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.

A Girl’s Dream

Most little girls dream about getting married someday and how wonderful life will be. I also dreamed of getting married, but around the age of twelve I started dreaming specifically about a Christian husband. Because I had never had a Christian dad who talked about Jesus or the Bible, I wanted that for my family. I wanted to marry someone who would pray with me and our kids. I wanted someone that loved talking about things that were good and positive, someone that encouraged me with my walk with God. I wanted someone to love me unconditionally, and faithfully. I wanted to marry someone who truly loved Jesus and was trying to live for Him each day.

I married that person. From the beginning we both unknowingly bought each other a Bible as a wedding gift. I wanted that to be central to our marriage and he did too. We prayed together and walked with God.  We were not perfect at it, but we were both trying to love God first and love each other next. We said divorce was not an option we would always work through it.

Flash forward about seventeen years when my dream was crushed. How could this happen? My husband walked away from God and me. I kept asking him if he secretly hated me. I would say over and over, why did you do this to us? I was so hurt and broken inside because I thought I just wasn’t good enough for him. I thought he really didn’t like me and wanted to get away from me. I thought I wasn’t beautiful to him anymore.  I think I even said that I cannot compare to the things these women do in pornography, and I would not want to, so if that’s what you want…I am not that.  I took the affairs so personally. I was so confused because we had a great marriage, not perfect, but great. I was totally blind-sided that he would actually break our marriage vows and actually have sex with other women. I couldn’t get over the fact that my ideal marriage was crushed. If we made it to our 50th anniversary, we wouldn’t be able to say we were always committed to one another, I was so broken and damaged.  He said it was not because of me, or our marriage, it was his fault.  He wasn’t dealing with hurts and disappointments in life properly and was trying to escape and make himself feel better. It was all so self-centered, I was so shocked. How did he get this far from God.  I couldn’t trust him now and that felt so horrible. How can you be in a relationship and not trust? I had no idea, so I had to trust Jesus and His promises for me.

I realized months later that the reason I was taking it so personally was because I had elevated our marriage up on a pedestal. People constantly told us that they looked up to our marriage, so it was built up even more. I was finding my significance in a great marriage. I found significance in being married to a Christian guy who was seeking the Lord.  So when all of the sin was unleashed it was broken, I felt completely frazzled and lost. I blamed myself. The wounds were deep and painful. Then the words of Psalms and the counselor’s words began to settle in my mind. I started hearing God’s voice louder than Satan’s lies.  When you feel like you are not good enough and Satan tells you that your husband wants someone else, go to your Father and be still. Listen to how much He loves you and that is all that matters. You need to heal and the only person that can do that is Jesus. I realized that I needed to love God with all of my heart, mind, soul and strength before I could heal and forgive completely. I needed to believe the Bible and to continue filling my mind with truth.  I needed to believe that I was the daughter of a King!

I am beautiful.

I am victorious.

I am chosen.

I am accepted just as I am.

I am blessed everyday I rise.

I am loved unconditionally.

I am the apple of my Father’s eye.

I am never forsaken.

I am not average. I am not ordinary.

I AM A MASTERPIECE!

…and you are too!

 

 

 

 

A Growing Light 

He is the light of the world. -John 8:12

I never use to see the light. I thought I trusted Christ. I taught a lot of people a boat Christ. I did a lot of activities that were about Christ. However I don’t know if the light could ever be seen in my heart. Looking into my heart was like looking into a cave. The cave was pitch black. I was told there was light in there but I never saw it. I learned to talk like there was a light. I would celebrate with others that we could see the flicker of light in our own caves but because of my pride I learned to say I saw the light.

Through self-righteousness I became really good at living like I saw the light. I was so good that I didn’t even realize that I didn’t see the light. When I saw the warning signs that there may be no light I blamed it on God. If He wanted the sin gone he’d do more. I’d pray and when I fell I’d blame it on God and believe He didn’t really love me.

All the while unforgiven ess, hurt, anger, disappoint and sin pulled me farther from the cave and even helped me build a wall into the cave so I couldn’t see in. Fortunately before the wall was completed Love broke through the wall. God reached down and touched me through my bride e Her love broke the walls down and I finally admitted that I couldn’t see the light in my cave.

My Bride saw the light in her cave like a roaring fire and she told me to keep looking for the light in my care. She said it was there. Other friends told me it was there and they started holding my hand and pointing me in the direction to see the light.

I started longing to see the light so I spent a lot of time looking for it. As though I was a hunter waiting for the prey long before sunset. This time I didn’t accept the opportunities to pretend to see the light.

In the waiting I started cleaning away the rubble from the wall that had been broken down. I removed the hurt from the past and I understood that on my own I would only build walls. Through Christ all the rubble could be removed. I could be forgiven and forgive myselfee

Slowly I began to know the light was there and I’d see glimpses. The more I let go and actually let Christ clear the rubble the more often I’d catch a glimpse. After a time I kept being fearful the light would disappear. I was also fearful because I only saw it every once in a while. I was blessed my bride kept pointing me to the light and she kept loving me, friends also kept telling me they saw the light in my care.

A couple weeks ago I noticed the light was bigger and I saw it constantly. I was thrilled but not satisfied. I want the light to be bigger and stronger. I want it to be a roaring bonfire that I feel the heat of Joy through. Not only that I want the light in me to be a light for others. I want it to give them the heat of joy and comfort so that they will look for the flicker of light in their cave.

I do have to tend my cave entrance though but Jesus now helps. Hurt and temptation want to begin closing it off again. I have to bring others into my cave to help me keep the rubble away. I’m finding as the fire and light grow bigger and brighter that it becomes easier to clear the rubble away. I am so thankful. I am confident my fire will spread to others. I wait in expectation for how that will look.

Friends be honest if you can’t see the light. It’s okay because if you keep looking you will eventually see the flicker of light in your cave. God will also bring others along to help you see it!

I hope this encourages you. Now I’m off to enjoy the fire in my cave. 

The first date…after

After my husband confessed on Sunday, I took the week off of work because I was in shock and broken inside. Surprisingly, my husband and I ended up spending a lot of time together those first few days. We met with our pastor and his wife, but we also went to breakfast, took a hike and saw a movie. We cried a lot, talked a ton and spent time alone with God as well. During our hike, I let out a lot of anger. I expressed that I felt like I wanted to kill those women. He said then you’d have to kill me too because I did it too. It was so hard feeling that much anger towards him and others because I’ve never had those kinds of feeling before, it scared me. He actually let me say whatever came to my mind and told me it was okay. He continued to say sorry throughout those days, which is always good.  The weekend came and he asked me if I wanted to go on a date, and I said yes.

The whole process before the date was so upsetting and stressful because I had Satan telling me that “he doesn’t even want to be with you, he’s thinking about the other woman”.  I had to combat those lies with truth just to be able to go on the date. I had been nauseous every day since the confession and I still felt sick.  So we went to dinner, and it was awkward, I think I heard crickets a few times!  I had actually looked up questions to ask on a first date on Pinterest because it literally felt like I was going out with a stranger.  I didn’t know what had happened to my husband, and I was very scared.  This was going to be harder than I thought.  So I did actually use those question to get us talking some. There were still moments of awkwardness, but we survived dinner. After, he had asked me if I wanted to go get some things at a craft store and make something together. He knows I like to do this, so that was thoughtful, and we were off to the store. We walked around the store and I still felt nauseous. I not only felt like I was with a stranger, but I felt like I wouldn’t be with this type of stranger. The pain and hurt that he put upon me for self-centered pleasure was so hard for me to understand.  It was so hard! Can I say that again? It was so hard! I didn’t understand how my best friend could do this to me. He kept suggesting things to make and I knew inside I couldn’t make a craft with him at this point.   Finally, I said I don’t feel like making anything tonight, let’s just go home and watch a movie. The car ride home was quiet and painful. I was praying the whole time, God please help us. I know you want to see marriages restored, God please.  We watched “Christmas with the Kranks” something light-hearted and funny, then the night actually ended okay. Praise the Lord we survived our first date!

So please don’t throw in the towel because the restoration process is hard.  I am telling you it will be! If you have kids, it will be even harder.  Because we wanted to protect our young kids from knowing anything, we could really only “talk” when they were in bed. This can be difficult if one of you isn’t a night person and gets tired, because emotions are less controllable when you’re tired.   It will be hard for days and days in row, but you know what? If you stick with it you will start to see little miracles here and there. You will start to see God putting your heart back together little by little. The other cool thing is that you will start to see your dates get better and better the more you go on.

I’m glad I remember how awful that first date was eight months ago because now I can see the progress that has happened in our marriage.

Don’t give up!

The day that will live in infamy?

The day my husband confessed to the affairs changed my life forever…

It was a Sunday afternoon, I remember he seemed down so I was trying to goof around with him, and he got serious and said he needed to tell me something. As I sat and listened, I went from holding his hand to wanting to throw up. I went into shock.  I was crying, I was asking why, and I went in the bathroom and threw up. It didn’t help, I would have this nauseous feeling for the next few weeks.  I came out and I was scared, (whenever I am afraid I will trust in You).  I began to ask him some questions and as he answered, the pain increased inside my body. I literally felt like my heart fell out of my body and crashed onto the floor.  But I started praying…”God, help me. I don’t know what to do.” Then I asked him to call a couple of important men in his life because I needed help, and he did. Unfortunately, I knew a couple of friends who had gone through a similar situation in their past, and I texted them to get some prayers as well.  We met with our pastor and wife that day, and I felt a whole gamet of emotions. I would go from hurt, to sad, to angry, to scared, and even one time the Holy Spirit came upon me and I felt peace, and I actually reached out and laid my hand on my husband. It was seriously an outer body experience; I watched myself go from one side of a couch to another as my husband started crying. I was so mad at him in that moment, I couldn’t have done that, it was the Holy Spirit in me. Despite the enormous and horrific pain, God was working inside of me. 
When your spouse confesses to having an affair, you need to ask for help immediately. Even pausing in the bathroom between throwing up and crying, stop and ask Your Daddy, Jesus to help. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds. Then you need to ask for some godly help through pastors, mentors and friends that you trust to walk through this moment with you. Don’t wait until the next day to call, call immediately.  I cannot imagine how the first week would have played out if I had waited. Get another couple involved, a husband and wife, that you can both talk to at the same time. You cannot do this on your own.

So the title, “The day that will live in infamy” ends in a question mark for a reason. The word infamy means being well known for something bad, but I often question myself as to if the day should be remembered for something bad or something very, very good. The day of confession…the Holy Spirit bringing him to the point where he confessed. God had planned for this particular day to be when his redemption began.  So even though my heart was broken on this day, my husband returned to God.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9  Because Christ has forgiven me through His death on the cross, I will forgive even the unthinkable.

Remember to ask for help immediately!

You are Forgiven…Now rise up 

Yes, you had an affair. You hurt your spouse, that you promised to love for a lifetime,  more deeply than you can imagine. That can be hard to live with and it can be overwhelmingly painful. The pain is often unbearable for your spouse and their range of emotions is unknowable by us who committed the affair.

That’s the truth, but there is more truth.

For those of us who cry out to Jesus to be forgiven, we are forgiven.  1 John 1:9 promises us,  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Read those words again. Have you asked Jesus to forgive you? If so, you are forgiven! That is a truth that cannot be taken away from you. Now if you are like me, you will have to read this truth 100 times a day until it sinks deep into your heart. The devil is going to attack. After all he is simply wanting to destroy you. Nothing would make him happier than for you to wallow in the misery of guilt and shame. But God loves you perfectly regardless of the affairs and He has forgiven you. Now He wants you to live in His strength and power.

As I look back over the initial months it was so hard to accept the Lord’s forgiveness and to accept my wife’s forgiveness. I did not feel like I deserved it at all. In fact I didn’t, but the true love of God provided the way to be forgiven despite myself.  My wife understands how deeply she has been forgiven, and as a result her love for God and for me compelled her to forgive me. (This is something I praise God for everyday!) Regardless of whether your spouse is willing to forgive you, God has. Take comfort in that and let go of the shame. Live free and forgiven, do not let the enemy tear you down with accusations of the things you are already forgiven for!

At the beginning I mentioned that your spouse is dealing with unbearable amounts of pain because of your betrayal. That is true, however they need you. You are forgiven and that forgiveness allows you to walk in freedom from your sin. That forgiveness also allows you to rise up and be strong for your spouse. They need you to acknowledge and not ignore the sin you committed, but they also need you to rise up in the confidence that your Savior has forgiven you. When you in the power of Christ do this, you are able to convey strength and victory to your spouse when they are just trying to survive the pain. Even as I write that it sounds so weird that your spouse wants strength from the one who betrayed them. Remember though that despite your betrayal they have stayed faithful because they love you and they want to be with you. Take the forgiveness and grace you have received from Christ to rise up in strength and love your spouse.

This will not be easy. The devil will attack and your spouse will need to share their pain with you. In those moments you will want to run in fear and shame. I did. Many times my wife would say, “I need you to be strong for me when I share my pain. Tell me you are sorry and that you regret what you did, but stay strong for me. Show me that you are confident in God and the work of Christ.”  See, when she would open up I wanted to run because I had so much shame and I hated myself for what I did. But if you believe you are forgiven and loved, then the shame and hatred melts away and you become strong for your spouse. Over time you will become stronger and stronger in the Lord as you continue to renew your mind day by day.

Have you forgiven yourself for your affairs? God has! Now rise up and fight for your spouse, love them, and be gentle and be strong for them! God will be there for you each step of the way! 

Never forget you are loved and forgiven completely by JESUS!