If you let Him…

Can I be any different? Can I live a life of purity? Will I be able to stop drinking? Will I have another affair? If you are a part of the human race and have had an affair or struggled with another addiction you have asked these questions. It is only natural. After all most of us think we have tried and tried to defeat this crushing sin in our lives. Yet we found ourselves broken, confused and continually failing.

I am coming up on the first anniversary of confessing to my wife about the affairs and those questions still haunt me at times. They don’t haunt me because my actions have shown that I am going to do it again. They haunt me because I want to remain faithful, I want to pure. I want my wife and I to be together till we die. So with out a doubt the enemy attacks. He wants me to live in fear. He wants me to begin to think I am no different. But I am.

I am surrendered. I am learning to rest in my savior, Jesus Christ. I am learning to let go and trust Him, the good Father of my life. Then this verse came along today in my reading of the Psalms. It teaches us that God preserves us. As we live surrendered, turning to Him each hour, each day. He then cares for us. He then keeps us. He then protects us.

You may ask, why? God loves you and displayed it in His son on the cross. If He gave up His Son to pursue you, to redeem you and to restore you then you better know that He is also not going to let you go. Take comfort as you read this. Then stop and pray to the Lord, renewing your letting go of control and trusting Him.

He will keep you. He will protect you. He loves you!

Be Together A Lot

I confessed to the affairs on a Sunday and by the grace of God we spent so much time together the next couple of days. In reality for the next couple of months we were together almost all the time if my spouse wasn’t at work or I wasn’t at a meeting.

I of course didn’t do any work for my employer the next few days. We knew once I confessed to them I would be terminated. Wise counsel told us to wait a couple days before we went to them. My wife took 3 or 4 days off from teaching and we literally spent time with each other and with God and some close friends.

Was it easy? No way but the Spirit told us we just needed to be together if we wanted to make it. I don’t even remember what we did but it was good. We talked a lot. She asked a lot of questions and we both cried a lot.

As you can imagine those days for her were so painful as the raw pain from my betrayals laid open. I’m sure those day were so hard. For me I was full of guilt and shame. Answering her questions was so difficult but the right thing to do.

One day we went for a hike through a local park. That will forever be a precious memory of God’s rest and grace. During the walk I expressed to her that she had the freedom to stay with me or leave. I told her she was free according to God and that she should only stay if it was what she wanted. Praise the Lord she stayed. She also expressed her raw anger and desire for revenge but also her desire to forgive and let God’s grace flow through her. She hated being angry. I remember telling her it was okay. She had every right to be angry.

Another day we went to a movie. I don’t even remember which one. The time was precious. We went out to lunch together and we ate breakfast together. We began shopping together every week and it is now one of my favorite times together. We laugh and we buy treats for the kids. She puts up with me wanting to buy cheese or other things. It is our time and I love it.

Spend lots of time together even if it is hard. Have lots of open and honest conversation but also just have fun. We wanted to start creating new fun memories together because I had been home but not there the last year. I know all that time together did wonderful things to jump start the healing process.

Five months later, my spouse and our oldest were heading on a mission trip for a week. Honestly it created a lot of fear for my spouse. Could she trust me home alone for a week? Was I really healing and seeking God or would I turn to sin. We prayed hard for God to bless and help us both through it, God was so kind. I was a mess the day I dropped them off to go. Amy was my bride and best friend. It was like we were newly engaged again. I was simply going to miss her. Jesus had worked so instead of tears from fear that day we had tears of love and longing, knowing we were gonna miss being together.

You may be feeling so hopeless right now but all things are possible in Christ. Trust Him, surrender to the process and spend lots of time with your Spouse. Don’t have any agenda other than to let it go where it goes. Be confident that Jesus is working.

Never stop…

As you walk through the days after the confession of an affair do not forget this truth. Say it 100 times each day if need be. When the enemy attacks, and he will then say this. Say it out loud if you have to. In those moments when you want to run away read this aloud to your self. Let this be your very breath in each moment. Each line of this is stated in the Bible many times. Let this truth and the person of Jesus Christ that is behind it truly be your strength today!

You are more loved than you can imagine. You don’t feel it right now but let the Lord come in and show His amazing love to you.

If you are recovering from an affair in your marriage and would like us to be praying for you please send us a message or leave a comment. We would be honored to fight this spiritual battle with you!

Quiet and in Pain

Do you know what it means to wait on God? Or what it means to rest in God? When I write “know” I mean do you understand practically what it means to wait in Christ. I know now I never really did. With the best of you I could quote verses about waiting on God. I could tell you God would come through and yet practically I didn’t live it. As a result of not living it I hurt my wife and my family.

I developed a habit of running to things to find comfort. Rather than holding to the promises of Christ and waiting I would turn to porn and eventually online relationships and finally to Physical relationships to find release or Comfort. Honestly, these habits of comfort started at 12 and carried on until sin almost destroyed me.

Over the last 9 months I am learning what it means to wait in Christ despite discomfort, pain and agony. The only comfort I want in my life is that comfort which comes from the Holy Spirit. Any other comfort is less than and a substitute to the rest and peace that God gives. That also means that at times I must run into pain and fear to truly know the rest and peace of God. More on that later.

One night my spouse and I were in an extremely difficult conversation probably around midnight. We were both hurting and sharing about the pain from my affairs, my sin. We had talked a long time and we were getting no where. I even think we had turned from each and were struggling. We were stuck and going no where. I don’t think either of us knew why.

At that time the Spirit led me to turn a song on and play it on repeat. Over the last six months a number of songs from Christian artists have been used by the Lord in incredible ways in our life. This particular song was, “Be still My Soul (In You I Rest)” by Kari Jobe. I have listened to this song hundreds of times and the Lord has brought great comfort through it. So there we laid listening to this song on repeat. Probably the third time around my heart began to be softened, it began to break and I surrendered to the Lord. By the fifth time my spouse and I laid there fully embraced me weeping as the Lord ministered to our soul.

This is what it means to wait on the Lord. Notice neither of our hurt was minimized and we shared honestly. In those moments we chose to give room to God and His spirit. We also actively waited. We didn’t just lay there in our hurt we let the Word of the Lord renew us through this song. Our waiting needs to be active focusing on Christ and truth revealed in the Bible.

The beautiful thing is that in the end we experienced rest given by the Spirit which led to worship. We waited in the pain rather than avoiding it or medicating it with a sinful habit. God loves each of us so much but we must learn to wait to experience His rest and peace.

One thing you must recognize about waiting in Christ is we never know how long we will have to wait. It can be minutes, hours, days, weeks and even years. By faith choose to hold to Christ and wait. This is really, really hard for me. Ask anyone who knows me well and they will tell you how impatient I can be. Friends, it is so worth it though. Even yesterday I was journaling about a sense that a season of waiting is just beginning in an area where I have been waiting a few months already. In this season of waiting I pray often when the discomfort & discontentment come that I will look to Jesus to be my biggest dream. I want to wait well so I might experience the love and beauty of Christ.

I am so thankful for how the Lord has used my wife to teach me how to wait better than ever. She has displayed well, the longsuffering of Christ in helping me grow. Thank you my Love!

The first year of firsts…

I have read that it takes at least a year to heal from the betrayal of an affair.  If the affair lasted longer than a year, it may take longer, and also depending on if the betrayer was caught or confessed to the affair, the timeline may look different as well.  During the first year, events and dates will trigger more pain. Be aware that this pain is normal and part of the process. Don’t stuff your emotions down, but be willing to honestly share your pain.

I am very time oriented person, so this has made the first nine and a half months of healing very difficult.  I look back at events we were at together and wonder what was he thinking, how was he just going through the motions with his family.  It makes sense why he wasn’t very engaged at this event or why he was so protective of his phone.  It hurts.  I see pictures from the year during the affair and wonder if he was thinking about someone else or waiting for a text from them.  It makes me sad. I remember things I went to alone when he was out of town, feeling stressed and overwhelmed with all of the children, and I wonder if these were times when he was seeing “her.” It would bring up anger and pain from feeling alone and abandoned.  Then I remember God loves me unconditionally, that I am blessed, I am victorious, I am never forsaken and I am a Masterpiece!

Please don’t look back at phone records during the affair times. I did this, and it caused even more pain during those “special” times of the year like, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Fourth of July, anniversaries and birthdays.  I would see texts on OUR days, and be crushed all over again.  I would have to give my heart back to God again and again and ask Him to start the process.  So I beg of you, please don’t do this, and if you have already, don’t keep looking back. Ask your phone company to get rid of them if you need to. It just brings back the pain that you are trying to work through, and Satan will use this to tell you lies again.

You will have difficult emotions come up, it is normal to feel pain, but how you choose to respond to that pain will determine how your healing will occur.  Do you hold onto the painful moments and later throw them at your spouse as retaliation? Or do you take the thoughts to the Lord and ask Him to give you new grace and mercy? Sometimes you’ll need to talk through those moments with your spouse, but sometimes you just need to talk to the Lord about the hurt you are feeling.

We just celebrated our anniversary this weekend, it was a great time being together and celebrating the healing that has occurred.  We focused on the great memories we have had together and made new special ones.  We went to a bed and breakfast, that I hope will become an annual visit some time each year.  It was relaxing and wonderful because we have allowed God to work on our hearts.  Our healing is still a work in progress, and our marriage will never be perfect, but by God’s grace we will continue to make progress.

I cannot say this enough, but if both of you are willing to work towards the healing process and do whatever it takes to repair your marriage, the healing will come.  It will take different lengths of time for each individual, but don’t give up on the process, it is a journey. For some it may take a year, others two, or maybe five, still for others it may take a lifetime of earning that trust back, but if you are committed to your spouse then you should be willing to keep going ’till death do you part.

Never a Priority

As we walked through this painful and blessed journey one of the things that came to light was that long ago my wife felt like she was no longer a priority to me and no longer special. That was really hard to hear but I am coming to understand what it means.

Here is the crazy thing about this. She would never say that I didn’t serve her and the kids. I did a lot of things to help. I did a lot of things to be around her and the kids. So to hear her express feeling unimportant didn’t make sense.

Through my massive failure God broke me and humbled me. Out of it He is more importantly helping me learn to humble myself before Him. I learned I could do everything for her and the kids and she would have continued to feel unimportant. This is possible because my heart was sick and over run with unforgiveness. I was deeply wounded and living life to prove I was something. Everything was a checklist item to do and as a result my wife felt like an item to be checked off. My atitude was awful and she felt like a burden to me. My guess is if the kids knew how to articulate it they would have said the same thing.

When the Lord broke me some things happened which have allowed me to experience life and to rest in God. In some ways I’m learning to truly feel in a deep and rich way.

1. I forgave and let go of past hurts

2. I surrendered to God and admitted my helplessness.

My wife knew my heart was sick and she would challenge me on it. Every time she would ask me to do something she would see in my face that I was annoyed or bothered. So no matter what I did she would never feel special to me and loved. In my life I started to try to take responsibility for things that were not mine to own. For instance I felt the need to prove my worth. That is not something we can do. Now I know my worth is because I am a child of God. Now I know that nothing is better for me than loving and enjoying my wife and my kids. See my father simply wants to love and bless me but that begins by surrendering to Him. When I am surrendered I become faithful in my day to day life and it allows Him to take care of everything else.

My wife means the world to me. My kids are such an incredible blessing. I am finally free in Christ to love them well and to enjoy our lives together.

I am so blessed! It just stinks that it took so long and so much pain to get to this place. One of the wisest woman (my wife!) I know just reminded me that God redeems our pain and hurt. I am so thankful He does.

If your sitting there and you can relate. You find your family is a checklist and burden then start asking the Lord why. Ask God what it is that keeps you from enjoying them for the blessing they are. The next time you do something for your spouse or your kids and it feels like a burden or your annoyed then stop. Take a moment to confess it and ask God what is going on in your heart. Then ask God to help you see that it is truly a joy to care for the gifts He has given you. The gifts being your spouse and kids.

Then when you get some time begin to ask God what in your life are you trying to manage or take responsibility for that isn’t yours to do. God will begin a mighty work to free you.

Now I am equipped and ready to truly care for and love and serve my incredible wife with joy! Praise be to God!

The Fog

I didn’t even realize until a couple weeks after the confession of the affairs that I had been in a fog. Over the course of the last year I had become completely deceived, I had become a different person. I couldn’t think clearly and the things that were important to me had been forgotten.

Gollum from Lord of the Rings was the one character I began to identify with. I had been a guy who was “normal” and sought after the Lord. Then the ring got a hold of me and I slipped away to live in the deep dark places. The ring for me was comfort, that comfort was found in seeking out women and pornography. This deception and acceptance of lies in my life turned me into a thing that was no longer recognizable.  My wife would even say that before I confessed she didn’t know who I was anymore. The crazy thing is that I thought I was still the same guy. I was so blinded I didn’t realize that I had become someone else.

By the grace of God I now see that I was actually blessed to be Frodo. The Lord brought conviction and confession in my life and has graciously allowed healing in my life. God is so good. When the Bible talks about the deceptive nature of sin and that the devil is crafty and seeking to destroy it is completely true. The devil is great at taking half truths to convince us that our sinful behavior is acceptable. We become so deceived and begin to think that crazy things are okay. For a while I had come to believe that I could talk to all these women, make-out with some and that it was okay. That I really didn’t have to confess. That is insane! That is just one of the lies I had used to convince myself that my behavior was acceptable.

If you recently confessed to major sin in your life you may be feeling the same way. Here are a few of the things that I remember from those initial weeks:

• You are in a fog of sin and it will take some time to come back to normal.

• Don’t trust your thoughts, desires and emotions. They are all messed up because of the effects of sin in your life.

• Be honest with your spouse and others that you are in a fog and that you don’t even trust yourself. Don’t worry, you will be able to trust yourself again. I remember being so scared that I couldn’t trust myself.

• As you heal you will eventually look back and be blown away by the crazy things you did and came to believe. Be thankful that God in His love pulled you back to reality.

The night I confessed I probably did one of the craziest things. My job (I would be terminated later that week) required that I travel a significant amount. On Wednesday of that week I was supposed to go to Alanta for work. My wife and I were in our room talking that night and she said something about doing something later in the week. I don’t even remember what she said. I replied and said I couldn’t because I would be out of town for work. She got pissed (rightly so) and stormed out of the room. She went outside into the cold all alone and I sat there wondering what I did. Insane… I know! Not only was it insane because I just confessed to affairs while traveling, but I also worked at an institution that would immediately terminate me once they knew. (The institution treated me with such grace, love and truth. I will always love that place.) Sin had such a hold on me that I lost all grasp on reality.

Getting through the fog was a hard journey and took a number of days to get through. My heart also remained hard and calloused for a while. Over the course of a couple weeks the hardness and callouses were taken away.

When you are in this fog trust your spouse and a couple close friends to help you remember who you are!

Learning to Wait

“Indeed none who wait for you shall be put to shame…”

Psalm 25:3 has become a bit of a mantra over the last few months. As you can well imagine there were many times and situations where I had no idea what to do.

Let me explain. First, I committed affairs against my wife, but this didn’t just happen one day. It took months and years of the enemy working and me agreeing with him to get to that place. By the time I confessed I was so deceived and broken that I didn’t know what to think. Second, I thought I was following Christ for years and perhaps to some extent I was. However, doing it my way simply led to despair and destruction. So I didn’t know what to trust or think. Finally, wanting reconciliation and healing was a tough road to walk. I didn’t know what to do other than cling to Jesus and be close to Amy. Over the days, weeks and months there have been many moments of not being sure what to do or how to proceed.

At some point I came across Psalm 25, verse 3. Essentially when in doubt wait. Wait on the Lord to reveal what is next. If this verse is true, we will never go wrong when we choose to wait on God.

I quickly learned that this doesn’t mean we go play golf hours on end while we wait or watch countless sports (I know, very male focused. Women please insert your time wasters). That’s a waste and dishonoring to God. While we wait on God there are two things we should be doing. First, you need to be seeking fellowship with Jesus,  and you need to be actively seeking His Kingdom.  Another way to say it is…you are to love God and love people while you wait.

As you wait for the Lord, seek to be in fellowship with Jesus. Make knowing Him your passion. Look for His beauty all around. Read the Word and contemplate His holiness. Think about His amazing love and your position in Him. Take time to rest in His presence. All of this will not feel natural, but over time it will make sense. Slowly you will understand how to rest in the Lord.

Next, as you wait be active. There are so many things you know to do without a special word from God. Love your wife. Pray for her. Take her out. Engage your kids, and enjoy them if they are still around.  Go spend time with others, pray for them and encourage them. Get things done around the house you’ve been avoiding. In this God will bless and train you. He will start to show you the way to go.

This is how you wait. You will not be put to shame when you wait on the Lord. In that waiting He will refine and train you. In the end you will love and enjoy Him so much more. As a matter of fact you will enjoy your wife more, your kids more and all of life more. When we rest in the Lord while we wait we get to enjoy all the good things in our lives!

Psalms

Where do you turn when you feel scared and alone? Unfortunately, I would often turn to my husband first before God when I was scared or felt alone. (Another post in the future) But when you are so mad at your husband, where do you go? Thankfully, I turned to God and the Bible.  Some people in my life that knew what happened cautioned me about seeking comfort in other male friends.  There are many people who will have an affair after their spouse confesses because they think it will make them feel better. Some people turn to alcohol, drugs or food for comfort, which will all end up disappointing and leave you with a whole other set of problems.  The best place to turn is to God for comfort. I know it is easier said than done when you are mad that God allowed this sin?  

I remembered David’s situation and knew the Psalms fairly well, so that is where I turned. I immersed myself into the book of Psalms. I read at least a chapter a day, and I read it over and over throughout the day. Whenever a bad thought or image came to my mind I would read it. I wasn’t always perfect at this, sometimes I would believe the lies of the devil and that would take me to a very bad place. Those hard places were always difficult to get out of. I prayed and read verses in Psalms that I had written down on index cards or stored in my phone. This would go on and on, until I released the lies and hurt and found comfort in the Lord.

There are too many verses to list that encouraged me and brought me up out of the pit, but I want to give you some of my favorites and hopefully they will encourage you as well. Psalms 9:9, 56:11, 55:22, 119:71, 30:2, 31:24, 16:8, 100:5, 103:2-4, 46:10, 106:1, 107:19-21, 46:1-3, 118:14-16, 119:114-115, 119:25, 119:28, 119:50, 120:1, 3:2-6, 22:19, 28:7-8, 147:3.

God, used these words to bring me to a place of smiling, laughter and enjoying a few days in a row. That increased my hope in the restoration of our marriage.  The visions and images still came, but having somewhere to turn helped them to go away quicker. I prayed and read Psalms for months to combat the enemy throwing things in my face. It has been almost eight months since the confession, and random things will trigger thoughts and I go to Psalms. I have actually had a rough few days and haven’t been able to sleep, Satan has just been throwing arrows of doubt all over the place.

Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy. He wants you to quit because it is too hard. He wants your family torn apart with a divorce, but you have to decide that your marriage IS worth fighting for and fight for it. Trust me, it will be a battle for your mind and your spouses mind. Satan loves when people give up the fight. So often couples just quit when an affair enters the situation believing it is the un-healable pain. The world says divorce, find someone who won’t cheat, and unfortunately so many people in the church divorce after an affair because the Bible permits it for this one reason, or they give up the fight because it is too hard. Make the choice that you and your spouse won’t be another marriage casualty.

Whenever a negative thought or vision comes to your mind, I challenge you to take it to God and immerse yourself in the book of Psalms.  You will find comfort, strength and HOPE!

“When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19

“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.” Psalm 33:20-21

Start Today…

We never thought that an affair would be a part of our story. The truth is that none of you reading this who’ve had an affair as a part of your story thought that you would have it be a part of your story. When I confessed to my spouse and those closest to us, they were shocked that it happened. They would have never thought that I was capable of an affair. One thing I have learned very clearly is that I am far worse than I would have ever imagined and capable of very hurtful actions.

I destroyed a dream of my wife, her marriage would include faithfulness for a lifetime. I hurt her so deeply. That betrayal was magnified as a “Christian” man who proclaimed faithfulness to his marriage and yet lived the opposite. However, a couple months into our healing journey I came to realize that my wife and I did have a great marriage, we do have a great marriage and by the grace of God we will continue to have a great marriage. Sure, I lost my way and fell into terrible sin leaving our marriage for a time, but the greatness of it has allowed us to have the path for healing in Christ.

Work today towards something worth fighting for. 

Over fifteen plus years we created a marriage worth fighting for. There is no way what we have/had was worth giving up for cheap thrills and cheap sex.

In the days and weeks immediately following my confession of cheating, my wife often reminded me of those fifteen plus years we had together and that she was my best friend. She would ask me is that really worth giving up on?  At the end of the day there is no way I wanted to throw all of it away. I am so thankful today that she didn’t let me forget.

I wish I was this incredible man who fought for our marriage because God told me to, but that wasn’t the main reason. My wife and kids were what was worth fighting for. They are so amazing and we have so many incredible memories of our life together. It is so sad to think that I endangered all of that for cheap thrills and cheap sex.

Spouses: Never stop fighting, and start today building a great marriage.