Why is it that I can’t be like many other bloggers I know? Like the ones that have 20 ideas in their notebooks, and they can usually be found working on at least 12 of them simultaneously? Instead, I seem to be the guy who gets one idea at a time – and it’s usually whatever I happen to be dealing with at that moment.
Today seems like my day to simply be “real” with you. As we have previously alluded to in some places on this blog (and other blogs), as well as many of our tweets that we send out from @SongSix3, this marriage has come out the other side of infidelity – on both of our parts. Although our story isn’t written and posted on our blog, I did write about it over on Awesome Husbands. The short version is that Tiffani had an online affair over a period of 4+ years that eventually became physical adultery, and even though I strongly suspected it, she kept the physical part secret from me until 2011 (though she had repented to God many years before). Several years after her adultery actually ended, I ran into an ex girlfriend while attending a business class. I went to her house for drinks and chat, and the ONLY reason that evening didn’t become physical adultery is because she said “no”. However, as Jesus says in Matthew 5:28 – “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Based on that verse, I was as guilty as if I’d actually touched her. I also made the HUGE mistake of keeping this secret from my wife. During the summer of 2011, Tiffani decided she could no longer keep her sin hidden from me, and I opted to use the open door to divulge my own hidden sin to her. The cycle of lies was broken that night. And that truly IS the short version. But for the sake of this post, that’s all the background I need to share for the moment.
A couple of months ago, fellow bloggers Clint & Alecia Stark shared some of their trials along these same lines. They too have survived infidelity and are blogging regularly about their experiences. They’ve come back from the brink and are working toward God’s awesome plan for their marriage. Clint posted an article called “Zombies, Death & Progress”, and three days later Alecia posted her version of the same situation called “Progress”. These were probably two of the most “real” posts I’d ever seen up to that point in my blogging career. Neither one of them sugar-coated anything. They shared the raw emotions they were feeling at that moment. I applaud them for that. And it is our desire that as the writers of this blog, we would be just as real to you, our readers. We are real flesh and blood, with 6 kids, a mortgage, a barn roof that leaks, a dog that barks WAY too much, occasional marital issues, and a God who loves us even though we don’t deserve any of it.
So today feels like the day I need to share some struggles. I would be lying if I told you that everything has been wonderful since our “D-day” (discovery day) last year. But I would be equally as wrong if I didn’t tell you how awesome MANY things in our marriage have been since that day. The first 6 months were ROUGH… I had forced myself (over a period of years) to believe some outrageous lies about the time she spent in that online affair, just to find out in 2011 that my instincts back then had actually been correct… Add to that the revelation of the physical connection between my wife and another man, and wow – that just kicked the rug right out from under my whole life. All of that ugliness became fresh again, even though it had been pretty well dead for several years. I also know that my revelation to her was a complete sucker punch to my dear wife’s gut. She never suspected this, which made it all the harder for her to hear – and me to reveal.
As we have been walking hand in hand daily since then, praying together, seeking God’s awesome and continuing work in our hearts and our marriage, I have found that the enemy’s frontal assaults on my mind have lessened – somewhat. Satan has realized that direct, in-my-face attacks are simply not as effective anymore. So now he’s taken to ambushing and sucker punching me at the WEIRDEST times! With crazy things that make me shake my head like a cartoon character who’s just been clonked on the noggin and is surrounded by spinning stars. Then I think “Where in the heck did THAT thought come from?!?” The Lord has blessed me with some BEAUTIFUL thoughts and memories with my gorgeous bride over the past many years. And apparently my lifelong enemy now feels that those memories are fair game for twisting around in bizarre ways to make them lose their beauty, even attempting to turn them to inner demons with which I need to do battle. Quite frankly, this makes me mad. No, “mad” doesn’t even begin to cut it. Let’s try furious. After a somewhat tense conversation with Tiffani late last night where I bared my heart and these tumultuous emotions, I’m torqued off enough to want to make some serious changes in what I pay attention to.
For starters, I’m going to take certain scriptures quite a bit more seriously… starting with 2 Timothy 3:16 which says, All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
I need to become MUCH quicker to recognize the lying tongue of the enemy in my head. And once the voice is recognized, to kick him out BEFORE he does his intended damage. Psalm 27:11:13 Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes. Do not deliver me over to the desire of my adversaries, For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence. I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living.
I have certainly found myself crying out to the Lord many times in the last year, “Please make it stop if you can, God! Why won’t these ugly thoughts go away!?” Mark 9:23-24 speaks directly to this problem of mine… And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” I can definitely relate to this boy’s father… Yes Lord, PLEASE help my unbelief!
Mark 11:22-26 And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” This one is a sobering reminder that we NEED to forgive each other, no matter how ugly the offense. The consequences of unforgiveness are high.
Father, none of us is capable of undoing our past… not I, not my wife, nor any of our readers. What we have done is done. I am ashamed of my past, but I am determined that it will not rule my future. Likewise in my marriage… I have forgiven my wife for hurting me – and ultimately US, but the enemy continues to throw reminders at me from every angle with the intent of getting me to stumble over the dead body of our past. Please help me to BURY that body and burn the shovel. I refuse to listen to the voice of the enemy any longer, but he’s learned to disguise his voice well. Help me to recognize his lies quickly, Lord, and to dispatch them with YOUR TRUTH. Thank You for loving a wretched sinner like me, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Please enjoy this moving video from Tenth Avenue North. Tiffani shared it with me as a song that has ministered to her, and now that I’ve read the complete lyrics, I can see why.
Tiffani… I love you with all my heart. I have forgiven the past, and I look forward to making OUR future as awesome as it gets with Jesus! SHMIDLYTM, babe. 😉
Image used with permission from graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net