I read an article in the paper today from “Annie’s Mailbox,” entitled “Trust Is Hard To Earn After Partner’s Affair. I just wanted to hug this dear woman who signed herself as “Broken in Omaha” and assure her there is hope of healing. She had none.
She had chosen to stay in the marriage after her husband’s affair, but describes herself today as one who is broken and cannot heal. “It is the most painful and devastating experience of my life and I wonder whether it has ruined me? I was a happy, cheerful woman before this, and everyone who knew me marveled at my good humor and vivacity. Not anymore.”
Oh how I remember those days I thought I would never heal…
This woman is now 3 years post and still in so much pain. My story would be no different, but by the grace of God…
Read the following journal entry I wrote 1 1/2 years post disclosure.
June 20, 2009
I know now why I’ve been stuck.
A metamorphosis has taken place within my mind. Out of the cocoon and into the light I spread my wings into a life of surrender. There are moments I still long for the wrappings of my chrysalis, only to realize how dark and pitiful that place remains. It has been my home for too long and I tremble at how easy it is to crawl back there.
What does genuine surrender to God look like? It allows God to leave a problem, a pain, a sickness, a sorrow, to fulfill His purpose. A surrendered person does not demand rights. (Quite frankly after the loveless childhood, I figured in my arrogance God somehow owed me happiness as an adult. Yet the one road I begged not to travel, felt I could never survive—is the very road I now journey.)
A surrendered individual obeys out of love even when there is little understanding. They do not reject any part of their story. They give over to God all fear, pain, and unanswered questions, even a wayward husband. (Oh how I struggle.)
Surrender accepts the broken pieces of life along with the joyful. My desire, my pride, and endless effort to create a Hallmark card marriage—my definition of success has to go. Surrender paints a portrait God splashes upon the canvas not the picture perfect life I desire.
So I ask, is God cruel…to know the future and yet allow the pain? Or does He know something I do not?
This surrender demands much…yet I feel an impending freedom. Like a butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, there is struggle, pain, and exertion. From worm to wings, I’m no longer earth bound crawling in the muck and mire constantly reliving the betrayal. I choose to dry my tears as the butterfly dries its’ wings, and give flight to new dreams. Though days of rain may still remain, I believe life has purpose and meaning. I’m no longer held in captivity but have the first flutter of wings.
The question is—will I choose to fly?
~ ~ ~
When I wrote this it was the calm before yet another storm. The choice to surrender my whole life at that point was critical timing for what lay ahead. Trouble was far from over. Financial pressure came down hard thereafter; by that September we had to sell our beloved lake home due to the betrayal of a business partner and the stock market crash. Our children’s lives began to unravel with changes we found heart-breaking. In other words—when Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart I have overcome the world.”
He meant just that.
Though I wrestled many a day thereafter, I found solace in accepting God was not a bit surprised by the circumstances of my life. He was not asleep when I prayed as a young woman about who I should marry, nor unaware of the choices my husband would make years later. Whether I understood God’s sovereignty or not, remained rich or became poor, my road map to healing had everything to do with trusting GOD in this storm. Isaiah 55:8-9 could not remain mere words on a page, but had to become truth within my heart.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
A helpful book I read during my healing was a book called Inside Out,
by Dr. Larry Crabb. This following section pierced my soul.
“A necessary foundation for any relationship with God is a recognition that God is God and we are not. We therefore have no business demanding anything of anyone, no matter how fervently our soul longs for relief from pain. It is wrong to internally demand that your loved one become a Christian or you spouse stop drinking or your biopsy be negative or your rebellious child straighten up. Desire much, pray for much, but demand nothing. To trust God means to demand nothing.”[i]
In looking back I realized how demanding I had been. How much I had to learn. How gracious God remained. How loving and patient His heart beat toward me.
No matter how betrayal translates into your life today, can I challenge you to believe in a God that has things under control when all seems uncontrollable? Can I encourage you to believe in a good God, when life is not good? And can I assure you—God does care, God does love you, and God IS capable of healing you. He needs one thing to unlock the door of your broken heart…surrender.
ASK HIM, HE WILL SPEAK INTO YOUR SPIRIT AND TELL YOU WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE.
Dr. Larry Crabb, Inside Out
(Colorado Springs, CO, NavPress Publications, 1988, 2007) 163.