What you are about to read is not an account written by myself, Allison Carroll (fallenpastorswife), but one written by another fallen woman who God has connected me with throughout my journey. Her name just happens to be Allison too. She has many people who refer to her as ‘Alli’ and I chose to as well, hoping to avoid any confusion. I am grateful for her willingness to share. To learn more about Allie, you can visit her blog, “Life in the Ripples.”
Alli’s Story, Part One
WARNING: My story is not intended to give a green light to having an affair, divorcing your spouse, or doing as you please because ‘God forgives’. Our story doesn’t end with a ‘happily ever after’. We are daily living out consequences from our sin. Precious little innocent lives were affected and we cannot undo what has been done. We hurt many people and most of all, sinned against God. Though we choose not to wallow in our past and allow it to define us for the rest of our journey on this earth; it has forever tainted our integrity and how others view us. We are open with our children that we have made bad choices, and we are open with our children that God has forgiven us. We will forever live in the ripples of our past choices…God’s grace alone is sufficient. It always is.
This is my life. A life I never thought would be mine. A life seemingly now defined by choices I never thought I would make. I was raised in a relatively small Baptist church and was brought up in the teachings of God’s Word. I enjoyed learning about God, had a huge heart for the elderly in our congregation, and felt like an ‘overall good Christian girl’.
Yet here I am, happily married to a wonderful man with a precious baby boy, as well as two of the sweetest step-children. We do not have a glamorous story, and I honestly cringe when asked how my husband and I met. Our story consists of bad choices, broken relationships, isolation, and sin…ugly sin.
I married my first husband straight out of high school. He was five years older than me, and I thought things would be great. He was a great guy who was responsible and dependable. We were married for eleven years.
During those years, I knew God had called me to ministry, and not just any ministry. I had the absolute privilege of working with children. What started out as a part time job became everything to me. I had a passion so deep that I lived and breathed Children’s Ministry. I loved teaching, leading in worship, and guiding children to that moment they realized life is not all about them. I loved planning programs and aligning all we did to our vision for the church and their families. I loved the church I worked with, loved the parents, kids, and all the interaction with others who shared my passion. I had huge visions that made life worth living.
Everything was great…that is except my home life. I had put so much work into my passion for kids that my marriage was no longer where it needed to be, and I honestly thought it would be okay. We could just live our own lives and things would work themselves out. I invested in friendships outside of my husband, many of which were male friendships. I had very little female interaction throughout my week and never once gave it a second thought. It seems I could justify everything because I was happy in every other area of my life. I loved church, the families that attended, and my friendships. I just didn’t feel like I loved or liked my spouse any more. It was a heart issue for me, and I can honestly say that my ex-husband never realized how bad I thought things were.
I was able to go on like this for so long that I just buried it. It was easy to make my life look any way I wanted depending on the company I was in and my mood for the day. I was comfortable and knew that sharing too much of how I really felt would make me uncomfortable. Who wants to be uncomfortable?
My first husband and I lived separate lives. We had separate friends, schedules, checking accounts, and views on life. I enjoyed hanging out with my own friends and chasing after whatever passion had a hold of me that day. There were many ups and downs. My first husband adored me, loved me and would have done whatever he could for me…even if it meant going into debt. I was selfish, greedy and prideful. I had no desire to attain to the Proverbs 31 picture of a wife. With me it was all or nothing, and I knew that I would never attain to all of it. I invested my time, energy, thoughts and passions into everything else except for my marriage. We drifted apart. Worlds apart. I left my heart unguarded and was never the same again.
I had struggled with infertility for nine years, and it had been a roller coaster of emotions. Depression, anxiety, worry, fear and self-pity gripped me in a way I was blind to. Month after month was one failure after another, and my dreams of motherhood were broken. People that knew me well knew I was bitter…knew I was frustrated and hurt. I took all my pain, frustration, and hurts and instead of presenting them to God, slandered them to anyone that would hear my complaints about my predicament. Why me? Part of my job was supposed to be visiting mothers in the hospital that had just given birth. I chose not to go to so many of those visits because I was so wrapped up in my hurt and bitterness that the very thought of walking into a maternity ward made me nauseous.
All of this led to a slow fade. A slow descent into a pit I would not wish on my worst enemy. I opened up my heart. Not to a girlfriend I trusted. To a man I worked with. A man that listened to me and cared about my hurts and fears. A man I had been in ministry with for over five years and even became part of his family. I was Aunt Alli to his kids. I loved my friendship with his wife. She and I enjoyed each other’s company when we could find time to catch up with all that was going on in life. I loved her mothering, her creativity and purposeful living. I admired their family. He was a great father every time I saw him with his kids and they were the perfect team. At least to the naked eye. That’s the problem with sin. It happens to us all, and then we feel we cannot be real, we cannot share our times in the pit and figure that we can act like it isn’t a pit at all in front of others. We begin to think it isn’t really as deep a pit as others. If there is ground beneath our feet, we could be lower than we are. So we believe we can keep things together and just get through our days. If we can take one good day at a time, we can take one bad day at a time.
Adam and I became close friends. He made me laugh, my husband didn’t. He noticed things about me that my husband hadn’t noticed in years. He loved leading worship, I loved leading with him. I began the comparison game…which never ends well. I opened my heart to the possibility that I had made a poor choice at much too young an age in choosing God’s man for me and was no longer in a spot to admit it to anyone or ask for help. Adam and I got closer. Nothing physical, but we enjoyed hanging out and being around each other. I enjoyed his company more than my own husbands. So many warning signs along the way, and I saw them, but chose to look the other way. I was happier this way. Adam and I then got closer. It was no longer about friendship but we added in flirting and making jokes that we should have never made with each other. We spiraled into an affair.
I was happy again…at least during the moments. Then the time came for him to go home to his family and me to go home to mine. That was never easy. I had broken my commitment to my spouse, to the family and friends who witnessed our vows and to God who saw us as one flesh. I had messed up and could not fix what had happened. Then the time came to figure out where it was going. Were we just a fling? Did we want to just leave our spouses and be together? Would that ever work? Would we lose our salvation and spend eternity in hell if we pursued what we knew to be wrong? Then things got worse…
Continue reading by clicking Alli’s Story, Part Two