“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
It is with holy reverence and complete humility that I reach this point in my story.
Revelation 12:10-11 – “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
And so, I continue to share my testimony as a means of overcoming the enemy and gaining greater healing and freedom in my life; but also with a hope that my story is an encouragement to you wherever you are in your journey. My greatest hope is that my story may be able to prevent someone from making the same mistakes I did. But regardless of where you are, what you may have done in the past, what storm may be brewing, or what you may be caught in the middle of….you need to know IT’S NEVER TOO LATE.
God is a Redeemer. No situation takes Him by surprise and no situation is too big for Him. There are certainly natural consequences for sin, but He uses it all and begins to turn our lives around and weave circumstances together for our GOOD and His GLORY the minute we turn it over to Him. He can bring unspeakable beauty out of the ugliest messes….all because of the greatness of His love for us.
Ephesians 3 states that “the love of Christ far surpasses mere knowledge without experience.” God longs for us to know and experience the depth of His love for us. It’s our hearts that He’s after…not sacrifice or religion, not being good enough or simply doing and saying the right things….He wants our whole hearts – the good parts, the hurt and broken parts, the secret and hidden parts, the dysfunctional parts, the parts we think no one understands and the parts we don’t even fully understand….He wants it all and He will do whatever it takes to reach us. He is relentless in His pursuit of our hearts. Yet we still have a choice….to harden our hearts and reject Him or to open our hearts and surrender to Him.
And so I pick up where I left off in my last entry. New mama, new season, new job working part time for our friends….it was a whole new world for me. On top of the new world of motherhood, I was also learning a new business and we were attending a new church….I was trying to find my place in all of my new worlds.
As I explained previously, some contention had arisen in our marriage again due to our new season and my new job and trying to find the balance and rhythm of our roles within the marriage. I sensed my husband’s overall displeasure with me, but he had fallen back into his pattern of not wanting to address the conflict and work through it. His perspective was always right, and I was somehow just supposed to know, understand, and go with it. However, not only am I my own person with my own worldview, communication style, and relational needs, I also have a real need to understand and work through disagreements.
I also explained previously that since we had so little in common, our daughter had become our sole focus and point of connection. In some ways, it was a good thing as it brought us together for a season, but as we settled into our new life, for me, there was still such a lack of connection and relationship apart from the shared responsibilities and joys of parenting.
I found myself becoming isolated again. As issues were arising again in the marriage, I didn’t know where to turn. My pride wouldn’t let me say anything to our old community. I felt (and believed the enemy’s lies) that I had my chance with the separation to get the major kinks worked out of the marriage, and the fact that some of the same issues were coming up again was my fault. What a stupid thing to believe looking back! But that’s what the devil does….He lies, tries to isolate us, and he sets us up.
Proverbs 16:18: “Pride comes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall.” I looked up the word haughty – it means having a feeling of superiority, condescending, arrogant, and proud. The definition of pride itself is – satisfaction with self; the happy satisfied feeling somebody experiences when having or achieving something that other people admire; believing you’re better than others. Ouch.
1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands – who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm – take heed lest he fall into sin.”
While I’ve certainly been guilty at times of pride, I’m not naturally a person who sees myself as better than others…I would err more on the side of not liking myself or viewing myself as inferior. My struggle was more with self-sufficiency….and that is what happened for me during this season. When my attempts to get back into counseling proved more difficult than I had hoped, I didn’t know how to ask for help and was perhaps even a little too proud to admit I needed help…but even more so, I think I was too rooted in shame from my past with an alcoholic father and the destructive patterns in the marriage.
Joyce Meyer describes shame as deeper than guilt over something we’ve done wrong – shame makes us feel bad about who we are. When a person has a shame-based nature, as I did, it becomes the source or root of many complex inner problems like depression, loneliness, isolation, alienation, and confusion.
I also recently heard someone wise say the nature of deception is that you don’t know that you are deceived. Because of my past and the years of trying to survive a difficult marriage that I had not really dealt with, I was becoming increasingly deceived.
In the middle of the storm I am about to describe, as my life was blowing up all around me, I came across a book that has really given me words for what I believe happened to me. It is written by Beth Moore, one of the best Bible teachers out there in my opinion, and it is called When Godly People do Ungodly Things. The entire book describes how Satan attacks sincere Believers and how those who genuinely love God can be drawn away. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it….I just re-read it as I was preparing to write this part of my story.
Satan knows the Word of God and he knows how he is defeated – by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimonies. Since there is nothing he can do about the blood of Jesus covering the redeemed, the dwelling places of His Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 16:19-20), he is out to destroy the testimony of the Believer in Christ. “Satan’s favorite prey is a person of Godly influence.”
Beth shares about two specific attacks in her own life that I can completely identify with. Her words could have been my own, “I thought I was the only young woman in the whole Christian world who ever fell grievously into sin after sincerely devoting her life to vocational ministry. I was completely devastated. Totally shamed.”
I feel like my first “attack” of sorts came when I met, dated, and chose to marry my husband despite the red flags….and I’m about to describe the second attack on my life, my testimony, and my influence.
1 Peter 5:8-9 – “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
Satan knows he is a defeated foe. However, he is doing everything he can between now and the end of the age, when Jesus comes back, to take out God’s people and destroy our testimony and our influence.
Charles Spurgeon said:
“There is nothing that Satan can do for his evil cause that he does not do. We may be halfhearted, but he never is. He is the very image of ceaseless industry and untiring earnestness. He will do all that can be done in the time of his permitted rage. We may be sure that he will never lose a day.”
2 Corinthians 11:2-3: “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
I hate to admit that this is exactly what happened to me. I’ve pulled a few excerpts from Beth’s book that describe how the enemy works and how he got me…
“The sufferings that are mentioned in 1 Peter 5 that believers are undergoing all over the world come in various forms. Some of come in an unexpected, overwhelming season of temptation, not unlike the temptations Satan hurled at Christ, but one thing is for sure: They are tailor-made to catch the believer off guard. Many sincere believers fall before they even know what hit them.”
“How can a person who has consistently walked with God be so powerfully seduced to ungodliness? Somewhere along the way, the godly person walked into a well-spun lie. Lies are Satan’s stock in trade. He “fathers” every deception (John 8:44) and seduction (2 Cor. 11:2-3).”
“When we receive Christ, we are made clean. Ephesians 5:25-26 tells us that ‘Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.’ Satan so vehemently despises what Christ has done for mortals that one of his chief objectives is to make the clean feel unclean. Oh how he desires to stain the beautiful bride of Christ. Satan can’t make the bride do anything, so he does everything he can to get her to by corrupting thoughts and manipulating feelings.”
“If we have received Christ as our Savior, Satan is forced to work from the outside rather than the inside. Thus, he manipulates outside influences to affect the inside decision-makers of the heart and mind.”
I was a prime target. Awesome new life season, yet pulling away from old friends, struggling with self-sufficiency, pride and deception….vulnerable.
I was also trying to find my fit with my new job. Without going into too much detail, it was a new business for me and on top of that, I was trying to figure out how to work with/for friends and how to balance business with friendship. I was taking on more and more responsibility, handling scheduling, communication, managing staff and dealing with customers so the email communication between me and my boss was increasing as well as the meetings. It was a lot to balance.
I was not getting much, if any, support at home, and I was also struggling with having to watch and face daily this family (our friends) that seemed to be everything I had always wanted. The Bible also talks about the dangers of comparison and coveting….both are dangerous sins that I struggled with greatly during this season.
Again, Beth’s words could be my own: “I did not plan to veer from the path. Nothing could have been further from my mind. I loved God with every ounce of my handicapped heart. If I had known then what I know now, I would have known I was a devout young woman sitting pretty for seduction. I had several tangles with the devil before I allowed God to teach me how to defend myself. I hate some of the places I’ve been and ways I had to learn, but I am here to testify that I am no longer easy prey.”
I’m sure you can tell by now where this is headed. This is my story so I cannot speak for the man involved or judge his heart or motives in any way except to say that he was used meticulously by the enemy in his attack. Satan’s ambush was calculated, timed perfectly, and he was in no hurry.
While Satan’s attack was targeted and the details were perfectly orchestrated, we also know from the book of Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. And now that I can see clearly, looking back, the situation is as old as time.
It all came about slowly. First it was the increase in email communication and building a working relationship. Early on, his wife was very involved, but shortly after I took over, her focus shifted almost completely to their home/family and her involvement in the business was minimal. As he and I got to know each other better, there was some joking around. While it was fun, I was mostly just trying to find the balance with the working relationship.
Pretty soon, the one-on-one meetings he was calling were increasing. During this time, he sent a couple of suggestive messages, but quickly dismissed them as typos / sent in error. I had no idea until much later that he was testing the waters.
Subtly, he waited for the perfect opportunity to take the relationship to the next level. I remember it clearly. My dad, only 58 years old at the time, had a minor heart attack – a completely clogged artery that he caught literally in the nick of time. My husband was out of town when it happened, and he and his wife came by to check on me. Later that night, he texted me to ask if I was ok….and he started asking questions….about my family and about me…..he showed genuine interest, care and concern. Something my heart hadn’t felt in a very long time. Somewhat innocently, I went along with it and began to open up.
My husband became increasingly checked out during this season….he was traveling a little for work and quite a bit for fun, whether it was hunting or golfing…he was often gone on the weekends leaving me and our daughter alone.
The communication increased again – work correspondence would often move into a personal conversation and we would email late into the evenings, although it still seemed harmless.
Then it happened. My husband was out of town on a hunting trip. His wife was also out of town. It was a Friday evening and he texted me. We joked around a bit and then he hit on me. He made a joke about coming over. I had no idea what was happening. I was shocked. He persisted… I laughed off, dismissed it, and ended the conversation.
I remember calling my mom the next morning and telling her what had happened. I was still in shock. What had happened? Weren’t they the perfect couple, the perfect family? Didn’t they have it all? I was a nobody….hurting, frustrated, wanting desperately to be seen, to be known, to be loved. My mom advised me to ignore it, let it go, and be very careful.
It happened again the next night. I laughed off again and tried to dismiss it. Was he being serious? Was he just playing around? What was happening? This was someone I trusted….someone who had been a spiritual leader in my life….someone I admired…and all of that aside, my boss. I had known and been a part of their family for years now. They helped me through my separation and I had lived in their home. His wife was one of my best friends. I loved her….she trusted me. I loved their kids. I was a role model and had spent time with their oldest. Their youngest was just a few months older than our daughter…they were sure to be close friends. I was practically running their business. He was in the public eye…he had a reputation to uphold.
What was I supposed to do now? I was terrified and felt trapped instantly. The deeply loyal part of me wouldn’t let me say anything. How could I? I could handle this. I was strong. Nothing was going to happen anyway. I couldn’t say anything….I felt responsible (obviously false responsibility!!). I didn’t want to hurt his wife, their family, or him for that matter. I didn’t want to lose my job. What would happen? And so….I decided to cover it….keep it secret…..handle it. Big mistake.
The problem with that was that I couldn’t handle it. Part of me craved the attention. Little did I know I was already in over my head (remember the nature of deception) and my decision to keep it secret sealed my fate. Looking back, I really believe that the only way out for me would have been to quit the job and completely walk away.
Galations 6:1 talks about getting “caught” in sin. One of the definitions of the Greek word for “caught” or prolambano describes sin like this: “catching the individual by surprise, suddenly, without notice…before he is aware of what has happened. After catching his prey off guard, then the enemy does all he can to make the victim feel completely trapped.”
I dismissed the first few passes, but truth is, I was hooked…..this was my “unexpected, tailor-made, overwhelming season of temptation” described earlier. Once I decided to stay in it, I was powerless and truly felt trapped. Lie, lie, lie!!! It is through tears and knots in my stomach that I share this. It grieves me so deeply. I don’t want to recount it….I don’t want to go there. It hurts to admit what I did. But I choose to go there for deeper healing and freedom for myself and hopefully for others, for overcoming Satan by the word of my testimony, and to continue to forgive myself.
For the next couple of months, text conversations continued ….and continued to cross line after line. We were in a full-blown emotional affair.
I can’t speak for him because I don’t know what was going on behind the scenes, but my husband was completely clueless….which made it even easier to go deeper and deeper. I’ll address this piece later, but I can’t begin to explain the pain of being caught so deeply in sin, betraying everything you’ve ever known and believed….the very essence of who you are, and having the person that you are supposed to be one with not even notice.
As these things go, unguarded thoughts became words and the words eventually became actions. One thing lead to another and within a few short months, the affair became physical.
For the sake of length, I’m going to break here. Stay tuned. Thanks for bearing with me.