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
I have heard these words more lately than I care to. Most of them in my own head, but also echoing through cyber space, as women write me of their sorrows of unfaithful husbands and broken happily ever after’s, shattered hearts and destroyed self images.
Why couldn’t I be enough? I gave my all, my best…..and it simply wasn’t enough to stop him from betraying me. Maybe if I was sexier, skinnier…..
These thoughts lead no where good. Dale tells me over and over, “What I did was about something lacking in ME, not something lacking in you. Please don’t make this about you.”
It’s hard, isn’t it? Being betrayed in such an intimate, personal way. It strips you to your very core, the place where that raw, aching emotion pulses and throbs with every beat of your broken heart.
We are not the only ones that hear this, it is not just ours.
Not just women surviving infidelity hear that phrase, “Not Enough”.
All women do, at one time or another, as we look at our reflection in the mirror with judgmental eyes….
Not skinny enough.
Not curvy enough.
Not sexy enough.
Not tall enough.
Not full enough.
Not straight enough.
Not thick enough.
Not curly enough.
Not good enough.
Not smart enough.
Not talented enough.
Not pretty enough.
Just NOT enough.
When we look in the mirror, stare at our image and size it up, comparing ourselves to the air brushed world we live in, we lose.
Every. Blasted. Time.
We lose because we are unaware that over the shoulder of our scrutiny, are the sharp claws of the devil. The thoughts we have, being whispered in our ear by the devil HIMSELF. We are mere puppets in those moments.
WHY? Why do we let him whisper those lies? Why do we BELIEVE them?
We have the power to stop him, to make him leave, shrieking at the sound of the name of Jesus.
ENOUGH, Satan. We bind you in the name of Jesus. BE GONE. We will listen to you NO MORE.
I am a child of God and Daughter of the King of Kings.
I am His Beloved and He has called me BY NAME.
He knit me in my mother’s womb. He hand-picked my eye color, hair color, demeanor, talents, and quirks, placed every freckle and planned every detail of me.
Even the hairs on my head are numbered.
He bottles up all my tears in heaven.
He knows my thoughts before I think them.
I am made in HIS image.
I am chosen, holy and blameless before God.
I break His heart when I tell Him that I don’t like what I see.
I sin when I make Dale’s fall about me. When I roll in the filth of the ashes and drape myself in sack cloth of mourning. I choose to STOP the path of destruction.
When you look in the mirror you should see one thing:
If you don’t, then its time to ask Him for new eyes. Ones that see the beauty in which He has created you, your precious life, in His image.
It’s time to ask Him to give you new thoughts, thinking on what is good, and pure and noble and right. (Philippians 4:8)
It’s time we throw off “self” and our self-seeking ways, our vain strategies to look younger, be thinner, look prettier.
When you look in the mirror, you should see JESUS shining back through a beautiful YOU.
Because you take your Creators breath away……
He Makes Beautiful Things
This day is forever etched in my mind……
Second chances at a beautiful love story.
A pivotal moment on the road to healing.
Beauty from the devastating Ashes.
And so begins, our I Do: Part 2.
*A BIG thank you to my blog friend, Mary for making the AWESOME vintage banners that you see on the barn doors!
When people first came up to the barn, we had a Blessing Table in lieu of a guest book.
We had so much fun reading through them later!
My best friend, Kasey opened the ceremony with these beautiful words.
Good Evening and Welcome! There is no greater way to start this evening than with prayer! Please bow with me as we invite the Holy Spirit in this place tonight.
She asked our Heavenly Father to have His way and be present in the hearts and minds of our guests, as they surround us while we commit our love and lives in this evening of “I Do …Part 2”. Then went on to say…….
As a married women I have gained a greater understanding what it means to be here today. On this day, you are here to gather around Dale and Tonya, to stand witness to the vows and recommitments that will be spoken, so that when satan attacks and the load looks too heavy to carry….you will walk along side them and remind them of their covenant.
I Cor. 13 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres…………Love never fails. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Dale and Tonya choose love and forgiveness. Today is a pivotal point in their journey to total healing. What a blessing for Tonya to stay with Dale for all the wonderful things he has done right, instead of leaving him for the thing he did wrong. I hope you too, can chose that path, because as it says in John 8:36 “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” Praise His name!
Shelby sang me down the aisle to this song by Francesca Battistelli:
I originally got this CD because I LOVED her song “This Is The Stuff”. I had been praying for the Lord to show me what song I should walk down the aisle to, and as soon as this one came on, I froze at the kitchen sink, mid-dish and began to cry. I KNEW this was “The One”.
“Love’s not easy, but its worth it. Whatcha gonna do when the bottom falls out and your left with nothing but your fear and your doubt to hold you? Who will hold you?
……..Love can heal you, if you let it inside. Oh remember now, love’s not easy, but its worth it.”
Then Dale’s long time friend, Tim spoke:
“Dale and Tonya had a fairy tale courtship and wedding. They asked the Author of Love Himself to script them a beautiful love story, and He did. Even in the recent tragedy, the pen never left His mighty hand, and He is still writing that story.
Dale and Tonya went through a violation of a sacred boundary in their marriage. But Hope is not lost—they experienced God’s wonderful gift of restoration, allowing Him to take them through a rebuilding season. They are still growing, learning, and rebuilding. They are letting Him refocus and re-establish the foundation of success at the core of their romantic relationship. Jesus washed them clean and gave them a fresh start. God is in the business of offering beautiful new beginnings, which you are witnessing here today.
Dale, jealously protect every expression of physical intimacy as a sacred treasure for your lifetime love, Tonya. Guard your heart and mind from the devil’s sneaky attacks. Sharpen your sword daily by digging into God’s word. Cloak yourself in the full armor of God, in essence, JESUS, so that everything coming and going from you must first filter through HIM. Today, commit to give her the gift of faithfulness by guarding your heart, eyes, and mind from the temptations of this world.
Tonya, lavishly love Dale with all you have. God wants to build lovers who love as He does—with abandon. They give everything, with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They sacrifice and face the most challenging difficulties for the “joy set before them” (Hebrews 12:2). Remember forgiveness is a choice and choose it daily. Trust is hard to build and easy to break, but rely on Jesus to strengthen you and give you peace as you and Dale rebuild your house of trust together each and every day for the rest of your lives.
A poetic love is rare these days, but it is not out of reach. It will cost you everything, but what you receive in return is worth more than everything you possess now and everything you could possess for a thousand lifetimes.
Remember, God doesn’t need to imitate our culture’s style of love and romance. God has His own version of love—a poetic love that far surpasses anything Hollywood could ever create.
A day like today, marked by poetic love, is a day that shows the nature of God Himself—the original Author of true and lasting love.”
Next, our Counselor, Dan spoke, then did the Vow and ring ceremony with us:
“I have had a God-ordained privilege of coming to know and grow with Dale and Tonya Ferguson these past few months. I met two broken hearts many months ago and have watched God continue to hold true to His word. They came with a sincere desire to repair a shattered dream. They have both walked through much pain and joy in the process, and I can say with all my heart, that any couple that puts their trust in God as these have, and continue to, they WILL taste success. I have been encouraged by their commitment to God’s word and His restoration to their lives and marriage.”
Here are the vows we wrote to each other. We neither one knew what the other had planned to say:
Dale went first.
C.S. Lewis once said “A true friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you forget the words.”
Tonya, I forgot the words to our song, I lost my way. I made terrible mistakes and broke your trust and your heart. But when I turned around, there you where singing my song, standing faithfully by my side just like you promised.
There is a verse that says, he who is forgiven much, loves much. Tonya, I have never loved you more than I do now. Thank you for singing my song when I forgot the words, thank you for loving me at my best and my worst. I will be the man you have always wanted me to be, and I Promise to be faithfully yours, to never let satan sneak up on me again. It is my greatest desire to be faithful to you and to love you. Always seeking to meet your needs, desiring to help you in every way as you heal, listening to you when you want to talk, holding you when you want to cry, wiping away all your tears, encouraging you in your walk with Christ, and standing faithfully by your side from this day forward.
I give you all of me today; a new man, forgiven by grace and made new by the blood of Jesus. You are my best friend, my first love, my soul mate, and you make my world complete. If you let me, I’d like to earn your trust again. Tonya, never stop singing our song.
Today I give you my love without any limits. I promise to accept the things you believe in, and always try to understand you, to be near you whenever you need my presence, to trust in your love for me and pray it grows stronger every day. I promise to keep no record of wrong, and to remember that our love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures ALL things.
I promise to stand faithfully by your side in this journey called life, to fill your days with sunshine, to comfort you and encourage you, to make you Custard Pie :), to be your best friend and to love you all my life with all my heart, not holding back anything in fear, but moving forward with total abandon, leaping again into the arms of love even though I’m scared at times.
Through this tragedy my love for you has only grown stronger. The Lord has given us a second chance at our beautiful love story, so I come today to give you my heart and my hope for our future together. I love you more than I ever thought possible, and I promise to never forgot how Jesus gave us Beauty from the Ashes of our lives.
Dale, today I choose forgiveness. I choose you. I choose us. I don’t know how to be ME without YOU by my side. What God has joined together, satan will never separate, because a true love story has no ending, and I’d choose real with you, over a “happily ever after” fairytale…every single time, because I love you! ……I’m crazy about you.
There were many tears shed during our vows to each other. In the car, several days later, Avery pipes up: “I cwied during your wedding, Momma.” Why, honey? “I don’t know, but they were happy tears.”
A few days later I got an email from a friend that said, “I don’t know if you were aware of this, but Destiny cried and cried during the ceremony. Swiping at tears that never stopped flowing. She finally used the bottom of her dress to wipe her eyes.”
I, of course, immediately went to her to make sure she was ok. She said, “Yeah, mom, I am fine. I was just so happy that you guys weren’t getting a divorce and that God was healing your marriage.”
And now for the ring ceremony:
Dale and Tonya’s future is a circle unbroken, much like these rings, with which they renew their pledge to one another in an act of never-ending love, faithfulness and devotion to each other.
Do you, Dale, continue to take Tonya, as your loving wife? Will you continue to love her, honor her, comfort and treasure her, be faithful to her and honest with her, forsaking all others for as long as you both shall live?
Then repeat after me:
Tonya, I give you this ring, as a token of our abiding love and re-commitment to each other. I promise when I look at this ring, to see a new covenant with Christ, and my pledge of faithfulness before God and these witnesses.
Then repeat after me:
Dale, I give you this ring, as a token of our abiding love and recommitment to each other. I promise when I look at this ring, to see a new covenant with Christ and to remember Beauty from Ashes.
Our lifetime friends, Lynn and Ann, whom I used to nanny for, came from Oklahoma to sing the duet that they sang at our wedding, “Pour My Love On You” by Phillips, Craig and Dean.
During this time, we re-signed our Marriage Covenant, lit our special shattered candle from Joy of Simply Bloom and had a foot washing ceremony.
I was so sad to have to take this down last summer, I am so blessed to have it once again grace the walls of our home.
I was wondering what we were going to do in place of a unity candle, since we were already one. It was such a cool God-thing, that Joy sent us this just in time for the ceremony!
And then, the foot washing.
Jesus washed the disciples feet in an act of service to them, showing his servants heart despite their later betrayal of him. While we washed each others feet, love letters played across the screen:
Here is Dales letter to me:
Today, I wash your feet as a symbol of my desire to honor you, care for you and be true to you. This is a symbol of my commitment to die to self as I seek to love you as Christ loved the church. Today, as you trust your heart to me yet again, I wash your feet as a sign of my desire to serve you, cherish you and remain faithfully yours all the days of our lives.
My dearest Dale,
I am washing your feet because true love forgives. When Jesus forgave those closest to him, he served them. He washed their feet. This act illustrates to you how deeply I forgive you and how much I love you.
This act of servanthood is a token of my undying love for you and my desire to honor you as the head of our home.
I love you more than I thought possible….
After closing in prayer, Dan says:
Dale, you may kiss your bride……………
Dale got on the mike to thank everyone for coming, and for showing their loving support of us this past year. Then the kids got to talk too. 🙂
Jamie Grace’s “I Love the Way You Hold Me” cued and down the aisle we went, arm in arm…with the kids walking ahead of us.
We were a family again, a whole unit before Christ, and all was as it should be.
God is so good.
The rest of evening was spent eating, laughing, hugging and talking to the amazing friends that came to show their support.
I posted those in the next post, because this one is already LOOOONG! 🙂
More to come….
Just tuning in? Please start at the Original Post that begins this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”. It will all make a lot more sense if you do: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises.
For those of you all caught up, this is post 2 for today, please go back and read the first post, “Hearing from the Lord”.
I’d like to share a dream our mentor had. He has been praying for us faithfully during his late night prayer time. I am telling you, this man has been invaluable to our healing process, sharing things he hears during that time that are straight from the Lord, meant to soothe our broken hearts. Personal things that would only make sense to us. Man, I love that!
This was sent to us via email on July 15th, 5 short days after the secret comes out:
So, I’m not really a ‘horse’ person, but this dream was about horses. I walked into a huge barn, a really clean barn with stalls on both sides for horses… wood on bottom and bars on top… like you see in the movies.. or my dreams.. haha.
Stapled on the wood of each door was a picture of the horse, his lineage, all the important info, and a PRICE. And going in, the lowest priced horses were first, up to the highest priced ones at the end. So I’m looking at the horses, trying to figure out how they know how to price them. The first ones are way old, sway-backed, ribs showing, bad teeth……and are for sale for a few hundred dollars.
Then the horses got really pretty, and I was admiring them and how HIGH the prices were getting. I got to the next to the last horse, and it was a BEAUTIFUL purebred American quarter horse… (like I know what that is) with this gorgeous white star on its forehead. It was four years old, and didn’t have a blemish on it. The price tag, $25,000.00. I was walking along with the owner of the horses and I remarked to him that I had no idea a horse could be worth that much.
He said, wait till you see the next horse.
So, next stall. It was a really nice looking horse, but not nearly as beautiful as the one right before it, and it was 10 years old. It had a couple deep scars from wounds, I guessed from running into a barbed wire fence or brush, maybe while it was out working cattle. And it had a brand… which I’m not sure if they brand the really good horses, but I’m guessing not. So it wasn’t the best looking horse.
Price tag, $175,000.00 I gasped and asked the old owner what in the WORLD made that last horse so high-priced.
He looked at me like I should have known and said, “Oh, this one’s broke”.
That’s where he ended. Totally left us hanging!!!!
On Jul 15, 2011, at 11:21 PM, Tonya Ferguson wrote:
Does your dream come with an interpreter? 🙂 Are you calling me a horse? Is saving my marriage like the pricey old horse? Worth far more than a brand new one? Good night, sweet dreams! T
Our mentor wrote:
I thought I’d let you chew on it tonight (I would never call you a horse, nay). I’ll tell you how I interpreted it tomorrow, although I’m sure the dream was from God, I want to be sure my interpretation is from Him too.
July 16th: A Dream Interpreted
The owner of the horses was God. The last two horses were pictures of your marriage. The thing that prompted me that this dream was about you was the word you used in your initial email to me… “worth”… something like, “I guess I wasn’t worth it then, and I’m not worth it now”… I think God is wanting to show you the value or the worth of you and your marriage.
So… value… In the dream, I was ‘pricing’ the horses. I stared at the pretty $25k horse, admiring its sleek lines… haven’t people admired your marriage from the sidelines? And the next horse, although not as young, or PRETTY, was valued at $175k…. which is, not coincidentally, SEVEN times the value of the unbroken horse. I don’t put a lot of emphasis on numbers, but seven is the number of perfection. I truly believe that tomorrow your marriage will have seven times the value it did yesterday. Seven speaks of completion. Omega. It’s not completed yet, but Alpha is past. Omega is coming.
Didn’t your first counselor use the words ‘broken’ describing your marriage? As … broken in a bad way? Sometimes we think broken has a negative connotation. 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 don’t see your marriage as ‘broke’ not like Humpty Dumpty was broke, but broke from a shroud of secrecy, broke from lies, broke from infidelity, broke from pride, broke from financial security, broke from the horrible monster of secrecy, a broken vessel before the Lord, needing him now more than ever in every aspect of your lives.
The scars, battle wounds from being in service. Dale just received a deep scar, and so did you. They mark you as someone who has been through the fire and has come out on the other side. I saw two scars in the dream. I don’t know what that means. If I were to guess, it would be a scar on each of your hearts. The valuable horse was a 10-year-old. How old is your marriage again?
Unknown to him, our marriage was 9 1/2 years at the time of the dream. We will celebrate 10 years this May.
Dale and I had no doubt this dream came direct from the Father Himself, so we clung to it like a lifeline. Drawing encouragement from the fact that the Lord desires our brokeness.
Good, because at this moment, we had nothing else to give Him.
Tune in tomorrow, for a post from Dale…