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.