I had a great experience over the weekend at a conference for women at a local church where I first started helping partners of sex addicts. Probably 12 years ago, I started offering support groups to women in relationship with sex addicts at Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati. We called the group “Barb’s group” to hide the purpose of the group…so much stigma and fear of being seen going into a group about sex addiction! I’m grateful to say that a spouses support group still meets at that church.
The conference that I attended (and did a breakout workshop for) focused on sex. Sex and women. An unheard of topic to be discussed, especially within the walls of a church! The information discussed was healthy, direct, within the bounds of Christian belief, and respectful of women! Over 200 women attended. There was space to listen to the speaker, listen to God, and listen to one another in a safe and encouraging environment. The breakout session, called Fractured Intimacy, drew many women who wanted/needed to talk about the places in their lives where their ability to be intimate with God and others had been/is damaged by life’s traumas and abuses, including loving someone with a sexual addiction or who experienced sexual betrayal. While there was much pain in the room, there was real courage and hope for healing.
I was so proud to be a part of a conference that respected and responded to the real needs of women. My hope and prayer is that it will continue to have positive and healing effects in the lives of all involved. And I’m grateful to Vineyard Community Church’s Growth and Healing and Women’s ministries for their advocacy for women.
Personally, it was a sweet time to be where I had been given the opportunity to out of my own need and pain find a way to help others who were experiencing betrayal. Thanks VCC!
By the way, I will be having a book-signing and celebration at VCC Monday evening November 2 from 5:30-7pm. Come and help me celebrate!