Tag Archive | prayer

The Day I Told My Husband I Had An Affair

I woke up. That’s a good thing. It meant I had been sleeping and my heart had received enough peace to allow my mind to stop spinning for a few hours.

I fervently prayed. Immediately. Before I even got out of bed. This was not my regular schedule. But this was also no ordinary day. Next, I dove into my Bible. My heart yearned to receive God’s words. A message of hope, faithfulness, promise, strength. Something. Anything I could hold onto to soothe my anxious spirit. God did not disappoint. He never does.

Now I felt a little steadier to begin my morning routines. Showering, getting dressed, eating breakfast. Every step bringing me nearer to our departure for the city and our counselling session. Every minute that passed on the clock carrying us ever closer to the moment I would add another hurtful layer to our story of sexual betrayal and recovery from my husband’s sex addiction.

Disclosure day. Mine and his. Only he didn’t know there would be two that day. He did not know that it was his heart that would be torn apart more than mine would be. Although he would be revealing the extent of his sexual history and sin to me, it felt like I was the one about to destroy my tattered, much loved teddy bear. Ripping out the stuffing. Leaving shredded fragments lying scattered on the floor. A gaping hole where his heart should be beating and healing.

As soon as my husband woke up, we prayed together. I tried my best to pour love and care into him. I wanted God to do the same.

We both received texts from our support system that day. God was not leaving us on our own. And neither were the people God had provided to walk our healing journey with us. Intercession was occurring at the same time we pulled into the parking lot, entered the building, walked into the office, and the door closed behind us. No turning back.

His disclosure first. I listened. Asked a few questions. Received honest and sufficient answers. When it came to a natural end, our counsellor looked at me, I took the first of many deep breaths, and nodded. Our counsellor told my husband it was now my turn.

A look of confusion and surprise crossed my husband’s face. And then as I confessed my affair and sexual sin, sadness and grief were added into the mixture. I saw in his teary eyes and the emotions on his face what a broken, dejected heart looks like.

I did not cry as I read my disclosure. But my voice and hands were shaky. I had to stop reading several times to take a deep breath before continuing to shatter his heart.

My husband reached over and took my hand. He held it for a minute or two before letting go.

He blamed himself. Our counsellor quickly corrected his thoughts. He agreed with him that he had created an environment in our marriage that made me more susceptible to committing adultery, but ultimately, I was the one responsible for that infidelity. The affair occurred because of my choice, and my behaviour.

Driving home, my husband again reached over and held my hand. Until we decided it was best that he have both hands on the steering wheel while maneuvering in city traffic. Nevertheless, this action spoke what words could not yet achieve.  A sign and promise of forgiveness and hope. The immediate assurance that although our hearts and lives were broken, God was mending us both separately and together.

We arrived home. We walked through the door and my husband gave me a welcome home hug and a gentle kiss on the forehead. Akin to carrying his bride over the threshold.

Soon after, our pastor called to check in with him. And then he left for worship practice at church. He asked me if I wanted him to stay home. I didn’t. I knew that God had predestined this worship practice to minister to his heart and surround him with the support and love of our pastor and his wife. Because our God is so good that way.

We climbed into the same bed that night. Our bedtime recovery routines were clouded with the heaviness and raw pain of both of our sexual betrayals. But even though it would have been understandable, perhaps even excusable, to miss a night of our rituals, my hero, my husband, remained dedicated to communicating feelings and praises to each other. And so we did. And then once more that day, he reached for my hand and we prayed together.

My husband and I were covered in prayer that day. When the extent of both of our sexual betrayals and sin were revealed and confessed, rather than destroying the progress of our individual and marriage recoveries, grace won. Both of us were given the opportunity to not only receive grace, mercy and forgiveness from God and each other, but also to extend it to each other and ourselves.

God teaches and grows our character as He heals. That really is amazing grace and love.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

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Twas the Night Before Disclosure(s)

My husband held out his phone, showing me a text he had received from our pastor. He didn’t understand what it meant. It was the day after he accepted Jesus Christ as his Saviour. A fellow church member had asked our pastor if he had warned my husband about the spiritual attacks he was likely to face in the coming days. Apparently, this other man’s new found freedom and salvation had been immediately assaulted and he was concerned that my husband be prepared and on his guard for the same thing.

I read the words and my heart dropped right to my feet. Right to the instruments I would be using in two more days to crush his open and vulnerable spirit. He was about to be blindsided by my disclosure. At our next counselling session, I would confess my affair to him. Yes, I understood about spiritual attacks. I also sickeningly realized that his spiritual attack would be coming from me. I looked up at his confused and fearful face. And I tried to be strong and encouraging for both of us. I don’t think it worked.

My husband was an emotional mess that week. He had been preparing his disclosure with our therapist for our session and was very anxious about my reaction and the outcome. We had attempted a casual date night at home the evening before. It was obvious that it was more than the jigsaw puzzle causing his agitation. He was distraught over the looming revelations of his sexual sin the next day, and of hurting me even more. I did my best to reassure him that it would be okay. I was pretty certain that part would be. Our therapist had indicated that it was doubtful I would hear anything from him that would be newly traumatizing. So I was a little baffled at how troubled he was. But also moved by his concern for me and the brokenness I was witnessing.

My husband was the genuine picture of remorse that every sexually betrayed partner wants to see. Only at that moment, I didn’t really want to see it. If he had tears in his eyes now, how would I bear the look on his face the next day when he learned of my adultery? How would he?

That evening was emotionally brutal. Because of the progress in my husband’s recovery, he was beginning to believe that I was a miracle and a gift. Profound sadness had overtaken me, mixed in with a hefty dose of shame and guilt. I was not a miracle. I was not a gift. I was a cheating wife.

I was also extremely worried and afraid that my survival mechanisms would kick in, my emotions would retreat and shut down, and I would appear cold and unfeeling during my disclosure. I was so fearful of my remorse not being clearly apparent, that I had been praying all week that I would cry during my confession. At the very least, that my voice would be quivery. I was sure it would seem like I didn’t even care about the wounds the discovery of my affair would cause. Or the feelings of betrayal he would surely experience from keeping my disclosure hidden from him while he was distressed about his.

It was a night of heaviness and secrets. Of darkness about to meet light. And yet neither of us knowing if the light would be bright enough to overcome the raw, palpable pain.

What we did know was that we were in this battle together. We intentionally chose to spend the evening before the disclosure(s) dating each other. Neither of us had the energy or desire to leave our home for a date, but nevertheless we ordered takeout, watched Netflix, completed a jigsaw puzzle of a fluffy white kitten and desperately clung to hope. Together.

Hope and faith was all we had, as faint as it was. But Jesus tells us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed mountains will move. We had two mountains. And two mustard seeds. Also a prayer team that, unbeknownst to each other, had been assembled by each of us reaching out to members of our support systems.

We ended our evening sharing feelings from our day, giving each other praises, and most importantly,  holding hands and praying together. I don’t remember the words that were said, but God does. He heard them. The prayers from our hearts were enough. We did not have to fight this battle on our own.

But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you! 2 Chronicles 20:17

I Gave God an Ultimatum

I gave God an ultimatum. Not sure if that is an okay thing to do, but I did it, and I am still here to write about it. I know it is more than okay to bring God our messy dirty selves. He can handle the anger, confusion and anguish we throw at Him. As the Psalms show, King David did it frequently, and he was a man after God’s own heart. But to be theologically correct, I don’t know if David actually gave God an ultimatum. A tantrum or two for sure. But I would like to think that wasn’t what I was doing.

I wept. Well, more like blubbered. And I am not a crier, so the depth of my grief manifesting in ugly sobs was a betrayal that bewildered me. It was not a pretty sight. Or sound. But it was just me and God and He was okay with that. He was the One who broke me after all. Often that is what God needs to do before we are able to admit defeat and run into His outstretched arms. When He says, “Finally. I have been waiting for you to come.”

The garbage I threw at God was my marriage. I “let it go” before I even began a formal recovery process and acquired a new vocabulary. No one had to tell me to let it go and give it to God. I didn’t want it. I didn’t want my marriage as it was. I didn’t want my husband as he was. I was done with it all.

I clearly remember the words I used that day. “God, you know the desire of my heart is to have a godly, Christian husband. And I don’t know what that means right now. If this marriage has to end for that to happen, so be it. Otherwise take my husband and do something with him. I can’t do this anymore.”

God chose to take my husband and do something with him.

Although I was a Christian, my husband was not. Therefore, not only would God have to heal him from his sex addiction and intimacy anorexia, He would have to lead him to repentance and transform his heart. God would be required to break my husband and build a brand new man. That would be a mighty big task.

As God would have it, the Sunday following our first counselling sessions, a group of young men from Teen Challenge were taking over the church service. Teen Challenge is a God centered recovery program for people with substance abuse and addictions. They had been to our church previously, so I knew it would be a time of powerful testimony and authentic worship.

I invited my husband to come to church with me that morning. He did. We talked a little about the service but not much. We were both too immersed in our own pain of the early days of recovery to have the energy or desire for conversation. However, God used the vulnerability and rawness of these men to speak deeply to my heart. And apparently to my husband’s as well. To my surprise, he emerged from the bedroom well before his usual time the following Sunday morning. When I asked him what he was doing, he said he was coming to church with me. I hadn’t invited him, so I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this development. I was curious and skeptical of his intentions, but we went to church together again. And then again. And then again.

My husband, a gifted musician, was welcomed onto the worship team. An extraordinary outreach from our church body to include a non-Christian in this role. God just kept laying down stepping stone after stepping stone for my husband. This should have made me happy, but I was still too numb to care and appreciate the miracle that was unfolding right before my eyes.

Two months into recovery, knowing nothing of our marriage crisis, our son, a campus missionary, brought a team of students to our town for a ministry weekend at our church. Our house was home base for the team, with several staying here. Being surrounded by passionate God loving young adults and witnessing them living out their faith all weekend, my husband experienced an outpouring of God’s love. It culminated in Sunday morning’s service as God broke him and he fell weeping into the arms of our pastor and our son.

This is an amazing testimony of how God answered the prayers of our son for his father’s salvation.

It was not a happily ever after moment for me. I was emotionally disconnected from the scene playing out in front of me. It could have been anyone at the altar. I watched numbly, feeling near, but very far away. Cautious. Guarded. My heart just didn’t know what this meant. I didn’t know what I wanted it to mean. Sure, I had prayed for God to do something with my husband, but I wasn’t sure that this is what I wanted Him to do. I was getting an answer that I was afraid to hear and that troubled me.

What continued to distress me was the numerous people who approached me to encourage and celebrate with me in how my prayers for my husband’s salvation “all these years” had been answered. I tried my best to smile and nod while my heart screamed. Firstly, I did not pray for my husband all those years. I didn’t care enough anymore to do that. Secondly, his salvation did not make everything okay. I was still broken. Certainly these people were unaware of his addiction, but there was an assumption that now everything in my world was right. And I still didn’t know if it ever would be.

My husband’s salvation story is bittersweet. It has been two years and three months now. His behaviour is believable. He is a new creation. It is real.

For my husband and hero: And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. Ezekiel 36:26

For you and me: In my distress I called to the Lord, and He answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help and you listened to my cry. Jonah 2:2

Hope is the Lump in Your Throat

You can live in hope or you can live in hopelessness. Or you can merely exist in numbness devoid of hope in any form. This was my chosen method for fifteen long years. Shutting down my emotions eased the agony of an emotionally abusive marriage. Some days I could almost forget it was there. I learned how to hide my scars and secrets. I functioned well. I did the best I could to protect my children. I didn’t know from what at the time. Just that I needed to be more than enough for them.

For me, numbness relieved some of the suffering some of the time. That is what made it a viable survival technique. However, it also reduced my ability to experience positive emotions. You cannot choose which feelings to avoid and which ones to embrace. It is all or nothing.

Unlike the day I chose numbness over hopelessness, I did not make a conscious decision to leave numbness behind in search of a hope filled life. It was my Heavenly Father that set me on that path. But before I could find hope, it was necessary for me to sink into the despair of hopelessness again. You see, God can and will reach down and pull us out of the miry pit, but He can’t do that if we are content to be stuck in the sludge. Often God will set a plan in motion that brings us to our knees in desperation where our only option is to call out to Him.

It is overwhelming and terrifying to have the bandaids pulled off your carefully concealed wounds and watch the bleeding resume all over again. The pain is just as intense the second time around. I wept. I prayed. Or more accurately, I brought the broken and shattered pieces of my heart to God. I did not ask God to mend the fragments. I did not ask God to heal my pain. I simply cried that I didn’t want to hurt anymore. That was it. No requests for love, joy, peace or hope for my future. That was an impossible prayer, a far away dream that I didn’t dare put into words able to betray me. Asking not to hurt anymore was difficult enough.

I recently read a description in Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” of what vulnerability feels like. Someone described it as “A lump in my throat and a knot in my chest.” And I thought, yes, that is also what the beginning of hope feels like. When hope was first offered to me it emerged as a tiny ball in the pit of my stomach, ascended to my chest, my throat, and finally became a pressure behind my eyes that I fought to keep there. Behind my eyes. Where I could deny it and push it away again. Not betraying me by leaking down my cheeks to be seen and felt. My mind fought the possibility of hope, but my body believed and responded before the rest of me was able.

At one time or another you have been advised to listen to your body. Pay attention to its signals. Sleep when you are tired. Eat when you are hungry. Drink when you are thirsty. So, I ask, why not hope when your body is desiring the promise of healing?

Hope is challenging. Hope takes courage. But hope will not disappoint when you place it in the hands of our Abba Father, the One who will wipe every precious tear from your eyes.

Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5

My Facebook Sabbatical Comes to a Close.

As you may, or may not have known, I went on a Sabbatical from FB for awhile. And yes, I was so disappointed I had missed umpteen opportunities to find out which Disney Princess I am or which decade I should have been born in!! (insert sarcasm here!!) lol

In all honesty though, it was not as tough as I thought it was going to be. Yes, the first day was hard, and the second day I had almost uncontrollable urges to log into Facebook but I’ll have you know I stood strong in the face of temptation.

As with the breaking of any habit, the first week was the hardest. Ignoring the notifications that were demanding my attention felt like a sacrilege. I also couldn’t quite shake the feeling that I was missing something, without being able to give voice precisely to what.FB

I also admit that I missed interacting with everyone on FB….interacting with living, breathing people….although you have to wonder if some might be using false identities. Hahahahaaa!

And now that I have come back to FB there are countless requests to play Pet Rescue Saga, Candy Crush Saga, Bejeweled Blitz, and of course,Farmville among countless others. Yes, I had to go through each of those requests and turn them off because I don’t do Facebook games. Period. Sorry friends.

In taking a sabbatical I came to realize that my life is busy and I’m easily distracted and then it’s easy to feel overburdened and overwhelmed.

I had to be honest and admit that often what causes me anxiety is electronic entertainment/media. Whether it be pinterest, linkedin, tumbler, twitter, texting or email….when I feel available all the time it sometimes becomes too much.

I have come to learn that there is something deeply spiritual about honoring the limitations of my existence as a human being—physical being in a world of time and space.  There is a peace that descends upon my life when I accept what is real rather than always pushing beyond my limits and boundless joy that comes from delighting in God and God’s good gifts

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There is just something about being gracious and accepting and gentle with myself at least one day a week (Sabbath) or for a period of time that enables me to be gracious and accepting and gentle with others.

I have definitely found there is a freedom that comes from being who I am in Christ and resting in Him that eventually enables me to bring something truer to the world than all of my doing. It is when I allow myself to be human in the presence of my Lord and Creator, that I touch something more real in myself and others than all that I am able to produce or make happen.

pause and rest If I think about the time I spend (daily) watching tv, texting, emailing, Facebook, work, family etc, it’s no wonder too often I limp around spiritually, emotionally and physically unhealthy….I haven’t had time to rest!!

I don’t take the time to be renewed….to even have the mental resources and capacity to choose life. The busyness of our lives affects my decisions and my decisions in turn affects those around me. There is something freeing about understanding our limits…..choosing times of rest and proving to ourselves that we can actually live without social media for a time.

As my Facebook-free month started coming to a close, my resolve did waver a bit. I will admit to checking my Facebook notifications more than once, I even “liked” a couple of status’s!! But I no longer feel as though FB takes up so much of my time-a definite win. From my sabbatical, I also learned that Facebook does have positive aspects for me, maybe more than negative.

 

I realized that I just need to change the way I use it, but other than that, it will continue to be a social media tool for me. I will continue choosing to use Facebook to post constructive, positive, and inspirational things, and hopefully through that, I can influence others to be more loving, more giving, more compassionate.

And the main thing that this sabbatical did for me was to give me the time to write on my blog….it gave me time to read, to pray and seek my Heavenly Father…..and I did hear from Him.

Through writing, listening prayer, and taking time to care for myself, I feel a lightness in my spirit, a peace in my soul and a new freedom in my heart. I took time to get some Myofascial release massage and allowed myself some time to sit and talk with my spiritual counselor….all these things were good for my soul and much needed.rest2 I had gone for a long time not writing, and I missed it….and whether anyone reads it or not, blogging is good for my soul, it helps to keep my thoughts directed upward.

Now that my self-imposed sabbatical is over, I will definitely go back to sharing my life on FB, but I hope to do so in a way that is definitely more mindful.

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!!

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