Psalm 139:11-12

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (PSALM 139:11-12)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Keeping Hope Alive (for the wife of a sex addict)

“If you trust in God, this shall be your verdict at the close of life. When you come to die you shall look back upon a life which has not been without its trials and its difficulties, but you shall bless God for it all: and if there is any one thing in life for which you will have to praise God more than for another, it will probably be that very event which seems darkest to you.

Did God ever do a better thing for Jacob than when he took Joseph away and sent him to Egypt to preserve the whole family alive? It was the severest trial of the poor old man’s career, and yet the brightest blessing after all . . . rest assured of that. Your father’s rumbling wagons have woke you out of sleep, and you are frightened at them; but they are loaded with ingots of gold. You never have been so rich as you will be after your great trouble shall have passed away.”

--quote from Charles Spurgeon

It may not feel this way now, but whatever is happening in your marriage right now, whatever defining moments you have experienced in your life, can be "the brightest blessing" if you are open to the Lord and trusting in what He is trying to accomplish in your life.

"Your father's rumbling wagons have woke you out of sleep"...such an amazing line because I can so identify. For years I was "asleep", in my faith and in my relationship with my husband. Lots of things were going on around me, but I just didn't know. I was naive and ignorant, but God woke me up. He opened my eyes to see the truth that I couldn't see. When you find out your husband has a sexual addiction it feels like your world is falling apart, but in all reality it was the Lord waking us up! I feel strongly that I would rather know the truth and deal with it. It's the hidden, secret stuff that scares me because Satan uses that to keep you right where he wants you, ineffective and bound to sin.

"You never have been so rich as you will be after your great trouble shall have passed away"...It's likely if you are reading this that you are in the midst of that "great trouble". And maybe it's hard to imagine a time after that trouble has passed. I want to encourage you to not lose hope. The same God that can move mountains, walk on water, bring the dead to life, is with you now working and moving within this great trouble. He has promised many times in the Bible that He will never leave you, that He will be with you always. It is in times likes these that we need to hold on to those promises from God and trust Him.

I believe in a forever marriage. I am willing to fight tooth and nail to keep it. I will go down fighting for it. I know that God's plan is different for each of us. After sincere attempts to reconcile, staying together may not be the best thing for everyone. But I strongly believe that everyone deserves an opportunity to change, we all deserve a second chance, we all deserve to have someone believe in us, even when we don't believe in ourselves.

Sexual addiction does not just happen. It is a symptom of deeper issues, that more then likely go back to childhood and/or a trauma that was never dealt with. For me, once I understood the deep hurt and situations that led my husband to act out sexually, I found myself having compassion for him. Compassion for the boy that was struggling and confused. Now that boy is a man and those issues don't magically go away. Have you and your spouse dug into the why behind the addiction? What happened in your spouses life that contributed to this particular path of sin? We all have an idol, the very thing we turn to when we are stressed out, tired, disappointed, etc. These feelings are usually triggers for us to turn to that idol. Do we turn to God when the going gets tough? Or do we turn to sex, food, people, or shopping to make us feel better?

I know you are angry, but as you start to work through the crisis it may be wise to start asking these questions. It may help you to love your spouse better, even though he doesn't "deserve" it. Loving your spouse even though it's undeserved is called grace and God has been gracious to you. He wants us to love boldly. He wants you to support your spouse in making the necessary changes. You are His ally in the war for your spouse's heart.

"If there is any one thing in life for which you will have to praise God more than for another, it will probably be that very event which seems darkest to you"...I pray you will one day agree with this statement. My darkest time was a turning point in drawing me closer to God and it was an opportunity to see God's care and commitment to being there for me always. My darkest time eventually brought my husband and I closer in our marriage then we ever could have been before. You can't be close with secret sin blocking your way to each other.

It may be a long process. You may take 10 steps forward and 11 back sometimes. It may feel like it's not happening fast enough for you. You may be feeling impatient with your spouse, demanding, frustrated. But it could also be an opportunity to love, support, and help your spouse at a time that most people would have already given up on them. A time when God will give you the strength to dig in your heals and plant your roots deep into the soil of marriage, hoping and trusting in God and His plan. Surrendering your will to His and believing His promises. And that's not easy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

I love roller coasters; the anticipation as your "car" ascends to the highest peak, the "stomach in your throat" feeling as you ride up and over the top, and the adrenaline rush as the "car" races down, as it twists and turns, so quickly you hardly know where you are going. Perhaps it's the reckless abandon you experience when you voluntarily give up all control for the thrill of the ride. The higher and faster the better, atleast that was our motto before we had children and responsibilities. And as such, we rarely have the opportunity to ride them anymore.

When I look back on the years since my husband told me everything, I could pretty much summarize it as a roller coaster ride. Much of the ride consists of twists and turns you aren't able to anticipate. There are highs and lows that leave your stomach tied up in knots. Just when you think you have reached a plateau, down you plunge. At times I have found myself wanting off!

Each experience with betrayal is different; every circumstance, every heart, every walk with God, every response, every desire to change, every recognition of sin. I have often felt like we were blazing a new trail. No one quite understands how I feel. No one knows exactly how to "fix it" or how you should respond or when you should go or when you should stay. No one can say when you should be "over it" (and I know people who try).

To a certain extent it's like a balancing act where you need to find the middle or you'll fall off one side or the other. Too much angry and bitter or too much enabling and overlooking and you're off balance. Where is the middle ground? There is an appropriate time to take a hard line against the sin, but if your spouse is honestly working to make different choices and working alongside of you to heal the marriage, then you are called to forgive.

Obviously when it all comes out it feels like you're on one of those extreme roller coasters, highest, fastest, mostly loops, upside down and backwards. For a while you don't even know which end is up. As the years progress, your roller coaster downsizes, and if your lucky you find yourself on one of those runaway trains, fast then slow, up then down, but a little more palatable.

I don't know which roller coaster you're on or whether you have found the balance yet. Unfortunately no one can tell you the exact formula. That's between you, your spouse, and God to figure out. I can't explain how or why I came to feel some of the things that have gotten me through. Time has been an essential element because the ramifications of this type of sin are far reaching and they don't go away just because the truth is out. It's hard work on both of your parts to put the pieces back together trusting God will show you the way.

"Don't you know that evil people will not receive God's kingdom? Don't be fooled. Those who commit sexual sins will not receive the kingdom. Neither will those who worship statues of gods or commit adultery. Neither will men who are prostitutes or who commit homosexual acts. Neither will thieves or those who always want more and more. Neither will those who are often drunk or tell lies or cheat. People who live like that will not receive God's kingdom.

Some of you used to do those things. But your sins were washed away. You were made holy. You were made right with God. All of that was done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
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