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About our Guest

Mo is a New York Times bestselling author and a nationally sought-after speaker. Her newest book Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot is about the role the church can play in the conversation about sex and sexuality. Mo lives in Atlanta with her husband, Jeremiah, and their two daughters, Auden and Asher.

Interview

Tell us about your sports background.

I played soccer at LSU for four years and realized going into my senior year that every NCAA athlete gets five years of eligibility, but only four in one sport. I was going to finish soccer in four years without interruptions.

I’d always played with the guys in the football facility about joining their team. I trained with the team for 22 months—lifting weights, doing agility training. By the time I tried out we had gone from two specialists to eight specialists, so I didn’t make the roster.

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

My family is my greatest blessing and the best part of myself. My husband Jeremiah is like 6’5” and a blessing from the Lord. He leads our family so well. I’m 6’1” so we’re a tall family.

My kids are two and a half and ten months and they’re both already toddler size. We’re just big people and have a fun household. I want to be someone who will support whatever my kids want to do, but I don’t think they have a choice but to be in sports. I just need them to show some coordination!

Talk about your book and why you gave it that title.

The title came to me a few years ago—Sex, Jesus, and the Conversations the Church Forgot. In 2015, my husband and I had just married and were just walking into this season of sex within marriage in the confines of a covenant. I was struggling with so much from my past, so much that no one had ever talked to me about.

I had struggled with promiscuity, pornography and feeding my flesh. I came to know Jesus and I was so confused. I remember reading an article about a girl who waited to have sex until her wedding night and regretted her decision. It broke my heart. Even though I was confused, I still recognize the beauty within marriage.

I was still figuring a lot out, but I knew sex was a gift from God. I needed to find healing and wholeness in my own life and marriage. I knew someone should reclaim sex for the glory of God and I finally realized I should.

The title and all that I wanted to share just hit me one day in my kitchen. I never would’ve imagined the felt need it would hit when it released. So many people, across the board, have so many questions and are figuring it out. If we want to see a shift in our culture, we have to have wholeness in our own hearts first.

What sexual baggage did you brought into marriage?

We live in a culture in the church where we’re supposed to deny, deny, deny sex during singleness. Then we’re supposed to stand at the alter and flip a switch. When you get married, now sex is amazing and totally permissible. It’s confusing if we don’t understand what sex is and why it matters.

I was raised in a Christian home and the church had a lot to say about the rule following behavior modification. But I didn’t know heart transformation so I pushed the envelope as far as I could. I rationalized and waived a banner of virginity, but didn’t know anything of purity.

When I was younger, I came across some of my dad’s pornography and it seared something in me. I developed a decade long struggle and many women in the church are struggling with it. I lost my dad unexpectedly to suicide and tried to fill that void in college with physicality. I gave so much of myself away trying to get a man’s heart.

Sophomore year of college I came to know Jesus and it completely transformed my life and heart. God immediately started a transformation for me in this area and I started an ‘intimacy fast’. I called it ‘kissless till next Christmas’. I knew I needed healing and this went on for two years.

The next man I met was Jeremiah and we moved through our dating relationship with a reframed understanding, but we still struggled. We came to such a point of conviction to either flee or marry. We prayed about it separately and God gave us the same word of coming together in marriage.

We stood at the altar and were able to stand there with great conviction about why we were marrying. We both had pasts that we hoped we could brush under the rug. Right at the start of marriage, all this stuff came crashing down.

My sister-in-law shared this quote with me about how before marriage, the enemy will do what he can to bring us together, and after marriage, he’ll do what he can to keep us apart. His goal is to divide us. We have to process, seek forgiveness, break off connections we had with people and fight for our marriage.

How is this less about behavior modification and more about heart transformation?

When we’re waiving this banner of virginity for the sake of virginity, it’s a works-based answer to a life-surrender question. God is asking for all of our minds, all of our hearts and we’re like “what if I give you some semi-good behavior?

But God is calling us to this greater heart condition of purity. Then virginity becomes a beautiful by-product. People are trying to modify their behavior but they’re not encountering true heart transformation.

What do you suggest to other people who have baggage in their marriage?

In the newlywed bed, especially, the enemy shames us into silence, confusion, and shame. This is where the gospel becomes practical. We have the strength and ability to break the chains of the shame and move through into healing.

Whether you’re 30 years in or three weeks in, there’s beauty in coming to the person we’re in covenant with and having the conversation. It takes grace on both sides because processing through sexual stuff is scary. For my husband and myself, it’s a regular check in about what’s going on and there’s amazing freedom that comes from that vulnerability.

What about the person who has tried to talk to their spouse and they don’t want to talk about it?

The first place you can go is to talk to God about it. Prayer on behalf of our spouse is the best thing we can bring into the marriage covenant. Finding an accountability or prayer partner can also be really helpful. But navigating that in a careful way is important—not just gossiping about your marriage to someone. But having this person to carry our burdens can be really beneficial. And sometimes that can be a counselor.

We can look at two stories to see who Jesus is in light of our sin—the woman at the well, who is a whore by all accounts. Jesus is at the well when she comes to draw water and he brings up all her sin and past. But in the face of her filth, he stays. And he offers her redemption and then sends her back to evangelize.

Then with the adulteress to be stoned. Jesus says those without sin can cast the first stone. He stands with her and doesn’t cast a stone. This is who God is in response to our sexual sin.

Sex is a unifying gift, a weapon against the enemy trying to divide us. There is power in healthy sexuality in marriage, and it’s worth it to work through the baggage.

Talk a little bit about pornography, what it does, how to protect ourselves, and how to get healing.

It’s important to remember that no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. Porn is a silent struggle and we are silenced by shame. This is an issue gripping the vast majority of people. I say that because it helps to understand how pervasively this has infiltrated our culture.

The average school aged kid is exposed at nine years old; I was exposed at age eight. Porn is such a universal issue because it’s so accessible and is deeply dehumanizing us. One in five mobile searches is for porn.

We are turning to quick fixes that sees other humans as body parts made for our pleasure instead of image bearing creations of God. It sickens and infects us and we become addicted to it. We have to stop rationalizing and see it as an all or nothing.

When I first came to Christ, my prayer was “break my heart for what breaks yours, give me eyes to see the world as you do and make me more like you.” If we start praying that, we can’t see porn the same. There are some practical ways to help too—software like Covenant Eyes that will guard your devices. We have to practice some discernment about what we set before our eyes.

Your one simple thing for this week:

Start praying: “Create in me a clean heart, God.”

Show Closing

Thanks for joining us for the MarriedPeople Podcast. We hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and leave a review – they help us make the podcast better.

We want to hear from you. Share with us on Facebook, Instagram or our site.  If you want more resources, check out Your Best Us. You can find more from Mo on her website, Instagram, Twitter and her book.  You can also set up Covenant Eyes on their website.

At MarriedPeople, we want to help make marriage real, fun, and simple. Because when your marriage is better, everything is better. We do that with weekly blog posts, podcast episodes, ebooks, and other awesome resources for couples everywhere.

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