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 ‘Allie’ 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.”
(Continued from Allie’s Story, Part Two)
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.
I found out I was pregnant. I had gone nine long years thinking I was unable to bear children, and yet the nurse confirmed my suspicion with a phone call. Now what? I would lose everything. My ministry, friends, marriage, home and all the other things that made life comfortable. What was everyone going to think? Would the stress alone cause me to miscarry and lose this child that for some reason God chose to give me in the midst of my sin? That was it. Adam and I decided to leave our spouses and join together to raise this baby. We could make this work. Days passed and I felt sick, hormonal and my moods were all over the page.
Adam and I came to the conclusion one evening that we could not ignore the fact that both of our spouses wanted us back and wanted to seek reconciliation and in God’s eyes that was the only answer. I packed my bags and agreed to go home…to my husband. He packed his bags and agreed to head to Arizona with his wife and kids to go to intense counseling. When I heard that he had left. it felt final. I knew it was the right thing, but I was so upset. I was devastated for myself and for this child. For the selfish decisions that put us in this predicament.
I did go back home. I was open to restoration and working to earn back trust that had been so brutally broken. I knew God could restore my feelings for this man…but I did not want Him to. I had fallen out of love and now was carrying a child that was not his. It would affect the rest of our lives and our interaction with his family and friends. A lot of forgiveness would have to take place and I saw, and truly believed, it would be impossible.
After some setbacks I decided I could not do it. I packed my bags and resorted to being a single mom. I would do whatever I could to give this a child a good life and make up for the bad choices I had made. I filed for divorce. The process of our divorce was rough at first but as details smoothed out, it ended as well as it could have. Our process did not take up many lawyer fees, and we never entered a court room. My ex-husband chose to forgive me and to pray for my future. He never wanted me to have a ‘bad life’ but prayed God would use this in my life to somehow bring Him glory. What were ashes could be turned into something beautiful, and in the midst of his pain, I knew he sincerely wished me the best and wanted me to find true happiness, first in my relationship with God and also in life.
In the midst of this all taking place, I found out that Adam had made a decision. He came to a point that he felt that he and his wife could not restore the brokenness in their marriage and made his way back to Texas. He was filing for divorce and would pay dearly for doing so. His children had a difficult time with all the changes and things got extremely hard. Adam tried his best to be there for the kids as he could and as he was allowed to.
In the midst of these things going on, I was hitting the third trimester in my pregnancy and we had some decisions to make. How would he be involved? Would we pursue each other or figure out how to parent this child separately as friends. It was never easy, and I would never want to go through it again. The pain, guilt, and depression were overwhelming at times. Even if I felt I was doing the right thing, my thoughts were in the wrong place. The outward didn’t always match the inward. June arrived, and we welcomed into the world a beautiful baby boy. Our lives were changed forever. Bringing a new life into the world always changes things.
We found friendship in some people, others kept their distance. Others had written us off with the feeling that we were no longer heaven bound. But God wasn’t done yet. He never is. Adam did what he could to be there for all of his children, and I was so thankful for his presence as Bryson’s dad those first months.
Then it hit me one day…I was in love with this man. Should I be? Probably not. Would we ever be able to make it work? Some have placed bets. Could God take something so ugly and make it into something that He could work with? Maybe. We had so many questions and doubts. Nothing was clear. People had opinions and others just seemed glad to not be in our situation. But I was finally a mom. Everything changed that year.
Throughout my pregnancy, because of the drama and all the hurt my sin had caused, I would never be the same again. I always knew God’s grace was sufficient…but for a ‘good ol’ Baptist girl…I didn’t need as much grace as others. Right? WRONG! God taught me the extent of his grace. Grace in a little boy that has brought me more joy in life than I can ever even begin to describe. Adam and I got married. He has brought much joy and happiness to my life when I thought I would never be able to have those feelings again. Adam is a joy not because he works hard to do it (which he does), but because we have found forgiveness and our eyes have been opened to the things that can damage a marriage. Things that seem so trivial and so insignificant but can lead to destruction.
Is our marriage safeguarded? Absolutely. Have we worked to pinpoint our issues in our previous marriages? You bet. Were we at fault outside of the affair for the destruction of our first marriages? Without a doubt. Did God love us through it all? He never stopped. God’s grace is sufficient. Not just in areas that are convenient for us. But in areas of our life that He shouldn’t extend grace. Areas that He has every right to give up. Those things in our lives that are so farfetched that He should be at a loss. But God is never at that point. He shelters us in His wings and extends mercy that we do not deserve. That is what mercy is. It isn’t for the ‘little’ sins or for those that don’t seem as ginormous. All sin is ugly to Him. As Jesus died for the sins of the world it included sins of bitterness, hate, murder, lies, adultery, selfish motives, gossip and self-righteous acts.
In losing everything, I found so much more. God and His unconditional love. Without it, there would be no reason to live. No reason to keep trying. No reason to pursue holiness. Even now I live with holes in my heart that were caused by sin…praise God they are on the road to healing. In my weakness I failed. I failed miserably. But God has lifted me out of that deep pit and restored to me the joy of my salvation. Now having a larger view of what He has saved me from. His grace is greater than mine and Adam’s sins. His grace is overwhelming. His grace is undeserved. I am awestruck that He even chooses to extend it to a sinner such as I. His mercies are new every morning. I see it in my husband’s prayers before he heads off to work, in the smile of my little boy as he eagerly awaits me to pick him up out of his crib to start a new day, I see it in my life, my home and all that He has given me in spite of my undeserving self.
I have fallen in love…with the One who loves me not because of what I do or don’t do…but because He just does. Not because of what I can or cannot offer Him. Because of what He has to offer me. He doesn’t need me, He wants me. That is reason enough to wake up each morning…that is enough to give me the strength to press on. But only in His strength. Mine has failed because what I thought to be strength was absolute weakness. Through the storms of my life, I have found my anchor and I cannot afford to ever let go again.