Our Story – Chapter 5

Better Than New I remember telling my husband many, many weeks after his confession something that he couldn’t believe. We had been walking out our new life the best we knew how. We had embraced our new surroundings and jobs. We had begun to heal. And I told him that if I had the choice to go back to our old life, that I wouldn’t do it. He was pretty surprised to hear me say that. I mean, after all the pain his actions caused me, here I am telling him that I’m thankful that I endured it so that we could have what we have now. Our pastor, Craig, preached to our congregation at the Edmond Campus about Chris’ confession and told them “we are going to believe God that they will be better than new”. He wasn’t kidding. Neither were they. We are so better than new. We are better than we ever imagined. We are better than anybody thought we’d ever be. Chris and I are best friends and our marriage is blessed with an increasing passion for each other. (Ahem) We have had countless opportunities to minister to couples and individuals who are walking through similar challenges. (I expect this to increase as I’ve recently finished writing a book of a more detailed account of our journey.) Chris’ son has become one of the greatest blessings to our family. My relationship with his mother is so extraordinary that many jaws hit the floor when I describe it. Chris’ influence and impact at LifeChurch.tv continues to humble him as he never thought he’d ever participate in ministry again. Most importantly, my heart is full. My cup runneth over. I have a man who adores me and isn’t afraid to show it. And my trust in him is growing daily. There are many things I don’t know in life. I don’t understand algebra. Just don’t get all that abstract math. I don’t get how a heavy airplane can stay up in the sky and not fall to the ground. I know it’s about jets and thrust and stuff like that, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. I wish I knew why innocent people have to suffer. If I did, I’d bottle up the formula to fix their problems and give it away. Don’t know lots of things. But, here’s what I do know. According to the Bible, I serve a big God. He created the Universe in less than a week. He formed mountains and scooped out valleys with His hands. He is everywhere, all the time. He can change a heart with the snap of his fingers. He can bring sight to a blind man with some dirt and saliva. He can part a sea and allow his people to cross on dry land. He can make walls fall down with the blast of a trumpet. He can keep a man from being eaten by lions. He can bring forth a child through a virgin. He can turn a Pharisee into a martyr for Christ. He can transform a fisherman into a minister of the gospel. He brings peace that no one can explain. He is truly a remarkable God. My marriage is living proof. I remember asking God one day how He was going to take this awful situation and use it for His good (Romans 8:28). Tears were streaming down my face and I had no idea how I would survive this. God spoke ever so gently to my heart and here is what He said: God: Remember when you told me that you would go through anything in order to bring glory to my name? Me: Uh-huh, sniff, sniff. God: I’m taking you up on your offer. Trust Him. He is faithful and loving and kind and tender and good and miraculous and amazing. He will carry you when you can walk no more and He will strengthen you when you need to make the journey. He is true to His word and will do what He says he is going to do. I promise because He promises and He does not disappoint.

94 thoughts on “Our Story – Chapter 5”

  1. Thank you again for sharing your story. I just want to say this. I think we both very blessed that our husbands were willing and WANTING to change. I have found over the last 6 months that is not always the case. Many want to keep the girlfriend or addiction. Thank Jesus our men were truly broken and willing to do ANYTHING to restore the marriage. Love you girl! Your are amazing!

  2. We do serve an awesome, amazing, redemptive God. I’m so glad you’ve allowed Him to be glorified in your life… and that you’re willing to share the journey with others.

  3. Cindy,

    My heart goes out to you and Chris. You see, i did the same thing to my family. The difference was, as a new believer. God was working in my life and I was trying to enter into a very personal relationship with Him. However, he was telling me I had to confess to my beautiful wife my sins of years prior before I could draw closer to Him. It was something that would always be keeping me from being transparent with Him, as well as others. I knew that when I did confess to her, I absolutely stood the chance of her taking my 2 wonderful children and leaving. You see, I didn’t just cheat on her, I cheated on them as well.

    Yes, I struggled with pornography too, but that was after I had my affairs. Mine were a mixture of unreasonable expectations, selfishness, and opportunity. In short, it was almost pre-meditated.

    After the kids went to school, I sat down with my wife and told her about it, knowning that although it was 10 years prior for me, it may as well have happened yesterday for her. After a couple of weeks of pain, tears, hurts and suffering, she called me at work and told me she forgave me. She’s never thrown it in my face, either, which shows me she’s a much stronger person than I am.

    I had the awsome opportunity to work with Chris for a short while when we were trying to get the ‘new’ sanctuary ready at the Oklahoma City campus. He opened up and shared his story with me. I could hear the pain in his voice as he spoke. I found I could relate with him and I hoped I was able to let him know he’s not alone in his sin.

    I’ve always had a great respect for you and Chris. Your family has always shown me that forgiveness and respect is not a one-time deal only. It does have to be earned once it’s been destroyed, and that can only be done through God.

  4. Tears….
    Thanks for sharing, but I still don’t understand. It sounds so much like this story is only for you and not others that go through it.
    I am just grateful that you all are an open book with this!

    R <

  5. My husband confessed a pornography addiction a little under a year ago and what you said about not ever wanting to go back to what it was before I understand completely! Our relationship is getting better every day and it’s completely because we’ve given ourselves over to God and His will for our life. Thank you for telling your story. I had tears in my eyes as I read it but they were tears of joy for how good our God is!

  6. A friend casually mentioned your blog to me, not knowing how much I was going to connect with your posts. Thanks, Cindy, for writing transparently about what must be such a painful subject.

    Although I’m fairly certain my husband has never physically cheated on me, he has struggled for years with a pornography addiction. I’ve forgiven over and over and over again, and now I’m at the end of my rope.

    Way back when we were dating, my roommate borrowed his laptop and found dirty images on it. I confronted him and he convinced me that it wasn’t his – which he told me years later was a lie. Since then, I have great difficulty trusting anything he says.

    It’s been seven years, of just “letting go” and being afraid to express my hurt or share how truly angry and betrayed it makes me feel – because I’ve always wanted to be the encouraging and forgiving wife. But I also fear that approach doesn’t provide enough accountability. And it leads to explosive anger within me, because the core issue is never solved.

    Add to that an extremely rocky relationship with his mother and family, whose whims he consistently places as a priority over our marriage despite their open hostility, and I just don’t know where to turn.

    And he’s the pastor. I feel like “that woman”. The one you always read about, but never dream you’ll become. I’m “that poor woman whose married to the pastor with a porn addiction” – except nobody knows. I was raised in a solid, loving, and gracious Christian family – I look back and don’t even know how I got here, sometimes.

    And I can’t talk to anyone about it. My family loves and adores him. His church members would never look at him the same. My girlfriends think we have the perfect marriage – because I made an early vow not to gripe about my husband to my friends. But I feel like a total fraud.

    I hope someday our story can have a great ending like yours.

  7. Im sitting at work doing my work then an email comes my way with a link to your blog… Im just blown away!

  8. Your story is mind BLOWING! All I can say is ” Thank you LORD” …..I’m rejoicing with you….

  9. an extremely inspirational story. I wish I would have read this a year ago. I am truly happy for you. I am crying with you…tears of JOY. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  10. I am from Malawi. This is a wonderful story. It has made me stong. When we are broken its difficult to seek advice from men of God, But it is neccessary. The Lord says we cast out our burdens unto him and he shall give us rest. On the burdens, he did not specify. He is the Mighty deliverer. Psalms 34 verse 19 says Many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him out of them all. We serve the living God who answers by fire.

  11. Cindy,
    I just wanted to say that you and your husband are such an inspiration. My first husband was unfaithful to me and it ultimately ended in divorce. He had decided that he loved the other woman instead of me. After almost 7 years of being together he informed me that he did not love me and that he “didn’t think he ever did.” I remember all to well the feeling that I had deep inside me, when I discovered that he had been unfaithful. Your husband is very brave for admitting to you that he was unfaithful. You are brave as well for trusting that God could restore your marriage. I have since remarried and am completely happy and I know that God has a plan for my life. He also has a wonderful way of fixing the messes that I manage to make! I pray that God continues to bless your marriage so that you can in turn bless others. Thank you for sharing your story!

  12. Cindy, I just “happened” onto your website tonight, for the first time. I began crying at Chapter 1 and continued crying through Chapter 5, as your story re-opened my own still raw wounds. My husband confessed almost three years ago – only because God was “taking him out” if he didn’t. He had promised God he would confess to me a certain week. He didn’t keep that promise. Within days, his income dropped from excellent to almost nothing. Still he didn’t confess. But when his weight began dropping drastically, and friends started telling him he needed to see an oncologist, he finally confessed to porn, unfaithfulness and lust throughout our entire 20+ years of marriage. And I had always thought he was the most wonderful Godly man I had ever met. I did sometimes wonder why there was no true oneness or closeness, but I always quickly rebuked thoughts away and focused on his good traits – one of which was his faithfulness and commitment to me and our children(so I thought). The thing that hurt the worst was months later (his confessions continued for several months) when he named the woman (a friend of mine) whom he had picked out (for years) to be his next wife “if anything happened to me”. With that, it was not just a sexual addiction – he was rejecting me as a wife – rejecting everything I am. It hurt so bad, but still I wanted our marriage to be restored. But as the lies and broken vows continued for well over a year, I reached the place where I despise (present tense) him. He has finally come to a place of true repentance – too late. Now we are two people living in the same house, pretending to be happily married, for the sake of our children, relatives and friends. He doesn’t want a third failed marriage. It wouldn’t look good to his relatives and friends. How things look and what people think of him is incredibly important to him. (He destroyed the other two marriages with porn and infidelity as well, but that was not the way he told the story back when I met him – not at all.)
    How I wish our story had followed the some fairy tale path yours did. But now I feel absolutely nothing (positive anyway) for my husband. And yes, I have prayed and cried out to God for a miracle. To no avail.
    It still hurts so bad. It is h_ll living as wife to someone you don’t love. But thank you for sharing. I think the dam needed to break loose tonight. I wish I could say your story gave me hope, but it feels like all the hope has drained out.

  13. “What the devil meant for evil, God turned it around for your good”. I am so inspired by your story. God bless you!!

  14. I appreciate your openness about your marriage. My husband and I are going through the same thing. My husband told me last year about affairs he had during our marriage and yes, there is a baby -which he says he is 90% sure it is his. She was born in this year. I, on the other hand is not embracing my husband, the other, nor the child. Because I feel that my life was destroyed because of them. He said at first, he would do anything to prove himself worthy of trust; so, I simply asked him to go and get a DNA test, so it could be proven that the child is even his. He has not done it yet. So why should I keep hanging on to this marriage. He claims he has changed, and that he want to be with me and our three children (two girls, one boy), and yet be in the other childs life. I said no. Choose one or the other. Because now his tune has changed; he’s not going to spend the rest of his life proving that he’s sorry for what he’s done. That’s how I know in your weakness you will do it again, that’s I told him. I don’t like the other childs mother, because she has been very, very disrespectful. How did you and your husband overcome this? I know a lot of prayer and fasting and communcation. We’re told that as christian everyday. But naturally, how did you deal with it, especially with an outside child?! I even suggested that we go together as one according to God’s word, to get the test done, and do this together if it is his. We coudld go together to pick the child up, and his respond was no, I don’t need a bodyguard. You will just have to trust me. Sorry, I don’t.

    How do I handle this?

  15. I have enjoyed watching your videos and listening to the chapters of your story. They have spoken to me and my husband. I feel our lives are parallel in many instances. I to am a 6 year survivor of adultery. My husband and I have been married since 1992. We were heavily involved in ministry, I was on staff at a church and my husband was the chairperson for a pastor search committee at our church. My husband was involved in numerous affairs and only told me one afternoon because he was caught. The road for several months into about two years was very difficult. My husband within a few weeks after realizing that he had a decision to make to either face up to his sin or go down the same road into greater danger chose the road to brokenness and restoration. He became involved in a support group and we entered into a once a week counseling for over 9 months. We to have boys and they were young enough during the first years to keep most of the pain from them. The realization that one day my husband will have to talk to them about his decisions is terrifying. As you said it never goes away and the trust is building with each passing month. The pain is much less but somedays I to struggle. Thanks for being so transparent. I feel God wanting us to get involved in ministry to help other marriages going through what we have but I don’t think my husband is quite there. Only a few people at our current church knows of the adultery. Please pray God will reveal what He wants for us and will help to build up our marriage and prepare our hearts and souls. God bless your marriage, family and ministry.

  16. Amen! Oh this story had tears streaming down my face. It just shows you that life is nothing without Him…God is SO amazing! He always does what He says He will do, and if we would just trust in His will and His way, oh how much better our lives would be. I am so grateful to God for all that He has done, is doing, and is going to do. I pray that God will continue to bless your marriage, and that He will continue to do a new thing in your life. I just love how God can turn a gloomy situation into something glorious…don’t you? Thank you so much for sharing your stories and I hope that your faith and love for God continues to grow. God bless and keep on keeping on!

  17. I appreciate yourwillingness to share your story.

    As a woman who was involved in an emotional affair with her pastor I feel compelled to ask what happened to the other women.

    You mention the mother of his child, but what of the others?

    You said, “Many ministers who fall into this type of sin end up next to the curb. Even though it was difficult, my pastor and friend took the narrow road for which I am forever grateful”

    I am glad your husband did not end up “next to the curb” but neither do I believe that all pastors guilty of sexual sin should be restored.

    I believe these should be dealt with on a case by case basis.

    Statistically, it is the women who end up “next to the curb” . Women whose hearts were damaged, and wentto their pastors for healing balm and instead found a predator dressed in clergy’s robes.

    I am NOT saying THIS is your situation…

    I am asking what about the women…

  18. One person write (thank you for the story , but it was for you Celine. No , but if this story just touch one person that is blessing. The story is a way of God letting everyone know that he is a CAN GOD. I wake this morning thinking about my marriage and what i am going to do. You see i am weeks away from getting a divorce. My eyes and my heart was open to this story. It is not by luck that i went to this site. I was doing some house work and stop. I said to myself it it time to get on the computer. Like i said i stop doing my house work. God had all parts in me finding this site. So Celine your story is what i needed. I need to pray more on my marriage and to seek the Lord more for a answer in what to do. I am so glad God worked it out for you. I was reading the story and crying as i read it . No the tears was tears of joy. If God can work it out for one person he can work it out for the next person. God don’t play favoritism. And now i know by me reading this story there is a blessing on the way in marriage or out or marriage. Thank you so much celine for your story. I love you

    I needed to hear this.

  19. Thank you so much for your story. It gives me peace in the midst of uncertainty. I recently found out about my husband cheating. It was short term was not sexual, one woman. It is still devastating, as I thought we had the best marriage ever. Hearing that other marriages survived and are stronger gives me more hope. I know God has a plan and I can’t wait to see it come into light.

  20. WOW! I am so moved by the parts of your life you have shared with us! Thank you for being brand new!

  21. Hi Cindy, I’m here from Lisa’s blog. What an amazing testimony that seems to be ongoing. Thank you for sharing this. You have really encouraged my heart today.

  22. This is my first time to your site, and reading your testimony has encourage me even today (2/9/10). I am an ordained Elder and he a license minister, were both acknowledged our calling to Pastor and were in training when his confession came forth. During the 3 month separation (3 – Father, Son, Holy Ghost), the whole time the Lord told me – ‘your obedience is what is going to save his life.’ I didn’t want to love him, i had an excuse to leave him, but when the Lord said that to me, i could not longer turn to friends for advice, or sharing, but only go to the Lord. During the 3 months of separation i was not allowed to contact him at all, no calls, no emails, no texting, no nothing – i gave him space to see, realize, think, but i was being obedient to the Spirit of the Lord. Our anniversary week he finally called me and asked if hatred had grew in my heart since i haven’t called or tried to even contact him and i told him no, – that this whole ordeal has given me space to look at ME. God was peeling me like an onion and with every layer came extra tears of who i saw. I thank God for choosing us to be a blessing for someone else.

    I asked the Lord to not allow people to see my scars, wounds but when they look at me they would only see Jesus!
    Were in counseling and on the road to restoration and recovering, to God be the Glory!

  23. God bless you and your family, this was something i really needed to read. I ‘m going thru something myself after 16yrs and this is the 1st time we’ve had a problem like this, sure there have been small things that couples go through but this is heavy on my Heart, your story has given me some insight on my tomorrows. Thank you for your story for i know God is still working with me .

  24. The pain you and your husband experienced, and I’m pretty sure still experience, belongs only to you, but the devastation to marriage because of infidelity of any kind is universal. The good news is so is redemption if we humble ourselves and look to God for our security and source of strength. Thank you for the courage to share your story. After 22 years of marriage my husband and I are dealing with his long term pornography addiction. The journey is hard and painful, but I am holding onto God’s promises everyday. He will never leave or forsake us. His promises are not just for me, they are for my husband as well. I’m not to the place yet where I am thankful for all that is happening, but I know I will be someday and God will use our story to help others. Actually, He already is.

    I have also spent time understanding sexual addiction and what lies beneath and would encourage all those reading this to do the same. It does not lessen the pain you are experiencing, but it does help to sort out the root of the addiction. It is not about a man choosing lightly to hurt his wife and devastate his marriage, but about filling a void that only God can fill. The enemy is deceptive, but He has already been defeated and God’s faithfulness to His children will never change. Thank you for sharing your story. Every time you and/or your husband share it, the enemy cowers and loses his power. May you continue to be strengthened and renewed. Great is HIs faithfulness!

  25. Cindy you are a blessing. You have fulfilled your ministry. You are a challenge to the body of Christ. The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace, You and your cheerished husband and your whole family.

  26. Cindy,

    I want to start by sending you blessings for you and your loved ones. I want to thank you for sharing your life with us the hurting, it has open my eyes to hope, my husband of months is addited to porn and what made it worst for me to understand is that he is a chaplin and when I meet him I know in my heart that I would not go thru that again, because I saw him as a perfect man of God, and we are not perfect. I have learn so much with your own story and I was going to sign the divorce paper and something inside me said wait! and today I came across your site, I googled ” Is porn a reason for divorce” and somehow your web-site was part of a group, and I clicked on yours…. WOW God is Awesome! Thank you and God Bless you and your husbands calling, the devil truly is a liar….

  27. Just finish reading this today, I thought WOW… God is amazing. Even though my husband months ago and has no deisre to work things out, I realize my life (my walk) can still bring glory to God. So I choose this day to allow Him to use me (and my situation) for His glory and declare He is still good and for I do know the best is yet to come for me (and the kids).
    I am ready to be use by Him (completely).

    I thank God for your story and how God works things out for you and Chris. I too felt lost and homelss when I had to leave the ministry we worked together in for 7 years. Watching him continue in that minstry without me, smiling and happy.

    Today I declare ….. My desire is to serve God and operate in the design purpose no matter what. I too want to be better than new. I know God can make things better than new.
    I can’t wait (I’m smiling already)

  28. Just finish reading this today, I thought WOW… God is amazing. Even though my husband walked out 17 months ago and has no deisre to work things out, I realize my life (my walk) can still bring glory to God. So I choose this day to allow Him to use me (and my situation) for His glory and declare He is still good and for I do know the best is yet to come for me (and the kids).
    I am ready to be use by Him (completely).

    I thank God for your story and how God works things out for you and Chris. I too felt lost and homelss when I had to leave the ministry we worked together in for 7 years. Watching him continue in that minstry without me, smiling and happy.

    Today I declare ….. My desire is to serve God and operate in the design purpose no matter what. I too want to be better than new. I know God can make things better than new.
    I can’t wait (I’m smiling already)

  29. Cindy,

    My heart is filled with gratitude that I came across your blog and your story, and that I read through comment after comment of people with the same struggles in their life. The last year of my marriage (which is less than 2 years old mind you) has been filled with pornography and repeated times of being caught and promising he was done. It went as far as chatrooms with strangers and that was it for me. We have decided that we cant make it through any of this without the Lord and we are starting our spiritual journey together to learn everything about God and to learn his plan for marriage and how to make ours pleasing to him. I Am so glad that I am not alone, and that many many woman struggle with these same things. I plan to continue to read about your story, you are such an inspiration and an with an amazing testimony of forgiveness.

  30. I found your blog today through streaming faith, this is only my second time ever logging onto streaming faith. I logged onto the internet for some ecouragement, you see yesterday was my wedding anniversary and my husband said something very mean and hurtful to me yesterday. This is our 8th year of marraige. I have gone through some unimaginable pain in my marraige, It seemed like each year just before our anniversary I’d feel this overwhelming desire to give up (trust me, there were reasons most can’t even imagine, I’m talking stick a hot daggar in my heart and twist it, then snatch it out reasons) I mean on the brink of going to the court house. Just when I said to myself this year “oh wow I don’t feel that hopelessness this year I feel the hand of God, then later on my husband said something very mean and hurtful. You see God sent a message to me a month ago he said “every negative thing in your life I’m now going to make positive.” ……Anyway, looks like this post was from 07′ just wanted you to know that it is still ministering to people years later. I am standing on God’s promise cause I know that he didn’t lie to me. May God continue to bless you richly as you continue on!!!! I love your strength and courage to share your testimony!!!!!

  31. “God: Remember when you told me that you would go through anything in order to bring glory to my name?

    Me: Uh-huh, sniff, sniff.

    God: I’m taking you up on your offer.”

    I love this…absolutely love it. Not that you had to endure the pain but that God simply said He was taking you up on your offer. Makes me wonder if some of the things I’ve faced is because I once said the same thing to Him. 🙂

  32. Very encouraging. Reading this on 8/09/2010. Divorced for 2nd time in 6/25/2010. Devastated when God sent marrage ended. Healed, healing, dating agian, loving again, talkig marrage again, excited, scared, emotional.. Encouraged to love again…..

  33. What a blessing your story has been to me on this night!

    May God continue to bless and keep you and your family!

  34. May God bless and strengthen you and family each and everyday. Thank you for sharing your story, I am truly blessed and touched by it.

  35. Cindy
    Tihs truly touched my heart. God can do anyhting if we allow Him to and through your trial you have allowed Him to. Bless you has you continue your journey and ministry.

  36. I found out a month ago my husband committed adultrey. There are days I feel like we can work on this. God will heal me. But then there are days that I feel like, there is no way I can go on. This is too painful.
    Your story has encouraged me. I will hang on and trust God. I know He wants to turn my marriage around.

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