I originally posted this several weeks ago, then removed it because I just couldn't see that there was any purpose for something SO personal to be "out there" in cyberspace. However, over the last couple of days, I've come to realize that maybe it would be beneficial for someone who is going through these thoughts *right now* to read how God brought someone else through it. I may not know her in real life, but my heart hurts for her pain regardless. It is unfortunate that so many of us share this "bond".
**Before I even begin this, I want to make one thing perfectly clear--I am not writing about this to bring any glory to myself as a "survivor" or "saint", because it's just not about me anymore. I've not shared this openly before because I do NOT, in any way, shape, or form, want to dishonor the wonderful man I'm married to today and I wanted to be able to know my own heart was in the right place before I opened up about it. Please, if you know me in real life, or even if you don't....know one thing--Pete is NOT the man today that he was three years ago. He and I (and the very select few that we chose to surround ourselves with at the time) fully believe he had given himself over wholly to the temptation that nearly destroyed our family--he quite literally became someone none of us recognized, and it took a great deal of God's healing to bring us to where we are today, but we ARE there. I wholeheartedly love and respect the man with whom I share life today, and I give thanks to God for bringing us through a fire that could have ended in tragedy, had Satan had his way. I share this as a testimony of the very real love and provision of God and of what the collective work God had done in me --but only when I fully let go of my need to be the center of my own universe. We both want others to be able to know that God can and does heal even the worst spiritual and relational injuries. It was a powerful lesson that I feel NEEDS to be shared. I'm opening up my life here, and it's not easy, but if there's one thing I've learned through all this, it's that "easy" is not what God has in mind when He allows trials to work His purpose in us.**
I woke up that morning feeling just fine. A bit tired from being up half the night with a two-month-old, but still pretty good. We went through the daily grind the same as always, and I had no idea that my life was about to be turned completely upside-down that evening. Late that Thursday night, with the older kids at a friend's house, Pete sat me down on the couch in our den and broke my heart into a million little pieces with words that only by God's grace have finally been erased from my memory. I thought for sure as I sat staring into his ghost-white face that I would never be able to forget them, but three and a half years later, even if I try, I can't remember his exact words. Another of God's gifts to my sanity, I believe!
What I do remember is hearing through what I can only describe as a deafening 'fog' that he'd betrayed me and had lied about everything. Suddenly, without even asking a single question, all of the details became painfully clear. The "friendship" I had been defending to everyone around us who was questioning it was no friendship at all. Denial wasn't an option anymore. The worst had happened, and I was now in the driver's seat of what felt like a train wreck in the making. He was leaving it up to ME to decide the future of our life together.I nearly dropped the baby. My mind struggled to make sense of what was happening. Surely, this couldn't be happening to me, to US!! This had to be a nightmare. Somebody, wake me up! But as the baby stirred in my arms and the silent tears falling down his cheeks hit the carpet, it truly hit me that this was real. My heart spoke before my brain could engage. "Oh, my God" were the words that came out of my mouth...almost not even audibly, because it was not a vain exclamation--it was a cry for help straight from a heart that was so stunned that the only three words I could gather unconsciously formed a desperate prayer, and my heart was speaking straight to God. My mind, my logical, rational, but yet very emotionally-charged mind, had shut down. I couldn't gather thoughts. I couldn't fathom what the future even meant. In what was left of my heart, all I could hear was another silent prayer. "God, I can't do this. I just can't do this. You have to take over, because I don't even know what to think, much less what to do."
And He did.
I never once wanted to lash out, which was really odd, considering I've never been really good at controlling my temper. That day, though...I had nothing to fight with. I remember asking a few questions, then retreating to the pathetic 'safety' of my bedroom to think--and pray. All semblance of what I knew as 'self' was suddenly shaken completely from my foundation, and I didn't even know WHO I was. I had no one else there with me--no security, no peace, no one to comfort me...but God. And suddenly it became very clear that all of those sleepless, lonely nights during the deployments we'd gone through, all the geographic separation...all of it was preparation for THAT NIGHT.
If there was anything I'd learned during the days and nights that Pete had been deployed and I'd been alone, it was to depend on God. Sure enough, there He was, right when I needed Him the most.In the worst of my moments that night, I prayed for God to just make it all go away, to erase it all and make it all as if it had never happened--the shame I felt for being a fool, the heartache, the emptiness, I just wanted it all gone. But He never made it all go away. Every time I opened my tear-stinging eyes, it was still there. However, in the back of my mind, all night long, I heard little snippets of Scripture repeating over and over and over, as if God wanted to be SURE I heard it. "Be still." "I am with you always." "My grace is sufficient." God may not speak audibly to His children, but His Word speaks as plainly to our hearts as the comforting words of a trusted friend sitting right next to us. That night, as Satan tried to gain entry to my heart, God's Words and His love wrapped around me like a giant warm hug, and by the next morning, I knew I could handle whatever was ahead of us because I KNEW that God was there, providing the strength I needed just to get through one breath at a time.
The coming days, weeks, and months would challenge me in ways I never dreamed I could withstand. Truth is, **I** couldn't. Not alone. And even though I had the comfort and solace of one or two dear friends, their help alone could never have gotten me through it. The simple fact remained that I just had no other choice but to let God and His Word take the place of my own will in the decision-making process, in the way I dealt with Pete and the other person involved. I had no experience with which to handle it--I just had to dive deeper into the Word than I'd ever been before and use the principles I found there to base every thought, motive, and action on.
If I hadn't, I don't think Pete and I would be where we are today, and it's certain that the world would not have been graced with the presence of two more of our children. God knows best, even when we don't. It's true, that the path He wants us to follow is a very difficult one at times--mine certainly was! But that path, it really does lead to a wonderful destination! We just have to let go...