I’m tired of seeing all the articles, tweets, and madness surrounding this whole Ashley Madison debacle. The website has become a household name, causing me to consider just how we came to a place where such scandal receives more attention, hate, and ignorance than the love we share for the people being undoubtedly brutalized. Though these scandals happen often enough, our friends, family, and strangers are going through the pain of adultery every day. So naturally, I’m not going to write about Ms. Madison and her group of lost boys & girls.

Instead, I’m going to shower a little bit of love.

I remember when I first found out about all the scandal in my marriage. I was devastated. Okay, I was torn apart and nearly dead, actually. I didn’t have the energy to consider what was going to happen. I didn’t have the capacity to figure out the then present realities. All I could consider was; this? Me? Him? What? Wait. I’m tired. What?

Yet am so grateful even through these storms. God has a plan to heal, redeem, and restore us all individually and sometimes even as a couple (I say it like this because you are worthy as an individual of wholeness and require wholeness as an individual to move forward in any capacity). It’s strange when big reports come out like this Ashley Madison gig because every day people are destroyed by the coming out of scandal. We are either unfazed (Which is sad), fearful (which is sad), we become tyrants of religious law (which is sad), or doubtful of the human race (which is sad). Or, we become fearful we’ll be found out next (yeah, that’s sad too). When I receive texts, emails, or emergency phone calls from friends beginning the journey after betrayal, I can’t help but feel that rattled sense of sadness all over again. Though I have found complete healing and freedom, I mourn the journey each person has to begin after the exposure of betrayal. I mourn that betrayal is even a thing.

I don’t like talking about it. I think that’s the problem though: we all avoid the topic, and then shrivel when we, or someone we love has to begin this journey. Let’s stop that, okay? We need each other.

I can’t imagine how many men and women are reading these articles (and nasty comments) online as they too try to handle infidelity in their own marriage. Maybe even trying to handle being one of those names listed from the hack.

Too many people are hating, gawking, or gossiping. Too many others are ignoring the headlines due to fear in their own marriage, or lack of relationship because of these fears. Of course I have my own opinions, but I’ve found opinions are damaging, even if well intentioned. What we all need are reminders of our identity beyond the betrayal. 

Maybe you’ve been cheated on. Maybe you’ve done the cheating. Maybe you are doing the cheating. Perhaps you’ve never experienced this from either side, but you’re terrified of the topic; This post is for you. I love you. I don’t know you, but I sure love you. And, God really loves you too. He doesn’t want you to walk through this terrified, He wants your heart and mind to be clarified!I know it feels like a lonely spot, but you are not alone. I know I couldn’t have walked through that valley or found complete healing without Him. God became my peace, my clarity, and my hope when I had none. He continues to be the very breath of life and truth for me today. I hope you feel encouraged by this too.

TO THE CHEATED, THE CHEATER, AND EVERYONE BETWEEN

I know you can’t see it or feel it, but there is a light IN the tunnel. His name is God, and he is the perfect love we’re always chasing other people for. Can I encourage you, now is the time to stop expecting people to satisfy perfect love (which is not an excuse to cheat or allow cheating to happen to you). Only God can satisfy your need for perfect love. God, perfect love, casts out all fear. All fear. I’ll be bold enough to say fear dares to cast out perfect love. If this is immediately after a discovery, a confession, or even a decade later, you cannot give in to fear if you’d like to stop the cycle adultery naturally assumes.

Fear tries to run the show entirely when the word adultery walks into the party. When we operate out of fear, we are outside the protective, perfect love of Christ. However, when we choose (yes, choose) to simply sit under the wings of God, we will find everything we need. We’re told in scripture that God gives us a spirit of power, of love, and of sound mind. When we choose (yes, choose) to trust His perfect love rather than humans, we give fear the middle finger. Fear in this capacity deserves the middle finger.

Fear leads to so many emotions. Emotions which are created by God to help us navigate life. At the same time, emotions can’t be trusted, and we’re told to protect our heart because it is the producer of life. If not kept in check, fear leads to anger, bitterness, depression, doubt, shame, guilt, insensitivity, oversensitivity, and literally everything between. Though it is good and valid to explore these emotions, it is also required to hold these emotions captive in Christ.

I remember reading the painful story of Hosea in the Old Testament. I feared the story! It scared me at first because I thought it was telling me what to do. In some ways, it had instruction for my life, but more so, it told me about a faithful God. It told me that even when life gets tough and people make ridiculous-free-will-choices, He’ll take me to a deserted place and speak tenderly to me there. He’ll restore my youth to me, and bring life where there was dryness. I encourage you to read the story, as I do any friend who has endured this painful subject. Let Him get you alone so He can speak truth softly to you. Let Him restore you, bring you freedom, and youth like your good old days.

What most people don’t catch onto here is that even though God is calling to us as He did to Israel in this scripture, he is calling to the unfaithful. The ones who’ve cheated. The ones who’ve chosen anything other than God; that’s who He’s calling to speak tenderly to. Can this please give us all perspective on sides here? There are no sides, just grace. Give grace and be grace because you’ve known grace in your own life.

Maybe this encouragement seems a little too focused. But, after my experience, I’d say the more targeted, the better. Focus on trusting a faithful God, because everything else you need to go through will work itself out from this place.

We are never so far from God that He cannot or will not reach us. We may have endured unfaithfulness here on earth, but can I encourage you that even when we are unfaithful, He cannot be unfaithful. Even when love on earth gets us down, His perfected love will cast out the fear which follows imperfect love. You are beautiful, loved, adopted, adored, and in Christ’s name you are healed. I know there’s a bunch going on about this crazy website and peoples choices but, I guess I just wanted to shower a little love instead.

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Life Line Promises

Isaiah 59:1  Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call.

Deuteronomy 31:6  So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.

2 Corinthian 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Hosea 2 (click here for full passage) Therefore, I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor (Trouble) a door of hope…

Philippians 4:8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

Proverbs 24: 3-4 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Luke 10: 18-20, 23 (click here for full passage) He replied, “I saw satan fall like lightening from the heavens. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you…

2 timothy 2:12-13 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.