A Place of Surrender

affairrecovery-survivors-blog-elizabeth-i hope that where ever you find yourself today, you are working towards acceptance

Last night we were attending church. If you are not a church goer, no judgement here. The number of times I set foot inside a church before I turned 25 was few and far between. Church can be such a healing place for many, yet such a triggering place for others. Throughout my own life I have seen so many good things done by the church. I have also witnessed the very worst of humanity inside the supposed church walls. However, I still believe in the church simply because I choose to follow Jesus and He believed in the church.

However, instead of looking at the world at large and all of its problems, I think it wise to look in the mirror and start with me. The problem with the church has been me. You see, when I was in the middle of getting emotionally entangled in my first affair, I remember sitting in the row of a Christmas Eve church service. Recalling this memory of being such a pretender and hypocrite is very painful, and I am forcing myself to relive and retell because I know I never want to go back to that place. My husband has a beautiful singing voice and he leads worship. He was leading a song about how much we are loved. I remember at the time having a sinking feeling of "what am I doing?" I had just spent the day before seeing my affair partner (I was still justifying we were only friends) and wishing him a Merry Christmas. And probably the most honest thing I did at the time was mumble and not sing the words. There I was, sitting in the very place for folks who were broken and needed help, yet I refused to let go of my secret. And sadly, it would be four years later and another affair before I could come to any place of honesty and truth.

What are some of your most haunting memories of what you did during your affairs? Did you have any wake up calls or times when you wanted to stop but you didn't? What did you do with those promptings? Did you come clean or did you ignore them?

The most devastating part of my decision to betray is how long the shock waves last, and how far and wide they reach. Like flood waters, the effects of infidelity seep into every corner and crevice of a marriage.

Fast forward to last night. I was fortunate enough to have my husband and my girls stand beside me at church. For the first time in a long time I was completely present. No distractions. No preoccupations. No shame. No secrets.

I felt free. I felt like I belonged there and I had nothing to hide. I wanted to soak it all up and tears streamed down my cheeks as we worshipped. I cannot sing well but I sang loudly. And I meant every word that I give my all to something bigger than me. I have nothing on my own and I have been forgiven. What was done for me was out of love, and I want to become a person that can love like that.

I am tired of beating myself up about what I have done. I no longer want to feel the need to excessively apologize for my sin. That doesn't mean I can't be realistic... but my true self is both amazing and horrific. My shame will only keep God from me and delay my healing. I have to accept myself all of my weaknesses, and my big neon sign of weakness is that I have craved and fallen prey to any kind of fatherly or sexual love from older men.

I hope that where ever you find yourself today, you are working towards acceptance. Acceptance that none of us deserve, but the offer is there for the taking.

Elizabeth

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I just want to thank you for your post and your honesty. This seems strange to write to a "stranger" but I am so proud of you for your ability to get to the reasons "why" you made the choices you did. It is hard, yet rewarding work. Your post reminded me of this quote:

“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. –”

― R Zaccharias

I really appreciate your kind

I really appreciate your kind words. I really hope all of us former unfaithful commit to a life of radical honesty, and it is nice to know that it helps others. I will take your encouragement and quote and definitely tuck it away as a reminder to keep going. Thank you!

So relevant...

I have been in the same place as you, only I was the one on the platform leading worship during my affair. Once our affair started, my AP would walk in to service while I was on the platform and (she told me later) she would purposely walk in a way to draw my attention. It never failed. We went home from church (she lived with us as our kids' nanny) and we often would find a way to sneak away. How did I do it? How did I get so callous? For me, porn addiction melted my conscience, to the point where I was numb (and dumb) enough to justify.

Now, I am free from the affair and the addiction. And I can stand in church with my hands held high in worship, not feeling the shame like I did before. I am no longer a licensed minister (I turned it in after my confession to my wife), but I still minister, and I still lead worship. It is different now. And I thank God and my wife for their forgiveness. I can tell you that there really is hope.

Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for your comments. As I read them, there were tears in my eyes. Your comments will surely reach many who seek to know that there is truly nothing that can separate us from the love of Christ. And sadly, for both of us, the reality that our brokenness can affect so many.

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