This is a guest post by TheJoyFilledWife. Many, many wives will face this same struggle that she has faced. The enemy has ensnared our men (as well as many women today) and our brothers and sisters desperately need the power of Christ to find victory over temptation, sin and evil. How I pray that God might deliver His people from all of our sin that entangles us and keeps us from being the holy, Spirit-filled people He calls us to be. I am honored to be on this journey with her and to watch as God creates beauty from ashes and joy from mourning. I am so thankful for her willingness to share her pain, her brokenness, her story, her healing and her great faith in Christ with us!
I don’t think I’ll forget the date as long as I live. It was Sunday, June 2nd 2013 when I awoke in a panic, grabbing my phone as the chirp of a new email sounded. It was unlike me to wake up feeling anxious, or to be in any particular rush to address the new messages that flooded in the night before. But this morning was different. I felt it in my gut. This was no ordinary moment in time and somehow, someway, I knew deep inside that my life would never be the same again.
I quickly cleared the various texts that had piled up over the past several hours and began to delete the last of my emails and I felt the pit in my stomach sink like a 1,000 pound lead weight. As my eyes fell upon the title of my final email, I knew in my heart that I was about to come face to face with one of my greatest fears in life. It was the weekly internet accountability report we had subscribed to since we got married 4 years prior. The title of the email urged me to check the content report of the web sites that had been visited in recent hours, stating that there was cause for concern.
Lord, please no… anything but this.
With all the courage that I could muster up, I swallowed hard and clicked. In a matter of moments, I felt the air escape from my lungs like a blow to the stomach with a steel pipe. Hours…upon hours…of pornographic image searches. I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces as I sunk my face deep into my pillow to silence my cries. Please, Lord…don’t let this be true. But I knew in my heart that this was no mistake.
I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t battle the urge to send the email straight to the trash without opening it. If I did, perhaps I could pretend I never saw it and go on with life as I knew it before. When we go through tragedies, sometimes our first instinct is to pretend it’s not happening, especially when we can’t make sense of it all. Or we want to ask why the Lord would allow us to face such heartbreak. Yet we serve a God who gives us the courage to fight those tragic battles with our head held high and peace in our heart. Peace amidst trials is nonsense to the world and, believe me when I tell you, these tragic times are often the greatest opportunity of our lives to show the world the One who dwells within us. The Lord has called us for such a time as this. If we but keep our hearts set on the promises of His Word that “He will never leave us or forsake us”, Deuteronomy 31:6, He will use us to impact more hearts than we could imagine. When we choose joy in the midst of our painful circumstances, it is a powerful testimony to those who are watching from the sidelines. And trust me when I say, there are ALWAYS people watching from the sidelines.
“Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.“ – 1 Peter 3:1 & 2
Although my husband is a believer and I knew it would take an act of the Holy Spirit for him to overcome his addiction and subsequent struggle with anger and control, 1 Peter 3:1 & 2 kept rising up in my heart. If unbelieving husbands can be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, could the Lord use me in that same way to help point my believing husband back to Him?
Lust is often a lifelong battle for men and we, as wives, can bless our husbands by being their greatest prayer warrior, meeting their physical and emotional needs, being EXTREMELY patient with them, and by showing them respect in all areas (unless they ask us to sin). We serve a God who changes hearts and there is no heart too hard for Jesus to soften. I pray we will allow Him to use us to minister to our husbands in all areas.
Before I wrap this up, I feel compelled to say something very important to you fellow wives out there who were or are currently facing this same kind of heartbreak in their marriage:
- You are beautiful.
- You are valuable.
- You are precious
- You ARE good enough.
Not because of who you are, but because of who you belong to. You are the daughter of the King. He made you just the way He wanted you and desires to use you to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. Please don’t believe the lies of the enemy that tell you if only you were prettier, or taller, or shorter, or thinner, or tanner, or sexier, or better in bed, that your husband wouldn’t have made the choices he has.
While we ARE responsible to fulfill our wifely role and to not cause our husbands temptation through neglect or disrespect, we are NOT responsible for their sin.
When our husbands have a stronghold in their lives, the one and ONLY person who can break that bondage is Christ. Cling to Jesus, for He is “the author and perfecter of our faith” ( Hebrews 12:2). Do not give into fear, sweet sisters, for our precious Lord reminds us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
It was a year ago today that I faced the most devastating battle of my life and marriage. The countless tears I have cried the past year from a heartbreak I sometimes questioned being able to survive, have given me a perspective I wouldn’t have gained otherwise. Although I prayed for many years that Jesus would strip away the strongholds in my life, I never thought He would do it all at once – and while fighting for dear life to just survive another day and not give into feelings of hopelessness. But I have learned so much about the beauty of forgiveness and the power of prayer in the past 365 days and, although I would never want another human being to have to endure what I have, I know that there are countless others out there who are facing this same battle. Please know that you are not alone.
Although we will be subject to all kinds of pain and suffering in this life, we serve a faithful and merciful God who desire to use our trials to accomplish His greatest will in us, if we let Him.
In the spirit of thankfulness, I want to share with you the GOOD that God has brought out of this most painful and heartbreaking time in my life:
1. I was brought to April’s blog and am growing leaps and bounds in areas of respect I needed to improve on in my marriage. I am a gentle yet passionate woman married to a leader-type. Although I don’t fit the typical description of the type of wives she started PW to minister to, I am learning more about being a Biblical wife every day!
2. I have learned the importance of a modest attitude and how to be feminine and beautiful, not merely through my attire, but mostly through my heart toward others.
3. I have learned that I can truly trust my Jesus with my whole heart, even when the world around me comes crashing down. He held my heart together when it was broken and is turning the shattered pieces of it into something more beautiful than it was to begin with.
4. I have learned that we respect and submit to our husbands, not because they deserve it or have earned it, but because we desire to obey God.
5. I have learned how to be more selfless. How to pray more. How to praise more. I am becoming more and more like Christ and less and less like “me”. I am learning that we can and should have hope in all situations, realizing that although our circumstances change, our God never does. He is the same yesterday and today and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).
My relationship with Christ has deepened in ways I never could have imagined since last year. I think of myself as holding on to the bottom of Jesus’ robe for dear life as He whisks my heart away to the secret place and covers me with His tenderness and love. Perhaps one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in all this is that joy is not a feeling, but a choice.
I call myself TheJoyFilledWife, not because of what I am, but because of what I am becoming. And all by the grace of God.
By the grace of God, my husband is a success story and he has told me countless times what a gift my prayers and patience have been through this. Although he still battles his habits and earthly temptations, we have a great deal of transparency now (about many other areas of sin too) and are rebuilding trust every day.
And now, I leave you with the lyrics of a song that ministered to my heart when I began this painful journey a year ago. Our God is so faithful, sisters. Will you grab on to the bottom of His robe with me as we travel this road together? You are cherished and deeply loved. Yes, you.
“What if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy?
What if the trials of this life – the rain, the storms, the hardest nights –
Are your mercies in disguise?”
(“Blessings” by Laura Story”)
Has God taught you priceless treasures about Himself as you faced your husband’s sin of some type? You are welcome to share about what you have learned and the blessings that have come through that trial. Or, if you are in a trial and you need some prayer support, love, encouragement and godly wisdom, you are welcome to share and I know that many wives will surround you with the love of Christ here.
John Piper www.desiringgod.org – search “porn”
www.brentriggs.com – click on “books.” He has an e-book about overcoming porn that is helpful for husbands who are involved in porn as well as wives whose husbands are using porn from a Christian perspective.
www.xxxchurch.org has Christian resources for people who need help with pornography addiction
Grace Filled Marriage by Dr. Tim Kimmel has an entire chapter on how a believing wife can extend grace to a husband who has fallen into the sin of pornography. I think it is excellent.