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There’s always more to the story.

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There’s always more to the story.

Dear friends and family,

You know how “they” say, “there’s always more to the story?” Well, if I didn’t believe that before (which I did), I certainly do now.

There’s no easy way to tell you this except to just spit it out.

Due to the recent discovery of my husband’s sinful choices, he and I have entered into a season of therapeutic separation. Our marriage is very broken. I’m sure many of you are stunned but no one could be more stunned than I.

I won’t share details because those are not for public consumption but our separation is indefinite and we will not be able to hide the changes that it makes in our public lives. My husband and I have a considerable amount of personal healing to work through before trust can be rebuilt in our marriage.

You are welcome to reach out to me privately, although please don’t be offended if I don’t respond right away or at all. Also, I hope you’ll understand why some of you didn’t hear this from me personally. There are so many of you who I know love me and my family but I couldn’t wrap my brain around sharing this individually and navigating all of the conversations that would ensue. Sharing this way is the best I could do under the circumstances.

The kids and I are devastated but we’re not drowning. We’re navigating this together. Have I ever told you how proud I am of my amazing kids? They are caring for themselves, each other and their mama. They are setting healthy boundaries with their dad and showing love to him as well. We have been leaning on each other and on our “inner circles” and are seeking professional counsel. We are crushed but not abandoned. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

I am committed to continuing to share my life with you but know that I will not be airing any of our “dirty laundry” or doing any sort of husband bashing. There’s no benefit in that at all. I will share with you how God is sanctifying and redeeming me and how he is graciously revealing himself to me in ways that might be of encouragement to you and others, as I have desired to do for so many years already.

Whatever I share, whether it’s from a tender and deep place in my soul or from simple, everyday joys, it will be real. I am committed to living my life with honesty and vulnerability while maintaining healthy boundaries for the purpose of insulation, not isolation. What I share will include truths I’m learning, ways my story might encourage others in their stories, as well as pictures of my amazing grandchildren, food and what coffee cup I’m drinking from on any given day. My point is, is that I will continue living and sharing my life because that’s important to me and I think that’s what God has called me to do.

I have set three benchmarks for myself in how I plan to respond to life’s joys and challenges moving forward:

  1.  Am I bringing glory to God?
  2.  Am I being kind?
  3.  Am I healthy (mind, body, and soul)?

These are actually really great benchmarks for life in general. I may not always do those three things well but to do them well and consistently is my desired goal.

I need to talk to some of you on a more personal level.

First, to our children… they already know this but I need to write it out. I’m so sorry. I wish I could have spared you from this hurt. Learn from this. Love yourselves and your spouses well and do whatever it takes to honor Christ in your lives and relationships.

To those I’ve committed something to but don’t follow through, please forgive me and feel free to gently remind me. My brain isn’t firing on all cylinders these days. Please allow me the space to grieve and grow. Healing is going to be my primary focus for quite some time and I will undoubtedly let some of you down. I know, I know… this is the people pleaser in me talking. But I have to say it. I’m sorry in advance and I hope you’ll give me grace. I promise to return the favor if ever you need grace from me.

To those whom we’ve mentored, prayed over and taught throughout the years, I can assure you that stories I have shared were truth (or at least what I knew to be truth). I can assure you that biblical truth was spoken and God’s word does not return void. Continue to walk in the truths you learn regardless of who delivered them. God is big enough to use sinful people (yes, that includes you and me) to carry His Gospel. He’s been doing it since, well, forever.

To those who’ve looked to our marriage as any type of standard for your own, let this remind you that Christ alone is the only worthy standard for every area of your life.

To those living a life of sin, you know who you are and God knows too, confess in full, turn away from your sin and run hard and fast to the feet of Jesus. Now. The longer you wait, the more damage you do to those you love and the longer it will take to heal. Know that toxic substance always leaks and light will always expose darkness. Always. Also, you are not beyond redemption. No one is.

To all, dive heart first into community. Isolation is a fertile breeding ground for sin. Isolation is dark. Community is light. Light exposes sin. Not being in a godly and consistent community or in an accountability relationship is cause for concern.

I realize you probably have many questions. So do I! I assume that one of your primary questions is whether we plan to divorce. I honestly can’t tell you if our marriage will survive this but neither of us is seeking divorce at this time. I’m strongly sensing God instructing me to sit still and learn what I need to learn and grow how I need to grow. I can only pray that Tommy is doing the same. Tommy has sinned but he is not mean. Rushing into a divorce would short-change any healing work that needs to be done individually, as a family, and as a couple should we make it to that stage. I know God works miracles but there are multiple issues that factor into potential reconciliation becoming a reality.

Here are a few things I know to be true:

*I will be okay. This is a heartbreaking, disappointing and devastating situation from any vantage point but God is not surprised by any of it. “He is before all things, in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17 This verse is my Ebenezer. There are clear markers in my past that God has used to prepare me for such a time as this. I don’t like this chapter in my story, not at all, but I am grateful for His merciful and loving provision as the pages turn. I know He is in this fire with me and I will not be burnt up. And even if I do get burned up, I have the hope of an eternal future with Jesus so I still win. I wrote this post for The Glorious Table recently about Trusting God in Your Whatever. It’s one of the first places my heart went when this darkness was exposed. It’s funny how my own words were sitting there waiting to challenge, comfort and reassure me. God is awesome like that.

*I need you. A Swedish Proverb says, “Shared joy is double joy and shared sorrow is half-sorrow”. Sharing with you keeps me from being isolated and feeling like I’m alone. Connection and community, for me, is crucial to my overall health. People living in true community hold each other’s arms up in the battle and in the celebration.

Shared Joy Shared Sorrow

*God redeems. I have no clue what redemption looks like for me, our family, or our marriage, but I know He redeems. He can’t help himself.

*God’s redemption and forgiveness are available to everyone. I couldn’t call myself a Christ-follower if I didn’t believe this. While I have set some boundaries around my table for a while, God’s table always has room for “Zacchaeus” (Luke 19:1-10). If you’d like to dig into this topic of forgiveness further, here is an incredible message that God gave me just days after discovery.

*I am not the judge. And neither are you. God is. I am not a doormat and my heart is not a revolving door but as I have been forgiven, I must forgive. God will handle all necessary judgment issues on this earth and when we stand before Him.

“The man who knows he has been forgiven, only in and through the shed blood of Christ, is a man who must forgive others. He cannot help himself. If we really know Christ as our Savior our hearts are broken and cannot be hard, and we cannot refuse forgiveness. If you are refusing forgiveness to anybody I suggest that you have never been forgiven.” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Thank you for your love, support and ongoing prayers for our family as we navigate this season of unknowns. Thank you for not asking too many questions and for being sensitive to our pain. If you see us, please make us smile. This is the medicine we need. Tex Mex and a margarita would be okay too. Seriously, though, loads of prayer and grace are what we most need.

I urge you all to put your armor on and go to battle praying for your marriage and family. Remember you don’t need to carry a boulder to fight the enemy. David fought his Goliath with only a pebble and God on his side to do the heavy lifting. Find a godly community in which you can share struggles with openly and honestly. Satan is most definitely on the prowl. Please don’t be his next victim.

So yeah, I know full well that there’s always more to any story. Even Jesus didn’t tell all. “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” John 21:25

Even after what I’ve told you here, there is more. Surely that’s not a surprise to anyone. But the thing is, God knows. He knew it before, He knows it now and He holds all things together.

 

 

With an empty plate and hope for a full heart,
Andrea

 

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.” (Psalm 52:8-9)

 

Photo credit: Pixabay.com Engin Akyurt

About Andrea

A stumbling pilgrim and gatherer of stories. Stories about Jesus and how He gave His life for me, sustains me and redeems me ... even though.

14 responses »

  1. You have my unending love and prayers. And my willingness to do battle should you ever need me.

    I can be a fierce foe, or so I have been told.

    Your words are beautiful and full of tenderness.

    My marriage has had some of the darkest and most beautiful moments ever in this last year. We have fought about things I never dreamt would be issues for us.

    Satan is on the prowl for certain.

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  2. I love you friend. So much. I’m even more excited to see you in a few weeks and give physicality to my words of friendship. That sounds weird. You get it. I’m praying for you and Tommy. What you’ve written here is such a beautiful offering. I mean this, “Connection and community, for me, is crucial to my overall health. People living in true community hold each other’s arms up in the battle and in the celebration.” will preach!!

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  3. Sweet sister, I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this pain. 💔 Grieving with you and praying for you.

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  4. Andrea, As I read these words, my heart is breaking for you and Tommy…I love you both and I am praying for you as you travel this dark and lonely road. I love your family, and even though we aren’t as close as we once were, know that I love you and my heart hurts for you. Your words are always beautiful, but these words are straight from your broken heart and I felt them and the time and courage that they took to write. I have been in a season of isolation myself and know that it isn’t healthy. Thank you for that reminder…I love you! I will be praying for the whole family…Dedee

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  5. You are in my prayers my sweet sister! I love you big!

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  6. I love you, Andrea and my heart aches to hear this. I will be praying for you, Tommy and all the family.
    If you need a chat with your English friend I’m here for you!
    God Bless you at this tough time xx

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  7. Oh Andrea. I’m really, really sorry. So sorry. Praying for you. And saying well done for the grace-filled way you’ve shared this. May God cover you and yours with his love.

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  8. Beautifully and graciously put. I am with you.

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  9. I have walked a similar path myself only three years ago this week. You will be in my prayers, friend.

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  10. Read this with tears flowing down my cheeks. Andrea, you are a beautiful soul and my heart hurts with yours. With you and for you and your family. God is at work in your life and may the knowledge of that bring you some comfort and peace as you navigate these murky waters. Much love with many prayers!! xoxo

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  11. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I wish you healing and better days to come – speak766

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  12. my heart is breaking for you and Tommy. I have lived this nightmare, yet, I know both of you have a faith that I was not blessed to have at that time. I pray that you both find the peace, understanding and freedom that God believes you should have at this time. There will be hard times, but if this is his test, you will come out with the Love and belief in your union that he knows you should have in one another. I so wish I had had the faith and belief that i have now. I know he is with you! My love and prayers to you both!! Thy will be done!

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  13. Lydia Bleakney

    My heart also is heavy for you, for Tommy and your kids. I have navigated these waters and my faith did waiver at times, but through all of it, God held me, and walked me through it. He gave me a strength I never could have gotten on my own. So now I pray for you, for strength, for wisdom, discernment and a faith like no other time, rest when you are weary and laughter when you need to laugh, hugs, good listeners, and everything you stand in need of. Love you and I’m praying. ❤️🙏

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  14. Pingback: Gifts of Grace That Will Help In Seasons of Pain | Empty Plate . Full Heart

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