If you have been betrayed…

It has occurred to me often recently that while our motivation for sharing our story is to help other people who find themselves on this road, we haven’t been very concise in our attempts. I’m staring at this picture trying to figure out how to even start. The moment of recognizing that your spouse has violated the sacred vows of your marriage is a sudden shifting from one reality to another. In those seconds your soul reaches backward to the seconds prior when you thought you were in a beautiful and committed relationship but the reality will not leave. Suddenly your entire world has gone dark, everything you believed about your life seemingly just became a lie and we reach backward again to deny the facts. There is no respite because there they are and as you proceed to confront your spouse you find yourself in the land of no return. There has been a shift in your time and space continuum that has you zoomed in to examine every detail about your lives together, what was real? What was a lie? Is there evidence? Oh my Father there is evidence! Anger and “How dare he/she?” You, your spouse, your life…will never be the same again. You will survive, it will feel like you won’t. I have been meandering my way through this for over 30 years and have responded in so many ways that just caused further destruction, prolonging Tim’s sin and my agony.  We learned the hard way and much damage was done but finally we are on the right road. It is our heart to spare you as much heartache as possible by sharing our story. We are still on this rocky road of recovery and we will never be finished. There are consequences to sin. There is also the beauty of my husbands broken heart over his sin, which has led him to Godly sorrow and that has led him to true repentance. I never believed it was possible, a friend today called it a miracle and it is. The Lord led us to the right people who actually knew what had repeatedly been happening in our marriage. They also knew how to deal with it and I finally did what they said to do and Tim finally did, too. You are crushed but there is hope. Hope for something so beautiful you can’t even imagine it now. I didn’t even know marriage so beautiful existed.

There are some things you need to know/do first:

  1.  Hit your knees in prayer. You are beginning to experience the most excruciating pain of your life and our Lord God Almighty weeps with you. He sees you and He sees your pain. When marriage vows are broken it is like a literal ripping of flesh. God has joined you two together and your spouse has torn away. It is not a simple intellectual thing to get over. The Lord loves you and will lead you through this in ways no one else can. You must rely on Him. Please read 2 Chronicles 20. This battle is not yours, but God’s. The sanctity and preservation of your marriage is Gods will, He is right there with you in this and on your side. Talk to Him, cry to Him, yell to Him. He can handle it and He already knows what you’re thinking and feeling. Turn to Him.
  2. You cannot do this alone. You don’t want to do this alone. If you have a rare disease you go for treatment to a specialist, someone who knows all about your disease. What you don’t do is treat yourself day after day hoping your home cures are going to work. You also want to go to a doctor who has had success curing the disease, not one who has never succeeded or only treats the symptoms.  After repeated betrayals and going to the wrong doctor each time thinking we were cured we have finally found the right doctors! Call 800-NEW-LIFE. I don’t think they are 24/7 but call. Tell them what is happening and they will tell you what you need to do. Do it. New Life Live is on every weekday at 1:pm here around DC on WAVA, 105.1. Listen and you will hear people just like you get help. Their website is www.newlife.com and tv.newlife.com is an excellent resource for understanding exactly what is going on in your marriage. You can call their radio show when they are recording live as well, 800-229-3000. You have just experienced a trauma. You need counseling and support. You cannot do this alone. Don’t fool around, call them, please. I trust them and we are not paid by them. If not for them we would most likely be divorced.
  3. You cannot do this alone. In Tim’s early betrayals we had 2 and then 3 young sons. Somehow the world keeps spinning although yours has just blown up. There are going to be times when you will have difficulty performing your normal tasks at home and at work. I used up all my leave a little at a time. If your children are young there is the stress of trying to make them feel safe in a horrible situation. You cannot do this alone and my prayer is that you have a loving and safe support system in addition to the professionals you are now seeing to help you walk through this. Family, friends, people you trust who love you no matter what who are willing to be at the other end of the phone when you feel you can’t hold it together any more. Not too many. More than one because there is no way one person can give you the support you are going to need. In a perfect world, you and your spouse are in individual counseling and in support groups, individual and together. You need people around you to check your sanity. When an addict is defending their drug there can be much smoke and many mirrors and reality seems a shifting thing at times as they live in the denial and try to convince you of a false reality.
  4. No matter what your spouse says this is not your fault. A cheating spouse is full of guilt and shame and they need to justify their sin to feel better about themselves. They can blame you and tear apart your entire life to show how right they are to break their marriage vows. Do not believe this for one minute. There may be issues which there are in every marriage but adultery is NEVER justified. If there are problems you go get help to fix them, you don’t take up with someone new. Do not receive this lie.
  5. Fix it right the first time. Whether it’s pornography or the escalation of behaviors from there, these are symptoms of a deeper problem. With the continuation of these behaviors comes a descent into depravity no one intends when they start. As each line is crossed the next one becomes that much easier to breach and there is no end to the depths one can fall if something doesn’t change. The first time for us we sought no help at all. The second began the almost lifelong examination of my failures as a wife which was making my husband need to cheat. This enabled him to continue in his sin for over three decades. It wasn’t perpetual betrayal but he had come to hate me and treated me horribly. He blamed me for his need to sin and the various pastors and counselors over the years reinforced this false belief, further enabling Tim to feel free to sin. Don’t go down that road. That’s why I don’t say call your pastor or even a local counselor first. New Life Ministries www.newlife.com has a network of counselors that are well schooled in how to handle this the correct way. Listen to them. Nothing changed in our marriage until we had the courage to do what they told us.
  6. Trust God for the money to get you and your spouse the help you need, now not later. There is Every Man’s Battle for the men and Restore for the women and Intimacy in Marriage for both and there are scholarships and God will provide what you need to get there. We continue with Sustained Victory and I am on scholarship for now while Tim pays in full. I am in individual counseling and Tim was going up till the holidays. He is going to resume. He also attends SAA once weekly because the New Life Group meets on the other night they meet. He used to go twice a week. That is by donation. He just got his one year chip!!! Trust God to provide and call them and tell them you need help. He doesn’t want this to continue, it destroys His children. There are people who have been healed and restored and who give so that others can be, too. We hope to be able to give lots in our future because someone else gave to us and we are now a whole family with a hope and a future beyond anything we could ask or imagine.

…the Journey Continues…

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.





Early Saturday morning…

Early Saturday morning we were having our morning coffee and Tim said, “I had a dream last night.” I looked at him and he had tears in his eyes so I told him to tell me about it. We were on Hatteras Island and went into a little shop. Ma and Pop were in there running it. We visited with them and Tim said “This is the kind of shop we want to have down here.” Pop was running the register, taking care of people that came in. With tears, Tim said Ma looked at him and said “Thank you.”

“…a sober drunk…”

Listening to New Life Live on WAVA the other day, www.newlife.com, one of the guys used the term ‘sober drunk’ and it peaked my interest and tumblers began to really click home. Tim is about to get his 9 month chip. He has not acted out in any way for 9 months, including pornography. Things should be fabulous, yes? A faithful husband is what I want! Why did things still feel so wrong, with little glimpses of right? We’d gone to Intimacy in Marriage and really learned there is a why to these behaviors and how to dig in and figure out the “why’s” so we could heal. We’d experienced what will ultimately be the answer but hadn’t quite attuned that in our hearts yet. I knew things were still not where they should be and he knew he was still not happy with our relationship, especially the physical part.

We’d learned to differentiate between non-sexual touch and sexual touch and how they should never be intermingled and this was where our struggle was. It is essential to have safe touch, to feel each others heart beating, to breathe together. Actual physiological things happen when we experience this, much the same as when our mothers and fathers held us. Until we began this after Intimacy in Marriage we were both two islands really. We’d dance around each other, one wanting one thing, the other running from it.

Tim had his behavior under control, he’d eliminated all the “illegal” ways of acting out and stopped doing those but now I had become the object of his acting out. I was the only “legal” avenue. This is what I thought I wanted, my husband lusting after me but NO! This doesn’t feel good. He had just taken his addiction and made me the drug of choice. A better choice than the others but still my soul was dying inside of me. Ironically, this all blew up on September 11th, 2017.

I’d gone to see my therapist and we’d discussed this and I’d told her he is saying and doing all the right things but we are still in this dance. Tim trying to manipulate circumstances and me trying to avoid the traps. This did not feel right and I said, “There is no heart change.” Just behavioral change. So when Tim got home that night we had a talk…well it began as a talk…it ended with me leaving knowing my marriage was over. Instead of listening calmly and responding he got defensive and then exploded with “How long is this going to take anyway? I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing, when are you going to get better?” That is a much abbreviated version. It was horrible because I was begging him not to speak with me that way and telling him he was really triggering me. I finally took my blood pressure and it was 198 over 100 and he finally stopped but much damage had been done. As reality settled over me and I tried to calm down I knew we were done, there was no way I could stay in this situation. I now knew it was abuse and to stay would just be stupid.

I gathered my purse and inhalers and got in the car not knowing where to go. I didn’t really have anywhere to go so I thought I’d go for a ride and figure it out. Thought about going to visit my sister in Woodstock, 2 and 1/2 hours away and realized I didn’t know if the car would make it there safely. New realities flooding in, my actual situation came home to my soul. I didn’t even have a safe car to drive away from this relationship in. Having no where else to go I went back home.

I don’t often lose control in anger but I was angry and I let him know every reason why and to save my life I had to get out of our marriage. He was not a safe person for me.

Tim was repentant. He’d been calling the entire time I was gone and I wasn’t going to answer the phone. I don’t think he expected me to come back. Then we talked. Then we watched tv.newlife.com and how to make your wife feel safe and how to deal with triggers and how to make restitution and all these shows and Tim’s eyes seemed to be really opened to the pain he’d been causing. With a pending possibility of separation sex was no where on the table and that ended “the dance”.

The following Friday we had a family conflict and that somehow drew our souls together. We didn’t blame each other, it had actually happened because Tim was trying to protect me. No one is used to that! Lol! He held me so that I could sleep and he’d put his hand where the pain is and gently press in to make it feel better. My mother used to have me press my stomach against her and that is the last time I experienced that kind of safe touch, except for with my babies and grandbabies. Our souls were becoming entwined in our mutual pain. Until Friday.

The AC had been acting up and with my asthma Tim was really worried about it because it had gotten hot. We were managing and then he said he was going to buy a little unit for the bedroom so we’d be cool in there until Robert could come and fix our ac. Being the end of the season they were out and he ended up making several stops on his way home but he’d gotten one. Tim had been busy all week because when I pointed out the car situation he saw how that would make me feel unsafe and he seemed to take personal responsibility for it. We are allegedly selling our house and we want to replace our car then and not borrow money. I literally go out alone like once a week so the car has not been a priority. He’d been working on taking care of repairs all week and I couldn’t sway him. He was determined and when I questioned him he said, “You will have a safe car, even if it’s to drive away from me.” Back to Friday.

It was hot and he was struggling to get the unit to sit right and get everything where it needed to be. I told him to calm, I was getting more and more anxious but he didn’t listen. He just exploded on me and horrible vitriol came forth from him. His real feelings just spewed at me and I was begging him to stop and he wouldn’t and my world was again falling apart before my eyes. At one point I was on the floor and he kept on raging. I can’t stay in that situation if I want to somehow allow God to redeem what is left of my life. The really sad part is my heart had already begun to harden from the time two weeks prior.

The following Monday was when I asked if I was a narcissist and was told no, that I was a victim of a narcissist. This was devastating because I was ready to be the bad guy. I’ve been told many times I’m the problem, how can they all be wrong? What had happened was I began to believe what I was being told. I’ve spent so much time in self examination looking for what I did wrong, what I’m doing wrong, what I might do wrong. My therapist calls me on it and I’m glad but you give me a negative event and I’ll work it all the way around to it being my fault. If it’s my fault the pain was self inflicted, not someone else hurting me, rejecting me. If I’m the problem I can control it. The bad guy can get good. I’m a victim? Tim and I dove into tv.newlife.com and he saw it. He saw the damage that he’d been doing to me and the damage that he’d been doing to himself and to our family. My symptoms are text book, his actions have been text book. Narcissism is pretty common in addiction. He saw it and he was broken.

My dad lived the last parts of his life as a sober drunk and a drunk drunk. He never went into recovery to dig out the pain that caused his addiction. He’d do fine for a while and a trigger would send him diving back into the bottle. When he was sober he was exercising great self control until he couldn’t. With Tim, up until the “diagnosis”, he’d simply been exercising great self control until he couldn’t. It’s how he’s managed it our entire marriage. Until times got tough and he’d blow up our world again. With this last explosion has come great repentance, what appears to be Godly sorrow. It’s difficult to trust in that but I’m not running out the door quite yet.

It’s been a little more than three weeks and every day is wrestling with the realities of where we are. God has been so active in all of it, getting me other women to get around when He knew I was going to be crushed again, I got into my Sustained Victory group and even went to a ladies night! I would never leave him alone because I was afraid of what might happen when I was gone. If I have to live in that fear, though, what kind of life is that? What kind of relationship is that? Not one that is healthy and I reject that.

Because Tim appears broken and repentant and changing, I am staying. The ball is really in his court. I just read this to him over the phone and he says to post it so here it comes!

Examining the past lest we repeat it…

There have been so many things running through our minds with this new reality of ours. The Lord is showing both Tim and I things and different perspectives and what we are seeing is heartbreaking. We have both been getting educated about these insidious things that have been recently named in our relationship. The standard by which we measure everything has been changed, corrected. We both, unbeknownst to each other, had been running history through our minds and holding it up to this new standard of measure.

Two days ago when Tim got home I said, “We need to talk. I’ve been thinking tons about your mom and grandmom.” (We don’t even know her name! She’s just gone and her grandchildren don’t know her name!) We were both told that his granddad had a mistress for most of their marriage and when his wife died he married the mistress. How that crushed her soul and I don’t know her name! Her grandson doesn’t know her name…her great grandchildren don’t know her name! We don’t even know for sure if this is true…

He said, “Me, too. The way things were…”

We talked some more about it and moved on but we both had it on our minds. I think that to tell the story would be beneficial to many but some might not like it. Again, last night, I told Tim we needed to talk and we did. I shared my concerns about telling the story and he said, “This will help people and that is what I want to do.”

After much more discussion he said, “I want you to tell this story.” So here I am, telling a very light version of it lest we offend.

There have just been lots of things clicking into place in both of our minds and if we are correct we have been living under a generational curse at least 3 generations old, I pray it stops with our generation. One of the first clicks was in our counseling session at Intimacy in Marriage when both of us agreed that I was the black sheep in our family. It didn’t take much for us to begin correlating other situations in history to our own. We were not a team in our marriage, it was him against me and this is what our kids had modeled before them. Just as Tim had certain behaviors and attitudes modeled before him and his dad had certain behaviors and attitudes modeled before him. These are the lessons that teach us how to navigate this world. Lessons that destroy souls, making people disappear before your eyes although their heart still beats and their breath still comes…

We see it modeled in the world and on television and in our homes and we take these destructive patterns of dealing with life into the new families we create and several generations later someone wakes up. These patterns have by now become patterns of abuse that seem the standard and are acceptable, right even. There is an insurance commercial that is so disturbing to me. It is modeling resentment, bitterness, secrets and vengeance in a marriage, in a family. The man, the alleged leader and protector of this family is displaying passive aggressive behavior for us to see and learn by. Dysfunction is honored and it is so damaging. We must go back to the only true and right standard and that is the God’s Word. Our problems begin when we scoff at what it says, becoming fools. We truly know not the damage we are inflicting on each other.

My last post I said the Lord was leading me to Ephesians 6. He was actually leading me to chapters 4, 5 and 6. So many things jumped in my soul, one being this, Ephesians 4:1-3. It was hard to define where to stop it’s so good so keep reading on your own, it is rich!  This scripture was copied from BibleGateway.com , a great source for all translations and more!

Ephesians 4:1-3 (NASB)

Unity of the Spirit
4 ‘Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’

Our intention in sharing this journey is to help and not to hurt. The darkness needs to come into the LIGHT, the LIGHT WILL overcome it. Our Father said so and He is not a man that He would lie! Let us do that as You have taught us above, Lord, let us not do any harm. We are asking for prayer to strengthen us to walk in a manner worthy…face it when we fall…face it when we fail…accept Your love and forgiveness and start over again!

29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32

Our Dear Father, let our words always be as you have commanded here and quickly call us back when a critical spirit or a root of bitterness and resentment creeps in, lest we do harm. Let us only share out of a desire to edify and not to repay or self serve. Use us Father to help lead Your people out of this present darkness and gather together hearts and minds in unity as You would have it. Thank You so much for all You’ve done, all You’re doing and all You are going to do. We love you so very much, Jesus. We are overwhelmed by Your Love for us. 

In Your Precious Holy Name,

Tim and Sherry

Kind of Stuck!

Good morning everyone! The Lord has been showing me so many things this past week and I’ve got so many things I want to write about. Figuring out what He would have me write about is proving difficult.  Dr. Stanley teaches that you shouldn’t teach or preach about things you are not fervent about and I am fervent about them all! So I am asking for prayer to know for certain what the next right thing is…in every aspect of our lives.

There is nothing  so powerful on this earth as the power of prayer. It is us calling on the Creator of the Universe for help and that’s what He wants us all to do. He loves us more  perfectly than our earthly fathers ever could. I know as soon as I send this out there will be prayer. I know that not long after there will be a supernatural peace in my heart and I’m hopeful for clarity of mind. This  is the unity of the Spirit, the Church, the body of Jesus Christ, the only true church, consisting of every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ across every denominational line. We need each other and there is no shame in that need.  We are made in His image, we need community,  to love and be loved. To know and be known! We were not meant to walk this road alone.  Thank you so much for prayer, it is precious and priceless!

epiphany or another delaying tactic…?

I really am going to read my bible before I go on Facebook and He’s already told me Ephesians 6  so that is where I will be going after this. I had to go get my readers and as I’m walking back an interesting thought occurred. One of the worst times in my life, certainly up to that point, was when Tim moved out on December 10th, 1999 and then returned home on March 1st, 2000. I could barely function, used up all my leave at work having to leave in the middle of the day because I couldn’t hold it together. It was me and my boys and Tim would visit here and there. It felt like someone had taken a rusty old fishing knife and sawed my midsection completely in two with only my spine holding me together. I know there are those who fully understand. My only survival was Jesus and He used that time to become very known to me. It was me and Him, One on one. I could barely sleep so I’d listen to WAVA 105.1 all hours of the day and night. I knew every program they had. If I managed to sleep I’d awaken with some song I hadn’t heard in ages running through my mind and then I learned about the Creator who does bring songs in the night. Day too! If I made it to 1:pm at work I’d take my break and go to my car to listen to New Life Live for 15 minutes. If I didn’t I heard the whole hour! I filled notebook after notebook with sermon notes after sermon notes. Much time was spent in our master bathroom because I couldn’t lose it with the Lord in front of the kids. They were messed up enough. I remember writhing in pain on the floor begging God to help me. I took on Satan in that bathroom one night and vowed to him he would not win and the greatest fear came over me after I said that and I had to remember that I have that authority over him in the name of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I’d pray and He would answer on the spot. One morning I was at a loss where to even go in the bible for solace and comfort, told Jesus that and said show me where to read and opened the bible. David and Saul were talking about the armor not fitting and I was like, “Lord…really?” Those wee soul-whispered words, “Keep reading.”

As I read through the account of David and Goliath it began to dawn on me what He was saying. If I trusted Him, He would give me the desires of my heart. I had to come to accept that I may not know the true desires of my heart and surrender to that. My faith in God was the power that would make my husband come home and be the husband and father he was meant to be, if that was His will. The whole world was telling me to get a lawyer and sock it to him but God said, “No. That is not my will here. Have faith in me and joy will come in the morning.” Tim flat out said I am not coming home ever. My pastor and counselor said, “I’ve never seen anyone come home after all that has happened.”

One Sunday as I returned from church, Tim pulled up behind me in the driveway. His first words were, “I am not coming back.” He never left again except for one night we spent together in his apartment.

About a year later, Tim was asked to help with the youth at church and then they said, “We meant both of you.” So I started coming to youth group thinking I had nothing for the kids and sort of was sitting back, helping with snacks. They went to go play their games and I was saying, “See, Lord, I’m not needed here.” I hadn’t sat there in my pity party 5 minutes before here comes this fella needing some soda and chips and we start talking. He sits down and we had an amazing conversation about many things he was struggling with in his world and I offered what I could and it was an amazing experience. It was also God saying, “Yes, My daughter, I can use you.” “Your broken pieces are what make you beautiful.” He just now said that to me, I feel so very loved at this moment in time. Tears are flowing down my face. There was a point to this story…hmmm…scrolling up…

That turned into an amazing journey with the youth at that church, who grew into young adults and many are actively serving Jesus to this day. We learned more and more right along side of them as we traveled to conferences and retreats and ministry training trips. I remember my first worship experience at Liberty University. I was floored because here were all these kids worshipping and jumping and dancing and praising God and no one was stoned or drunk or anything just amazingly excited about Jesus! (I was a Capitol Center teenager.) It was clean and good and joyful and exciting and I’d never seen anything like it. We served very actively there for about 6 years and then served at another church in the youth program for another 3 years. God took that broken period of time to put us to work for Him and He is still being glorified in it today. The work you do for Him is forever work, multiplying work.

The point being that our Father took that opportunity of brokenness and put me into an intense period of experiencing Him and learning about Him in ways that could never have happened but for that heartbreak, that excruciating get me to the next second pain. I’d be at work and have to be repeating scripture over and over in my mind just to hold it together.

As I fill my days today, trying to hold it together, seeking to understand all that has gone before and is happening now, I am again filling up notebook after notebook with sermon notes and notes from the tv.newlife.com segments. If I had had that back in the 80’s our life may look much different now. I wouldn’t know my Jesus like I do, though. He is again leading me to pursue knowledge, about Him and about this insidious situation we are in. We don’t know how or where it will lead but I know He will be glorified in it and I am excited about the future. Off to Ephesians 6!!!

Shame and hiding and hiding and shame…

I’m noticing a new possibly not healthy pattern emerging in my life…..

We are so committed to bringing our story public but it’s hard. It’s hard for me to do and I’m not even believing Tim is willing for it all to be out in the open. It took 32 years for him to openly confess anything with a pastor present. Now he is fine with me writing about it for the entire world to see? That is a pretty radical change and I’m praying it means that true healing will really happen and we won’t be going any further with an attorney than the quit claim. They say it will actually be a Special Warranty Claim but I haven’t researched the difference yet. Sorry for the tangent…

What I’m noticing is that I’ll write these posts and publish them and then I seem to be going into hiding after that, afraid of the response, the backlash, ashamed…shame is crippling. However…for over three decades I walked this road mostly alone with no one to tell. For much of it I didn’t even know I was being mistreated and believed I deserved it. Oh to have had a voice of reason, of sanity, to walk with me through this. Several are ideal because this is a wretched and draining path. Someone who had gone before and knows the pitfalls, knows what works and what doesn’t work. This has been a lonely road so if I have to go hide under the bed for three days after I share the next chapter in this ongoing journey with fellow sojourners, so be it. Exaggerating, our very high bed would indeed make an amazing hiding place but it is currently stuffed with boxes packed for moving.

Today I am recognizing this pattern and will be checking and responding to many facebook notifications, scary ones! I don’t know what they say! So with courage I will go read my bible, brush my teeth, take the dogs for a walk, feed them and ….go look at facebook…sometime today…

Praying for all of you out there on this broken road with me, begging you to return to favor!

Lord, let my words bless and not curse, speak life and not death, always. Let Your Spirit flow and comfort and forgive and correct and convict us all of everything that is not from You. Father, let me do no harm. I love You and thank You for loving me first, wretched human that I am, Your daughter who You cherish anyway, Sherry.

It just got really real…and unreal…

At Restore ( www.newlife.com, www.rlforwomen.com) I learned that I could request Tim to file a Quit Claim Deed that would release any claim he had on our home while still being legally obligated to the mortgage, as we both are. An addicts behavior can sometimes take a radical u turn that you never saw coming so this adds a bit of security to the situation. Tim has been and still is willing and now even wanting to get that done. He wants me to feel safe.

Things were going so well when I returned from Restore that it became what I thought was a moot point. As various destructive behaviors in this cycle keep re-emerging the need for the quit claim for me to feel safe has become imminent. Tim says he is completely on board and I believe him. He understands that he has a way to provide for himself but I would need to start again at the bottom and JC and Me might never come to fruition in that case. I had been leaving this ball in his court and the first appointment we canceled and then we forgot about the second. He made calls last week and it sounded like it was going to be really complicated so yesterday I called a lawyer to finally get this done.

They said it would be a free consultation to ascertain exactly what we needed and find out how to proceed, they had an opening at 2:00 could I make it? I told them Tim wouldn’t be able to make it by then and I got put on hold. When she came back she said that typically in these situations they don’t meet with both parties because if a separation and divorce follows they wouldn’t be able to represent either of us. Conflict of interest. Now this felt like the rubber hitting the road…is this where we are? Going and getting it done felt like the right thing to do, an empowering thing to do, so I took the appointment and went. I’m driving and thinking, “I’m about to go meet with ‘my’ potential divorce attorney, our marriage could end? The future might really be to go forth without him? I’m meeting with an attorney?!?! To protect myself from the man who is supposed to die for me if necessary?” Reality at times stinketh.

I got done there in time to catch a call from Tim who was headed to Wal-mart but had gotten a bunch of meat on sale and could I take it home so it wouldn’t be sitting in the truck? He meets me in the parking lot of my lawyers office and we kiss in greeting as always and say I love you as always and he hands off the meat and we head our separate ways to meet up at home shortly. This is simply surreal…