Friday, June 28

What Ifs...

Prior to our move to New Albany, I posted an entry titled, "He is ENOUGH." In that post, I printed a quote from one of Matt Chandler's sermons....

"Even if you love Jesus Christ, it is very possible - even probable - there will be days and seasons where your tears and your snot are your only food. Days where you - in a ball on the floor - can't think weekly or monthly or it would CRUSH you. There will be days where the thought of having to endure longer than today feels impossible. And, I'm talking about those that LOVE Jesus Christ.... The beauty of the gospel is NOT that in trusting Christ everything goes like you want it to go. The beauty of the gospel is that we get GOD regardless of our circumstances and HE IS ENOUGH!"

I love that quote, because it is just SO true! And, the fact that HE IS ENOUGH is the fourth lesson I've learned through our healing from adultery. This lesson follows the lesson that life takes work for a very good reason.

 When I was confronted with Scotty's unfaithfulness and the deep remorse that followed, I was completely confident that I wanted to stick it out and work on our marriage. I had no doubts about that. However, as you might expect, I did/do experience occasional anxiety over the "what ifs" of our future.

  • What if Scotty does this again in the future?
  • What if the thoughts of what happened are ALWAYS a part of my life?
  • What if Scotty can't deal with the fact that I STILL have bad days years into the healing process?
This list could go on..... and on..... and on.......

And, the frustrating thing about this list is that there are no guarantees. Despite our best intentions, we just don't know what will happen in the future. Scotty could attempt to assure me that he will NEVER do this again. But, he didn't really PLAN to do it in the first place.

The many books that I've read and the therapists we've seen can tell me that my undesirable thoughts that pop up out of nowhere will lessen with time, but they can't PROMISE that they will.

Do you see what I'm saying? THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES!!! And, honestly... that's unsettling.

You have your own "what ifs" even if you aren't healing from adultery. If you've committed to a process that takes work of any kind, there are absolutely NO guarantees that your work will stand the test of time. Unsettling, right?

So, if life can give me no guarantees, where do I go? What do I trust?

I trust that God, through His Son, Jesus Christ,will ALWAYS be enough!

  • If I find myself in another situation where someone I trust has been unfaithful, God will be faithful. And, that will be ENOUGH!
  • If I am still having unwanted and unpredictable thoughts about things & people I don't want to think about years down the road, God will bring peace in the midst of each storm. And, that will be ENOUGH!
  • If Scotty decides that my inability to completely forget the past even though I've chosen to forgive is too much for him to handle, God will be able to handle it. And, that will be ENOUGH!
Are there areas in your own life where you could apply the lesson that God is ENOUGH? What are the "what ifs" that have you paralyzed and unable to commit to the work it will take to make your difficult situations better. It's just a "what if"! It may NEVER happen. There are NO guarantees. But, if you are able (if I am able) to trust that GOD IS ENOUGH even if the worst comes true, the "what ifs" lose their power.

You see, God IS the reward we are searching for. In our humanity, we are always working, always striving for the big payoff.... a job, a spouse, a certain income, healthy children, a healed marriage. Don't get me wrong.... Those aren't bad things! But,we will miss something if we make those things/relationships the ultimate goal. Look at the intro to God's covenant making scene with Abraham....

“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1

God was promising Abram salvation, freedom and more offspring than he could count. But, He introduces HIMSELF as the great reward. The outcomes we experience here on earth are only a means to bring us to the Savior. So, good or bad, let your what ifs be just that.... the vehicle driving you to the conclusion that HE is the great reward. HE IS ENOUGH!

He was, He is, and He will always be!

Tuesday, June 25

LIFE Takes Work!

I fully intended to write back to back posts including lessons I've learned through adultery and recovery. And, as is usually the case, time has gotten away from me. But, I'm determined to finish even if it takes longer than I intended.

Hopefully, you've noticed that my lessons kind of build on each other. I've learned that God is sovereign over ALL. And, because of HIS sovereignty, I do not have to live like a victim. My third lesson builds on that and may be the only lesson that isn't necessarily great news.

I'm not doomed to living as a victim, BUT... living differently takes WORK.

Now, that's not terrible news. Everything in life that's worth anything takes work. And, some things take LOTS of work. There are some things in life that we expect will be difficult. At some point, I imagine we've all chosen to do things knowing that they'd require discipline and determination to achieve the goal. And, we chose them anyway, because these things were worth it.

Anyone who has ever run a marathon (half or whole) chose to endure a rigorous process in order to prepare to finish and cross a finish line. I can think of choices in occupation that require sacrifices in time and money. But, many choose these paths, because of their desire/calling to do a certain job. We'd never expect either of these outcomes to just happen.

In our recovery, Scotty & I have discovered (and it shouldn't have been surprising) that deciding to stay together in the immediate aftermath of confession was only the beginning of a long, rigorous process. From the outside, I guess it could look like Scotty said, "I'm sorry", and I said "You're forgiven", and that was that. Let me just say, you DO NOT really heal from adultery with that process.

I'm going to "get on my soapbox", "chase a rabbit", or whatever phrase applies. Over the past 2 years, many situations have been brought to us of couples faced with adultery. I am OVERWHELMED & DISGUSTED by the number of these couples that want to make healing as simple as "I'm sorry" and now let's move on. So many hurting couples seem to want to "sweep it under the rug" and get on with life. That's absurd! And, the reason why I get so heated over this attitude is because it reveals how many people don't value marriage as God intended us to value it. I believe this attitude towards healing from adultery proves that most couples AREN'T living in the marriage intimacy that was intended for us and don't have a desire to get there. Marriage is a BIG DEAL & we should treat sin against marriage as a BIG DEAL. Committing adultery and then expecting a spouse, children, extended family to "just get over it" says there's no understanding of God's design for marriage. And, spouses that choose to forgive too quickly and attempt to "just move on" might think they're choosing an easier route. But, I believe it will prove to make life even more difficult down the road.

As I stated in an earlier post, I will not live like I am a victim. However, that doesn't mean I get to take an easy way out. It means I get to choose to partner with God and to partner with my husband in a task that gets rough, dark and frightening. It means that when faced with a choice to bury deep hurt and emotions or expose them, I choose to expose in order to GROW in relationship with God and with Scotty rather than "stuffing" things that will only divide us. And, it means that we're committed to the process of therapy, hard conversations, and honesty no matter how long it takes.

I think one of Satan's greatest schemes is tempting us to compare ourselves to others. It's so easy to look at other marriages and other families and think that life sure is easy for them. I'm convinced that it isn't. I'm convinced that people experiencing abundant life as individuals, in marriages and in families have chosen to work really hard in partnership with the Lord. None of us just naturally drift towards the full life that God intended. Nope! When we allow ourselves to drift, we begin to settle for mediocrity and normalcy, which become the road to disaster in many cases.

I know that not everyone reading this blog is healing from adultery. But, every believer reading is on a sanctification journey. Taking the easy way out in any facet of life will never lead to full, abundant life. In this world, the road to complete JOY in Christ is narrow, because few seem to understand that true happiness CAN be found in difficulty. So... do the WORK. Don't try to cover up the yucky. Admit it, find help for it, and make the choice that God's design for your life is worth the process EVEN IF it's hard. If the abundant life were easy to achieve, we'd see a lot more of it. I want to be one of the few.

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it" Matthew 7:14

Monday, June 17


In the past 23 months, I have tried to be VERY careful about the wording of my posts. My situation is a delicate one in that the pain I've felt was due to actions committed against me. Those actions were committed by people close to me AND those people are known by most who have followed my blog. Obviously, I could be open about my feelings toward Scotty and his betrayal, because he is really the only one whose actions make any difference to this family and our future. I DID NOT and I DO NOT want this place to be a place where slanderous things were said about other people.

I set this post up that way, because what is on my mind could possibly be taken as a direct attack on others. But, that is not my intention at all. Please read on with that understanding. I'm going to share pretty deep hurts and emotions, but I'm not sharing them to tear down other individuals. I'm sharing them, because they help me process my inner thoughts and feelings.

It's obvious to all who have read this blog for any length of time that Scotty and I are in the process of healing from his adultery. Those of you that haven't followed for any length of time may not know that or that his unfaithfulness involved more than one person and each of them were friends of mine. One had been my best friend as long as I've been married and had children. Goodness... that's still hard to say.

In hindsight, I can see that there were many red flags in my relationships with these women. Not necessarily in the way they responded to my husband, but in the way they responded to me. Looking back, I can see many instances where these women clearly demonstrated their lack of concern for me, my family and my children. And, for a lot of time, I've been upset with myself that I was unable to voice those concerns to anyone.... especially these women. Every time I was faced with the obvious truth that a friend was insensitive, verbally inappropriate, selfish, demanding or emotionally unstable, I would at first be convicted to re evaluate our relationship. But, each time, I would end up being disappointed with myself. Each time, I'd walk away feeling like I needed to be a little more understanding, open minded and forgiving.... I needed to be a better friend.

Well, that didn't work out so well, and there is nothing I can do about that NOW. But, I HAVE learned from my situation. The main thing I have learned is that I must always trust the Holy Spirit  within me. I'm not saying that every time I get irritated with someone, I should take it as God's warning to stay away from that person. But, I AM saying the Holy Spirit is God's gift to us. When, we have a tug inside of us that says, "something here isn't right", we need to investigate, pray, and ask God if He's speaking wisdom to us.

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23

Scripture instructs us to guard our hearts. So, if God is showing us inconsistencies in those around us, we may need to create some distance in order to guard our heart from possible danger.

Secondly, I realized that the reason it was and still is difficult for me to recognize hurtful motives in friends is because I was given the gift of wonderful friendships very early in my life. I've spoken of my 3 friends (Stephanie, Laney & Macy) many times in this blog. I am very often overwhelmed that God gave these friends to me at a time when we really were not old enough to understand what friendship is to be. But, they've proven time & time again that they DO understand friendship. This past weekend, I was able to go to McComb for a 20 year class reunion. It was amazing, and it helped me to realize that God's gift of great friendships isn't isolated to only Steph, Laney & Macy. No. When it comes to true friendships, my cup runneth over. :)

This isn't the greatest picture, but these are GREAT friends. And, this past weekend, I was surrounded by many more. I enjoyed every minute of visiting and catching up with "old" classmates. I think everyone in attendance had a blast. But, the room wasn't filled with people just having a great time. It was filled with people who genuinely love each other... People who have experienced enough of life to know that we must be grateful for the gift of friendship. I know I probably sound like a cheesy Hallmark commercial, and I'm crying right now like I'm watching one.Oh well....

Here's the downfall of having friendships as special as I've had VERY early in life.... You EXPECT that everyone views friendship as you do. You never go into a relationship hesitant that the other person isn't as committed to being a good friend as you are and past friends have been. And, everyone is NOT.

But, the up side to having friendships like these that began long ago and carry on until today is that you NEVER give up on having friends. Yes! I've been betrayed in friendship. And, that betrayal should send me into a shell where I can't open up and refuse to trust others in friendship again. But, I can't do that! Why? Because God has placed amazing people in my life that have been encouraging and uplifting to me for a really long time. And, their investment in my life won't allow me to give up on friendship. They remind me that God called us to live in relationship with other people, and THAT was a beneficial calling.

So, thank you, friends. You all mean the WORLD to me (again, some of you aren't pictured), and I'll never be able to express how truly grateful I am to call you "friend".

Thursday, June 13

A View of Our Summer

Yep.... We live in a different place, but our summer view is pretty much the same.  We still spend most of our summer watching 2 talented boys on a ball field. Some people may have seen it as a curse to have found 2 new ball teams within a month of our move. However, we believe that it was just another way that God paved the way for our move to North MS.

We love our time on a ball field! I think it's one of our favorite ways to spend family time together. I'll be the first to admit that our family has allowed ball to be too high of a priority in our life in the past. And, because we have two boys that LOVE sports, we will likely always struggle to find balance in this area. But, for this past year, we've been able to enjoy baseball for exactly what it should be... extracurricular fun! And, we've had a lot of it.

Even Claire loves the ball field. She finds friends easily, and they run off to find an adventure. Occasionally, she will return to her seat to cheer, clap and yell out "Go #7 or #10". But, for the most part, she's off to play BIGGER things. :)

BUT... because the boys need practice time too, I also spend a large piece of time in the car... waiting. And, Claire can find a way to make those times entertaining too...
 Yes. We love our summers. As we load up each Saturday morning heading to a ball field for a FULL day of baseball and HEAT, I'm always mindful that many people would find this kind of weekend torture... especially if it happened for weeks and weeks in a row. However, we LOVE it. And, I believe THIS is just another example of God's goodness towards us. Before the foundation of the world, we were intricately designed (right down to our interests) for the life planned for us. That's just awesome!

Tuesday, June 11

Lesson #2....

Surprisingly, my last post was therapeutic for me. I know that many couples rebuilding after adultery find it difficult to talk about it outside of themselves, but Scotty and I have found great comfort in the exposure of our crisis. We've been supported by so many, and we have been encouraged to be able to share our experience with others. In less than 2 years, God has used our situation to help others facing similar issues. For that reason, we've determined to be transparent and to show what most may try to cover.

So, I'll go on to lesson #2 -- Operating with a victim mentality does NOT demonstrate trust in God's character.

Have you ever been confronted with people who preach a wonderful message but never seem to live out the truths of their message? Personally, I've come in contact with those people, and I've been that person.

Now, in the fallout of adultery within my marriage, I AM the victim. This is true. But, if I really believe the lesson that I shared last week.... the character of God can be trusted.... I will not live and act as a victim.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4: 7-9

Scripture is very clear... In this world, we WILL have trouble! But, God's Word says that HE has overcome the world. So, when bad things happen in my life, I have a choice in my response. I can't think of many things that could be worse in marriage than living through adultery, BUT I still have a choice in my response. Will I respond in hatred and bitterness? Will I cower in distrust and blame all future pain on what's been done TO me?

Or, will I respond in boldness? Will I face every reminder and every difficulty as one who has been hard pressed but not crushed, persecuted but not abandoned? Will I trust the character of God enough to say that IN HIS POWER, I will be the victor rather than the victim regardless of what comes my way?

I'm going to be honest with you and confess that I have not exhibited the confidence of a victor 100% of the time since August, 2011. Even though God has proven faithful to me more times than I can count, there have been days that I chose to act like a victim. And, that's disappointing to me.

But, my daily prayer is that God will constantly remind me of HIS victory, HIS power and HIS strength which is made perfect in my weakness. He CAN'T be a victim. And, I am in HIM!

I don't know what you're facing.... In every season of life and in every relationship, there are negative things that happen TO us that are out of our control. At some point, we will ALL be the victim in situations. People WILL fail us, and we WILL have troubles. You can choose to take on the mentality of a victim when those things happen. You can become bitter, resentful and distrusting of everyone. Honestly, this world wouldn't expect anything different. You'll fit right in and probably even get a lot of sympathy.

But, I've always been drawn to people who demonstrate JOY in difficulty. It has always appeared that they know something that I don't know and have experienced things that I've not experienced. Adultery in my marriage has taught me that I can know this secret too....(Col. 1:27) "Christ in you; the hope of glory." 

There's no mountain too high, no battle too tough, no marriage too damaged when I believe this promise to be true. So, I AM a victor! I refuse to ACT like a victim.

Thursday, June 6

Lessons Learned Through Adultery... Part 1

Wow! What a title, right?

Scotty has started a blog, and his entries do not hide the fact that we are living the journey of recovery from adultery. We are still very much in the midst of healing. But, we also share a desire to minister to others from our experience. In light of his recent posts, my mind has been highlighting some of the lessons that I've learned or that have been reapplied BECAUSE OF our journey.

Lesson #1 -- God's character can be trusted.

Seems pretty simple, I guess. At some level, I've believed this to be true most of my life. It's a statement that is spoken regularly throughout churches... a Sunday School answer that many of us don't even REALLY think about. Until we have to...

And, I've had to REALLY consider WHO God is over the past 2 years. A discussion (well, argument) that I've listened to a number of times is the argument of "God is love" or "God is just". I've listened to preachers and teachers that are heavy in the "God is love" theme. God's love is a characteristic that many worldly personalities like to speak of. I believe that God is LOVE!

But, I've also listened to preachers and teachers that speak mainly of God being just. Usually, with a tone of anger and disgust with humanity, these teachers somehow display a God that is irritated and just waiting to send forth punishment on those that sin. But, I believe that God is JUST!

I just don't believe that these statements contradict each other. God IS love. The Bible states it repeatedly. Love is WHO God is, and He can't act apart from WHO He is. So, His love requires Him to be just. There must be consequences for sin, because ultimately, sin will kill us. It would NOT be loving for God to allow His children to continue on in their sin until that sin ultimately kills them. In HIS perfect love, He provides judgement/consequence that allow us to see our great need for Him and His loving guidance.

God is also supremely sovereign. Absolutely nothing happens that He has not allowed. And, if you've never come to a place in your life where you've questioned that sovereignty, hang on & get ready! I think we must wrestle with this aspect of God's character in order to get to a place of honest trust.

See, here's the truth of my situation. God saw ALL of the sin and failure that could have destroyed my family. Under NO circumstance do I believe that God caused ANY of those happenings. BUT... He allowed every single one of them. And, if He'd wanted to, He could have stopped each and every one. (Pause. Deep, deep breath.) He did not.

Why? I'm not positive, and I may not ever be positive about the "why" until eternity. But, I have a feeling that God knew that sin and failure would be the catalyst that turned Scotty's heart towards THE Savior. In God's love, He had to allow Scotty's sin to reap pretty heavy consequences in order to demonstrate that HIS way is the only way that truly works. And, I believe that I needed to come to a place of complete surrender to THE God who has each and every second of this life under complete control.

He's so sovereign! He's just! And, He's love. Only THIS God could use a situation as ugly as the one that we've lived through and bring about beauty. Only THIS God could take complete and utter failure to make a man more confident, strong and Godly. And, only THIS God would do it in such a way that makes me even more aware that Father God loves us with an everlasting love.

I'm so grateful that THIS God is MY God. We can't REALLY love Him until we REALLY know Him. And, sometimes it takes a tragedy to see who He is.Almost 2 years out of our tragedy, I can promise you that what I've come to know in HIM has been worth every tear.