Time to Talk About Sex: Ministry Helps Women See God's Design for Intimacy in Marriage
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While it used to feel like a forbidden topic in the church, a growing number of Christian women's ministry leaders are now teaching their sisters in Christ about God's design for sex and intimacy in marriage.
CBN News recently spoke with Francie Winslow who hosts a weekly podcast called "Heaven in Your Home: Sex, Marriage & Mission of God" about how her ministry started and the testimonies she's seen since she started helping women to re-think intimacy in their marriages.
In just three years, Winslow's podcast has seen more than a million downloads, with many women experiencing healing as they learn about God's heart for intimacy in their marriages.
"It's a challenge in that I did not know how much this message was needed," Winslow tells CBN News. "I thought it would be just a kind of a niche offering and the Lord is really showing me that the people, his people, and people of the world are starving for good news that resonates with their soul level – that God made them, God loves them, God has a plan for them."
Winslow says her journey into this topic began in her own marriage.
"When I got married at the ripe age of 20, I didn't know how to flip that switch into 'now you can enjoy intimacy, now you can do it.' And so that transition from being unmarried to married, it took me on quite a journey of healing and exploring God's heart on my body," Winslow explains. "Is it good? My sexuality, is it beautiful or is it dirty? Is it a gift or is it a burden? Is it a blessing or is it a duty?"
Francie and her husband, Wyatt, started praying over these questions.
"It changed our lives drastically in how God was healing us and how he was also helping us re-see the gift of our bodies and the power of married sex in the way that he created it to be," Winslow says. "A place of oneness, fruitfulness, and beauty for a family to be built upon."
Winslow tells CBN News that while she never intended to speak publicly about sex, her husband encouraged her to tell friends about what God was teaching them.
"I said I will never talk to my friends about this because it felt so off limits as a Christian woman and kind of inappropriate, and I think what that showed me is how much healing God wanted to do because there's nothing inappropriate about the gift of married intimacy," says Winslow. "It's holy and it is God's and he was in pursuit of my heart to heal my heart."
As Francie pursues this ministry, she finds many women hungry to know more about God's design for sex and intimacy in marriage, and she helps them see how heaven comes through all of it.
"I'm not a counselor but I speak of the one who is the most wise counselor and He can speak into every heart in every situation and all he needs is an open door and an invitation," says Winslow. "That's what I pray the podcast becomes is an open door and an invitation to the voice of God and the healing power of God to speak into our most vulnerable places."
Winslow says she doesn't believe many Christian women are prepared when they get married for what sex looks like in marriage.
"It is consistently shocking to me the emails that I get from multiple generations because I'm getting emails from women who've been married 30 or 40 years who say, 'I never heard any of this, God's healing me,' and 'Now my daughter is getting married and I need help, what do I tell her?'" explains Winslow. "I really believe that God is longing to pour out his heart and his Spirit and his wisdom about this gift of married intimacy in a way that will heal generations."
Winslow believes the church has missed an opportunity for thousands of years to talk about this subject in a healthy way.
"It is interesting that I think women and men of every generation have missed the depth and the healing that God has for us in this conversation," claims Winslow.
She believes longtime silence on the topic has led to shame.
"God is wanting to really heal us from shame and from compartmentalizing our lives and seeing sex as this off topic thing, but he's wanting to reveal his heart in it all. But I do see a lot of young women getting married who are craving to have this conversation not just about the act but about the meaning and about the bigger picture and about their calling to live in intimacy without shame," says Winslow.
Winslow encourages church leaders to talk about sex.
"I have a lot of leaders who have communicated with me and say I want to start groups where we're talking about this and I think that is where the beauty of God's healing work can happen best is in the local church, is in community, it's in real life relationships where you can say this is how things really are in my life," explains Winslow. "In order to do that, I think we have to lead with vulnerability and I think we have to say I'm on a journey and I don't have it all figured out but I believe God has better for me."
Winslow explains when women experience restoration and freedom in Jesus Christ, the impact is profound.
"When there is restored intimacy in a marriage there is this ripple effect of love that can impact our children and our careers and our churches and our communities and our culture," says Winslow.
That ripple effect is not only expanding beyond Winslow's ministry, she tells CBN News that God is also helping her podcast reach an unexpected audience.
"I've had testimonies from people of even different faiths who found my podcast and say that God is restoring their heart and healing their heart and healing their home because of this truth of his heart for our bodies to be truly bearing his image," says Winslow.
As a mother of six, Winslow also produces music to help kids learn their bodies are good and how they are created in the image of God.
"I'm praying that those seeds of truth and dignity can really offer them an integrated faith that will help them not only stand up in this culture of confusion but also have words of love to give to other children who are confused about the value, worth, and meaning of their body," says Winslow.
More information on Winslow's podcast, resources, and music for kids can we found here.
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