Just tuning in? Please start at the original post of this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises.
Written September, 2011.
Hi, it’s Dale. I am here today because I feel I owe you an explanation and an apology. As you guys come here to read about my family every day, you are investing your time and your heart in to our family.
I know I’ve disappointed you. I hate what I have done to Tonya, to our family and our beautiful life. If you’d give me the chance, I’d like to take this opportunity to say I am sorry to you as well. I made a foolish decision that day, but God is a God of grace and forgiveness. And Tonya, amazingly strong Tonya, has allowed me to stay and win back her heart and re-earn her trust. She is the most Christ-like example I have ever known, giving me grace and love when I deserved none.
I went to the 1st Men’s Encounter because I knew Tonya wanted me to go. (Click that link, and read the challenge she gave, not knowing what was coming!) I am so glad I did, because it forever changed my life. God used Encounter to break down walls I’ve had built up around me since I was just a kid and to bring forward my ugly secret. I knew it needed to come out, it was eating me alive. But it was worth keeping the poison in me, because I was so sure it was better hidden than hurting Tonya, if that makes any sense.
This article written by Rebekah Lyons, says it better than I could:
“We become slaves to our secrets.
The thing is, Satan DWELLS in the secret, in the haunting, hidden brokeness. The longer we keep that secret, the more power he has to speak lies into our own identity. We have a crisis of faith; we don’t truly believe that God will hear and lavish us with his love upon our confession. We don’t REALLY believe that we will be made new. So we keep it and hide it and cover it and die from it.
A friend told me recently that she kept her secret of infidelity from her husband for 3 years. Another woman told me recently, she held her secret for 5 years. Another discovered her husband’s secret after 10 years. And yet, another after 18. Overtime, life becomes more about keeping the secret than saving the soul.
The secret often wins.
Perhaps a new day is dawning. Perhaps walls are coming down. Tears are streaming and confessions are starting to pour out like hope reborn. Do you know the main catalyst for this revolution of the heart?
You guessed it. Someone shared their secret.
Someone gave voice to their secret and in doing so, gave permission for another person to share theirs. Naming the one thing that held them captive for years rendered the secret powerless. All at once, the church at large is beginning to echo the chorus of confession. We all begin to bear witness to the bondage that is breaking by secret-sharing. The naming is bringing healing, and healing is bringing freedom. A freedom many of us are experiencing for the very first time. This secret-telling is what’s actually saving us. And this new normal is exactly what will keep us in the light.”
As I have come out of the darkness, and into the light, the Lord is doing a work in my heart. One of the big things He is working on now, is helping me find my true worth.
My parents divorced when I was 12. I didn’t let it get me down, but I never did understand why my mom left my dad for what to me felt like no apparent reason. What I didn’t know, until recently when the Lord revealed it to me, was that it was going to create a need in me for the rest of my life.
A need to please. A need to fit in. A need to be whatever I needed to be to be accepted, so I wouldn’t be “left”:
If I was with my church friends, I was a good Church boy.
If I was with my party friends, I could drink with the best of them.
If I was with a girl I liked, I became whoever she thought I was, whoever she needed me to be.
What I didn’t know, was I was going to take that into my marriage too. That this need to be accepted, was going to one day be what brought me to my knees before God and my wife, begging for understanding and forgiveness.
Remember that dream Tonya shared with you about the horses?
I loved the line where our mentor said:
A lot of times, when we think of Broken, we think… broken in a bad way.
In the world of horses, if you’re not broken, your value is less. Brokeness is a precious word to the Lord. He desires our brokeness.
I come to you, Broken. Broke from addiction, broke from a shroud of secrecy, broke from lies, broke from infidelity, broke from pride, broke from financial security and self-sufficiency. This entire year has been a breaking down process of ME.
I needed to become a broken vessel before the Lord, so I could admit I needed Him now more than ever in every aspect of my life.
I had to learn the hard way, that my worth cannot be determined by my paycheck.
My worth cannot be determined by what car I drive.
My worth cannot be determined by who I think I am or who I strive to be.
My worth is found in the Lord Jesus Christ….and the blood He shed for ME, a filthy sinner. He would die for ME if I was the only one in the world to save, because I am so very valuable to Him. I am His and He calls me by name.
It kills me that I hurt Tonya in my selfishness. It breaks my heart to see her with tears streaming down her cheeks and knowing that I caused her this unbearable pain. Tonya is a strong, Godly woman. She is God’s gift to me and I blew it. She has been nothing but faithful to me from her first purity pledge at age 13 on….I don’t deserve her, I know this. But she has trusted me with her heart again, and I swear, I will NEVER take that responsibility lightly.
I didn’t even REALIZE that the devil was drawing me away from first my Lord, then my wife, but when we don’t chose God every moment of every day, we automatically default to satan.
Think about that for a moment.
First I was separated from them by my shame that I looked at porn again. Then, my pride kept me from seeking help. Next, came my need to provide for our family with my own 2 hands, not leaning on the Lord at all and then….it happened. The devil got between me, my Lord and my wife, so much that when he laid a trap of lust for me, just 4 short months after I began to look at pornography again, I WALKED right into it.
I Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Do you know how angry that makes me? Do you know how STUPID I feel? The Lord has removed the scales from my eyes, put there by the devil himself to blind me. I now clearly see the path of destruction I was on and I THANK THE LORD that He saw fit to discipline me, so I would see the error of my ways before things got even worse.
Listen up, porn is a real temptation. 90% of all men look at porn and struggle with lust. This is real…..this stastistic includes Christian men, we are not exempt. I lied to Tonya and told her it didn’t happen to me because I was a good Christian man, right? It doesn’t happen to family men that go to church.
Guess what, it did. It DOES, all the time. This statistic means 3 out of 4 men in your church pew have a dark ugly secret that needs to be brought into the light.
Do you know that porn latches on to you, even when you walk away from the computer? The jaws of lust keeping you captive without you even realizing it. Even if I didn’t mean for it to occur, even if I wasn’t seeking it out, if a woman with a lustful spirit walked by, my lust spirit attached to her and I followed her with my eyes. Even if I didn’t think sexual thoughts of her, I still turned. I realize now, this is a very real thing that occurs between genders.
Watch a woman sometime, you know the one: She walks by a group of guys in a crowd, waiting for them to roam over her with their eyes before she walks on. She likes it, she feeds off of it. What you see occur is her lust spirit attaching to theirs and vice versa, and once you are aware of it you can actually see and feel it occur. Disgusting.
Praise God after I repented He took the spirit of lust from me! When a woman walks by, a clanging bell goes off in my head so fast I don’t even have to glance her way. I am thankful my “radar” has been reset, my focus back on my Heavenly Father and my beautiful bride. My eyes are set to “bouncing” mode, so if a woman comes into my line of sight, I quickly look away. Men, you may not be responsible for the first look, as media bombards us with images, but it’s the second and third lingering looks that are the problem. When your eyes are set to bounce, you see and look away almost in a split second. Your trigger finger on the remote gets faster and better as you quickly flip away from images on the screen. This is our call, to be PURE in all things, what better place to start then our eyes.
Wives, pray for your men to be attracted to holiness and purity like a magnet, so that when anything entices us that isn’t holy or pure, we detect the pull immediately and are made uncomfortable enough to completely reject it.
“For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” I Thessalonians 4:7
The draw of the flesh and the devil’s plans are a lot stronger than we’d like to think. In a moment of weakness, we can end up doing something we NEVER thought possible. Only the power of God, through prayers, can make a difference. Don’t say it can’t happen to you, Tonya and I said the same thing. Satan loves to use this against us as he sneakily gets between us.
One day when we were going to counseling, we found this plaque at a Christian book store. It went along exactly with what I was learning at Men’s Encounter, and I knew I needed it to reside in my home:
What can you do with a dull sword? NOTHING.
This plaque resides on my dresser so I never forget again that I need to daily sharpen my sword in Gods word, so that when the devil attacks, and he will, I AM READY.
Psalms 34:17-19 “Yes, the Lord hears the good man when he calls to Him for help, and saves him out of his troubles. The Lord is close to those whose heart is breaking. He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins. The good man does not escape troubles – he has them, too. But the Lord helps him in each and every one.”
I am proud to tell you that, after last year, I no longer get on the computer to feed that ugly addiction, and I am seeking counsel to make sure this problem doesn’t return. I am putting on the armor and this new purity ring, DAILY. As I leave our home, there it is, on my right index finger. A constant reminder of my pledge, my 2nd chance at a life of integrity. It has a cross wrapping around it, and THE ARMOR OF GOD, Ephesians 6:10-15.
4 little Ferguson readers, I stand before you today, broken.
Broken before Christ.
He had to break me to let me see the truth, to look back over my life and have my eyes opened to the lies I was living. He had to break me so I could feel His tender mercies on me, which are new every single morning.
So, don‘t look at “broke” in a bad way, because it’s not:
Broke in Christ is a good thing….to become BROKEN is actually to become WHOLE.
The Lord used Men’s Encounter to break me, to clean my temple, my “house“ if you will…..He stripped me of all the junk I had in there, and filled it up again, with HIM. He made order of the chaos that reigned there and took control of my life. I write you today to give Him praise.
I know I don’t deserve Tonya. I know you all think I am a jerk, or worse now, but please, hear my heart on this. Know that if you could see me, you’d see the sorrow written on my face. I was so foolish and so wrong. I knew better, I did and I was stupid. I was stupid enough to think I could play with fire and not get burned.
It’s hard for me to see Tonya hurting, struggling, crying. I have to face what I did to her each and every moment of every day, and it kills me. She is so strong, and I have never loved and respected her more. She is taking the steps of forgiving me, by fighting for our marriage each and every difficult day.
So now I ask you, please, forgive me?
“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:36