INNER DEMONS?

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

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21 thoughts on “Inner Demons?

  1. Jason,

    You said “Based on that verse, I was as guilty as if I’d actually touched her.” I deeply appreciated you understanding and owning up to that. I’ve had men tell me they are not guilty of adultery because of impotence and premature ejaculation that kept them from moving from foreplay to intercourse. REALLY? Anyone who justifies like that has a huge heart problem, and their marriage is in trouble.

    We must be on guard, 24/7. It starts innocently, and it’s easy to excuse or justify the opening invitation to sin. If we allow that, we are often already lost.
    Paul H. Byerly recently posted…Never ending bouquetMy Profile

    1. Jason says:

      Thanks Paul! Matthew 5:28 is a verse that a whole lot of people have apparently used their BLACK highlighter on. They love to point to a spouse/friend/leader who has physically committed adultery with another, but ignore the fact that they themselves have drooled all over someone who is not their spouse – stopping short of intercourse. Sorry ya’ll… but Jesus Himself has spoken. LOOKING with lust in our heart is exactly the same as full-on physical contact. And we are GUILTY.

      I am SO thankful that I have both a Savior AND a wife that love and forgive me.
      Jason recently posted…Inner Demons?My Profile

  2. Alecia says:

    Well said! I have to say that one of the things that propelled me to not only forgive but also stay and do the hard work of restoring our marriage was because I knew how guilty I was in the things I had done. The world might not see them as wrong, at least to the level of what my husband did (don’t you love how we try and level sin?), but that’s not how God sees it. I’m just as guilty, and just as in need of grace and forgiveness as my husband is (was). My ability to see my own need for forgiveness was instrumental in my ability to extend it to my husband.

    1. Jason says:

      Alecia, when all that mess was going on, the truth is that I TRIED to disconnect, but God would not allow me to detach my heart from hers. Everytime I tried, the pain was just too great. The way I saw it (and still do!) I had invested so much of my life into THIS marriage, that I did not want another – not then, not now, not ever. Ripping apart one-flesh causes wounds that can never be healed. That old cliche “time heals all wounds” is a LIE from hell. So at that time in our history, I just SO wanted Tiffani in my life that I was willing to turn a blind eye to her sin, in effect convincing myself that the lies were truth.

      I am SO glad we’ve learned so much since then, and we both handle things much better today. We give Christ 100% of the credit – it’s all His.
      Jason recently posted…Inner Demons?My Profile

  3. Brad says:

    Jason,
    Thanks for sharing your story Jason! I’m positive it was hard to see it in black and white. Your willingness to expose the inner demons that couldn’t kill what God joined will minister to the hearts of many who are in the midst of the same pain!

    I pray that some will read your story and hear that forgiveness is possible. I pray that others will read this and flee from the unhealthy relationship outside of marriage that is headed down the wrong path.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Brad recently posted…The Renegade HusbandMy Profile

    1. Jason says:

      Thank you Brad… yes, it was doggone hard to write, but enough years have passed that it’s time this story started doing some GOOD in somebody’s life – instead of rotting away on a cold, dark shelf. If someone reads this and STOPS their descent, then praise be to God! Tiffani and I are in a great place today, but we traveled a VERY rocky road to get here.

  4. It’s so difficult to give your full testimony, especially with that past involves sexual sin. I so appreciate your raw honesty here. I love that you and Tiffani are turning this around to minister to others and that you are truthful in stating that it isn’t a one-day shift from bad to great. We have to stay on course, remember God’s promises, choose to love daily, and pray for our hearts and minds to be transformed. Blessings to you both!
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…Check Out Those BreastsMy Profile

    1. Jason says:

      J, I am so grateful for that encouragement… and we (Tiffani and I) certainly receive that word! This has not been an easy road by any stretch of the imagination, and I wish we had not had to walk it… but then again, I have to wonder – if we had not walked it, would we be where we are today in Christ? Would we hold the convictions we now have? Or would we be in worse circumstances than we were then? Would we even still be together?

      Those last thoughts just make me cringe. The Lord gave me THIS family to take care of in this life. I cannot bear the thought of not having them close to me. And as in the story of the master, the slaves and the talents in Matthew 25… I want so much to be able to say at the end of my journey; “Master, I have been a good steward over the ones you entrusted me with, and here they are!” Knowing what God has forgiven ME of in this lifetime, I have no right to be unforgiving to my dear wife who has made her share of mistakes. The Lord Himself has forgiven her of all of that sinning. Who am I to place myself above HIS judgments?
      Jason recently posted…Inner Demons?My Profile

  5. Jason,
    Great post here. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to live through such a season and then, to own up to it for the required change. But you nailed it when you said,

    “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.”

    You have accurately described the battle of mortifying the flesh! Such a picture of stumbling over a dead body. I don’t think I’ll ever forget this visual again. Thank you for taking the time to agonize over such an outstanding post. You are serving the marriages who will read this post well.

    Blessings to you and Tiffani and you continue to battle.
    Debi – The Romantic Vineyard recently posted…Stop Grey From Becoming The New Black And WhiteMy Profile

    1. Jason says:

      Thanks Debi! The dead body analogy was one of the first couple things that came into my head when I was searching for words to describe my position. I felt it was exactly what I needed to create the word-picture in my head. I truly hope that future readers who may be going through similar things as to what I described above will be encouraged. They need to KNOW that there is hope in Christ… and that He truly is capable of helping us walk through the lowest of lows in our life.

      Something that I have told a number of people as I’ve ministered bits of this story verbally is this… As painful as life has been at times in my 25 year marriage, I would willingly go through it all again to get the awesome, God-loving wife that I have today. I do NOT say that lightly. There are times in the past when I wanted to dive off the closest high building. God Himself kept me moving onward.

  6. jamie says:

    First, I write the same way. As posts come to mind and usually surrounding what is on my heart. Second, our stories are similar huh? Not the same, but similar for sure. I am no longer surprised when I hear or read a story that is so similar to my own. It empowers me to continue sharing. And the enemy screws with my mind and my memories at completely odd moments and works harder, because he realized that coming straight at me wasn’t going to work anymore.
    jamie recently posted…Would I ever forgive myself?My Profile

    1. Jason says:

      Thanks so much for reading, Jamie! As I have begun reading your story (still have more to read) I can definitely see many similarities in our worlds. It’s amazing as we look back over our lives, when we realize what evils we are capable of as human beings. Our story is not one that I necessarily like retelling all that often – I hate being flooded with those bad memories… but as God leads, I tell bits of it in hopes that the person I’m speaking to will realize that there is hope for them. God’s forgiveness is an awesome thing. May we never take it for granted!

      1. jamie says:

        I will have to tell you some time what our counselor just told me about memories last week. As I battle those. I can’t drive certain places without being assaulted with memories and I needed to know how to handle it. I plan to write about that soon enough.
        jamie recently posted…Understanding dawnsMy Profile

  7. Junifer says:

    Hi Jason,

    Both my husband and I have committed adultery and are slowly working through it with the Lord’s help. The revelation was made but 2 months ago and I am in so much pain every day. The Devil is having a party in my mind. I think of the details, the betrayal of trust and respect constantly. I cry every day. I havn’t forgiven myself or him. I don’t know how to right now. He is very repentant and remorseful and loves me to death and I just lash out at him. I realize that my pain is ruling my emotions but I don’t know how to stop. I pray every day for peace and healing. But maybe I’m not getting it because I haven’t forgiven. It took a month and a half to finally beat the truth’s out of my husband. He has held secrets and lies for so many years. I don’t trust or believe anything he says anymore. We have both decided to commit to making this marriage work and have given it to God. He has promised both of us that he would restore our marriage and make it stronger than it ever was. I’m just having a really hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I try to occupy my mind but I work at a desk and only have time for my mind to wander. I keep playing things over and over like a broken record. Please pray for me, my marriage and my husband for strength to get through this. I do have many more questions and I have searched for help. We have spoken to our pastor, seeing marriage counselor, and personal counselors. I wish our small town had a support group so that I could learn from others about how to just live and cope every day. I feel defeated every day. Reading your blog I see that you both have had the same happen to you and I would love to be able to talk to get advice and guidance. I just feel so alone in this even though I know many have and are going through the same thing. When will this pain end?

  8. Michelle says:

    I’d like to hear how you both got through each day, one day at a time. Where there days of near giving up? You said it wasn’t a one day turn around from bad to good, but you didn’t elaborate. Years ago my husband confessed he thought about having a one night stand, but didn’t. I hadn’t even read the part in the bible that said if a man lust in his heart he has already sinned, but I was hurt and said those very word to my husband when he confessed. He has continued to lie from time to time about one thing or another, and though I say I have forgiven him, I bring it up more often than he’d like, and he feels I have not truly forgiven him. I even ask myself have I forgiven him, that occurred about 10 years ago and I still love him and can’t imagine my life without him. He has recently shown signs of cheating but I have no proof just my gut and his actions and lies that I have caught him in. We have been together 14 years, I am not ready to throw it all away. Any advice is appreciated.

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Michelle, Good questions here! I would have to say it is definitely a “one day at a time” thing… and some days are undoubtedly better than others. Could I truthfully say it never pops up in my mind anymore? No, that would not be true. But what I must choose to do each time it comes up in my thoughts is to kill it, to lay it at the feet of Jesus and leave it there. Something that I have found works is everytime an ugly thought comes into my head about the past, I begin to purposely think and DWELL on all the good memories I have with Tiffani. And I give thanks to God for her being the one to share my life. This is Philipians 4:8 in action. “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” You mentioned that you bring his past sins up (probably during arguments.) Hopefully this will help… Proverbs 17:9 (NLT) says this, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” You can certainly ask him directly if you have caught him lying to you, and tell him how much it hurts that he has not been truthful with you. Tiffani and I have lied to each other extensively in the past, but we now realize how incredibly harmful that was to our marriage, and to each others’ hearts. Open, honest & transparent is how we choose to behave with each other now. (The only secrets we keep from each other are BIRTHDAY PRESENTS!) The only thing that I am sad for is HOW LONG it took us to come to this point. We were married for almost 24 YEARS when all this blew up in our faces. In August we will celebrate 26 years of marriage, and I can say with all honesty… our bond today is stronger than it has EVER been in all our 28 years together.

  9. Sally says:

    What happens when your husband has committed adultery with a vicar, then what.

    1. Jason says:

      Hi Sally, thank you for reading the post today.

      By the word “vicar”, I am assuming you are using it with the English meaning of “pastor”, or “reverend”, or something like that. To put it quite bluntly, their title doesn’t matter in the slightest. Before the cross of Christ, we are ALL equal… doesn’t matter if we’re a laborer on a jobsite, the CEO of a fortune 500 company, or a president/king of a nation.

      And adultery is sin against our mate, against our own body, and against God – end of statement.

      The questions to ask now are… is it over between them? If YOU are aware that it took place, is the congregation of this particular church? (If not, they certainly NEED to be made aware.) Is he repentant, and wanting to restore your marriage?

      And the biggest question of all… are you willing to forgive him, and work to restore & reconcile the marriage to God?

      God is never an advocate of divorce. (See Malachi 2:16) It is always his heart that we humans would repent of our sin, forgive each other, and move on in the righteousness of Christ. Of course, there are those who would argue with me… “but the Bible says it’s ok to divorce if there’s been adultery!” Well, yes it does, however the reason it is “ok” in this particular case is not because God says He wants us to go start over. Rather it is because of our “hardness of heart” that God PERMITS it. “Permitting” something is very different than “encouraging” us to do (or NOT do) a certain thing. Here is the specific scripture that people use to justify divorce.

      Matthew 19:6-9 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

      I am here to tell you that your marriage CAN be even better after adultery, IF you and your repentant husband are willing to put the work into rebuilding the necessary trust between you. He needs to be open & honest with you about everything, and be willing to leave his life as an open book so that as you are learning to re-trust him, you can freely look into his whereabouts… into his email & cell phone.

      Tiffani and I are in probably the greatest place in our marriage that we have EVER been. We just passed our 26th year anniversary in August, and are the very best of friends. Whenever those old ugly thoughts from that past pop up in our heads, we need to simply put them to death – to remember where Jesus has brought us TO. That past doesn’t matter anymore. We live HERE today. And HERE is a far better place.

      I hope this is helpful to you, and please feel free to ask if you’d like anything clarified. I pray your situation has a very happy resolution.

      In Christ,
      ~Jason

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