My gown glides across the carpet, as I walk the aisle believing I’ll be married forever. As a 21-year-old virgin bride, I’m confident divorce will never, ever, happen to me.
I kneel at the altar and say my vows, exchanging rings with my groom. He captivates me and I’m confident I’ll never be attracted to anyone else. Ever.
As they announce us husband and wife, I smile at all who have come, and my mind does not comprehend how I’ll be capable of beginning a two-year affair five years from now. And if someone were to tell me I’d be divorced ten years from now, and re-married to the affair-guy, I’d call you crazy and bet my life it would never be.
And although my story is more complicated than a few sentences can hold, I long for you to know it. Not so you lean in to hear the juicy details and just go on about your day.
But because there’s so much more for you to know than the scandalous details–so much I’ve learned in the 15 years since my affair. And perhaps there’s something I’ve learned that can save you from the deep pain and devastation I experienced because of my choices.
Each choice seemed harmless, one tiny one after another, taking me on a detour far away.
Fantasizing thoughts in my mind,
Compromises of my heart,
And lies to my own self…
All of them gaining momentum like a huge snowball turning over and over, a snowball which eventually triggered an avalanche of monumental proportion.
God longs for us to obey Him, not because He wants to ruin our fun or cramp our style, but because He knows the danger ahead when we don’t. [Tweet that]
Following God’s plan saves our hearts from pain and rescues us from the certain devastation that lies ahead when our lives plummet downhill like a snowball out of control.
And while I paid a big price and still wrestle with the consequences of those long-ago choices, one thing I’ve learned in my journey through profound failure and back, is that honesty is so important.
Honesty in my own mind.
Honesty with my husband.
And honesty with God.
Because my detour from God’s way was slight at first, but toward an angle which would take me far from the right path. And because the process happened over time, it seemed in the beginning. At first I lied to my own self, justifying my thoughts and rationalizing them away–deciding they were harmless, and convincing myself they posed no real danger to me. They began as lies of omission, progressing over time to overt ones.
I pushed the snowball down the hill, told no one, and underestimated the momentum it would gain. What a fatal mistake.
The result was, I distanced my heart from God.
Wrestled through worship.
And knew in my heart I was not okay with God.
Not because He had changed, but because of my choices, I walked away.
Amidst the process, I would have never said I was doing that, but I was.
And my road to recovery was long. It was over a decade of pursuing those I’d hurt to ask for forgiveness, and finally learning to forgive myself, which was the hardest part of all.
Has your life taken an unexpected turn?
Do you find yourself in a place you never thought you’d be?
Have you tumbled downhill with momentum that surprised you?
Today, there’s one thing I need you to know.
No matter where you are. No matter what you’ve done. It is never too late for you.
Never too late to be honest with yourself.
Never too late to get the help you need.
Never too late to run toward God.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
John 8:32 (NIV)
Freedom comes when we reveal the truth. [Tweet that]
The power of sin is broken when we expose our darkness to the light.
And God’s grace is always enough. It was enough for me. And it is enough for you too. His Mercy Found Me, I promise you, it can find you too … if you let go and surrender. And that always begins with the truth.
I am praying today, no matter your failure or the circumstance you’re facing, that you may really know,
There is absolutely nothing God can not restore.
And there is NO thing He can not redeem.
Begin with honesty, because the truth will set you free.
And without a doubt I can tell you, He will do it … He really will.
~Jacque Watkins jacquewatkins.com