Three Little Words

When someone you have wronged forgives you, how do you know?  Most sorry3likely they will tell you won’t they?  Even if they don’t say the words you just know it right?  The answer to those two questions is… Maybe.

How many times a day to you utter the phrase “I am sorry”?  It is a very common part of my daily vocabulary.  Though sincere as I am when I use it it is probably not really necessary 90 percent of the time.

sorry2When I have wronged someone or caused them hurt or pain it is very important to me to apologize to them.  While I will use the phrase “I am sorry” my apology will also be filled with any number of things I can think of to right the wrong I have done to them.  I know that just because I apologize to them doesn’t mean they will forgive me but I’ll be honest… I always want to hear them say they do.

And why is it that saying “I am sorry” seems so insufficient a thing for us to say as the offender but when you are the one waiting to hear those words they can make the difference between knowing you are loved or believing you are hated.

The three little words “I am sorry” are very important when they need to forgive5be said.  But there are three other words that can have more impact than the apology and they are  “I forgive you”.

What if you give someone an apology and they don’t say those three little words?  What if they leave you to wonder whether or not your apology had an impact on them.  Even hearing anger and hurt from them is better than nothing at all… Isn’t it?

Have you ever apologized to someone only to hear them say, “Well, we all make mistakes”………… and that’s it?  One of my favorites is,  “I forgot about that a long time ago.  No need to apologize now”.

forgive4If I am trying to apologize to someone it means I believe I have hurt them and I would whole-heartedly like to make amends.  Is it too much to expect the apology to mean as much to them as it does to me?  Is it too much for me to expect for them to accept my apology?  These are good questions to be pondered.

My daughter Leslie is so sweet.  Any time she thinks she owes me an apology she will say the sweetest little “I’m sorry, Mommy…”  after which sorry4she will say, “Will you forgive me?”  It is human nature.  We all have that need to not only hear an “I am sorry” when we have been hurt but we also have a need to hear an “I forgive you” when we mess up.

Matthew 6:14 & 15 says  For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses(English Standard Version) 

I believe it is unrealistic to think that God  expects us to forgive right away.  Some things are easier to forgive than others.  God knows that when our hearts are deeply wounded it is not easy to forgive.  He made each of us.  We are human.  We are flawed.  If we weren’t there would be no need for forgiveness because there would be nothing to apologize for.

forgive2I believe what this passage means is that we are to constantly work towards forgiveness.  I believe it means that as long as we are working towards forgiving heart and understanding in the matter we are allowed to give ourselves time to heal.

If we say the words, “I forgive you” to someone but we are still hanging on to a grudge in our hearts that is not true forgiveness.  We can however say to that person, “I am not there yet but I am working on having a forgiving heart towards you.  Please be patient with me.”

I think that is as fair as anyone could expect you to be.  Demanding sorry1forgiveness from someone after you have apologized is not okay.  Anyone who demands forgiveness from you probably really isn’t very sorry.

On the flip side of that they do have the right to confront you about the sincerity of your forgiveness if you tell them you forgive them and then continue to hold their wrongdoing over their heads.

Forgive and forget then?  In some cases I would say yes but not always.  I don’t believe God wants us to forget everything but he doesn’t want someones past mistakes to influence the way we trust or view them in the future.  Maybe He wants us to remember some of those things because later we may need compassion and grace from them for committing the same offense.

jesusI have been on both sides of the apology/forgiveness business.  I have wanted to love and to be loved.  I have hated and not wanted to be hated.  I believe in order for us to all live a life that is holy we do not have be perfect.  We just have to work towards holiness.  There was only one perfect person and his name was Jesus.

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Alli’s Story, Part Two

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 6       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.

7I 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 8find 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.

10We 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.  11

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 12awestruck 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.

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

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.

Finding a Church

Before our affair got physical I left our church in search of a new place to worship.  It was important to me to find a place that supported the churchsame beliefs as me and one that would help me to instill those beliefs in my daughter.

Ray was concerned about where we would go as well and recommended a few churches that were pastored by his friends.  He knew these men and knew their theology.  They both pastored churches who supported our common beliefs.

I first chose a place in our county that I had visited a few times before.  The pastor there went to seminary with Ray and Ray considered him to be a good friend.

The first time I visited the pastor recognized me as a member of Ray’s church and he approached me with concern about some things he had been hearing about Ray.

Some months before, Ray had decided to liquidate his theological library and to sell most of his big, heavy books.  His intention was none other than to make space on his shelves.  He could access everything he needed using an online format and thought it would be a more efficient way to organize his resources.

imagesCAA1WO3MHis friend the pastor took this as a sign that he might be losing his faith.  He had also heard of Ray’s recent resignation from his pastoral position and this further fed his suspicion.  He seemed very concerned about Ray.  He was asking me question after question to which my only answer was something along the lines of, “Maybe you should call him and ask him about XYZ”.

Ray and I were having an emotional affair and I was the only other person in the world who knew for certain that Ray had not lost his faith but there was definitely a reason for his resignation and that was me.

I would conclude my visit there with a well guided tour of the imagesCALV2EU3church’s facilities as well as introductions to a few of the staff members and class teachers that would teach mine and my daughters classes.

I felt good about the visit aside from the fact that I couldn’t tell this pastor I was having an affair with his friend.  After I left I started feeling more and more guilty and ashamed.

The next time I would visit that church my affair with Ray had been exposed.  I will always remember the look I got from the pastor, who only two weeks before had been so eager to talk to me.  This time I would have to go out of my way to get his attention and approach him to talk.  He did his best to avoid me.

imagesCAICYQF9Taking slow and deep breaths I patiently waited my turn in the line of people waiting to talk to the pastor. I don’t know what I thought I was going to say to him.  I didn’t know what he would say to me.  I was in a terrible place and suffering from the effects of the fallout and whatever he had to say I was anxious to hear it.  I needed help. I needed grace and love.  I needed someone to minister to me.

What I got from him was quite different.  In the nicest way possible heimagesCAJ19VG1 told me what he had heard and that he thought it might be better if I found another place to worship.  He said he didn’t feel like his church was the place for me.

I was dumbfounded.

imagesCAA8D7UMDid I expect his arms to open wide and for him to hug me and tell me that there was forgiveness to be had?  No.  But I surely didn’t think I would be disinvited to worship with his congregation.  This would be my first experience with good, upstanding Christians outside of the church from which I left.  I didn’t know church people could be so harsh and unforgiving.  To say I was disappointed would be an  understatement.

Fast forward three and a half years and I have had more than a few ofimagesCAA4GJ92 those type of experiences.  The good news is that just a few days ago Ray had lunch with that pastor friend and he offered Ray an apology.  He told him that he was sorry for the way he had treated me and about the way he had handled the situation.

Eventually most everyone has been able to bring themselves to face us again.  Some took longer than others.  The best thing about all of it is that while those people were unable to extend grace and mercy to us God wasn’t.  And in his own time he was able to turn their hearts back towards forgiveness for us and even to a reconciliation with some.

For that… I am thankful.

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.

Our Scarlet Letter

Eventually Ray and I would gather up enough courage to see each other again.  The time that we spent apart was terrible but we both had our own disasters to deal with.  In an attempt to protect me he tried to take the blame for the whole thing.  It was too late.  The scarlet letters had been handed out and I had already adorned mine. A

I felt ashamed but I owned that shame.  I loved this man and I was not going to let him suffer these trials alone.  I accepted my responsibility in the whole thing and I stood by him.  If stones were going to be thrown it would be at us both.

Starting at Fallout Day 1 I had this constant nagging in my stomach.  The only time it settled was when I was with Ray.  As long as we were together it all seemed okay.  I knew at this point the only thing to do was throw ourselves at God’s feet and to beg him for forgiveness and mercy.

I knew my God in all his glory would not withold forgiveness from me but I prayingfelt like a horrible wretch.  He sacrificed his one and only perfect son on the cross to pay for my filthy and terrible sins.  In my heart I felt unworthy.  I was humbled to even be breathing at this point.  I knew God held the power to turn me to dust and yet he chose to let me live on.

I don’t share many of the intimate details of our story mainly because they belong only to me but I feel it is important to share those things that are blessings to us.  One of the most important parts of receiving a blessing is sharing it with others.  That is one of the ways we can teach others about our loving God and his wonderful grace and mercy.

One of the things we did during this post fallout time was pray together.  I kept confessing my fear to Ray that if we didn’t literally fall flat on our faces and scream and cry to God begging him for forgiveness that he was going to turn away from us forever.  He assured me that God would never leave us and that if anyone turned away it was us.

That sweet and intimate prayer time between us with God helped to forge our relationship.  Even though we had just spent the last few months engaged in john 8deceitful sin, we had a real and honest desire in our hearts to live a life pleasing  to God.  The story in John 8 tells us of the woman caught in adultery.  After the crowd has gone and there is no one left to condemn her Jesus tells her to go and sin no more.  Much like that woman, we had no other friend in this world but Jesus.

Ray and I had a tremendous amount of healing to do.  We had a long journey ahead of us.  We travel still on a long and winding road, each day striving for holiness and we will for the rest of our time here on earth.