The Death of Something Beautiful: July 10th, 2011

  Today marks the one year Anniversary of “The Truth”. 

That’s hard to believe isn’t it?  Most likely because you guys were only told a few short months ago.  Dale and I, on the other hand, have spent every moment of all 365 days, fighting the devil for our marriage.  We won, but it did not occur without battle wounds, bruises and sheer exhaustion.  I am still surprised at how emotionally bruised and weary I feel at times.

  Today, I sit in silent pondering of the “Could-have-been’s” and “Praise the Lords”. 

  Today, I look back over the past year and weep.  I weep at the happy memories of a Beauty from Ashes ceremony, that was the biggest turning point in our healing yet.  I weep when I look further back than that, to a Tonya who couldn’t even stand on her own two feet, because she was so broken.  So she just lay there, amongst the rubble of her broken life, her whole world shattered around her, bleeding freely from a broken heart.

  Today, I remember the Tonya who died on this very day, at 6 pm this evening out in the laundry room, a yellow note clutched in her hand.  She died alongside her childhood hopes and dreams, and a new, stronger, less innocent Tonya writes you this day. 

   I am glad to be that stronger Tonya, thankful to tell you……

I DID IT. 

I MADE IT THROUGH. 

I FACED THE DEATH OF ME, AND MY DREAMS, AND ALLOWED JESUS TO BRING ME BACK TO LIFE. 

A new life, in Christ.

But, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you, that I miss my innocent trust of a world I found wonderful, and the life I found to be a dream come true.

  There are very few things that occur, that are SO BIG, that they forever more change the way we refer to the timeline of our lives:

  For Dale and I, there will always be a “Before The Truth” and an “After The Truth” part of our timeline, our life story. 

  Our entire lives being pivoted around this ONE moment in time, not being defined by it, but being changed BECAUSE of it. 

  That one solitary moment, when one bad choice lead to another.  One moment that forever shifted our reality.

One moment.

   So I sit today, in silent wondering of all the Lord has done.  I sit today, with tears in my eyes, and a sob silenced in my throat, as I think of how long the road has been.  How far we have come, how at the times we couldn’t even stand on our own two feet, we were carried by our Savior.

A Year ago today changed everything.

Nothing will ever be as it was……

And I am still not quite sure how I feel about it.  I think that’s ok.  A normal step on the road to total healing.

  What I will say is this…..

We would not be where we are today, without Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

Period.

Without faith, and the arms of Jesus, we’d have fallen and never gotten back up.

  We are where we are today, because of the blood of Jesus, who makes all things new.  And a loving God, who desires to make a beautiful mosaic from the shards of our lives, if only we will trust Him with all the pieces.

July 10th, 2011 will forever more be burned in my mind, but I don’t have to live by it…….

For I already DIED from it.

And I sure don’t have to be defined by it…..

  It is simply a shifting axis, a reference point, in a life-long road to healing.

1 year after death, together we stand: 

Dale and Tonya Ferguson. 

  Forgiven by grace, strengthened by the fiery trials, and VICTORIOUS by the blood of Jesus, July 10th, 2012, 1 Year After The Truth that set us free. 

Beauty from ashes, baby.  Beauty from ashes.

~T

 

Facing My Demons: A Weekend Away

  For the entire past year of healing, hurting, laughing, loving, crying and learning to be “us” again, we have stated over and over, that we wish we could get away from it all for a while.  To just focus on the Dale and Tonya part of the equation.  The Lord heard our pleas, and through a good friend at our Vow Renewal, provided the funds for us to get away this weekend.  Praise HIS name!

  I decided to keep it as a surprise for Dale. So, for the past THREE weeks, I have had to guard my tongue and filter every sentence when we were talking about our upcoming “counseling session” that mom was coming to babysit for. 

  I had our bags packed and hidden away in the back of the Tahoe as of nap time on Thursday.  This was going to be awesome!

  Dale comes home from work Thursday night, with a bouquet of flowers and announces he has booked me a massage for Friday morning. 

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Okaaaaaay.  Cool way to start the weekend, but does he know what is to come?

Surely not.

  Now, how to get Dale to drive to the hotel instead of the counselors office……  Both, 45 minutes away.

  So, my BFF, Kasey and I come up with a plan…

Monty, Kasey’s husband, is the proprietor of Red Robin, which is in the same area as the hotel…The Waterfront.  So, we make this plan that Kasey is going to call me and BEG us to swing by Red Robin and pick up their paycheck for them to save a trip.  Dale agrees and off we go.

   When we get to Red Robin, Monty is there.  This seems to perplex Dale a bit, “Why do we need to get the paycheck if Monty is here?” 

  I have no idea what I said, but I do know I suggested we have a snack while we were there anyhow.  Monty always treats us right, and in no time flat, we had some fun snacks in front of us. 

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When its time for the bill, or “the paycheck” we came to pick up, Monty brings an envelope to our table and leaves again.

  I had Dale open it, no bill to be found, but there WAS this hotel card.

He was so excited! 

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  Waterfront Hotel is our FAAAAAVORITE.  It’s elegant, they treat you like royalty, they have  a den full of books and videos for you to borrow, a pool, hot tub, sun deck, mini golf course, and an amazing breakfast!

  When we get to our room, there are more surprises….

Monty and Kasey had arranged for us to have some amazing snacks, drinks and flowers when we arrived.  AND, the hotel manager got in on it, and threw in a room with a view and a beautiful rose petal trail that greeted us when we came in.

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Kasey and Monty stocked the fridge, too! Such sweet, precious friends we have!

If you can’t tell from the above pics, the rooms are just beautiful!

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  We so badly needed some R & R and veg out time!  It was wonderful.

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  I even got myself a new outfit for our special date.

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  The second evening we had a light supper on purpose, so we could come back and have a bed picnic and movie!  YUM.  These beds had like 9 extra fluffy pillows on them, so we nestled up with the tray of goodies and felt like royalty!   🙂

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Then, like it always does after an amazing high, a low time comes.  I never know what will trigger it, and can’t put my finger on it this time, but during our movie, I felt myself pull away from Dale. The thoughts started to come about what he had done, what had happened in this very town we were staying in.

Dale sensed it immediately and begged me with sad eyes to “stay here”, to not pull away emotionally on our amazing weekend away from real life .

  It was too late.

  The walls were up, the door to my heart, locked up tight.  I hate that.  I don’t want to be that way anymore.  Sometimes, I fight and win those battles, but this time….it slipped up so quietly, it had overtaken me before I knew what happened.

But God is faithful.  As I lay there, my back to Dale, hugging a pillow, I knew.

Despite the late hour, we were going to the office.

THE OFFICE.

The one that forever changed my life.  The one that robbed me of my beautiful marriage.

  Dale had driven by it before, as he works all over our state in various towns.  It made him sick the first time he drove back by it, but I had never been back. 

Well, that’s not entirely true.  I had been to the office when Dale first took it over.  It was a lovely visit, we were excited for this next phase in our lives as Dale took on a management position, a step up. 

If only we had known. 

  I may have only visited that office once or twice, but I have since been there many, many, many, many times……..

In my nightmares.

  Over and over the movie reel plays.  Dale pulling into the parking lot, one hand on the steering wheel, his ring twinkling, almost mocking me as I watch…..the other hand on the keys, deciding whether to come home to me, or go inside after a day of inappropriate talk with HER.  In my nightmares I scream, no…..I try to scream, but no words come out.

Silently I mouth:

NOOOOO. DON’T DO IT. Please.

Please.

Please, choose ME this time. 

Choose US.

Run! 

  In my nightmare, he shuts his car off every time, gets out and goes to the front office door. Again, my nightmare pauses as I beg and plead for him to go back to his car and come home to me. 

Instead, he follows her inside…….“The Other Woman”, wins again. 

  I feel sick as I write you this, shaken, as I let you see into the ugly.  You just got a glimpse into the hell that haunts me at times.  I know better than to entertain this nightmare.  I know that the victory is mine and I can shut the movie reel off.  Most times, I do and I win, feeling victorious. 

  Other times, I feel trapped, powerless to shut this nightmare off and flee.  Waking up sobbing, with a damp pillow from the tears that have been flowing for who knows how long before I awake.  In those moments, I find comfort in Dale’s arms, his warm, bare chest, as I lay with my ear to his heart.  I tell myself it beats for me, that he loves me.  That despite his actions, he always has.

    It’s time to do this. I am ready.

Dale and I chatter on as we drive to the office, but the closer we get, the quieter it gets in the car.  The tighter Dale grips my hand.  He keeps glancing over at me, to make sure I am ok.  By the time we cross the railroad tracks, I fear I will wretch in the car.  The office is now in sight.

  He pulls up and parks, but doesn’t shut the car off. 

“Now what?” he asks.

  I can’t speak, tears running down my face in rapid rivers, dripping down on to my shirt.  I say nothing, but pull the car handle to get out. 

I was ready to face my demons.

  I stood there on the sidewalk, finding his office window instantly.  My whole life changed because of that room.  I turn to look at the door handle that haunts my nightmares.  Sobs wrack my body as I stand there;  remembering, hating, wishing I could leave, yet knowing I needed to do this to move on.

I’ve been talking about doing this very thing for 10 months now.

  Strong arms wrap around me from behind, as my soul mate meets me in my hell, nuzzling his face close to mine.  I stood there, crying, arms down at my sides…..and then, eruption.

  It was not premeditated, it literally burst out of me….

A loud, long yell that came from deep down in my shattered soul. 

  It was haunting, echoing in the dark, damp night.  At the same instant, I turned and hit Dale.  HARD.  I took him by his broad shoulders and shook him, yelling no words, but yelling loudly just the same. 

  In a rage, I kick rocks at the building, wishing I could throw them through that window.  I wonder to myself if I have cracked, if this is the breaking point from a year long battle to stay afloat emotionally. 

  But as the anger subsides, and the quiet sobs come back, I sink to the ground feeling relieved.  Feeling victorious.  I had faced my demons and I am still alive.  Dale pulled me close, asking me to lay hands on the very building that housed his sinful actions. 

  I couldn’t, I wouldn’t.  Still he pleaded, “Just touch it so I can pray.” 

  And pray he did, crying out to Jesus to bring me healing and freedom from this place.  Peace that surpasses understanding washed me from my very soul outward, stretching into shaking legs and arms.  Quieting the tears that had yet to cease flowing.

My camera was in the car, so I told Dale to get it.  I wanted proof that this moment occurred.  A visual of my freedom from this place. Dale’s freedom from this place, washed away by the precious blood of Jesus.

  In the glow of the headlights of our car…….our hands, our rings, on the very building that the devil used as he planned to ruin us.

  United we stand. 

What satan planned for harm, our Heavenly Father used for good……. 

  IS using for good, each and every day.  

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  I faced my demons and won this weekend.  I found my peace once again.  This office building will no longer haunt me.  It has no power over me because I faced it HEAD ON.   I love that the Lord used a much needed weekend of healing, to get out some more yuck.  I don’t want it in there, festering under the surface. 

  We received a very large wound last summer, and before it heals up, I want it thoroughly cleaned.  So much so, that we NEVER have to reopen this wound again to deal with “infection”.   

Unforgiveness.  Roots of bitterness.  Negative thoughts. 

I want them all gone, so that we can move into new and total healing. 

  We’ve just taken another large step in the right direction.

Praise you, Jesus.

~T

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Reaping with Shouts of Joy…

  I sometimes feel as if I will crack under the pressure of it all…..

Wife.

Broken, restored, repaired, renewed, but still hurting Wife of Dale.

Mother.

Mommy. Mom. Mo-om. MOOOOOOM. MOM!

Friend.

How could I forget our play date?

Blogger.

Oh no! It was my turn for Weekend Potluck shout outs?!

Photographer.

Oops, I had 3 photos sessions AND a big wedding this weekend.  How in the world did I quadruple book myself?

  I am not going to lie.  The “old” Tonya was never very good at a busy calendar.  She much preferred to stay home all week, leaving only occasionally for  a grocery shopping spree, quick photo session, church outing, or something as a family. She carefully juggled all the balls in the air of wife, mother, tidy house keeper, chef, friend, helper.

   This new Tonya, doesn’t do busy AT ALL.  I can’t balance it well. Yet, I am busier than EVER. 

You know what my friend taught me about BUSY?

Burdened

Under

Satan’s

Yoke

  Yup, pretty sure that’s the truth.  And that’s why we have THIS truth:

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  Unless you have been through a marriage tragedy or betrayal, I think it’s hard to understand the burden of just SURVIVING the fight for your marriage each and every day.  Not the fighting like with each other, but that “tug of war” with satan for your very marriage. It is a real and prevalent battle, each and every day.

  It’s like the choosing of good thoughts, falling back in love, choosing joy, rebuilding that TEDIOUS glass house of trust again…….all take so much effort, we can barely manage to do that and be the parents God wants us to be. Those 2 factors taking the majority of our hearts and time without any “extras”. 

  I had someone write this past week and say they were glad the Infidelity Series was done, and that happier posts were here again.  That’s all fine and dandy folks, but here is the deal:

  I may be writing about Kitty Cats and Tacos, but inside, I am STILL crying tears over the loss of my marriage as I knew it.  I may smile and laugh on the outside, but joy does not reside fully on the inside.  It’s all still too raw, painful.

  We recently went to a marriage conference.  They said: “Joy is like the current underneath the ocean. Real and present and moving in our lives.  Happiness is the waves that crash on the shore, then recede at times. “

  My joy used to bubble out of me, a steady moving stream underneath the surface. My eyes used to shine and sparkle, because I was THAT joyful and happy.  I miss that.

I want that desperately. I want to be that Tonya again, but I can’t. I don’t know how to find the joy I lost last summer on that day of “TRUTH”. 

  I am thankful that happiness crashes up on my shore very regularly now, that is a nice change from the days I wondered if I’d ever laugh and smile again.  I know this all takes time, I do.  But it feels like after nearly a year, we should be better.  Remember, I am a Tonya-land, sunshine and lemonade kind of gal by nature.

  The past few days have been tough for Dale and I.  We aren’t connecting like we usually do, because the devil is really attacking us.  Causing our souls to search for each other but not connect.  A big part of this, is because I AM NOT HOME.  I am investing in lots of good things, but I am just now seeing, that everything I give to the world, steals from my energy source in a much larger way than it used to. 

  The Lord knows what we need.  I love that about Him.  He knows me better than I know myself.

  Look what showed up in the mail yesterday from an anonymous party:

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A necklace with “my” verse on it.

Psalms 126:5 “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”

The world around me quieted when I saw it slip from the package, and I gasped when I pulled the necklace out.  I knew this was my promise today.

Because JOY comes in the morning.

  I feel like He was using this to encourage me that soon…..soon my harvest of joy would come.  It’s ok that it’s not here yet.  Unrealisiticly, I had hoped after the Vow Renewal, Viola!  A new beautiful us. 

  The Vow Renewal was an amaaaaaaazing moment in the timeline of our healing journey. It was a HUGE step in the right direction, but I am seeing that we have a long ways to go.  I am also realizing that I am weary, because I am fighting for my marriage.  Forgetting I have to keep asking the Lord to help me fight.  He is standing there next to me, like the gentlemen He is, not taking from me, but asking for me to hand it over……..

To share my burden with Him.

To remember that I have planted a LARGE crop of tears and that my harvest of joy is COMING!

To ask him to fight FOR me, because job is to BE STILL, and that is so so so hard!

  Head on over to The Adopt Shoppe on Etsy.  Or find them on Facebook.  There are many, many beautiful necklaces to choose from, and all proceeds go to fund this precious families adoption.  Kate is selling some AMAAAAAAZING pieces! 

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  And I am so very blessed to wear one of them around my neck.

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Thank you, friend, whoever you may be, for obeying the Lord’s prompting, and sending me a promise, in necklace form, on the EXACT day I needed it.

Bless you,

~T

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Surviving Infidelity: What Do You Tell The Kids?

  I had a blog reader write me this weekend, and say:

The one thing I have not read about yet is about your children. No doubt that they saw a change in the way you guys interacted with each other. How and did you address this with your kids at all? I know they are younger but do you have advice on this?

   I do have some advice on this!  We met this issue head on, as we have chosen to do with all life’s issues: Death, Sex, Body Parts…..all those questions that make parents cringe! 

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  They were all met head on with simple, truthful answers, in simple terms geared towards their level of understanding.  You know what I love about kids?  When you quench their hunger for knowledge, with these simple answers, they are done.  They accept it and move forward. 

  It’s when we gasp and squirm, avert our eyes and say, “Go ask your dad.”  that they wonder, “Wow. That was a big reaction, this must be a really big deal.” Anxiety often follows.

  Destiny, 8 at the time, picked up right away on our tears and sorrow that first weekend.  We pulled her aside, and explained to her in simple terms, that daddy had broken mommy’s heart.  That there was going to be lots of tears and hugs and healing for a while, but that we were NOT going to get a divorce. That she had nothing to be scared of.  She nodded, tears streaming down her face.  This 8-year-old child, such a little woman already.

IMG_5699  From then on, she’d watch Dale comfort me with an understanding on her face. 

  A few months later, while I am tucking her in, she says “Mommy, I can tell God is healing your heart with super God Glue, because you are smiling and happy again.” 

Precious, precious words from a very grown up little girl.

  Our youngest children, 4, 2 1/2 and 1 at the time, didn’t ask questions, only began to act out more as the year progressed.  We are sure they felt the tone of the home change, even if they couldn’t understand why.  It was only after the Vow Renewal that they began to ask why we were getting married again? 

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  In simple terms we said “Because God saved our marriage and we wanted to give HIM glory, and because we love each other very very much.”  That was good enough for them! 🙂  Little Avery shared she cried “Happy Tears” at our Vow Renewal because her heart was so glad.  A friend later IMG_4878told me she had seen Destiny, swiping away tears that didn’t stop flowing during our ceremony.

They get it, guys.  They do.  Don’t cast them aside during hard times, thinking “They’ll never understand, this is a grown up issue.”  It only causes them to feel insecure.  To feel FEAR of what you are keeping from them.  Fear of what they don’t understand. 

  IMG_5876It’s so important that we come alongside of our kids during these rough patches in life and help them understand. Not barf our problems all over them, but in simple terms, sum it up for them.  Watch them make their peace with your truth, and easily move forward, as kids are so great about doing!

  Jami Nato of, Hello from The Natos, says it best:

i want to model a life of repentance to my children. what i don’t want to model to my children is a life of perfection. a life of false perfection, actually. how does that help children to be repentant when they never see you owning your imperfections. when they never hear you say, i’m so sorry…mommy was angry and she should not have punished you like that.

perhaps we even feel bad and go to God and ask for forgiveness. but it stops there. we don’t go to the person we hurt, even your 5 year old, and ask for forgiveness from them. no, that’s too difficult. no, they wouldn’t understand. no, they would think i’m terrible. no, it’s not that big of a deal.
it is that big of deal.
repentance in the small things not only points your children to repentance in big things, it points them to repentance was a way of life. that we are all flawed and that we all need a savior. all the time.

it is important to continually point our children to God. to tell them of his miracles in our lives! it is something to get excited about it. we talk about proclaiming the Gospel to your neighbors and friends and we forget about those little humans in our own house.
proclaiming the Gospel through repentance is so good.
so we will not keep the affair secret. we will shout it to the world and to our children.

  Whether our kids grasp all that occurred or not, it is our prayer, that ONE DAY, they will be able to look back over their lives, our lives as their parents, and say, “Oh yeah, mom and dad went through a rough time and fought for their marriage.  They fought hard, and God worked a miracle in our home. They WON the battle,  I can do that too.”

“My mom forgave my dad, when it might have seen easier to walk away, I can forgive, too.

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We want to leave a legacy of Grace for our children.

We want to leave a legacy of FORGIVENESS by the blood of Jesus, for our children.

We want our children to remember that marriage is HARD, but it is worth FIGHTING FOR!

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Our family has a history of divorce. 

It STOPS HERE.

It stops NOW. 

It will not be passed down to my children or their children.

Because we fought even when we didn’t have strength.

Because Jesus told us the Victory was OURS, if only we’d trust Him.

II Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

  We WON the battle.  We fought the good fight.  We finished the course.

Thank you, Jesus.

~T

Deuteronomy 4:9-10

  “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God…..when he said to me, “Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.”

How To Survive Infidelity: The Betrayer’s List

Yesterday, Tonya posted her Top 6 Ways To Survive Infidelity.  It only seemed right that I speak to the other side of this, to the one who caused the hurt.

6 Ways to Help Your Spouse Survive Your Infidelity

1) Cut ties with the other person.  This was not a problem in my case, since it was a one time act, but for those of you in actual relationships with another….FLEE.  Cut ties and don’t look back.  Delete them from your phone, your Facebook, change jobs: WHATEVER IT TAKES.  Your marriage is WORTH fighting for, so do it.  Do not ever enter into a “friendship” with the opposite sex again, it has no place in your life.

2) Be soft & tender before God and your spouse.  You caused this hurt and unspeakable pain to your spouse, now it’s your job to make it right.  Be prepared that the Lord will want to continue to do a work in you, now that the truth is out.  It’s time to step up to the plate, make lifestyle changes, get accountability partners set up, and get the help you need to walk in freedom.  Admit that you made the mistake, own up to it or it will own you!

The more soft and moldable you are during this time, like clay in the potters hands, the less chiseling Jesus has to do to make you HIS.

Watch this video to see what I mean, it’s my favorite:

3) Be Open to Answering Questions & Talk About It. Openly Share Your Remorse.  Unanswered questions grow GIANT in a hurry, where as a truthful answer, quiets those fears and allows your spouse to move past them.  Tonya had many, many questions that were hard for me to want to answer at the beginning, but I knew she needed my truth.  I knew I owed that much to her, even if reliving my mistake made me sick to my stomach and angry at times.  Each and every time she was told an answer, I would watch her struggle to accept it, work through it; cry or whatever she deemed necessary to heal, before a quiet resolve came over her.  A new level of peace was achieved, as she was able to silence those thoughts or questions.

 A truly remorseful spouse is a huge huge huge part of a successful restoration. Make sure you are totally transparent to your spouse, nothing hidden. If she asks questions, answer honestly and FULLY….not just enough info to get her to be quiet for the moment, because if later, she finds you weren’t totally honest, it sets things way back for you both.  The path to healing is paved with difficult choices, being open and forthcoming is key to the successful healing of your marriage.

4) Be ready to scale walls and slay dragons.  When Tonya gets scared she throws up walls between us and takes her heart back, I can feel it happen.  I know this is my fault, I caused her this pain and mistrust.  My job is to not be angry that she pushes me away.  Rather, my job is to scale those walls, and slay those “dragons” (fears) that are holding her back, and lovingly swoop her in my arms. We are to be our wives heros, their rescuer, their knight in shining armor.  Trust is hard to build, and easy to break.  Give you and your wife both extra grace during this rebuilding time.  And TALK about things. (see step 2)

5) Put On Your Armor.  It is ESSENTIAL that satan is unable to attack you in this manner again. You have been burned once, be on the look out for him to lure you back to that pot of water again.  You KNOW the consequences this time, you KNOW the tools the enemy used last time to make you fall, so be on alert for those.  You want to win the war? Then be sure you know what your enemy is bringing. 

   Putting on the Armor means being in God’s word, DAILY. Being on your knees before him, DAILY.  Seeking His help to be the man He has wanted you to be all along.  When you put on the armor, you are essentially putting on Jesus.  Anything you say or do, listen to or look at, must FIRST get filtered through your Jesus armor.  Look at it that way, and it’s a total game changer!

6) Forgive Yourself.  I don’t have a lot to say here, except that I am still working on this.  Some days are easier than others, but remembering that Jesus spread my ashes as far as the east are from the west, keeps me going.  Why would I want to keep swimming out into the ocean to gather up my transgressions again?  I just end up wearing myself out.  Jesus died for ALL sins, and there are no levels of sin, none worse than another in my Father’s eyes.  I am working on living this out.

I hope this can help you and your spouse to heal.  God is the great Healer, He wants to put the pieces of your marriage back together for His glory, if only you will give Him all the pieces.

Dale

How to Survive Infidelity: The Betrayed

So, Dale and I survived infidelity.  We survived the writing and sharing of our story turned HIS, and we joyfully renewed our vows in a Beauty from Ashes, I Do: Part 2 ceremony.

    Phew.

  What a journey we have been on!  9 months in the making, just like the gestation of new life!  We have NEW life in Christ!!!

Thank you, Jesus!  It’s all behind us, now we can move forward with joy, peace, forgiveness and LIFE abundantly.

LOVE wins.  JESUS wins.  MARRIAGE wins.

  If I could sum up How To Survive Infidelity from my point of view as the betrayed party, this is what I would say:

 6 Steps to Survive Infidelity

1) FORGIVE.
Forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive. Every moment of every day, then forgive some more.  Forgiveness is a choice. CHOOSE IT.  Then live it, daily in your words and actions.  The quicker you forgive, the quicker the Lord can move in those soft hearts you have laid before him.  The quicker your marriage will be healed and renewed.

  I had to make a decision after I forgave Dale, to not speak down to him, or throw in little jabs that came from the deep hurt in my heart.  It was not my place to take Dale’s sin from where it hung on that cross and throw it in his face.  Do NOT go there. 

  When you feel hurt, tell your spouse, “I am hurting right now.” Or a sentence I used with Dale a lot is “I am in a bad place today.”  Let them hug you, as touch softens your heart and melts those walls that try to be thrown up.  Seek the Lord immediately, “Help me do this your way, Jesus.”  Dale was always good to wrap me in his arms and pray over me when I was struggling.  His tenderness and love for our Savior bringing tears to my eyes.

2) Be aware of the devil and call him out.  See him at work in your life.

  Never have I been more aware of the devils attacks, as I think about the trap he laid out for my husband. It is disturbing how well thought out it was, how many years it was in the making. 

  First, satan lured him into the pot of water….it’s only porn, you are just looking, not acting. It’s HARMLESS.   Next, he turned up the heat….YOU and you alone can provide for this family. It’s all about YOU, you don’t need the Lords help, look at how successful you could be.  Heat gets turned a smidge higher as he convinces Dale that telling me he started looking at porn again, would only hurt me.  PRIDE came next, too proud to admit he had a problem.  DISTANCE from his Lord and Savior, as he was ashamed of his actions.  Then, LUST sealed Dale’s fate, as porn attaches a deep and powerful lust to you.  Coupled with distance from the Lord, and those clanging bells of warning, have officially been muffled .  Dale was boiling and dead in that pot of water before he even knew the devil had him in the pot. 

I Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

  Satan will not let you fix your marriage without fighting for the death of it.  Remember who the enemy is, NOT your spouse….it’s the DEVIL!  He HATES Christian marriage, for it is the very PICTURE of Christ and His bride, the church.  No wonder marriages are failing at a 51% rate now.

  3) Take your thoughts CAPTIVE.

  If you have survived a betrayal in your marriage, you will know EXACTLY what I am talking about.  The devil TORMENTED me day and night, night and day.  He used my thoughts on what I deserved and how I should find it elsewhere with a new man and new marriage.

He put many a destructive thought in my head about my marriage, calling again and again with what I deserved and what I didn’t, attacked my self-worth, and feeding me lies.

“You aren’t really going to take him back, are you? He will only hurt you again.”

“Boy, Dale sure is late tonight, wonder why he’s not answering his phone…”

“Look at you, 4 babies sure have done a number on your body. I bet he’s seen hundreds of better bodies on the computer. You are disgusting.”

  When satan attacks, pray your eyes will be opened to see it right away so you can fight and win. Our VICTORY over the devil has already been won. Claim it, PROCLAIM it.

Out loud say: “I give NO consent to that thought.” Then I’d add for good measure, “Leave me! In the name of Jesus.” 

  And he would flee, shrieking at the sound of the name of Jesus.  I don’t care how foolish you feel saying it out loud:

DO IT.  It helps!

  Take it from a girl who has a very vivid writers imagination, I HAD to take control of my destructive thoughts, the out of whack roller coaster of emotion I had Dale and I on, or we wouldn’t be where we are today.

  Satan is out to destroy you, he is throwing his head back and cackling with glee that he got you and your spouse this far. He is circling for the kill.  Stand up and FIGHT BACK. You’ve GOT this!  THE VICTORY IS YOURS!

  This attack on worth and thoughts, is not just a tactic he uses on the betrayed party, he also used Dale’s thoughts! Tormenting him about his inability to say no next time, making him scared he couldn’t stay pure in his thoughts and actions.   And, just when we both thought the onslaught was over, he’d come back stronger and more often.  Get your armor on!

4)  Allow yourself to Grieve. It’s healthy, it’s ok, it brings healing.

Psalms 126:5 “Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.”

7 Stages of Grief:
  1. Shock & Denial – This is NOT happening to me, to my lovely marriage.  You may deny the reality of the loss of your marriage at some level.  This stage may last several weeks.  (See related post: Broken Hearts, Shattered Promises)

  2. Pain & Guilt – As the shock wears off, it is replaced with suffering and unbelievable pain.  Do not hide this, do not escape, allow the tears to come.  You may have guilty feelings or try to live in the land of “If Only”.  If only he hadn’t gone to work that day. If only I was skinnier. If only I had called him more that day…..
    Don’t go there.  Flee this mind-set.  (See related post: The Other Woman)
  3. Anger & Bargaining – Sadness gives way to anger. How DARE you do this to me!  You may want to lash out, but please remember to ask yourself if you are speaking life or death.  Helping or hurting your spouse.  This is the time to release bottled up emotion, but do so in a healthy way.  You may ask “Why me?” during this time.  Trust that God will help you through.   (See related post: Confessions of A Heartbroken Housewife)
     
  4. Sadness, Reflection, Mourning – Just when it seems life should move on and get better, a period of sad reflection will likely overtake you.   This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning friends. It is a necessary step to move to a point of healing. (See: The Death of Little Girl Dreams) 
  5. The Upward Turn – As you start to adjust to this new life, you feel more normal.  The physical symptoms of heartache are less, and you find yourself smiling and laughing more.  (For me, this came after I forgave Dale: Choosing to Forgive)
  6. Reconstruction & Working Through – This is the stage that you will find yourself seeking to define what your “new” life will look like now that you forgave your spouse.  This is the beginning of a new chapter of hope, new-found love and a fresh start in Christ.  (See post: Welcome to Tonya-land, Won’t You Let the SONshine In?)
  7. Acceptance & New Beginnings -This is the final stage of grief, in this stage you accept and deal with the reality of your situation.  Acceptance doesn’t mean instant happiness, or that bad days won’t come, but you will find a way to move more and more quickly past these bad days. And, they are coming farther and fewer between them. You will find new joy in the one your soul loves and you will find that your love is deeper than you could’ve ever imagined.  What doesn’t break you, DOES make you stronger!

5) Love Freely 

But be aware of the walls the devil tries to throw up between you….

First my wall would go up while Dale’s heart sought me out, longing to connect with me. Begging me with sorrowful eyes to let him back in my heart and life.  Then, when I would be ready to give him my whole heart and was seeking him out, he threw up a wall and was trying to protect his heart from the roller coaster of emotion I had him on….one day loving fully, the next day, cowering in fear behind a wall, taking my heart back so he wouldn’t hurt me again.  By calling satan out and calling it what it was, an attack from the devil, we were able to quickly overcome this stage, praise God!

  There was a few weeks at the beginning were I could hardly let Dale touch me, let alone make love to me.  But this is an important part of connecting and healing.  When two become one, it strengthens the bond between the two of you, and the devil has a harder time worming in.

You need this connection with your spouse, putting aside all fears and giving them all of you.  It reminds me of one of my favorite songs.  You will recognize this one from yesterday’s slide show:

“You’re going to have all of me. You’re worth every falling tear, you’re worth facing every fear, you’re going to have all my love, even if it’s not enough to mend our broken hearts…..”

  Sex is a beautiful gift from God to be enjoyed with your spouse. Don’t bring the past hurts into the bedroom.  Don’t let satan invite anyone else in, through your destructive thoughts, wondering if “The Other Women” or “The Other Man” is here with you.  She is not!  He is not!

  We bind his or her presence in the name of Jesus, we break off their connection with our spouses, and then move into a tighter, closer bond than ever before.  Pray and speak these things out loud and watch satan flee.  There is POWER in the spoken word.

  6) Remember that the power of LIFE or DEATH is in the tongue. 

  You have a choice for your words to be sweet and life-giving, or poison, bringing death and destruction.  Make sure you speak lovingly to your spouse, not taking cheap jabs or throwing in snide remarks….anything you think you are saying that is “Your Right” because you were betrayed, is WRONG! 

 Assignment from counseling:

  Both of you take out a piece of paper and list off ALL the things you love about each other and your relationship.  Afterwards, read them out loud to each other.  The more you write, read, speak and hear positive things, the more you believe them. AND, the more those positive thoughts travel back and forth in your brain, they will create a “Positive Path”, easily traveled next time.  Soon you will find “glass half full” kind of thoughts come more and more easily.

No matter what, keep your chin up, and remember….GOD IS BIGGER!

~T

Tomorrow, a post from Dale:

How to Survive Infidelity: The Betrayer’s List

 

After the I Do: Part 2 Vow Renewal

   Don’t be mad.

 I don’t have many photos to share today.  SORRY! I know you are waiting so nicely, but it will be weeks yet before I have the video and photos back from our “I Do: Part 2” Vow Renewal Ceremony.  We can be patient together, ’cause I can hardly STAND it myself, I am SOOO excited to see them!  🙂  I PROMISE, my lovely photographer and videographer are working HARD to get them done, and as soon as I have the disks in hand, I will share with you, but for today, I want to talk blog numbers and blessings, as well as share the few photos I have at my disposal! 🙂

During the first 12 posts of “Surviving Infidelity: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises” the blog was viewed 34,024 times! (this does not count the Love Story Re-told posts) Reaching as far as Italy, Kenya, Costa Rica, India, Australia, Guam and Poland! Wow, praise God! May it continue to travel the world for HIS glory!

During this series we received hundreds of wonderful comments, and even more private messages and emails.  People are hurting and just need to be told that others are out there surviving the same hurts!

We were blessed with this AMAZING “Shattered” candle-holder from a fellow blogger and sweet friend in Christ, Joy from Simply Bloom, which we used at our Vow Renewal. 

We did this in place of the traditional Unity Candle, since our lives are already one.

 

This hand written note says:

A mosaic Candle-holder so perfectly displays the reflective beauty of a broken life reconstructed. His light bounces off and floods trough the shards of broken, shattered dreams surrendered to His creativity.

   It represented perfectly, our desire to have the Lord shine His light through the broken pieces of our lives, all to create a beautiful mosaic for HIS glory!

  We were also sent several amazing books!  Now that the renewal has passed and “regular” life sets back in, we are anxious to dig into these.

A big thank you to Megan, from The Pearl, for blessing us with the 3 Laaser books: 7 Desires of Every Heart, Shattered Vows & Healing Wounds of Sexual Addiction!

  Our Beauty from Ashes ceremony was everything we dreamed it to be. 

The Bible tells us that “Whoever sows in tears, reaps in joy.” Ps 126:5.  What a joy it was to join my life to Dale’s again, to make a fresh covenant before Christ, and to be wearing a wedding band proudly on my finger once again.

For those of you that live locally, Venables is seriously the place to shop for rings! WOW.  Talk about personal service.  Gina bent over backwards to make our experience a good one.  This included allowing us to pay as we could up to the event and ring pick up, personal phone calls when items came in, custom ordering and quick turn around…she was a dream to work with!  I cannot say enough about Venables!
Send your boyfriend for all your engagement ring shopping needs!  🙂

  In the weeks to come, I will show you some of the things I made for the Renewal, like this Paper Flower Garland, which is pictured here in my bathroom. 

(WHAT?! I needed it to be safe until I took it to the barn for the renewal!)  🙂

And the t-shirt scarves I made for gifts!

    My friend Heather is a photographer, so naturally, she brought her camera to the Vow Renewal and was sharing these on Facebook last night.  I was gobbling them up as fast as she was posting!

She titled this next one: “Everything as it should be.”  I say YES and Praise Jesus!

  Last, but certainly NOT least….here is the slide show we played after the Vow Renewal! 

More soon!  Hugs, T

In Honor of Beauty from Ashes

 

Welcome to Tonya-land, Won’t You Let the Son Shine In?

Just tuning in? Please start at the Original post of this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises. 

Written in both April & May 2012

 We are now in month 9 of this path to healing.  And like the gestation of new life, this 9 month point, marks tremendous growth and healing in our lives.  We have joy, laughter, love and the butterflies of newlyweds.  Day by day, we overcome the attacks of satan and find Victory.  Praise Jesus! 

I have leapt once again into the arms of love.
I no longer hold back in fear of the “What If’s”. 

I choose Dale. 

I choose love. 

 I choose joy.

 I choose forgiveness. 

I choose to stand on my truth, rather than cower behind it. 

  The Lord speaks SO clearly in the midst of tragedy, doesn’t He?  He just gave us this verse the other night:

“I raised you up for this VERY purpose, that I might display my power to all the earth.” Romans 9:17

Wow.

Do you remember “Tonya-land”?

image

Where the weather is mostly sunny, the birds are always singing, lemons most often come in the form of lemonade and we all throw our arms around each others shoulders and sing “Kumbaya” at that end of each day.

003   I told you back then, when I first posted this, that Tonya-land does have it’s bumpy roads, however, when you try to keep your glass half full, you usually can just keep on trucking, despite a pot-hole or two.

  Obviously, for OBVIOUS reasons if you have been reading my latest posts, you noticed that my journey through Life in Tonya-land had come to a screeching halt, as my glass Happily Ever After Cinderella Castle came crashing to the ground around me.  But, because this blog is supposed to be a peek into my world;  the good, the bad AND the ugly…….I let you in. 

No, I let the SON shine in………

Through me. 

Through the shards of my broken castle.

Through my tears. 

Through my tragedy, then my Triumph.

  My job on this earth is to shine for Jesus. To be the best wife I know to be to Dale; to uplift him, to love him with no strings attached, to be his cheerleader. To love my kids and teach them about Jesus. My job is to teach them that they need to obey me, not because I say so, but because God says so….that their obedience to me is directly connected to their obedience to God. My job is to seek to honor God in ALL I say and do, blogging and Facebook included. My job is to be His hands and feet, EVEN when I don’t understand my circumstances.  Even when I plead with Him to take this cup from me.

I have to choose this, because it is what HE chose for me……Period.

  I have a folder in my email account, jam-packed full of lovely, beautiful, uplifting things written by you who have been following this recent blog series on Surviving Infidelity. Thank you all so much for your loving support! Thank you for encouraging and not casting judgement, thank you for taking the time to comment and read the things I put out there, thank you for not faulting me for my choice to stand by my man, even when it might have seemed easier to walk away from him.

This blog is me. Tonya.

  Put out there for all to see, the good, the bad and the ugly. I chose this glass house when I said “Yes” to the Lord’s prompting to start this blog over a year ago.  I just never knew quite how ugly things were going to get, you know? 

   Do you know that the posts in this Infidelity series, were written totally out-of-order, in a jumbled mess? Did you know that just last month, like a puzzle, they all fell into place? Amazing. I never knew just how scary it would be to push “publish” that first day, yet what a rush of relief and peace came as I did. 

  We are wrapping up our Infidelity series. Phew, what an exhausting road we have traveled!  I know there are those of you reading right now, that shake your heads and scold me for “airing my dirty laundry” in the first place, deaming it innappropriate.  Do me a favor, go read II Samuel, go read about David’s dirty laundry, a man after God’s own heart. 

Let me say this……

You may not approve of my actions, but remember, I don’t answer to you.

I answer to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  And so do you.   The End.

  I KNOW as sure as I know my name, that I have acted in obedience to a loving Heavenly Father, who prompted me to share this story. 

  Do you think this was fun for me?  Do you think I jumped up and down and clapped my hands, “YAY, I get to share the deepest darkest hurt I have ever experienced in my whole life.”   No, I begged God to just heal me and let me move on.  But you know when God is speaking, He makes Himself known.  So, I’ve been writing this series from just a few months after the truth came out until now, bit by tragic bit, piece by victorious piece, BEGGING Him to prepare your hearts for my truth. 

Revelation 12:11 says “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony….” 

Do you know what happened these past 16 posts? 

Do you know what happened, April 30th at 7 am, when I pushed publish?

  We overcame satan by our testimony.  We WON.

 I KNOW the Lord had me start this blog for such a time as this, so that He might be glorified in the midst of difficult circumstances.  So that others out there who quietly mourning the loss of their marriage as they knew it, may be encouraged that you CAN fight, you WILL win. 

Romans 8:35 & 37 says, “Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.”

  Don’t you see?!  The VICTORY has already been won for us, we just have to keep walking in HIS ways, in HIS light, and in HIS strength when we are too weary to stand. But don’t be scared when you are too weak to stand, let your knees buckle and just FALL, because when we fall……… 

We fall on JESUS.

Sometimes you run towards Christ,
Sometimes you can’t run, so you walk towards Him.
If you can’t walk, you stand, facing the right direction.
If you can’t stand, lean.
Lean on Him, for He IS the right direction.
And if you fall?
Fall on Jesus.
In Him there is hope, life, and the promise of a bright future.

Iced-cold-lemonade

Praise be to the God of restoration; TOTAL restoration. 

037Praise be to the God of new beginnings with the one whom my soul loves

Praise be to the God who makes BEAUTY from the midst of Ashes. JOY that is made from mourning, and PEACE that He traded me for my despair….

The story I share with you is no longer a tragedy, but it is a VICTORY!

It is no longer my story, IT IS HIS!

 And I’d chose REAL with Dale, rather than “Happily Ever After” with anyone else…..EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

  Next weekend, I will join my WHOLE heart; healed and brand new by the blood of Jesus, to the heart of my best friend….again, 10 years later.  Next weekend we close a book on one of the darkest, hardest times of our lives and put it on the shelf.  The past will no longer be written into the book of our future.  I will leave it there, on the shelf, because I chose Joy. Healing. Peace.  I choose to move forward, not looking over my shoulder, not running back to drag along the baggage we’ve been freed of.   

 I get to marry the love of my life all over again next weekend.  A brand new start.  Praise Jesus!

I have found the one whom my soul loves…….and I am not EVER letting him go.

  ~T

Hungry

Just tuning in? Please start at the Original post of this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises. 

Written October 2011

Our counselors told us months ago, in a word from the Lord, that when it was time for a renewal of our vows, and trading old rings for new, I would be hungry for it. At the time I sorta scoffed at it like, “Hungry for it? Whatever, it’ll be all I can do to SURVIVE this!”

Well, the Lord is taking me to that place this week: I crave the renewal of our vows, the new covenant with Christ, like a starving person. I know God is preparing us for this, and unless He says differently, we’d like to do this the weekend of our 10th anniversary, which is May 24th. He also has spoken to us that the time to share this story is coming……sooner than we thought, as I had a mom call me this week with stories of 2 more marriages torn apart in my circle of friends through infidelity. That hit really close to home for me, and I know for such a time as this.
I am so nervous about putting it out there, yet have peace that I can trust it will all be used for HIS glory.

  The Lord spoke to my fearful heart this weekend, as I tearfully sent Dale to the very Men’s Encounter that shattered my world.  He showed me, that the last encounter was to get the ugly out, to empty the broken vessel. This one? To fill the restored vessel up again! PTL!

  Dale called me from Men’s Encounter weeping, saying that I mean the world to him, and that God was making him the man who I’ve deserved from the start. That he can’t wait to come home and share with me what the Lord was doing in his heart, as he found his TRUE worth in Christ Jesus. I am so thankful for the continued changes I see in Dale, as the Lord molds and shapes him into the man He has wanted him to be all along. 

 Written January 2012

  We are starting to work more fervently on the Vow Renewal Ceremony, how exciting!  I found “The Dress”…… 

(the pockets were my favorite part!)

 My little stud muffins will be wearing these from The Baxter Boy, for both Easter and the renewal.

The girls will wear their Christmas dresses from a few years ago.  Thank the Lord they still fit, because they go perfectly!  

  I bawled the day I heard this song by Francesca Battistelli. I knew, I KNEW, it was “THE ONE”.  This is the song I will walk down the aisle to, this is the song that speaks the truth of what we have been through….”Love’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”

Dale and I have been working on our vows to each other, our hopes and desires for our special day.  It’s all so bitter-sweet. 

  I had a well-meaning friend say, “Wow, it must be nice to get to plan a wedding all over again.”  I swallowed my tears, along with the lump in my throat, and reminded her that this opportunity for a second ceremony came at a VERY high price. That, I would trade it all in a heartbeat for my husbands faithfulness many years ago, but I cannot live in The Land of If Only’s or I will drive myself mad.  Instead, I chose to live in the here and now, moving forward as best I know how, to rebuild my marriage with the man my soul loves. 

  I LONG to hear him speak those vows to me, I LONG for a standing Covenant before Christ, a new ring of faithfully forever promises on my left hand, a circle unbroken.  I have missed my wedding band on my finger all these months, and I am ready to say “I Do”, again, this time to a barn full of witnesses. 

  Yes, I said barn.

 

We are renewing our vows in a GORGEOUS horse barn, with wide open-beam rafters and 3 large sets barn doors to throw open and let the natural light shine in.

  I’d love to have my wedding dress on display, as well as our wedding photo.

  
I am hoping to use Sunflowers (my favorite!) on the food table, as well as vintage fabric banners to make the barn fun and festive. 

I am thinking Ball jars with strips of lace around the rim, old barn gates with painted signs to lead people to the location of our renewal, a big glass pitcher of fresh farm milk to go with cookies and sweets.

  Thankfully, I have everything I want to decorate with in my home already!  And the wonderful people that are allowing us to use their barn, are providing the seating as well. This has to be affordable and still accomplish what we have set out to achieve that day:

Celebrating God’s faithfulness in making Beauty from Ashes!

  My friend Whitney, of Whitney Hamilton Photography, will be our photographer.  She is the one that took the photo for our Invitations, which we emailed out.

 

  I have a feeling this ceremony will be a really big turning point in our path to healing!!!!! Praise God!

 Written Monday, January 23, 2012

  Today I completed a chapter, closed a book and put it away for good, then I wept bitter, bitter tears at what had been lost.

  Today, 1/23/12, Dale and I went to the ring store, and turned in our two wedding bands in exchange for Dale’s new band. For nearly 10 years those bands have resided on our fingers, but for the past 6 months, those same bands have caused me nothing but sadness. Sadness for what was lost that day of betrayal, anger that Dale’s ring stopped nothing it should have stopped from occurring.

  I haven’t worn my band since July, so I didn’t think I’d be sad to see it go today, but as I tried it one last time, remembering how happy I was the day Dale slid it on my finger and promised me his faithfully forever promises, tears began to well up in my eyes, blurring the ring from my sight.  Dale could hardly hold the tears in, as he too, experienced the stabbing pain of what had been lost. He told me later, with tears running down his face, that it took everything he had not to have to excuse himself from that ring store to pull it together.

  We drove home in silence, tightly holding hands, weeping bitter tears, as we both quietly processed what had just occurred.  Both of us shocked that the rings were gone I think, as it happened all in a few moments time, just as we prepared to leave the ring shop. 

The owner said:

 “Here take the new ring in exchange for the old, you have paid for it with your trade.”  

  We wanted to wait for Dale to wear his ring in May at the Renewal ceremony, but also knew him not wearing a ring for the next few months was not an option either. So this evening, as we put it on his finger, we prayed over it, asking God’s blessing on the new vows and covenant to come. We cried again, over the rings we left behind today and the lost dreams of 2 young kids in love. 

Dale’s new ring is called Tungsten, it is un-scratchable, even if you take a metal file to it. This has great significance to us, as we start anew:

  Fresh, with no scratches or blemishes.

 This one stays shiny all its days, this one has will never tarnish or get nicks….

                 New ring, new promise, new start.

Dale is a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away…..he is like this ring, unblemished in the eyes of Christ forever more.

 But we also have peace, the kind that comes from taking another step in the right direction on the road to healing, one weary step at a time.                                                                                                            

  Next Weekend, along with our 10th Anniversary, we will celebrate a new covenant with Christ.  We will re-commit our lives to each other and exchange new bands and new promises of faithfully forever.  We will re-sign our Marriage Covenant, and it will once again hang proudly in our home. 

(This is a page from our wedding book, but it shows a photo of the signed covenant, as well as gives explanation for the meaning of it all.)It hurt me to take that Covenant down last summer, but I could no longer stand to look at it and see such a bold reminder of all that was lost.  Someday soon, I plan on hanging the Covenant and our original wedding photo back up, as well as a picture of us from the ceremony this weekend. 

And I can’t forget these:

A reminder of the Cross I nailed my un-forgiveness to at Women’s Encounter this past fall, but most importantly, a reminder of the ultimate Healer, the Ultimate Giver of Forgiveness…Jesus Christ our Lord, who died on the cross for all sins.  ALL of them.

 To Him be ALL the glory, for it is HE alone who can make Beauty from a pile of ugly Ashes…….

~T

The Tale of the Water Bearer’s Pots

 Just tuning in? Please start at the Original Post of this Series on “Surviving Infidelity”: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises.

This is Post 2 for today, be sure to head back one post to The Death of Little Girl Dreams.

I want to share an old folktale with you, which illustrates God’s view of our brokenness…….

WaterCarrier

   A water bearer had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

  At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house.

  Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

  After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said.

  The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. “For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

  Moral of the story: We’re all cracked pots, but nothing goes to waste in God’s great economy. He uses our flaws for HIS glory. So don’t be afraid of your flaws, for there is beauty to be found in your weakness.

May this broken vessel be used for His glory….

~T