by Katy Collins
This post is so awesome to write.
In January of last year (2013) my husband began his walk toward freedom from pornography. He confessed he had an addiction and we sought the honest help of our church body. Just yesterday we were talking about what it would have been like if he had confessed while we were in another church. We cringed at the likelihood of the leadership just saying something mildly supportive like, “Well, good for you, everyone has their struggle. I know many men probably struggle with that.” And so on.
Instead, we got to my friend’s house (who had just been through a similar confession the year prior) and there was our pastor standing in their home. We walked to the end of their hallway and Ben, head hanging down at the pain I was experiencing, said, “I’m addicted to porn.” Our pastor, Beau, got this big ol’ smile across his face, threw his arms open and embraced Ben wholly, “That’s awesome, man!” His exclamation was obviously not in support of the sin but rather out of the great joy Beau had at Ben’s vulnerable confession and contrite heart.
I laughed and cried at the scene. Then together with our Church family beside us, Ben and I began our open journey toward healing.
That night when I came home from an afternoon of…well…pain, I went to my bookshelf where I have several versions of the bible. I was too emotionally exhausted to find my own. With barely any faith I reached for one of them. I took it off the shelf and my spirit weakly muttered, “If You have anything to say……” My soul was depleted and my faith was wrung dry.
I flipped to a passage and read it-
“I will restore to you the years the locusts have eaten…You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wonderfully with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” Joel 2:25-27
The word glanced my heart with all the force of a tiny droplet of water splashing into the ocean, but I received it with what strength I could and went to bed. That verse would become a banner verse of sorts throughout the next year.
There is far too much for me to write and adequately describe what each of us went through in the following year. But I will say that amidst the heartache and pain there was such sweet healing. I had to learn that it was okay for my husband to see my pain; that it was not right for me to attempt to ‘protect’ him from feeling more hurt by hiding my own. In those moments when I let down my guard and was vulnerable before him, he rose up in comfort and protection and the Spirit aided him in guiding my heart and guarding it from the lies and attacks of the enemy.
Then of course there were the times when I would sin right back. In my experience (of my personal story and of observing many friends in the Church who have walked similar paths) when a spouse confesses to sexual sin an interesting phenomena happens (for example purposes we’ll say the hubby confesses and the wifey is the ‘victim’ but the roles can and are reversed often enough): the husband confesses- or is caught and then confesses- and he ends up throwing off this hideous weight he has been carrying around finding beautiful freedom, by the grace of God. But wifey is left in the carnage of her wounded heart and then has to fight her own sin to deny bitterness, selfishness, pride, comparison, etc. It’s like hubby is freed and wifey is bound all in one moment of confession.
So, needless to say, there were times when I would cut Ben down with my words, or bring up the past as if it had any value in the present. God is good and helped my hubby to be patient with me as I healed and helped me to see the error in my ways. God truly has been restoring the years the locusts ate. This post, however, is ultimately about bragging on what God has done recently- He has been giving me eyes to see.
For years I knew something was up with Ben, but it didn’t come into the light and I was left wondering if I was way off base. Those doubts led to criticism and I developed a mightily ugly critical heart of my husband. Downright nasty. (I have confessed to him and sought forgiveness from God on this, because first and foremost my husband is a child of God. Ben belongs to Jesus and for me to criticize his heart, his faith, etc. is an affront to the One who created and delights in him.)
The awesome, awesome thing (yes it’s worthy of a repeated word) is that lately I am seeing Ben in a whole new way. And yes, it has been a process. I do remember though one day in particular that I went for a jog. I wanted to listen to a sermon by a certain teacher- internet wouldn’t load. How about a sermon I have saved in my podcasts? Wouldn’t load. And when a final attempt to just listen to music previously downloaded to my phone was unsuccessful I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Listen to Me.”
With a shrug, I chose childlike faith and believed He really was inviting me to run with Him and off we went. The details of our run together are magnificent, but like any awesome relationship they are for Him and I alone. However, I will share with you the end of the jog. I had slowed to a walk and was on my cool down only a few minutes from home and I was thanking Him for showing me His heart of love for me. He had spoken to me as my Beloved for an hour and I was floating around in that truth.
From that place of revelation I came across a spot in my heart of contriteness for the countless times I had been critical of Ben. I began to repent, not for a single moment I was recalling, but for a marriage of wayward thinking toward my God’s beloved- Ben.
He belongs to You, God. He is Your beloved. I’m sorry I have been critical of him. He is Your delight… Your beloved.
In response, I heard the Spirit speak to my spirit- “It’s your job to tell him that. Daily remind him of who he is to Me.” With a smile on my face and in my heart I came home and began to attempt to do that. Now hear me, I fail. I am no super wifey. I do, however, long to show my love for Jesus in my obedience to His truth. And He honors and rewards those who diligently seek Him, so He’s been helping me to do just that- be obedient to His call.
Since that jog and that revelation the Spirit has been at work mightily in our marriage showing me just how awesome my hubby is!
I got to hang out with Ben at one of his military BBQs and meet his guys and it was such a blessing! I saw my husband in action loving on those guys, sharing his life with them, and as the Lord led sharing his heart for Christ with them. So stinkin’ cool! I’ve seen Ben share his financial wisdom with the Church and with friends and seen the anointing God has put on his life in that area. I have seen him open his heart to me and it is just…so. very. beautiful. every time.
This process of restoration has been arduous at times, and I know it is not over. But I am seeing the fruit of the work of God in our marriage and it’s magnificent.
The list goes on and on at how incredible this restoration has been. Thank you for letting me share this bit of our life. Benny, I love you and am so proud of you.
To my readers: Wifey, if you’re facing this- trust the Lord, fight your flesh and He will give you a new marriage and a new husband. Hubby, trust the Lord, and lean into the truth that you are a new creation in Christ, pursue His love for you and He will give you a new marriage and a new wife!
“I will open rivers in desolate heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.”
Isaiah 40: 18
“If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water….Whoever drinks of the water I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”