Redemption through Christian Marriage Ministry
I’ve been married for 19 years and dating my husband for 22 years, and we never thought that Christian marriage ministry would be our calling. Check out our story on this blog post: Married without the wedding When we said “I do,” I never thought it would be a lifetime. Divorce and remarriage are commonplace in my family. We are the longest-sustaining marriage in my family. My great-grandparents were my only legacy of an enduring loving marriage. Check out my post on: legacy. We were young, dumb, and living wild and free. If you had said that I would become a believer and an advocate for Christian marriage, I would have laughed.
Called into Marriage Ministry
In February of this year, I got a God-inspired idea. Podcasting is not something I consider, nor do I think of myself as someone to advise on marriage. I have no expertise, and it’s not my ministry. I say that, but to be honest. God prepared me two years ago for this new adventure. Like most things, I have a Sarah or Sarai Spirit. God tells me something, and I laugh. I always have to seek forgiveness, but it’s my real response. I am always amused that He would even choose or consider me. This time He confirmed it with three signs. And I knew God had a plan and was preparing me for the way. I found these feathers and red string on a walk and talked with God. (August 8, 2021)
Challenged in our calling to Christian marriage ministry
The Spirit had put on my heart that my husband and I were to go into marriage ministry, and the moment I had the thought, instead of peace, I went into a panic. The only thing that I have is my marriage. It’s the best thing that has happened to me and the safety of my life. I fear we may be challenged and attacked if we go into marriage ministry. I still remember it. Since that revelation, there have been challenges and some attacks, and the Lord has been a faithful safeguard through it all, but it makes me diligent in my prayers for protection.
Without going into great detail, I was in 2022; I interned for Chrystal Evans Hurst. I discovered the ministry and Authentic Intimacy created by Dr. Juli Slattery. While fulfilling my internship duty of creating the podcast show notes and questions for an interview with Dr. Juli, I became curious about her ministry.
History of sexual deviance
Part of my story is from years ago; I was a sex toy distributor. My claim to fame is that I was number one in sales in New Jersey and the first in the nation in recruiting in my hay day. As a distributor, I conspired and contributed to infidelity, same-sex relationships, and adultery. I also strengthened the intimacy of marriages, but I ultimately perverted God’s design for sex. The company even gave me a plaque to prove the success that I used to have, but I threw it away and left it in my past. At least, I thought I did, but God didn’t cause you to know “nothing is wasted” in the kingdom. He resurfaced it and is now using it for His glory.
Out of curiosity, I wanted to see what sexual discipleship looked like from a Christian perspective. I was successful in the world but had yet to learn such a ministry existed in the faith. I joined an Online Bible Study for Authentic Intimacy called Passion Pursuit. The first part of the puzzle, or a breadcrumb on the trail, began. I endured the 11-week study, and I say that because it was hard to show up every week. I didn’t have the concerns of the women in the group. Passion wasn’t a struggle in my marriage, and it wasn’t until the second to last session I realized why God had led me there. To serve. During the study, I had difficulty feeling included in the conversation, but I would contribute when I felt led.
Entering ministry in Sexual Disciples for Christian Marriage Ministry
Authentic Intimacy is a unique ministry because the book’s author has a LIVE question and answer. For ours, it wasn’t Dr. Juli Slattery who is usually the case. It was her co-author Lindow Dillow a wonderfully charismatic woman of God who had been married for 60+ years and was fervent about keeping the passion in her marriage even till this day. That day, I fell in love with Linda; her wisdom words inspired and encouraged me.
As she said, “It might look different, but it’s worth fighting for” Out of all the sessions, it was my favorite. As Linda Dillow spoke and answered questions, the Holy Spirit whispered, “This is your redemption;” She continued, and the whisper grew louder, and then Linda Dillow asked the group a question I will never forget.
“Now, who is being called to lead one of these groups.”
The Holy Spirit yelled, literally. “THIS IS YOUR REDEMPTION!”
I unmuted my ZOOM and said, “I think me.’ I shared with her quickly my story and the whispers and now yelling that I thought the Holy Spirit was leading me. Months passed, and I didn’t think anything of the study or the encounter until I received an email from Authentic Intimacy seeking volunteers for the Online Book study. Again, I had a meeting with the Spirit. I opened my email, and it was as if the email was illuminated. I clicked and applied.
Leading women in Christian marriage ministry
I went through training navigating Dr.Juli’s book Rethinking Sexuality and was floored. The church doesn’t give a great explanation of God’s design for sex. I never considered it important or a part of God’s design. Sexuality is important to God, and through the study, I realized how deep and intimate God’s love and desire to be with us until reading the book, and it changed my relationship with Christ and my husband.
Fast forward over a year later. Through the book study Passion Pursuit, I successfully led a group of seven women (the complete number and my number). I am about to begin leading my first session Finding the Hero in your husband. But the Lord is doing even more through me in sexual discipleship and Christian marriage. The Lord is calling me to shepherd and lead through a new adventure.—a podcast.
Again, this is God’s redemption for two reasons. I never had the desire to be on a podcast. I never even listened to podcasts until three years ago when I co-hosted with a group of Black women. The fitness podcast Fit Black Queens. It suddenly dissolved because of egos and what I now know as God’s providence.
We had a successful three seasons. We had been ranked the Top 20 Black Podcast (number 17) for 2021, and then just as quickly as it began, it ended. I was okay with it, but I didn’t know that all I had learned about producing a podcast would come back two years later when I least suspected.
To save you time in reading the story. I am co-hosting a new podcast that will be launching on June 4th. How it all came together was truly God, and we share the story on The Ardent Wife Podcast trailer you can listen to or watch here.
Redemption in Christian Marriage Ministry
Another Godcidence in my words for this year is restoration and redemption. God is redeeming me through this podcast and my new group with Authentic Intimacy. And His timing is perfect because I had a challenging year last year; that spiritually, mentally, and physically took me out. It’s taken until recently to feel like I am my old self again. My “word” in 2022 was Rebuild, and the scripture was Zechariah 9:12,
“Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.”
Like an old house being brought to the studs, everything in my life was rebuilt to the bare bones. If you ever rebuilt a home, you know it can challenge your faith and your sanity, and it did all that and more, but as we enter the second half of this year, 2023. I am learning it was not in vain. I’m still learning what rebuilding means, but I understand that God will remove anything in your life that distracts, deters, or takes you away from Him, and He did. It was gut-wrenching. I lost people I love, my pride, and many idols. God has restored so much in me; now, He is redeeming and restoring through me.
We have been recording the Ardent Wife since February and have some amazing content to help disciple women in marriage. We’ve completed Season 1, which will be released on June 4, 2023. I have partnered with some amazing, unconditionally loving, fit women of God, which is a direct prayer from my prayer journal for the last five years. I can’t wait to share. Please subscribe and join “The Ardent Wives clubs’’ to receive the goodness the Lord is doing through us.
My new journey
In the last year, I have received pruning, and it hurts, and I now see the method behind the pain. And the fruit of God’s faithfulness. He restores and exceeds abundantly any expectation we could have if we are faithfully obedient. My words for this year are Restoration AND Redemption (the first time He’s given me two). My Scripture is Isaiah 61:7, and I am counting on His promises. He hasn’t failed me yet,
Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. Isaiah 61:7
May I be a living testimony?
If there is something, the Lord put on your heart that you’re waiting on. It’s coming. You have to be faithfully obedient and follow His lead. It may be hard. This life was never meant to be easy, but it will be worth it when God is done (not you). Just hang on. I hope this encourages you and that you continue to follow along my journey. From creating this blog nine years ago, I never imagined the journey it would take me. Let my life be a living testimony.
I am so grateful for where the Lord has brought me and eager to see where He is taking me. If you are like me and tend to worry. Pray and just take the next step and abide; God will do what He does best. Show up and show off in His perfect timing.
Is there something you’re waiting on, God? How can I pray for you?