The scars that come from sexual betrayal run deep. Working with betrayed wives is one of the most rewarding and often most painful jobs I have been blessed to have. Their stories are all different but there are so many commonalities, the biggest one being the all encompassing pain. Lots and lots of pain.
I have been through a lot in my lifetime, I was abandoned at birth, emotionally abused and consequently rejected by my adoptive Mom as an adult, buried babies, made a million bad decisions as a teenager with steep consequences, I faced major health issues that left me in horrendous pain for years and required major surgeries to put band-aids on issues that do not have cures. I could keep this list going but the whole point is I know pain. I know loss. I know grief. Or I thought I did, until the day I found out my marriage wasn’t at all what I thought it was and that the man I thought I knew better than anyone had an entirely separate, secret life full of sexual sin and betrayal. THAT my friends. is when I knew pain and grief. It almost killed me, literally.
But for the grace of God…
It has been almost 5 years since my initial discovery and after 4 years of fighting for my marriage, I am divorced. This was *NOT* the outcome I wanted. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. The scars I have from the nightmare of this betrayal are many. PTSD, nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, anxiety, trouble controlling emotions, memory issues, watching my children suffer the wounds of abandonment, raising teenagers alone and trying to manage a household doing a job meant for two people, alone. Struggling to make ends meet financially. It’s a long list.
I am different now than I was before that day I found out my life wasn’t what I thought it was. Make no mistake, I love the life I have. I am beyond blessed, I know this. I have hope. I have peace. But life is often hard and this was not the life I had planned. Most days, when someone asks me if I would do it all over again, knowing the outcome, my answer is – mostly yes. For my kids, watching the pain and grief in their innocent eyes, that’s a no. It’s still a struggle not to be bitter, I won’t lie. But for me, I know to my core that I know Jesus on a level I would never have, had this not happened to me.
I stumbled on a new song by Elevation Worship called Great Things (worth it all). I was really enjoying and feeling the lyrics.
Thank You for the wilderness
Where I learned to thirst for Your presence
If I’d never known that place
How could I have known You are better?
Thank You for the lonely times
When I learned to live in the silence
As the other voices fade
I can hear You calling me, Jesus
And it’s worth it all just to know You more
You’ve done great things
Jesus, Your love never fails me
My soul will sing you have done great things
Beautiful words that are true most days for me. Even on the bad days, which are fewer and fewer, at least on some level, under the fighting of the bitterness that tries to creep in, under the exhausting and stressful days, the trauma filled day where it takes every ounce of strength to make it through work just so I can go home to cry, that is my heart. Then I hear this next few sentences and I am stopped dead in my tracks.
Thank You for the scars I bear
They declare that You are my healer
How could I have seen your strength
If You never showed me my weakness?
I have thanked God a million times for pulling me from the pit I was in. I have declared Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” and Psalm 40:1-2 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” as my life verses. I have vowed to make the healing I found at the foot of the cross something I share with others who are in the shoes I was in for years. But have I ever thanked God for the actual scars?
That would be a no.
It is really uncomfortable to know that I should thank God for the scars. Thank God that all these horrible things that happened to me? Thank God that I still have so much leftover trauma to work through? Thank God that my heart was broken and my world was blown apart? My human response was – you’ve got to be kidding me right? But I know it’s right.
It’s all about the sanctification of my sinful self and all for the Glory of God. My head knows this. My heart even knows this most of the time. My former Pastor taught me years ago that when something bad happens to say “Well Praise God, let’s see what He is going to do!” That worked many times. When a car broke down and we were broke, when an unexpected bill showed up or when I got sick. Through the years this often became my thing. Until it wasn’t. Sadly, I assure you that is not what I said when all this first started. Brutal honesty, I still barely say it.
If all the pain of the last 5 years is what it took to REALLY know God’s heart and Christ’s healing power, was it worth it? Yes.
Mark 9:24 “The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
This is my prayer for myself tonight. It is also my prayers for anyone reading this. Spiritual crisis is a rather common “side effect” of a sexual betrayal, so tonight I pray God stirs in you the belief to believe what you believe but don’t feel.
God is good, even when life isn’t.
God is faithful, even if your husband wasn’t.
Christ CAN heal this wound, no matter what choices your husband makes.
I am grateful for my scars, Lord please help me to be grateful for my scars. They showed me a Love that was real, the Love of Christ. My scars tell a story of a Savior who chose to die for a sinner like me. My scars show with God all things are possible. My scars show that satan tried to take my life and my soul and this guy who died on a cross for me… He stepped in and Saved me.