Friday, November 4, 2016

Filled With Regrets

I'm Hurting Right Now

The feelings I share here are real.
I am transparent with the details I've spilled out on the pages of the internet.

The purpose of this blog is to give hope to those who might think their marriage is destined to end because of infidelity. 

I point readers to God's redemptive truth as revealed in the Bible and in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

I don't want to paint an image that masks the harsh realities. I talked a little bit about some of the difficulties in my post, "It Won't Be An Easy Fix."

You see, while I am now so deeply in love with my wife, I painfully ache on the inside. Sometimes, a substantial weight sits steadily on my chest. It feels real. It's not a metaphorical weight. 

I look back at my entire life and feel so ashamed. I know almost everyone thinks about their past mistakes and poor choices with regret, but this is killing me right now.

Here is a partial list of things that are haunting me as I write:

-giving up my virginity at age 12
-taking drugs to escape the pain after my mom died
-wasting time
-hypocrisy
-multiple sexual relationships as a teenager
-failing miserably in my career
-being a poor example of a man to my children
-not investing enough into my marriage
-failings as a father
-addiction to porn
-failure to lead my family as a Godly man 
-cheating on my wife
-nearly destroying my marriage

These are some of the major areas I've failed in the past. I hate myself sometimes. I detest looking at myself in the mirror. 

I don't see myself the way God sees me. He sees me as a dearly loved child. I see myself as the most vile of offenders. The Bible talks about being a good steward of everything we've been given, including our very lives. 

I have failed across the board. 

These Words DO Help


And still there are words speaking to us through the ages-
Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). That sounds much easier than it actually is sometimes. 

No matter what, even if your marriage has ended - and EVEN IF IT WAS YOUR FAULT - Jesus, the Healer, Redeemer, and Friend of Sinners still calls to you. He looks you in the eyes, accepting you right where you are.

He says to you, I love you so much that I was willing to give up my life on the cross to redeem and restore your broken life.

The Bible says that while we were considered enemies of God, He still sent Jesus to die on the cross in order to pay the price for our wrongs (Romans 5:8-10).

Sometimes we need to hear those words. I was so burdened as I sat down to type this post. At this moment the burden is a little lighter.

Watch this Matthew West video with the song, Mended. I pray it will encourage you.


23 comments:

  1. Man, that list looks almost like mine. I did try drugs a few times and ended up throwing them back up shortly afterwards.

    I do know how it feels to look in the mirror and see a failure because I still see myself that way a lot of time.

    This hit home. Thanks for sharing.

    God bless,
    Stu

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    1. Thank you Stu. I pray that in the days to come you will begin to see yourself more and more as a treasured child of the King of Kings.

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  2. Story of my life this week! Not the same regrets, but in that place of "I'm simply not enough." Friend, rest in the truth that Christ covers you. Justification - It isn't as though you've never sinned. It's much better than that. You've sinned. He knows it. He covers you and calls you his, despite the sin.

    Be blessed! Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  3. I've wondered if staying with him after the infidelity will make me regret doing so. Sometimes when we are having family or more intimate moments I will find myself being pretty happy with the way things are now, but then this deep dark reflection on what happened, what he did, how he risked everything for sex with someone else, how we don't matter. It haunts my happy moments and keeps me humble and not naively happy anymore. I have a cap on my happiness that i seem to not have any control of. I do regret allowing this to change my idea of love and marriage. Unfortunately I see marriage as it really is, just a contract. And as much as I want out of it, I feel stuck, stuck for so many unselfish reasons. Love alone is just not enough. The proof of that is made clear when he stepped out. I regret allowing this literally still kill me from the inside out. No one really knows so if those around us found out they would be shocked, more so at the way I've held up public appearances. However I have prayed and prayed to be inwardly as strong as women I've seen go through this. That seem to genuinely forgive. Like the MRS on this page. Please pray for me that one day I can actually accept this. I know all the things God has done and forgiven me for. But even he said you can divorce over this one thing! But again if I can t remarry as a Christian, I might as well stay and not stay alone forever.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      How long ago did you discover what had happened? Healing and restoration take a great deal of time. It's not about you accepting this, it's about learning to trust again and fully experiencing every aspect of forgiveness. It's not easy at all. That's why the Bible says we can divorce for this - because of the hardness of our hearts (Matthew 19:8; Mark 10:5). But it sounds like you've allowed your trust in God's process and His desire for restoration to take the lead in your life. That's rare! That's wonderful! I will ask my wife to respond to some of your struggles from her perspective when she has time. Right now she's working full time, getting ready to have a baby, and going to school for her doctorate degree. But I would HIGHLY recommend reading this book: Every Heart Restored by Brenda Stoeker. Please let me know what you think of the book after you read it. I would love to know how it helps.

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  4. Anonymous,
    You sound like me. After finding out my husband of 15yrs decided to have a 1 night stand with someone I thought was a friend my life changed forever. I don't understand any of this. It's been 17 months but some days it feels like yesterday. I have anxiety and panic attacks all the time. I thought we had a great life..he pastored a little church, we had a little farm, 4 kids, etc. We were best friends..my parents and grandparents are all gone and so are his we had each other to depend on ...that's it and he decided that wasn't enough. I have looked for that book and can't find it but found journaling and prayer help. I always thought we were above this because we had seen so many couple go through it and even counciled some..including her and her husband when he cheated in her. This blog helps you feel like you're not alone...just take one day at a time.God bless.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      We are never alone - even though we feel that way at times. I pray that God will fully restore all that has been lost and broken in your marriage. Please send updates to me. We do need to take it one day at a time. That is so true. Here is a link to Brenda Stoeker's book, Every Heart Restored: http://www.fredstoeker.com/book/everyheartresotred.shtml

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  5. I discovered this over 7 years again! After the 3rd affair. I have actually given up on any hope for my dignity, and self worth at this point. I'm not understanding why I can't let THIS go. Why I CANT overcome like other do? I don't even think he is still cheating. But I don't even care anymore. There must be something really wrong with the way my brain is functioning on this one. I guess because no matter how I try to look at it, or rationalize.....IT STILL HAPPENED!!!!! And since THAT will never go away, our marriage is forever tainted and I no longer need to uphold that purity to it my self. But thanks, it looks like you inspire so many!

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    1. Anonymous,

      Don't believe the lie that is being whispered in your brain. The world will tell you that you have every right to take revenge. The world will tell you that you are now able to forsake your vows since your husband already has.

      I am not an inspiration. I live with self-disgust every day of my life. The grace of God - His forgiveness - The sacrifice of Jesus that paid the price for our sins - THOSE are things to be inspired by.

      My life is a living testimony that a marriage can be restored. That's it.

      Yes, what you've experienced did happen. You can't rationalize any of it. If you try, you will drive yourself crazy.

      Dive into the Bible. Soak yourself in His Word. Read over and over and over His story of never ending grace.

      On a realistic and pragmatic side, over time you will begin to see more and more glimmers of beauty in your marriage. The pain will last an incredibly long time. BUT, if your husband has truly repented and the two of you are working on restoration, I PROMISE from our firsthand experience, you will laugh again. You will smile again. You will feel dignity. You will feel peace.

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  6. My husband had affairs with 2 women. He was cheating and lying to them. I happened to pick his phone up and read texts messages. I admitvour marriage was not the best, but no excuse for what he did. We have been married for 12 years. Second marriage for both of us. My problem is at first I was in shock, then I went into a mode of wanting my marriage back. He apologized, stopped seeing the other women, but as time goes on I resent him and I don't want to have intimacy with him. I feel very insecure when we are out in public and an attractive lady is around. I feel myself pulling away and I don't know what to do.

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    1. Anonymous,

      Your feelings are 100% normal. You will experience resentment. You will feel insecure. However, if you are working on restoration together, your husband should be making conscious efforts to reassure you of his true love for you. This is a long and painful road. Trust me - keep your vows together. Follow through with forgiveness. Extend grace. Stay the course together, even when it doesn't feel good.

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  7. Just wondering if all is ok. You haven't posted anything new since November.

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    1. Noni,

      Life has been difficult lately. We've undergone major life changes, including massive cutbacks in our income and a cross-country move. We are trying to stand securely on our feet & get things back to normal in our house (living with a relative until our California house sells). I'm trying to make time to post on this blog again.
      Thank you for your concern. I truly appreciate it. Sometimes I wonder if our story is actually helping anyone.

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    2. I am just now seeing your reply. I'm sorry you are undergoing so many challenges at this time, and with a new baby, I assume. My prayer is that life will settle into normalcy for you all very soon! I believe your story is an encouragement for many people! I know it has been for me! I look forward to future posts as you have time to do so. In the mean time may God continue to bless you and your family.

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    3. Noni,
      Thank you so much! Your words mean so much to me.
      I pray that I will have time and inspiration to create more posts in the near future.
      J

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  8. If you're still wandering if your story is helping anyone...it is! Are soties are quite similar. Being abused as a child, addicted to pornografy, despressed for years and cheated on my wife. But there is hope. Keep your eyes on God thats were your help comes from Ps 121. His goodness is greater than anything you are wrestling with. I know because i've bin there. Blees you.

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    1. Thank you for your encouraging words Martin. God bless you and your marriage.

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  9. Hello, I Like your blog, I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wish you best of luck for all your best efforts. Bonobology | Extramarital Affair

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  10. Your wife's story so speaks of me now. It has been 16 months since I found out about my husband. This is the second time with the same woman. The first time I was dumb enough to believe him when he said it was counseling and he said it was over. 8 years later I discovered that he was talking to her about 200 minutes a day give or take a little here and there. Texting her throughout the day, when he was suppose to be ministering to the homeless, at the shelters or ministering at the jails. There would be 10-15 calls between the 2 of them. Yet, he always told me he was always so busy working, so I would call him only if absolutely necessary. What a fool I have been. Even found text where he texted her while I was in our bedroom and he would be in living room watching tv. He put a brand new car in his name that she was driving and he was making over half the payment for car. He had cable and power bill in his name where she lived. I was stupid enough to believe him when he told her 8 years ago that I said they needed to cut all ties. I am hurt, angry, and wonder why everyday. When I found more details about the situation I would get literally sick to my stomach. Couldn't eat, my stomach was in knots, I had panic attacks, and cried everyday, all day. He's addicted to pornography and has a second phone that he keeps at his shop, supposedly so he can watch porn. My story is long and many arguments have taken place between us. I love him , yet I find that I don't know this man that I have been married to for 40 years. He is a stranger to me. I feel that I will never ever be able to trust him. I am so tired of this nightmare. He doesn't want me to share this with anyone. His idea is to sweep it under the rug. I have suggested counseling, but he doesn't agree. I can't believe anything he says. I read your wives story she described my feelings to the tee.

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  11. Id like to know what is the reason you cheated. Did you feel you deserved better and your wife wasnt enough? You made that conscious effort to do it even though probably in your head red flags went off. You must have not truly loved her. I believe cheating is a huge result of pride and extreme selfishness. You didnt get something from your wife but sought elsewhere..did you even try communicating with her?

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  12. I can only speak from the perspective of one being cheated on. I think what you suggested is what cheaters tell themselves...that they don’t live their spouse or that their spouse isn’t what or who they really want. The truth is that it typically doesn’t have anything do do with the spouse- it is an emptiness and void inside the cheater that cannot be filled by anyone. It is often a struggle within, a brokenness that is being filled by someone new- until it gets old and no longer fills the void. Until the cheater can come to terms with the problems of the past and how they impact their future relationships, they will never be happy or be able to contribute to a healthy marriage. It takes two whole people to make it work. Fragmented people often create fragmented relationships.

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