“In my deepest brokenness, I was isolated, lonely, self-absorbed, starving for affirmation, empty, and longing for something to give me life.
“I didn’t know it then, but since I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, I’ve learned that everyone has that same longing, which is to belong, to be fully known without the fear of rejection, and to be loved unconditionally. That kind of genuine acceptance and perfect love is available to each and every one of us from God, but it can only be received through faith in Christ Jesus, the one and only Son of God.
“For me, image management was so important growing up. I was a perfectionist, and I learned early in life not to advertise weaknesses because that would tarnish my image of perfection.
“I put so much pressure on myself to be perfect that I couldn’t even bear the weight of it. In high school, I learned that I could escape reality through intimate scenes in romance movies, which unfortunately ignited my struggle with lust. I used alcohol to help me overcome social anxiety, and I sought affirmation from boys through inappropriate relationships. I looked perfect on the outside but was living a double life that would eventually wreak havoc on our family ten years into my marriage to Michael.
“After being a stay-at-home mom for six years, I felt overwhelmed. I desired this way of motherhood from a young age, but over time, it became draining. I felt inferior to other moms, which caused me to isolate myself. My lack of control and perceived shortcomings as a mom brought me to a dissatisfied state where I felt worthless.
“I longed for affirmation, so I turned to fitness. The challenge of training for a marathon eventually turned into training for triathlons and trying to achieve the perfect body. In my self-absorbed state and with a hardened heart, a seemingly innocent intrigue of a fellow gym-goer ultimately turned into an affair. I began to see my husband as an obstacle to my happiness. I contemplated how to inform Michael that I wanted out of our marriage.
“I lost sight of everything that was important to me. Like an addict, I felt stuck. I knew in the depths of my heart that the right thing to do was to end the affair. Even when Michael found out and was quick to forgive me, I kept going back, which forced us to separate.
“I wasn’t ready to divorce because I was too scared of its finality, so I agreed to attend an affair recovery program. Through this, my eyes were opened to a brokenness within me that needed healing. The course curriculum had its foundation in the facts that Jesus is sufficient, He validates, and He loves unconditionally. This group was a safe place to share my struggles without fear of judgment. I asked questions, and I explored God’s truth beyond the assignments. God’s Words penetrated my hard heart every week, God’s people came alongside us through community, and God’s Spirit awakened within me through worship and Christian music. I was growing closer to God, but I was entrenched in the affair and filed for divorce because I just didn’t see any other option. We began mediation but, to my surprise, I occasionally daydreamed about what a God-honoring marriage with Michael might be like. I allowed fear and lies to crush those dreams. How could we ever experience goodness after the mess I’d created?!
“Still, my newfound desire to seek Jesus brought on overwhelming regret for where I found myself with each passing mediation session. I heard from God after our final mediation session: He had greater plans for me. I decided to trust God for the strength I would need to surrender this fleshly desire once and for all. I held on to the hope in Matthew 19:26, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’
“When I called out to God, He responded powerfully. I look back and see so clearly that God split the seas so I could walk right through them. Michael’s sacrificial and unconditional love for me during our separation was not only a tangible portrait of Jesus’ love for me here on earth, but it also allowed our two daughters to witness true forgiveness and reconciliation.
“I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior just one month after moving home. All the striving for perfection in my life had finally been achieved through an act of faith – accepting God’s free gift of grace through Christ Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. In Christ, I have found true healing from the addictions and burdens I carried for so long (1 Peter 2:24).
“It is only by the power of Christ’s blood that I can come to God the Father and be called a child of God, thereby being an heir to the promises of God through the Scriptures. For the first 38 years of my life, I desperately tried to earn love and acceptance from others. Today, I find my satisfaction, security, and significance in Jesus alone. I have everything I need in and from Him!”