I Committed Adultery

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I never thought I would.

I never imagined I could.

And that, right there, was my downfall.

It didn’t occur to me that I would ever be able to cheat on my husband (now ex-husband).  Phat and I seemed to be in a very solid place.  Not passionate, life was too hard for passion.  We’d been married for 25 years and had weathered many storms.  We were still in the midst of what we imagined would be the worst storm of our life.  Our son was dealing with the fallout of his bad choices and I had been sick for many years.  But, we would hang on.  Over the years we had dealt with unemployment, miscarriage, poverty, sickness, incarcerations…and the good stuff…years of ministry, our beautiful children, homeschooling, lots of close family, vacations, good memories…lots of laughs…and yes, many tears.  But…isn’t that just what life brings?

Yes,  we were definitely comfortable. 
Hmmm…
Maybe…even…complacent…?

Complacent.
Contented to a fault.
Self-satisfied and unconcerned.

Oh.  Webster’s:
Marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies
You’ve seen it, that smug smile. Imagining you couldn’t go wrong…

Unaware of actual dangers or deficiencies.

Some people say I’m naive.  I didn’t imagine I could be with all I’ve seen in this world.  Even though I was raised in a sheltered home and in a ‘holiness’ community, it was the 60’s…and the 70’s.  How sheltered can one be with sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll running rampant in the streets?  I was known as the “goody-goody” — which was actually my self-righteousness run amuck — because I didn’t participate in the activities of the day.  But, I still knew about them.  I wasn’t unaware of dangers…I just figured I’d never fall.  I was deficient in sizing up myself.

What’s the saying, “Pride goes before the fall”…?

Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. ~Proverbs 16:18

We became prideful of our marriage. 
We felt we had one of the strongest relationships around. 
Phat used to say, “Don’t you wish everyone could have a relationship like ours?”

A neighbor recently stated, “So, you’re  wearing the scarlet letter, huh?” 
I felt my face turn red with that announcement! 
Thankfully, I was able to say,

“Yes, to the world I am an adulterer. But to God, I am clean.” 

I do believe that, even when I’m too exhausted to fight the demons speaking in the dark of night, I still do believe God has forgiven me.  When the tears stop and I can see clearly, past the shadows of death, I know I am forgiven.

I went on to explain the hard times we’d endured and how we both got side-tracked…looking for something to ease the pain.  Hoping for something to bring fulfillment once again, we moved outside of our commitments to one another…

Trying to reconcile was a mountain we wouldn’t climb.
He walked past it, not wanting to let go of his anger.
I looked at it and wondered how to climb without his love.
And now that mountain is in the far distance, neither of us willing to turn around…

I’ve learned not to think too highly of myself…or, of you. 
Any one of us can fall. 
Given the situation, the weariness of the world, the pleasures available to us…

Anyone of us can fall.

Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers––none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. ~1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Anyone of us can fall. 
Every one of us can be redeemed.
Every one of us…

There was a time when some of you were just like that…

But now your sins have been washed away.

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23 responses »

  1. Wow, so true, we all can fall. Accountability is so important in everyones life, to have a friend that can ask the tough questions. Well written blog. 🙂

  2. Heartbreaking, Michelle. I am sorry for you and your family.

    You are right though, you are clean. Forgiven. New. Redeemed. Your title is right; your neighbor is wrong. Adultery, like every other sin, is a verb. It is something we do, not something we are.

    I read once that failure is an event not a person. I would add that success is an event not a person as well. We cannot be defined by our peaks or valleys. Or anything in between, like complacency. I think this roller coaster ride called life takes us through the peaks and valleys to intentionally teach us this truth.

    We are first, foremost, and finally, children of God. Regardless of what we are doing this moment, that truth remains. As Jesus tells Martha, “Only one thing matters.”

  3. Thank you, guys.

    Thank you, Ric. I am very sorry for what I’ve done and the pain I have caused my family. I really needed the reminder in your third paragraph. I tell my son not to be defined by any past (or future) action; however, it’s much easier said than done. So, I thank you for the reminder…we are His children for He has washed us and called us His own. Oh, how He loves us…

  4. I want to hug you.
    So thankful for what Jesus has done for you and for me. For us all.
    love and prayers and thankfulness for you.

  5. How about a ‘prayer hug’…coming your way now! Thanks for your confession and vulnerability. Both seem rather rare these days, but God will honor you for it.

    D-

  6. Hi Michelle… your story has some haunting parallels to mine. I too thought, “It could never happen to me”. Just that my “It” was divorce and a betrayal with an undetermined/undisclosed scope.

    Similar to your now ex’s question about, “Dont you wish everyone else could be as happy…”, we were often referred to as, “The perfect couple”, and I was nicknamed “super Dad”, by some.

    Then one day…. seemingly out of nowhere…. Boom! It was all over. We had drifted apart and began treating each other like crap and we didn’t even recognize it. Your reference to “complacent” has great relevance to me.

    For me, my head was buried in the remeberance of the fabulous couple and family that we once had been. I was not present enough in the here and now to recognize that we had drifted way off course. I was not only complacent, I was oblivious. So she left me and ran straight to another man… to whom she is now married. Did they have an affair? We will not likely ever know. But the fact that they started dating pre-divorce was for all intents and purposes emotionally indistinguishable from all-out betrayal.

    But I can’t point a blaming finger. I can say that it hurt, but I must take my responsibility for letting the marriage get to that point of decline.

    So hopefully these perspectives help you understand what the other side of the relationship may have gone through. I don’t judge those who have commited adultery. Although I am sure you would agree none of us would condone it in ourselves or others.

    I in fact, understand better now, that when we are hurt, complacent, and let our guard down… when we are generally messed up… anything, and I do mean ANYTHING is possible.

    When chaos hit, I found myself associating with people who introduced me to cocaine. I was 37 at the time. Never having tried it or been near it in my entire life.

    So is there any limit to where we can end up when we start to unravel? Not that I have seen.

    I am so glad that God does not distinguish between sins, and that his offer of grace applies to all.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for your honest disclosures.

    Ciao.

    Chaz

  7. Thank you, Chaz, for validating the messiness of life and the grace God gives to all. I’m so sorry the pain from your divorce led to time doing drugs. I get how that can happen…anything to stop the thoughts and the torment. But, as you said, not condoning, only understanding the difficulties of living in this painful world. We’re all susceptible by our very nature…we’re dust…and God knows it.

    And about sharing my story…you know, I didn’t think I ever would. But, somehow He illuminated my understanding that too many stories end in “and God restored all my fortunes…” I can see He has in that He has washed me clean, but I still have to live with the consequences of my sin: Loss of family, friends, and a honorable reputation… and as much as those losses are beyond painful…I do know what it is to swim in His grace. “If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking…”

    Again, thanks, Chaz, for sharing your story, too. 🙂

  8. Love you. We all sin and we all have dirt under the rugs, skeletons in the closet…but Praise God! we are free! forgiven! redeemed! loved! blessed! Adopted into God’s family! I’ve been on both sides of this A thing…and there comes a time when blame just doesn’t matter..bad choices driven by our pain…we learn and live…and the world hasn’t stopped. But you my friend!! are a giant to me today…i so admire you. thanks for keeping it real.

  9. You, my beautiful sister, just stepped into the fullness of His liberty.

    The truth has set you free and don’t let the enemy tell you otherwise.

    I love you and am so proud of you for stepping outside of your comfort level and allowing God to strengthen your character in the images of His likeness.

    I am deeply sorry for your pain but so thankful that God heals all wounds and redeems all sin.

    Continuing to walk with you on this journey and forever thankful to God for allowing our paths to cross 5 years ago.

    XO

  10. Love you so much, Michelle. Big HUGS! This couldn’t have been easy to write. And yes, any of us at any time could end up flat on our faces. I’m so thankful for you and for the truth you write, and for Jesus who took all of these things to the cross for us. We are redeemed! 🙂 Dang, I want that cup of coffee and long talk…. and a hug.

  11. Thank you, Ayla. I need to understand how this confession has made me free-er. I feel it, but I don’t really understand it. I suppose it’s in the reality that nothing is being held over my head. I’m not trying to hide…? I didn’t want to speak until I could understand more fully what had happened. I do hope it allows others to see the way we can stumble…and fall…flat on our faces (thank you, Heidi!) BUT God will pick us up, and wash us clean… I love doing this journey with you! Has it already been FIVE years???

    I love you so much, Heidi! And, thank you for not running away. God is good to redeem us from all our crud and declare us “Clean!” I think I need to make a trip to PA… I really could use that hug. 😕

  12. I must have forgot to check the little box to notify me of comments. Better late than never I guess. 🙂

    Running away? From what? Why? That isn’t me at all! Well, actually, I do run away, but only when I have really screwed something up myself… not when other people have. That is a bad habit I should really work on… goes back to shame I guess. Nasty stuff. Don’t partake of that.

    I love you, Michelle, and I’m always ready with my arms wide open for that hug!!! 🙂

  13. I followed your new post to this one. I’m sorry I missed it and you didn’t have my support on this one huge post to write. I can imagine how much it took for you not only to write it, but post it.

    And I just want to say, dear girl, that *I* see you clean and whole. I’m so sorry you have felt such a weight of a scarlet letter, I really am. There never were any letters or labels or titles to you iny heart … you are you, and I think you’re beautiful. The human heart is a deep and profound mystery, and I think when we limit our acceptance of it only to actions which fit within a narrow grid, we drown out the music and block out the sun and decrease the light of a heart down to something cracked and dry. I don’t want to do that!! You know, there’s this saying that is wildly popular in Christianity: love the sinner, hate the sin. I have a strong aversion to that saying. I really don’t think the two are so seperate. If you’re going to love someone, you really must love THEM. Cracks and all. That saying doesn’t even acknowledge the presence of a person. Only a label: “sinner.” To me, you are not a sinner. And there is no sin. I know I stand alone in an ocean, but I still say it. You are Michelle. And you decided to live. Leave the donkey in the ditch or break the law to free it? Jesus answered that one. I think the heart of love really truly SEES. And in this heart there is so much room for you. For YOU. As you are. Not as you “should” be. Not as anyone expects you to be, or as everyone thought you were. But the real you. And I am so GLAD that that real you decided to live.

    I love you so much my dear. I have not yet had the strength or wherewithall to talk about much of my story or journey at all. Perhaps one day. You are doing so good. 🙂 My heart sister.

  14. Thank you, dear friend. I love you, Heidi. 🙂

    Hey there, Sparkle…thank you. I have felt your loving support for many years now. You have shown me unconditional love when so few could…or, better said, would. Our stories were happening simultaneously, even though we didn’t know that until later. Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing some of your journey with me. Your willingness to share helped to reveal things I needed to know, to be able to truly see what ‘control’ can do to one’s psyche… Someday you need to make that journey to Texas…please. I love you, Annie.

  15. “Without the grace of God, there’s not a sin I wouldn’t commit.”
    So true.

    Yet His grace remains, for us to fall into again. Amazing love.

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