A year and a half ago, my bomb went off. As a counselor later told me, I was cheating on three women at the same time. One was an emotional affair, one was physical, and the other was my wife who I became so practiced at trashing that I am amazed at how God has done a work in me to restore my love for her. The bomb involved the two women I was cheating with getting together and talking about me. Thankfully, they teamed up against me and ended the relationship. I wasn't able to be truthful with anyone much less myself by that time. I lived the long slow fade that the Casting Crowns song of that name describes. I thought I was the worst of sinners, hellbound and unforgiveable. At the same time, I was grieving the loss of those two unregenerate and unholy relationships. Ecclesiastes 7:26 "I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare."

The first actions that I took were completely ordained and directed by the Holy Spirit. Instead of fantasizing and masturbating every morning, I would sit on the bathroom floor and read a chapter of Psalms and a chapter of Proverbs, journal, and pray. God showed me how disgusting my heart had become. The only respite from the pain was in going to God in His Word. It felt like the Psalms and Proverbs were written just for me. At that point, I didn't know King David's story nearly as well as I do now. He has since become one of my best buddies in recovery.

It took a few weeks for the debilitating shame to start to cripple me mentally and emotionally. My spirit was coming alive after years of imprisonment and death, and it was warring against my flesh. So, in the fall that year, I found a pastor at a local church and confessed. After the confession, at a follow up meeting at lunch, he told me that I had to confess this to my wife. I didn't get why at the time, because I thought I could just start over on my own. What he told me made a huge impact on me. A few weeks later I met a man who would become a mentor. He had written a book about his own recovery, and two words in the forward got my attention. They ware "liar," and "loner." I read his book and started going to meetings of his recovery group a couple weeks later. In those early days, I kept hearing him use the phrase "getting honest." The effect of this was that I physically felt the blinders coming off my face. It was the first tangible experience of freedom that I had as I "got honest." It was the best feeling I had about myself in years. The self hatred had eaten me up. My spirit was a rotting corpse. My recovery stepped up to hours of podcasts every week, prayer, study, self examination, counseling, group work, and a return to corporate worship. I joined a Saturday process group and submitted myself to being cleared in the old Quaker tradition of being asked questions to aid in thinking through the fuzzy crap in my head. I was incrementally being convicted of layer upon layer upon layer of idolatry...deep emotional and spiritual pain kept coming up. I submitted to spiritual authority in two different churches and began the process of initial repentance and then began to learn what a lifestyle of repentance means. I began preparing to disclose my sin to my wife. I had to honor her after destroying everything. I had to put everything into God's hands. That process took four months. By then, it was eight months after the bomb.

The Holy Spirit put it on me that in order to live in the light that I had to expose my darkest inner self. The damaged and diseased self had to be exposed to the wife of my youth if there was ever going to be a hope of a life without shame, without short circuiting my relationships, and with an abundance of intimacy. I had to do it for my kids. Most of all, I had to do it for my Savior who had taken me from the pit of hell directly into His arms. I thirsted for obedience. I thirsted for righteousness. My disclosure occurred 51 weeks ago. I wrote it out beforehand. It took several drafts. I was advised to be as brief as possible yet thorough and brutally truthful. It was a one page three paragraph disclosure that left it open for her to ask for details if she wanted them. When I read it to her, she sat in painful silence for an hour. It was the worst hour of my life.

I followed Mark 4:21-22 "And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand?For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear."

I was being led into an open and confessional life. Thank Jesus! 

The consequences were horrible to live out. I didn't have this great release of a burden that I no longer had to carry. The next burden of accepting the responsibility for the pain I had caused kicked in pretty quickly. I was not kicked out of the house, but I did voluntarily move to another room and she agreed. She was in shock for several months. She was unable to talk with me for a few weeks. Now, I schedule time with her every week to talk with her about what's going on with me...tell her struggles...apologize...understand as much as I can about what she is feeling. Her hurt paralyzed her for a time. She is coming out of it slowly. I pray for God to reveal to her how she can address her woundings. Even a year later, it is too soon for her to face her hurts. It is too soon for her to consider trusting me, although she is beginning to. 

choose to love her as you once wrote to me. I choose to pursue her. After all of my choices to embrace death. She has seen how God has transformed me by the renewing of my mind, she is watching to see if my repentance is real. I get that. I have been sexually sober for a year and a half now. I have been celibate since disclosure. Never, did I think that I could make it that long this way. I was right. Jesus is what it is all about. He gave me this gift of celibacy and clarity. No, I am not dying from not having sex. I tell you this because this area of my life needed radical healing...it was completely out of whack because of the lies, selfishness, and narcissism. I am learning long suffering and expectancy. I am grateful for the affirmation that comes with verses like Psalm 62:5 concerning waiting quietly, Psalm 37:7 concerning waiting patiently, and Psalm 105:5 about waiting expectantly. I write this knowing that I can't change her or control her or fix her. The new health that is coming to me affirms that as I focus on Christ, it is all taking care of itself whether she decides to stay and work on it, or if she decides to leave me. I deserve death for what I did/ I experienced it spiritually. I experienced rebirth in Christ.

Walking with Jesus in the light of truth...shunning idolatry...being obedient are things I could not have done on my own without Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to Him for what He has done and how He has done it. I don't understand it, but He is real. It wasn't about stopping the behavior for me. It has been about Him and His love for me, and His deep desire to love me and be in relationship with me. I tried to turn my back on Him for far too long trying to medicate the pain of fallen-ness. Now the pain drives me to Him.

Living in the Truth

Living in the truth is refreshing every day. There is no need to hide or lie or cover up. Living in the truth is all about Jesus. There's no way I can fix myself much less anyone else. He gave me the way to transform my mind and by small acts of obedience brought about by Jesus' love, I am being transformed. Following Him has a whole different meaning to me now.