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!

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 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!

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.

With God All Things Are Possible

One thing that really shook me and made me question if I could stay, and make this marriage work was on the night of the confession. We had been talking and crying, and all of our kids were at church except our oldest. The month of the confession was in November, and it was two days after my dad had been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor two years prior, so for me crying this much in November wouldn’t seem strange. Our daughter did come in and ask if I was okay, I think I lied and said I was sad about my dad dying, and her daddy and I were just having a rough time right now.

So we were talking and he said he had one more trip scheduled for work (he traveled- opportunity, access & time for affairs) at the end of the week. I think I said, what?! Then I ran out of the room, down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk. It was cold, about thirty-five degrees and I had no socks or shoes on and no coat.  I sat outside for an hour weeping and heartbroken. I don’t even remember feeling cold at the time because I was in such shock, I felt numb. He just confessed to having affairs in other states and he said he has a trip scheduled this week!!! I sat there thinking through how the kids and I were going to go to my parent’s house until he moved everything out. I thought through my job situation and how to tell my boss. For those two minutes I thought we are going to end up getting divorced.  I was even in disbelief that I was thinking this way.  I was so confused and hurt, that my mind was all over the place.  Then I just started asking God for help, saying I can’t do this, I can’t do this. I need You,  I don’t know what to do, help me. Then I felt a strange calmness that told me I needed to try to reconcile with my husband and pursue restoration. The night continued to be painful, but I knew I was supposed to endure the pain for God’s glory someday.

God gave me the verse in Matthew 19:26, “With God All Things Are Possible.” I just started saying it to myself all the time whenever the pain would increase and a terrible thought came to mind.  Throughout the weeks talking to my husband, I would just say over and over seventeen years of marriage…you want to waste all of that for some strange women on the internet. Seventeen good years of marriage and four amazing kids for living a life of sin, really? Then I started saying that God was going to heal us because with God all things are possible. I would ask him if he believed it and I would even ask myself sometimes when I felt like things were going backwards. But God was so faithful in continuing to give us both the desire to make it work despite the many nights of crying and hurt.  Ultimately, deep down we both wanted to see God heal and restore our marriage, that was an answer to prayer because in the first few days he just kept saying he didn’t know what he wanted to do.

Some nights were so horrific when I would ask a question and hear such a painful response. I couldn’t bear how hurt I felt inside. I literally felt crushed under the reality that my husband had done this. I felt like an elephant was laying on my chest and I couldn’t breath.  Everything had been taken away from me. The life I knew was gone.  My wedding vows were broken.  My heart had been ripped out and thrown out the window on the way to a hotel, then picked up, stomped on and driven home like nothing happened.  I felt like I wasn’t going to survive,  I wanted to hear all of the details at once instead of a little bit more here and there, but knowing so much was unbearable. I couldn’t understand how he got to such a terrible place of sin.  I couldn’t comprehend what he had done to our family and life.  It was devastating.  

But then God became my breath and my life a little more each day.

I had to go to His word all day and night, I was reading and praying to God like breathing. I had to do it to survive this incomprehensible situation. There were so many times that I would just hear God saying, “With Me anything is possible, just believe.” I could not trust my husband anymore, but I could trust God. So little by little, hour by hour, God began to heal my soul for His glory.

So today, I am still walking this journey after 32 weeks, which is 259 days.  God has sustained me and walked with me the entire way, and thankfully after my husband came out of his fog and entanglement of sin, he joined me on the journey.  Some days are still rough at times, but I know that with God all things are possible, and that is how I survive those terrible moments.  If you are struggling now because it seems impossible, please start reciting this verse and ask your husband too as well. God is so good and faithful. He wants to fight for you, you just need to be still in His loving arms.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37

 

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!

Simply Whatever. 

My wife had a rough past couple days. Those are to be expected. We are less than a year into our healing process. One of the things that attributed to the rough days was hearing about another couple that worked to save their marriage after an affair, but they have not been able to. It is ending in divorce. The devil used this to send arrows at her heart like, “if they couldn’t do it then how can you?” Those are dirty blows and they hurt. So we hugged, which is what we do when one of us is hurting. Speaking isn’t the best first thing. The best first thing is the hug. Then we talked.

I told my wife, that from what she shared there had been something that this couple was not willing to do. They were not willing to do whatever it takes. The day I confessed to the affair and my wife forgave me we made the decision to do whatever it would take to save our marriage. For us, this wasn’t simply about not getting a divorce this was about healing, and our marriage being better than ever. Remember with Jesus all things are possible.

When I write “whatever” I mean whatever. If it means no sports television because they objectify women in so many ways, if it means no smart phone, if it means tracking devices on your phone so your spouse knows where you are, if it means no longer going to the gym to protect your eyes, and if it means quitting your job then do it! As we pursue purity and wholeness God will honor those decisions and He will carry you through. He calls us to honor our spouses and to protect our marriages so do whatever it takes. Remember you have destroyed the trust in your marriage through your affair or addiction to pornography and now it will take a life-time to rebuild that trust.

If you are in the process of recovering from an affair, have you made the conscious choice that you will do whatever it takes to bring healing to your spouse and to your marriage?

If you have not then you will fail. In those little holes where you choose to leave openings the devil will squeeze on-going temptation and attacks. He knows that over time you will wear down and he will once again have you where he wants you.

Last night as I held my wife(and it is by the grace of God that I even get to anymore) I told here once again, “I will do whatever you need right now to help encourage you.”

I challenge you in the next 24 hours to ask your spouse, “Do you believe I am willing to do whatever it takes to see our marriage and love restored?” If they say “no” then ask  them what more they need from you. Then do it. Keeping asking that question of yourself and ask the Spirit to reveal to you where you are falling short.

Remember if your marriage is going to survive you must make the commitment that you will do whatever it takes!