Thoughts on the Ashley Madison Scandal

I rarely comment on current events. I prefer to simply stick with the basics of scripture—loving God, loving others as we love ourselves. I don’t want to be guilty of throwing gas on a fire, stirring up division in the body.

But this time is somewhat different.

We’ve been inundated with the hack on the Ashley Madison dating site, an online dating site specifically for married people seeking extra-marital affairs. First, it was the theft of users’ information. Now, as names of high-profile users have begun to leak out, we are seeing first-hand the damage, witnessing an overwhelming number of betrayed spouses.

Many of you, just like me, know exactly what those spouses are feeling. You know the hurt, the shame, the humiliation. You know the depth of betrayal, how everything they believed suddenly feels like a lie. You know the gut-wrenching pain that fills every inch of their being. You know the long-term consequences of having your trust broken, wondering if you can ever trust another human, ever open your heart to another being.

The very existence of the Ashley Madison site is a sad commentary on our culture, on just how sex-saturated our culture has become. To have a website that openly markets itself to married members is—to me—mind-boggling. Why does someone marry if they want to have an “open” relationship? What has happened to the sanctity of marriage? Why can we no longer honor commitments that we have made?

Let’s be honest: adultery is as old as mankind itself. You don’t have to read very far into scripture to find spouses who wandered from their commitments. There’s the story of David who lusted after Bathsheba and then murdered her husband (2 Samuel 11). Then there was Judah who propositioned a prostitute, who was actually his daughter-in-law (Genesis 38). I’m sure we could go on with examples of sexual promiscuity from scripture.

Of course, we also have to take into consideration some cultural considerations in scripture. First, women were property to be purchased and sold at will. Men were able to simply write divorce papers and cast aside any woman they found unacceptable for any reason. Second, men were allowed to have multiple wives. Sadly, some of those wives were loved; some were despised. Not much has changed in that regard.

But, Christ came to elevate women to a status of equal. He came to change the way men treated women. He said men were no longer able to just cast women aside with a certificate of divorce without reason. Paul said, “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

Sexual immorality is as old as man itself. But why is it so prominent among Christians? Why are we seeing so many prominent Christians taken down by extra-marital affairs? Why are we falling to temptation, failing to live up to our commitment to our spouse? Why are there so many wounded and betrayed spouses left to pick up the pieces of their lives and try to rebuild their lives?

As I have said many times, I had a front-row seat to the action. I have seen an affair from start to finish. I have witnessed the change in one’s heart and seen the one I loved travel that road, the road from a Christian trying to do things right to one so trapped in sin and deceit that he can’t find his way out. As I try to wrap my mind around the Ashley Madison scandal, here are a few insights on what leads one to an adulterous relationship.

Failure to abide in Christ daily. When my (now ex-)husband first graduated from seminary, we joined the staff of a large church. We hadn’t been there long when we discovered that the pastor was having/had an affair. We were devastated. This man had been a friend, a mentor, a hero. To see his moral failure was absolutely devastating to us.

But, we learned a very valuable lesson: if we failed to abide in Christ daily, we could one day be a statistic. We often pointed to that lesson as an illustration of how easily we could fall prey to sexual sin. We felt that God had given us a glimpse of what could be if we were not careful to walk closely with him.

And it truly was a glimpse of what our future held.

We were busy with church and kids and so many things. I know that I was at a point where kids and ministry often overtook my relationship with Christ. My heart was always his, but my time was filled with activity. And, my husband’s “abiding” was throwing a sermon together. We allowed so many things to replace our relationship. We failed to abide daily.

And failing to abide was the first step to a failed marriage.

One bad decision. My husband was initially open about his feelings toward this other woman. He told me of his attraction to her. My response? Temptation is not a sin. Even Jesus was tempted. It’s when you act on that temptation that we have a problem.

I watched as my husband made one bad choice after another, slowly leading him farther away from God and me and closer to giving into temptation. It was the decision to indulge in pornography. It was the decision to counsel her about her marriage (without me present). Then it was the decision to go to kids’ camp as a counselor with her (against my wishes). Then it was the decision to ask her advice on various situations (against my wishes). Then it was the decision to meet her for lunch (against my wishes). Then it was the decision…

One decision after another. One bad choice after another. Getting closer to the fire with every step. Turning a blind eye to the danger. Rationalizing his choices. Quenching the Spirit.

In the words of the Casting Crowns song, “It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away. It’s a slow fade when black and white are turned to gray. And thoughts invade, choices are made, A price will be paid When you give yourself away. People never crumble in a day. It’s a slow fade.”

Failing to protect your mind. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” But it all begins with the mind, what we allow our minds to consume.

Josh Duggar, one of the many caught in the Ashley Madison scandal, admitted (initially) that pornography played a role in his choices. My ex-husband had dabbled in pornography our entire married lives (I now believe there was a lot more than “dabbling” in pornography).

Allowing those images to enter our mind changes the way we think and view life. We begin to devalue the beauty of sex, something God created for a husband and wife to enjoy, to reflect the oneness for which he created us. We devalue other humans and see them as only a means of satisfying our own selfish desires.

Pornography is often a starting point, that first “one decision” that leads us down a road toward adultery.

Thinking we are above sexual sin. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 makes it clear: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.” Have you ever been there? Have you ever thought you were above a certain sin? Been there, done that.

I truly believe my ex-husband thought he was above sexual sin. I thought I was above sexual sin. Truth is, none of us is above any sin. If we think we are, we are dangerously close to falling. We are one bad decision away from beginning the path to an affair (or any other sin). The decision to encourage someone of the opposite sex. The decision to go inside for a few minutes after a date. The decision to watch something that we know is not pleasing to God.

If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The clarion call to all Christians. You are not above sin.

But by the grace of God go I…

There are so many things to consider, so much hurt and pain, so much sexual temptation all around us. So how do we respond to the Ashley Madison scandal—and every other sexual scandal in the church? We pray. We pray for the devastated spouses. We pray for those who have been taken captive, trapped in deceit. We pray for those trapped in addictions to pornography and other sexual sins. We pray for God to pour out his Spirit, to set the captives free. We pray that those who think their lives are over instead see the opportunity to be healed, to use their failures to show the world God’s redeeming power. We pray that we don’t allow ourselves to become trapped, to begin that walk down the path where we would fall ourselves. We pray that we have the courage to escape temptation, to avoid being a statistic ourselves. We pray that we would stay in perfect communion with him so that we can remain pure. We pray that God would show himself strong in our own weakness.

We pray. We seek his face. We seek to abide. When necessary, we recognize that we are walking down the wrong path and we make mid-course corrections. We admit that we are not above sin. We seek accountability. We know that in every temptation, God provides a way out.

We know that God is bigger…and able…to deliver…to redeem.

God’s Masterpiece

August 20, 2015.

Back to school for my kids. First day of 6th, 8th, and 10th grades. Where have the days gone? How did my babies grow up so quickly?

Three kids. Three different reactions. Three different attitudes.

One prayer.

Today, my oldest climbed into his car and drove himself to school for the first time ever. I watched as this young man—his entire 6’4” fully bearded self—took himself to school for the third to last first day of school. He is this amazing young man, with a good heart. I watch him in church worshipping. I see him taking notes. I watch as he tithes. I watch as the neighborhood kids flock to him, following his lead in so many ways. He has this natural leadership ability. And his wit. This dry sense of humor that flows from a normally serious person. You find yourself just laughing hysterically when things roll off his tongue so easily, naturally.

And yet, he struggles. His perfectionist tendencies. His fear of failure. His introverted qualities. His tendency to retreat into safety.

If only he could see himself the way God sees him…

My middle child. My little man. My tender-hearted, compassionate soul. My bundle of energy. My passionate child who does everything with gusto.

Today marks his first day of eighth grade. He is big man at the middle school. His final year before he moves on to high school. He is brilliant, kind, loving. He is every parent’s dream. He is an absolute joy to raise. He loves God. He loves people. He surrounds himself with those who follow God. He stole my heart from the moment he was born.

And yet, he has apparently gotten his genetics from my family. While his brother towers over everyone, he is on the other end of the spectrum—always has been—and comes by it quite naturally. And, for a boy, that can be devastating. While his brother looks like a man, he is still frequently mistaken for an elementary child. He looks at big brother and longs to have just some of that height. He struggles with his own self-esteem as he sees all of his friends pass him by.

If only he could see himself the way God sees him…

And then there’s my baby, my angel, my only girl. She rocked my world when she was born! She has always had a mind of her own and doesn’t like to take no for an answer!

Today marks her first day of 6th grade, her first day of middle school. I wonder how in the world that can be happening, how do I no longer have any elementary aged children. How can she possibly be old enough, mature enough, to walk into the world of middle school?

She’s ready—and excited to be in a school with one of her brother’s for the first time since we moved. She’s full of anticipation of what this year will bring, how she will leave her mark on those around her. She is full of confidence, wit, intelligence. She is quite certain that she will be a complete success at everything she tries.

And yet, we all know that middle school can be tough on kids, especially girls. It is an awkward stage, often marked by tearing others down so that we feel better about ourselves. Girls can be particularly cruel. We often see the worst coming out as jealousy begins to rule in their hearts. Those who were once your friend can quickly and easily turn on you if they sense that you are somehow better, smarter, more popular—or cuter. It can do extreme damage to one’s self-esteem.

I only want her to see herself as God see her…

And so, we began this school year with a prayer: Lord, I am your masterpiece. You have created me anew in Christ Jesus, so I can do the good things you planned for me long ago (Ephesians 2:10).

I want my kids to know that God sees each of them as his masterpiece. I want them to know that he created them perfectly, in his image, no matter their physical characteristics. I want them to know that he has a purpose for each of their lives, good things planned out for their lives. I want them to know that they are not accidents, that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Christ. When the world tries to tear them down, to tell them they are not good enough, I want them to stand and boldly proclaim, “I AM GOD’S MASTERPIECE.”

I don’t want them to believe the lies of Satan, thrown at them to derail them from God’s plan, his purpose. I don’t want them to believe that a failure destroys their future, renders them ineffective and useless. I don’t want them trapped in fear.

I want them to be bold, courageous! I want them to walk in faith, not fear. I want them to be leaders by being servants of all. I want them to have the freedom to remove the mask, to proudly say, “This is who I am! By the grace of God, I am different. I AM ME!”

I want them to replace all of the lies thrown at them by this world with the truth of God’s word. I want them to know the truth so that the truth can set them free.

And so this year, my prayer is that my children will know that they are God’s masterpieces, created anew in Christ Jesus to do the good works he planned for them long ago.

My prayer is that my children will see themselves as God sees them.

And, perhaps not unlike my middle and high school children, you are struggling with failures, insecurities, lies thrown at you by this world. Perhaps you are hiding behind a mask, pretending to be someone God didn’t make you to be. Perhaps you are struggling with the betrayal of a spouse who told you that you aren’t enough.

I pray over you that you would see yourself as precious, chosen, redeemed. I pray that you would allow the word to penetrate every fiber of your being, convincing you that you were made in his image. I pray that you would fill your mind with the truth so that you can be set free.

I pray that you would stand and boldly proclaim that YOU are God’s masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus to do the good works that God planned for you long ago.

I pray that you will see yourself as God sees you.

 

From Muslim to Christ

Oh my goodness! I have been overwhelmed! Thank you so much to everyone who wants to tell their story! I have shed tears as I read the stories of God’s faithfulness! I can’t wait to share each and every one with you.

I wanted to start with Yasmen’s story. What an amazing testimony she shares! There is so much that I love: her courage in the face of danger, standing firm in her faith as she looked death in the face.

But you know what else I love? Her garden angel. That precious neighbor who cared enough to befriend a young child. The lady who showed love in simple, yet profound ways. The one who planted seeds of faith in a little Muslim girl.

Scripture teaches us that they will know we are Christians by our love. How are you showing love to others today? You never know when you might be someone else’s garden angel!

**************************

The Lord chose me out of my family of five kids. I was born and raised Muslim. I was five or six when the Lord brought a friendly neighbor lady into my life.

 Her warm caring spirit fed my soul as I was starving for love and attention.

 I helped her with her garden and in exchange she gave me the biggest most beautiful Bible I ever seen. My “garden angel” I was convinced was praying for me as we were both on our knees pulling weeds.

Fast forward I escaped death when my father pointed a gun at me and swore he would shoot me in the head. That was age 13. Foster homes, being disowned and living life with the Lord leading me by my hand, I survived.

 At 57 years of age I have grown and matured in my walk with the Lord. He continues to feed me His words. I long for His ways in everything I do.

 I have never felt more loved in my life.

 So many adversities, yet so many blessings. Finding my purpose in the Lord is all I ever wanted. He is faithful and His word does not return void.

 I may have lost my biological family, but I was given a new life with so many Godly women as sisters in Christ.

 Hope, never give up!

There is so much more to my story. What I want to share more than ever is that His love never fails. He remains the same forever.
He longs for us to be in relationship with Him.

 No matter what happens in life, no matter how terrible or heart breaking, know that our God heals and restores. He makes us whole.  He weaves the beautiful pieces together of our tapestry into a beautiful  master piece.

He turns ashes into beauty.

 

I Love to Tell the Story

Perhaps you remember the words of the old hymn:

I love to tell the story ‘Twill be my theme in glory To tell the old, old story Of Jesus and his love

Growing up, we frequently sang those words in church. The hymn has always been a favorite of mine. But today, it has new meaning.

Back when I first surrendered to this unwanted journey of adultery and divorce, I remember falling on my knees and telling God, “I will take this journey. Please, don’t let my pain be in vain.”

Never could I have even begun to imagine what that prayer would yield in my life!

YOU are an answer to that prayer! With every email I receive, every comment on my blog, every person who reads my words and is blessed, I see that God had plans to use my pain…even before I could even begin to imagine good could come from the pain. I realize that by telling my story, my pain is not in vain. I have the joy of seeing my pain bless and encourage tens of thousands of people that I have never met…that I may never meet until we are together in glory.

Not only do I have the blessing of sharing, of seeing my pain used to help others, but telling my story has been such a healing journey for me. When I started this little blog two and a half years ago, I had no idea where it would go, if it would go anywhere. I just knew that I had a story, a story of God’s faithfulness.

And so I began to write.

I began to tell how God had worked in my life. I began to tell what God was actively doing in my life. I began to tell how he had revealed himself to me. I began to tell how I had come to understand his love in new and precious ways. I began to tell how he had become real to me. I began to tell how I had realized God’s never-ending love, forgiveness, and faithfulness.

I began to tell the story of Jesus and his love.

With every retelling of my story… With every email I send… With every speaking opportunity I have… With every blog that I write… I have the privilege of rehearsing God’s love and faithfulness to me and it builds my faith even more.

I would not have this overwhelming joy without each and every one of you, my readers. I simply want to say thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life, for allowing me to tell my story. I want to say thank you for being a part of my healing, of the building of my faith.

And now, God has very clearly revealed the next step to me: It is time to write my first book.

As far back as high school, I had a dream of being a writer. I wrote an essay for a scholarship my senior year of high school, and in the essay I wrote about my future…as a writer. In college, I told my advisor that my ultimate goal was to write devotional material. I wasn’t sure how I could make a living, though, so I pursued a public relations/journalism degree instead. But here I am a number of years (I’ll keep that exact number to myself) later, and God is fulfilling my dream…and he’s doing it through the most painful circumstance of my life.

I’ll be honest: It is very daunting to write a book, vastly different from writing a short 1000 word blog post. But I know God has called me to it, and I know that he will see me through.

It’s an exciting time, too! I have carried a dream for 20 years and had basically allowed that dream to die. But, I am proof that when God plants a dream in your heart, it will never die! Think about Joseph. Joseph languished in a prison and watched his dream die a slow and painful death…until God’s time was right. And then, at just the right time, God elevated Joseph and made his dream become reality.

But, here’s where things get tough. You see, as a single mom I have this thing called a job. It’s a necessary evil: necessary because I need to feed and clothe my children and evil because it limits the time I have available to write my book. And, don’t forget those three precious children who are constantly fighting for my attention. I have to say that they are 100% supportive of this writing venture, and they want me to write my book as much as I do! They have been so good about stepping up and helping out to free my time to write.

So, this is where I am: I know that I must write my book because that is what God has called me to. But, I must balance all of the priorities in my life. Honestly, I am struggling to keep up with my book, my job, my kids, and my blog.

And that is where you, my wonderful and dearly loved readers, come in.

Telling my story has been such a therapeutic venture. I know that you all have amazing stories of survival, of healing, because many of you have told me your stories!

Would you be willing to tell your story on my blog? Would you be willing to write a blog post of how God has given you strength, pulled you through a painful time in your life? Would you be willing to tell your story of God’s faithfulness, of his provisions for you?

I guarantee that if you will tell your story, God will do amazing things in you. You will be blessed as you rehearse his faithfulness. Your faith will grow as you reflect on his mercies toward you. You will see your pain is never in vain when you walk with God.

Please don’t think that I am going away! I am about six chapters into my book. I may even share small glimpses occasionally of what I am writing. I may post some of my older Crosswalk articles. I will still write as God pours out an inspiration on me. I have no doubt that God will faithfully provide material for my blog.

But I would love nothing more than to share your story, to give you the opportunity to experience the joy of telling your story of Jesus and his love toward you.

If you would like to share your story, please email me at DenasDevos@yahoo.com with a subject of I love to tell the story. I will be more than happy to edit and format if you are concerned about your writing skills! If I post your entry, I can do it anonymously or I can identify you. It’s your call, your story.

In addition to sharing your story, I ask that you keep me in your prayers. I do not want to write this book. Instead, I want God to write this book through me. I choose to surrender every day to my Savior, asking him to live through me. My goal is that my words would point a hurting world back to the One who can heal every wound, every pain. That is something only God can do.

 

 

Broken and Shook Up

Have you ever played with a glow stick? You know, the ones that kids love. You pull them out of the package, and they are rather plain, ordinary.

But then…

You bend the stick. You hear it break inside. You begin to shake it up. As you break it and shake it, it begins to glow, to shine brightly.

Its ordinary existence suddenly becomes extraordinary. It begins to glow in bright, neon colors. The darkness is pierced by the bright light it releases.

All because it was broken, shook up.

Although your former state was ordinary, your future will be extraordinary. Job 8:7

Isn’t that how we are? We go about living our lives, ordinary as they may be. Until one day, something happens. Unemployment. Financial crisis. Death of a spouse. Adultery. Divorce. Death of a child. Infertility.

Suddenly, we find ourselves broken. Our lives are shattered. Dreams are devastated. Life as we know it is destroyed. We are helpless, hopeless. We find ourselves empty, alone.

But, as Christians, we must believe that brokenness is not the end. We must remember that the central tenet of our faith is resurrection, God’s ability to raise us from the dead…whatever death it might be. We must cling to the hope that God works all things for our good (Romans 8:28). We must believe that he has a purpose in our pain, that he is working something in us that we simply cannot yet see or understand.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies….That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 16-18

Despite all the stuff this world throws at us, God will never leave us nor forsake us. On the contrary, it’s often when everything is stripped away that we begin to understand just how much he loves us, just how faithful he is to carry us through. It’s when we have nothing that we realize we have everything in him.

For me personally, this life that I have today far exceeds anything I knew before I was broken! Having walked through the pain, the loneliness, the isolation… Having lost everything of worldly value… Having experienced human betrayal and pain beyond your wildest imagination… It has all become the greatest gift I could have ever received.

How you might ask?

First and foremost I now have a faith that has been tested. I watch today as my kids struggle with various aspects of their faith…and I rejoice (James 1)! I know that it is only through having our faith tested, only by walking through the doubts and confusion that our faith becomes solidified as our own. Is it easy? Absolutely not! But to have your faith tested and to see it come through the fire refined, pure, mature is one of the greatest gifts one could ever receive on this earth.

God can also use the trials of this world to make us more compassionate, to give us a heart for those around us. For me personally, I always thought that divorce was avoidable if you only followed God. I had little compassion on those who had walked the path of divorce. I felt they were a disgrace, forever disqualified from any type of ministry. I’m so thankful for a God who doesn’t discard us as quickly and easily as we humans do! My heart has grown so much more compassionate toward people. I see them as children of God, desperately in need of the hope of our Savior. I see those who have been torn down by this life, those who just need someone to believe in them, to walk them through the dark days.

And my ministry. I love ministry. I am a minister at heart. My whole life has been about serving God, sharing his love. I had an amazing ministry as pastor’s wife, a ministry of sharing, supporting, encouraging. But through the brokenness of this life, God has given me a new ministry that far surpasses anything I could have ever hoped or imagined (Ephesians 3:20-21)!

But, how do we get from that place of brokenness to a place of extraordinary beauty? When God allows us to be broken, shook up, how do we allow the pain to shape us into his image? How do we allow our brokenness to let us shine like a bright glow stick in a dark room?

Scripture tells us very clearly:

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. 2 Corinthians 4:18

We don’t look at the troubles…the unemployment, the hurt, the pain, the crisis. Those things are temporary, seasons that will pass. Looking at the problems, the storms, swirling around us only increases our anxiety and fear.

Instead, we must fix our gaze on those things that cannot be seen, those things that will last forever.

What are those things that we can focus on? The power of our God, the God of the Impossible, the God who is bigger than all of our problems. The gifts that he gives us: courage, strength, perseverance. His presence, the presence that comforts us, guides us, leads us into eternity. His word, the word that gives us supernatural direction, that he enlightens as we open it and seek his face. His promises, promises that all things work for our good, that he will never leave us nor forsake us. The work that he is doing in us, the way he is maturing us and perfecting us. The work that he will do through us, after he has done his work in us.

Too often, we are short-sighted, only seeing the troubles in front of us. We fail to look well into the future, to see the results of enduring the struggle. We see only the problems, and we miss the hand of the one walking through the storm with us. We spend more time focusing on getting out of our circumstances than resting in the one who controls the winds and the waves swirling around us. We spend our time worrying about our problems instead of praying, expecting the peace and goodness of God.

This world can be cruel, hard, painful. But, as Christians, we don’t have to settle for just enduring. Instead, we can look to the One who controls our circumstances, who uses them for our good. We can trust that if he allows us to be broken and shook up, he has a purpose—a purpose that will leave our lives shining brightly for all the world to see.

We can look forward to a time when we will reap the rewards for enduring and exchange our ordinary life for an extraordinary one.

 

 

 

Survive ‘n’ Thrive Recap

Many of you are aware that I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Survive ‘n’ Thrive Single Mom Conference in Oklahoma City. I wanted to share a very brief recap of what I shared with the ladies. I should be recording my session soon, and it will be posted on the Arise Ministries website. I will post a link when it is available!

God bless!

 

Picking Up the Pieces

Recovering from Adultery and Divorce

 

Storms happen. In Oklahoma, we are very familiar with the devastating storms, tornadoes that rip houses from their foundations. They leave a trail of debris, piles of rubble. They forever alter the landscape.

And so is the storm of adultery. It sweeps into our lives, destroying everything we thought we knew. It leaves a trail of destruction and lies, a path that leaves us wondering if anything we ever believed was actually true. It strikes us at the core of our being, making us doubt everything about ourselves. We question our identity, our value, our ability to love or be loved.

So how do we overcome the storm? Where do we begin the process of clearing the debris and rebuilding our lives?

Before we begin rebuilding, we must first clear the debris.

  1. The moment of surrender. None of us wants the pain of adultery. We wonder why our prayers to save our marriage were not answered. We struggle with anger toward God. Perhaps in our stubbornness, we even begin to walk away from God, deciding to live our lives our own way. At some point, we must surrender to God. We may not want this journey, but we must trust that he is with us, that he is still in control. We must find a way to simply accept what is and trust him to make it so much more than we could ever imagine. (Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
  2. The decision to forgive. Forgiveness is a command. We must forgive the other woman. We must forgive the offending spouse. And, we must for give ourselves. Forgiveness is often more than we can do. But, God can allow his forgiveness to flow through us. If we are willing to be obedient, to take that step of doing what he has called us to do, his supernatural power will make all anger and bitterness fade away. By making the daily decision to walk in forgiveness, we will experience his perfect peace in our lives. (Matthew 6:14-15, Ephesians 4:31-32)
  3. The determination to thrive. Survival is not enough. God never called us to a life of mediocrity; instead he called us to live an abundant life, an extraordinary life. Our mindset must be one of knowing that we will make the most of our lives, that we will see God do far more than we could ever ask or imagine. (John 10:10, Job 8:5-7)

After clearing the debris, you are ready to begin the rebuilding process…a process that can result in things bigger and better than you ever imagined!

  1. Know your identity. Adultery robs you of every ounce of self-esteem, leaving you questioning your value. But, don’t let the enemy steal the truth from you! You are a child of the King of Kings, a chosen people, a royal priesthood. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, the apple of his eye. You are beautiful and greatly loved. You are a masterpiece created with a purpose! Dig into scripture, and let his words of love soothe your soul. Discover your inner beauty and value! (1 Peter 2:9, Psalm 139:14-18)
  2. Remember it’s not about you. If your situation was anything like mine, you may find that the offending spouse tries to convince you that you were the problem. You were a failure as a wife. You were too busy. It’s not about you! In my experience, affairs are the result of a person walking in the flesh, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Affairs are a result of addiction, pornography, self-centeredness. Adultery is the result of a person who is unhappy with his life, a person who has failed to learn the secret of contentment. So much more could be said, but please remember it is not about you! (Galatians 5:19-21, Philippians 4:12)
  3. Find your passion and purpose. Do you have a dream? Maybe you dreamed of being a writer. Or a singer. Or an artist. Maybe you dreamed of going on a mission trip. Maybe you dreamed of helping foster children or adopting. I don’t know what you passion is, but find out what it is! Take steps toward fulfilling your purpose on this earth! Follow your dreams! Become the best you you can be! (Ephesians 2:10)
  4. Trust him for a new future. One of the first verses that gave me encouragement is found in Isaiah 43: Forget the past! It is nothing compared to what I am about to do! How exciting is that? Whatever was in your past, your future is far greater! God has a way of taking all of the horrible, awful, ugly things of this life and making something beautiful out of them. That’s his specialty! (Isaiah 43:18-19, Zechariah 9:12)

Holly’s Story

I am blessed to call a sweet lady, Holly, friend. She found me on Facebook shortly after I started writing. Over the last two years, she has shared portions of her life with me, a life that has been marked by walking in the flesh, feeding the lusts of the flesh instead of walking in the spirit.

However, today she is a shining light for all the world to see! She is a life transformed by the grace of Christ. She is a beauty, seeking to find her purpose and passion in this life through her love for Christ.

I have so enjoyed seeing Holly point the world back to Christ! When she asked me about sharing her story, I was thrilled to have her guest post on my blog! So, without further introduction, here is Holly’s story:

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I regret my past and the decisions that I’ve made. I dated ruthlessly and carelessly. I’ve done things I am not proud of. I partook of college activities that you never deem yourself doing when you’re a 14 year old girl. I have lived shamelessly in my past. From the outside looking in, it would be easy to deem me as someone who is the girl you want to stay away from.

Now, I’m 28, newly single, and building my future with prayer and a whole lot of Jesus.

I’ve dated my fair share of guys in the church. None of the relationships lasted or worked out. Why? Because I was searching for something only Jesus can FREELY give me. A wholeness and newness, acceptance that I can only get from Him. I was looking for an acceptance that I was not able to get as a little girl. My father died at an early age, and I was raised by a single mom. I had a void in my heart.  A huge void. A void that I didn’t know was there…until after I made the decision to marry. That marriage was quickly followed by divorce.

It. Hurt.

I’m not perfect. But Jesus is. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through him.

Jesus is Life.

He has given me a new life in Him. My Refuge is also in Jesus, (Psalm 34:22) and my Hope is in him (1 Peter 1:3). I am telling you, no matter the hurt you’ve experienced, you have a new life in Jesus. A new life that can’t be justified—because we do not deserve the blood that was shed for us at Calvary (Hebrews 9:12).

I have learned a lot. I am seeking Jesus daily for His direction and insight into my life. I hope one day to be happily married to a man who sees my past as redeemed and my sins washed clean; white as snow…because they are (Isaiah 1:18). I want you to know, whether you are a man or woman, single, newly single, God has a plan for you.

If you have been hurt and walked through a whole lot of mess, it’s okay. God’s got It! He’s going to use you, transform you, mold you, and make you into the Masterpiece He has created you to be (Ephesians 2:10)! Don’t lose hope. Stay focused. Remain in prayer. And surrender your entire heart to our precious Lord Jesus Christ.

And be ready for the adventure he is planning for you! He Loves You!