We were standing in the driveway on the first night of the Pure Heart women’s study. She and I didn’t know each other well. We lived in different towns as children, and we lived in different towns now. Our lives intersected on Sunday mornings before and after worship.

In the wake of Porn Sunday, I was the shepherd of this new venture. I’d sent her an email with an encapsulated life story, one that felt safe. I was prepared for her question but not her proximity: “So you were married to …? He’s a great guy.” Present tense. She knew him, my ex.

He worked on her car. He was a great guy.

I silently disagreed. My marriage to the man I met while in high school did not end well. When he left me for the woman who would become his second wife, I was 23 years old. The brutal battle for custody in the midst of shattered dreams, the isolation of divorce, economic poverty, and an overwhelming sense of failure as a parent and a person had unleashed months of promiscuity and eventually lead me to stand on a bridge and contemplate suicide.

Decades later, standing in a driveway, fear made its way up from my abdomen and came to rest in the back of my throat. In that moment there was nothing I wanted to share with her, especially not the journey we were about to begin—Pure Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Integrity by Shellie R. Warren.

How long did we stand there in the driveway?

Confusion, shock, disorientation coursing through me; the impulse to run wrestling with the need to stay.

It felt like an eternity. It was probably not long at all.

We turned and walked toward the other women, ready to begin the journey, the intercourse.

1. dealings or communication between individuals, groups, countries, etc.
2. interchange of thought, feelings, etc.
3. sexual relations or a sexual coupling, especially coitus.

Looking back through my dog-eared Pure Heart, my handwriting in the margins reveals change.

In the beginning the exploration of Genesis 2:25 gives my heart an unexpected gift. Living naked and unashamed is possible, desireable, God-infused. I struggle to leave the shadows of unworthiness, to embrace His promise as my own.

1 Peter 3:4 unveils to me a new measure of beauty, a gentle and quiet spirit of great worth in God’s sight. I experience a sense of celebration, jubilation.

“Turn us back to you, O Lord, and we will be restored” (Lam 5:21, NKJV) brings days of mood swings and fear, then a moment of purest clarity: my ex-husband is not the man God intended, but a granting of my demand, a darker and extended one-night stand. Bitterness held too long is released from my heart.

Sex is a GIFT from God, one so alluring that He never intended for me to start, stop, change partners, withhold, misuse or abuse it. God designed this gift woven within me to share with the husband He intended—the man God had in mind as He created me—the man walking beside me today.

Sex is a gift to be treasured, a wellspring of delight.

renee wurzerFounder of Whispered Hopes Ministry, Renee Wurzer describes herself as a flawed, human and fragile encourager, a speaker and writer of words, a woman seeking to inspire others with courage and hope in Christ. Her joy here on earth is her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren; walking with her faith community Fellowship; writing in her journal and her blog; and editing for friends who want to self-publish. Learn more about Whispered Hopes here.