Welcome to part 3 & the last of the series: WHAT TO DO AFTER AN AFFAIR.
If you haven’t read PART 1 or 2 of this series yet, you can click below to read them. I wrote this 3 part series – with the hope that it could encourage someone else in their most difficult season. Maybe you have been through an affair & maybe you haven’t, but I believe the same principles I share in these posts can help you through various tough & painful seasons.
I didn’t have any other woman to ask for help or guidance in my season & my heart in all of this is to put something out there to help people when they need it most! I want to ask that you share this with someone you know needs encouragement… I get so many questions – mostly from women… reaching out to me asking for help in their season of hurt.
I believe this can be a resource for healing for some people. I get REAL in these in a way that I never have on my website, believing that someone else will hear/read what they needed at that moment… Feel free to comment or ask me questions – you can even contact me personally through my contact page by clicking HERE.
PART 1: WHAT TO DO AFTER AN AFFAIR
PART 2: WHAT TO DO AFTER AN AFFAIR
I was recently reading a book by Joel Osteen called, Blessed In The Darkness. Chapter 6 of the book really challenged me with some of my thought processes, even looking back on what I think was a pretty healthy response in my worst season. Pastor Joel teaches in the book — that our challenges & even the enemies we face in our life are sent by God for our good. We naturally expect God to use the great situations & the friends that are in our lives, but we rarely think that God can & does use the people who hurt us even more than people that love us at times.
If they walked away, they didn’t set you back; they set you up. If that had not happened, you wouldn’t get to where you’re supposed to be. if they overlooked you, tried to push you down, and lied about you, it may not have been fair, but nothing happens by accident. If God allowed it, He knows how to use it for your good.
Blessed In The Darkness, Pg. 84
I honestly haven’t had issues with this thought process in the stages that I am in today, based on the affair that took place in my marriage… But it was such a great reminder in my heart & life moving forward because I remember so many times that I was hurt & upset in the earlier stages of my healing. I couldn’t always see what God was going to do in my story & life back then, & isn’t that how it always is… We aren’t able to see what God did until we look back. I knew that God was SO faithful not just in theory but in my actual life experience — but this further encourages me to keep this mindset moving forward in life when I encounter tough seasons. There is something else that I want to share with you about betrayal, that was said in the book,
Jesus understood that betrayal was a part of His destiny. Too often we fight what doesn’t go our way; we get upset & become bitter. But the longer I live, the more I realize that nothing happens by accident. If you keep the right attitude, God will even use the opposition to bless you.
Blessed In The Darkness, Pg. 84
I so resonate with this! I have found myself in my heart & mind at times, where I had the thought, “God must not be aware that this is happening to me — because I know He loves me too much to let me feel this much pain…” However, I have now learned that God loved me SO much that He didn’t keep me where I was — when it wasn’t best for me… He loved me SO much that He removed what I thought I wanted, which was restoration — & He delivered me from a life that He knew would not be best for me in the long-term.
Have you ever thought that just maybe, God sometimes removes people because He knows them better than you do… We usually account for the fact that God knows us, but forget that He also knows our spouse/loved one, just like He knows us. We all have a chance in life… & guess what, even when we fail – there is still a chance… Yes, even if you have had an affair — God wants you to be blessed & have a great life! Jesus cares about you so much, no matter what side of this real issue & pain you find yourself on today & in the future — God wants you to get on the other side of your pain & GROW through what you go through.
You may be the person that caused the pain & this fact is still true. No matter how long you stray or push against the truth… Jesus loves you — even when you don’t love Him back… But there are also times when you are the one on the receiving end of an affair — that God takes someone out of the equation of your life & it is actually a blessing. That was the case for me.
3. TRUST THAT GOD KNOWS BETTER THAN YOU DO!
I think a major reason that I struggled so much at the start of my healing, — was because I couldn’t imagine how the pain, the loss, & the rejection was a part of Gods plan. I tried to even talk myself out of seeing how it could be for my good — like the Bible tells us!
I know the scriptures, I am a pastor… I should have this answer down & be able to just trust God with the FACTS that I know. But when something seems so off & almost against what you think could have been Gods plan (for good) in your life, it can be VERY tempting to question it all. At one point I even told God, “I WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOU USE THIS IN MY LIFE…” Like it was almost a threat — haha :), I couldn’t see any way that this would end up for my Good. You may be in the same place today. Your life situation seems unfair, & maybe even full of darkness… How could God be in all of that loss & hurt?!?
All I can do is remind you that if Jesus was betrayed, beaten, & abandoned by His friends — He was even eventually killed, by those who “loved Him…” The craziest thing is that Jesus never did anything wrong. He only loved people, healed people, & helped them. & somehow, Jesus dying & being betrayed was God’s plan for good… & this GOOD didn’t just effect Jesus, it CHANGED THE WORLD FOREVER!
Just imagine how God can use your hurt — your pain — your loss… to help set someone else free!!! Jesus is an example to us. He shows us how to handle pain ‘GODS WAY’ at a deep level. The way He was treated was never justified & will never be okay or fair… but Jesus’ response is what we need to look at. I had faults, I can look back & see things that I could have done better… & while I am not the cause for my former husband’s choices — I could look back & see how I could have loved more intentionally, encouraged more, & other things I can see personally that I could have been better at. But Jesus, His response was not to shame those who hurt Him or expose their weakness… He didn’t blame God or his killers… He simply said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I choose this same response for the man who hurt me. I choose to believe that when people hurt you, I want to give them not just the benefit of the doubt. I want to trust that God knows them better than me. We all have struggles & issues, & sometimes those issues get in the way of our better judgment. We can forget that those people who hurt us, are ALSO a child of God.
These people, like can become selfish & lost in a season of life. It does not excuse what he has done or make it all okay — I do not approve OBVIOUSLY of what the man I was married to did, but I trust that God can reach him & I know that God never stopped loving him — even though he may never personally ask for forgiveness or be sorry… I want him to hopefully end up fulfilling why God created him & knowing that God can do anything with his story if He lets Him! You can choose to forgive someone & LET IT Go… & not be okay with what they did. Leave it in the hands of God!
& most interesting to me is that you can move on & have a better life than before! I can say this & believe this because I have lived it. I am currently living MY BEST LIFE… I am blessed. I have a great life & it has only gotten better since God upgraded me to a life I never even dreamed was possible. I am now honestly grateful for the season I went through because it opened up doors in my life in relationships & ministry that would never have been possible. I help people, I live without regret of how I handled my hardest season, & I live my life with gratitude — never looking back on “what if’s” — But understanding that WHAT IS AHEAD is greater than what is behind us…
Your story doesn’t stop with you! unless you never get healed… Your life, your lessons, & even your hurt is meant to HELP others!
When we think about what it means to be blessed, most of us only think of the good things that happened to us or around us. But the interesting thing that I have learned is that these blessings in our lives usually coincide with good times & bad. It is not difficult to celebrate & be grateful when good things happen & things seem to be going our way. Have you ever thought about what your response is when really hard times happen or you are deeply hurt?
All of us at some point will find ourselves in a place that feels dark — during these times it can be so tempting to become & even stay discouraged. Some people give up on their dreams, give up on others, or even think that the darkness is the end. I have personally found that God uses these dark & hurtful times in my life the MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE! I don’t really want any part of these seasons, I feel like I could go without — “GIVING GOD SOMETHING ELSE TO USE.” That may seem wrong to say — but it’s how I felt. I know in my heart that EVERYTHING is a part of God’s plan. & the way that I like to think about each moment of my life is that it is like a seed.
Every seed has to be in darkness to grow! It has to be planted in the dirt & maybe that is EXACTLY what your life or situation feels like right now. I remember feeling so much darkness & dirt in my life that I couldn’t even eat at times. But if you know anything about seeds, it is in the dark places that things have the ability to mature & grow! The inside of the seed begins to come to life. & I believe in the very same manner, ALL of our life — even the parts we loathe… have a GREAT purpose & the potential to actually HELP us more than it hurts us!
There are things inside of you that wouldn’t be able to be birthed or grow without this dark time… You have passions, talents, dreams, goals, & potential inside of you — that will only be able to come to life in a dark place. So, while it can be the worst, with God… those things end up being the BEST things & times in our life, because of what God does in us — if we let Him!
The dark place was a prerequisite for his stepping into the fullness of his destiny, & it’s a prerequisite for us as well.
Blessed In The Darkness, pg. 3
It’s not a coincidence that David says in PSALM 23:
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. . . . & though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
It is the same God who leads us to the good things in life… & out of the bad. We can trust that God is with us & for us in all seasons of life — It sounds wonderful & easy until you find yourself in that hard season… But I want you to know, from my own experience, God has not left you & He will not leave, no matter how tough or dark things seem. The dark places are a part of His plan, the same way that the good times are. Trusting in God when life doesn’t make sense, is SO worth it! Because He can see beyond what we can, He knows what we do not & when we try to fix it or figure it all out, we mess it all up!
If you go through the dark places like that, you’ll see that question mark turned into an exclamation point. God will amaze you with His goodness.
Blessed In The Darkness, pg. 11
I believe that just like me, the times after the darkness are going to be better for you than what you have ever even dreamed! & I have found that the more I trust God, & the more I lead myself — it is a slap in the face of the enemy! I started saying in my hardest season after my husband left, “Devil, you aren’t going to get one day from me… You are gonna pay for this!” & you know what that required out of me — It meant that I had to trust in the character of God over my feelings daily. I had this confidence in my season because I knew that people DO NOT determine what God can or can’t do through me & my life! It may look bad right now, but so did Jesus dying on the cross. It looked like they had lost Him, that the enemy had won! But GOD WAS ONLY PLANNING THE BEST COME BACK EVER! — & it is the same in your life!
When my situation happened, I felt as though I may never find love, that I wasn’t enough, that I would always be known as the girl who got cheated on… but instead — Because God helped me & strengthened me when I was weak… today I see myself as the girl who was rescued, the girl who God loved enough to fight for me & love me, the girl who gets to use her pain from the past everyday— not to make another person look bad from my past, but to show off HOW GOOD & FAITHFUL MY GOD IS!
So, as we end this series, I want to encourage you — Don’t fight the dark times & places you find yourself… There may be darkness or dirt all around you, but it’s not there to stop you or bury you… IT IS NOT OVER — God is just getting started! You aren’t being buried; God is allowing you to be planted. & it is our job to choose to grow & mature in that environment, with God’s help! Soon — you are going to bloom & be a stand out example for God to use to help others find freedom & healing in their own lives.