Tag Archive | Jesus

It’s What I Did, Not Who I Am

When I first began considering how to approach the subject of my affair on the blog, I planned to write some informative posts on the devastating effects of pornography and sex addiction in marriages. Explain the complete rejection and suffering of a sexless marriage. Describe the emotional abuse of intimacy anorexia. Basically, I wanted to set the stage to defend and justify my behaviour. Encourage you to nod your head in compassion and understanding. We would agree that an affair was inevitable.

Next came the notion that once the reasons and excuses were established, I would show overwhelming remorse and repentance. Write some flowery, weepy words of how truly wrong my sin was. Pull at your heart strings so that you would show up on my doorstep with hugs and chocolates and exclamations of God’s goodness and faithfulness.

I wanted you to like me. To refrain from judgment. To forgive me. To believe with me that I am not a horrible person.

This is what I wanted to do. Until God started digging deeper into my heart a few weeks ago. When He showed me that there are only three people in my marriage. God, my husband and me. It is only within this trinity that forgiveness, mercy and grace matters. My unfaithfulness and sin was against my husband and God, and therefore the acceptance, approval, understanding or judgement of anyone else is irrelevant.

In the month between confessing my affair to my counsellor and then to my husband, God did a tremendous job of wrenching the poison of my infidelity from my heart. I was filled with shame and guilt. My emotions were more raw and confused than I remember feeling in the weeks, months and years after my affair occurred. I was remorseful. I was repentant. Enough to confess my unfaithfulness. After all, I was not caught in my affair. It is doubtful it would have been exposed after all this time had God not convicted me and shone a floodlight onto my own sexual sin.

I knew that cheating was morally wrong. I avoided the word adultery. It was a little too biblical sounding. Breaking of covenants and talk of stoning and all. Cheating just seemed less severe. More like stealing money in a Monopoly game. In my head, I knew it was sin. In my heart, my affair was a gift. A present that I didn’t want to return. My saving grace.

And this is my struggle today. Facing my long held, unwavering belief that my affair rescued me and saved my marriage. Trying to reconcile how something so immoral could also salvage the broken pieces of my heart. How the attention of another man, and abandoning my wedding vows, was a pivotal moment in committing to keeping my family intact.

My affair offered me something that my husband did not. Validation. Self worth. The belief that I was attractive and desirable. The knowledge that there wasn’t anything physically wrong with me. An awareness that I was okay, and that whatever the problem was, it was not me.

As my self esteem began to return, I grew stronger. For myself and my kids. I refocused, shut out the pain of my marriage, and entered survival mode. I had collected my two hundred dollars and passed go.

I also learned that I was capable of cheating on my husband and susceptible to accepting validation from men outside of my marriage. At one time, I was a woman who steadfastly believed that my character and values would never tolerate an affair. I would have been horrified by the idea. I did not pursue an affair, but when the opportunity grew, I did not flee. I welcomed it.

My affair did not have an emotional entanglement. There was no pretense of loving feelings or a possible relationship. We both used each other sexually to assuage our personal pain. But I was fine with that. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse.

I have clung to the belief all these years that my affair carried me through the rejection and abandonment of my husband and provided me the strength and ability to stay in my marriage. In a way, it did. But I was deceived. Now I see that just when I had received an indication of my value, instead of being liberated, I chose to suppress my emotional and sexual needs, and accept a lonely and neglectful marriage. I lost the very woman I was trying to find. And I didn’t have to.

Then, and until recently, I didn’t understand that there was a much better way to find my worth as a woman. Through the eyes, and in the arms, of my Saviour Jesus Christ. The true lover of my soul. Sadly, I should have known this and could have prevented years of unnecessary suffering for myself, my husband and our children. I grew up in a Christian home and even spent a year at Bible College. God was not an unknown entity. But I drifted away. God was not a part of my marriage. And when I needed God most, when He would have drawn me close, breathed new life into my lungs, wiped the tears from my eyes, and delighted in my return to Him, I broke His heart too.

God has been patient with me. It has taken me a long time to realize that my truth of my affair is not God’s truth. Deception blinded me. And I let it. I chose a very wrong path. Adultery is never okay. It is never justified. It is not a gift. There is always a better choice for a broken heart. His name is Jesus.

The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14

Advertisements

Rest in Your Story….

“So my prayer is that your story will have involved some leaving

and some coming home, some summer and some winter.”

 Donald Millerwk13_heart_mission-270x200

This morning I felt rather weepy, not sure exactly why. Was it hormones? Was it being in the midst of uncertainty? Was it the feeling of aloneness? Fear? Anxiety?

Was it one thing, or all of them? When I permitted myself a moment to dig a bit deeper, allowing myself to sit with my pain and face the fears, I heard His voice calling….I sensed Him walking towards me….and instead of running from all the uncertainty and unanswered questions which exposed the discomfort, it was in that moment when I chose to move towards them.

And then I checked my emails. What a gift when I received this post from one of my favorite authors, Bonnie Grey….she is a woman who speaks my language, who shares from an honest heart, a place where few dare to go. Her book, Finding Spiritual Whitespace helped to me to heal and learn how to take time to rest.

I am sharing a link at the bottom of this post, I hope you take the time to read it….let it encourage your heart today as it did mine.

As Bonnie says: “Our stories can rest in the open with him. Jesus doesn’t tell us to fix it. Get over it. He accepts our pain. He honors our brokenness. He says—

I want that. What nobody else wants. What nobody values.

Your story.

I love the real you.

I have called you by name. You are mine (Isa. 43:1).

I will carry you (46:4).

different from the voices that have hurt and deserted us.”

writing

To know that our stories are safe with Him…that He wants to hear them…. and that He accepts us just as we are, brings peace, comfort and even joy amidst the pain of our story.

http://www.faithbarista.com/2015/04/let-go-of-your-script-follow-gods-voice-instead/

I will not leave you as orphans…..

Father To The FatherlessI sat in my counselors office, head bent, eyes closed, waiting with a hopeful heart. We had spent some time talking and we were now inviting Jesus into my earliest memory of being and feeling alone.

“In my minds eye I saw myself as a little girl in a room peeking around a corner into another room. I wanted to be seen, yet fear kept me half hidden.

In my vision I saw myself as a little 4 year old girl with blonde curls and wearing a pretty plaid dress. In the other room I saw Jesus standing and smiling at me as I continued to peek around the corner of the wall.  He was inviting me to join him in the room, encouraging me to not be afraid, to come to him. With hesitation I made my way further into the room where Jesus had his hand extended and was asking me to take his hand.

His eyes were gentle and soft, and there was a strength about him that invited me to trust him.  I kept my hands folded in front of my mouth, it was as if even though I took the risk and came out from behind the wall my hands were my safety hiding part of my face.
As I began to relax Jesus commented on how beautiful my dress was and how pretty I looked. His eyes twinkled with joy and he began to twirl me around, dancing with me.  My little purple, green, yellow and pink plaid dress twirled as he spun me around. Before long I found myself giggling, enjoying his laughter and presence and these carefree moments where I could dance and feel free.

After He twirled me a few times He then sat on the floor grinning from ear to ear and encouraged me to sit with him.

Briefly I felt a prickle of fear, but his kind eyes soon removed any fear. And before long I was sitting with him listening to his voice of comfort telling me that He is always with me, He has always been with me. Maybe I haven’t seen him or felt him but He was always there…..and He would never leave me or hurt me. And I need never feel alone again.”Jesus

It was at this point in my vision I began to cry. Here was a man who didn’t ask something from me in return for his kindness. He didn’t earn my trust and then violate me. He didn’t abuse me. He didn’t demand anything. There was no ulterior motive in his invitation other than to love me and offer me his presence.

I felt safe, so safe….no longer alone. And I knew from this time on I could trust Jesus to stay with me.As my counselor prayed for me I would forever be changed as the Holy Spirit brought healing to the heart of the little girl who fought so hard to survive. The little girl who although was abandoned by all who were to love and protect her, was truly never alone, and would never be alone again.

I’m not sure if you know this or even believe it but in large part we are spiritual beings. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father is a spiritual relationship.

Even if you and I are unaware, we have been given spiritual eyes and spiritual ears to see and hear Jesus. He tells us in His word that His sheep know His voice. This is a spiritual hearing.

We are invited to look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. This is a spiritual seeing.

jesusIt has been said that much that binds our minds and thoughts, attacks our health and relationships, and harms our hearts, is spiritual.

The real enemy is not flesh and blood.

In our own life and in the lives of those we love, we need to understand there is a spiritual enemy attacking from a spiritual realm.

Not only as children but even as adults we can form beliefs and make decisions based upon facts we see with physical eyes or hear with our physical ears. But friends, there is a truth above the facts. Reality is what God sees, not what we see. God sees the whole picture and He desires to share that with you and I.

In my journey I have discovered that when I desire healing, when I desire to see what God sees, He will illuminate His written Word.
He will speak to my heart with His “still small voice” and illuminate hurts, wounds and lies which He wants to touch. Often in prayer God will show me a foothold that the enemy has gained in my life.

Sometimes He shows me that I need to forgive. Sometimes I need to repent for holding on to hurts or sins. And sometimes I need to come to Him with my ungodly beliefs and ask Him to show me His truth.

As God reveals, He heals!!

healer

 

No longer alone….

timeI love God’s timing! I love how He reveals truth when we are ready to hear it,  when we are ready to receive it and when we are at that place where we can invite the Holy Spirit to bring healing into our lives.

Yet, it doesn’t always come without a struggle beforehand. Sometimes it involves wading through the muddy waters of ungodly beliefs and lies lived for far too long. Such is what happened to me over the last couple of weeks.

I went to see my spiritual counselor because I have felt a stirring in my spirit that I needed someone to walk through some issues with me that have been coming to the surface regarding “resting in God” and what that looks like or even means.

I was a little surprised when two comments were said in our meeting that went in a direction that I hadn’t anticipated, but two statements stuck with me and I knew that God was shining His spotlight on them asking me to dig a little deeper.

My counselor made the observation that I have felt “alone” all of my life.

How could one little word, “alone”, begin to unravel long held beliefs and pain.

alone

I realized that I have been using that word a lot lately~ especially more so in the last couple of years. My husband is a owner/operator truck driver. Not only does he drive but we own other trucks and hire drivers. Needless to say that as a driver he is gone a lot, plus in winter he is gone for a couple of months at a time as he works in the north on the ice roads.

And although I usually don’t mind being alone the last couple of years have been very difficult. And I wasn’t sure why….until now.

Alone, that is how I felt growing up. And although I was around people, I felt alone.

Having lost my mother at 6 months of age and my daddy then giving me to an aunt and uncle to raise, I was an infant who was abandoned and lost the connection with her biological parents and siblings. This does something to a child.

I was raised in a home of abuse but also a home where I had to fend for myself a lot of the times. It was a home where at a very young age I learned to survive. alone

Loneliness crept into my life at a very tender, vulnerable age. In later years after I was married another uncle mentioned to my husband that as a child he watched me and how for 7 years  I never smiled.  Instead, loneliness like a thick cloud of fog seemed to envelop me. I learned how to be alone….it was how I survived.

And until now I have been comfortable with being alone, after-all it’s how I survived the years of abuse and pain…being alone made me strong and safe.

When a child lives with secrets and is not allowed to express her heart, when they are not permitted to reveal hidden abuse or attacks, then a child learns to walk through life feeling alone. When we are not allowed to ask questions, or to need answers to our questions, it isn’t only our questions, needs and voice that becomes invisible but we become invisible.

When tears are cried silently because crying out loud would bring punishment a child soon learns to cover her pain and withdraw to that place of aloneness in order to feel safe.

Yet we all long for connection, that is how God created us. Even though I am surrounded by family, friends and co-workers, I still often feel alone.

And this is where Jesus wants to meet me….where He longs to meet us.

For so long I viewed getting away by myself, withdrawing from social media etc as a way to spend time with God in order to purge any feelings of loneliness- a time to put on the shelf my questions, concerns and doubts thinking that would bring me closer to God….and don’t get me wrong, getting away by ourselves and having some quiet, uninterrupted time with the Lord is good and needed.

But I am beginning to understand that my desire to spend time alone is not really about getting away from all the noise at all, but simply it is a deep desire to trust God with my aloneness.

To allow Him to be enough, to be more than enough….to know that I am never truly alone when the Jesus lives in my heart. alone

God has been redefining quiet in my life. He is uncovering desire in my heart where there has been so much building of walls, so much fear of the unknown, so much anxiety of needing to be strong, so much grieving of what was and what isn’t.

I am beginning to sense glimpses of the intimacy that Jesus desires to have with me. No longer do I need to feel like the orphan who is alone, instead Jesus is the companion who walks with me through the alone times, the brother who holds my hand when I feel lonely, the friend who carries me when I haven’t the strength to face another trial. I don’t have to be strong all the time in order to survive now.

I think for so long I viewed time alone, a time of rest, a time unplugged from social media as a means to run from the very things that I longed for, connection, a deep connection with Jesus.  Yes, I wanted Him to fix what felt broken, to fill the voids, the deep longings and needs I had, but I was also was afraid of what I would hear , fearing His answer. Trust was elusive sometimes. Would He be enough?

Yes, I was desperate for Jesus to show up, and He did….and does…. but I also didn’t fully understand what it meant for Him to “stay”.

As God continues to redefine quiet for me He is transforming my aloneness, as well as my loneliest and messiest times into something that is beautiful and intimate.

As author, Bonnie Gray states:

“Quiet isn’t that absence of stress. Quiet signifies intimate confidence in your importance to Jesus.”

And we are important to Him….He is enough….and we are never truly alone when we have Jesus. Alone-Yet-Not-Alone

And the second observation that was said while I was with my counselor I will share in the next post, stay tuned!!

For your weekend…..

20130606_074808May your weekend be filled with constant reminders that the world can spin without your help.

May you make peace with weakness, inadequacy, and uncertainty and welcome the unique gifts they carry with them.

When you find yourself in a situation where anxiety threatens to overwhelm you, take a few moments to breathe in truth and breathe out belief.

Rehearse the companionship of Jesus.

Practice your new identity.

Carry around the stunning, remarkable truth that God is a friend and you have not been left alone.

Enjoy your weekend, friends.

Emily P. Freeman