This is a continuation of a series every Friday where I will be highlighting the growth and healing of one of my readers, a new reader each week. These, my sweet ones, are their brave and vulnerable stories. Take heart…you are not alone. -Elisabeth
1 Peter 4:8
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
A few years ago my husband came home at lunchtime, looking strained and uncomfortable. As he spoke, my world as I knew it fell apart. He had been in an adulterous relationship and as he confessed his sin in its entirety, it felt like a tsunami engulfed me and devastated my life. As wave upon wave of hurt battered and bruised me, I became paralysed with grief and my heart broke into a thousand pieces.
We were in ministry, in a church house, and I didn’t know which way to turn. I was broken and hurting and everything that was sure and solid evaporated. Within two weeks I had lost my home, my church, and community. My marriage was in pieces and our children were distraught, overwhelmed and outraged.
As I looked at my husband and saw his repentance I knew that when we come to God with penitent hearts he forgives us, and I must do the same. I uttered words of forgiveness but knew that my heart needed to catch up with my will.
This was the beginning of my journey with God which was excruciatingly painful but peppered with beauty. His severe pruning seemed harsh and unfair, but little did I know that he was tenaciously aligning my wisdom with his.
I was hurt, angry, filled with self pity and crippled with shame. My husband’s sin had banished me from everything I loved, and my pain could not be measured. I hung onto my hurt like a toddler hangs on to its comfort blanket, but over the course of time God’s grace showed me a better way.
Forgiveness was at the forefront of my mind, I thought of little else, but it made me angry. Forgiveness seemed outrageously unfair after all I had lost.
I wrote an email to a friend expressing my hurt and shame and this was her very brave response:
“ is your sin 10% and your husband’s 90%? Has God not forgiven your husband as he’s forgiven you?”
This was a turning point for me and as I felt the sting of that rebuke I was hurt and offended, but I also recognised the truth in it.
It was then that I began to contemplate all that Jesus had done for me. He was despised and rejected and overwhelmed with grief. He was forsaken by his own father because of my sin, and his hurt and pain couldn’t be measured as he suffered and died in my place. As he hung on the cross his love and kindness were poured out. He died for me, he forgave me my sins and didn’t think of his own hurts. It was extravagant and outrageous love as he suffered and died in my place. He had forgiven me my huge debt and I was behaving like the unmerciful servant in Matthew ch 18 by refusing to fully forgive my husband. My sins were gone, never to be mentioned again and if I really loved Jesus, I must do the same.
Following Christ was costly, and I felt that cost.
I cried out to God and confessed the blackness of my heart, I acknowledged that I needed his grace so that I could submit to his word. To forgive and let go was excruciating and if I followed Christ’s example I would keep no record of wrong. How I needed God’s grace and mercy. How his wisdom cut through my own, and it was painful and felt impossible.
But thankfully it’s not about my ability, but Christ’s. All I could do was acknowledge my failure before him and ask for help to submit. I was beginning to understand that my wisdom was flawed on every level and brought huge pain as I hung on to bitterness and resentment. My wisdom was not God’s territory and if I hung into it I would only suffer more. I needed to come into the freedom that only God’s grace can bring, and as i grappled with my debilitating emotions I came to God with empty hands and a black heart asking for help to submit to his wisdom which I knew would bring healing to my soul.
And as God enabled me to submit, joy flooded my soul. As I began to see that my wisdom was skewed and flawed on every level, I began to embrace God’s wisdom.
I began to see his discipline as a great mercy and I began to see my husband through a different lens. No longer was I viewing him through a selfish lens, but the lens of grace and my perspectives began to change, and I began to feel a contentment I had never felt before.
God had shown me the depth of sin in my own heart, and his grace is stunning and shockingly kind. He revealed my pride, my selfishness, my discontentment and as I pushed self off the throne of my heart, I felt a liberty and joy in acknowledging God as the king of my life.
Today a few years on I am continuing to recover. I’m still broken and sore and rebuilding trust, but God has aligned my perspectives with his. I have come to see that love is not a feeling, but an action and as we put godly actions into practice, God in his grace allows our feelings to catch up.
I am so grateful for my husband. I love him with all of my heart. The world’s wisdom is compelling, but it’s from Satan and everything that comes from him destroys us, but God’s wisdom brings life.
This trial has refined me and brought healing to my soul. Every hardship we experience can either separate or fling us to Christ. I thank God that in his grace he has brought me nearer to himself and shown me my need of him.
“Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown. ”
-flowers on the rubbish heap
If this sweet woman’s post resonated with your heart, please know that you are not alone. Here are a few resources for you:
If you would like to join my closed Facebook group called Hope & Healing, you can find it here.
If you’d like to receive my free resource “Is Your Healing Halted?”, sign up here.
If you need a nudge in your healing, I would love to work with you! Join me for one of my coaching courses.
If in a difficult marriage: Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage is available as a PDF/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books
If separated/divorced: Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage is available in paperback/e-book: http://tinyurl.com/phowp95
If a single mom: Moving on as a Christian Single Mom is available in paperback/e-book: www.elisabethklein.com/books