Monday, 23 September 2013

What fear does

It's been three weeks since my heart was shattered.

It's my story and it isn't, and so I share only in part. But I will ask of you what I've asked of others: Pray for my marriage. Pray for me, for my husband, for healing, for strength. Pray for us.

* * *

I chose forgiveness, but forgiveness does not erase pain. It's here and it's real and acceptance, surrender, it's the only way I know to pass through to the other side. There aren't any shortcuts or sidesteps, no bandages or pretending it away that will do the real work of healing. I hurt. I simply do, and right now is a time of sitting with that pain, acknowledging it and experience it but not clinging to it. Likewise with anger: I acknowledge and accept its presence, while not clinging tightly to it either.

But a third emotion has also risen up, threatening to bloom so out of control as to drown out the intensity of the other two: fear.

I am terrified that this isn't really the end. I am terrified that it will happen again. I am terrified that my husband, despite having witnessed the depth of my pain these past weeks, will choose this path again. I am terrified that it will become something that will threaten to end our marriage. These are fears that I have never lived with before. I have never wondered, never worried, never suspected, never distrusted. And now I am afraid.

But I recognize that while the hurt and the anger have their rightful place in my heart right now, that fear doesn't. If I allow fear to take root, it could threaten my marriage all on its own, whatever my husband's future actions may or may not be. This fear is not healthy, not healing, and not to be trusted.

I love my husband. I love our marriage, our shameless flirtations, our 18-year-long love story. I love our inside jokes and shared history. I don't want to spend my life in fear, but right here, now, enjoying the life we have together. Isn't pain the risk we all take when we choose to commit to another person in marriage? I'd just never given it much thought before. Not him. Not us. Anger I could imagine, those daily frustrations that arise when living with another imperfect soul. But deep pain and utter heartbreak? I'd never imagined that.

* * *

Christ came that we may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10). Abundantly.

He abundantly comforts (2 Corinthians 1:5), abundantly loves (Psalm 5:7), abundantly pardons (Isaiah 55:7), and offers abundant grace (Romans 5:17). He is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20), and in Him we have an abundance of joy (2 Corinthians 8:2).

I want to live abundantly.

* * *

Every minute spent in fear of the future is another minute not spent living in the present.

Every minute spent in fear of what my husband may or may not do in the future is another minute not spent enjoying our marriage and friendship today.

Every minute spent trying to live in the future is another minute not spent living abundantly in the life God has blessed me with here and now.

Those fears arise. They will continue to arise. And I will continue to take each one captive to the obedience of Christ, which leaves no room for fear. God is love and perfect love casts out all fear. All fear.

My peace and security are in Christ, and that will remain whatever may come.

22 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for what you're going through. My heart aches for you. Choosing the righteous path is not always the easy one. Forgiveness is a process and a way of self healing. Many blessings your way!

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    1. Thank you for those kind and encouraging words, Clara.

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  2. After ten years of marriage I discovered that my husband had been unfaithful with a woman we were trying to help and minister to. It was something I didn't see coming nor did I ever expect to happen. It nearly destroyed me and my faith. The emotions threatened to pull me under the waves of grief, heart break, fear and depression. To make it worse I had to carry on like nothing was wrong and had no one to turn to and confide in. Except the Lord. I can't promise that this will heal quickly but I can promise that it WILL heal and that if you both turn to the Lord you can emerge on the other side of this stronger than before. I would recommend the book The Power of a Praying Wife. Not as an encouraging read but as a tool. Use it to start praying for your husband. And in the mean time, I will be praying for you both.

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    1. What an awful discovery, Crys, I'm so sorry for what you went through. It is encouraging to hear that emerging stronger on the other side is a real possibility. That's what we're experiencing right now, and it's wonderful but also quite frightening as part of me expects things to go back to the way they were as soon as the dust begins to settle. The book sounds like a useful tool; I will check that out. Thank you.

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  3. My heart aches for you Cynthia. I'm praying for you both. *hugs*

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    1. Thank you, Adrian, I really do appreciate that.

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  4. May I recommend the book "Why I Stayed" by Gayle Haggard? And "Laying My Isaac Down" by Carol Kent? Both books were immensely helpful to me when my own heart was shattered upon discovering my husband's betrayal.

    That was five years ago, and although our journey to reconciliation has been very difficult at times, I can now look back and see God's mercy and faithfulness every step of the way. So much of what you write here reverberates with my own experience, and yet you already have such a clear grasp on the truth of God's love and what it means to offer forgiveness when the pieces of your life lay in front of you.

    I will certainly be praying for you and your family in the days and weeks to come. May these challenges you face bring you closer together, and may you continue to rely on God for your strength and courage.

    Hold on to the hope you have, even if it's only fragments right now.

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    1. Thank you so much for that encouragement, Kristyn. I will check out both those books. I'm sorry for what you had to walk through, and I am encouraged to hear that you can see God's mercy and faithfulness as you look back upon that journey. Your prayers are greatly appreciated, thank you.

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    1. Thank you, Sarah, your prayers are very appreciated.

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  6. I'm so sorry. Prayers coming your way.

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    1. Thank you, Meegs, that means a lot to hear right now.

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  7. I navigated a very hard time a year and a half ago. My husband left. It was a blindside. It truly shattered me. He was here a lot during the months he was away and in a lot if repects no one would have known he did if I didn't tell anyone.....but it was his actions that hurt so deeply. After so many years of me doing and doing to be treated that way was devastating. Prior to his leaving and during he had a friendship form with another woman. He maintains it was 100% friendship only and to move forward I have had to believe that but it was a friendship that made me uncomfortable.....the friendship for the most part has diminished and he does try to be the husband and father he was not for so many years.

    I encourage you read a book I think it is called The Five Languages of Love. It was an amazing book. Healing for me started with the simple act of consciously choosing to stop thinking about how I think the past should have been. To forgive I had to stay in the present and leave the past behind me.  

    I still have days where I sit wondering when he will screw up again.....when he will break my heart again. I am not sure I will ever lose that but for the most part our marriage is stronger.

    Take care of yourself.

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    1. Stay in the present and leave the past behind, yes, that is so hard but so necessary. I appreciate the book recommendation as well as your words of encouragement. I'm so sorry for what you experienced. It helps to hear that your marriage is now stronger, as we too are currently experiencing that and I am afraid to hope that it will last for very long. For now, though, it is wonderful beyond words to see my husband really stepping up to the plate both in our marriage and in parenting.

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  8. I'm thinking of you, sending strength and lovenin this difficult time... when Tom and I went through a really tough patch in our marriage we read the seven principles for making marriage work by John gottman, which was really helpful in terms of understanding how people behave with each other during conflict and how to maximize our chances of communicating clearly and with respect. It was more helpful than couples therapy!!! And cheaper too. :-)

    M~

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    1. Thank you, Michelle, I appreciate that so much. That books sounds perfect for where we are right now; I will definitely check that out. Hope you are well.

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  9. I'm so sorry - sending prayers your way this evening.

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  10. ola, acabo de ler seu blog pela primeira vez e pelo que li neste seu post posso dizer que me vi em suas palavras. passei por algo que a meu ver muito semelhante a você e seu marido no meu casamento também. e isso me consumia de uma tal forma que pensava não ser capas de suportar. permanecia mais pelos filhos do que por mim mesma. eu ainda o amava mais estava em choque por ele ter me traído. parecia um estranho pra mim. Mais confiei no Senhor pois Ele me conduziu a esperar Nele e foi me mostrando como agir e a lidar com isso. Não digo que ainda não doí, mais hoje doí bem menos pois o balsamo do Senhor sarou minha ferida. Não sei o seu marido mais o meu não era tao bom pra mim e pra meus filhos como e agora depois dessa situação pela qual passamos. Deus usou isso para transforma lo completamente e hoje vejo que isso era necessário para que isso acontecesse. Existe sim um proposito de Deus na vida de vocês para isso ter acontecido. creia e espere em Deus querida. estarei orando por vocês!! bjos fique na Santa Paz do Senhor Jesus Cristo!

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  11. ola. acabo de ler seu blog pela primeira vez e pelo que li nesse seu poste acho que esta passando pela mesma situação que eu passei com meu marido algum tempo atras. sei que não é fácil e todos esses sentimentos são muito intensos e parecem nos consumir por dentro. mais assim como eu fiz faça você também. confie no Senhor e ele te curar dessa dor isso um dia vai passar ou pelo menos amenizar bastante. Pois eu sei que Deus tem um proposito na vida de vocês para ter permitido essa situação tao dolorosa. Fica mais fácil quando cremos que tudo esta no controle do Deus e ele da a ferida mais também a cura. Estarei orando por vocês. confie no Senhor e não desista do seu casamento pois Deus e poderoso para restaurar e curar toda ferida. Se você quiser saber mais sobre meu testemunho ou falar sobre isso me mande um e mail. Espero que esteja bem querida. beijos. Paz do Senhor Jesus Cristo

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