Maybe you know the one I mean, or maybe you'll take a moment to read it now. I don't mean to beat a dead horse, and I hope it doesn't start to feel like that around here, but honestly, I feel like this is such an important story to share. Back when I first found out about my husband's affair, after I was rocked by the shock (that sometimes I feel hasn't entirely dissolved), after God put the idea of forgiveness and reconciliation on my heart, and while Karl and I were still in separate houses, I felt so alone. I was afraid that anyone I told would immediately take sides, which I knew wouldn't be healthy if we were going to end up staying married. I found out Karl had support. He had some great people to pray with him, identify with him--some people we have known for a long time told him about their experiences with infidelity, but never did I get to hear from the spouse hurt by it (I know now that in every case, BOTH spouses are hurt by it, but I wasn't willing to admit it then).
I turned to google, desperate in my search to read a story written by the betrayed spouse, a story of forgiveness. Again and again all I could seem to find were resources for the person caught in the affair, and a whole lot of unhelpful advice. Save for one story, which by the way, I found weeks before I knew about my husband's affair, but during the weeks that followed I read it again and again. I was so thirsty to hear a story written by someone who was hurt, but was able to find forgiveness. I needed to know it was possible. Probably not a surprise, but a marriage on the rocks is incredibly messy business, and trying to make sense of anything during that time was extremely difficult. Between wondering who would get the kids, how would I support myself, what if I stay angry forever, what if they're in love, what if? What if? What if? There's so much room for anger in those questions and not much room for hope. Add to that the exhaustion of keeping a "game face" on--for the kids, for the parents, friends, family... It's tough.
It was rock bottom for me. I said in that last post that I fell on my face in prayer, and it's true. I had no energy to do anything else, and in that time alone with God, I found hope. In that story I read on the internet, I found hope. When I finally had the courage to reach out to a friend, I was overwhelmed with hope. Not necessarily the hope I wanted--I didn't find the promise of my saved marriage online, or in a single prayer, or through email conversations with a friend, but I did find hope in knowing I wasn't alone. And that's a damn fine first step. And that is one reason why I need to share this story.
Just in case someone out there somewhere needs to know they're not alone...