Lust, Infidelity & Adultery

Please hear me when I say if you don’t take anything from this post but this next statement – I will consider this a win. – God will not send you anything or anyone that you must sin to have -. A married person is not yours, and if you are married, someone else is not yours either. Trust me, I understand the deceitful passion, the misleading and fictitious feeling of need. The feeling that this person must have been made for you or they wouldn’t be in front of you right now. But that is the devil – not God.

The whole purpose of this series is to inform you that you are not disqualified by your sins. It is impossible to be a Disqualified Christian.

Even as I heal – there will always be cracks in who I am as a woman. There is no way around that, and I am learning to love and appreciate the cracks for the gifts that they are. I think we learn to love ourselves more each day, as we mature, as we conquer challenges and receive Gods grace despite our shortcomings. I’ve learned that love is an act, it is a choice and it takes work. It is not a fleeting moment or a gaze when the moon hits just right – that is hallmark and romance – and while I am sucker for that too – you can’t chase that. It will not sustain you.

I’m the last person in the world who would ever give marriage advice, but I can absolutely give you – “you’ll regret this” and “you’ll lose sleep at night” and “you will carry this shame with you because I have been there” support. So please know that what I am sharing with you is because I have been there, and with zero judgment I want you to know you are not alone. And, it is not over. God is the ultimate redeemer. When I read the book of John and came across the story of Jesus and the Woman caught in adultery – my shame started to diminish. It was as if God was speaking to me and I no longer felt alone. That is what I want you to experience too.

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her”

John 8:1-11

Marriage before my husband now was not valued or understood as it was intended to be. That saddens me because I didn’t comprehend the weight of the vows I made to the other person, to myself and especially to God. But even as unworthy as I felt, God made good on his promise. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 NIV

To be forward and fully transparent in the past I traded infatuation for love. Popularity for acceptance and abuse for companionship. It would take me years to learn that I would never replenish what I was lacking with such convoluted thoughts and actions. A compliment led to things and places it never should have. Attention was much like a wolf in sheeps clothing; dangerous and disingenuous. The truth was it all happened so fast that before I knew it, I was in too deep. And when you are in too deep – the enemy loves that. And you find yourself wanting things you never actually wanted, you find yourself doing things you never would have done until one day you are promising two people – what you can’t even promise to yourself.

When something superficially pleasing is suffocated by secrecy, lies and shame – it can’t be right. There are so many aspects of affairs, the damage it inflicts to all involved and what really lies at the core of a breakdown of a marriage that is not possible for me to cover it in one blog post. The desire that has been placed on my heart is to speak to the women who are ashamed and think they are unworthy of Gods love, forgiveness and grace. This is for them.

If you’re a woman involved in or have had an affair whether it be emotional or physical please hear me when I say this, you are still a good person. Your feelings that you had/have about your marriage, yourself and this other person were/are real to you and I honor your feelings. What matters most to me though is that you are able to see yourself as the woman you would respect years from now, and that you considered your actions with your spouse and how it will affect them. Your marriage has the possibility of being saved still, you can choose at any moment to honor yourself, your spouse and your marriage enough to seek a marriage counselor, personal counselor or someone at your church even. And, if you are suffering in the shame of a past infidelity there is hope for you as well. This does not have to end here, not like this. You are still valuable.

If you’re a woman involved in an affair with a married man, the same goes for you – except I encourage you to honestly ask yourself this: What am I really getting from this? Is this the way love looks, acts and feels? Am I fooling myself to believe that this man who sneaks behind his wife’s back won’t do the same to me? Am I foolish to believe he will leave her for me? And, if he does – would I want that? The reason I say this is because you are making the choice knowingly to potentially destroy someone else’s marriage – someone who meant their vows, someone who loves their husband and do you know that 75% of marriages that have suffered an affair, survive? My worry is that you’ll lose yourself, while they repair themselves and I love and care about you too much to standby and not speak up. You deserve better than this. This is not Gods plan for you, I can tell you that wholeheartedly.

Please hear me when I say if you don’t take anything from this post but this next statement – I will consider this a win. – God will not send you anything or anyone that you must sin to have -. A married person is not yours, and if you are married, someone else is not yours either. Trust me, I understand the deceitful passion, the misleading and fictitious feeling of need. The feeling that this person must have been made for you or they wouldn’t be in front of you right now. But that is the devil – not God. You cannot start a fire in a place that you are unable to contain it. You cannot start a fire in hopes for warmth with infatuation. Steven Furtick said, the word infatuation in Latin means false fire. It looks like and acts like fire – but it can’t keep you warm. It can however get away from you, and there will be collateral damage as it burns everything around you to the ground. And, it will.

I regret not knowing God then like I do now and this is in part why I am sharing this series with you. If only I realized then that he could fill me up, that his words and promises could have been the man that headed our table and our family. And, to immerse myself in the peace and knowledge that he would eventually lead me to the husband I have today – the man who was set apart for our family. But I took the hard road as I always have and learned it for myself.

I promised God I would share my failures in order to reveal his grace, and his love for us as sinners. It is not easy to share my flaws. The only reason I do is in hopes that my words deter you. And remind you that even if you have a past that involves some form of infidelity – you are not disqualified. Gods love for sinners is abundantly and freely given when you trust in him and give him the weight that has been too heavy to carry – he just wants your heart, and he can heal it.

You deserve better.

The worst part is that there are people who think this is what they deserve! That this is the best they can have. That no one will love them outside of this relationship. That they have nothing to offer the world, no dream to chase, no voice to be heard, or gift to be shared. They look in the mirror and see failure, ridicule, embarrassment and despair, when instead they should see strength, honor, integrity, beauty, hope and success. And love, damn it! You should look at yourself in that mirror and see LOVE, for yourself.

Some of us are raised with such convoluted ideals of what is expected and acceptable in relationships. Even when we know better, we don’t choose to do better. We relent, we condone, we allow others to interject their opinions and what they feel our relationship should produce or protect. Truth is – it is not their relationship. I’ve heard wait until you’re with someone for 15 years – that is a real relationship, real dedication, and real love. The hell you say?! Real love, real dedication – has no essence of time. Period. Love is an ongoing action, not a timeline.

Being a self-proclaimed love addict that had the belief that one day, if I put up with enough these disastrous, abusive and detrimental relationships would surely blossom into a loving and healthy lifetime commitment, was a fallacy. I’ve literally laid down and allowed men to walk all over me my entire life, starting with my own Father. That feeling of worthlessness was like sewage that continued to spill into relationship after relationship. You want to know why that is? Because we believe what we are fed, things like the adage “you might as well stick it out – because the next person has just as much issues as the one you are with.” LIES! People listen here, that is completely inaccurate. Did you ever think that maybe all these closed doors, all these U-turns, was GOD saying “Hey, I love you, this is not right for you and you need to go a different direction?” Not, stick around and continue to be beat down, unloved or beaten at all.

Everyone has their flaws like leaving their clothes beside the laundry basket, forgetting to take the garbage out, not always helping with the kids, but serious issues, deal breaker issues — there are men/women without them. You can do better!

They say if you want a different outcome, you must do things differently. In each relationship, I tried that. Any previous failures from ended relationships, I would try to preempt and rectify in future ones. If the guy before was unfaithful, I made myself more sexual, more available, more pleasing. If the guy before was unhappy or felt unimportant, I learned to cook, to provide, to take care of. If the guy before was deceitful and untrustworthy, I tried to open more, communicate more, to allow and invite an openness in the relationship. If the guy was emotionally, mentally or physically abusive, I would modify my looks and my behaviors. I would give up my life, my fun, my wants and needs and dedicate myself completely to helping and fixing them. DO YOU SEE THE PROBLEM HERE?? The problems and changes to be made were not mine to make. It was simply the wrong relationship. I didn’t trust myself enough, I didn’t listen to my brain or follow my own intuition which was screaming incessantly that this was not okay, I can’t fix this, I deserve better!

It is important for you to realize this: It is not your job to take on the success or failure of a relationship in its entirety. If the marriage/relationship is failing and you are the only one fighting…STOP. Cheaters, cheat. Liars, lie. Abusers dominate and destroy. And Addicts, simply transfer their addictions. You do not need to stay in any of these situations. It is your choice – not God’s choice, or the Bibles choice, because if it was, it wouldn’t hurt you. God would never ask you to sin, or put yourself in harms way. It is not what is best for your children, or what is best for you. You will undoubtedly lose yourself as you continue to lose this battle.

Here is the thing, yes, we tend to fall into relationship ruts, and picking a different type of the same bad guy repeatedly. But you have the ability of modifying and updating your hardwired picker – your picker doesn’t have to remain broken. You are wiser than you give yourself credit for. And, my favorite part is this: Not every person will abuse you, not every person will cheat on you – repeatedly. Not every person will be systematically deceitful, selfish and manipulative.

In my lifetime, I have loved entirely and completely three men – an abusive alcoholic, a kind and gentle lost man, and an honest to goodness good man. The honest and good men – do exist. I didn’t have to settle. I didn’t have to allow someone to hurt me to feel loved temporarily. Or chase him for attention, affection, or temporary stability. He chose to stay, he chose to be kind, to be considerate, to listen, to communicate and to love me for me – even when I feel like I don’t deserve it. And, he makes that choice every day, because he chooses to.

You’ve heard the saying do not compare your behind the scenes to someone else’s highlight reel, and it is true. Trust me, I lived in a highlight reel life, I boasted and hung tightly to every UP, because I was so tormented by every LOW. I thought I needed to be thankful for the good times, because they made the hard times worth it, which is true to a point – a breaking point. When the hard times are many and the good times are few, you must be strong enough and value yourself enough to look at why that is, and when necessary, draw the line. Enough is enough.

There are several unhealthy relationships that are littered with guarded secrets, ultimatums, unstable foundations, infidelity, deceit and immoral actions. The worst part is that there are people who think this is what they deserve! That this is the best they can have. That no one will love them outside of this relationship. That they have nothing to offer the world, no dream to chase, no voice to be heard, or gift to be shared. They look in the mirror and see failure, ridicule, embarrassment and despair, when instead they should see strength, honor, integrity, beauty, hope and success. And love, damn it! You should look at yourself in that mirror and see LOVE, for yourself.

In my mirror, I can choose to see all those negative things as well, I can see my flaws and imperfections, my failed endeavors, relationships, parental screw-ups, employment mistakes, and lord knows what else. But, you want to know what I see when I look in the mirror? I see my daughter. I see her impressive beauty, her intelligence and witty personality, and her STRONG sense of self-esteem. I see my sons, their goofy ways, kind hearts, and loving souls. The reflection of my green eyes that I love, that have cried tears of happiness more than sadness, and that many have investigated, viewing the goodness of my heart. I see a woman who has been real, honest and fought when necessary and is learning to let most battles go. I see a woman who is beautiful because of my actions, my children, my mind, and my heart – not because of my physical features. And most importantly I see a woman who is gritty, quick-witted, stubborn, hilarious, bold and authentic. There is no one like me and GOD did that on purpose.

That is what I choose to see, and what I will continue to raise my daughter to choose to see. It is what you should choose to see. Choose yourself and take back the ownership of your life. It will be the best investment you will ever make.

Packing my bags when I need to stay…

“I’d be packing my bags when I need to stay, I’d be chasing every breeze that blows my way” Toby Mac

For years, I was a strong believer in “If you aren’t happy get out” – so much so in fact that I did just that. If things weren’t the way I had expected, or something else was better, easier, or just less work I could throw that whole relationship in the trash and move on. It used to piss me off to no end, when I would hear girlfriends say, “I can’t leave because of the kids”, or ” when the kids are 18 or move out, I will leave then”. That was always a crock of really stinky crap to me, and I would fight back with advice like ” What about you, you don’t deserve to be happy now?” or “do you think your kids should live a lie thinking your life was great for 18 years than, all of sudden you get divorced?” Or, how about “your kids need to see you happy, they need to see two people who love each other, don’t you think they know you are not happy right now?” And, while those are all still great points, valid points, and should really be considered – I know see where that comes from.

Admitting I was wrong, or possibly, slightly, part way incorrect – maybe is well, the truth. I was wrong. Truth is, if you are scared, not dedicated, maybe didn’t really mean your vows or many variances of lacking in the commitment to the marriage, your spouse and yourself – leaving makes sense and will most likely happen.

My friends used to say I was in love with falling in love. That all relationships go stale and become work, that is normal. For me, I thought when it stopped being fun, all the lovey-dovey stuff went away – and lies and skeletons in the closet came out to play and REAL LIFE came into account – the relationship was over, done, finito – adios – buh-bye! Although in my defense, cheating, abuse and drugs and alcoholism all are valid reasons to end a relationship – but only if you really need to use that excuse. There are many marriages who have made it through that and much worse, my guess is that they were fully committed. My other guess is that the love and the respect for the other person were genuine.

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My heart is an odd heart, it backfires, misfires, gets overheated and freezes over faster than that Frozone’s snow boots! When I shouldn’t have loved, I did – and too much. When I should have loved, I didn’t – or not enough. Being thirty-three I can tell you I have been in love only two times – which is odd because there have been four “main” men in my life that I spent years saying the daily I love you’s, the promises of every tomorrow, the I Do’s which turned to I Don’t, I Didn’t or I won’t do that. One relationship which produced my beautiful children – my true loves of my life – but looking back now, wasn’t real – no love.

Then as with any broken or failed relationship you tuck a little piece of “baggage” into a deep dark little hole, and move on to the next. And so on…so that when you settle down with the right person there is just enough unpacking, sorting, and repairing to drive you crazy – but without driving you away.

My husband and I do not have the perfect marriage, we are not that couple that never fights, I am not the perfect wife, and he is not the perfect husband. Our marriage is WORK, literally getting down and dirty, elbow grease and all – WORK. There are days where he can do no right by me, there are days that he irritates me, hurts my feelings, pushes my buttons and my limits making me feel like at any moment I could bust through the barrier of wonderful married-ville, and strangle him. AND, there are days when its reversed and I am all those thing to him. We are not easy to be married to, to live with – but damn it if we don’t find a way to always find a way. We do that, because we finally found the person, the commitment, the relationship that is worth all the WORK.

If someone were to ask us, how come you don’t just give up, or how much more are you gonna take? Our answer would be because of our family, because we love each other, for the kids, the extended family, our life – etc. Before, my kids weren’t a reason to stay in a relationship – now I am not saying that you should stay solely for the kids, but what I am saying is that it makes sense what I heard my girlfriends saying all those failed relationships of mine ago. It makes sense why our grandparents and great-grandparents were married 40, 50 and 60 years to the same person. Dedication and Commitment. My grandfather made some bad choices, and I am sure so did his father, and his father’s father. They may not have been the same bad choice, but you can bet your tush they weren’t perfect – and neither was their marriage.

There are those select few, the elite married couples who just really do have it perfectly figured out, they never fight, no one gets jealous, they are always kind, considerate, thoughtful, selfless – no baggage, no dramatic issues or life altering problems and just are HAPPY. If that is you, you had better go in and find your spouse – lay a big smooch right on them and take a minute to realize that you are lucky. Not everyone has that, and not necessarily because they can’t – but because they won’t.

There is a quote by Marilyn Monroe that was me exactly. It says:

“A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love ;
Listens but doesn’t believe ; and leaves
before she is left”

What it should say is a wise girl is a lonely girl too….

If I truly loved the people in my past, the way I do my husband – I would still be there. If I valued my relationships then as much as I value my marriage now, I’d still be there. It’s the same with cheating – I used to think that you can cheat on someone you love – because to be honest I cheated – and I thought I loved the person I cheated on. Truth is, I didn’t – because if I did, I wouldn’t have stepped over that line. Cheating is a choice, it is a premeditated, thoughtful process that you either decide to follow through with because you don’t care or you don’t love the person you are with. We all could cheat, we all could fall into that bottomless pit of deceit and have great affairs that are pleasing for the moment, that will only be detrimental internally, and externally for those we let down.

The saying “once a cheater, always a cheater” isn’t true. The truth is, when you find something and someone who you could or would never risk the chance of losing, you won’t cheat. When you think to yourself, that would be “fun” but it would ruin my family or its “new and exciting” but how new would it be, if you got stuck with it forever? The new and exciting, the fun, is in having those “trying” moments and not failing – but instead making it through them. It’s seeing your family and knowing that they are not dispensable, that you are valuable to them and to yourself.

This may sound like a bunch of soap box talking – but truth is, it’s just a couple of things I learned from messing up. Before my husband, before this marriage, I was packing my bags when I needed to stay, I was chasing any breeze that blew my way…luckily it led me to where I should be. Now my bags are staying unpacked and the breeze will blow me closer to my family, not away.