A Godly Woman
Allow me to share words from an excellent wife, more precious than jewels, whose trust is complete, and seeks my welfare all the days of her life.
If the words I have borrowed from Solomon sound like I’m laying it on too thick, you need to know I didn’t always think this way. I put my wife through trials that no woman should be required to endure. Infidelity and irreconcilable differences were some of the choices I made in our first decade of marriage. Through the courage of her convictions, strength in action, and a mighty faith in our Savior, she stuck with me. By God’s grace I became a changed man 22 years ago, and He’s given us a pastoral heart to minister ever since.
My testimony titled, “The Prodigal Son” (Chapter 4 in the book) is no more a badge of honor than it is a cloak of guilt. The scars are healed, but nevertheless present to remind me of the road traveled.
As such, I feel much like the early church apostles, completely unworthy to share the gospel, but compelled to relay the good news to anyone who will listen.
Here is my wife, Jamie; an excerpt from Chapter 25—“The Restorative Powers of Forgiveness.”
So many women think infidelity is the unforgivable sin. I discovered using God’s power to forgive Jim was truly the only way to forgive. It wasn’t me; it was the power of the Holy Spirit working through me. The years we struggled did not weaken my faith; they strengthened it, because more than ever God developed a level of confidence in me that was absent before. Even though I felt like my circumstances were falling apart, I found value in my life, and who I was as a person in Christ. Rejection brought incredible pain, but I found confidence in fighting for my marriage because that is what I was called to do; I was being obedient, not a doormat.
How could I love someone, let alone like someone who was treating me like this? I discovered that “like” was not in the Bible. However, I was called to love my husband, even in all of his sin. I learned to love Jim with Christ’s love that is far more valuable than my love, even when I didn’t like him or the things he was doing. I never considered myself a victim because if I did I would be limiting the power of the Holy Spirit.
One thing I learned through the process was how God could use and grow me. I looked for the lessons I needed to learn. Oftentimes we get selfish and self-absorbed and I tried to avoid that. Through it all God taught me that I was strong, that it was okay to stick up for myself, that I could be assertive without being bitter. He taught me that offering forgiveness did not mean that I was weak or would fall apart and crumble because I chose to forgive. Forgiveness made me a better, stronger, and more confident person. I also realized I needed to choose forgiveness if I wanted wholeness for myself.
Ultimately, I knew the only way my marriage was going to be fixed was if God intervened and fixed it. God is God and I’m not. I knew what God wanted me to do, so I did it. Forgiveness was one of the things I was called to do regardless of the rights I had to send Jim packing. I surrendered Jim and his actions to God. The peace I received from that was indescribable. I knew one way or the other I would survive because my relationship and dependence upon the Lord was greater than my relationship and dependence upon Jim.
I understand this chapter is about forgiveness. Our marriage could have had a completely different ending had Jim made different choices, but ultimately he responded to God’s calling in his life and restored himself to faith and obedience in Christ and faith and obedience in his role as husband and father. Had Jim chosen to walk out on our marriage in 1992, I would still say the same thing today. I was called to love Jim and forgive him. By the grace of God I was able to do both and we celebrated our 31st anniversary this year.
Praying God’s Best For You,
There are typically three responses to our story. First, the self-righteous, “that could never happen to me.” I hope not, but it was spiritual pride that led to my downfall, not the business of policing.
Second, those who are wise enough to know they need to guard their heart and place non-negotiable boundaries in their life because Satan only needs a small crack to enter. Good for you!
Third, and all too common is the spouse sitting in a pool of tears (or the river of denial) because she (or he) is living our story. If that is you, I encourage you to take action. Find someone who can offer wise biblical counsel. If you do not know anyone, my wife has walked side by side with hundreds of women in your circumstances. You can reach out to her at [email protected] Guys, I have done the same. You can contact me at [email protected]
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”