By Josefina Banks, Purity + Peace leader
Member of City Wide Church of Bridgeport, Connecticut
AN ACCIDENT, OR WAS IT?
I remember taking my first Purity + Peace class in the summer of 2017.
...I honestly ended up in the class by accident.
Our church had another women’s group that was taking place around the same time, on the same day, and I had planned to attend that group instead. When I walked in and asked "Where's the woman's group?," I was directed down stairs. That was how I ended up in my first Purity + Peace class. Coincidence or not, God knew what he was doing. What I had experienced that night left me needing more.
WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?
Because of the happenstance, I didn’t know much about Purity + Peace or what to expect. You might be curious about it too, so let me share:
The course provided a safe, judgement-free atmosphere to help deal with past hurts, traumas, and shame — while we learned about who we are in Christ. I learned how God sees me, despite my past. This six-week course that used biblical scriptures, gave me a deeper understanding of God’s word and how it applies to my life as a women. It was the type of talk and teaching I had never experienced before; something refreshing and powerful.
MY ROAD TO CELIBACY
I was working through my own process of purity through celibacy and transformation when I mistakenly walked into my first Purity + Peace session. Just prior to taking the class, I had decided I wanted to totally give my body to God. I wanted my body to be used as a temple of the Holy Spirit and do things God’s way. This decision and conviction came clear to me after I had heard a sermon series my church (CityWide in Bridgeport, Connecticut) had recently given. This life-changing sex series taught me things about sex from a proper, biblical perspective.
For the first time, something penetrated my soul.
I knew I had never truly valued myself in the manner that God wanted me to. I had been looking for LOVE in all the wrong places when all along God was the biggest missing puzzle piece. It was time for me to love myself enough to say "NO" to impure things.
Purity + Peace only enforced and supported my decision.
It was amazing to be in an environment that was going to help me stay strong but also challenge me to apply purity in all areas of my life: mind, body and spirit. I have learned that we can be impure with our words, thoughts and actions — not just sexually with our bodies. It goes way beyond just premarital sex. While being pure in the world's understanding can mean "virginity," to God, it means a lot more than that.
IT BLESSES ME AGAIN AND AGAIN
Upon realizing my first Purity + Peace session wasn't the actual women’s group I originally planned on attending, I decided to split my time between the two groups. Because of this, I wasn't able to dive in as deep my first go around. Nevertheless, I met amazing women on this journey that most people may never get the opportunity to travel. I knew I needed to attend more sessions and I needed to tell others about it. So I invited one of my cousins to attend a class with me.
Today, I have taken Purity + Peace four times. Each experience was different and I gained more ground in the biblical truth of “Iron Sharpens Iron.” The leaders and women helped me grow and develop while I was broken and immature in many areas. Fear had debilitated me for many, many years. Now, with God at the center, my new church family, and the blessings found through Purity + Peace, my life is transformed.
I maintained my purity vow for two years.
With this obedience came blessings! My boyfriend (now husband) popped the BIG question and I was married a year later. My testimony inspired my husband to follow my lead because he saw the change in me, choosing to get baptized on the same day I got baptized, and started his own walk and commitment. We both gave up drinking alcohol and worked toward reaching our fullest potential with our Father in Heaven. Prior to this, we had dated for six-and-a-half years, living in disobedience and recklessness. Our relationship was filled with all sorts of issues as a result. We got into some things that were wild and crazy! Let’s just say, I am so happy that “Jesus took the Wheel!" Even now, God is doing some amazing things in both of our lives. While marriage isn’t perfect, I wouldn’t have it any other way. God blessed me with a great husband!
We all have a past. Our purity and mental health can be compromised by all sorts of things! Our pasts wounds may have robbed us of our innocence. We may have experienced abuse that caused anger and unforgiveness. We may undervalue ourselves because we believe what society says about us. We may be tainted by all the disappointments. We may be rundown by the manipulation and lies of Satan. You may still be living your life based on worldly standards, not knowing you were bought at a price and are STILL gems in God's eyes. God's standards are worthy of pursuing. He will only expect the best for His children. And His way has proven to be the BEST way! If He did it for me, he can do it for YOU.
MY TURN TO LEAD
In all the sessions of Purity + Peace I have taken, each leader has blessed me in some form or fashion. And on my fifth session of Purity + Peace, God has called me to teach and lead the class out of my own home, so I can PAY IT FORWARD. I get the privilege to share the FREEDOM found in knowing the truth. Thank you God!
And, a big THANK YOU to these amazing & gorgeous women:
Victoria Garcia (The Founder and Author of P+P & my fourth session leader).
Lois Caposella - (Our Spiritual Mother)
Yvette Garcia - (My first session leader)
Kimani Sioux - (My second session leader)
Zaibel Torres - (My third session leader)
Thanks for answering the call ladies!
(Purity + Peace Leader)