Prodigals

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Prodigals....

In the Bible, one of the most beloved, well known, and controversial stories is one that Jesus told of the Prodigal son.

Prodigal actually means
"wasteful, reckless, irresponsible and selfish."
Sounds a lot like me when I was unfaithful.

I didn't want to cheat. I never planned on it. For most of my marriage, I had an inner vow to stay faithful because it was what I had promised to do. I don't think any of us walk down the aisle ever thinking we will become someone who would cheat. Nor do I think anyone on their wedding day can fathom what it must feel like to be betrayed either.

I remember acutely, the day it happened. A man who was friendly with me at our local tennis club told me he thought I was beautiful.

It caught me off guard.

I remember thinking to myself at the time he said it, "surely he didn't just say that to me?" That wasn't something married men were "supposed" to say to married women. It felt personal. It felt like a violation of some code. It felt intimate and wrong. It's hard to describe, but he was also strangely familiar to me. I grew up with so many mixed messages and lack of boundaries, that it also stirred something in me.

Looking back now, at the time I had no idea how vulnerable I was.

Instead of talking about it with my husband, which is what we would do now, I hid that information. I absorbed what happened that day and coveted the feeling and high it gave me. Just like a secret binge of a bulimic, I swallowed the compliment and rid what happened in my mind.

The truth was, I let those words sink in and allowed them to make me feel special. Like a drug, I began to want more. Each week I would run into him, would he say something again? I gave them power and allowed them to fuel a fantasy that took me further and further from my vows, my husband and our marriage.

This guy started to drip feed compliments like battery acid into my abyss of unworthiness, and I was hooked.

How did someone who had everything end up in a ditch eating with swine?

Looking back, I had terrible boundaries. I had heard of people who were married and did things like never riding in a car or having lunch with someone of the opposite sex, but I guess I was too dumb or proud to ever think those rules applied to me.

I also still struggle with a deep sense of unworthiness.

There are so many reasons for affairs, and I am sure I will never fully understand them all. I know I was painfully unaware of the deception within my own heart.

Silence, Secrets and Selfishness are three deadly factors that any wayward spouse uses to feed the affair.

And some of the ways out of this mess?

Talking, radical honesty, and serving. A sober-ness really. The acceptance that my heart can be a dark and dangerous place if I don't open the shutters and let light in.

The road to repentance in my marriage is a joy that will probably take the rest of our lives. Why joy? Because I think serving brings out the best in us. I mess up a lot, but I really want to restore honor to my husband.

But do you know what hasn't taken a lifetime to receive? God's forgiveness. It's instant. No matter what we have done, how bad, how far and how ugly....we have a loving Father who hikes his pants up so He can sprint towards us to scoop us up in His arms. He is so happy to have us repent and come back home, that He throws us a party! That is hard for me to wrap my head and heart around.

Getting the opportunity to serve and walk alongside others at AR, feels to me like that party sometimes. A party that none of us ever wanted to be invited to. A testament to God's goodness is how many people in the AR community that are waiting to partner with you as you sojourn recovery. Who comes to mind for you? I thank the many women I walk with daily, that I would have never known without repentance, grace and failure.

Can you hear it?

I hear God's calling for any of us that have returned home.

The call to let God have the last word in our sin. To help others. And by all means rid our lives of every last secret we've ever held onto.

No matter what side infidelity you find yourself on, please don't believe that you are unworthy because of what you've done or what's been done to you.

Take the next step. Join a group. There is a loving Father waiting for you there. And an entire community of fellow prodigals to cheer you on.

Elizabeth

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Prodigals

Thank you again Elizabeth. Your words are healing and honest reaching into my heart once again. Its so sad for me to see how long it took me to realize so many truths and boundaries in my life that shouldve been in place from the beginning. Im very thankful for the forgiveness of the Lord and his mercy and love. Im thankful for the way he is using you to touch others. I hope someday that I will get to a place that I dont have so much regret and shame.

I sincerely hope that for you

I sincerely hope that for you too. Some days the shame speaks really loudly doesn't it? I seem to be doing better with it, only because it never has a good outcome and God doesn't want that for you either. The regret and unworthiness? Well, those are harder aren't they? I wish peace for you today. Trust me, every time I put words on a page and hit "send", I am overcome with a feeling of unworthiness. But then I remember that God calls us to turn from our sins and past and trust him. Thanks for encouraging me. Hang in there! You are more than your past. Keep working hard at your recovery.

Thank you Elizabeth.

Thank you Elizabeth.

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