Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Would I ever forgive myself?

Life wasn't easy back in February.

February 11, 2012 is a day that is etched into my memory and deep in my heart.  It is a day that I will never forget.  It began what would become the worst week of my life to date.  During the following 8 days, I wasn't sure that I would survive.  I wasn't sure I wanted to.  I didn't know who I was, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go, whether I wanted to fight for my marriage.  I wasn't even sure I cared about anything at all.

And I wasn't sure that what was broken between Kris and I would ever be fixed.

Kris and I had some deep wounds.  Wounds we had inflicted on each other.  For the last seven years, we had basically just been existing together;  we lost each other somewhere along our 13 year journey together.  And I will never forget the things that transpired since that day.

God's hand was working in so many different ways.  Counseling at the end of March was very emotional for me.  We were working hard, I think trying to get to the roots behind this wall I had up, between me and God.  While I had given my heart fully to my husband in a way I never thought I could again, and he had done the same in return, I had still been wrestling with this concept of a God who loves NO MATTER WHAT, struggling to forgive myself (for pretty much everything I've ever done wrong in the last 33 years), who I was, and what the next steps would entail.

It was so overwhelming at times.  Shortly before Good Friday, I really felt like God was tugging at my heart.  I can't even tell you how long it had been since I ALLOWED MYSELF to feel that.  Kris kept saying that God was wooing me.  I believed it, and I knew that Kris' prayers for my heart and my soul were being heard and that God was working and moving.  It wasn't a matter of IF I would let Him back in.  It was a matter of when.

I had chosen to end a seven and a half year affair (or rather, it was brought to the light and I was forced to make a choice).

I had chosen to go home.

I had chosen my husband.

But it wasn't enough.

My heart was empty and lonely and I needed something more.  I knew that I had kept God away from my heart.  It had been broken and I didn't trust anyone.  Not God.  Not Kris.  It was mine and I was tired of having it broken, over and over again.

But God, in His infinite wisdom and love, had a different plan for me.

It began with a CD.  In all likelihood, it began long before that.  But I see this CD being a turning point in my war with God, my fight to keep Him away from my heart.  I want to share some of what was going through my mind the day I listened to "The Altar and the Door" album by Casting Crowns.  I listened from start to finish and really heard God speaking to my heart.  This is from an email I sent to Kris that day:

"Each song seemed like some sort of progression.

Right after "Slow Fade" is "East to West". I had heard that song before but never really thought about the words much. As I listened, I was barely able to hold the tears back, but I stubbornly did, not letting myself feel it. I didn't pay much attention to the next song, "The Word is Alive", but then as "The Altar and the Door" came on and I listened to the words, the tears threatened to spill over again. And then, "Somewhere in the Middle" came on. The tears flowed and the words just washed over me. I didn't have any kind of deep insight or anything, and I can still feel myself holding onto everything, but that song described how I felt. I thought I was on one end and God on the other.

I realized through those lyrics that no, I wasn't at the other end; I was somewhere in the middle, between the altar and the door. The next song "I Know You're There" didn't do much to help me pull myself together. Then there was this song called "Prayer for a Friend" and I just got this sense that some people are likely praying that for me.

It's all this progression.

Starting with "Slow Fade" and making choices over time that change you. Then a song about how far God's forgiveness extends. Then a song about God's word being real and alive. Then a song about being between the altar and the door, compounded by the next one about being caught in the middle, and a song acknowledging God's presence even when we don't feel it, a prayer for someone who is wrestling with all those things.

And lastly, the song that ends the CD is called "All Because of Jesus". Normally I wouldn't have thought much about this, except that it is the first song they sang in chapel on Tuesday at school. I had never heard it before and didn't really give it much thought then, but I find it interesting (to say the least) that it is on this album. I just...I don't know. I feel like I'm on the verge of something. I'm not sure what. A breakthrough maybe. I can feel my heart being tugged and I am not too stupid to not know who is pulling at it, trying to pull my walls down.

I knew I wanted write it down, and will continue listening to the album because I know God is trying to reach me through the songs on it and how it just seems to resemble my life, my struggles, my being "stuck" in the middle. And I know that the songs that follow are the key; they contain the truth my heart needs to understand.

And I think Satan was trying to prevent me from hearing it honestly. When I put the CD in, it said "no". Literally. It read "CD NO". And it wouldn't play the CD. I tried ejecting it and it kept saying no. I finally kept at it, and it eventually came out. I wiped it down then put it back in. Same problem. It said no. I ejected it again (it resisted) and I thought about just putting it away when it finally did come out, but I was determined to listen to the CD. Finally it started playing...and this is where I wound up.

I'm close. I can feel it. I shared with Sheri and then you last night that I was scared of the pain that comes from surrender, even though I know at the end comes redemption. I think it was important for me to acknowledge that out loud. It's that fear of experiencing pain that holds me back. But I think that is the next step. Ripping off that band-aid I put over my heart and allowing God to heal what is broken."

I can't even write a short email, let alone a blog post, as you can clearly see!  Something was happening in my heart those last two weeks of March, and the first few days in April.  I KNEW God was calling me home.  I KNEW He wanted to hold my heart.  I KNEW I needed to let my walls down.  But I didn't know how.

Little did I know that the "how" would come soon.

Have you ever found yourself here, in the "middle"?


  1. Thanks for sharing your testimony. I can honestly say I've been between the altar and the door, but the power and love of God can reach the hardest of hearts:) I'm so thankful the door is not an option. Thankful for second chances. Another chance to love my husband and forgive his infidelity. To love and help him heal his wounded places inside is what I am thankful to do now:-) Soo happy you are abiding in His love!!! Blessings!

    1. I am beyond thankful for second chances. And third. And fourth. And millionth... God is SO good!

  2. Another fantastic song! Love Casting Crowns. Good choice. Thanks for being so open and vulnerable online. It's refreshing to read something so candid in a world that's often faking it.

    1. Faking it is right. We think everyone around us the perfect couple or has the perfect family or marriage. And it is usually those families/marriages that have all the secrets. All the deception and lies. People thought Kris and I had it all together. And we were falling apart at the seams. It makes me sad that so many churches are afraid of being transparent, when it is only by being transparent that we can really heal and experience the depth of God's love for us.