I have prayed and wrestled over how to share this part of the story. I have written and re-written from different angles. There is just no way around the fact that this part of the story is not easy to tell. I don’t have it all figured out and I may never understand it all. I’ve decided for the purpose of telling the story and getting through this part that it’s best to just go with what I know.
So here’s what I know for sure:
I am just a girl who has passionately loved and served the Lord since I first invited Him into my heart and life when I was 5 years old. I loved growing up in church, worshipping God, and learning about Him and how to walk in His ways.
I got very involved in my church youth group in junior high and high school. I spent my high school and early college years serving in my youth group and in the Christian organizations at my school that gave others opportunities to practically experience God’s love. I had such a heart for my classmates and peers. I regularly set aside time to pray and fast for them to know and encounter the love of God. I worked and raised money so I could spend my summers going on mission trips and was involved in many different outreach projects.
I share all of this simply to communicate that my heart has always been for the things of God. As I entered my early college years, I prayed and hoped to find a life partner that shared my heart and passion for Him – one that I could partner with to continue on the journey of life and of knowing and walking with Jesus…as well as someone I could partner with in ministry and in the adventures of serving God together.
As I’ve shared, there were still some deep wounds in my soul as a result the brokenness in my family that had not yet been fully identified or addressed. While my desires were pure and sincere, I had no idea that my heart might not be able to see what was best for me. In my naivety, and because of my past (patterns learned that I didn’t even know were there), I truly believed that I could do just about anything…including making a marriage work.
Unfortunately, I had to learn the hard way what my heart was clueless to in that season (or simply my pride) that I believed I could do anything. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Oh how I wish we could all learn a different way…but even still God is so gracious to use our circumstances to teach us and draw us back to Himself!
What I do know is that after 9 years of fighting and believing for a healthy marriage, and enduring deep and repeated rejection from my husband, I grew weary and lost sight of the only One who could carry me through and bring hope to my situation.
In Matthew 4 (and also in Luke 4), we read about Jesus being tempted by the devil immediately following 40 days of fasting in the wilderness. You can imagine how weak He must have been in the flesh. The Bible says that although He was tempted in every way, the devil found no place in Him. Sadly, when the enemy came after my life, he was able to find a place in me.
I had opened a door, and for the first time in my almost 30 years, I found myself completely overwhelmed and overcome with temptation. I was faced (on the surface) with an image of what I thought I had always wanted – someone that saw me, knew me, loved and admired me just for who I was. Someone who had a heart for the things of God and ministry…someone who was fun and family-oriented…someone who was creative, talented, and passionate. However, these good and innocent things I had hoped for in marriage had become an idol…something I desired and focused on more than completely relinquishing control and trusting God with my situation.
The emotional affair had moved into fantasy land. Somehow, I was able to create a fantasy world that was completely separate from real life. As James 1:14-15 states, my desires had given birth to sin. Sinful thoughts had become words and as sin goes, eventually over time, words became actions.
“The tongue has the power of life and death and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45)
If we are not careful, our unguarded thoughts become words and words are so powerful. The Bible is full of instruction on the importance of guarding our tongues or watching our words…they literally have the power to bring about life or death.
For me, it happened slowly and subtly – compromise can be a slippery slope. As lines were crossed one at a time, I allowed my conscience to become seared one word, one conversation, one day at a time.
I wish I could describe the conflict within me during these fateful few months. I gradually lost sight not only of who I was, but of who my God was. While I knew He was right there with me through it all and that He would never leave me or forsake me (and He didn’t), I forgot who He was TO ME – and that He was and is EVERYTHING I will ever need.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has set eternity in the hearts of men.” We were all born with an insatiable inner nagging for something more. No matter how humanity has tried to satisfy the hunger or quench the thirst, eternity still pulls at our hearts. A longing to know and experience God persists….and even more, a longing for Heaven and for the way things are “supposed to be” persists.
That’s why it really doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, if everything is going your way, or if your life is falling apart….our need for the presence and reality of God in our lives cannot be satisfied any other way but complete surrender to and dependence on Him. In John 6:35, Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and he who believes in Me will never be thirsty.”
And so, in this season of being tempted by the enemy, I simply grew weary. I bought into the lies, and I forgot where my fulfillment was found. I forgot who my God was. I forgot about His all-encompassing, never-ending, passionate, jealous love for me. And I believed the lie that I could get my needs met apart from Him.
On top of that, my husband, my life partner, the person whom I was “one” with was completely oblivious. I know full well the differences between men and women, and have touched on the tension between finding fulfillment in God vs. man. Still, how could he not see how much I was hurting and that I had strayed for the first time in my life from everything I had known and believed? How was this so easy to “get away” with? I knew deep down that I wasn’t “getting away” with anything…I knew the truth that sin is always exposed and that light always eventually shines on what’s hidden in darkness, but for a season, I couldn’t believe how “easy” it was.
While I don’t blame him, I do know that had my husband been more “tuned in”, things never would have gone as far as they did. In fact, once the affair was exposed, he actually said that during this season, he had been “the happiest he had ever been in our marriage.” That statement cut deeply, but at the same time, it brought some understanding to why the relationship had been so strained for me. This was the first time I basically expected nothing from him emotionally. I was distracted, but still taking care of everything on the home front, so he was free to come and go as he pleased. He was completely satisfied with minimal communication and next to no connection.
But still – I wanted to be found out….to be exposed….to be pulled out of the pit I was in. While the affair filled a temporary need and provided a temporary fix….in reality, it was bondage and emotional agony. I wanted desperately to be SEEN and to be RESCUED. There had been talk for months and months about my husband’s job getting relocated…hopefully closer to our families…I hoped and prayed that would be my way out.
While I could never have predicted the “fall-out”, and there are parts of it that I simply cannot make sense of or wrap my mind around, the truth is that Jesus saw me, and He came to my rescue.
The affair itself did not last long, and very shortly after it began, I became pregnant. The day I went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy, I passed out in the office and threw up all the way home. What was I going to do? I knew it was just a matter of time.
And then that fateful day came. I wish I could forget it. We were just waking up on a crisp September Saturday morning. My husband happened to look at my phone for the first time in months. I panicked for a minute and then decided now was as good a time as any to confess.
We got our neighbor to come over and stay with our daughter while we went out to “talk”. Within minutes, he ended up driving over to the other family’s house and storming in wrecklessly to confront him and tell his wife. The fall-out had begun.
They say you never really know a person’s character until you see how they respond when squeezed or in crisis. Nothing could have prepared me for the days, weeks, and months that followed. It was dark and ugly. But I am here to testify that while I had failed Him, God NEVER left my side. While I have walked an excruciating season of experiencing both the consequences of sin and the discipline of the Lord – He has loved me through it and has truly become my everything.
Hebrews 12 talks about the discipline of the Lord:
Verses 4-11 – “You have not yet struggled and fought agonizingly against sin, nor have you yet resisted and withstood to the point of pouring out your [own] blood.
5 And have you [completely] forgotten the divine word of appeal and encouragement in which you are reasoned with and addressed as sons? My son, do not think lightly or scorn to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage and give up and faint when you are reproved or corrected by Him;
6 For the Lord corrects and disciplines everyone whom He loves, and He punishes, even scourges, every son whom He accepts and welcomes to His heart and cherishes.
7 You must submit to and endure [correction] for discipline; God is dealing with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not [thus] train and correct and discipline?
8 Now if you are exempt from correction and left without discipline in which all [of God’s children] share, then you are illegitimate offspring and not true sons [at all].
9 Moreover, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we yielded [to them] and respected [them for training us]. Shall we not much more cheerfully submit to the Father of spirits and so [truly] live?
10 For [our earthly fathers] disciplined us for only a short period of time and chastised us as seemed proper and good to them; but He disciplines us for our certain good, that we may become sharers in His own holiness.
11 For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness—in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God].
As this passage indicates, although I could not fully see it yet, the Lord was bringing me back to Him and it has been for my GOOD, however painful. I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, but I am here to say that even in the midst of my betrayal, sin, failure, and the consequences and discipline that followed, God was there every step of the way, loving me and drawing me back to Himself…ready to forgive, wash me in the blood of Jesus, and begin restoring and making all things new the minute I repented.
I must also say that the wages of sin is death and the warnings of sin and unrighteousness in the Bible are REAL and TRUE – and the pain sin causes is always far greater than any temporary fix or thrill. For me, it was the death of relationships and of my marriage, and ultimately of my life as I knew it – BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23).
As you will see as the story continues to unfold, despite the pain I’ve caused and had to endure, Jesus truly came to my rescue…He breathed LIFE (literally) and brought LIGHT into the darkness in a way that ONLY He could, and in a way in which ONLY He could be glorified. He is so good. I have learned the hard way that He is truly everything we need in this life – Savior, Father, Comforter, Counselor, Husband, Friend, Companion, Redeemer, Restorer, Provider, Protector, Defender. Whatever you need, HE IS.
It’s not easy to expose my sin and failure, but I believe every word in the Bible because I’ve tried it and found it to be true! 1 John 1:9 says if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I pray with all of my heart that God allows my story to bring hope to the most hopeless of situations because I’ve been there and can testify that there is eternal hope in JESUS CHRIST…but even more, I pray that my story will save someone from falling into the same pit and having to live through the same pain and grief.
Music has brought so much healing to my heart and soul and has helped me to restore my intimacy with the Lord. This song is such an expression of my heart…I hope it is an encouragement to you as well.
Back to You (www.forallseasonsmusic.com)
By Jeffrey Luckey
I’m sorry, Lord, for the heir I’ve become
I never thought that I would be this far from home
All the love you gave never lied in waste,
It keeps me hanging on
When I look around and there’s nowhere else to run.
These filthy hands I lift in faith
Longing for redeeming grace
To cleanse my heart and bring me back to You
Bring me back to You
I’m so undeserving of the love
You so freely offer us
I will place my trust in You and never look back
Because of who you are, because of what You’ve done
Forgive me, Lord, for my ungrateful heart
When I thought that I would be better off alone
When deception came, I thought I had the strength to fight foolishness away
I forgot where all my strength comes from
These filthy hands I lift to praise
A holy God with love that saves
A wounded soul in need of Your embrace
Bring me back to You
I’m so undeserving of the love
You so freely offer us
I will place my trust in you and never look back
Because of who You are, because of what You’ve done
Bring me back to You