On dday, at the moment when I first discovered STBXH's phone history, I doubled over in emotional pain. I cried out to God telling him how much it hurt. I got a reply saying that was how he felt every time someone betrayed him. I instinctively cried back asking how on earth God could bear it? How did he not just wipe us off the planet? And then I got it...it's because he loves us and truly suffers along with us.
That moment has stayed with me throughout.
STBXH's choices have devastated me, my marriage, my children, our hopes and dreams for the future, made getting a new parish much more difficult (who wants a divorced single mum with young children as their vicar?), I've also had false allegations made against me. It has felt, at times, like I might lose everything.
Church, well, they tried, but unless you've been through it, it's hard to really understand. But there are people locally who have been through this and they have been an amazing support. Maybe you could find some people like that?
Most importantly, how is your relationship with God doing? I found that sometimes it was almost too hard to pray because what I wanted was not happening. Looking back?What I was asking for was not healthy. i now realise that I'm co-dependent and have a lot of work to do on myself to get emotionally healthy. I was willing to have STBXH back with only minimal effort on his part. If he had comeback, I'm pretty sure we'd be rugsweeping and it would only happen again. But it's taken time for me to really face that and thank God for keeping me from that.
Some days I just prayed for God to keep me going. Some days doing Bible study was too hard. So I started just reading random passages and asking God to come into it. Some days it seemed like I was so distant from God...but I now think that's because I was working so hard to hold onto stuff that was unhealthy, that I didn't want to hear anything that didn't match with what I wanted. Whatever the reason, I felt abandoned those times. Church was hard work. I went for my children those days.
But I'm coming out from that now.
Should you walk away from your faith? Well firstly, walking away from church is not the same thing as walking away from God. Also, God gives us free will. God doesn't want people following him like programmed robots, but as children in his family. It's up to you what you choose to do. But I know that for me, it was the knowledge of that dday and how much God loves us that kept me going.
Took a while, but I like the me I am, without him
Have you gone through a DivorceCare class?
Talk to your pastor about Satanic attacks on your family.
The reality is that, although the person having a different sexuality may be worse due to your religious upbringing, that's simply a canard. It would be just as serious of a breach if it had been a man. When you think of it, Satan will attack you the way it hurts the most. The flexible sexuality issue is just a way for him to distract you. The focus is on her behavior and her infidelity. Keep it there.
WW's OM is an atheist. And she's the more religious of us both. That hurt me, as I always considered her much closer to God than myself. She makes no attempt at resolving her moral dilemma, and her very upstanding Christian sister has sworn her off while calling me "her brother now".
Stay strong in your faith. Consider changing churches rather than giving up your religion altogether at this stage in your process. You will need God for what's going on and you know it. You seem to have made a disciplined life for yourself. Make sure you also have a disciplined mind. And that means a mind that cares for you and your family, and that doesn't worry about things that are not in our own control. Note the family she is no longer a part of, which means you need to emotionally detach so she doesn't bring both of you down.
There is plenty of material on infidelity in the bible. Does your pastor cover it in the sermon? Our pastor did 3 or 4 sermons in a row on infidelity, consequences and forgiveness of God and man, shortly after we S. They were a Godsend. Take Proverbs 5 and Ephesians 4 to your pastor and ask to talk to him about it.
Also, you may not be ready, but read "The Gift of Forgiveness" by Charles Stanley when you get a chance.
Don't pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
Strength, brother. A big hug for you.
I am an atheist but I feel hope and strive for joy the same as the people of faith that I know. If you do find your faith has left you (and I'm not suggesting that it should or that I would want that) there is a good life on the other side. We are all human and the lives we live are valuable and worthy, regardless of our spiritual outlook.
I wish you the best.
Again, I'm so sorry for your pain, but try not to let fear of losing God be an added burden.
Wishing you peace.
I remember as a Christian feeling like those who were not Christians must have a very shallow and meaningless life. I also believed that they had less of a conscience and less of a moral compass than those of us who were Christians. When my views began evolving I came to learn that was so very untrue. People of all belief systems have deep, meaningful multilayered lives. Some of the people with the best consciences that I've encountered are those who don't automatically believe that forgiveness is waiting for them regardless of their actions for that a hell is waiting for them if they do wrong. They view their acts as having heavy and real consequences that can be lasting and they act according to that. They deeply love and respect life and view it as precious. They strive to be a positive force in their lives and the lives of those they touch. In other words, they are good, whole and decent people. They respect the beliefs of others without condemnation.
Just as, if you are a Christian, you know that God gave us free will and wants us to do right without him forcing us to, we also have to recognize that others have free will as well. Christians believe God loves us regardless of what we do and allows us to exercise our free will. While he certainly wants us to follow his plan, he continues to love us regardless of our choices and let us make them. Perhaps you can take this view with your wife. While her choices are not what you would choose for her, she has free will to do what she pleases.
Perhaps it will also help to remind yourself of the parts of scripture that talk about not judging others. The bible tells us to remove the log from our own eye before we try to remove the speck from our brothers. When your wife's choices and the lifestyle of people with nontraditional genders bothers you, perhaps instead of focusing on those things, you can think about things within yourself that need work and pray for help with those and make steps to improve those. I know it's very hard, but when you can learn to let go of the things you have no control over and stop letting them occupy your mind, your life will become much less of an internal battlefield.
I sense your despair and your anguish. I just say this because I remember how terrified I was that I would "lose my faith" when I felted it being shaken back in my late teens. I fought it for a long time and when I couldn't fight it anymore, I faked it. When I got tired of being non-authentic and living like a hypocrite, I started embracing the truth that I believed instead of fearing it.
These are difficult times you are going through but I can assure you that it will get better. Time alone will help if you can learn to let go of things and take steps to heal. Hugs to you.
I continued going to my church, but STBXWW switched churches. I have found a lot of support, thankfully. But I understand why stbx had to do that. I'd encourage you to find another place if you can't find enough support for your faith in your current situation. Not all social groups respond with enough support to certain situations, and you deserve to feel supported by your brothers.
Keep on keeping on
First, I want to say that I agree that the gender situation with your WW's AP is just a distraction. It would feel just as shitty if she were cheating with a non-transgender person/man. Try not to get focused on that.
Second, I struggled for years to make myself fit into a certain religious "box". I don't fit there. My relationship with God is *my* relationship with God, and no one can tell me what it should or should not consist of. I've found a fantastic pastor that has helped me navigate this over the years. Just because your current church may not be providing a good fit for your life circumstance, try not to let it freak you out. If you want church support, there will be one out there somewhere that meets your needs.
If church, in general, isn't providing what you need right now, that's ok too. I think God would rather have good faithful people who don't set foot in a church vs inauthentic liars showing up every Sunday. Kwim? Be true to yourself and do no harm to others as you live your life. Seems like you can't go wrong there.
I'm going to share a couple sentences from my daily devotional reading this morning, and hope it helps:
Friend, you desire to hear God, and that's wonderful. However, there are times when his silence will do more to grow your faith than anything else will do.
I think sometimes our higher power, however that is defined for each person, wants us to do some thinking and figuring out of things all on our own, instead of us trying to squeeze ourselves into what others want us to be or how we should feel, what we should believe.
I have prayed and prayed and prayed over my marriage and my WH. I've been disappointed time and again by unanswered prayers. I've let go of trying to control the outcome of this situation through prayer or otherwise. I check in with God when I feel the need, which is often, but it's no longer pleading and begging like it was for so many months.
I've been a Christian, an atheist, and an agnostic. I don't attempt to define my belief set anymore. I know what I believe.
Blaze your own way, Kenny. A long as you are always honestly seeking truth and goodness, I think God is ok with questions, leaving churches, faith that waivers....and if your faith vanishes completely, then what God thinks or feels doesn't matter, right?
As to what you will do with yourself when you retire if you don't go on mission trips....does that need to be decided right now? You may have a fabulous new hobby by then, or a new relationship that leads you somewhere, or missions of a different sort (ie FEMA), or maybe you will be volunteering at your new church home...or whatever!
Are you in IC to help you work through this? I know when I did turn from my faith it was absolutely PARALYZING, as I had no framework through which to view the world or MYSELF.
This got a lot longer than I expected. Feel free to PM me if you'd like.
Christian BH here. We have to remember one thing, God say, "what I have brought together may no man tear apart". You did receive the woman God intended for you to have forever, as did I.
However then there is SIN. Its like saying Adam and Eve should never have been in the garden since they ate from the tree of understanding.
Logically then everything isn't from God unless it is perfect?, nothing is perfect except Him. You know this.
Your WW is a sinner, as we all are and as the bible says, God will not be mocked, you will reap what you sow, the wages of sin is death, God will Judge the Adulterer...
the list goes on and on. You and I will never know if you WW will be happy in her new realtionship or not, you are looking this with a spy glass but under a microscope there are many flaws.
God loves you, has a plan for you and make good things from this.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose ROMANS 8:28
God does not agree with your WW or the AP at all, this is completely aganist His will and there will be settling of this in time.
You have to trust Him, and know he has a good plan for you when you trust and obey and keep you eyes focused on Him. Man, there are far too many examples of people who have had really bad situations come out on top and you will one of them, but don't be like Job, forget the sack clothes and ashes, GET UP, RISE UP, don't let the enemy of your soul defeat you. That would only appease the WW and make you feel less of a man that you are. We have victory in Christ.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future Jeremiah 29:11
Message me anytime. Regards, STEP.
[This message edited by steppingup at 4:17 PM, July 30th (Wednesday)]
You'll find a lot of disappointment. Be calm and collected and thank the Lord for another day.
Remember Job. He was mistreated so much he wanted to die, and even that was denied to him. Don't be afraid to question God, without losing your faith - those are two different things. Job did do that - he prays to God, compares his fortune with his plight, protests his innocence, lists his principles and demands an answer. And always without wavering in his faith. There's no reason why you shouldn't be allowed to have an honest conversation with the Lord regarding this.
I love the Old Testament because you can see all the Prophets say things to God that we have lost the ability to say in Christianity. Our Jewish cousins really had a handle on talking to God directly and honestly, which we've lost over the years. Job angrily questions Him for rewarding the wicked and punishing the just. Moses talks to God "as a friend talks to a friend" - you think that didn't include the occasional snarky "you're full of sh*t"? Jonah disobeys, runs away and when forced to obey he expects punishment against the wicked, except the wicked repent, and because he doesn't see the expected punishment he pouts and says "it would be better if I were dead", for something as silly as God deciding not to punish Nineveh. Solomon was offered anything he wanted, and he asked for a discerning heart so he could rule fairly.
So we do not know His reasons, but I think we are allowed to question and ask for an answer. He will answer not in our time, but His, and will reward our wisdom, obedience and patience - and I never saw him punish someone for questioning him. For tempting and goading Him or ordering him around, yes. But not for questioning. He didn't give us a brain to not use it, or the ability to feel frustration and pain to hide them. Bare your soul to God. Righteous anger over your circumstance and sharing it with God doesn't mean you are losing your faith, it means you are close enough that you would complain to him like you would to your own "abba". As long as you understand that your wills (yours and God's) must align, and you can't change God's will, God allows you to complain in order to seek wisdom. Staying faithful doesn't mean agreeing, it means believing and not yielding to the temptation that will come in our weakest moments. Remember that.
So ask Him what He wants from you. Maybe you're being prepared for something great.
Hope you do well with your counselor.
[This message edited by GotPlayed at 12:31 AM, July 31st, 2014 (Thursday)]