Tag Archive | labels

Trading Labels for Tiaras

I’m feeling kind of lost these days. Not sure where I belong. As much as I dislike labels, right now I am struggling because none of them fit. Or maybe because all of them fit and therefore none of them just right.

When I began guest writing on this blog, I knew I was going to share my story of being married to a sex addict. And how God has miraculously healed and transformed my husband, my marriage, and most of all, me. The gift of pain and the gift of recovery.

I also knew that to be authentic, I would one day confess my own affair. In my feeble attempt to share the magnitude of God’s goodness and redemption, both sides of the sexual sin equation needed to be brought into the light. The abounding grace and forgiveness of our marriage redemption story grows exponentially in my eyes with the hurt of both a betrayed wife and a betrayed husband.

What I didn’t count on was my identity shifting in the process. Switching name tags from wife of a sex addict to cheating wife has left them both crumpled on the floor with me having one foot in each group and not fulling belonging to either.

This happened to me once before. Feeling like a fraud. Which is ironic when it is my transparency and honesty that leaves me standing alone in the center of the playground.

I read and write comments on other blogs. Mostly of other women who have been sexually betrayed by their partner. Women who have been devastated by pornography, affairs, emotional abuse. Because I was too. And my heart passionately wants to offer them the hope for their own healing and freedom that I have found.

But then I wonder……what if they knew the truth about me? What if they knew that I had been the same liar and cheater as the husband that has ripped their heart and life apart? Would they feel betrayed by me too? I couldn’t bear the thought of causing anyone additional pain.

At the second partner’s recovery support group meeting I attended, my eyes scanned the circle of broken and beautiful women, all in different parts of their journey and varying degrees of healing. My heart dropped at the possibility of further hurting these precious souls because of my past infidelity.

I didn’t speak a word that day. After the meeting, I hung around and spoke to the leader. I confessed my affair to her and told her that I could not return. I felt that I was betraying these women simply by being present in the same room with them. I did not belong there. The leader assured me that I was welcome. My counsellor said the same. I was still wounded and seeking healing from my husband’s sex addiction and intimacy anorexia regardless of my own infidelity.

I didn’t know how to wear both labels. I couldn’t. So I didn’t. I stopped participating in the support group and focused on healing the damage caused by my own sinful behaviours. Two months later, God nudged me and whispered to my weakly beating heart that it was time to return to the support group. I did.

And since that day, the two have co-existed as I have sought complete healing and wholeness from the wounds that were created by myself, my husband and others. All separate offenses that together make my story what it is. Mine.

The women in my recovery support group, unless they have read my blog, do not know of my affair. That no longer troubles my heart. I have come to an understanding that not everyone needs to know. It does not change anything. I am in recovery. I belong standing alongside the courageous women mending hearts shattered by sexual betrayal and emotional abuse.

But this is where things differ here in the blogging world. Everyone knows. Everything. Both sides. And I haven’t fully reconciled in my mind how that works. Surely it will matter to some and not to others. It may very well change things. Sometimes there are consequences to disclosing flaws and sin. But there are also blessings. I was willing to take that chance.

I could worry about which team will accept me as a member. I could fear rejection from both sides. I could anxiously hold my breath pridefully hoping that both groups will welcome me.

The best choice would be to stand tall, identify myself as a woman receiving God’s unrelenting outpouring of grace, mercy, forgiveness, love, redemption, restoration and healing, and wear the only name tag that matters – Daughter of God. And logically, since God is the King of Kings, that would make me a princess.

I am trading in my labels. Now I just need to decide if I want a sparkly tiara or a jewelled crown.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.            1 John 3:1-3

I like emeralds. My crown will have gleaming emeralds.

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From Addict to Best Friend

My addict. Those were the words I used to describe my husband in the title of my previous post “Untangling From My Addict.” In the days following the post, I found myself wondering how and why I had so unhesitatingly attached the addict label to him.

In the beginning of our recovery program, it was a relief and validation to be given a name for our crisis. Sexual addiction and sexual betrayal trauma were the answers to the question of “What the heck is wrong with us and our marriage?” Once the problem was identified, our therapist followed through with the solution.

I accepted that my husband was a sex addict. I acknowledged that I was the partner of a sex addict and a victim of his behaviours. The admission was a breath of fresh air to me. Denial was a thing of the past. It was a blow, but not a defeat. It was freeing, promising, life giving to know I wasn’t crazy. It was hard confronting my wounds. Oh, the effort was gruelling. But it is necessary to call it what it is if you truly want to release its power over you.

As I dove further into recovery resources, I began to feel uncomfortable wearing the labels that had been affixed to us. Addict. Yes. Victim. Yes. That was a part of who we were. Of who we still are today. But only one component. It is not the entire picture.

I spent many weeks struggling with our classifications of addict and victim. I was being careful to ensure I wasn’t returning to any state of denial. But I was also gaining an awareness that we were so much more than these labels. This was not my identity, nor his.

For me, wearing a sticker tagging me as a victim, as a partner of a sex addict, only encouraged and validated that role, and I had no intention of giving my husband that much power over me anymore. I was victimized by his addiction, but choosing not to stake the victim claim.

At the same time as God was gently opening my heart to hope and healing, He was showing me how unconditionally and extravagantly He loved me. Revealing to me my value as His beloved daughter, wonderfully created in His image to bring Him delight. I was finding a new identity in Christ.

God also began slowly changing my heart attitudes towards my husband. Uncovering the truth that my husband was also passionately loved and designed by God. Hmmm. If I was more than a victim, then logically my husband was more than an addict. We were both broken humans being called to healing and wholeness.

The check in sheet being used by my recovery group began to trouble me. It didn’t seem right to identify myself as the partner of a sex addict, giving him a label that both of us were required to wear. I suggested a change in wording to our group leader. She agreed. The check in sheet was modified to introduce us as the partner of a man recovering (or not ☹) from sex addiction. It is amazing how such a small transformation and choice of words can make a difference in the views of ourselves and our husbands.

My husband is a new creation. I am a new creation. And so I am still not sure what drew me to using the words “my addict” in the title of my previous post when I was so uncomfortable applying that label to us. Maybe the key is in the “my”. Recovery has become a lifestyle for us now. He will always have to utilize his recovery tools to remain sober. I will always have to rely on God, my Higher Power, for my health and sanity. But we are doing this together. He is mine. My addict. My husband. My best friend.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

What’s your name?

 

מחול = forgiven

חנינה = pardoned

לחוס = spared

מכוסה = covered

 

This morning during my quiet time with the Lord I came across this verse in Revelation 2:17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.”

This verse really spoke to me about my identity; what do I believe about myself, and do I believe what God says about me, and to me…..what is my name….. All too often I am still held captive and bound to the lies I have believed.

 Our enemy, the devil, is the accuser and he often uses others to generate his alias identities over us. Maybe like me you were called names at home by those who were supposed to protect you and care for you, or maybe you were teased or bullied at school, or maybe you are in a relationship and the person who professes to love you continually puts you down, calling you names…no matter where or by whom we’ve been labeled, all too often we take on the names we were given….maybe we even find ourselves repeating these very names to ourselves. Many of these labels where placed on us through deep wounds from our own wrong choices in life, and  the wrong choices inflicted upon us from others

We don’t do this intentionally but names can be prophetic declarations that can define a person’s identity. Why, because we can act according to who we believe we are, we can eventually act out these lies in our behavior.

It has been said that we respond to our environment according to the way we see ourselves. Words spoken to us and over us become the names we carry in our hearts, often painting a photograph of ourselves in our imagination and becoming the lens with which we view our world.

The enemy gives us names in order to disempower us. How many of us have spent too much of our lives playing by his rules because we have believed the wrong name? How many of us have acted out of who we believed we were.

I grew up in a home where fierce jealousy and anger were displayed openly. Yet the very one who was jealous of his wife was the one who lusted after other women and flirted openly in front of his family. It sent mixed messages to me and the other women in the family….as a young girl if I painted my fingernails I was considered trash…yet when I would see the women he flirted with they most always had painted fingernails. Too many women, who are called a whore for no reason as young girls, simply because they are female, can quite often spend their lives struggling with immorality.

Throughout Scripture you will find many people who were insignificant until their names were changed. Simon wasn’t an apostle until his name was changed to Peter. Saul wasn’t an apostle until his name was changed to Paul. I like the story of Jacob in Genesis 32 where we find him wrestling with an angel of the Lord. The name Jacob meant deceiver and we see that indeed he acted out his name. But when he encountered the angel his name was changed to “Israel” which means “a prince of God”. The new name released him into his prophetic destiny.

I read once that “grace as well as disgrace is released by name calling. Grace is the operational power of God…grace is the God-given ability to become what we couldn’t become before we received the declaration. Whereas disgrace, also has the power to release curses from the dark side.”

And this brings me back to the verse in Revelation. It is very important that we all hear the name the Lord has given to us and allow that name to define our identities. When we get to heaven we will be given a new name written on a white stone that only we will know!! This name will be birthed from a foundation of purity (white stone) and intimacy (no one will know it but you and Jesus). We will need a new identity that is fitting with our new calling.

As I’ve continued through this study on Grace for the Good Girl; letting go of the try hard life, I am finally coming to know the truth in my heart that I am good because I have received a new heart and a new mind. (Ezekiel 36:26; 1 Cor. 2:16)

When I received Christ as my Lord no longer am I a sinner….no longer do I need to struggle with being good enough, or trying to always do the right thing, because then I am still putting my faith in my ability to fail instead of His work on the cross.

I could spend the rest of my life living under the curse of my old name or names, or I like “Israel”, can receive my new name that has the power to alter my very DNA.

When I fail or make a mistake I don’t need to beat myself up because I am just not good enough, I can quit striving to get it right, and I don’t need to run and withdraw from life because it is just too hard….because this is where God’s grace and mercy come in. No longer do we need to remain trapped by the names imposed on us by others, the names we  take on ourselves, no longer do we need to feel at a loss for identity.

Grace is God’s ability at work within me, not my own strength or ability. I am a daughter of the King and when our Heavenly Father looks at me and looks at you, He sees the image of the Son he loves!! That is Amazing Grace!!

I hope that you will take a moment to watch this video short clip from Kary Oberbrunner based on his book Your Secret Name; discovering who God created you to be.

Your Secret name