Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Woman at the Well

I wanted to share with you an amazing section of a book I read.  The book is titled, The Me I want to be. It is written by John Ortberg.

The Section I want to share with you is found on page 49 and the subsection is called "The Freedom Way." In this section Ortberg is demenstrating to us that because we are each so unique that there is not one universal way we all grow-spiritually speaking. He continues on to say:

"If we really want to help someone to grow, we will have to help them in a way that fits their wiring...
         Our great model for this is God himself, for he always knows just what each person needs. 
He had Abraham take a walk, Elijiah take a nap, Joushua take a nap, and Adam take the rap.
He gave Moses a forty-year time out, he gave David a harp and a dance and gave Paul a pen and a scroll....
         Jesus was stern with the rich young ruler, tender with the woman caught in adultery, patient with the disciples, blistering with the scribes, gentle with the children, and gracious with the thief on the cross."

It's true that "God never grows two people the same way." However, I find that when two people have a similar part of the story...the same tactics might apply to each person. While reading the above section, the part that called out to me was "Jesus was...tender with the woman caught in adultery." This rings true with me. I looked at the story in the Bible about the woman at the well...John Chapter 4 verses 1-26. You can take away many things from reading this chapter.

Jesus Talks With a Samaritan Woman

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John— although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. So he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Now he had to go through Samaria. So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about noon.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a])
10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”


Jesus doesn't yell at the woman for what she has done. He factually points out that she is living a life of sin...and He still offers her eternal life. He doesn't have others stone her. He doesn't tell her she is going to hell. He doesn't keep bringing up her past. He is tender with her. 

I can relate. Jesus was tender with me too. He blessed me with a second chance at love and marriage with my husband. My marriage could have fallen apart so fast...and yet God gently and carefully allowed my marriage to be healed. Scott and I now have a marriage full of trust, respect and a deep love. God's tenderness shines through my husband. My past sin has been forgiven and my marriage has been resurrected.





Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tender Love


Scott and I packed our things and left his Parent's house. We had not see each other or spoken to each other in a week. Scott was eager to get home with his bride by his side. I on the other had was dreading it. My head and heart hadn't gotten on the same page just yet. My head knew that I was supposed to be with Scott and that things were going to be okay. My heart, however, was still shredded in a million pieces, I just lost my best friend and someone who I loved very much. Somehow at the same time, my heart was a tiny bit happy to have Scott back too. It's very hard to explain the inner-turmoil.

I cried off and on throughout the day. I was grieving the loss of my friend and lover. To my surprise, Scott tenderly held me as I wept so hard that my body shook. Losing a loved one is not easy. Sure he wasn't dead, but for all intends and purposes, I would never see him again...or so I thought.

Scott longed to reunite and express our love to one another, but I denied him time and time again. Month after month would pass and I would decline the invitation to join with him. I couldn't bare the thought. I was so terrified that while I was laying with Scott thoughts of Ozzy would pop into my head and so to prevent that from happening..I denied Scott any physical attention. Scott was so defeated that he eventually stopped asking. I realize now that I hurt Scott almost worse by denying him pleasure for so long. I love Scott but was just so unsure of everything.

One night while Scott was out working I decided that I was going to allow myself to be taken by him. In fact I even decided to initiate. I will spare you the details, but Scott took me and treated me with so much tender and passion that my mind was clear of unwanted images and replaced, rightfully so, with images with my husband!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gratitude Journal Entry # 14

Gratitude Journal Entry # 14

This week I am grateful for all the encouragement and support that I have received while writing this blog! Thank you so much to all my readers! Your encouragement really helps make the writing easier. Being transparent is hard work and following God's calling is sometimes really really hard. I love to read and re-read your encouraging words.

Spread the word and pray for the marriages in this world to be strong and to be build on God's love.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Who should know?

I am not an expert not that I am claming to be...But having gone through the experience of an affair...there are several things I have observed and learned and want to share them with the world.

Who should know about the affair?

I am a big advocate for having no secrets in the family. An affair is something that scars your heart. It can give another reason to trust you less and to feel disappointed in you. However, telling the family or close friends about the affair can be very helpful for several reasons:

  1. They can pray for you. The more people praying the better.
  2. They can hold you accountable and call you out when you are backsliding.
  3. They can support and encourage you if you allow them too.
  4. They can know the truth "straight from the horses mouth" thus minimizing the amount of rumors and faulse information that might be out there.
  5. They can share their stories with you and give you helpful advice...if you let them.
I do believe it is up to you who to tell. Of course the person who is having/had the affair will most likely be apposed to telling others. They don't want their reputation to be tarnished and may be fearful for how others will react or treat them. It is a hard road to walk, but so is choosing to have an affair. In my own opinion I think it is beneficial for others to know because of the above reasons. Having been involved in an affair myself, I didn't tell anyone because I was ashamed of my actions. I didn't want others to be disappointed in me. But the truth is..I am glad that my husband talked to others about it. He was trying to get as much help and encouragement as he could.

As a result of others knowing, I have lost nothing. My family still loves me and accepts me. My in laws still love me and accept me as I am. My friends still love me and accept me as I am...NOTHING HAS BEEN LOST! No one yells at me for my past mistakes, no one holds my past over my head or against me. I have been forgiven.

Man up to your mistakes, take the time to fix your marriage and get over yourself!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The In-Laws

 Scott and I were still at his parent's house. I was excited and nervous to head back home with Scott. We had a lot of work ahead of us in repairing our relationship, rebuilding trust, and mending our hearts. It was going to be a tough road but I was ready and willing to travel down it.

As we were heading out, I realized how great my in laws are. I remember driving to Scott's Parent's house and how nervous I was about his parent's reaction. I was of course really worried about how they would recieve me. I was nervous that they were going to quote bible verses at me. I was terrified that they would yell at me about the way I treated their son and shun me forever...I deserved a reaction like that.

After my arrival, Scott's mom kindly invited me in, but I was too nervous and afraid to be welcomed.  I waited outside. After Scott and I were reunited, I remember that Scott's Dad walked over to me, put his arm on my shoulder and said, "We are glad to see you back." I knew then that I was welcomed and more importantly forgiven.

As life carried on, I was very worried about going to any family funtion after everything happened...When Scott's brothers would be there with their families..and to my surprise, they welcomed me back with open arms as well. The family has never brougt up my past. They have never made me feel uncomfortable.

I have amazing in laws. They accept me as part of the family. They encourage me when I need it. They love me for me. Most amazingly, they have forgiven me and have shown me a side of God's grace that is so sweet. I am blessed.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gratitude Journal Entry # 13

Gratitude Journal Entry # 13

Thank you God for second chances...and third chances...and fourth chances....and....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Effectiveness of Couples Counseling

I ran across this interesting article about Couples Counseling. It has some interesting facts regarding the outcome..You can click the link or continue reading.


Effectiveness of Couples Counseling

Couple’s counseling is based on the premise that individuals and their problems are best handled within the context of the couple’s relationship. Typically, both partners in the relationship attend the counseling session to discuss the couple’s specific issues. The aim of couple’s counseling is to help a couple deal appropriately with their immediate problems and to learn better ways of relating in general.

Couples therapy or couple’s counseling is a useful modality of help for couples who are experiencing difficulties such as repetitive arguments, feelings of distance or emptiness in the relationship, pervasive feelings of anger, resentment and or dissatisfaction or lack of interest in affection or in a physical relationship with one another.
1

According to the 2000 Census the majority of American society chose to reside or live with a partner. 52% of US households are maintained by married couples, and there is an increase in the number of couples living together from 3.3 million in 1990 to 5.5 million in 2000.2 Nationwide in 2000, there were 21,000 marriage and family therapists helping couples work through and deal with their relationship issues.3

In a review of the literature through mid-1996, Pinsof, Wynne, and Hambright (1996: Pinsof & Wynne, 1995) concluded that significant data exists support the efficacy of family and couples therapy and that there is no evidence indicating that couples are harmed when they undergo treatment.4


Research outcomes on couples counseling suggest the following:

  • At the end of couple’s therapy, 75% of couples receiving therapy are better off than similar couples who did not receive therapy.
  • Sixty five percent of couples report "significant" improvement based on averaged scores of marital "satisfaction."
  • Most couples will benefit from therapy, but both spouses will not necessarily experience the same outcomes or benefits.
  • Therapies that produce the greatest gain and are able to maintain that gain over the long amount of time, tend to affect the couple's emotional bonds and help the spouse's work together to achieve a greater level of "differentiation" or emotional maturity.5
In determining as a couple what type of therapist that you wish to receive treatment from keep in mind that according to a large-scale survey of over 4,000 Consumer Reports readers showed in 1995, people in therapy generally rated psychologists, clinical social workers, and psychiatrists about as equally effective in helping their clients.6

Couples today feel increasingly isolated and are expected to manage their lives and families without the community supports that in the past were a primary resource in raising children and meeting family needs. Couples in our present culture are less bound by family traditions and are freer than ever before to develop relationships unlike those of the families that they were raised in.7

With the aid of a qualified clinician, couples can bring peace, stability and communication back into their relationship thus affecting their lives and the lives of those most impacted by them and their relationship.
 

_____________________________________________________
1. Center for Addiction and Mental Health. Couple therapy: Factors influencing a couple’s relationship. Available at www.camh.net/about_addiction_mental_health/couple_therapy_factors.html
2. US Census (2000). Available at http://www.census.gov/
3. US Department of Labor (2000), Bureau of Labor Statistics. Available at http://www.bls.gov/home.htm
4. Friedlander, M. (1997) The scientific basis of couples and family therapy research. Allyn and Bacon: Boston.
5. Wills, R.M (2001) Effectiveness of therapy. Available at http://www.marriagetherapy.org/dssbhmarriage127.html.
6. Consumer Reports (1995) Available at http://www.consumerreports.org/main/home.jsp?source=DG&AFFID=S145MC0
7. Carter B., McGoldrick M., (1989), The expanded family life cycle; Individual, family, and social perspectives. Allyn and Bacon: Boston.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seek Help


Growing up my family was forced by the courts to seek counseling, both individually and as a family. It was pure torture. It was uncomfortable. It was draining. It was hard to dig deep and share feeling that we don't even know how to express. I didn't always agree with the advice that was given to me.

I think one of the main issues with the counselor we had to see was that we didn't see a "christian" counselor. I really think it is important to put your trust in someone who believes what you believe. A lot of the counselors we met with talked about statistics..and I often heard that I was going to be a statistic.

Unfortunately Scott and I didn't seek professional help. We met with a pastor from Scott's Parent's church a couple of times, but after that we didn't meet with anyone. We thought that we could handle piecing our marriage back together ourselves. A harsh reality 8 years later is that I been dealing with depression because of unresolved issues surrounding the affair. Scott and I are just now letting some things go. I am just now finally being able to forgive myself, but that's a whole other topic.

We of course had God on our side which is the reason for our success. It was only by His grace that our marriage was restored and repaired to the degree that it is. We of course still have our ups and downs like every couple, but we definitely communicate more about everything.

Before you think this is the end of the story..please stop. saying goodbye and moving on are two different things.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Gratitude Journal Entry # 12

Gratitude Journal Entry # 12

I am so thankful for friends and family who are proactive. These family members and friends take the time to gently point out what they notice. They can tell if something is bothering you. They can tell that something is not quite right and they are not afraid to ask how you are really doing because they want to help. They care so deeply and love with so much.

 I can really appreciate others who are brave enough to say something. That is how my marriage was saved. A friend pulled Scott aside and told him what was going on. There were so many other friends who knew what was going on but out of fear or whatever other reason never had the courage to speak up. Thank you family and friends for always being brave and speaking what is on your mind out of love.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Love is a Choice

I want to tell you that there is not an easy road. The easy road would have been to say no to emotions and feelings towards another human. Scott and I choosing to stay together and work on our marriage was not an easy answer. It was difficult for a very long time. We celebrated 10 years of marriage this past June. We have made the choice to work on our marriage everyday.

I have had the experience of many women and men telling me that they aren't in love any more. They have no romantic feelings for their spouse the way they used to...I feel so sad for coupes who feel this way. It should never come down to how you feel. Love is a choice. I blame our sinful nature for wanting love to be easy and feel good all the time.

Romantic movies cause couples to form lofty expectation about how love should feel also. It should be nothing but butterflies in your tummy. Love should always be full of passion and heat. I wholly disagree with all of these things.

Love is a choice.

Everyday you should wake up and make the choice to love. Some days will be easier than others. Some days love will feel like butterflies and passion. On other days love feels like a big kick in the knee. It is a hard choice.

Jesus is a super example of how to love. He loved when people did not love him back. He loved when people called him names. He loved when the very people he was dying for hung him on the cross. Do you think that love was easy or felt good??

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Interrogation

Talking about any secret sin is hard. When it is a secret, you can accept if the sin is right or wrong because you are the only one who knows. If you choose it to be right, living in the sin is easy. It's when the sin comes into light and the world starts to learn about it that makes your secret world cave and shows you that indeed your sin is wrong.

Once Scott and I decided to work on our marriage and I ended my affair, Scott kept asking me a lot of questions. The questions were not easy to listen to, as for the first time in our marriage, he was wearing his heart on his sleeve. The questions were not simple worded questions or questions that I could even answer right away. The questions were tough to answer. I wanted to give Scott the easiest, one word answers, but he saw right through me and continued to ask the hard questions...Why? How could you have done this? What about our marriage vows? Did you think about me? How long, when....where....who.....???

In my head, my affair was not wrong. My actions were not wrong. I was happy and in love. I convinced myself that I deserved to be happy and in love. My secret world was dark. When Scott asked the questions I really had to search in the dark for the answers. I didn't know a lot of the answers right away.  Sometimes I knew the answer to a specific questions but didn't want to give him the real answer. I wanted to cover up little bits of information here and there and maybe give Scott half truths. I was afraid that he couldn't be able to handle the real answer. I was afraid he would give up on me. I was afraid he would know my secrets.

During this questioning phase, I felt like a criminal. It felt like, Scott was shining the brightest light on my darkest secrets and it hurt. It hurt to search my soul and to find the real answers.  It hurt even worse to tell him the things he wanted to know and then watch his reaction. The pain would show on his face. I heard his heart break again and again with each detail.

He wanted to know. I needed to tell him the truth. It was not easy but I answered all of his questions as truthfully and as detailed as I could. Scott later told me that when I wasn't answering his questions his mind was spinning. His imagination would take over and he though of the worst possible things I could have done. He though about all the places me and the other man went...and when I finally started to tell him the truth and the details. It made his mind stop. His imaginations didn't have to paint up the picture or create the details of the affair, I painted it for him. He knew exactly what had happened. For me, this was one of the hardest periods or parts of the aftermath.  Not only did Scott now know all the secret details, but for the first time I felt I had done something wrong.

While answering Scott's interrogating questions my heart was softened to the sin I had been living. Finally God's light had reached the darkest, most secret place in my heart and amazing things started to happen.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gratitude Journal Entry # 11

Gratitude Journal Entry # 11

I am so thankful for Christian Music. I have been loving this song lately...The lyrics are so powerful!


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Obedience


The dictionary defines Obedience as :
 "the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance"
I love the phrase  "practice of obeying." I think I love it so much because practice makes perfect. We are to strive to be Christ like. We will never be perfect like Him, but we are called to live life like that of Christ, blameless and sinnless. 
I find it overwheliming to live up to such lofty expectiation. If we will never achieve perfectness or likeness of Christ, then why even try right?
Wrong.
I am making my word of the year be OBEDIENCE. I want to live a life that is Christlike. I have already sinned so much because of my infidelity. I still have a hard time letting that sin go. But I will practice will all my heart to follow God and be obedient to his Word and commands.  

Sharing my story is not easy. Sharing my sin is not something I dreamed of doing. I am following God and obeying his calling to share my story with others. The Bible says we will  be blessed for obeying and following God's commands. It is so hard to obey God when every fiber in our body is telling us to do something different because it feels good, or because we deserve it. But accordfing to the Bible we will be blessed.

James 1:22–25
But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. (NLT)
  
I have several examples of blessings but of course I am going to focus on the story of my affair. When I got myself involved with a man who was not my husband. It felt right. I wanted to be happy. This other man made me happy. I fell deeper and deeper in love with him, abandoning my feelings and my vows for my husband. God saved my marriage by bringing to light my sin in a  gentle whisper. I so badly didn't want to obey because I needed Ozzy. I needed this man to make me happy and fulfill me. But because I followed God's leading instead of my own desires my life has been blessed beyond all measure.

I have a marriage that is amazing. We love and respect each other deeper than we ever have. We have passion and a deep commitment to each other. We have 2 beautiful babies. We have a beautiful home and friends and family who love and forgive.

God is good!



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goals

After being apart for a week, Scott and I reunited with a tight embrace. I was so happy to see his face and feel his arms around me. He had just returned from a fishing trip with his dad. I had been sitting in the driveway waiting his return so I could let him know my choice. I choose to fix this marriage.

Scott cleaned up and we headed to Perkins so that we could talk. I so badly wanted to reserve a hotel room, but I wasn't sure if he was going to be willing to see me or talk to me. I had distanced myself so far from him. We hadn't touched or kissed for weeks. We headed to Perkins and ordered some food. I spilled my guts to him about everything. He asked me several questions and I answered everything truthfully. We then agreed that we were both willing to fix our marriage.

Scott shared his fears and doubts with me. He told me that he didn't trust me and that was something that we needed to focus on. We made a list of goals for our marriage while sitting in Perkins. The list is as follows:

  1. Keep God as the center of our relationship.
  2. Meet each other's needs. 
  3. Good communication without judgement
  4. Be totally open about everything
  5. Commit to standing by each other through good and bad.
We talked in great detail about what each of these goals would look like. We  wrote them down together and prayed together for God to give us strength to fight and not give up.

Scott mentioned the idea of meeting with the pastor of his parents church. Scott had a conversation with the pastor and  thought it would be a great idea for us to meet with him and his wife. I told Scott I needed to think about it.