Please Note: My lovely wife Renee has agreed to do a three-part series for us, concluding with next week’s post. Read Part 1: “Left Behind: The Problem“ and Part 2: “Left Behind: The Emotional Aftermath“
For the past two weeks it’s been a blessing talking with you about what wives experience when a husband chooses sexual sin over purity. Today, though, let’s remember the need to invest in our relationship with God as the source of all true, long-term healing. I so love this verse:
Blessed be the Lord,
For He has shown me his marvelous
kindness in a strong city!
For I said in my haste,
‘I am cut off from before your eyes”;
Nevertheless You heard the voice
of my supplications
When I cried to out to You
Oh, love the Lord, all you his saints!
For the Lord preserves the faithful,
And fully repays the proud person.
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.
-Psalm 31:21-24 New King James
I love this Psalm, because it tells us of God’s ability to reach us when we are at our most inconsolable. Facing the adversity of a husband’s unfaithfulness can create a such a debilitating brokenness in us that we may find ourselves saying, “It’s over for me—I’m lost and I can’t find my way!”
But hold it! Isn’t that exactly what David said? (‘I am cut off from before Your eyes”) That tells me God fully understands what it’s like to despair, and He doesn’t hold it against us because, as David said in the next sentence, “Nevertheless, You heard the voice of my supplications.”
And He hears yours, too. The writer of this Psalm says as much. He had been wasting away with grief and felt discarded. He thought God had abandoned him. But then as he began to reflect on God’s goodness to those who trust in Him, he began to revive. He realized that God had been with him all along, showing him kindness and giving him strength.
We often can’t see above the storm we’re in when we’re in it. We only know we feel lost and beyond help. But He lives above the storm; He sees you and hears your cries for help. And so the Psalmist shares his experience with you, because he knows firsthand,
“Be of good courage, hope in Him, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
Along that line, then, let me offer as few “Just for Today” thoughts about restoration and trusting God in the journey.
1. I will let his recovery be his, not mine.
If he wants to change, he’ll do what’s necessary to change. If he’s not willing, I cannot soften his heart. Either way, his recovery must be his own, and I will not attempt to create it, control it or oversee it.
2. I will build more of a life apart from him.
Loving him will not exclude me from friendships, passions and God’s calling on my life. To love him as a partner is to be his wife, but to allow his behavior to dictate my well-being is to become his slave. I will find ways to add joy and peace to my life.
3. I will stop apologizing for the boundaries I set.
When I refuse to accept or tolerate behavior that is blatantly sinful, disrespectful or hurtful, I do no wrong. The greater wrong lies in my allowing these actions to destroy me and my family, so I will make no apologies for saying “Enough!”
4. I will not let his sin distract me from my own.
Although my husband has sinned against me, I know I am far from perfect. God requires me to humbly examine myself and answer for my own life. In doing this, I must take necessary steps to correct my own attitudes and behaviors.
5. I will be angry and sin not. (Right. At least, I’ll try to sin a little less!)
No matter how gravely he’s sinned against me, I am given no excuses or permission to sin against him in return. If I am unkind, harsh, sarcastic or hurtful, I am wrong, and will admit it.
6. I will neither minimize nor maximize his sin.
There’s nothing OK about sexual sin in any form, nor does sexual sin completely define the person who commits it. His sin has devastated me, but I will remember that his sin is not all that defines him.
7. I will take my pain seriously enough to get help for it.
I will give serious thought to what my soul requires for healing, and will follow through with action. Just as I would see a doctor for ongoing physical pain, I will do whatever is necessary to ease my broken heart and put myself on the path to healing.
8. I will rediscover the joy of long walks, hot baths, chats with friends, and chickflicks.
My life did not stop the day I discovered my husband’s sin. There’s still a world of awesome, God-given pleasures and joys to experience, and I will consider it vital, not optional, to partake of them. I will try something new and I will gain perspective.
9. I will despise the very thought of being a victim.
I will grieve without resorting to self-pity; I will weep without surrendering to helplessness; I will protest the wrong that’s been done me without ever calling myself his (or anyone’s) “victim.” I will be courageous.
10. I will invest regularly and intensely in my intimacy with my Lord.
I will take seriously the First Commandment to love the Lord my God with all my heart, always remembering that I was created first and foremost for His pleasure. Apart from Him I can do nothing and in His presence is fullness of joy! I resolve that in 2009 I will seek, know and express that joy like never before. I will grow in faith and the knowledge of God through His Word, true fellowship and worship.
Read Part 1: “Left Behind: The Problem“
Read Part 2: “Left Behind: The Emotional Aftermath“