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!

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

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

 

Be Strong and Broken

This has always been tough For me. The concept of being strong and confident, while at the same time being broken and humble. My strength and confidence always came across as arrogance and pride. Often times it was harsh. Notice I said “my strength… That was the problem, I thought it was about my strength and me pushing things along. Ephesians 6 tells us “to be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might.” I’m learning to be strong in Him and because of Him. This breeds humility because it will only happen if I recognize moment by moment my dependence on Christ. 

When you betray your wife, you believe and the devil tries to tell you that she wants no comfort from you. The devil tries to tell you more lies. That if you are truly sad you will be broken and sad, constantly beating yourself up. The enemy wants to heap burning coals of shame on your head.

The truth is your wife actually needs you to be broken in Christ and at the same time strong in Christ. For some of you, your wife won’t want to look at you. She won’t even want to be around you. Forgiveness will be a process for her, but if you are to get her back, strength and brokenness in Christ will be a given. This will be hard for you as well. However, as you accept the forgiveness of Christ and as you forgive yourself you will begin to find both strength and brokenness.

The first few weeks after confessing, the only way I could lift my eyes and look my wife in her eyes was because of Christ in me. In all honestly this process was only made possible through the friends in my life and our counselor. They had to keep bringing me back to the love and forgiveness of Christ. I honestly would have wallowed in self-pity. Destroying myself over and over again, sinfully agreeing with the enemy.

I want to explore more closely this simultaneous strength and brokenness in Christ. Then I’ll finish explaining why your wife needs this from you. Let’s start with true godly brokenness. In the gospel we come to understand our complete bankruptcy and need for Christ. If you have come to a place of confessing affairs or some grievous sin against your wife, then you probably get how broken and weak you are. I highly doubt you just ran to the affairs. My guess is it was more of a slow walk where at times you felt powerless. That’s because we are broken and depraved. Remember how broken you are and how disgusting you can become. Then ask for life, ask for confession and repetance that leads to life. When we are granted true repentance it bears life and hope because we recognize the grace of God in it. You must never forget where you came from and where you will end up again a part from Christ.

Now, you have the ability to be strong as you work through all the mess and pain with your wife. Remember Ephesians 6 tells us, to be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might. So rise up not because of you, but because of Christ in you. Be there for your wife. Be what she needs you to be because Christ is in you. This is the power of Christ in you.

Despite the fact that we have betrayed our wives, on the deepest level they need our strength in Christ. That strength tells them or reassures them that Christ is at work. It lets them know that we are walking in Christ and finding hope and healing. This will aid your wife in the healing process and help her forgive you. This strength from Christ allows her to be fully open and express herself while you listen and hold her. Yes, you caused the deep hurt, but if she is still there then she wants your love and strength in Christ. This is truly a miracle of God that is beautiful to see.

Friends this is so incredibly difficult. The enemy is fighting hard to get you to a place of self-pity. Keep trusting Christ, apologize when you don’t bring this brokenness and strength. Ask Christ and your wife to help and encourage you. Remember, Christ has forgiven you and wants to make you strong. Now forgive yourself and step up in Christ. Never forget how much He loves you.

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!

Wait…

Indeed, none who wait for you (the Lord) shall be put to shame… – Psalm 25:3a

Over the last several months, as my wife and I are healing from my affairs this verse has become a bedrock for me. There are and will be days that just suck as you and your spouse heal. The enemy will attack and try to destroy the healing that is taking place. Not only will there be difficult days but at times you won’t know what to do or how to respond in certain situations. Then to top it all off you will be longing for the healing to come much quicker than what it is.

Within the first few weeks of my confessions my wife read through the Psalms a couple times and I read through portions of it. This verse over and over again has stuck with me, and has taken me back to a better place when things get difficult or I don’t know what to do. Through the course of all this mess I have learned that I just need to hold onto the Lord. I need to cling to Him and wait for Him.

This verse gives me assurance that if I don’t know how to act or move forward that I just need to be honest about it and wait for the Lord. He will come through, He will guide his children as they trust in Him. We must, however be willing to wait. That can be the hard thing. It takes faith to trust this verse to be so. As you take more time to wait instead of rushing forward it will become easier and easier to wait. In America we are taught all the time to be in control and to be people of action. In God’s economy we become a people who wait and let God take action for His glory. When we do that we truly learn to live and be filled with joy as He miraculously works.

God is in control of your healing process, so wait. He will turn the destruction of your affairs or the betrayal in your life into something beautiful as you wait. He will not let you be put to shame. Have confidence and wait. Let God come through for you…He will!

Wait…