Our relationship with our Pastor and his wife had grown closer over the years since we returned to elem3nt. We started camping with Pastor Gayle and his “insta-family”. They had been trying for fourteen years to have a baby. They adopted three children and guess what? They got pregnant. All in a matter of year.
On our next camping trip with Gayle we decided to share our story. We figured after the kids went to bed we would tell them while we sat around the campfire.
Every night it rained so we never had a fire. My nerves were a tangled mess as I continued to wonder what night we would share.
Finally, on the last night it didn’t rain.
We sat around the campfire after the kids went to bed. I can’t remember exactly what Gayle’s wife said but something like she was grateful for our friendship and we could just be regular people when we were together.
What a perfect segue, right? I couldn’t open my mouth. Patrick looked at me as if to say, “Go for it.” But I knew I needed him to get the conversation started.
He did. We shared.
Pastor Gayle said one of the coolest things I have ever heard after we have shared. He said, “Praise God, He won one.”
Now, He didn’t mean that God doesn’t win very often, he just meant that so often we hear of marriages that don’t survive, of couples who are torn apart by adultery. But God won our marriage.
Pastor Gayle wasn’t shocked, wasn’t mad that we didn’t share sooner. None of that.
Once again there was love.
Once again my heart healed a bit more.
About a month after that our lifegroup got back together after several weeks off. We knew would share at that time.
Now let me back track for a moment. The summer of 2009, when I had the affar, I sat with some church ladies and one of the ladies said something that floored me. We were talking about disobeying God and she said, “I never purposely disobey God, do you?”
I couldn’t answer. I sat there and simply thought. “I did. I purposely disobeyed. And I will never tell anyone in my church what I did. No one would understand.”
I tell you this as a warning to be careful what we say. You never know where someone else is at on their journey. That statement was enough to make me want to hide my story forever.
Thankfully, God got a hold of me and I knew I couldn’t disobey Him again.
So here I am, a year after the affair, about to tell church people what God had done in my life, my marriage.
Remember, one of the couples in the group went through the exact same thing several years before, yet I was scared. I don’t think I looked anyone in the eye. I found a nice place on the wall to stare at.
We shared. We cried. We were loved. More healing came.
I believe during that time of sharing Genesis 5020 worked its way into our story and has been a part of it ever since.
The other couple said, “You could have told us.”
I nodded, I knew I could have. “I was so ashamed.”
Everyone still loved us. And now we could be us. We had no secrets.
That fall I heard a friend of mine, who I talked to only once in a while, might be getting a divorce. Instead of gossiping and speculating about it I called her and asked.
She said yes, the information was true. Then she confessed to me. She had an affair.
I sobbed into the phone. “I did too.”
I offered what I could to her, my love, support and prayer. I continue to offer that to her but her story ended much differently than mine. Although she repented of her sin and wanted to fix her marriage that did not happen. I do understand that not every marriage can be salvaged after such a terrible sin.
Now, hear me. The only person who has a right to divorce is the spouse who was sinned against when it comes to adultery. That is the only time God says it is okay. If Patrick wanted a divorce he could have gotten one without disobeying God. If I wanted one I would have been digging myself into an even deeper pit of darkness, pain and disobedience. I had no right to ask for a divorce.
That being said, I believe God even wants us to work through that mess. I believe it pleases Him when a marriage can survive something so horrible. He is the healer, He can heal all things.
After telling Pastor Gayle and our life group we knew the day would come when we would tell our church body. We didn’t know when or how, only that we would.
We also knew before we told our church we had to tell our families.
In the fall of 2010 I also read a book Wounded Heart. This book is about dealing with sexual abuse. I started to feel a need to help others to heal from abuse. I wondered how many other women had been abused and had affairs? It seemed all the women I knew who had affairs had also been abused.
In the book the author talked about speaking to your abuser. I skimmed over that chapter. I couldn’t talk to my abuser. It would be too hard and weird. He was still a part of my life, I saw him a couple of times year and I was comfortable pretending that everything was fine.
Once again, I told God “never.”
Next week I will share what my never turned into. I am sure you can guess.
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 NIV
I’d love to hear about some of your “nevers” you told God and how He turned that around and you ended up doing it. Feel free to share with us in the comments.
Just a reminder:
Patrick and I are very excited to share something with you. As we draw to the close of our story we would love to hear your stories. We have created an email account just for that. Do you have a Genesis 5020 that needs to be told? It doesn’t have to be marriage or abuse, it could be anything. Don’t think your story is too small. Nothing God does is small. If you prefer to be anonymous that is no problem, just tell us that in your email. We would prefer you paste your story in the body of the email, do not send an attachment. You can start sending your stories at anytime, we will contact you when and if we use your story on the blog.
We would also like to use that email to help you. If you are going through something and you need to talk to one of us don’t hesitate to email us and let us know. We are not counselors and don’t pretend to be but we know the joy that is found on the other side of pain. We can’t drag you to the other side but we can encourage you along the way.
email us at: 5020genesisstories(at)gmail(dot)com
We can’t wait to get your Genesis 5020’s out for the world to see God’s glory.