Our church did a fast in January to start out the year by intensely seeking God. I never imagined how God would use this fast in my life. I for the first time in long time seriously exerted self control in my life. The fast was for 21 days. I ate some fruits and vegetables on five of those days otherwise I only consumed liquids. God had convicted me before this fast of overeating and to start exerting some self control but this fast was off the charts. Surprisingly the physical wasn’t that hard. It was what God was doing in my spiritually that was the intense part. When you don’t eat and use every moment your hungry to tell yourself and God that you want him more than food it turns up the heat with God. Through the fast God’s spirit grew in me and I could not resist what he was doing in me.
Unfortunately what he was doing in me was convicting me and confronting the sin in my life. I looked good to most people on the outside. I looked like someone who was pursuing Jesus and loving him with every area of my life but that was not the truth. For many years I have kept hidden an area of sexual sin in my life. I kept this part of my life hidden for many reasons all of which are dysfunctional and fueled by my sinful nature. I had kept this area hidden and uncontrolled so long that I lost control which ultimately led me to make the sinful choice to have an affair.
Through the experience of the fast God was breaking down the walls I had put up. For the first time I couldn’t control what God was doing in me because I had pursued him so intensely. He was breaking through every obstacle I had put up. I finally heard the voice of God say more clearly than I have ever heard it say, “My grace is big enough for a Pastor who has cheated on his wife.” I was wrecked. I had for the first time in my adult life let God into EVERY part of my life. I was overwhelmed with God’s grace.
So the next day I was working and trying to process what had happened the night before. As I was thinking through things and praying Vicky sent me a link to www.refineus.org. This is a blog of a pastor and his wife who have worked through his affair and are back in ministry and using this site as a tool for God to use their story. The first blog post that day was “5 things you need to do if you’re having an affair.” I read them and the last one said you have to be honest about everything. The spirit of God was yelling at me that I had to tell Vicky about the affair. There was nothing in me that wanted to. I knew it would hurt her to hear those words more than I could even fathom. But the post said you have to be completely honest if you ever wanted intimacy in your marriage again. Ultimately that is what I wanted. I wanted to have a great marriage with Vicky and if that meant I had to tell I was going to tell her.
So that night I told her. I think it was the worst night of both of our lives.
I spent a couple weeks staying with friends. I resigned from the church we had started. We heard from someone about a place called Blessing Ranch in Colorado. It is a one week intense counseling experience for pastors. God provided in BIG ways for us to go and Vicky agreed to go with me. I have never in my life experienced Ephesians 3:20 like that week. That verse says, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his might power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” God blew away my expectations of that week. I have never experienced self sacrificing obedience, outside of Jesus on the cross, like I saw Vicky pursue that week. Her obedience to God and what he was doing in her is still leaving me speechless.
It has been a couple weeks and in Vicky’s words there are bad days and worse days. This is an ugly thing because the root of it is sin. I have betrayed the one I was supposed to never betray. I have broken my vows to my wife. We are starting over way below ground zero.
I have said from the beginning that my only hope for restoration was the character of God and the character of my wife. My hope was not misplaced. God of course is meeting us right where we are every day. But I cannot explain how proud I am of Vicky and the road she is walking. Pursuing the way of obedience of God is incredibly hard sometimes. The road of obedience that Vicky is walking goes against every natural tendency we have as humans to live for anger, revenge, and self in this situation. For some reason God gave me an incredible woman. For reasons beyond what I can comprehend he is giving me a second chance with her. It is only by God’s power and grace that we are going to get through this.
I know many of you look up to her. I know many of you can’t imagine what she is going through and you’re right. I know many of you want to reach out to her and give her a hug and if you can I would encourage that. Send her a message of encouragement. We all need encouragement in this pursuit of Jesus and living life His way.
The one thing I can tell you is that I get the opportunity on a dally basis to see someone epically obey God and for that Vicky is my hero. I love her and look forward to the day we can be happy together again and have a marriage that reflects Jesus as much as humanly possible.
You can also follow Vicky's journey through this process at her blog.