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.

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.