ago, we figured out what worked and then stuck with the tried and true. We had a safe relationship, avoiding hard conversations, like sex or our struggles. We actively participated in church ministry, but neither prayed together nor had intimate conversations about God.
A few years ago, our marriage went from good to amazing! After spending eight weeks immersed in a study of Song of Songs, I began to crave intimacy. No longer did I want to hide, but I wanted to be fully known – by both God and my husband. The study revealed how much more God wanted in my marriage and in my relationship with Him. He wants us to experience amazing freedom with our spouse, where we can be completely vulnerable. He wants us to be completely enraptured with each other – emotionally, spiritually and physically. God wants our marriage bed to restore us, refresh us, comfort us, make us one, and to be a picture of the intimacy that He wants with us.
My transformation truly began with the realization of how beautiful I am to God – not because of anything that I did. It created a freedom to worship Him, to pray over others and to crave His Word and time with Him. My husband and I began praying together and sharing our hearts about God. We also began talking about hard things – including sex. I spent time researching Christian resources on intimacy, learned about my body and was amazed by God’s design. God began revealing past experiences that still affected me. As He did, I began sharing them with my husband and praying over them. I began to recognize lies that I believed about sex and men, and replaced them with God’s truth. I also began to crave my husband and the connection with him as we became more and more present during sex. It wasn’t always easy but it was so worth it.
In 2012, God called me to share how my life and marriage had been transformed when I taught my first class to eight close friends. My lip was trembling, and my mouth parched, as I wrestled to put words to this amazing thing called sex. Within a couple of weeks, women were sharing what a difference the class was making in their marriage.
The curriculum has changed very little since that first class. I have had the amazing privilege to walk along side of over 400 women as they strengthened their marriage and talked about something as holy and intimate as sex.
This study came out of my experiences and transformation. Many of the ideas came from my own struggles for growth and intimacy. It is a part of me. But the only power for change comes from God Himself. Be prayerful and don’t be afraid because God wants so much more for you than you can even imagine. My hope for you is that your life is turned upside down and that you begin to crave more intimacy, with God and your husband – so that you are fully known and unashamed.
In January 2015, Melanie contacted me from Texas to see if she could skype into an Awaken-Love class. I remember thinking from our discussions after class, “She really gets it.” I knew God was drawing her to teach and I was excited.
Melanie and her husband had already started their journey of claiming God’s full freedom in their marriage bed, but the Awaken-Love class gave them an extra push. That spring, Melanie was called to teach the first Awaken-Love class in Texas and I was thrilled.
In preparation for her teaching, Melanie and I worked together to transform the Awaken-Love curriculum from my rough outline to a complete Bible study that teaches about sex while focusing on God. We loved working together, our writing styles complimented each other, and we quickly became close friends. Even though our stories were very different, we both were on a journey of desiring more intimacy with God and with our husband. Melanie has a special heart for speaking the truth of God’s healing into women’s lives.
Melanie taught her first class that summer and I remember her exclaiming afterward, “This is not just teaching, this is ministry!” She understood the importance of the Awaken-Love class and how God uses it to impact and change lives.
In fall 2015, Melanie and I partnered together to create ways to make the Awaken-Love class accessible to more women. Together, we created the structure to equip more teachers. In spring 2016, we recorded videos of the class in order to create an online Awaken-Love Video Class. Afterwards, Melanie worked tirelessly to create the website and structure to make the Video Class accessible to women around the world. The Awaken-Love ministry would not be what it is today without my dear friend.
Melanie continues to be involved in the Awaken-Love ministry through teaching, speaking and occasionally writing on the blog. I consider her a trusted advisor, a true friend and one of the most Godly women I know.
The Story of Awaken-Love
In the fall of 2011, I remember wrestling with God all night as I lay in my bunk at women’s retreat. God was calling me to share what I had learned about sex and I wanted nothing to do with it. I was not a teacher, never had been and hated being up front. That morning as I walked with a close friend I shared what God was doing in my marriage and in my sex life. Unbeknownst to me, her marriage was in a terrible place and she was ready to give up. I encouraged her, shared ideas and walked with her the next six months as her marriage began to turn around. I look back on that morning and see God confirming my call.
My first step was to stride into my pastor’s office proclaiming that the church needed to start talking about sex – something besides “don’t do it.” My pastor patiently met with me several times before I knew, he was not supposed to do something, I was. After searching for a sex conference to bring to the church, I realized God wanted me to simply share my journey and what I had discovered about sex with other women.
In March 2012, my husband and I went away for two nights at a secluded cabin. We moved the futon mattress in front of the large picture window overlooking the lake and spent the entire weekend talking about sex and enjoying each other. On the way home in the car, I sketched out the curriculum for the six weeks of the Awaken-Love class on a scrap piece of paper.
Two months later, I was teaching my first class to 8 close friends on my porch. Within weeks, I was hearing how much the class had impacted their marriage.
That year I taught over 100 women on my porch. I remember one Sunday looking across the congregation and noticing past students that were cozied up to their husband and thinking – Wow, God is doing something.
My second year of teaching was tough. Women in class were struggling with all kinds of things and as they shared their stories I felt inadequate. It drove me to God and reminded me over and over, I cannot change people, but God can. Also, for the first time women were questioning my teaching. I met with my senior pastor to seek wise counsel and spent sleepless nights wrestling. God was saying to me, “This is not going to be all fun and games. Are you in it for real?”
My third year, classes were filled with a bunch of strangers but that were eager to learn. One of those strangers was Melanie, a woman from Texas, that had the guts to contact me and ask if she could somehow take a class. She skyped into class and as we visited afterwards I knew she got it, and would make a great teacher. I asked Melanie to partner with me in the Awaken-Love ministry and then things really went crazy.
Her church was prepping to do a teaching series on sex and the Women’s Ministry created an event so that I could speak. That morning, 150 women showed up to hear me talk about sex and many expressed an interest in taking the Awaken-Love class. Together, Melanie and I revamped the curriculum from a rough outline to a full study and began equipping more teachers.
My fourth year of classes were packed. I was skyping women in from multiple states during class and I was turning women away. Women in class just kept saying, “Every woman needs to take this class.” All I could think was, “This is never going to be enough. We need to make the Awaken-Love class available to more women.” Part of our strategy to equip teachers was to record classes that new teachers could watch. When a woman from Colorado contacted me, asking if she could use the videos to take a class – a lightbulb went off. We could create interactive videos for groups of women to go through in their home or church. Anyone could take the class streaming videos online. God quickly provided everything that we needed: a gifted videographer, funding, support from my church, a website designer and lots of encouragement.
In May 2016, Melanie flew with her family to Minnesota to record the videos. We spent three long days trying to speak through the camera and connect with women about sex. Scripts were rough outlines that allowed room for God to move but challenged us to bring to life what happens in a live class. At the end, we were exhausted but knew it was in God’s hands. He would have to fill in the gaps.
That summer, Melanie worked tirelessly to rebuild the website and create the structure to allow seamless online registration and needed class resources. Finally, in October 2016, after many obstacles, the Awaken-Love Video Class was released online. It was like birthing a baby. Four years of teaching classes face to face with over 400 women, hearing their stories, seeing their transformations and trying to capture it in six hours of video footage. Will women take the initiative to lead a Video Class? Will God speak through the videos? Will lives be changed? It is up to God.
In January 2017, Melanie was led to step away from the partnership of the Awaken-Love ministry in order to better care for her family. She continues teaching, speaking and writing occasionally as time allows. But most importantly, she continues to be my trusted advisor and dear friend.
As for me, on New Year’s Eve 2016, I asked God what He had in store for the Awaken-Love ministry and I heard three simple words, “Stay the course.” So, I continue to let God run Awaken-Love. I continue to write what He brings to me and speak when He opens doors. I will teach until I can teach no more and I will trust that somehow God is going to finish what He started.