Staying Isn’t Foolish

This scene….I still can’t watch it without a lump forming in my throat.

We are 4.5 years out from the worst of it all.  4.5 years from when I chose to stay.  4.5 years ago I chose to make my life not about the world’s definition of a fool but the definition of a wife who made a covenant to a marriage.  4.5 years past when I too could have let the feelings of being a fool over take me.

The days pass easier now.  The work was hard to get here.  I am a stronger.  I am a better me.  I look back at the person who typed the words in my very first blog ( This is a nightmare right? ) and the emotions run high.  I feel compassion and pride all at the same time for that woman sitting at a computer just trying to process it all.  Her journey made me who I am today.  The test has become a testimony (and let’s be honest at some points it’s still playing itself out).  I still wish I would not have had to face the storm but I can claim gratitude for who it has made me today.

The gift of time has allowed healing.  Obviously,  I don’t need to blog as often as I did.   Raw emotions, or over powering triggers don’t sneak up on me much anymore.  To see us, me, him now verses then, is so different.  We still have disagreements and we will always have improvements to make of our relationship.  One thing is for sure the moment you think you don’t have to work at marriage, of that things are perfect it’s time to take restock.  Marriage isn’t easy! ( Behindmychoice: Defining Love ) Even the BEST ones need tender loving care and prioritized to matter.  But staying did not make me a fool despite it still calling for work and grace and forgiveness etc!

Karen tells Harry in this scene, “…yes but you’ve also made a fool out of me.  You’ve made the life I lead foolish too…”  How those words resinate back to how I felt when we were in the trenches, working our way out of the worst of it.  I did feel like a fool, how could you not?  When you realize your trust has been stomped on by the person who held the most vulnerable part of your trust, it hurts!  But, staying and deciding to live a life of hard work at forgiveness and grace was not foolish.  It was at times a daily, even a minute to minute purposeful choice.  Behindmychoice: Allowing Respect to Grow Trust

It has been months since I created a post here. But today, I could not shake the nudge to type these words out.  Someone reading this must need to hear IT’S OK TO STAY!!  FORGIVENESS is OK! ( Behind my choice -To say “I Forgive you”  )Working past the pain and trauma will be hard but if you both want it…GO FOR IT!!

Please don’t think I am saying it is ok to be abused it is not. If that is your situation seek help and protect yourself.  Being physically or emotional abused is never ok.   But choosing to rebuild and regain a committed, loving and mutually respected marriage is never a wrong thing.  If you have the gift of confession from your spouse and an even bigger gift that he or she is willing to change  and wants to rebuild it is NOT FOOLISH to want that too!!

Who ever you are reading this.  Know you are not alone facing this.  You will get through this and you are NOT a FOOL!!

 

 

 

 

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Humbled by “Lovely Blog” nomination

WOW! I am humbled!  Thank you Fighting the Fight  (https://secondchances685.wordpress.com/)  first for taking the time to read the simple words of someone just like you trying to make her way out from the trauma of adultery.  Secondly, thank you so much for the nomination of “Lovely Blog” award.  I am truly touched.  I started behindmychoice as a safe place for me to work through all I was facing.  I published my first blog with a prayer  it would not only help me heal and focus on the blessings but also help or bless someone else.  To know that others have read my words and found comfort or encouragement is humbling.

My nominations:

jackiesill.com

theaffairdiary.wordpress.com

lifepostaffair.wordpress.com

workingtowardshealingafterhisaffair.wordpress.com

reconcile4life.wordpress.com

luvcanbuildabridge.wordpress.com

livelovelaughagainblog.wordpress.com

marriagetroublesite.com

The RULES: (as I have read them)

  • Thank the person that nominated you and leave a link to their blog
  • Post about the award
  • Share seven facts about yourself
  • Nominate at most 15 people
  • Tell your nominees they’ve been nominated for one lovely award

7 Facts About Myself:

  1.  I try every day to live out my faith first, in hope that all else will fall into place after that.
  2. I love my husband-grateful we have worked through all we have.
  3. Being a mother has taught me and showed me I have more strengths than I ever knew.
  4. I also love music, singing is such a joy to me.
  5. I still have insecurities and fears-part of me thinks I always will, despite what I have proven I can live through and learn from.
  6. Music, sweet treats, exercise, being outdoors–just a few things that make me smile
  7. I want my life to make a difference, I want my testimony to turn into a testament!
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Behind my choice: real, authentic, honest

Despite all the blessings, all the good, all the progress, all the forgiving and loving and survival….I just have days where I don’t want this to be my testimony.

Today is just one of them.  Really can it wash away completely?  Can it go away like turning the tv channel? If only it were that easy.

Days of weakness are real.  Moments of raw pain and tears still hit.  Rages of wanting to get even and lash out at the “other woman” flare up. Resentment tries to take the reigns.

Will I be strong again? I know I will.  It may be tomorrow, later today, I may even brush off all this angst in 5 minutes. Maybe even before I am done typing this will pass.  But truth is at this moment….I am just not ok.  That’s what this journey is about; even over 2 years later.  Embracing the truth of it all.  Good, bad, ugly, all of it.

I am human.  I have a heart that is fragile.  I bleed, bend and break just like everyone else.

I’ve heard (as I am sure you have) the quotes of encouragement:

God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.  

Don’t look at all this as a test look at it as a testimony.

Just when you don’t give yourself enough credit, God comes along and shows you what you can get through.

Now before those of you out there jump on the “don’t be a victim” slam I’d like to just say   I AM NOT a victim.  Nor do I live like one, honestly I can say I don’t think I ever did.  Even when this whole trauma hit.  I never allowed the victim mentality to take hold.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have to trudge through the emotions of living this journey and living through it fully!

There are just times when you just want to scream and make it all go away and not deal with it anymore.

There is nothing wrong with feeling anything.  There is nothing wrong with not embracing with gratitude a difficult journey.  There is nothing wrong with me or anyone else who just has moments when they pray (ok scream) out to a God to take it away.

I will be fine.  This reaction is not a defeat but a reminder that I am human.  It’s not about the desire to not be here, but the ability to turn the desire not to be here in to healthy healing.

I don’t have to like this.  I don’t have to like being here.  That doesn’t make me weak.  It doesn’t make my faith weak.  It doesn’t make all the blessings and positive steps we’ve made in our marriage any less valid.

Moments like this just make me:

—REAL—AUTHENTIC—HONEST—

 

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Behind my Choice: To Not Let “alone” In

I started this blog a few years ago to let out what I was feeling, to continue healing, have a safe place to leave everything out there.  I wanted to give a voice to the scared and shattered little girl, whom I felt like when the pain was at it’s worst.  I also thought maybe just maybe someone out there might need to know they weren’t alone, trying to navigate their way through their own wreckage.

My entries, posts, whatever you want to call them, have always been nothing but honest.  I haven’t sugar coated the feelings.  At least I haven’t felt like I have.  But part of me has always fought this underlying fear that my story was so rare and singular it left me alone,  a version of alone that terrified me. It’s something I am not sure I have ever put out there before now.

So my go to response whenever anything flares up like this, ask God why it’s there.

What are you trying to teach me?

Am I supposed to be learning something here?

Have I missed you in the mess?

Help me focus on blessings, the good things please don’t let the dark and evil win.

 

Over the past few weeks I  have noticed something.  I’ve taken mental notes as I’ve gone about daily life.   Adultery is more common  than I realized.  Between the movies, tv shows, novels, song lyrics, even personal stories,  it just seems to be more abundant than I ever thought.

Now, I had to try and keep my brain in check and not let things become obsessive.  Maybe you know what I’m talking about.  That weird phenomenon like when you are thinking about buying a new car and you’ve never seen that make or model around; then wham; it seems to be at every stop light with you or parked a few slots down in every lot.  Was that what was happening to me.  My life was focused more on adultery and affairs because I was dealing with getting past my husband’s so I was just zoning in on references?  Or maybe I am just more sensitive about the subject so I noticed it more?

It’s been over 2 years since I started taking notice of it.  And the frequency and theme just doesn’t seem to be going away.  It’s almost getting more frequent.

WHY IS THAT?

The theme isn’t something new.  Pull up lyrics to songs from the 1950’s (maybe even earlier).  Search the American Movie Classics channel and read so many of the synopses of movies from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s.  The writers, authors, directors have to find (sorry for lack of a better word here but) inspiration from something.  And truth is, even the fiction is based or built on some perception of reality if you ask me.

Reality is people are hurting and healing from some form of adultery or infidelity in their marriages, friendships,  in all relationships.  But once again that still small voice inside my heart was screaming not to let the negative and that sad truth win.  That can’t be the focus.  The sad, painful side of any affair or infidelity can NOT remain the focus.

 

It has motivated me over the past few weeks to pray for those who feel alone.  I may never know your name.  I may never know your story. You may never know mine.  Please know this, that someone has prayed for you.  I have prayed for you. aloneAs I was thinking about it this morning I came to the conclusion that despite the reality I have chosen and will continue to not let alone in.  Even if it’s a simple blog post that no one ever reads.  It’s a purposeful productive way to not isolate myself and to keep moving forward.

It saddens me that so many people are facing this same pain. The reasons, excuses, explanations from both sides of any affair or infidelity are so many.  Evaluating them or working through them far more complex for my simple blog.

To any of you facing this journey as well I hope you have found your voice toward healing.  That you have found at least one book, one Bible verse, one song, one blog, counselor, support group whatever it may be to give you strength.  A strength that comes from knowing you aren’t alone.  You are going to get past this.

alone-2

Don’t let the “alone in”.

Because you aren’t!!!

 

 

 

 

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Really Brain? Really?

We are good.  I know we are good.  We’ve made such great progress.  I can see the changes in him. I feel the changes in me.  I can feel the difference in our daily interactions.  Our family life is so much better.  It’s been weeks since we even brushed by a conversation having to do with everything that happened.

But it was another night of nightmares.  After a few days of me fighting back evil’s attempt to make me question all the good and proof of reason’s to believe we are ok.

I really, truly am just tired of evil seeping it’s way into  my thoughts and joy.  I have every reason to believe in the good I have experienced over the past 2 years.  I have every reason to trust my husbands actions.  There really are more positives than I can count.  Yet my brain just takes a nose dive every now and then.  It runs with the slightest, dumbest little thing.

I AM SO SICK OF IT!!!brain

I mean really.  God is bigger than this.  Why on earth does my little brain keep taking the dark path?   SO WHAT if my husband has to travel for business again and certain, former business associates may be there.  SO WHAT if it’s been a rough week at work and he’s had to be connected to his phone a bit more.  SO WHAT if he made a dumb comment about some hot actress on the tv.  NONE of that, even if added all together, can take away from the reality of where we are.  And that reality is a good one, a healthy one.  We have done a lot of work and we are good.  Truly good.

But Satan knows my weak points.  He knows just how to leak enough truth into all his lies and deception to make me nervous and anxious.  At times it’s just enough to make the pit in my stomach feel a mile deep.  When the heat flames up behind my eyes and that little voice says, “see what if…”

I’ve had to stop myself.  Purposefully and diligently stop myself from letting fear and anxiety snowball into sabotaging all that is good and worked hard for in our marriage now.  It’s still hard at times not to let the negative win a battle.  And honestly it wins a few here and there.  Not nearly as many as it used to, but I’ll be damned if it’s going to win this war.

Reality is I am just a simple Christian woman, doing her best.   My limitations to be perfect and handle this well all the time are just tangible reminders to stop relying on my own abilities.    Honestly anything I have hasn’t come from anything I’ve done anyway.  I have never and will never be able to change, direct, persuade, or determine my husbands actions, thoughts, reactions or choices.  Same goes for my children or friends, or family.  It’s up to God and their relationship with Him to determine all that.  I can express my pain and fears with honest vulnerability but that only brings to their attention the consequences of choices in front of them.  It serves the ball into their court to take those reactions on my part to influence change.  A change that needs to come from the inside out-my pain doesn’t have that power no matter how much I want it to.

Pain has a way of altering the perception of our responsibilities  I think.  When we are in pain and need answers to the questions of why and how, it seems so common to think we are supposed to do something to fix it.  To think we are called to change things that are out of our control.  The reality is we most often can’t. I actually believe we can NEVER do that.  For me to say that I have that power demotes the power of my God.  Ultimately He is the one in control.  We are created to be emotional, relationship driven people.  From that design I truly believe God can convict someone’s choices to be different next time.   Because they have learned the pain it caused yet, that knowledge, no matter how eloquently I explain it to them, is just a indirect element however to why they change.

My pain is my journey.  My stupid nightmares are my challenge.  My ridiculous brain’s wandering path toward the negative is my mountain to climb.  It’s frustrating.  It is!  And I have been knows to shout out loud, “Really brain? Really?”  I did not ask to be in this position.  But I am.  How I move forward from it is all mine though.  And I will tell you I want the brain to shut up more than it does.

So how do I get it to shut-up?

It comes down to this simple fact for me.  When my brain starts to win over with negative, anxiety ridden fears it is a huge red flag that I have been relying on myself too much.  That I haven’t actively sought God to be a part of my thoughts, actions, reactions, choices…

When my faith is right, my thoughts are less tormented.  When my heart is humbled before God it seems easier to find grand joy in simple things.  When my focus is on where God is taking me, not my own plan, things feel less anxiety ridden. (Easier, not always, He doesn’t promise easy).  God doesn’t want to see me fail.

jeremiah

I’ve done all kinds of things to shut up my “bad brain”.  Here are a few that have worked for me:

  • PRAYER
  • writing out a list of positives in my marriage
  • gone for a run
  • call a friend
  • open scripture and read it aloud
  • blogging
  • turn on music to uplift me
  • cleaning (odd I know, when feeling out of control there is something to be said for cleaning and organizing.  It’s a tangible immediate result)
  • help someone else, do a good deed to take the focus off me

So today is another day that I will roll my eyes at my silly brain.  Find what works to push back the nightmares from last night and move forward.  I’ll give negative thoughts the one two punch, knock them back a bit.  Maybe I’ll be lucky enough that one of the punches will send them all to that pit a mile deep and never been heard from again.  Until that happens I’ll regain focus on my faith and cling to God and giving back the control to Him.  His plans are better than bad brain moments for sure!!

plan

 

 

 

 

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BehindMyChoice:Attitude Adjustment

Anniversaries are supposed to be a date to celebrate.  Today is an anniversary I struggle to even want to acknowledge.  I still fight back dark emotions and reactions of what this “anniversary” reflects.  Honestly I still take active measures to count the blessings not the burdens at times while we continue to move past all the truth that came out 2 years ago.

We hover around the 2nd anniversary of when I found out all that had been happening, all my husbands selfish and (pardon my french) crappy choices.  The tornado crashed through my heart, my soul, my safest place on earth—my marriage.  Even 2 years later there are reminders.

But as through any other time in this journey of recovery, I refuse to let the dark win.  I will count the blessings of today and the past 730 days where we chose to honor what God has given us, rebuild, regain, and remain.

Neither one of us can change what happened.  The past is just that, the past. What’s done was done.  What I can control fattituderom here on out is today and the me that faces today.  The moment I am living right now is mine for the taking.
At some point I need to stop letting things revolve around one traumatic event in my life but be filled with all the good and blessings and love and positives.

 

Because the reality of today is, I have survived, I have survived something horrific.  Truly I have not just survived but I have thrived.  I am stronger.  I am more aware of God’s grace and mercies.  I am more grateful for little things.  I have grown in my self awareness and my self worth.  Moving past this, working through this, has made me, a better me.  I have a right and the responsibility to myself to own that in a positive way.  The test I was thrown into is part of my testimony.   God never promised life would be easy or without trials or troubles.

attitude victory

My marriage is gaining strength each day too.  We still have issues.  We still have pains and hurts.  But I don’t want to live dreading what has ultimately given us the platform to make our marriage stronger and healthier.

SO today as I reflect on the reality that this is and always will be an anniversary I’ve decided to make another purposeful choice.

Behind my choice to face today is an attitude adjustment!

 

 

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Behindmychoice: Address the Emotions…again

Emotions hit out of nowhere.  They take over at times, even 2 years later.  They fluctuate from anger to fear, sometimes it’s frustration or just plain sadness.  And I’ll be honest it’s annoying.  Especially when I feel like I’m the only one still facing them.

You can’t ignore them or squash them down because like a soda being shaken at some point when that top comes off it’s going to all come exploding out.  I get that and I feel like I have done a good job not repressing things.  But I’ll admit it’s hard not to be uncomfortable or uneasy when you feel like the only one left still dealing with all the emotions of the pain of what happened.  That brings upon a whole  new set of emotions on top of what you where already feeling.

I don’t want to still be hurting or have triggers effect my day.  The reality is there are still days when the scar and phantom pain from the trauma are too hard to move past.  It’s what to do with them that counts.  It’s choosing which moments or emotions to share with my husband.  I will be honest I don’t share with him every time I still have a nightmare.  I don’t bombard him every time a trigger takes hold or I get a punch to the emotional gut.  Why?  For a few reasons.  The biggest being I don’t want to rehash it all and let the bad win again.  I don’t want to still be reliving all that happened all the time. There is self preservation too, there are times I don’t say anything to him because I don’t want it to be about him. He is still healing and dealing with his own stuff and there have (and will) be times when even just sharing my pain it becomes about his quilt and pain of wanting to just move forward. There is also concern of telling him every little incident of pain I feel would aid to the cancer of what happened coming out of remission.  We have come such a long way and things are different.  We are committed to each other and honestly happily married today.  I am sure many would say, “Let him know.  He deserves to know how this all still hurts you.  So what if he has to feel guilty.  He doesn’t get to make this about him. He created this mess”  While I have had those thoughts myself, he has taken responsibility for what he did.  He has shown remorse. He has created change that instills my trust to grow and rebuild again.  And while he may need to know the overall scar is still there, to constantly draw attention to it I fear would begin to eat away at the all the progress we have made.  What good does constantly throwing it in his face do?  At some point constantly being pecked at by my remaining pain could lead to him feeling unforgiven or unable to move past this himself.

I choose very carefully the times I share when the emotions have the upper hand.  I deliberately select when and to what level I tell him I am struggling.  I don’t want to continue to add to the pain myself.  While he needs to take ownership so do I.  He can’t fix my heart only I can.  I could give him a book of rules and regulations to follow to provide me a sense of security.  I could throw it in his face every time I was feeling off and make it all about what he did.  But at this point in the healing process, what he did, is no longer the issue.  It’s how it left me to heal and move forward and the process of healing, that is the issue.  That is not on him, my heart and my emotional well being is my domain.  Yes he should care for me.  The Bible gives clear definition and expectations of how a husband should love and be present for their wife in Ephesians 5:25-30,

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body.  

NO where in there does it say that he should be a minion in my army or hold responsibility for making me love myself or take responsibility for my healing.  He is expected to love me and respect me as the wonderful creation I am in Christ.  He is to love me as he loves himself and care for me as he would care for himself.  And while that may mean listening to me say the same thing over and over again or walking along side of me while I still process and move forward that doesn’t mean I have to make it any worse than it already is.

I don’t want to go from the one hurting and healing to the one causing the pain and hurt.  There is a difference to me.  Not every emotional falter needs to be put in front of him.  He knows it hurts.  He knows this is the hardest thing I have every had to get through in my life so far, why constantly add to the tension by jabbing him with my every twinge of pain? So I filter them.  I believe in a healthy way.  Many out there won’t agree with me.  Many will be reading this and want to tell me I am being too kind, a wimp, or maybe even uglier names or have other impressions of me.  I refuse to make facing and addressing emotions become the chance for the bad and ugly side of them win.  There is a balance between self ownership and the accountability of anther person for you pain and hurt.

So like yesterday when the emotions of pain and some fear hit and I couldn’t just acknowledge them and still go about my day I told him. Telling him was messy.  It came with his own emotional response.  Last night was awkward….again…even almost 2 years later. We talked it out some.  He asked what he was supposed to do to fix it.  He had his own emotions to address after I placed mine on him.  Did we fall asleep with answers last night? No.  I’ll be honest I don’t have the answers even still this morning.  What we both had last night and still this morning was compassion for each other and respect, not to mention love.  Neither one of us blamed the other for the emotions we had.  Neither one of us insulted or belittled the other.  Sometimes it’s not about fixing but just addressing, admitting, or sharing.

Last night behind my choice to address the emotions was to let him in when it was just hard not to let the emotions out.  There will be more and more days when the emotions don’t even surface and they pass as fast as they come. Until then I will address them for me, not him and prayerfully choose wisely which ones need to be shared before allowed to be any more than a reaction to healing.

 

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Behindmychoice: Allowing Respect to Grow Trust

 

It’s been over a year and a half and recovery is still a word that I would use to explain where I am most of the time when it comes to my marriage. We are still on this healing journey.

Recovery I have come to believe is a journey that we will travel until our last breath,  no matter what the trauma or struggle.  When you begin to recover, you will always be recovering.  While it seems to have a negative connotation I find it a peaceful place to be.  Like I’ve said in earlier posts, trauma may have left a scar, but you are still living, breathing, moving forward.  The scar will always be there.  Some days it may be the first thing you see, other days it may slip your mind it’s there, still others it may cause a quick glance and then you will move right on.  One tragedy can leave you with multiple scars too.  I have a few scars from my husbands affair.

One scar that seems hard to not look at every day is:

trust

The scar of broken trust.  A painful,  gut wrenching scar.  It was brought on by the one person whom I have been the most vulnerable  with all my heart on this earth.

It’s a big scar too.  It’s from a wound that hit a vital, major artery to my marriage and even the condition of my heart to live healthy again.

Wanting to trust again, believing one can trust again, I knew  even as I surveyed the rubble after the tornado of truth hit I had a desire to offer trust again.  I knew I wanted a life where I could trust and have it honored and  validated as the right thing to do.  But how?

We trust with vulnerability.  We trust at times without even second guessing the depth of trust we actually give minute to minute.  It’s such a pivotal aspect of our every day lives and yet at times we don’t even know we are offering it.  I take trust for granted with so many things in my life and yet I also find it so hard to offer it in other aspects.  Each night as I fall asleep I trust the sun will come up tomorrow. I don’t fall asleep anxious or scared it won’t.   I don’t shudder with every breath that there won’t be air to draw in.  I don’t second guess the trust I have in stop lights as I drive, or road signs offering direction.   I trust without question water will run from my sink when I turn it on.  That there will be food at my local grocery store.  All these are great examples of how trust is (dare I say) easy.  But why wouldn’t it be easy.  None of those involve putting your heart at risk.  We were created to be relational people.  Humans with feelings and emotions and reactions.  When you add the element of a relationship to other people  and all the emotional aspects and the trust required with those, it changes the whole game.  So why wouldn’t a break in that trust also be a game changer?

When trust is broken in a relationship it’s a huge foundational crack.  Its a break that leaves a cavernous gap between you and the other person.  Relationships from friendships, to siblings, to parent and child, and especially spouse to spouse can’t survive very long without trust.  I am going to say when it is betrayal of trust from your spouse it’s the worst possible kind.  To me at least it was.  I have  never, nor  will I ever allow someone into such personal, private vulnerable places of my heart as my spouse other than my God and creator.  To me our spouse is our most scared relationship next to God.  In fact I believe marriage is an earthly reflection,  our best attempt to mimic our relationship with God.  (—another blog for another time—).

I think that is what hurt the most from my husbands choices, the affair, and everything else that slammed into my life like a freight train.  I trusted him like NO one else in this world and he betrayed that and did so out of pure selfishness.  During the first few days I was so fearful I would never be able to trust or reach a level of vulnerability again with him.  But trust can be rebuilt.  Trust can be regained.  Trust can be reaffirmed.  Trust can grow again….from where?  How?  Why even bother?…..because of

respect

Beginning to trust again grew first and foremost from the respect I have for my God and my faith. While I may not like all this life gives me and all God allows to happen,  I can’t change the past.  Everything we face has a reason, or explanation.  The how and why isn’t really the point here.    The point is God is right here with me through all of it.  He may be allowing something to happen, or not stopping something from happening but He NEVER desires for me to live in fear, pain, or even to live without trust.  He is not the cause of my husband’s choices.  God is not the reason my trust was broken.  God wants us to live and love and one day join Him in paradise.  To get there and make the arrival such a glorious thing He gave us free will and that free will, gives us choices.  To live as a Christian woman and stay true to all that comes from believing in John 3:16 I have chosen to respect that our free will leaves us open to making poor choices.  Those choices lead to consequences.  Being in relationship with others puts us in line with the dominoes as they fall when bad choices are made and pain is caused.

From that foundation of faith and respect I began to heal.   Day after day, and sometimes minute by minute it was purposeful.  To trust my husband again meant I needed to trust my God above and beyond any human relationship I have.  What God and I have is even more than my marital relationship and husband.  Yes what happened hurt, still hurts, and will always carry some hurt but my hope and trust can’t come from anything other than my faith and my God.  Everything else is a blessing added on to what I will have eternally.    Yes, my marriage was and still is important.  We needed to fix, heal, begin to move forward. I wanted to be married and to THIS man. Before I could do that I needed to regain focus on who really was giving me everything I need in this life.   For me, that began with respecting God and knowing He was bigger than even this hurt and struggle.

 Once I found that defining level of respect I began to try and gain respect back for my husband.  At first it was reminding myself of aspects of who he was outside of all this trauma.  There were still things I respected about who he was as a person beyond this situation. Despite the pain and anger I was feeling, he was still there.  Behind the poor choices he was still there.  Aspects of him that I respected never changed even while he was making poor choices.  So I clung to those as first.   Then it trickled into listing  even the tiniest of actions as we began to pick up the pieces.  Some days it was a huge list, others I clung to the smallest amount my grief would let through.  But time would allow the items to grow and become more apparent.  The  more respect I had for what he was doing, how he was doing things, and why he was doing things gradually began to open the vault of trust.  His actions and reactions as we moved forward let respect for him to continue to grow.  We have had set backs and moments where I have to review the list and not erase what is already back on it. But that is what makes this a healing journey.

 He was doing the work. Being where he said he’d be.  Showing me through his actions he was still here.  Working on him, us, and allowing me to work on me.  He was also showing me respect.  He was respecting my pain.  He was respecting my need to heal.  He let me ask the tough questions.  He was letting me cry.  He was respecting the triggers and what those conjured us in me.

quote

 With regained and reinforced respect back in view after being tossed amongst the rubble of this storm it began to breath life back into trusting him.  It hurts him I still have moments of doubt and lack of trust.  It hurts me that I have them too.  I remind myself that even in the “perfect” marriage there is hurt.  We will not get this right all the time.  He will hurt me again.  I will hurt him again.  Even today when I questioned my trust in him, with determined purpose I recounted the things I respect about him and  the things I respect about what he is doing.  That lead into ways he’s proven how and where I have been able to trust him over the past year and a half.  My respect for him is allowing trust to grow.  I see when he feels trusted his vault of trust opens up  more to me too.  I pray one day my trust will be so complete in him that I barely look at the scar anymore.  I desperately want it be like that.   One day trusting will be in all the glory God calls it to be.  Until then behind my choice to trust more every day is a will to just keep growing and working and learning and allowing respect to build that trust.

I pray no matter where you are on the road to trusting again you find respect not only for those who have hurt you but yourself and God.

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Behindmychoice: Defining Love

Valentines day has come and gone.  Whew!  I am not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.

love Why you ask? Is it because I am bitter and don’t like love?  Oh wait–I blog about recovering from infidelity, I’m just harboring anger and hurt. Nope, while my aversion for the holiday the past 2 may have been slightly more intense, my apathy toward it has been there a long time.   There seems to be so much pressure around the day, February 14th,  every year.  From stores, television commercials, on line retail its presented as the day that you better give the perfect gift to the perfect person in the perfect way, with the perfect smile and perfect sentimental card…I am pretty sure you see where I am going with this.  While I would never tell anyone who loved me I didn’t appreciate being thought of by any gesture that day, anyone who knows me well enough can attest to the fact that I proclaim, love me all the other 364 days of the year.  I don’t want forced love.  Pressured love.  Stressed love.

A gorgeous arrangement of flowers is wonderful.  A new pair of earrings or eye catching necklace lovely.  A planned, organized, expensive dinner out luxurious.  But when the day is over, and 15 February comes around will any of those gestures truly change your opinion or definition of love?  Will any elaborate holiday event sustain you months later?    Don’t get me wrong, beauty and focus on what is important is in the eye of the beholder.  And, yes at the risk of sounding hypocritical I have pieces of jewelry, when put on brings back memories and feelings flood my heart.  Or when seeing a photo all decked out with smiles of joy from a dinner out stir emotions.  Those gifts and gestures serve a purpose I know they do but…

To me it’s the every day little things that I want out of love.  I want simple daily actions and reactions to show me love rather than one day out of the year where it all better be perfect or it doesn’t count.  A friend asked me a few years ago what I felt the definition of love was.    She was seeking a tangible definition.  I sat for a second contemplating the question.  What was my answer?  What is a healthy definition of love?

In a quick silent prayer I remember saying, “Ok God what do I say here?  I don’t want to screw this one up.  Give me the answer.” Then it hit me, my answer to her was the following.   love

They are Bible verses taken from 1Corinthians 13:4-8.  That is the love,  to me that is the perfect, healthy definition of love.  One that I try to live out. Now take a second and indulge me, re-read the verses aloud but this time replace the word “love” with your name….

 

…no seriously….try it…

 

…I’ll wait…really do it…

 

Did you? Take a minute and think about how that made you feel.   If that exercise had the same effect on you as it did me, you are still a little taken back.  A trusted mentor asked me to a few years back.  I remember reading and rereading the passage that way multiple times,  feeling extremely convicted.  If these verses are to be my guidelines I remember being asked, “how are you doing with that”?  It was a true change in perspective.   And more than just on some specific day in February because Hallmark and the jewelry stores said to.   Those are some seriously hard attributes to carry with you each and every day, in each and every situation.  I have been far from perfect in attaining them all the time.  Let’s be honest.  I truly haven’t been good at carrying out even a few at a time. Never the less,  they give me my road map.  They are expectations I know my Father God has for me to try and live out.Slide1

In the immediate aftermath and the truth of my husbands affair…I did NOT live out those verses.  It took me some time to regain appreciation and belief in them again.  Even harder was the reality that I was not asked to love like this only after receiving it.  No where does it say to give it even with expectation of receiving it.  There were days when not being easily angered were impossible.  There are days that still are.  Patience…ha ha….that had to be an attribute I could be excused from with all I was going through.  If there was ever a time that I could keep a record of wrongs, surely this was the time. Rude, I could be rude.  He had to feel embarrassed and shamed too, here was my chance to throw some verbal jabs at him.  Envy, I remember being so envious of friends’ whose marriage were so wonderful. Wanting, desiring to be in an easy, happy marriage.  Then one day, not long after everything was made known, I was praying and reading this passage with my name inserted when I came to, “…Love does not delight in evil…”  I had read this verse many times in my life but this day there it was, that whisper, that tug on my heart, telling me I was letting evil win.  By not living out these verses I was letting this horrible thing take more from me and evil win.   By holding on to even the slightest idea that I had a right to be mean, have that list of mistakes ready to throw in his face, let my temper get the best of me I was taking away from all the good still left and worth fighting for.

Loving again as we are called to do had to begin with TRUTH.  Truth in facing what happened.  Truth in the consequences because of what happened.  Truth as to why it happened. Truth that there was going to be a lot of work ahead of us.   Truth was raw unhindered communication about everything.  Truth was pain, gut wrenching traumatizing pain.  Truth, hard pressed, walls down, vulnerable truth from both of us.  There were moments, days, weeks where all I had was truth.  Even if that truth was just being unsure about anything or unable to even want to talk about it for just one day.   Truth gave way to the others aspects of love, slowly and with determined purpose gaining their way back into my actions and reactions to my marriage and husband and even myself again.

In verses 7 and 8 we are reminded that Love, “…always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”.  Not the kind of love we are limited to as humans, but a different, heavenly kind of love.  One that has no limits.  One that can persevere even in the midst of darkest moments.   Love protects, meant more than my feelings always being protected, but that love was protecting my marriage at all costs.  Love always trusts wasn’t about having faith in even my husband being perfect and not sinning.  Trusting love was about knowing God loved my husband, my marriage and me more than this trauma. Knowing God’s love for us would begin and continue to offer healing and reconciliation and change.  Hope, love always hopes, an un-abandoned hope that sees past our human pain and guttural reactions to selfish choices.  Love has the hope to see where we will end up, it has blessing of knowing the outcome and refuses to give into what the world says is unforgivable.  Love always perseveres, with determination, tenacity, persistence, and continues the course despite challenges.  Even when we may not see the value in pushing forward, love does and presses on.

Valentines day came and went this year, once again, with no cards or gifts exchanged between my husband and I. Like it has for over 25 years even before we were married.  For me defining love is more than just that day and the sentimental reactions to a national holiday.  It’s the other 364 days that I make every effort to live according to four verses in the Bible out loud and proud.    This journey has been a work in progress to a better understanding and a stronger definition of love.    Behind my choice to defining love are those four verses, with my name before each attribute and my desire to live them in accordance with my faith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Behindmychoice: To Glorify the Thank You

The simple two word sentence, “thank you”.  It’s one of the first things we learn to say as a child.  It shows gratitude.  It shows appreciation. It shows respect.  It shows humility.  We hear it a lot.  We say it flippantly throughout the day, as we check out in line at a store or someone holds a door open for us. I find myself thanking friends and family for things all the time.  We all say the words so often.  While it strings together in such simplicity it can also wield a power I never gave credit until recently.

thank u

Tonight the words took on the quality to heal.  These past few years have been rough.  Especially the last 18 months or so.  Rebuilding a marriage after infidelity is not for the faint at heart or the weak in grace or mercy. But tonight as my husband and I went about the daily grind I was given the gift of that simple yet profound sentence.
“Thank you”

It was not the easiest of days today.  Our patience and faith based living was tested.  We faced a difficult and heart wrenching result with my husband’s business.  Those details aren’t important to my point…so I’ll skip ahead.  What does pertain to this post were the priority of his feelings and emotions (I had my own trust me, but mine had to take a back seat for a bit) to care for his.   It was a moment, if you will, to give unselfishly and help him through the pain and anger. When it comes down to facing this life, he and I are a team.  You hurt one, you hurt us both.  I am grateful that we have that level of commitment, well let’s be honest, that we have rebuilt that level of commitment in our relationship over the past 18 months or so.

I will say, being that selfless when it came to helping him through his explanations and the pain he felt as a result of his infidelity was not as simple as today was.  Learning how to be that present and vulnerable again has been a journey not without failure and determination to work at it.  But a crucial element I feel on being able to move forward. Being that present comes with a sense and a need for gratitude, one we both have made.  A purposeful choice to do the work.  Which brings me to this evening and how a simple thank you offered more healing.

At one point tonight we both were sitting in our home office, opposite sides of the room,  noses buried deep in our computers.  The room was silent minus the typing and clicking away on our keyboards, and the winter moans and groans of our home.  He broke the silence,

“Can I just say thank you to you?”

“You are welcome?” I said with a timid giggle of uncertainty and a question in my tone  as to what prompted the remark. “for?”

“For loving me, supporting me, being here for me even when I might not and have not deserved it.  Just thank you.”

He didn’t even turn away from his computer, and as quickly as he said it he was back to typing and completing his to-do list.

A simple sentence, but one that I let settle into the depths of my heart.  With silent prayer I glorified that moment and thanked (there’s that word again) God for giving it to me.  A moment and the gift of that thank you so precious to me.  The power of that thank you was almost overwhelming, and he probably has no idea just how amazing it was to hear.  It made me realize the power of a sincere, heartfelt thank you and how it can change everything.  It can heal hurts. It can bridge discord.   It can rekindle respect, patience, or compassion for someone.  “Thank you” is a response of grace.  In a time where life tests someone it can be amazing to get a thank you for just being there.

He gave me a gift tonight that is irreplaceable.  More precious than gold.  All it took was one moment, actually not even 30 seconds…good grief it may not have even been 15 seconds.  But the impact would lead someone to believe it was so much longer!

The power of a thank you.  Life altering power.  As I sat and thought about how his thank you made me feel and what it meant to me, it made me think, when was the last time I thanked him?   When was the last time I offered him a simple thank you for even staying and choosing to work on us?    The power of gratitude can move mountains.  If offered in sincerity,  placed before someone with heartfelt love and respect for the person receiving it, has the strength to break through walls of hurt and resentment.

I was blessed by a thank you tonight.  A simple thank you, offered with simple words but the power to move mountains.  In a recent message during church the paster offered this statement,

For believers a grateful heart brings you to the feet of Jesus.

My husband’s thank you reminded me that my list of thank yous needs to be greater than all else and that I bring them all to my Jesus.

1Thes5

My list of “thank yous” should be my focus and my foundation to approach everything and anything brought my way.  If my heart is in a state of gratitude, troubles will lose their power to steal my joy.

 

always thankful

Where is the state of your grateful heart? Even in the midst of trauma and pain reasons to be grateful can be found.  It’s comes down to what you want to focus on, what you allow to fill your heart and thoughts.  If we chose to only allow the dissatisfaction or the list of negatives take forefront our hearts will follow in kind.  My hope and prayer for those read this post, is you will believe the quote above it true.  There IS always something to be thankful for.  Behind my choice to glorify the thank you is a woman who loves her God and knows that even amongst the worst pain I still journey beyond there are far more reasons to give thanks than not.   I pray that along your journey to heal from infidelity that your “thank you” list will grow too.

and hey….thank you, for reading my post.

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