An “Even If” FAITH

An even if faith

Hebrews 11:1

  “What is faith?  It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen.  It is the evidence of things we cannot see yet.” 

  I cannot count how many emails and comments I get from men and women who have a wayward spouse that is not at all remorseful, or ready to change.  I honestly don’t know what to say when they write back at times. 

  If you have read our story, you know that thankfully, I had a spouse who:

A) confessed, instead of was caught in the indiscretion
B) was totally forthcoming with the facts of the incident, after said confession
C) was so sorry and ready to do whatever it took to reconcile our relationship

  I have been praying and asking God what to tell these broken people. My heart aches as I write to them, because I know that stab of pain all too well.  I usually just sit here praying and wishing I could fix it for them, but I can’t. All I can do, is point them to Jesus and to God’s Word. 

  I send them go read the blog post “The Prodigal Spouse, Because God Is Bigger Than Your Divorce Papers” because I believe that God is still in the Restoration business.  I’ve walked that treacherous road, and lived to tell about it.  You better believe it seemed easier to just walk away from it all, hoping one day I could learn to love again.

  I believe with time, even wayward spouses who seem totally uninterested, can be brought back to Him and then, to you, in total restoration of that original Marriage Covenant! I believe mountains still move at the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

  In a world that pushes Divorce and what we “deserve,” it’s hard to change that mindset to dying to self, to lay down the desire to get revenge, or move on, and just accept your circumstances for the moment, never ceasing to ask God to work a miracle, but being satisfied in the meantime.

 But what if the wayward spouse isn’t interested in coming back?

Let’s look at the story of 3 men who had faith in the face of adversity.

  Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, had an “Even If” faith.  We can read their story in Daniel 3.   

  It all begins with a declaration that all must worship the giant image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, when the music started playing….Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the one true God, refuse.  They know no matter what their society is telling them to do to keep the peace, that they should NOT bow to worship this idol.

13 Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, 14 and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? 15 Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But EVEN IF he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

  Now, we know this story has a happy ending, with 3 very alive men walking around in a furnace 7 times hotter than normal, with a “mysterious” 4th figure in there.  Let’s think about this is real terms….these men had NO IDEA if God was going to spare their lives.  They literally were about to be burned to death in a furnace so hot, that it killed the guards standing outside of it. 

  But God is in the miracle business.  He allows these circumstances that seem IMPOSSIBLE, so you can remember with Him? ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

  Where you end, HE begins.

  I want to encourage you today, to keep waiting and watching for your wayward spouse to come home.  To not bow to the World and it’s demands for revenge, and a better life after divorce. 

  Remain faithful as you wait for your love to come back to you.  Seek God with your whole heart, and let Him fulfill you in the meantime.  He is the lover of your soul, and wants to minister to you, to teach you, during this time of separation and of sorrow.  Don’t stop believing and asking for that miracle, do not stop asking for Him to break the heart of your spouse and make it new.  Even if you have to walk away for months, or years in the meantime. Even if, in the end, you walk away entirely.

  Don’t stop praying, that one day, your spouse will see what he had with you, find Jesus, and come back changed. Be Jesus when you speak to them during your time of separation, using the verbage that comes from your heart, always planting seeds of hope and a future: “Someday, when we are back together again, I want to…”
Send a text now and then, “You are on my heart today, missing you and praying for you always.”

You CAN be Jesus to your wayward spouse, we are to be Jesus to the spouse who is lost, because we just might be the only Jesus they see.

1 Peter 3:1-2
“Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”

1 Corinthians 7:10-11
“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife…..”  

Our Father’s heart hurts to see His children feel the consequences of divorce.

However, the Word also says in 1 Corinthians 7:15-16:

  “But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

  I know these verses sound opposing, but we should view this, per unique situation, as a matter of prayer.  Of what God is calling YOU to do, which will be different than others.

  In the end, you are not responsible for the actions of your husband or wife, who are living in sin.  They answer to God for that, not you.  At the end of your life here on Earth, you will give an account of what you did for Christ, and be blessed for your faithfulness in the midst of sorrow, in your diligent prayers for redemption.

 And you know what?

  EVEN IF restoration doesn’t happen for you,

  EVEN IF that spouse keeps hardening his heart, or plugging her ears, to the Lord’s nudges for redemption, reconciliation and restoration for the rest of their lives here on Earth,

  EVEN IF the world scoffs at you for not just divorcing the jerk and moving on, you will be blessed for your obedience beyond your wildest dreams and expectations….

                  It’s time we have an “Even If” faith like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did.

Our prayer should be as follows:

  I will obey you, Father, EVEN IF I never get to see the fruits of this harvest of obedience blessings until Kingdom come.

  I will trust you, Lord, EVEN IF all I see is the mess of strings from the back of a beautiful tapestry I know you are weaving with my life.

   Because even if you don’t answer my prayers just the way I had hoped, I know I can rest easy knowing that you have plans for me to bring you glory, and to bring me hope and a wonderful future…

  Thank you, Jesus! Amen.

 ~T

 

 

 

{Embrace} Infidelity: A Guest Post At Marathon Mom

  Writing from my heart at Marathon Mom today, our monthly theme was Embrace.

The hardest thing I have had to “Embrace”?

Infidelity.

Not just embrace it, but accept into my arms as a part of my love story.  Not just to survive it, but thrive in SPITE of it.

  I will never stop talking about what God did in my marriage. 

  People hate that.  They do.  They think it means I haven’t moved on.  That I haven’t forgiven Dale.  That I keep running back to the past and throwing it in his face.

No. 

  If you think that is my purpose of talking about our story, then you are totally missing the point.

Talking about our struggles only points the way to a God who uses our brokenness.  

To stop talking, is to stop pointing a hurting world, to HIM. 

Do you know the triumph of coming face to face with the devil, and instead of cowering, spitting in that stupid jerks face?

  Do you see the beauty of kicking aside the heap of rubble, of a dream he destroyed, and finding a still firm foundation of Christ Jesus underneath it all?

  Do you know the Victory of defeating a plan the devil himself dreamed up to end your marriage and destroy your family?

I do.

You better believe I was shaking in my boots.  That my fight or flight reaction screamed, “FLIGHT, FLIGHT! Run away, start over, lick your wounds in the darkness, no one can know this awful truth…..”

I am proud to say we made it.  That FIGHT won out over flight.

And now?

Is that it is our privilege and honor to shout to the World:

With Christ we cannot be defeated!!!!!!

    We wear our story, our “War Wounds”, our marriage limp, as a badge of honor.
A symbol of Victory, glimmering and shining for all the World to see that in Christ, all things are possible.

  “Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” Rick Warren

Come see me!

 ~T

Your most effective ministry, 4 little fergusons (2)

“Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”
Rick Warren

The Thing About Train Wrecks…

  I had someone tell me a few months ago, that my life was an “amusing train wreck.”  Well, that someone had a lot to say about things in my life, the way we are raising our kids, but that one stuck out the most. Needless to say, my jaw dropped, my heart sunk, and tears came to my eyes.

  How could someone speak so flippantly, so HURTFULLY over the death of my marriage and life as I knew it?

  I thought and prayed about it for several weeks before I was able to let it go, and make my peace with it.  Then, in my quiet time, a blog post came to me.  This one.  

  The purpose of this post is NOT to throw this person under the bus, or shame them in any way…..the purpose of this post is a bigger one.  

  How many times do WE, believers, stand back and sum up another persons life, or tragedy in a one sentence blurb, all from the outside looking in?  All without taking account that these are REAL people with real life hurts and heartaches?

  Train Wrecks happen.  It’s a sad reality, but part of the fallen world we live in.  Even Christians have Train Wrecks.  We are not immune to them…..  

Too bad, right!?

  The difference, is how we are called to deal with them.  How we are called to help others deal with theirs.

Cairns_Station_Platform_and_Track_c1920

  Imagine a train station, bustling with people, trains coming and going, each train representing a family, a group of lives, when suddenly…

SCCREEEECH…………KABLAM!

  A train wrecks as it comes into the station, spilling the family inside, and rubble, all over the tracks down below the platform. 

  They are broken, sobbing, lying in a heap amidst the pieces of their beautiful life, forever changed. The people on the platform, gasp in shock, then began to murmur at the horror of it all.

As they talk about this tragedy, they began to separate into groups:

  Group 1 giggles behind cupped hands and points, gossiping about the poor, poor family on the tracks.  What a mess they are!  Surely they deserved this fate for such and such a reason.

Group 2 stands and calls down to the family, “We will pray for you….” but decide it’s safer to stay up on the platform.

Group 3 is different, they view others lives with empathy; they jump right down there on the train tracks, and began to wipe bleeding knees, and bruised elbows.  Helping to dig through the rubble to find the pieces that remain, hugging and praying with the family members, offering comfort.

Have you noticed, that once you have endured a certain tragedy in your life, you are given opportunities to connect to others going through the same or similar circumstances?IMG_7192

  When I was going through our season of miscarriages, I was given the opportunity to pray with many mothers going through the same heartache, to share a verse near and dear to my heart, or provide a shoulder to cry on. 

  When we finally made it through our year of financial discipline, we were able to help several other families walking that path, by simply offering some groceries, or a bill paid.  We offered it, because we had been through it, we KNEW how they felt! 

  It occurs all the time now that we have Survived Infidelity, in fact a dear friend told me the other day, we should say that we are THRIVING in spite of Infidelity. 

I liked that…..Thriving. 

  We won against all odds, because we fell on Jesus.  Now, we are called to help those going through similar crisis.  God never wastes a hurt, and there is not a week that goes by, that I don’t have an inbox full of tearful husbands and wives thanking us for being transparent for the world to see.  They found comfort and similarities in our stories of heartache.  They found HOPE in the God who makes all things new. 

  You may think my dirty laundry stinks, but they find it a breath of fresh air……..

  

“Thank you, thank you. Your heart-wrenching “Surviving Infidelity” posts couldn’t have been more of a godsend for me, a rope of grace thrown down in our pit.
The honesty you trusted utter strangers with is amazing . . . the raw, real beautiful mess . . . your tender testimony is a gift. God be glorified. Many of your words literally seemed to be lifted from my heart and taken from my own mouth. Yet, you also offered words of forgiveness and restoration that speak of a promised land we are looking to with hope.
Thank you for being so transparent and letting God speak through your brokenness. May He continue to hold you both as you walk forward, choosing to fall together and not apart.”  ~A blog reader

  We serve a God who makes Himself known even in the darkest, most terrifying moments of our lives.  We should SHOUT to the world about Hope Reborn!  About the process of dying to the old, and being born anew.

  Dale gets a daily email from an Encounter Mentor, and it goes perfectly with this line of thought:

  God promises to bring something good out of even our darkest moments.

James 1:2-4 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

One key way this takes place is when we share the comfort He offered us with those who are now going through trials.

As Paul points out in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, we are comforted by a Savior who knows our suffering, and we honor Him when we pass His comfort on to still others.

Look how many times comfort is mentioned…..

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.”

  9 times in 4 short verses!

God comforts us so that we can comfort others. 

  May we never leave someone to suffer alone. If we know and recognize the difficult path another is on, God will help us to guide that person to His presence—the surest comfort of all.

  Go read Isaiah 61, we took the whole chapter as “ours” during our rough patch, talking about new life, roots going down deep, even bride references.  Listen to how it starts….

”….the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor.  He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.  He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come….he will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair.  For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.”

  Simple enough, Dale and my calling in life, is to comfort those going through similar trials, whether it’s through a speaking engagement, a controversial blog series, or meeting with broken couples in our living room after the kids go to bed.

   Amusing train wreck or no, our calling is clear!  Our job is to share the comfort God HIMSELF gave us through our fiery trial.  What purpose that gives our hurt……what a mission to have in life! 

A ministry opportunity. A marriage saving one, too. 

  It always makes tears flow down my cheeks, and drip on to the keyboard when people send me pictures of their beautiful families, all those sweet, happy faces looking into the lens, having no idea mommy & daddy’s world just fell apart:

“Your story helped save my family.  Thank you. I ripped up divorce papers tonight after reading your blog, and we are moving forward into a new in Christ marriage.”

  Do you see what is happening here?

  My hurt; my horrible, ugly, gut wrenching, life shattering tragedy….HAS A PURPOSE.  Praise be to God! He NEVER EVER wastes a hurt!

Ann Volskamp always has the most beautiful, God-given words, she says:

“It’s the hurting and wounded who are always the ones called to be medics — to administer lavish grace, to cast the messy in the best, merciful light.

The best way to tend to your open wounds is to open your arms.

Let the broken choose it: When you’re most wounded by words, run to the only Word that always brings healing.

Let the broken see it: When you’re wounded and need dressing, look in the mirror, touch your face, and see how He clothes you in righteousness, wraps you in promises, swathes you in a Saviorwho saves.

When you have Jesus on the inside, you’re never on the outside.

Let the broken say it: When you’re bruised by lies, believe truth and whisper it louder: I am my Beloved’s.

When Love’s got hold of you, there isn’t a lie in the universe that can pull you apart.

Let the broken trust it: Giving the benefit of the doubt — is what benefits the people of the Faith.

Doesn’t love always believe the best, not the worst?

And may that wind the brokenhearted daughter faces, may it fly her hair like a glory flag,

And may the hills that rise before her be but an exhilaration,

And may all her trials be but a trail, all the stones on the way be but grace stairs to God.

In the name of Jesus who broke His heart to heal ours…”

My train wreck isn’t mine, it’s HIS.  Thank you, Jesus.

~T

 

The Prodigal Spouse: Because God is BIGGER Than Your Divorce Papers

the prodigal spouse

Luke 15:11-32 New Living Translation (NLT) Parable of the Lost Son 11 …A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to … Continue reading

Sex God’s Way Resource List

Sex Resources

Resources on Waiting

Boundaries in Dating by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy

When Dreams Come True: A Love Story Only God Could Write by Eric and Leslie Ludy

I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

Boy Meets Girl: Say Hello to Courtship by Joshua Harris

Sex: It’s Worth Waiting For by Greg Speck

Fiction reading for Young Girls About Saving Themselves For Marriage:

Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn
The Christy Miller Collection, Volume 1
The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 2
The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 3
The Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 4

Resources on Intimacy In Marriage

The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex by Sheila Wray Gregoire

31 Days to Great Sex An E-book by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Honey, I Don’t Have A Headache Tonight:Help for Women Who Want to Feel More In the Mood
Audio Download by Shelia Wary Gregoire

  Sheila also has a fantastic blog covering Intimacy and Marriage called: To Love, Honor and Vacuum.  Go check it out, you are sure to be blessed!

Hot Chocolate for Couples: Practical Ways to Sweeten Your Love Life by Cindy Siglar Dagnan

Romancing Your Husband: Enjoying a Passionate Life Together
Romancing Your Wife: A Little Effort Can Spice Up Your Marriage

by Debra White Smith

Resources For Rebuilding After Betrayal

A Way of Escape: Freedom from Sexual Strongholds by Neil Anderson

Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time
Every Man’s Marriage: An Every Man’s Guide to Winning the Heart of a Woman 
Every Young Man’s Battle: Strategies for Victory in the Real World of Sexual Temptation
by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

  A HUGE list of resources can be found here, at the bottom of the Surviving Infidelity Page!

——————————————————————————————————————————-

     Thanks for sticking with us for this series on Sex God’s Way! Did you survive the series without too much blushing? Did God move and speak to your heart about something you can give to Him? 

Get some of these resources and be open to learning and hearing from the Giver of all Great Things!

  It has been a joy and honor to share our hearts with you on this blessing and gift for Married Couples to enjoy!

Oh, and has it been 72 hours yet!?!?!?!?!!   Winking smile

~Angela from My Heart Ministry and Tonya from 4 little Fergusons

  Don’t miss this comment-spurred bonus post:  “Sexual Addiction: Road Block To Intimacy”

Sexual Addiction: Roadblock to Intimacy

  When Tonya asked me to partner with her in writing this series on Sex God’s Way, neither one of us was prepared for the number of responses we would receive from women who were struggling because their husbands were not interested in engaging in sex with them! Much of our experience and study had prepared us for WOMEN not being interested in sex, but MEN?

  Weren’t they supposed to be complete sex-mongers?  

  As we read the comments and private messages from these women, one common theme began to stand out: most (but not all) of these husbands had dealt – or were still dealing – with an addiction to porn and/or masturbation, or some other form of sexual sin.   I find myself grieving for these women who so want to share this intimate expression of love with their husbands but are not afforded the opportunity.

  Oh, how Satan has abused and broken this beautiful gift our Lord created for us! And I have prayed in earnest for these husbands to be freed from their bondage and enabled to love their wives with heart, soul, mind and BODY! And so it is through prayers for wisdom and the leading of the Holy Spirit that I write these thoughts:   Sexual Addiction is a VERY real thing. We don’t want to look at it the same way we do an addiction to heroin or alcohol or gambling, but it is no different! It creates a very physical craving for more and more stimulation, each act requiring more stimulation to achieve the level of pleasure that was achieved the time before. It involves chemical reactions in your mind and body, alters the brain, and it involves a mental and emotional addiction as well.  These men have trained their bodies to need A, B, then C to achieve orgasm.   

  More importantly, men who are addicted to sexual stimulation have been put in Spiritual bondage by our enemy the devil.   When they have been involved with porn or masturbation or other ungodly sexual activity, Satan has chained them through this sin. They MUST face their addiction, calling it what it is and confessing it OUT LOUD, and then they must invite Jesus to break these chains. They need Godly men and women to pray with them, pray for them, pray over them to gain freedom over the long-lasting effects of their sins.

  Sexual addiction is too often hidden away in the secret places of our lives, but it must be brought out into the open and dealt with. My husband has a close friend who was a closet alcoholic for years, and it wasn’t until it was forced out into the open that he was able to face it and deal with it. Sexual addiction works the same way.  Jesus came to se the captives free, ALL CAPTIVES in all areas!  HE is the key to breaking free from this bondage.  

  A person fighting to gain freedom from sexual addiction will also need someone to walk alongside them through the struggle. Think of it like an AA sponsor, only for sex. This person must have total access to the addict’s life; he’s got to be allowed to ask the addict ANYthing and know that he’s going to get an honest answer. It’s kind of like an accountability partner, only it’s that plus SO much more.  

  If men are used to having erotic stimulation such as porn in order to achieve and maintain an erection, they may need to take a “fast” from any and all sexual stimulation. This means TV, ALL internet access, magazines… they will ALL have to be purged from their homes. They will have to be HIGHLY intentional about guarding their eyes in surroundings outside their homes. And then they and their wives will have to commit to NOT initiating anything sexual for a period of time. It won’t be fun for either one, but it is with a purpose.

  As 1 Corinthians 7 instructs, they must use this time for prayer…together…about their sex life! Just like a person who has been living on junk food… the good, healthy stuff just doesn’t taste good…UNTIL you purge your life of the junk. After NOT eating the junk for a good long time, the real stuff tastes really good! And after a man completely purges his life from the junk and re-trains his appetite to enjoy Godly sexuality, his wife should more than arouse and satisfy him.   I know that not every man’s inability to have sex or disinterest in sex ties back to a porn and/or masturbation addiction, but I think that many do.

  Even once a man no longer views the porn, that sin still has a hold on him until he fully surrenders it to the Lord. If it’s not porn, it may be some other sexual issue that is still wrapping guilt around the whole idea of sex. Even someone who was sexually abused is often burdened with guilt over something that was never his fault. Guilt will always stand in the way of true intimacy!  

  Wives, here are some thoughts for you as you support your husband in his pursuit of freedom from sexual bondage:   Imagine your husband in chains and shackles, locked behind the bars of a prison cell. This is what Satan has done to him through his addiction to ungodly sexual stimulation. Let that image compel you to have compassion and mercy on your husband, and let it drive you to your knees in prayer for his release. Your husband is not the enemy; Satan is.   Take the pressure off of him to “perform.”

  If you have tried unsuccessfully to have sex, know that your man probably feels really low about himself. That’s his MANHOOD we’re talking about, you know?! So relax for a while and don’t try to push him until he’s ready. While you’re waiting on him, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! I’ve said it before and I’ll just keep saying it…PRAY about your sex life! Take the responsibility off of yourself and your husband and wait on the Lord to lead you!  

  Affirm your husband and his manliness without attaching it to anything sexual. Let him know you appreciate how he takes care of you and your family. Applaud his achievements at work, his involvement in community service or church activities. Remind him that you love him!  

  Did I mention that you should PRAY for him?  

  Realize that you can’t fight this battle for your husband. HE has to make the choice to pursue freedom through Christ. And understand that it wouldn’t matter how beautiful or sexy you were, you wouldn’t be enough to draw your man away from the addiction. Not because you aren’t gorgeous, but because Satan has convinced him that the sin is better, that the counterfeit pleasure is better than the real thing.

  Satan is SUCH a liar!

  One more thing: PRAY! (I think you’re starting to get my point…)  

  My sisters in Christ, don’t give up on your husband or your pursuit of an intimate relationship with him. NOTHING is beyond the reaches of our God’s mighty power, and I firmly believe He can and will restore intimacy to your marriage.  Be persistent in your prayers and compassionate in your love, and may God’s tender mercy trade your ashes for beauty and your brokenness for restoration.

 “Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good.” Psalm 90:14-15

   I’ve shared this on my blog today too, come on over!

~Angie, from My Heart

www.xxxchurch.com has some excellent resources as well as an online “detox” program you can take part of.

The Sex-Starved Wifeby Michele Davis, is not a proclaimed Christian read, but is used by many Christian counselors.

Head on over to Post 2 for more Resources to pick up on Saving Sex for Marriage, Intimacy in Marriage and more…… 

Road block to intimacy

{Part 2} Sex After Infidelity: 8 Steps To Success

This is post 2 for today, head back to post 1: Returning to Intimacy After Betrayal

Sex after Infidelity

8 Steps For Intimacy After Infidelity

1) Choose to focus on the good in your spouse and the love that runs so deeply in your veins.  It’s easy to forget the reasons you fell in love.  Write, speak and say positive things, and watch the bountiful harvest of your kind words grow and bloom in your marriage as you fall in love all over again.

2) Never forget your battle is NOT against flesh and blood, aka your spouse. Imagine Satan standing beside your bed, tossing seeds of doubt, negativity and heartache, just hoping they will take root and ruin your love-making.  He hates you and he hates your marriage, which means he reallyreally hates sex and the unity that comes after. There is no better way to stick it to the devil, who tried to destroy your marriage, then to make love to your spouse!  It is an act of Worship to your Heavenly Father.

3) Remember the power of Forgiveness.  My spouse, broken before Christ, had asked the Lord and Savior to wash away his sins.  He was white as snow again.  It was ME, who was bringing along the filthy rags right into our intimate time.  Forgiveness means letting your heart love again during Love Making and letting go of the past for good. 

4) Love with all your heart.  To fully connect to your spouse, your heart needs to be into it.  Be ALL there with your spouse and enjoy every moment together. I know its scary, but be present as your heart and bodies, join as one.  Talk to your spouse about your fears, so they can help you know by their sweet and assuring words, that you are their one and only love. 

5) Break Old Ties.  Out loud, bind those connections in the name of Jesus and break them off.  There is a reason the Lord talks about 2 becoming 1 flesh, in the Spirit World, it happens.  Cutting those ties will help you move into a closer intimacy with your spouse and get satan out of the picture! 

6) Guard your mind from the devil’s attacks.   It blessed me so much when Dale would lead us in prayer before being intimate, asking the Lord to bless our union, and binding satan in the name of Jesus.  He HAS to flee when he hears that precious name of our Lord, he HATES it. This helped me to stay there with Dale and not let my mind go to the past.

7) Let your love-making be a healing balm for your wounded soul. I found comfort and healing in Dale’s arms, his tears and mine. Don’t let satan lie to you and tell you making love will make things worse.  He only wants to cause you further pain. 

8) Remember that Sex is a gift from God.  You can hurt your Heavenly Fathers just as much by failing to use a beautiful gift He gave you, as MISusing it all together. 

  God bless you on your road to healing. Satan’s attacks WILL come, so be alert, be unified; body, soul and spirit, as you fight him for your marriage.  

And don’t EVER forget, that Victory is yours, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus.

  Take that, satan.

~T

Shared with To Love, Honor & Vacuum

{Part 1} Returning to Intimacy After Betrayal

 

Sex after betrayal part 1

  In Scripture, unfaithfulness is the only “acceptable” reason for dissolving a marriage. But we, Tonya and Angie, are telling you today that even this ultimate betrayal does NOT have to result in divorce.

   Forgiveness is absolutely possible through the work of the Holy Spirit, and full restoration and reconciliation is yours for the taking. But if you’ve experienced betrayal in your marriage, you may have a few reservations about bringing sex back into the relationship. By sharing our stories and what we learned through our experiences, we hope to help you see that it IS possible…desirable, even.

How am I supposed to even entertain the thought of sexual intimacy with him when he’s been unfaithful? How do you move on? How do you move back into the intimacy that was robbed from you?

Angie:

  Infidelity doesn’t have to mean certain demise for your marriage. Obviously you have to rebuild trust before you can bring sexual intimacy back into the relationship. I am so blessed to have a husband who truly felt sorry for his choices and was willing to do whatever it took to rebuild my trust. That willingness in and of itself did so much to help that process.

  Bringing sex back into a marriage after infidelity is definitely something you have to pray about. This isn’t a topic we usually think of when we think of prayer, but it is definitely something we need to submit to the Lord. He will let you know when it is time, and He will help you follow through when you decide you’re ready to give yourself to your husband sexually again. It’s not something you should rush into. It happened pretty quickly in my marriage because I needed the assurance that my husband wanted me. I was feeling inadequate and unwanted, and I needed to know that my husband chose me over his infidelity. Bringing love-making back into our marriage helped so much with my healing process and allowed me to focus on forgiveness instead of my own rejection.

Tonya:

  It took me a month to allow Dale to kiss me. It took a bit longer than that to move towards intimate touch. The first time we made love, I sobbed. Raw emotions and pure love and heartache, all pouring from my shattered heart as two became one once again.

  He stopped, of course, as he realized where I was emotionally. Cupped my face in his hands and kissed away my tears. His willingness to stop made me willing to push on. I WANTED to be one with my husband again, scared as I was to allow him all of me. For the next few months, tears followed our love-making sessions. Only because my heart would swell with love, and those broken pieces would stab, catch my breath and ache from the inside out.

My husband didn’t sleep with another woman, but I still feel like he cheated on me.

Angie:

  Sexual intercourse with another person is not the only form of infidelity. Your marriage vows probably included something about keeping yourselves only for each other. This includes your eyes, your mind and your emotions as well as your body. Porn, emotional involvement and masturbation are all forms of infidelity in that the offender takes something that should be given only to you and then gives it to someone else. My husband didn’t have sex with another woman, but it didn’t lessen the feelings of betrayal and rejection that I felt. Sometimes just recognizing that these things are a betrayal can begin the healing process

Tonya:

  Betrayal comes in many forms, Dale’s started with the eyes and eventually led to physical betrayal. Whether you are dealing from the shock of finding out your spouse’s porn addiction, one night stand or full-blown affair, you are dealing with a VERY intimate, very personal form of betrayal.

Porn creates an ugly lust that needs to be fed regularly. Your beautiful love-making with your spouse could never, ever, EVER fulfill that ugly lust. It is impossible.

I tried to bring sex back into our marriage, but I just couldn’t do it…

Angie:

  Don’t try to rush things. The hardest part for me was waiting on God’s timeline instead of trying to force my own. Allow yourself to grieve for a while, but don’t dwell on the details! Satan likes to use those details to hold us captive and prevent restoration in our marriages. And expect a few setbacks. Scott and I brought sex back into our relationship pretty soon after things blew up, and things were really great for a while, but then a week or two later it was like we were starting all over again. The most important thing we did was COMMUNICATE. As hard as it was, I had to tell him what I was feeling. I was honest with him when I was having a bad day, when the reality of what had happened was knocking me down. I let myself feel the pain, but I didn’t wallow in it. And I had to help Scott know how to respond. Did I need him to just hold me and reassure me? Did I need him to give me space? Our husbands aren’t mind readers, so we need to help them understand what is going on in our hearts and minds. If you find that you have a hard time opening up to your husband, write your thoughts in a journal and then read them to him. For some reason it’s just easier to read your own words out loud than it is to say them off the top of your head.

I’ve tried to make love to my husband, but in the moment I can’t get the thought of what he did out of my mind.

Tonya:

  One of the biggest steps we made was the day I admitted in counseling that I could feel “her” in our bedroom tormenting me during love-making. Our counselor explained that when 2 become 1, even outside of marriage, they are bonded together in the Spirit world, actually connected like a sewer pipe. He asked us if we would like to be freed from that connection. Of course we both said YES! They laid hands on us and we all prayed out loud, binding Dale’s connection to her in the name of Jesus, setting Dale free from anything and everything he had taken from her generation sin line in their union and cut off all ties.

We both could feel the release and knew Dale had been set free from this connection. You don’t have to understand it all, you will feel the change. There is much we don’t know about the forces of Good and Evil constantly battling around us, attaching to us via a lustful look, risqué book or raunchy movie.

There was a complete and TOTAL change in the tone of our bedroom after that, and it was a huge step in the healing process for us. After this, we were able to move into an intimacy unlike anything we had experienced before. What doesn’t break you, DOES make you stronger. This does not mean the attacks no longer come, it just means you recognize them for what they are.

The next struggle in the bedroom came from my lack of self-worth. I struggled with self-image for a good year, writing the blog post NOT ENOUGH, during this time. I kept wanting to make this about me, which was a sin unto itself.

Listen, do not try to use a rational mind to understand your spouse’s irrational, in-the-moment decision. It won’t make sense. EVER.

Angie:

  Pray, pray, pray! I really can’t emphasize this enough! Ask the Spirit to guard your mind and your husband’s mind. Ask Him to cast Satan far from you and to silence his lies. Although Scott’s body wasn’t bound to another person, his mind was filled with ungodly sexually charged thoughts. I worried that he wasn’t thinking just of me while we were making love, and I had to surrender that to God. I also had to pray that God would take my husband’s every thought captive and make them obedient to Him. It’s okay to pray your way through your love-making. God will honor your desire to love your husband and to be obedient in your submission to him. You also must communicate to your husband what is going on. If he doesn’t know WHY you can’t follow through, he may mistakenly perceive it as a rejection of him. Sometimes it is also okay to choose not to participate in some sexual activities if they too closely resemble your husband’s infidelity. But again, you’ve got to communicate that to him without being accusatory.

Tonya:

  2 years later I can tell you that there will come a point in your timeline of healing when you actually consider being thankful for “The Fall”, thankful for the truth, even if it came as a jaw dropping shock. I am beginning to see how it was worth it. Worth the new man and new marriage I live now. The love that grows deeper with each passing day, tested by fire and found strong enough to stand again. The freedom my husband found from stepping out of the darkness and into the light.

The Oneness we both found with our spouses, from allowing the Lord to turn our Tragedies into Triumph, is unsurpassed. 

  Do not give up on your marriage!  Victory is yours, bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus!  Satan is defeated by the blood of Jesus and the word of our testimony.  THIS is why we share today, the good news of Jesus Christ, who makes ALL THINGS NEW. 

Revelation 12:11a “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony……”

May the Lord bless you and your marriage as you commit each step towards total healing to Him!

~Tonya and Angie, My Heart Ministry

 This is Part 1 for today.  Be sure to catch Part 2, Sex After Infidelity: 8 Steps To Success 

 

2 Years Ago Today

 What is a date on the calendar really?  

All those little squares, empty and waiting for us to fill with our busy lives.

  A place to jot notes.

 Record and remember important events like birthdays, doctors appointments, school functions, and anniversaries, we can’t forget those…..

  My calendar today has a red circle around the number 10.   

Next to it, a heart with a jagged line running through it, and a year: 2011.

The day & year of Dale’s “Truth”.

d & t

  Could it really only be 2 years ago today, that my world so drastically changed?  

It feels like a LIFETIME has gone by.

  Last year at this time, I bawled my way through the day.  Raw and having just told our story to the world, after keeping it quiet for nearly 9 months.  

  Interesting isn’t it, that just like the timeline of a newborn baby, our story took 9 months to grow and change, to prepare itself for the big reveal on April 30th, 2012.  

 You know, as I sit here and look down at my calendar, it doesn’t MEAN anything.  It doesn’t make my heart race, or skip a beat, no tears come to my eyes.  This year July 10th, is just a date on the calendar.  

  The timeline of the last two years has included brokeness, sharing, fearing our truth, then owning it loudly, obeying when it would’ve been easier to hide, loving, rebuilding, crying and laughing, good days and bad days, forgiveness and bitterness.

  But this date no longer owns me, and I am happy to tell you that today.

d and t

 Because someone, somewhere, is laboring along the same path Dale and I did, raw and broken, barely making it at times. They needed to hear this today.   I am writing to you today, broken one, to give you hope.  

  Hope that even 2 years later, just 2 short years after your truth, you CAN have victory, love, laughter, joy and peace by the supernatural healing of Christ Jesus our Lord.  

IMG_1372 honey

  Most counselors will tell you, that average number of years to heal from infidelity are 5-7.  And that’s ok, you take all the time you need.  But just hear me, that if you allow the Lord to lead every single step in this healing process, in the forgiveness that has to happen, then peace and joy return quickly.  Even 2 years later, you can feel whole and happy again.

  You know, maybe, just maybe, when I transfer important events to my 2014 calendar, I will skip over this one.

July 10th, 2011

  Or, maybe not.

  After all, it is a huge turning point in the timeline of our lives.

 Not for the horror it caused, but for the good that came up out of the muck and mire.  The beauty that came from deep inside those ashes.  The way our love grew deeper and stronger than we EVER thought possible.

What doesn’t break you, DOES make you stronger.

  July 10th, 2013 makes me proud of us, of how strongly we stand, united by tragedy turned triumph.  Thankful to the Lord for comforting us and carrying us after the fall.  

  Thankful that today is a glorious day, full of sunshine and joy, peace and hope………

  A date, is just a date.  

A calendar holds no meaning to our Lord, for His timeline is vastly different than our own.

I am glad for that.

~T

holding hands