Wow. My last post was October 24th! I have not been idle, just not public. Tim and I today stand amazed at all that God has done, all that He is doing and all that He will do. We have a watery concept of His plans but not the itinerary! Lol! Sort of. We know to finish packing this place up and finish the few remaining projects and put it on the market for spring. We are confident the Lord will lead us from there. We know that He will not waste what has gone before and we are willing servants for Him to use as He will.
In the picture I included here are my latest journals. They represent this time of what we are now seeing as preparation for something. In them are sermon notes, design ideas, actual working drawings for some of our projects, thoughts, letters to God, prayers, doodles, you get the idea. The top one started a month after we felt strongly that the Lord wanted us to sell our home and downsize to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were to start a shop there and we were not to borrow money to do it. This began the completion of pending projects and new ones to make the house the best it could be and do the best we could to make the move. At first I’d have to go and he’d stay here in the week to work but we knew the Lord was going to provide us with what we needed in order to accomplish His will and purposes. While we thought this was something that was going to happen very quickly the Lord had other plans. In January I discovered that Tim had been looking at pornography again. This in itself sent me into a spiral. Here I was joyfully preparing to do the Lord’s bidding, three fourths of our stuff packed and now… This was not the first betrayal in our marriage but I’d believed that we had been truly restored and were actively pursuing the Lord’s will for our lives. Our world, my world, imploded again. I found and still go to a Certified Sex Addiction therapist. Just a side note, I had no clue how wrong I’d been about our marriage. It was adversarial and abusive and I’d accepted that as the way it should be, a good marriage. The former is but a shadow of the latter…
The middle journal began the weekend Tim was at Every Man’s Battle in Atlanta, GA. Because He was going I had a glimmer of hope in a very dark world so I purchased a brand new journal. I’d put it off although mine was full but I’d drawn so far into myself in pain that I’d stopped writing for a bit. I’d nearly lost hope altogether for our marriage when Tim said, “Do you want me to go to Every Man’s Battle?” I said yes but money always was the factor but with a scholarship from New Life and our airline credits and a bit more he went and I felt in my soul real hope. No clue I had let me tell you. He came back broken over what he’d done to me, to our marriage, to our kids. I never thought it would happen but God is that good. Better even. Still, the damage that had been done over our lifetime together was still there. I was a very different person because of it. I had been changed because of his sex addiction, not for the better, I’d lost myself almost completely. At the bottom of the pit, Tim arranged for me to go to Restore. It is New Life’s intensive workshop for women who have been betrayed. I came back a stronger woman, a woman who knew she had choices and power in our marriage and that if things didn’t change I didn’t have to endure it one minute more. My choice. I also came back with sisters whose stories were the same as mine, just the details were different. I was not alone, this is destroying many lives everywhere. We still didn’t know how to deal with each other, though. We still hadn’t even begun to dig out the things that had been festering in our marriage so long. As the weeks went by I was beginning to believe our marriage was beyond restoration. How could I really trust that things were different? They didn’t feel different!
Again, at the end of my rope, we went to Intimacy in Marriage. I want to tell everyone that New Life provided scholarships for each one of the intensives we attended and we are and will be eternally grateful. We’ve become acolytes of New Life Ministries with Stephen Arterburn because they are faithful to God and in pursuit of His will, they have rescued us and many others from the darkness of sex addiction and so much more. Milan and Kay Yerkovich’s “How We Love” and their speaking at IiM opened our eyes to see the destructive ways we were acting that were further dividing us from each other and we really began to build intimacy into our marriage. Not a joining of the bodies but a joining of the souls is what we are daily discovering in our marriage. It’s not been easy and there have been set backs. Tim had to learn that he could not blame all his fear and shame and anxiety on me and hate me for it although there were some devastating slip ups. They were so devastating that he saw the damage he’d been doing and had done. Godly sorrow came and repentance, but it has been a process to change lifelong behaviors. These have caused me much pain in the past so I am now super sensitive to him and how he’s feeling. Alarm bells go off when I feel him drawing away from me and closing himself off. I then can talk with him and pray for him and more and more he’s opening up and being honest with me about how he’s feeling. In turn, he’s finding I’m not his enemy but likely his biggest fan.
Tim recently went to EMB in DC as Alumni. Once you’ve gone once you can attend the main sessions again for free. There were 8 men there as alumni and they formed their own group for meals. Tim came back again broken over all he’d done in our marriage, how he’d hurt me and our sons over the years, even more broken than the first time! Each of the men said they learned so much more the second time because they were now seeing it from a point down the road in recovery. There was a camaraderie, brothers in the battle.
We are both in New Life’s Sustained Victory Groups weekly and in counseling and Tim goes to SAA as well as occasionally a local church men’s group. We are in pursuit of how to live as God would have us live, how to love as God would have us love, each other, our families, people He leads us to.
So the journey continues but we believe we are ever closer than before! My days begin with a symphony of God’s word from many places! Tim and I both begin with Charles Stanley’s Devotion and Today on the Radio and God leads us from there. It is always amazing that all these sermons from different men and women in different places all seem to relate to the same point. There always seems to be a theme for what God is teaching us each day and it all confirms our destination and provides more things we need to know. It is as though each message was personally designed for us! I am overwhelmed at how the Lord has moved in our lives, is moving, breaking down strongholds meant for our destruction.
I have so much I want to write about, to share with everyone. It’s all crowded up there in my mind and down in my soul so it’s hard to start sharing it without spitting out a bunch of words on a page! Lol! For now, we are still on course for Hatteras Island and we are doing really well and we are overwhelmed at how the Lord is leading and teaching us, getting into every detail of every day. He is so good and so real…beyond anything we can imagine. Thank You, Jesus.