Nathan came to me recently and asked, “Are you ready to publish your devotional journal?”
Ready was probably not the best word...how do you get ready for such vulnerability? And even more, why?
Why would someone expose their words, their heart, and their story to the scrutiny of others? Sometimes others who will be vicious in their responses…?
I can’t answer that question for others but I can answer it for me:
It has already helped others.
For three years I’ve sent my devotions out to those who wanted them.
And that’s my why.
If God can use my redeemed pain and shame to give others hope, I am willing to open myself up to the responses that will come.
God has graciously given me a faithful group of friends who stand with me in this journey and for that, I am overwhelmingly grateful. The visible mercy of Jesus offered to me by those who love me has no doubt been a profound influence in my transformation. It still provokes tears of tenderness and gratitude.
In short, I feel encircled. By God’s love and by those who have loved me through my mess.
Day 3 of my devotional journal is a hard one.
I don’t go into the details of my journey of being publicly exposed in my sin at our church and, furthermore, I don’t bemoan that what I did in secret was brought into the light. It’s something I should have thought about before I made a decision to be horribly selfish. I can tell you it’s only the grace of God kept me alive in the aftermath of feeling stripped naked before “the crowd.” I abhor any sympathy for the trauma I went through in how my exposure was handled but I am also unashamedly honest in how it could have been handled in a more redemptive, grace-filled way.
I learned some deep truths during this fiery trial…about myself, my marriage and the church. The absolute miracle in all of that is, I came through this very painful season loving myself, my marriage and the church in ways I had never attained before.
This is God.
This is the supernatural workings of a God who is relentless to mature us, pursue us and make all things new.
And here is Day 3 of what will be a 31 day devotional manual for those who are breaking free from the chains of an affair. If you or someone you know needs help walking away from an affair relationship (Which has very little hope to survive) please feel free to request my full devotional journal. I have friends who also left their affair instead of their family and they have no regrets in doing so.
Day 3) We’re going to take another day to breathe deeply and thank God for the life He has given us. Continue to do this every day, verbally expressing your thanksgiving to God for allowing you another day to grow in His grace. You do not have to feel what you are saying during this exercise. You are not a hypocrite, but you are taking steps of faith to get you back to the true you.
Deception fogged over your mind and led you to believe and do things you would never believe and do if you were living in the light as a son or daughter of God. Your adultery may have been a one-time occurrence in your life, or it could be a state of sin and deep struggle that has kept you captive for years. Whatever the case may be, the answer is the same. You need Jesus. You need to hear Him speak to you through His Word, through prayer, and through others who care for you.
We go into adultery with no one knowing and by ourselves, but we will not come out the same way. Just as Jesus called forth Lazarus from the tomb and had others take off his grave-clothes, you will need others to help take off your grave-clothes. Lazarus could not unbind himself, BUT Jesus sent others to do it for him. God has called you out of adultery, and now you can trust He will provide those who can help unbind, untwist, and unwrap your grave-clothes. Although Lazarus came back to life, the grave-clothes had to be removed. Grave clothes represent belief systems that cause one to be bound and incapacitated. Once removed, you can live out your God-given destiny.
Here is your verse for today:
”Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16 (NASB)
You need healing. I needed healing. In the beginning, you will not even see how much healing you need. It would be too overwhelming. For now, I want to encourage you to focus on confession – not a half-hearted confession that will get a few results, create pseudo-peace, and keep people living in the same house.
Confession means a disclosure of sin (false belief and living that are “missing the mark” of God’s will for your life). It means taking the hidden truths you know about yourself and your behavior and bringing them into the light with another individual.
Yes, you can do that with God, but God Himself says, “If you want healing, confess to one another.” God created you to be your best with a support system that knows you intimately. If you are not accustomed to allowing someone to see you at that level, it’s not too late. If you currently cannot identify that person, pray for the Lord to reveal them to you. I believe God will make His will known in this. I believe He will provide you with a safe person who knows the Word, walks by His Spirit, and will become your advocate in this journey to wholeness.
The act of confession may not always make you feel better, but it creates another stepping stone for you to walk towards your goal of healing and restoration.
Your assignment for Day 3 is to confess it all. The enemy will not want you to do this. He will tell you that you will lose everything. He will tell you that you don’t need to but I implore you, by the sweet mercies of our Lord and Savior, don’t listen to those lies. Run to the altar and to the arms of someone who will speak the true Word of God to you. Get it all out, every last drop. God offers you absolute forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, and you need to hear someone speak this over you. My sin of adultery was publicly exposed, and for several months, I battled a shame that wanted to take my life. It was the visible expression of God’s love, mercy, and grace in a few people who spoke above the lies that showed me that my sin was not too big for the blood of Jesus to cleanse.
*My public exposure of adultery brought out the best understanding of the love of God in a few people and, sadly, the worst for some. Those who gave me a safe place to bring my rebellious, deceived heart did not minimize the gravity of my sin but loved me through it. Those wounded by it were many, yet those who were true “healers” and in partnership with the heart of God helped lead me to a repentance that has changed my life.
This was grace up close. When Biblical grace is revealed in all its glory, we have nothing to fear when we come clean…and stay clean.
*If your sin of adultery was publicly exposed, you are facing a hard road ahead of you. I have only met a few people who stayed in their church after such exposure. The only reason my husband and I stayed was because we heard God clearly on this decision. I went kicking and screaming for six months. Sadly, many in the body of Christ are un-equipped and hardened to respond to those whose sins have been made public. As messy as it was to be invited to stay in our church and be restored, I am thankful we did. There are scriptural truths and examples that can speak into these situations that will help facilitate healing and restoration in a grace-filled environment. I would love to be a further encouragement to you if you find yourself in this situation. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.