This is not something Josh and I are excited to share. To share something so painful and shameful and personal is not at the top of our list...BUT...God has done such a great work and we want all of you to have hope. Hope for your own marriage, hope to share with a friend or family. Jesus is that hope.
I'm going to share our story with you and in case you're wondering,
I have Josh's complete support and encouragement to share our story. He wants you and anyone you know who might be turning away from God to know that redemption is possible!
Our story is ugly (and beautiful later) and it'll hit close to home for many of you.
Infidelity has undoubtedly affected many of you that will read this, whether in your own relationship or someone close to you. It's rampant. We, as people, are emotional creatures and so often go against what God says and pursue what makes us feel good. This happens in all kinds of ways, of course, not just through cheating. Every day, we choose ourselves instead of God in some way...aka...sin, but today I'm gonna share with you how unfaithfulness affected our marriage and then share what God has done. He has done great things.
The day my husband left was terrible. He left to be with someone else. I was devastated.
There are too many details to share here things that were going on in Josh that give some answers to why, but our marriage wasn't the reason. It had actually been a really beautiful marriage after he had become a Christian in our second year together.
Sad isn’t a sufficient word for the way that I felt when he told me he wasn’t coming home. I hurt. My heart was broken and my body felt the radiation of that pain coming from my soul. Part of myself had been ripped away from me. You know when you watch a war movie and someone loses a limb? All the parts of the inside are exposed and just hanging out? Sorry for the gruesomeness of that visual, but that’s how it felt.
I was on my knees and face praying, crying, mourning, and reading my Bible for days as Jesus comforted me. He was so close to my broken heart. He never left my side. There were times when I was sobbing so heavily and I could just feel my head laying in Jesus’ lap as He ran His hand over my hair like a good father would comfort his baby girl. I can’t explain how I could feel that. I think God just gave me eyes to see that He was.
In the first week, God was very clear with me that He wanted me to wait on Him, that He would do the work.
Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.
I couldn’t change Josh’s heart. I’m not a heart changer, but Jesus IS. All that He wanted for me to do was wait on Him, stay close to Him, and trust Him in every next step. He never promised that He would bring Josh home or that I would ever get my husband back, but I knew from His word that He was for me and that He was for our covenant marriage. Josh had broken the covenant, but I hadn’t.
God is serious about covenant. A marriage covenant is not just a promise as long as everyone wants to stick to it and as long as it works for both parties. It is a promise to stick with it even when it’s not working, even when people fail terribly. I had stood before God and promised to love this man and to do that in sickness and in health, in the good times and bad, for better or for worse. Did I mean that? ….YES. Yes, I did. Even if he hadn’t taken that as seriously as I had, I would keep on.
I knew God was calling me to fight for my husband. That wasn’t going to be through saying all the things I wanted or shaming or yelling him back to the Lord. My call was to PRAY...to cry out to Almighty God, the One whose greatness of power is immeasurable and who works according to the working of His great might that raised Jesus from the dead. That same power would be the only power that could change anything in my husband. So I prayed and waited and prayed and waited.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
At one point, I gathered a group of ladies at our church that I loved and trusted to pray for Josh with me. God heard us that night. I am so grateful for every woman that was there and for every person who prayed for me, the kids, and Josh during that time.
For almost 3 months, I prayed and studied God’s word, listened to sermons, worshiped God, and saw Him work in so many ways, big and small. All the while, He was working in Josh. Sometimes God used me to speak to Josh and often times, He didn’t. He softened Josh’s heart and on July 25th, Josh returned to God and us as He repented and began obeying the Lord. Everything didn’t change in a day, but it also did, because with that first act of obedience of leaving where he was, walking in repentance began. Restoration for us began that day. It was a process and it has taken time. It hasn’t been easy, but the Spirit has walked us through every bit of it. He still is. I know that He'll continue to work in us and through us as we submit to Him and to His will.
Our hope in sharing this is that it will encourage you to turn to God for help in your marriage for healing, for hope in the impossible situations. Our marriage was on its deathbed and is now alive and thriving!!! The Gospel has changed everything about what our marriage should have been.
Because of Jesus!!!!
If our story is encouragement for you or if it could be encouraging for someone you know, feel free to share our story with them. I’ll (and sometimes we’ll) will be talking more about prayer, infidelity and it’s painful effects, ways to love someone who is not loving, loving and blessing your enemies, persevering through the hard times, covenant marriage, and so many more tough subjects.
May God be glorified.