“See I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10 NIV
If I’m truly claiming to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9) or clothed in strength and dignity (Proverbs 31:25) yet remain silent, I’m contradicting myself. If I am to obey God’s call on my life, then I need to follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
If I am to be of help to those hurting from betrayal, not writing could delay their healing and recovery. My story (and your’s, too) may be the key to unlocking someone else’s prison.
I shared the following paragraphs last Tuesday as a guest post on another hope*writers website, @pamelahenkelman.com. To learn more about being refined for God’s glory, give her site a visit. Today I’ll share my story of refining.
Ten years into my marriage of 22 years, I became aware of my husband’s sexual addiction, same-sex attraction, and acting out. Through it all, he had kept up an appearance of godliness while engaging in a pursuit of sinfulness. As a Christian I know “God hates divorce”, so I would not give up hope of restoring our marriage. I continued to offer grace and forgiveness while facing each disappointment.
As years passed, I persevered through the lies and deception. I always wanted to believe my husband was getting the help he needed and making progress, desiring to heal the brokenness of our marriage. Each time I believed we were on the road to a restored marriage, I would discover more of his ongoing deception. We continually needed to start over, rebuilding from “ground zero”.
While attending counseling, small group sessions, marriage classes, and intensive weekend therapy sessions, my nightmare remained a well-kept secret from family and friends. Experiencing the hurt, pain, embarrassment, shame and betrayal of someone, who I thought loved me and loved God, was paralyzing. I remained isolated. Bearing it alone was a heavy burden, but I continued believing God would heal and restore the marriage, keeping our family intact.
My kids were unaware of the issues. They were ages 3 and 8 when things began. Feeling zombie-like from endless sleepless nights, I was determined to provide stability and wholeness for them. I worked to keep up the facade of being a happy mom, while on the inside experiencing anxiety and depression.
During the last 13 years, the catalyst to my healing was scripture memorization. In 2013, prompted by a Beth Moore Bible study, I purposed to memorize 24 scriptures in one year. The first verse I chose to memorize was Proverbs 31:25. “I am clothed in strength and dignity. I can laugh at the days to come.” Insecure, lacking self worth, and riding a daily emotional rollercoaster, I could not believe this verse was about me.
Strength? I was not strong! I was weak. Nothing but a doormat. Self-doubting and giving in to my husband’s narcissistic ways.
Dignity? What in the world was that? I had no dignity left!
And laughing about the future? Only tears remained. I had given up hope!
But God never gave up on me. He never left me alone. He continued to put other scriptures in my heart.
Slowly, I began believing the truth of His Word. Presently I stand, rest assured, that God’s word IS true and provides peace, comfort, joy, and healing. God has proven Himself trustworthy. When I ask and seek Him for help and wisdom, He is faithful. He provides every need and more… I have learned that life can be messy and it doesn’t always work out the way I hope for, but God remains constant. His love endures forever.
After persevering through painful, yet refining years, seeking the Lord for his timing and answers, God confirmed to me it was ok to move on. My husband’s choices did not include God nor His ways. Jesus still had and has a good plan for me. That plan is one with a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Over the past 13 years, He strengthened and refined me to be brave, bold, unashamed, bringing light into darkness. I can now laugh at the future, because I know who holds my future.
For those of you struggling with the same pain, I am hopeful my story can encourage you to know you are not alone. God’s word can enable us to no longer doubt, but instead to believe we are beloved daughters of the King of Kings. Stand for truth, firm in faith, no longer be afraid, but pursue righteousness.
With God’s help, I’m able to extend grace and forgiveness to others, pointing them to the Lord. Jesus changed me from being helpless and hopeless to someone ready to live the abundant life He offers. I have freedom to serve others, telling them of His faithfulness and love that endures forever. His word teaches me of His mercy, kindness, trustworthiness, providence, protection and promises. No longer viewing myself as a victim of circumstances, needing a pity party, but as a survivor, He continues to show His faithfulness- providing healing and protection.
Helpful Verses to Memorize:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13 ESV
“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Proverbs 18:10 NIV
“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 NIV
“My blessing is on those people who trust in Me, who put their confidence in Me.” Jeremiah 17:7 NET
“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3 ESV