The Promise Found in a Rainbow

Standard

 

Fall RainbowThis has been a particularly difficult week. While the weather has been unusually warm despite the cloudy skies, there has not been the typical fall rain. As I drove to exercise class, I cried out to God to show me how we were going to get through this challenge. I drove into the parking lot and sat in the car for a few minutes. When I grabbed my gear and looked toward the west, there was a beautiful Fall Maple tree with brilliant orange leaves and a rainbow coming out from behind it. It was a beautiful sight, but more importantly, it was there for me. Rainbows have long been a sign of promise since God sent the rainbow after the flood. Today, this was for me, a promise that God has this situation, He is in control and has me and my family in His care. That I can rest in his care of my family and I can have hope.

The Unintended Journey

Standard

Mountain TrailThe Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies was released in theaters in December, 2014. I remember well the release of The Hobbit: The Unintended Journey, in December, 2012. My teens went to the midnight showing of the long anticipated movie. I began to think about how many of us are on or have taken an unintended journey. Not the exciting journey where we anticipate the adventures around the next corner, but rather the one where we fear what is around the bend.

Many women are attempting to navigate the uncertainty of this unintended journey. This journey is full of pain and loss and it can be void of any hope for the future. Whether your husband is viewing pornography or has had an affair, your life is not what was, or what you expected it to be. You are on the unintended journey.

This journey doesn’t have to be one void of hope. My own unintended journey began in 1998 with the revelation that my husband was addicted to internet porn. I likened my journey to climbing a mountain. As I navigated the precipices and valleys, I had to often stop and catch my breath, checking my course against God’s Word, conferring with others and reading books. I needed to learn as much as I could about sexual addiction and what that meant for me and my family. I scoured the Bible for God’s truths and any hope that I could hold on to. I counseled with a qualified, understanding therapist and joined a support group so that I could drain my pain on a weekly basis.

As I reached the pinnacle of my mountain climb and could begin to see the other side, I continued my journey of seeking counsel and looking for that long term hope for my marriage and my life. Once I pulled out of my depression and despair, I was able to focus on what God’s intention for this journey was. Through a very difficult recovery, I began to see that I had areas that God needed to change and refine in me. Although my journey started alone, I invited others to join me in my journey. After 2 years of climbing the mountains and valleys, I was able to forgive my husband and we began our journey together. God restored our marriage to better than it was before my husband’s confession.

In 2001, God was working in my heart to help carry other women in their journey. This started in 1996 or 1997 as I was attending a Bible study at Westminster Chapel, going through the study, Experiencing God. In it, Henry Blackaby encourages us to “look for what God is doing and join Him in his work” and to “do a God-sized thing.” Working with women, encouraging them and helping them to navigate this difficult journey of betrayal was exactly what God was calling me to do.

Along with 4 or 5 other women, I helped start a support group for women through Prodigals International. In 2003, I was asked to join the Prodigals International board of directors and became the women’s director for the ministry. In 2005, I started another support group on Mercer Island, and facilitate that group to this day. In addition, I oversee the women’s groups in Tacoma, Mill Creek and Calgary, Canada. Along with an amazing team of women, I organize an annual women’s conference designed for women who have experienced or are experiencing betrayal in their marriage to come together to learn and find hope that their marriage can be restored or in the cases of those whose marriages don’t make it because of denial or abuse by their husbands, they can learn to be whole and enough in their singleness.

If you are finding yourself on this unintended journey, I would encourage you to seek help. Search for a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT) at www.sexhelp.com/sex-addiction-help/sexc-addiction-help/sex-addiction-therapist. Check out www.prodigalsinternational.org.

Call some of the large churches in your area and ask about sex addiction support groups for partners in your area. In any case, find help from a qualified person.

There is so much poor information circling around, it is imperative that you are receiving correct information. You want to make sure that your map for this journey is current and correct. If it is not, you will travel the wrong direction or become lost completely. If you need help, check out our website at www.prodigalsinternational.org.

An Open Letter to My Porn Watching Dad

Standard

Dear Dad,

I want to let you know first of all that I love you and forgive you for what this has done in my life. I also wanted to let you know exactly what your porn use has done to my life. You may think that this effects only you, or even your and mom’s relationships. But it has had a profound impact on me and all of my siblings as well.

I found your porn on the computer somewhere around the age of 12 or so, just when I was starting to become a young woman. First of all, it seemed very hypocritical to me that you were trying to teach me the value of what to let into my mind in terms of movies, yet here you were entertaining your mind with this junk on a regular basis. Your talks to me about being careful with what I watched meant virtually nothing.

Because of pornography, I was aware that mom was not the only woman you were looking at. I became acutely aware of your wandering eye when we were out and about. This taught me that all men have a wandering eye and can’t be trusted. I learned to distrust and even dislike men for the way they perceived women in this way.

As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry

As I grew older, I only had this message reinforced by the culture we live in. That beauty is something that can only be achieved if you look like “them”. I also learned to trust you less and less as what you told me didn’t line up with what you did. I wondered more and more if I would ever find a man who would accept me and love me for me and not just a pretty face.

When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life.

I did meet a man. One of the first things I asked him about was his struggle with pornography. I’m thankful to God that it is something that hasn’t had a grip on his life. We still have had struggles because of the deep-rooted distrust in my heart for men. Yes, your porn watching has affected my relationship with my husband years later.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: Porn didn’t just affect your life; it affected everyone around you in ways I don’t think you can ever realize. It still affects me to this day as I realize the hold that it has on our society. I dread the day when I have to talk with my sweet little boy about pornography and its far-reaching greedy hands. When I tell him about how pornography, like most sins, affects far more than just us.

Like, I said, I have forgiven you. I am so thankful for the work that God has done in my life in this area. It is an area that I still struggle with from time to time, but I am thankful for God’s grace and also my husband’s. I do pray that you are past this and that the many men who struggle with this will have their eyes opened.

Love, Your Daughter

*This has been posted anonymously due to the nature of the topic.*

This article has been reposted from:
http://thinktheology.org/2014/11/03/open-letter-dad-porn/

My Marriage as I Knew It Was Over

Standard

First glance at that title, and you are likely thinking this blog post is going to be very negative. In actuality, I can look back and view that day of discovery and thank God. I thank him not for restoring my marriage, but for building a new marriage and molding both my husband and I into adults who understood pain, loss, addiction and a life fully leaning on Him  Don’t get me wrong, it was an extremely difficult time of growth. For about 3 or 4 years, I was in great emotional pain, and couldn’t imagine what God would do with this mess of a man and his wife. Would I do things differently? I certainly would, but isn’t it easy to look back on our life with 20/20 vision? I didn’t have the knowledge or the tools that I possess now.

My story of redemption began in 1996 when I walked in on my husband searching for pornography on the computer. Through confrontation and setting difficult boundaries, he began the arduous journey of recovery. This set me on my own journey trying to find my place in all of this. The first thing I had to grasp hold of was it was not my fault. There was nothing I said or did to cause him to go down that path. If this is an issue that has touched your life and marriage, please connect with this: it is not your fault.

There were so many days of self-doubt and wonder. I wondered what I could have done differently. If only I was prettier, smarter, skinnier. If only I had worked harder around the house. My life was filled with “if only’s.” But in actuality, none of that mattered. My husband had a hole in his soul that he was attempting to fill with air-brushed images that I could never live up to.

His recovery consisted of therapy by a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, a therapy group, an SA group and an accountability group. He was gone most evenings and some early mornings. But, other than having to care for four children, ages 6 and under, I didn’t care. At that point, I didn’t know if I would be a single parent or not.

My thoughts and attitude didn’t begin to change until I started in recovery. I needed to get myself grounded. I sought a therapist and while she boosted my self-esteem, she wasn’t helping me deal with my feelings about my husband. I changed therapists to one who had dealt with the issue of infidelity personally. This made all the difference. She knew what I saying, she understood me and could empathize with me. Now, as I was seeking recovery through therapy and a support group, I was able to better deal with this hippopotamus in the living room. In time I helped this therapist start a support group which has since  turned into a 12 step group where we can offer support for women just finding out about their husband’s issues and step work for those who are further along in their journey.

If you are going through your own struggle with your husband due to his internet pornography use or affairs, I pray that you will find compassion and support through the writings on this blog. If you need immediate help finding a therapist who is experienced in what you are dealing with check out http://www.iitap.com and click on the Find a Therapist banner for a list of qualified therapists in your area.