I’m Just Processing Some Grief–and Trying to Let Myself off the Hook

by | Jul 6, 2021 | Uncategorized | 70 comments

Processing Grief and Anger The Great Sex Rescue
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We were supposed to go home from camping last Friday, but we extended for another week because I need it.

“Camping” is perhaps too strong a word. We’re actually sitting quite comfortably in our RV with a fridge, stove, and even an air conditioner, so we’re hardly roughing it (although my showers are only about 45 seconds long).

But we’re right on the water, and we’ve been canoeing and hiking and just enjoying the outdoors. And I’ve been away from where I normally work.

I am online about an hour a day every morning, but that’s it, because I just need some space.

I realized this week that I don’t know how to relax anymore.

I used to be quite good at it. But COVID hit right around the same time as we were writing The Great Sex Rescue, and as soon as that was done I was launching 31 Days to Great Sex, and creating The Orgasm Course, and writing The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and the updated version of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, and launching The Great Sex Rescue, and I’ve just been busy without a break since COVID began. I haven’t taken any time off.

But I also wake up every morning preparing to go into battle.

Because every morning I have angry emails and angry comments from people mad that I’m saying that sex should be mutual, or that women matter too. I get people calling me unbiblical for arguing that women’s pleasure matters, and that consent should be a thing in marriage.

Emails about big name authors or leaders who are saying things against The Great Sex Rescue, or who won’t support it, or who believe the exact opposite.

And so I feel like I’m constantly in fight or flight mode. I’m constantly geared up for it.

That’s exhausting.

But I actually kind of already knew that.

All year I’ve been aware that my stress levels were too high. That hasn’t really been a revelation.

What I have noticed lately is that anger, what has motivated me for over a year now, often has its root in something else. Something below the surface that is more painful to touch, and so anger is what we erupt in instead.

And as I’ve been walking along the water and in the forest, I’ve realized something.

I’m simply sad.

Really, terribly, profoundly sad.

All my life I’ve felt so very hurt at how the church has treated women. At 16, I had a crisis of faith, where I realized that I loved God, but I couldn’t serve one who genuinely loved boys more than girls. And that was the only thing to conclude if he told girls, “I’ll give you spiritual gifts but then call you sinful for using some of them, simply because you’re a girl.” I couldn’t figure it out. That didn’t square at all with the Jesus I knew. But when I talked to leaders in my church about it, they (the men) treated it like it was strange that a woman would be hurt by this.

Thankfully I have an amazing aunt who showed me how so many verses have often been misinterpreted, and how a complete reading of Scripture shows the worth of women.


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I’ve never forgotten that sadness, though.

And it’s the same sadness when I read what so many authors and pastors have said about marriage and sex and women, and how they refuse to recognize that when women get upset about this, we aren’t just rebelling against God. It’s because we’re being asked to accept something that fundamentally isn’t okay.

It’s like we said in The Great Sex Rescue:

For so long, women have been told that following Jesus meant accepting things that are simply emotionally damaging.

Accepting things that are just not okay. Accepting that we don’t matter as much.

I’m sad that when I say, “women’s needs matter to God as much as men’s do,” I’m told I’m rebelling and being sinful and leading people away from Christ.

I’m sad that people I respect in the marriage field refuse to see that this kind of thinking is so damaging.

I’m sad at the people I thought were friends who wouldn’t endorse the book because they couldn’t accept that women aren’t responsible for men’s sin, or that men should be expected to lead mentally faithful lives. I’m sad that radio shows that I’ve been on before refused to have me on because they fundamentally disagree with our healing message. They still see sex as a male entitlement. 

I know I fight hard, and I speak up a lot, and so I should expect the backlash.

But it still hurts when people say these things. And it still makes me so sad that so many still can’t see women’s worth. That so many still think, at some level, that men’s needs matter more, and marriage should be seen through a male lens, rather than a Christ-centered lens, where Jesus is the point.

I’m sad because the status quo hurts so many, and they think I’m the problem for speaking up. Have they never listened to women talk about sexual abuse in their marriage? Why do we not know the word “vaginsimus”, but we know erectile dysfunction, even though vaginismus affects so many more younger couples than erectile dysfunction, and even though it’s more than twice as high in the evangelical community? Why do we not care about women’s pain?

I know this isn’t making a lot of sense, but I’m not going to edit it a lot because I’m trying to be on vacation this week.

But it’s been a good sad. I needed to let myself feel it, and recognize that anger is not the primary emotion I have. It’s just profound grief for a church that has gone so far off the rails when it comes to sex. And a church which has hurt women so terribly (and men as well) and doesn’t even see this as a crisis. Won’t even recognize that that pain is real.

At the same time, I’m so encouraged every time i see a new review for The Great Sex Rescue on Amazon (there are almost 650 now! And they’re amazing!). I’m so encouraged by the Instagram messages, and the comments here, and the tweets. I really am.

All that to say, I may be a little quiet this week. I’m still just processing. I’ll be back at work next week, but I needed this break.

And so I’ll keep returning to what I know is true:

Jesus is Good.

Jesus is Truth.

Following Jesus leads to wholeness and health.

So anything that is not good that doesn’t lead to wholeness and health isn’t of Him. I don’t need to blame him for it. He’s sad about it too! And He is trying to call couples to wholeness right now. That is his message for this generation. To leave behind the distorted teachings and put Jesus front and center in marriage today, and take husbands off the throne.

Jesus loves men. And Jesus loves women. Jesus wants ALL of us to have life, and have it abundantly. But He never wanted one to have life at the expense of another. That’s not even real life; that’s soul death.

I think I’ve been angry at Jesus a lot in the last year.

Why do so many people who claim His name say such awful things? Spread such awful messages? Endorse and buy such horrible books?

But I’ve been realizing that that was never Jesus. He was always calling the church back. And the church, just like Israel in the Old Testament, disregarded it.

But now there is a big movement, and I do think people are listening. God is raising up the next generation.

And as I’m able to process grief, and realize that it was not Jesus who did all these bad things, I’m hoping that my primary sadness will be replaced by hope. I think it’s coming. I can almost taste it. But I think I need a little more down time to truly feel it.

 

The Great Sex Rescue

Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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70 Comments

  1. Melanna

    I saw a post the other day (I think it was on one of my enneagram follows) that said something about the anger inside you is the part of you that loves you the most. Basically because it’s seeking Justice for the wrongs against you. And I feel that (I’m an 8 too). Thank you for fighting the battle. Thank you for helping give us words so we can fight too.
    I have 3 girls and I’m determined to remove from their lives some of the obstacles and oppressions I faced. It shocks me when people see that fight as unbiblical.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I love that quote! And 8s are so angry. But what people don’t realize is that it’s rooted in a desire for justice. That makes it hurt all the more I think.

      Reply
    • Lilly

      Thank you Sheila, for all your work, as well as Rebecca and Joanna! I was sexually abused by my husband and am going through therapy for it. I partly blame the messages that were taught to me growing up in the church. I thought it was my wifely duty to ‘satisfy’ everything he wanted even though I didn’t like it. I told him, I begged him but he didn’t listen and I did it because that is what a ‘good’ wife does. Your book has brought a lot of healing and given me more strength. It has helped me in knowing how to educate my small boys on truely respecting women.

      I am sorry that you feel so sad and burnt out but I do thank you for writing in words what so many women are feeling. The trauma that women have experienced is real and it’s refreshing to get that validation so that we can make a difference in our own lives as well as other women’s lives. Thank you.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’m so glad it helped you, Lilly! I know there’s so much pain out there. It’s actually an honor to carry some of it, but I do feel lighter today by the end of the week! So thank you for your prayers.

        Reply
  2. Rebecca

    Take your time, Sheila! There will always be time to work, and not always time to rest.
    Have a wonderful week! ❤

    Reply
    • Allison

      Sheila, thank you for your book. I live in Australia and my husband and I have been married for 11 years next week. I got married when I was 22. I had the purity ring, I signed the True Love Waits contract, I did it all!

      Your book has revolutionised our sex life. I devoured it in 2 days. My husband and I just went away for a week we did day trips out to waterfalls and rainforests and on the way I would read your book to him as we drove. We had the best conversations. Not to mention the best sex in this trip!

      Eleven years and I have always liked sex but because I am more responsive than spontaneous I thought something was wrong with me. I never got to initiate because I never was at a point where I wanted sex. This meant it was always a duty. This made sex hard for me. I went to doctors because I thought my sex drive was broken. All these years I thought something was wrong with me.

      Your book has changed everything! I have read so many marriage books that just say, have sex, be more sacrificial and obviously that didn’t help.

      You have set me free in my marriage. Thank you for highlighting the character of God and that He does want more for us in our sexuality.

      Also, before stumbling upon you I believed that a wife submits to her husband. And you are so right, there is no decision where my husband and I were living that out. Turns out my husband never believed I must submit to him either!

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        So glad you found me, Allison! And that’s AMAZING about the sexual dividends you’re reaping! Yes, the responsive/spontaneous thing is so important for people to understand.

        Really appreciate your words!

        (And for the record, I do believe in submission. I just (in the words of The Princess Bride), don’t believe that word means what we think it means). Which is what you were saying anyway!

        Reply
  3. Michelle

    As a past missionary, and now a woman preparing for a contentious divorce, I am with you in the anger, much needed to battle the onslaught of negativity. Mine is rooted in a very deep sadness too, and perhaps I feel like if I fully allow myself to feel the sadness, I won’t be able to regain the strength I need for the fight. I pray you are encouraged to know that your words are so very life- giving to those of us who love Jesus, but who have been abused and abandoned by their churches. While I don’t know if I’ll ever stop feeling sad, I do now have hope for my daughters. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry about your divorce, Michelle (what caused it I mean, not the divorce itself). I pray you will feel joy and lightness and the love of Christ on the other side. And, yes, the sadness may always be here. But Jesus was sad, too, right?

      Reply
  4. Laura

    Enjoy your rest! You deserve it.
    Thank you soooo much for the work you have done! I loved your book and can’t stop talking about it. It is changing my marriage (finally!). I have bought it for several others and they too have been greatly impacted. Myself, my friends and my family are finding freedom because of the work you have done. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, thank you for buying so many copies! That’s really encouraging. So many have told us they’re doing this–or buying copies for their pastors/small group leaders. I love that!

      Reply
  5. Anita

    Hi Sheila,

    Wanted to drop in and say thank you for the work you’re doing, and that the sadness you describe resonates with me.

    I came across your comment on a Relevant article about Matthew West’s Modest is Hottest video. I had already seen the video and some critiques of it, and was processing the fact that I did’t even realize until this year that the modesty message has been harmful to me and others. Your comment was honest, direct, and also kind. What followed was a deep dive into your Podcast this weekend. I selected probably 20 episodes, based on title, and then listened to all of them. I feel like I’ve gotten to know you, Rebecca, Keith, and Connor, like I’ve sat around a campfire and clutched a cup of coffee while we discussed such impactful issues that resonate with me, rather than just listened in from afar.

    I’m 31, career-focused, single (dating), and a dog-mom. I’ve spent my entire life in church, and am unpacking the messages I’ve internalized. Like your story of drowning a certain famous book, I’ve found myself disinterested, unwilling to consume most of the non-fiction literature targeted at Christian women. I remember attempting to read Captivating, twice. The first time it was recommended to me by my cousin, and the second, as part of a “Bible study.” The first time, I simply lost interest, but the second time, I made a conscious decision that I wasn’t going to consume the product they were selling me about a narrow view of femininity.

    Even so, these ideas of God’s view of women that have been packaged up as part of the gospel have seeped into so many areas. I’ve known many kind, good men, but I’ve also seen men (even good men) benefit from or wield this “power” and push women down/ step on their boundaries.

    I’ve always struggled with communicating directly (part of which may be personality, but part of which is the message I’ve internalized that my voice is less important), however, I have grown up with a keen awareness of what my boundaries are, and I’ve retreated from relationships when they’re not respected.

    Finding your podcast has helped me feel like I’m not crazy, I’m not alone out here with the crazy notion they my voice matters. These ideas have made dating quite difficult, because I’m not willing to settle for something that feels imbalanced or unsafe, and that imbalance is so accepted by so many in the Christian circles.

    I have hope, though! Your words are giving me tools to process and call out the unhealthy ideologies. I went on a third date with the same guy this last Friday, and we actually talked about some of the ideas you discuss about purity culture. We had a great time discussing and I was heartened that he was on the same page.

    I ordered your book, The Great Sex Rescue, and can’t wait to read it.

    THANK YOU for the work you’re doing. Praying for you!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Wow, Anita! I am so GLAD that single women find that they are welcome here and that they learn things. I love that.

      And I can only IMAGINE how hard it is to date in Christian circles when you don’t want to marry someone with these toxic viewpoints. I feel so much for women trying to find Jesus-centered husbands who truly want a partner. I wish you all the best!

      Reply
  6. Sara

    I unfollowed you for a while because I was so discouraged by your fight and the comments that you received that you posted about. I absolutely agree with you, and I can’t imagine the frustration and hurt you’re going through. Thank you for being brave and speaking up for all of us.

    Reply
  7. Mimi

    I have been a reader of your blog for years. I have been helped and strengthened immensely from your work. I have a background of abuse and assault and your site was one of the first I read that gave healing information for people like me. I was “damaged goods” before I had a chance to make choices for myself. Purity culture does not acknowledge that certain people don’t have a choice. When dysfunction is all around you, abusive people prey on the vulnerable.

    It has been a long journey of healing. I am very grateful for women like you who are speaking the truth. We need women leading the way and opening the eyes of others. Please take time to rest, but don’t stop. There are many people in broken spaces who need to hear the healing words of Jesus. I believe that God had equipped you with great gifts, and I am very thankful for your work!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so honoured that I’ve been able to be a help to you. I”m so sorry for what you went through. And I am so, so angry (seriously angry) at how abuse is tolerated in marriage in far too many evangelical communities–and even reinforced by the teachings. I’m so angry. I guess I have more to process!

      Reply
  8. Laura

    Sheila,

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I’m feeling the same way and am extremely grateful to know that I’m not alone in my thoughts. For years, I thought something was wrong with me because I just could not buy into the message that husbands are in charge and wives are to just sit back and let their husbands “lead” or “control” things. I think it’s hard for many Christians to hear a new way of things because for so many years, it’s been ingrained in their minds that things have to be this one and only way to believe.

    Like you said, none of this was Jesus’ doing because I know He never wanted women to be treated as less than men. The problem with the church is that they seem to uphold what Paul said and elevate his teachings higher than Jesus’ teachings and the way He treated women. Also, we need to look at the original language of the Bible and thank you for introducing us to Meg (I can’t remember her last name, but she is the one who’s knowledgeable about Greek) and many other people who are inspiring me through my reconstructing phase. Bruce Fleming (the author who explained about Genesis 3:16 meaning, Dr. Camden Morgante (I’m a fan of her blog), the Preacher Boys (you were a guest on that podcast), etc.

    When I got saved at the age of 17, then heard damaging teachings about submission in marriage, I walked away from Christianity because I thought that the God of the Bible thought less of women than men. After being a rededicated Christian for 19 years, I felt torn between my strong love for Jesus and trying to adhere to a doctrine that never felt right in my spirit. I did not want to walk away from God again, but I realize that I cannot follow those damaging doctrines which many Christians claim as biblical. I realize that they are not biblical at all.

    When I came across your blog and podcasts several months ago, I realize that rejecting those damaging doctrines does not mean rejecting Jesus. I love Jesus and I do not have to agree to those teachings that have been taught in the church for many years.

    Keep up your ministry and remember you are making a difference in more lives than you realize. Don’t worry about those people who disagree with what you are teaching. God will take care of them. Someday, these people may come to realize the authentic TRUTH and that what they have taught and preached about has done a lot of damage to many Christians.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad you found me, Laura! So glad. Yes, cling to Jesus. If we all did that, so much of this would go away!

      Reply
  9. NM

    Sheila, I hope you are able to relax and find some refreshment and hope. Know that you are making a profound difference. You started me on my journey of realizing I matter several years ago. My husband never wanted me to be subordinate, but I was trying so hard to fit the model of “godly, submissive wife” that I squashed myself. There has been so much healing in our marriage and in myself as I realize the voices pushing women down have never been the voice of Jesus. We are now a marriage of true equals. We attend a complementarían church and I was fine with it because I believed the Bible taught that. Well we are currently preparing to speak with our pastor together about the role of women in the church, and how much these beliefs hurt women in tangible ways. I have been telling everyone who will listen about your blog and Barr’s new book. I have been talking to other women in my church and suddenly, it seems, everyone is ready to hear it. So I am hopeful. And I am praying for you.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      “suddenly, it seems, everyone is ready to hear it.” That’s AMAZING! God is working, isn’t he?

      Reply
  10. Jane Eyre

    Thank you for your ministry, Sheila. I hope you have a lovely and restful vacation.

    You say in TGSR that “women understand men” and “yelling louder won’t help.” From what I’ve seen, some of the nastiest conflicts in life come from situations wherein people think the solution is to yell louder.

    There are very understandable reasons for this. A reasonable person, when confronted with someone who is upset and says “you don’t understand,” will try very hard to understand and change their outlook. The yeller sees that this yelling got results. The reasonable person then sees that the new situation is unworkable, and pushes back. The yeller looks into his toolbox, remembers that the “yelling that you don’t understand” tool worked really well before, and tries it again and again and again. They will even get mad that it isn’t working because in their minds, the reasonable person has acknowledged the value of this tool. In their minds, the definition of success is having things done their way.

    What you are saying that women, in good faith, tried very hard to do things their way. However, it did not work, because your definition of success is a mutually enjoyable, healthy sex life – not “men get their way without having to grow and change.” You wish the yellers would understand that they succeeded in having things tried their way; they failed in having it work. Doing things “their way” again and again will not lead to success.

    Reply
    • Maria Bernadette

      I love this. You state clearly something that I’ve known for a while but haven’t been able to put into words.

      Reply
    • Marie

      Dear Sheila, thank you very much for writing “The Great Sex Rescue.”. Thank you for all the time and energy you pour into resources on your blog. You have been a tremendous blessing to me.
      Even though I will never agree with your view on male leadership and submission, I greatly value your perspectives and believe you have so much to offer!!

      I am very disappointed that you have experienced so much attack instead of healthy dialogue. I sure wish the conservative Christian churches and leaders could recognize and appreciate the things you teach that we absolutely can agree on.

      Thank you so much for all your efforts to bring balance, awareness and value to women in the area of sex. I pray that you find refreshment and encouragement.

      Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, wow, Jane. That’s so profound. I”m going to ponder that! “they succeeded in having things tried their way; they failed in having it work.” Yes! A 1000 times yes!

      Reply
  11. Nathan

    Sheila, thank you so much for you work! Take a break, you deserve it!

    As for other things, consider these so-called “beliefs”…
    God loves men more than women
    Men’s needs count more with God than women
    Men are holier and more Godly than women
    Men can hear the voice of God more clearly than women
    Only men can teach the word of God
    Men have an uncontrollable sexual urge, women were created to serve that need.
    The husband is fully in charge of the marriage, and only his thoughts matter.
    Wives exist to provide sex for husbands whenever they want, no matter what.

    What’s really sad is the number of WOMEN who believe in this.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, definitely! Many of these things were taught to me by women. The modesty police in church are often women. It’s very sad.

      Reply
  12. Nathan

    One more “belief” to add to the ridiculous list…

    Women are responsible for the sins of men.

    Reply
  13. Maria Bernadette

    Sheila and Keith, enjoy your vacation. You’ve earned it. And thank you, to both of you and your whole team, for advocating for the equality of women and men.

    Reply
  14. Jen

    Rest, Sheila. The fight will still be there when you’ve been energized, and the growing group of women AND men who believe that “loving your neighbor as yourself” begins with your spouse will be here waiting to continue the fight with you. The enemy is the author of confusion, and this battle about Christian marriage is just one way that he’s attacking the family. God is relational, so it’s no surprise that the enemy is striking hard at those who desire to have godly relationships. We continue to pray that the truth is revealed and lies are exposed. Jesus is the bondage breaker.

    Reply
  15. A2bbethany

    I believe that God is moving and working. I finally got off my rear and started making my list of prayer requests and armour of God/reclaiming lost ground. The changes have been amazing! My husband is beginning to change for the healthier on his own. So I just wanted to share, if you pray, things happen!

    Rest up Sheila, God is just beginning something beautiful. Maybe you need to get a team of people praying for you.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s awesome. I really need to pray more. I’ve never been good at it. And every time I try to make it into a “you need to do this more” it ends up not working. I need to find a way to breathe prayer more into my days.

      Reply
  16. Amy

    A complete reading of the scripture! Love that. I just saw that a version of the Bible is being published without (unbiblical) chapter and verse notations. I think I’ll have to get that. Those chapter and verse notations have caused lots of proof-texting which subsequently has created all sorts of problems.

    Thank you for all that you do! Wishing you a relaxing, restful time away.

    Reply
  17. Paul

    Sheila,

    I’m sorry you’re having to deal with the personal attacks. Keep fighting the good fight. You are helping save marriages, and mine is one of them.

    I am a recovering porn addict. On August 1, 2021, I will have been sober for two years. My addiction almost destroyed my marriage, but we had an amazing Christian marriage counselor and many supportive friends and family who helped us get through those first weeks and months when it seemed like I had destroyed everything I cared about. Our counselor recommended TLHV to us and suggested we read Good Girls’ Guide even before my porn addiction came to light (we had been seeing her for what we thought were “normal” marriage issues but turned out to be related to my porn use). We have been big fans of yours ever since. Your writings, and those of others, have been instrumental in our healing and recovery process. We are reading The Great Sex Rescue together now, and you are opening my eyes to how the teachings and advice given in many of those evangelical “required readings” are harmful and toxic. I read many of those books when I was younger (I’m 45 now), and I see how wrong my ideas about sex in marriage were. They are not to blame for my porn addiction (I alone am responsible for that), but I do see how those attitudes about what my wife should have been doing to make me sexually fulfilled contributed to my sexual frustration. Now I realize how badly I was neglecting her needs, and while we are not where we want to be, we are on the way there!

    Anyway, I say all this simply to say that you are doing the Lord’s work, and my wife and I are very much grateful for it. We have committed ourselves to using our experience through my addiction and our healing and recovery to help others going through the same thing, and we will be using a lot of what we’ve learned from your writings. We have volunteered to speak at our church’s marriage retreat next winter. You better believe we’re not pulling any punches!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, Paul, that’s amazing! And, yes, the toxic teachings definitely reinforce a porn addiction and a pornographic way of seeing sex (even look at how Emerson Eggerichs only calls sex “physical release”!). I’m so glad you’ve been free two years. That’s wonderful. Keep fighting the fight! And may God cause intimacy to blossom even more in your marriage!

      Reply
  18. Alice

    “And it still makes me so sad that so many still can’t see women’s worth . . . and marriage should be seen through a male lens, rather than a Christ-centered lens, where Jesus is the point.” Yes. This is the entire heart of your ministry, isn’t it? I truly agree.

    I think this will be only a drop in the bucket of the encouragement that you need to fill your heart with, but I thought it might help you to know that your ministry has helped my marriage since, well, before it began! I’ve been married to my husband for nearly 2.5 years and your blog posts were instrumental in shaping how my husband and I view(ed) sex. It shaped how I went into my honeymoon and how I have continued to live and operate sexually. I am so much more fulfilled than I would have been without your ministry! Because yours was the only voice I had saying, “your pleasure matters too!” and, “this is how to get there.” So thank you. I’m just one person. My marriage is just one marriage. But I know that we are so much better for it and I pray we can teach our daughter that she matters just as much as her husband when she marries one day. May the Lord bless and encourage you, Sheila, and may He give you the peace, rest, healing, and renewal you need.

    Reply
  19. Nathan

    > > The problem with the church is that they seem to
    > > uphold what Paul said and elevate his teachings higher
    > > than Jesus’ teachings and the way He treated women.

    This is interesting. Most of the misinterpreted verses seem to have been written by Paul. Most of what he said is valid, but he seems to have at least a partial blind spot with women. Based on what he wrote, some people suspect that God “turned off” his sex drive because he had a very special mission to fill. Because of that, he may have had very little (if any) interaction with women, and that’s what caused some of his ideas to be what they were.

    Reply
    • Noel

      Even Paul sent messages to godly women and used Phoebe to carry an epistle. While I agree that he seems to have a problem with women, he is still broader-minded than some prominent speakers today.

      Reply
      • Andrea

        The thing about Paul is that he wrote letters to different churches with different needs and problems, so it’s impossible to extrapolate his teachings into universal principles. The universal principles were laid down by Jesus, which is why you never see theologians bending over backwards to contextualize Jesus’ words, whereas Paul’s words have to contextualized lest we see him as contradicting himself between various epistles or being misogynistic in some of them.

        Reply
    • NM

      I really hope you are not saying that the only reason men interact with women is because of their sex drive. No doubt Paul had the gift of singleness, but his own letters mention tons of women that he ministered with. Please go look them up!

      Reply
  20. edl

    Sheila and Team,

    When I read your post, these song lyrics came to mind: “Lately I’ve been winning battles left and right. But even winners can get wounded in the fight… Unafraid because His armor is the best, But even soldiers need a quiet place to rest…” from the 1984 song written by Twila Paris.

    You and the team are doing an amazing job. The world and the Church needs the good work that you do. It is difficult to change years of wrong thinking in a culture; it doesn’t happen overnight. To be able to continue your good work, you must rest and allow yourself to be refreshed. Recognizing when you need that rest IS part of the fight; thank you for being honest and for taking that time away.

    May God BLESS you.

    Reply
  21. Nathan

    Another item that was very sad to see. Some poster here (not Sheila) wrote about going to a women’s study group at church, and the women there actually were in competition to see who was the most submissive to their husbands.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Nathan,

      I think you are referring to a comment I had posted on one of the previous blogs I had commented on. That was definitely one of my experiences having to listen to women try to one-up each other on who was more submissive. It made me sick and I don’t think they all put into practice what they claim to do in their marriages.

      If I had been a new Christian when I attended this Bible study, I would have been turned off by Christianity like I was many years earlier. When I got saved at 17 and a month later I heard the submission message at church, I was turned off and believed that if the God of the Bible thought women were second-class citizens then I did not want to have anything to do with Christianity. However, I still believed in God.

      This time around, I am determined to hold onto Him because I know that when He sent His Son to minister on Earth, His Son set the example on how women should be treated-as equals and co-laborers for His Kingdom. People need to focus on Jesus’ teachings and actions more than what Paul told several individual churches on how to conduct their marriages.

      Reply
  22. Wild Honey

    Thank you, Sheila. Praying you rest well.

    Reply
  23. Nicole

    Sheila,

    I’m so thankful for you and your ministry. I pray that this is a time of rest and that your heart will be filled with peace. I hope you know that your labor is not in vain, and that your boldness to speak out against these toxic and harmful teachings has inspired me as well to speak up with the small voice that I have.

    It has been discouraging to see so much push back in the Christian community justifying the awful things you have addressed. I was recently diagnosed with PTSD from CSA, and I realize now how much hurt and pain the purity culture messages heaped onto the trauma I was already carrying during my adolescent and adult years.
    None of it ever sat right with me and now I know why. It has brought me peace to know that none of what I was taught was actually Biblical but it has been hard to let go of because it was so deeply ingrained in me and I was completely unaware of just how much.

    I think the part that makes me the saddest is how people seem to think women’s emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical pain is a joke. Sometimes it feels hopeless and my heart just feels heavy. And then I remember that if it even opens one person’s eyes, then that is a step in the right direction. Please know that you aren’t alone in your thoughts and feelings and that we are all here to share this burden with you!

    May you be richly blessed and may God’s favor be upon you for all you do for His kingdom! May you find rest, peace, and life abundantly in Him!
    Thank you for being a light in the darkness.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you so much, Nichole! And I’m sorry for all the pain you have, too. I wish so much that people did value women’s pain. It is very tiring.

      Reply
  24. Dorthea

    Thank you for sharing your grief with us. It helps me as I’m right there with you grieving so many things right now. Hope is here though, the storm will pass and the dawn will come. Jesus is always good leading us to truth, wholeness and health.
    Thank you Sheila for all you do. Enjoy the rest of your week!

    Reply
  25. Chris

    I am sorry if I contributed in any way or measure to your sadness Sheila.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Chris, you really didn’t! I appreciate your comments so much and your engagement! It really wasn’t you. I’m thinking of the messages that I get everyday on social media and in emails. I do appreciate my “regulars” so much!

      Reply
  26. Beth

    ***Trigger Warning – Assault***

    Thank you for fighting for us Sheila. I grew up immersed in purity culture to such an extent that I tensed my pelvic muscles 24/7 in order to make sure if someone came up from behind and assaulted me, I would have tried to stop them. That is so deeply messed up. I found you because I watched Katie’s youtube channel from age 14, and I have listened to every single podcast and have read hundreds of blog posts. I lost my faith completely after high school and you were a huge aid in me seeing Jesus in the mess of Christianity culture. I am now a healthy 21 year old who believes in the love of Jesus, and the equality of both men and women in the ability to see one anther as whole people, and has a healthy view of sexuality and my body. Your work is so important and appreciated beyond words. Thank you and I dearly wish you didn’t have to, but thank you nonetheless for fighting for us <3

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Beth, I’m so glad you’re here! and it is neat that some people find me through Katie, and others found Katie through me! I’m glad I could help you deconstruct a lot of those harmful teachings. I love people who binge listen to the podcasts!

      Reply
  27. Charlotte

    Just wanted to say drop a word of encouragement, I so appreciate your ministry and how you continue to speak up for the truth, even when others won’t. Hope you are able to recharge on your week off!

    When I read your comments about Jesus it reminded me of that newer series “The Chosen”. Such a beautiful portrayal of Jesus, unlike any I’ve seen. He loved and included women, spent time with children and was so patient with them, made sure Peter, as a married man, spent time with his wife, and his compassion for the woman at the well, etc. Highly recommend the series.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      So many people have told me that! I haven’t watched it yet, but I will soon!

      Reply
  28. Lisa & Owen Manske

    Anger is often a secondary emotion. There’s a primary emotion but, like a flash in a pan, we quickly “put on” anger instead.

    Anger feels safer. An angry person is less vulnerable to outside attack. An angry person produces hormones that get things done (not always in wisdom, but there’s action).

    The underlying, primary emotion is vulnerable. It’s a wound, a fear, a deep loss. It can be scary.

    In our culture men are socialized to funnel almost all their emotions into anger. Whenever I read, “men aren’t emotional,” I roll my eyes because anger is an emotion and “masculine” men express plenty of anger. Choosing to funnel all your emotions into anger doesn’t make men less emotional, it makes them unhealthy.

    I’m so glad you are resting and allowing yourself to feel what has been behind the anger. A deep loss, a deep sadness. The church and the church powers are just as corrupt as they have ever been. They’re not selling indulgences but they’re selling books that legitimatize rape. Not much has changed.

    I’m so thankful to be in the fringe with you– Sheila, Keith, Rebecca, Connor, and Joanna. Thank you for using your platform for truth. So many of us are standing firm with you.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Lisa! And I appreciate all your support and comments, too!

      Reply
  29. Anonymous305

    Part of me thinks I shouldn’t blame guys who are just following what they were taught, since I once followed what I was taught. At the same time, part of me wants to punch them (the selfish ones) in the face because I shouldn’t have to tell them that loving your neighbor and the golden rule also apply to wives. It shouldn’t take a genius. Why can’t they just grow a little bit of a brain?

    When I think about how much the evangelical culture degrades and devalues women, I just want to hide in a cave. I don’t want to argue with people who think I’m worthless. I don’t want to be around people who only appear to value me when I beg and nag. I want people who value me without being told they have to. From the rest, I want to hide forever. This is why I don’t usually confront people who disagree. It’s easy to speak up with people who agree.

    But sometime in the future, I might come out of the cave to help victims of abuse in some way or another. Speaking up doesn’t change the hard-hearted, but it validates victims.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly! That’s why I speak out. I don’t expect to change people like Emerson Eggerichs, but I want others who have been hurt to know they don’t have to believe that.

      Reply
  30. Amy

    I pray that you will be encouraged and refreshed. You’ve been in the trenches and I’m so glad you’re taking a break. I wish we could absorb some of the sadness and hurt you feel. I can’t imagine the enormity of that. When I watch your videos I wonder how you can smile so bright and be so positive while fighting such a challenging battle. I know that’s the light of Christ in you!

    Reply
  31. Emily

    Thank you for all your incredible work, Sheila! I discovered your podcast and blog a month ago and have been absolutely loving them. I’m about to enter a graduate program to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and your work has been such a valuable resource. I am more motivated than ever to counsel couples with Jesus-centric guidance that does not enable abuse and protects women. Keep fighting the good fight!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      What a wonderful vocation, Emily! So glad you found me, and I hope you find my books useful in your counseling practice. And if you have any ideas as to how to help other counselors learn about The Great Sex Rescue, let me know!

      Reply
  32. Anon

    Praying you have some real rest, refreshment and healing over the next few days.

    And I don’t know if this is relevant, but I have the lyrics from ‘Glorious Unfolding’ buzzing round my head as I’m praying for you.

    “Lay your head down tonight
    Take a rest from the fight
    Don’t try to figure it out
    Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart…

    There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold”

    Reply

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