Alli’s Story, Part One

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 1make.  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.

2Everything 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, 3fear 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 4living.  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 5closer.  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

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Does Someone Like Me Deserve to Be Happy?

Does someone like me deserve to be happy?  It depends on who you ask.  To be honest, depending on my particular mood on any given day my answer to that question will change.

There are many who live by the “You’ve made your bed now you must lie in it” code.  I agree indexwith that statement to a point.  I believe there is nothing wrong with accepting the consequences of your actions.  It is something that all of us have to do. But are we destined to lie in that proverbial bed forever?

I sinned.  I admit that.  What I did was wrong and it hurt a lot of people.  There were consequences for my actions.  I accept that.  Do I have to live with those consequences for the rest of my life?  Yes.  So when is it okay for me to expect people to stop punishing me?

When we have accepted and are living with the consequences of our actions does that mean that we don’t deserve compassion when those consequences turn out to be hard ones to suffer and difficult to live with?  The bible tells us the answer to that question is no.

compassionWebster’s dictionary defines compassion as “sympathetic of others distress together with a desire to alleviate it”.  Based on that definition feeling or showing compassion to someone does not mean you are condoning their behavior.  That is something I wish I could make some of my old friends see.

There are days when I feel like Martin Luther.  I punish myself over and over and over again for the terrible things that I have done.  I feel like I am worthy of compassion from no one and especially not from God.  I feel like all of the people who believe I don’t deserve to be happy ever again are right.  Why should I be happy?  Why should I expect grace and mercy from all those out there who are staring down at me?  I shouldn’t.

Sometimes I tell myself that I don’t deserve a single blessing from God.  I deserve to not have a friend in the world.  I deserve every single terrible thing that anyone says about me.  I deserve every single bad thing that happens to me.

And then…….. I remember.

God has already forgiven me.  He has taken my sin and He has thrown it as far as the East is from the West.  I am the one throwing my sin up in my face continually because God forgcertainly doesn’t.

So what does that say for others who just won’t let my sin go?  I don’t know the answer to that.  I wonder if they can’t see my repentance.  One of my favorite quotes from Ray’s book is, “your repentance has to be more notorious than your sin”.  My sin was huge.  Has my repentance not been?

When you ask God for forgiveness and you move in the direction of doing your best to live a life of righteousness from that point forward, how do you show that to other people?  We can’t get a signed and notarized Letter of Forgiveness from God.  We don’t get a patch or a pin or a banner saying that we have been forgiven so what does it take?  I really wish I knew.

Living in social exile is not fun.  It is sad and it hurts.

CampbellJonahandthewhale147I am always looking for God’s hand in my situation.  It has just occurred to me to that maybe God has led me to this place so that I might get closer to him.  Instead of grieving the loss of the people in my life who have turned their backs on me I should be rejoicing in the relationship that my Father is trying to have with me.

When God pins you down in the belly of a fish it sends a pretty strong message.  If you have read the book of Jonah you will know what I am saying.  God will use whatever means necessary to get our attention.  Thank goodness He chose to pursue me and not forsake me.  I also thank God for using my husband, Ray and his sermon on Jonah this week to deliver this message to me.

Losing My Pastor

That bad first experience paved the way to what I never realized wouldlong road be a long road to finding just the right place to worship.  Aside from the fact that I fell in love with my pastor and had an affair with him, I truly have never met his match in the pulpit.

Not to slight my current pastor or the one that I had before we moved to the church we belong to now.  Those men are both incredible and gifted pastors.  They both hold a special place in my heart.  I am thankful that God has allowed me and still allows me to have those men in my life.

Long before I had feelings for Ray I fear I may have actually idolized him.  In fact, I know I did.  So much so that every pastor I’ve heard preach since then just can’t quite reach me the way that he did.

preacherIdolization is the number one thing we can do to destroy someone’s perfect image.  Anyone that we idolize will disappoint us eventually because we set an impossible expectation for them.  Ray actually wrote about that in his book.

Losing Ray as my pastor has been one of the hardest things to overcome throughout this whole process.  I was saved and baptized when I was a teenager but everything I really know about what I believe I learned from Ray.

I’m sure most people never think about this but when they lost their pastor I lost mine as well.  Now when I look to him to answer my thoughtfulnever ending questions about all of the things I don’t understand, he graciously answers me but as my husband and not my pastor.  The relationship is different.

I am thankful for the realtionship we have.  I prayed for many years for a godly husband.  A husband who would lead me in the right direction when I felt lost or found myself led astray.  I never imagined God would give me all of those things through Ray but he has.

Lisa’s Story, Part Two

This is part two of Lisa’s story. Please read part one before continuing. All names have been changed but this story is very real.

When Pastor Dave found out about the note (because Jack told him) he became ballistic. He made us come and meet with him immediately. It was imagesnot a private meeting. Two others from the staff met us there in a neutral place. It was like me against THREE others. It was awful.

Jed was still reeling from the hurt of the betrayal from me – and actually bought into a little of what our pastor was saying – when he said I was sick – like I had cancer. And didn’t I know any better? He underlined everything I wrote in the note that I had written IN FRONT OF MY HUSBAND and accused me of flirting and still wanting the relationship.

It was awful. It was sabotage in it’s truest form and I will never forget how his huge form became even larger and his face seemed to turn green in his rage – like an alien creature. I sat numb – did not cry – which I know now made him even angrier. He was trying to break me.

imagesCAXGVD93He threw scripture verses at me, I think “create in me a clean heart” was thrown in there. Meanwhile I was suffering from separation anxiety from my friend and brother. Couldn’t understand why he sided with our pastor and would not tell me why he did what he did and then went into hiding.

I did get an answer to our note that evening by Jack. But with Pastor Dave looking over his shoulder writing it – it was not written like Jack. Gone was the easy “give and take” and cheerful lighthearted banter. Totally gone. I was blamed for everything. It was stiff and condescending in its tone.

In the months and years to follow I have heard from Jack a few times. Once when he wanted validation for feeling bad (told me he cried for months) – and to tell me that he was okay – never asking if I was (after what he pulled on me). Another time to open communication up and forgive and forget – only to shut it down again.

When questioned he became agitated and accusatory – again blaming me – untitledtelling me I must not be “over it” and telling me how inappropriate the whole relationship was – I mean “it was you who wanted to leave your husband and had thoughts for me”. I had never said that. I had leaned on him pretty heavy and told him I had doubts and thoughts about my life – and that I wish things were different – but never said what he accused me of saying.

Ugh. It’s hard to write this and remember it. In fact I know I’m leaving out many details – but you get the general idea. Why did he turn me in? Turn everything around? When I had ended it? I will never know.

One female counselor that I saw only one time really helped me. She validated me. She herself had been involved in a physical affair years before and she knew what I was feeling – even though mine was emotional. She believed the pain and hurt from anything emotional is even worse.

imagesCALLYE2OWhen I shared my story with her she did not condemn me. She gave me healing words of love and validation. She told me I was not crazy – even though my pastor and this man had made me feel like I was. She told me that Jack must really have loved me. I don’t know why – but I needed to hear it.

It was truth that everyone else who knew our situation were afraid to say. She said, “they will never tell you the truth because they are afraid it will perpetuate the emotions and drive you right into his arms. But it doesn’t, does it?’ No it didn’t. All I felt was terrible overwhelming sadness. And I missed my friend.

What would have helped me? If my pastor would have been able to see through this. To validate that we are all human and this can happen to anyone given the right circumstances. To have been able to see a troubled man scarred from a bad relationship and that he was very responsible for much of the drama and communication.

I felt scarred for so long after this. He also should have said, “hey we’re all cindy7sinners and capable of great mistakes”. To tell me that I was not totally to blame – that I made bad choices and should not have trusted so much but that it’s not the end of the world and can be fixed.

He made me feel dirty and small. He wanted my facebook account closed. I felt like I had people spying on everything I said and who I talked to. I was afraid to talk to anyone of the opposite sex – fearing they would think anything I was saying or doing was inappropriate. Jed said that was going a little too far and never supported him in this. And no, I never stopped talking with people and finding those who also had a story to tell.

I started writing a blog and found many who could relate with my “general” state of mind – and many took a journey of healing with me back then even though I never mentioned any specifics or named any names. My facebook account was never closed.

imagesCAMS06H4I am happy to report that in spite of these very sad events I am well and happy today. My marriage is stronger and better. Jed showed me incredible grace during this time. He has come to see that our pastor was wrong to jump to the conclusions he did. We are no longer associated with that church or pastor.

He has come to understand what drove me to seek the attentions of another man – even though I did not look for it. He sees how easy it was for me to be flattered by the attention and even feel powerful for helping someone. It has taken this long path and these sad circumstances in order to help our rather dry and emotionally dead marriage and to WAKE US UP out of our slumber and complacency.

If any of you are involved or have been in an emotional relationship with someone – here is what I would tell you:

1. You are valuable.
2. You are not a bad person for wanting connection with someone who really understands you
3. Just remember those feelings of validation and connection can seem “heightened” when it is done in “secret”. I am sure that my friendship would not have crossed into inappropriate feelings (and I had plenty) if those around me did not disapprove so much – even forbid it.
4. The feeling of “you and me against the world” can actually make the relationship seem like it is something that it is not.
5. Create ways to make the relationship with your spouse “fun” and playful.
6. Go back to the time when things were in their early stages with your spouse. What did you like – what were you drawn to about them?
7. Ask yourself, “Would my spouse ever find emotional connection with someone else because I’m not emotionally available for them”?
8. Be that person you are seeking.
9. Forgive yourself.
10. Forgive others.

Here’s something else you can do. Mourn the sadness and loss and then move on to new challenges and things that excite you.

Talk with your spouse about your plans, thoughts, dreams and fears.

You may be surprised what you find – right within your own marriage.

Find people you trust and talk things through with them. Don’t isolate yourself and feel like no one understands. You are not alone – and there are plenty of us that do understand and have been there and lived to talk about it.

Get involved with helping others who are not as far along on the journey of sadness, betrayal and loss. This may be just what you are created to do. Be an inspiration and blessing to others.

How can you help someone involved or vulnerable to emotional relationships?

1. Validate them
2. Don’t shut them down when they try to talk and express themselves
3. Try to create an atmosphere of safety
4. Remain constant and steady
5. Quickly diffuse a volatile situation by being accepting of friendships your spouse may have with the opposite sex
6. Don’t shut down conversations because you’re jealous and threatened (remember things heightened and got to a crazy place because Jack and I both felt the disapproval to our “friendship”)
7. Keep asking questions and stay tuned in
8. Do you understand how your spouse likes to communicate? Ask and get involved!
9. Remain calm when things look and feel scary to you
10. Be that person your spouse wants to talk to – don’t let someone get the job!

I will always miss Jack and be forever grateful for what he added to my life. He helped me open up and address some deep dark things in my past and in my present life that I didn’t want to talk about. Because of him I was able to clearly get an understanding of what I needed to do to stay healthy – NOT STUFF.

I am not happy how he chose to “throw me under the bus” when he got hurt – but clearly my marriage and my life are in so much better a place because of him. So Jack – I bless you. I miss your friendship and what you taught me. I wish you well. A part of me will always love you.

If you need someone to talk to – I have been there and I would love to talk to you and it can be arranged through Allison and Ray just let them know and they will make sure I get your message.

Blessings!

Lisa

Lisa’s Story, Part One

This is a guest blog written by my friend, “Lisa“.  I think you will enjoy reading her story.  I appreciate her willingness to share.

The names and some of the circumstances are changed to protect those in my life and help me maintain my anoynominity – but the events are true.

I write this to help those that feel alone. I want to help those who have been in an emotional affair – or who are presently involved in one. I also hope to encourage and give insight to those who have a spouse involved in one.

My name is Lisa. I felt alone. I had no one to talk to. These things happened almost 5 years ago. I am learning to go on with life in a “normal” way – but it has been a long journey.

My husband of 28 years, Jed and I were on staff at a large church in Colorado. I was in business for myself and worked from home.

I became reacquainted with a man, recently divorced with a small son. He fbattended our church and I knew him casually. One day he “friended” me on facebook and began a long conversation with me online. Jack was very eager to chat and because he was 10 years younger I did not see the harm. I actually seemed to “lift” his spirits. He confided in me about his divorce and looked up to both Jed and me. We had “spiritual” conversations sharing the same beliefs – talking about everything under the sun.

When I first started talking with Jack there were some ‘cyber bullies’ online and they made me feel small and stupid by their remarks on a facebook page. Jack was right there protecting me from them adding comments in my defense. I thought it was so sweet of him to “rescue” me.

He made me laugh out loud with some of the absurdities of people and life in general. He even created a page on facebook and made me a partner. Again it was harmless fun and it made me laugh because he was witty and made me feel alive.

As time went by – he and his son would visit our home and we would have fun conversations in person too – but always connected again online. He could cindy8also be difficult and demanding – something that I noticed from time to time – but just ignored it. After all – I was helping him, right? I remember a cold chill coming over me a couple of times when I recalled what I had confided in him – but he seemed so safe and steady – really “spiritual” and I saw no real harm in telling him some of my feelings. He made me feel like I could say anything and that it would be okay. He even gave great advice – and from a man divorced it had much more weight.

When we would argue – which was often – it was exciting and new. My own husband had never argued and challenged me. He had always been safe and non confrontational. It was slowly lulling me to sleep. I began to question whether I had ever loved Jed. Did I settle for something safe and bland? Did he really understand me like Jack? At the time it didn’t seem like it. Jed always shut me down when I became too “emotional” and “irrational” – and Jack encouraged me to be myself and say anything I wanted.

I was unhappy with the ministry and my life in it. I saw the years stretching cindy9out in front on me and I didn’t like what I saw. Jack was making me feel younger and alive. And I was enjoying it. So many people in my life, starting with my parents had always tried to control me and make me settle down – not get so excited and not be so “self indulgent” so I learned to stuff everything. Even in my marriage. There were things I could never say to Jed and I found myself telling Jack everything. How could he know me so well when I had only known him for a few months?

But it felt secretive –though part of me loved the thrill of it. And my feelings were scary – how could I feel happy and yet so sad at the same time? One time after a particularly intense debate I tried to walk away and say that it wasn’t good for us to be friends anymore – I think I said something like, “I can’t help you” or something like that. He didn’t like it and I felt his grasp on me intensify. The emotions I was feeling was so confusing. Did I love him? Yes. I believed I did. But he also scared me.

There was one time when I went to bed after one of our long conversations online that I thought, “what would happen if I told Jack we couldn’t be cindy10friends anymore?” – and I knew it would not be good. Jack had shown me a side to his personality that was dark and scary. I did not know what he was capable of – and yet I was addicted to the “high” of the feeling too. It was very confusing. He was the nicest guy normally – very shy and unassuming. How could he be both?

Finally things came to a head for us as Jed began to suspect more than just a casual “friendship” going on. Oh he knew that we talked and were good friends – again because of the age difference he didn’t worry about anything either. I had even tried to talk to him more about my feelings of self doubt and unhappiness in ministry and with the way things were as Jack had encouraged me to do – but he was not ready to hear it.

Then there was the day that changed everything for me forever. It was a day like any other. The night before Jack and his son were over at our house playing games and watching TV. Jed began to question me on my “friendship” with Jack. As he began to ask he became increasingly agitated. I had never seen him this way before and it honestly surprised me and scared me a little too! Again – I felt justified in having a friend that would listen – never dreaming I was so in over my head. But I was.

So – hard as it was – I called Jack and told him how upset Jed was – and that I couldn’t talk to him anymore. It was a tough conversation and I was very emotional. Jack was quiet but seemed to take it well – like we both knew that the rest of the world was not going to take kindly to us being friends – especially close friends who were kindred spirits. Ah, such is life – cut your losses, hard as it is and move on.

That would have been fine – sad, but fine IF that were the end to the story. But it was not. A few hours later Jed received a phone call from our pastor the same man who was also my husband’s boss. He told Jed that he had just had a visit from Jack. My heart stopped. I never in a million years expected that Jack would go to our PASTOR and tell him what he did. He confessed to having an “inappropriate affair” with me.

He and our pastor called it an “emotional affair” – the first time I had ever cindy3heard that term. Isn’t an affair supposed to be about sex? Ours was NOT. Not even close. I was not even physically attracted to Jack – so it seemed ridiculous to me. It was like the rug was pulled out from me. Where was the friend who was supposed to protect and have my back? The one I just knew would never betray me?

Jed and I were called in to talk to pastor Dave. Dave is a big man – but seemed even bigger to me during that meeting. He did NOT understand. It was then that I learned that Jack had actually made copies of all our conversations. You know the ones where I felt “safe”? I said WAY TOO MUCH I should not have. It’s embarrassing to me – even almost 5 years later.

Things were conveniently left out of those emails – and my remarks and confessions seemed even more provocative. Not only did pastor Dave share those with Jed – but also made copies and everyone on the board got a copy too! Talk about humiliating. My husband was hurt – I was in disbelief and reeling from the loss and betrayal of a good friend.

Pastor Dave was not a counselor and should not have said some of the things imagesCAZD4XXGhe said. He took Jack’s side and was convinced that I was sinful and sick and needed to be in counseling right away. It was planned that both Jed and I would go to a place in up state New York for a week of “marriage counseling”.

I did not want to go and fought it – but Jed would have lost his position at the church if I did not cooperate. We were set to go about 4 weeks later. Before we went – at the end of June – even though Jack had sent me a text saying that he would leave the church – Jed and I decided to turn in our resignation. Pastor Dave only wanted us back if we were healthy. Healthy? What is that?

Before we were slated to go on our counseling trip – Jed and I had hours and HOURS to really talk and reconnect again. We did more talking in that couple of weeks than we had done in 28 years before that!

We did a few counseling sessions locally too at the insistence of Pastor Dave. At first it was hard to reconnect – our patterns were pretty well established. But we got used to a “new normal” and we explored the reasons why I was drawn to Jack and that connection that we had.

Because of all of talking – we both decided to write a note to Jack. We wrote itimagesCA1H8U8U together. Pastor Dave had demanded NO CONTACT with him – but Jack had contacted me through text and then gone on this strange “silent treatment” everything from facebook to email.

We knew it was because of what Pastor Dave had told him – and not his idea. He simply was not that kind of person – and we were anxious to forgive and forget – let God heal the hurt and all be friends again. I was anxious to know why he had done what he did – and was ready even then to forgive him for doing something when obviously he was in turmoil and so much pain.

_______________

Please stay tuned for part two of Lisa’s story tomorrow.

Call for Stories of Fallen Women

For those of you who have been following my story there will be more to imagesCAP715PFcome.  Soon I will be taking a brief pause to share another story.  This past week I have been contacted by more than one person telling me how brave I am and that they are proud of me for sharing my story.  Those people will never know how their messages touched me.  Hopefully they will read this post.

I want them to know that each of them is special to me and that I love them from the bottom of my heart.  They are a sweet and special blessing in my life and I am thankful to God for allowing me to know them.  Whether they realized it or not what they were ministering to my heart.

My response to some of those messages triggered something.  Those people saw me as brave?  I don’t consider myself brave at all.  Then I realized that because I am covered by God’s forgiveness, love, grace and mercy I am suited with the armor of God.  With his protection I can do anything.

God used those women as tools to do his good work.  He used  them to send me a message of encouragment so that I might use that encouragment to help empower other women to share thier stories too.  So that I might reach just imagesCA3N0QJEthe right person at just the right time.

The purpose of my blog in the beginning was to simply tell my story.  God has given my husband an amazing ministry for fallen men.  Every day he is contacted by men who have fallen or are about to fall, the wives of those men, their deacons or other church leaders and members but very seldom does he get contacted by the “other woman“.

I have said from the beginning that there are hundreds of those women out there.  Who do they look to to identify withor to talk?  Adultery is not a stranger to our generation.  Everyone knows someone who has done it.  But when you have committed adultery with a pastor you are in a unique situation.

Don’t hear me discounting the significance of adultery no matter what the situation may be.  And please don’t hear me dismissing the signifigance of the impact those affairs cause in the “other women’s” life.  I am reaching out to them as well.

Every story is unique.  Every journey is different.  I have talked to other women who have crossed the moral line just as I have but they have a different story to tell.  In order to help as many women as possible I feel it is imagesCAN68SI1important to share those stories.  If you don’t identify with me, I hope to find someone you can identify with.

I have made some sweet and special friends through this process that I may have never had the chance to know had I not fallen in love with my husband.  I have reached out to some of those women and have asked a few of them to bear their souls for the cause of my mission.  In my next post I will be sharing one of their stories.

Thank you to those of you who are reading my blog and supporting my ministry.  I give God all the glory for the blessing it has been.

The Woman at the Well

As time went on things got better.  There were ups and downs for both of us but overall it got better than it had been.  Our social lives were changed forever.  The way we would be viewed by those we knew was irreversibly altered.

The close friends I had before aren’t my friends anymore.  They say hello and are able to be kind but that is about the extent of it.  We see each other at the obligatory kid’s parties and are able to smile and say hello.  That is pretty much it.

Some of the friends I lost were lost because they chose sides.  In most of the situations like ours lovehateeveryone has to have someone to “love” and someone to “hate”.  I was the one they chose not to love.  For a long time I felt like I deserved it.  I didn’t expect anyone to want to be around me after what I had done.

After I had found redemption I started to wonder why they didn’t like me anymore.  I started to ask myself what it was about me that they no longer found appealing.  Were they scared my sin would rub off on them?  Were they afraid that by being kind to me they were condoning my behavior?  Could they not see that I was the same person I had been before only now I was a little more broken?

You know those Thirty-one and Pampered Chef parties that you loathe getting showeran invitation to sometimes but you go out of obligation because you know you “need” to go?  Or maybe those baby showers and bridal teas that you look forward to are really excited to attend?   I am the one who doesn’t get invited to those anymore.

Sometimes it hurts my feelings.  Sometimes it makes me cry.  And sometimes I just shrug it off and go on.  I don’t always think it is because they don’t like me anymore.  Some of those people are just as nice as can be when I see them at Kroger one on one.  But I think they may be afraid that including me would be socially unacceptable.  It’s like they don’t know if they are allowed to be nice to me or not.

Don’t hear me saying, “Please, feel sorry for me.”  I did what I did and I knew there would be consequences.  I regret damaging so many of my  relationships.  I really, really do.  But  there is nothing I can do about it now.  One of my favorite quotes from Ray’s book came from one of the fallen man he was interviewing.  “You can’t unscramble the egg.”  Boy, was he right!  I feel sorry for those who haven’t gotten to where I am yet.

I am telling all of this to hopefully help anyone who has found themselves sad3either in this situation so that I can lend them support and they can see they are not alone OR to those who may be heading to the place where I have been.  I hope to paint a clear picture of the damage that their potential sin might do.  And I hope to deter them from going there at all.

I should add that there are one or two people who are the same to me as they were before.  I count them as a true blessing.  They are people who truly know how to show God’s love.

I have a special place in my heart for the story of the woman at the well (John 4).  She was a Samaritan woman who was asked by Jesus to serve him a drink of water from Jacob’s well.  The interaction between she and Jesus is significant and powerful and if you haven’t read the story I encourage you to do so.

What is special to me about the story is the way I identify with this woman.  She was at the well around 12 noon.  That would have been the time of day when the sun was scorching the earth.  All other women came to the well in the early morning hours or late evening to avoid the heat.  So why was this woman there in the middle of the day?

womanShe was there at that time because she was an outcast and preferred to go at that hour, alone, rather than facing the mockery of the gaggling women who would be looking down on her.  You see, she was a woman who had taken many husbands and was living in sin with a man to whom she was not married.  This disqualified her from anything close to a dignified existence.

She would find some purpose and redemption when Jesus gave her a message.   She ran to tell everyone she knew.  John 4:29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.  Could this be the Messiah?”  She bore witness to those people and after hearing her testimony and going to see him with their own eyes, many people were saved.

She still was able to do God’s work and share the love of Christ even though she had led a life of sin.  One of my favorite things to say is that God doesn’t only use us in spite of our sin, he sometimes uses us because of our sin.  I know without a doubt that God’s plan for me was not to commit adultery.  I did that on my own.  However I do believe that because I sinned and then received grace and mercy from my Savior that I am now being used as a tool for His good work.

Had that Samaritan woman been a good, upstanding, righteous citizen of Samaria she wouldn’t have been at the well in the middle of the day when Jesus was.  Her circumstance put her in a divinely designed situation.  As the wife of a fallen pastor and once having been the “other woman.” I am often finding myself in circumstances that put me into the same type of divinely designed situations.

If it weren’t for what I have been through I wouldn’t be able to minister to grace2other women like me.  If I had never been extended the grace and mercy that I received from God I believe I would be almost incapable of extending that kind of love to others.  It’s about walking a mile in that person’s shoes.  Until you have done it it is hard to know where they are.