affair recovery

A Bike of Integrity

Recovering from a double life and restoring a marriage after infidelity is the furthest thing from easy that I have ever experienced. It was brought to my attention that some people believe I am making this look easy. The reality is quite the opposite. This last month has brought to life a new kind of pain and new weight to the gravity of my sin that I never fully understood. However, it has brought a new strength I never understood, as well.

For the sake of imagery, I will liken it to riding a bicycle. For the last year, I was on a bike that I was trying to pedal uphill, with 200 pounds of weight on my back. I was not making progress towards the heart of God–I was actually being pulled backwards into a deep pit. The level of anxiety I carried was unlike anything I had ever experienced.

And, I was alone.

I did not open myself up to anyone with the emotional or spiritual maturity to help me overcome my temptations and turn away from my sin. For someone like me, who shares so much of what she is feeling with those who are willing to listen, I was wedged into a place that seemed inescapable. The lies of what would happen if I confessed my sin, held me captive. I did not imagine the forgiveness I have received. I was far from the heart of God, and I was unable to believe His love for me would be enough to carry me.

Over the last month, I have been on a different kind of bike ride.

The bike is light, and it has training wheels which have been reattached in the form of complete honesty and accountability and most importantly, I am not alone. I have others with me on the journey; praying for me and praying with me. They are the ones who have chosen to stay by my side even though they now know the truth of my hypocrisy, and the length of time that I lived in it. I have the Holy Spirit inside me–alive and pushing my legs with a strength that is not my own. In some ways, it looks like this:

photo 2

And this is what I want it to look like.

I want to have a childlike faith, a belief that God still has a plan for me that includes goodness and purity. So, this is what I dwell on and this is what I present in social media. When I focus on the good, I am not ignoring the pain that others are facing. I am aware of that pain, and it is a burden I will carry for the rest of my life. Because of the burden of what I have done to other people, because of the work that it takes to relearn how to live honestly, and because of the memories that come up from an inappropriate connection to the wrong person, there are many moments where I feel more broken than I can express with words. In many ways, it looks like this:

photo 1

I have moments where I feel like I have crashed and I am beat up. I cannot concentrate on those moments. I will not dwell on the past to the degree that I give the enemy a new foothold in my life.  I have to wash my face and get back on my bicycle. I have to lift my eyes to the cloudy sky and trust that the clouds will eventually move on.

I lived as a hypocrite for quite some time, and I have no desire to go back to that lifestyle. I want God’s wisdom to reach my innermost parts so that I can be a person of true integrity.

Living in truth means owning all my choices and fears to those who are closest to me. It does not mean owning them to everyone who is watching me.

God is using this terrible time in our marriage so that we can recognize where we need to be transformed as individuals. Being transformed individually is mandatory for us to be able to have a marriage unlike the one we had for many years. Idolatry was the first sin that led me to adultery. I allowed the opinions of others to matter more than the opinions of God and those of my husband.

So, know the truth. Some days I am outside in the sunshine riding a small bike with those who stuck around, and some days I am beat up and crying with the same people. But, at all times–the Spirit is within me–and He is the one who makes the most difficult times appear achievable.

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.”

Psalm 32:3-4

 

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7 thoughts on “A Bike of Integrity

  1. As I read your words I am so moved by the honesty and rawness behind them… It makes me sad that we have moved to a place in society where this type of honesty is not the norm and people don’t have time for it. I am blessed that I am one of the few who gets to read your words, take them in and let them resonate within me so that I look deeply at them and apply them to myself. At times I am sad for the many who need to read your words and do not have a chance… and then I am reminded that God is not finished with your ministry to his people yet.. and I have hope that your words that are being used to heal you will one day heal many. Love reading your words and seeing your soul…. Love you.

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    1. Chris-my faithful friend. You are a large part if what inspires me towards truth. I have never known a friend like you. Without having a specific reason, I feel connected to you. I actually went ahead and posted this live. I have been receiving so many private messages from women who are struggling, and God has made it clear that He will use whatever I have to offer on his behalf. Love you–see you soon for lunch 🙂

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  2. I applaud you Jackie. You are a courageous woman. I had my own experience similar to yours but also different in many ways. I was married to an abusive man. I had a long term affair and I eventually divorced. I choose to live a lie for many years. Instead of dealing with my situation I created a diversion. I lost myself in the process. I never devulged my affair to my ex husband. I learned a lot about myself during the healing process. It’s made me the person I am today. The person I can love.
    I am praying for you and David. I feel David and you are making a great statement of how God can heal all things. Everyone is watching as you guys demonstrate the power of God’s merciful love giving you strength to overcome all. Something powerful is going to emerge from this situation. Satan is surely not going to win this round. Stay strong and opened to God’s grace and love and always remember you are loved.

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  3. Your willingness to be so honest and open touches me. I can’t imagine the struggle you are facing and I pray you find the answers and the peace you need. God will never leave your side.

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  4. We know that it is the truth that finally sets us free. You are paving a way few have had the courage to take. You both remain diligently in my prayers….

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