Shelley: How I Found Out There Was Another Woman — And Moved Forward

The moment I found out that my greatest fear had come upon me, I was sitting at a desk talking on the phone to a friend who had also been a co-worker of my first husband.

I called her to ask her if she knew what was going on with him. How had this man who had proposed to me—twice!—had children with me, and given me his name, chosen to leave me with no real reason other than, “I don’t think we belong together anymore”?

Although I was very suspicious that there was someone else, my heart and mind did not want to go there. We had seen numerous professional counselors, ministers, and friends and he continued to deny that there was anyone else in the picture or in his life. I wanted to believe him, but something kept nagging at me that there was more than what my eyes were seeing.

I asked God to reveal to me anything that was hidden but needed to be revealed. And within about 9 days, He did just that. As I called this friend and asked a bold question, “Do you know if he is having an affair?” I honestly imagined her replying with some level of shock as she would say, “No way, Shelley. He is going through something but he would NEVER do that to you or the girls.”

But she didn’t say that.
Instead, the other end of the line got really quiet as she said:
“I’m so sorry. Yes, he is.”

I literally had to concentrate on breathing in and out. I cannot even begin to describe the storm of emotions and thoughts going through me. Every nerve felt exposed. I wonder if I did not have two precious little lives counting on me what I might have done in that moment.

But God…

Moving on when he moved out was a moment-by-moment process of relying on God’s strength to get me through. What got me through this and into a much better season? To keep this brief, I’ll bullet point some major “columns” that held me together while my world fell apart:

Intentionality with God and His Word—although books on divorce, adultery, marriage are good supplements, they should never replace the nourishment we receive from God’s own word.

Authentic relationships with God’s People—there were well-meaning people who offered unsolicited advice that wounded me in places where I was already hurting. But there were also people who stood with me in the pain and loved me through it. One woman called simply to say over the sound of my tears, “Shelley, I felt the nudge of the Spirit to tell you that there will be a better day. It won’t always feel like this.” And she was so right. There have been MANY, many better days since.

While it is true that our greatest wounds come through relationships, it is also true that our greatest healing also comes through relationships. Knowing that I wasn’t alone helped me to move on with my life, into the unknown of it all, while entrusting my life and the lives of my girls to a faithful Creator.


shelley headshot

Shelley Hendrix is wife to her best friend, mother, Bible teacher, speaker, author, and television talk show host — but more important than any role she fills, she is most grateful to be a child of God, learning to live out of who God says she is.

Click here to learn more about Shelley, who is also the founder of Church 4 Chicks and the author ofWhy Can’t We Just Get Along?

Melanie: Redeemed from Adultery & Drug Dependency

If you had met me a decade ago, you’d have seen a very different woman.  I was a divorced, single mother struggling to figure out how to live on my own.  I had been married for 6 years to the first man to show interest in me.  We had a beautiful son together, tolerated each other and outgrew each other quickly.

After my marriage ended I started on a dangerous journey of pursuing married men.  Feeling powerless in my marriage for years, I discovered I did have power over men in regards to sex.  I carried on relationships with several different men for a few years.  The last affair was different though.

Like me, this guy had been raised in the church.  We both knew better, but it continued for almost 2 years.  Over those 2 years, he separated me from my family and friends.  Each time that I had enough he would spend a weekend with me or take me somewhere and I would resign to wait for him again.

Living this way was very stressful.
I used antidepressants and alcohol to numb the pain. 

These drugs combined with stress gave me heart palpitations.  A friend at work was seeing a Christian counselor and suggested I go.  I had shared the affair with her and she herself was emotionally troubled as well.

After a few sessions of me trying to convince my counselor that I was in the right and he needed to just leave his wife because I loved him the way he said he wanted to be loved, she pulled out a Bible.  She went to John 4:1-26 — the story of the Samaritan woman at the well.

As she read it to me, my eyes were opened and I could see the deception and my own issues of needing to be loved by someone even if that someone was the wrong one.

That day I started recovery from relationship addiction and codependency.  It wasn’t easy, but God helped me through.  The Bible became my food and drink.  Breaking free from the affair required a spiritual battle as well.

At one point the agony was so strong I was scared for my life.  My counselor reminded me of the Passover.   That afternoon I took some cooking oil and prayed over it, smeared it on my doors and windows.  That night I slept soundly for the first time in two years.

I discovered that day in therapy that I had no secrets from God.  He knew exactly how I was living, even if I had only shared with a few of my closest friends.  He wanted more for me, and loved me enough to save me from myself and my past hurts.

Something else the Bible says is “many believed in Him because of the Samaritan woman’s testimony”.  This is my journey now.  To tell my story so that others may be encouraged.


messagepartWhat Happened Next?  More from Melanie on God’s Redemption, and Life after Her Worst Day: “I found a great church to attend while in recovery. After a few months, I noticed this guy who was there every time I was there. I knew I was broken, so he had to be like me, broken & bruised. We didn’t speak for a long time. I didn’t trust myself to even talk to him, but when he finally spoke to me it was different. He was different and I was different. He was a good guy. I had never given a good guy a chance before.

Our first conversation was over an hour long in the church parking lot. I knew that day that God had brought us together. I was truthful with him about what I was going through and that I was on a mission of purity. He was on a similar mission. We had a short, but sweet courtship and have been married almost 10 years now. We have four beautiful children in all and God has restored us both.”

Karen Rachels Cone Shares How She Forgave Her Husband

I, a broken person, live in a world full of broken people and we all bump up against other broken people with a predictable result: we get hurt. Life is like a trip to the dentist; you will experience pain. So, the questions come, what do I do with the pain? How do I forgive?

In my own story, forgiving my husband, when he made choices that hurt me and our children, seemed like a mountain I could never scale. Certainly without God’s grace and strength, forgiveness would not have been possible. Sounds easy: God’s grace and forgiveness. Done. That’s it. Have a nice day. But, what does forgiveness look like?

 

I didn’t want to be stuck. I didn’t want to be a bitter woman. And yet I felt trapped and helpless to release myself. My prayers to God went something like this: “Father, I hate this. I don’t want to be this angry and resentful person. I feel so stuck! Please help me to let go. Help me to forgive. Let me find freedom in giving freedom to my husband.”

God’s answer took some time and included several twists and turns along the way, but He was faithful to respond. Here are some practical things God taught me through His Word and through others.

1. Forgiveness is both a decision and a process. I need God’s help in both. Sometimes it seems the decision wasn’t real when the memories and hurts rise up unexpectedly; the emotions I feel seem to say, “You haven’t forgiven!” But I have let go of the debt. I just haven’t stopped feeling the cost of that debt. By God’s grace I choose to release that pain again and remind myself that I have chosen to forgive. Sometimes this may happen multiple times in a day.

 

2. Feeling sad, angry, or shocked is not being unforgiving. It is facing the evil and taking it for what it is. Until I face the reality of the pain, I can’t own it and release it. It’s not only okay to feel, it is necessary. No feeling, no healing.

3. Forgiveness is not saying, “No big deal. That didn’t hurt. Here’s a free pass to sin.” Forgiveness doesn’t mean getting away with sin.

 

4. Forgiveness involves payment of a debt. There was a wrong. It is a big deal. And it does matter. There is a cost involved. Sin always has a cost and always impacts the one who sins and those around him.

 

5. Unforgiveness happens when I am trying to extract that cost from the one who sinned against me. This seems just, but the reality is that the one who hurt you doesn’t have the means to pay. He is a penniless pauper. There is only One who could pay the cost.

 

6. Forgiveness means accepting that Jesus paid the debt not only for my sins, but also for the sins of those who hurt me. We sing, “The cross was enough,” but am I demanding more than Jesus death to cover my offenders sins?

 

7. “Forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.” This Lewis Smedes quote gives me a way I can know whether I am

8. Forgiveness often takes time and space for the broken. I often think of Joseph in the Old Testament and how God graciously took him far away from the brothers who hurt him. Joseph was given time to heal.

 

9. Forgiveness does not equal trust. While God gives me grace to help me forgive, He doesn’t require that I trust someone who is untrustworthy. God wants me to be wise with my heart. Again, I think of Joseph and how, even after all those years, he wanted to see whether his brothers had changed. He tested them to see whether they would care only for their own skins. He had forgiven already, but he did not trust them yet. Forgiveness is a gift, but trust must be earned.

 

10. Forgiveness releases the one in my debt, but the greater release may be my own freedom. I no longer have to keep that account. The ledger is clear. I can let myself out of the prison of the past. I am able to move on and live in today.

 

“When we forgive evil we do not excuse it…. We have to look evil full in the face and call it what it is, let its horror shock and stun and enrage us, and only then do we forgive it.” Lewis Smedes

 


KMRCone

This piece by Karen Rachels Cone was re-printed here, with permission.

To see it as originally published at www.souljourney318.com, click here.

Karen, a friend of Shelley Hendrix, helps to minister hope and healing through HopeQuest Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

What Happened When I Told My Husband I’d Cheated

There are so many moments that lead to a life-altering bad decision. They don’t usually happen in a split second – God gives us many opportunities to pick a different path. Once I started compromising, it was only a matter of time until I was so deep in bad decisions that it was almost impossible to see my way out.

I knew Jesus. I knew Him, and I denied Him. Five years into my marriage, I cheated on my husband twice, who was deployed in the military.

When my husband deployed, I plunged into a deep depression. I started going out with single friends from work as an escape. What started as occasional dinner became weekly nights out dancing and drinking. I became more daring, and started removing my wedding ring before going out. My “friends” supported my behavior – justifying that I “needed to have more fun.”

I don’t remember the details of precisely when I started going completely off the deep end. I do recall that I felt sick about cheating, and told no one. Soon though, I did it again, this time with someone I knew vaguely (rather than a complete stranger). The scenarios were always the same – I got drunk, and erratic, and just wanted to escape.

But the truth is, I was living in a personal hell.

I was twice driven to my knees, begging God to forgive me. Even after that, I was reckless for a few more weeks. I wish I could explain why I couldn’t just stop. When my husband came home from deployment, I was overjoyed — but I knew I couldn’t tell him what I had done. I knew he would divorce me, and I loved him, and I never wanted our marriage to end. Why did I do it then? Here’s the hard truth: my selfishness drove out any thought of anyone or anything other than myself and my immediate impulses.

I hid my sin from my husband for over five years.

A seemingly random DVD-watching Bible study, was how God urged me to confess to my husband. I still can’t believe it. And the reveal was worse than you can imagine – because I made it so, by not telling my husband the whole truth – I told him half the truth. But a week later, I heeded the Holy Spirit’s conviction AGAIN, and told my husband: “Actually I cheated on you TWICE, not just once.”

Here’s the miracle though: my husband, a non-believer when we met, a man who has never forgiven some of his closest family members for past hurts, FORGAVE ME. And the kicker – the Lord just keeps blessing me. It doesn’t seem real – and it doesn’t seem right, but I know deep in my heart that the Lord forgave me when I truly begged him for His forgiveness, and I also know that He honored my obedience when called me to obey Him and reveal the truth when I did.


Anonymous is a friend of Rebecca Halton’s, who was in the same Bible study as Anonymous when she went home to tell her husband.  We respect and support her decision to boldly come forward, even anonymously, as was best decided by her and her husband.

In lieu of a bio, we’ll also share that Anonymous says: “I pray you’ll learn from my mistakes. I pray you won’t make the mistakes I have endured. I pray you’ll ask for help. You’ll seek Jesus – when you think you shouldn’t, when you think you can’t. I pray you’ll become moved to follow Christ now – today and forever. I pray my wounds, deep and ugly as they are, transform more than just my own life, but bring great glory to God. Somehow, someway, the Lord keeps blessing me – and I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve any of it – but that’s why He sent his Son to die for me, and to take my sin on as His own. May Jesus’ name be glorified.”

Cindy Beall Answers: How Long Will It Hurt [After Adultery or Porn]?

How Long Will It Hurt?
I get asked that question on a regular basis.

Two weeks.
Six months.
Five years.
Not sure.

Another question I’m often asked is, “How do you get through the pain?”

Cry it out.
Yell and scream.
Act like it’s not there.
Not sure. 

These questions always come from hurting wives after they have found out of their husband’s betrayal (or hurting husbands after a wife’s betrayal). Whether it’s an addiction to pornography or a full-on physical affair, the pain is still real in both cases.

None of the answers above are right or wrong or accurate. For some people healing is faster than it is for others. Pain is no respecter of persons. You can’t buy your way out of pain and you can’t “be positive” and expect it to go away. From my personal experience, the only way to stop hurting is to walk through the mire and deal with it. Anything else will cause you to be cemented in a pit of pain and discomfort for a lifetime.

The length of the pain varies from person to person and depends upon just how willing the person is to deal with the pain versus ignoring it. But that’s not all of it. Pain will never go away and a heart will not heal without the supernatural touch of God.

It’s often said that “time heals all wounds”. I see why people say that and to a certain extent the cliche is true. However, I would change it to “God heals all wounds in time.” I do believe that time is a big factor in the healing process but a heart will not experience true healing void of the power of God.

Allow God’s truth to seep into your wounded heart:

  1. For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37)
  2. But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
  3. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

It really stinks to hurt. There isn’t anything fun or enjoyable about it. But it’s part of life and the sooner we can accept that, the sooner we will be able to experience the power of our healing God.

Day by day. Week by week. Month by month. Year by year.

Don’t lose hope.


This post was re-published here, with permission.  It appears in its original form at www.cindybeall.com (click here).

CC-300x209Cindy Beall is a writer, speaker and mentor to women. She and her husband, Chris, speak openly about their difficult journey through Chris’ infidelity and pornography addiction that nearly destroyed their marriage and ministry. Through God’s grace they have inspired thousands of people and have returned to full-time ministry where Chris serves as the Oklahoma City Campus Pastor at LifeChurch.tv. Her first book, Healing Your Marriage When Trust Is Broken, released on August 1, 2011, with Harvest House Publishers (click here to learn more).

WATCH — Cindy & her husband Chris share what helped their marriage survive adultery:

What Really Happened When He Said He Was Leaving Her

Being an adulteress was one of the last things I ever expected.  I never expected how far I would let things go.  I never expected he would eventually want to leave his wife.  Despite how I had idealized what that day would be like, when it actually happened it was far from what I envisioned:

The last thing I felt was joy – and the first thing I thought was something I can’t print here.  (Let’s just say I wasn’t as elated and relieved as I thought I would be.)

That’s the veneer of adultery.  It looks like one experience, when the reality is quite different.  It’s like expecting good business from a known con artist, or good health from junk food.  And no matter how alluring it seems, I have yet to meet an adulteress who hasn’t traveled a hard road.  Yes, I’ll even say a road she’s choosing to be on.

Because as much as I can compassionately relate to current “other women,” my belief in taking personal responsibility wasn’t altered by my own experience.  If anything, my experience only affirmed it.

Just like it was the same for the adulteress in John 8.  Jesus compassionately defended her against the Pharisees – but he also told her to leave her life of sin.  He didn’t condone her life choices, because he knew what they meant for her.  He knew that to keep sinning wasn’t in her best interest, too.

If it had just been about getting her back in legalistic line, I dare say he would have handed her over to the Pharisees.  But that’s not God’s heart!  If you’re currently in an adulterous relationship, then you need to know that the need to end it is not because God just wants to ruin your life.

It’s because He knows a life like that will ruin you. 

Just like it had begun to ruin me.  Like any relationship, the famous “honeymoon phase” eventually ended.  But like a drug addict, I was already emotionally h

When Shelley’s Biggest Fear Came True

When I walked down the aisle in my home church on October 10, 1992, at about half past five o’clock, I never imagined that less than seven years and two children later, the man waiting for me at the end of that aisle would no longer be my husband. Never.

That fall day in 1992 was picture perfect. Our friendship and marriage seemed like it had everything going for it. Although we were both young, the pastor who married us and walked through our premarital counseling with us stated, “You two are more prepared for marriage than many 30-somethings I know.” As a young bride-to-be I paid attention to important indicators, like how he treated his mother, and managed money. I even made sure I didn’t have unrealistic expectations for our life, once we walked back up that aisle together as man and wife.

By the end of 1998, though, I began to suspect that something was not right between us. Our marriage in general was one of high highs and low lows. I consoled myself time and again with the thought that “he might do THIS, but he would NEVER do THAT.” I felt guilty for allowing myself to even wonder if he was being unfaithful. The worst my mind could imagine was that perhaps an inappropriate friendship had formed. And if it had, I wanted to nip it in the bud before my biggest fear came true.

On January 1, 1999, my husband said words I will never forget: “We are both good people, but I don’t believe we are good together.” The next few months were a nightmare, as I agonized over this relationship and tried with all my might to salvage it—whatever it took. Although his relationship with another woman did not come into the light until mid-March that year, I knew something was going on. My then-husband moved in and out of our home 3 times in those 3 months, before finalizing his decision to leave permanently on April 1.

We have two daughters, who were at that time 4 and 2 years old. My 4-year-old took it the hardest, and said so many times that I lost count: “Mommy, tell me again why my daddy doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to live with me?” How does a mother look into the innocent eyes of her 4-year-old child and answer this question?

My life—as I knew it—was over.
I felt hopeless. I felt violated.

I felt damaged. I felt like dying.

At that point, I had NO idea how much good God had in store for my children, for me personally, and for our future together. I learned something powerful in that season in my life: God’s ability to be good to us is never contingent upon someone else or what they do. I had NO idea how much my God would redeem me, my story, my daughters, and our lives in the way He can redeem anyone who wants a second chance!


shelley headshotShelley Hendrix is wife to her best friend, mother, Bible teacher, speaker, author, and television talk show host — but more important than any role she fills, she is most grateful to be a child of God, learning to live out of who God says she is.

Click here to learn more about Shelley, who is also the founder of Church 4 Chicks and the author of Why Can’t We Just Get Along?

About Team Redeemed

me     shelley headshot


Team Redeemed was born out of Author, Encourager, and Redeemed Adulteress Rebecca Halton’s desire to “team up” with other people who have experienced God’s redemption, like she has.  But it wasn’t until Author, Speaker and Church 4 Chicks Founder Shelley Hendrix stepped forward with her testimony of forgiveness and redemption, that Team Redeemed really started to come to life.

Rebecca was the “other woman,” in an adulterous relationship with a married man.
Shelley was the wounded wife whose first husband left her for his “other woman”.

Now, these two allies and “co-captains” are uniting their unique experiences around the messages of hope in Christ, freedom through forgiveness, and redemption through God’s love. We’re currently focused on encouraging others to find hope and help after an affair — or wisdom to avoid one in the first place — but we hope to expand in the future, as God leads.

They also want to rally other people’s testimonies around the liberating power spoken of in Revelation 12:10-12, which says:

10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11 They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.
12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short.”
(New International Version, emphasis added)

To learn more about Rebecca and Shelley, visit www.rebeccahalton.com and www.shelleyhendrix.com, respectively. If you would like to contact Team Redeemed, please do so by e-mailing contact@teamredeemed.org. For staffing reasons, we apologize that we may not be able to reply as quickly as we’d like.