It’s My Story: BJ

When BJ shared his story with me by way of email, I was astounded to say the least. Here’s what he shared:
I struggled with pornography for many years.  I always thought that was just a part of being a man….  It wasn’t until my life fell apart when I realized the effects.  While I do not use it as an excuse for what I have done, I believe it played a major role.  After 10 years of marriage I had an affair which led to a divorce.  I now know that pornography robbed me of my ability to be a good father, love my wife, and have a real relationship with Jesus. Our divorce was final in February of 2010. That whole year for me was spent wondering ‘what happened’ and how it could’ve happened. I had suicidal thoughts all the time, and if it hadn’t been for our little girl, I don’t know. She was pretty much all I had left.  I know that is scary, but it is true.  I was almost defeated.
I imagine you can understand the feeling of defeat because of what happened. I have talked to more men and women who can’t believe they were unfaithful. It was as if they were almost living in a dream. But one day, BJ woke up and took God at his Word. 
At the first of this year (2011) after a tithe sermon, my pastor started talking about fasting.  He was talking about how you can use your hunger for food and turn it into a hunger for The Word.   So I tried it.  But I didn’t fast food.  I fasted porn! As silly as that sounds….. I used my hunger for sin and turned it into a hunger for the word. I made a vow to God that for 21 days anytime I had a thought or urge,  I would go to Him.   About a week into it, after putting all my trust in Jesus,  something happened.   Now this is the honest truth, I said “The Prayer”, I  gave him everything with no expectation of anything in return. Within minutes, my life changed. Seriously, minutes!! Within weeks my wife and I where back together (through a series of miracles.)  The twenty one day thing…. Well there was no way I was going back to those chains after feeling the freedom I felt. I truly felt like a man. It was awesome.  It is awesome!!! And every day  I grow stronger, and my love for my wife grows stronger.  This love I now have is hard to explain, but it is something I am now addicted too.   I love the way I look at my wife.   I love the way I value my wife. I love the way it makes me feel. And I never knew it was out there. There has been so many miracles happen in the last ten months for us and they keep coming. When I say our situation was hopeless, it’s  an understatement! I never thought is was possible to repair the damage I had done, but the day I started believing, everything changed!! Just believe!!! All things are possible.  We are definitely living proof!!   We didn’t almost get divorced, we were divorced.
How ’bout that. His story is living proof that it’s never too late to see the hand of God displayed in our lives. I know this story will speak to some of you and I pray you are encouraged and inspired by it.  I know that BJ and his wife would appreciate any encouragement you might have for them. And pray for them because we know that they will need it!

It’s My Story: Steven*

I received an email several weeks back from Steven. I appreciated his heart and story so much that I asked him if I could share it with you. The Reader’s Digest Version is that Steven’s wife, Mary, was unfaithful to him with an old high school boyfriend that she reconnected with on Facebook. This was completely from out of nowhere because Steven and Mary were in full-time ministry. They were the ones ministering to others and were the ones that “knew better”. Mary was completely torn up over her choice and actually ended it before ever being “caught”. Not only that, but she carried this burden around for nearly a year before ever confessing this to her husband. God intervened and they are on the road to restoration. God is doing a mighty work – PRAISE HIM! I think you’d benefit from hearing directly from Steven:
If there is a’perfect’ way to own and repent from an affair, Mary has done this. In reading the numerous experiences of others who’ve walked through this, I fully realize how fortunate I am that this is the case. For many, the nightmare of revelation continues long after ‘D-day” as their spouses struggle to leave their lovers or show little or no effort in helping their betrayed partner heal. If there can be a ‘blessed’ in being cheated on…I am, because Mary’s turn-around was instant and complete. I praise God! However, (and here’s the kicker)…it still (even after a year) hurts (at times at least) like Hell. And I guess I just want to encourage that (probably) small sliver of your readership whose spouses have have betrayed them but then ‘perfectly’ repented…that it’s okay to hurt. To help them see that pain, even a year after disclosure, is okay. Sometimes I feel guilty for still hurting! I just want them to know that, even if their cheating spouse has done everything ‘right”…that adultery decimates the tenderest, most raw and sensitive parts of the human heart – and those places simply do not, cannot, and will not heal anywhere close to overnight. My greatest hope is that the offending spouses understand this reality and are sensitive, patient, and gracious to it, especially in light of the grace they have received. I want betrayed spouses to know to be gracious to themselves and know that they were given a mortal wound that failed to finish them off…to be ‘proud’ of that…and to give themselves time and space to heal.
I love his words! They ring so true to me. Just because we still hurt a year or five year later, doesn’t mean we haven’t forgiven or that we aren’t healing. This is just part of the grieving process. As we continue to journey through life and deal with the hurts that come upon our paths, let’s always be mindful that we serve a God who heals and redeems…in His perfect time.   I know Steven and Mary would love your encouragement and prayers as they continue on their journey. If any of my male readers would like to connect with Steven, please let me know in the comments below.

It’s My Story: Sara

The first time I got an email from Sara my heart bout near broke in half. As I began to read her story, I found out so much. Married in 1997, both were from strong, Christian families, they began ministering together at their church, both had awesome careers, both were financially savvy, both were attractive…they seemed to have it all. After five years of marriage, they decided that it was time to begin a family. But six years later and a diagnosis for Sara that she had “the problem”, there was still no baby. In 2008, their careers led them to a new state and a new home. But within a year, things began to decline between them. Sara had a hunch, but couldn’t put her finger on it. Here’s what Sara shares:
July 5, 2009 was my DDay.  He sat me down in the living room of our dream home, told me that he had messed up and that he was going to be a father.  I don’t have to tell you the flood of emotions that rushed me.  I am surprised that I was able to keep my breath and not have to make a trip to the ER. The pain of the UTMOST betrayal then the pain of another woman giving my husband what I could not, but so desperately wanted to, sent me into a pit so deep I thought surely I would never come out of.
Sara’s husband said he wanted to make it work. He stuck around for a while and pretended that he had ended the affair with the other woman. He had not. He lied to Sara all along the near 2-year period since everything was discovered. And after finding out that he was still in a relationship with the other woman, Sara filed for divorce on May 5, 2011. Sara’s story is most definitely heartbreaking. And that’s putting it mildly. She is now recently divorced. I hate even writing that. For her sake. I hate that her ex-husband was deceived and still lives in deception. But I love that Sara is now free to let God redeem her pain. She is free to grow in her walk with Christ. She is free to see God use her story in the lives of others.  Sara is fiercely devoted to her Savior even in the midst of the most unspeakable pain. I’m proud to know Sara. I’d ask that you offer her some encouragement and hope in the comments below. And pray for her. God knows that even though her marriage has ended, her pain, in some ways, is just beginning.

Are You Entangled?

There’s a resource that I want to recommend today. It’s an eBook by my blog friend, Amy Bennett. Amy openly shares her journey with you in her eBook Entangled. She willingly participated in an emotional affair and knows all too well just how close she was to following through with it on a physical level. You might think you don’t need to read it because you’ve never had an emotional affair. WRONG. We all need to read it so that we DON’T have an emotional affair. Amy shares her story and gives all sorts of warning signs that you could be on a dangerous road. Amy is selling the eBook for a mere $4.99! What a steal. To purchase the eBook and check out the website, click HERE! Have a great day!

It’s My Story: Marty

When I found out about my husbands affair eight weeks ago tomorrow, I remember saying to myself or maybe it was aloud, “I never wanted to be the girl with the story.”  And now, here I sit, writing my story.
This was the opening paragraph from the email I received from Marty on May 31, 2011. After uncovering her husband’s affair through his text messages and emails to the other woman, her husband began telling her the whole story. The next step for them was counseling:
We went to counseling at our local church that morning.  I don’t remember much of that, other than sharing what had happened and being told to breath in and breath out.
Marty was in a world of hurt. And even though his actions caused her pain, he was reeling from the pain as well. While trying to get to the bottom of why this happened by asking dozens of questions, Marty’s husband reluctantly said, “I don’t think you love me. Honestly, I don’t think you even like me.” To his statement, Marty writes:
Oh dear Jesus.  In that moment, I broke.  The reality of what our marriage has been for over a decade flashed before my eyes.  Having to face the reality of what a messed up person I am.  The reality of the baggage I brought into this.  The reality of all of the nagging, emasculating, disapproving looks/statements etc.  I had no one to blame for any of that but myself.  And in that moment, I felt so responsible for all of it.  That if I had been better, done better, this wouldn’t be happening.  He has never made me feel that way, and takes full responsibility for what happened, but it is still there for me.  I had to own my part in our marriage getting to this place, and I am so ashamed to say this, but for the first time in our relationship I spoke the words, “I’m sorry” to this man.  How sickening is that?
Since that email, Marty and her husband have been on a journey together. In a way, I feel like I’ve been on that journey with them as I’ve been cheering them on from afar and corresponding with her via email. The road has been bumpy to say the least but they’ve stayed on it…through the tears, the pain, the disappointment. They are grieving their loss, have grown closer together as a couple and are pursuing intimacy with Christ like never before. And I believe with everything in me that they will be stronger than ever even though they’ve only been on this path for six months. I know that you’d love to offer some words of wisdom and hope to Marty. If you’d like to connect with her, let me know in the comments below.