Today marks the 18th anniversary of the revelation of Ann's affair. It was the best day of my life because that's when I woke up as a man. It was the worst day of my life because of the intense pain and trauma. Facing that pain and all the sorrow and grief that came with it has been worth it a thousand times over. Like right now. I see Ann in the kitchen on her laptop typing some words about the women's retreat she is leading this weekend. She's talking about sexual brokenness and redemption. You should have her into your church to do so. :)
Other marriages have been touched and rebuilt because we somehow made it through the Mad Max journey of affair recovery. So today I invite you to celebrate with us. We appreciate your encouragement and hope you are encouraged, en-courage-ed, to continuing on the journey.
We truly believe that:
suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
~Romans Chapter 5
Eight years ago we had a party to celebrate the snatching of victory from the jaws of defeat. We celebrated God choosing us while we are at our worst as one victory and the thrill of being together and happy about it after traversing through tons of shite as another. Here are the words I penned leading up to that day.
My friend Jeff called from Boston yesterday. He is finishing his final year at the Greek Orthodox seminary there. We chatted and then I told him about our celebration barbq Ann and I are hosting on Monday. I told him we were celebrating the ten year anniversary of the best and worst day of our lives.
I found out about her affair ten years ago on the day after Labor Day. We began living honestly that day or honestly living that day. Jeff is a good man with a good heart. I caught him off guard because he said, "What do you want to do that for?" :-))
I said that I want to dance on the place of my worst pain. I was referring to a truth and also an author he and I both know who encourages abuse victims to have a vision of someday doing just that. I want to dance a dance of redemption over the moment that could have shattered everything for my bride and I. I want to dance with God on Satan's neck.
My goodness, I love Ann. She is lovely. I don't ever want to lose her. We have a calling which we understand sometimes is just plain weird to many folks. Most people I know aren't talking about their affairs, or most painful moments, a decade later in any great detail. But that is what we do.
It generally blesses couples that are dealing with an affair. Sometimes, we hear from somebody that wants us to quit talking about it, but that won't happen any time soon by our choice. We are accused of not being past it or 'over it' because we share with the pain so fresh. We stay in touch with that pain to 1) Help us both to remember the great loss and pain infidelity brings so that we don't repeat it 2) Share authentically 1st person with real emotions and not in a detached 3rd person manner.
So if you think of us on Monday, we hope you will dance and rejoice with us as we have our weird party. Here is the invite we sent to a few folks who have walked with us for part of our journey:
A Marriage Restored We invite you to celebrate a HUGE anniversary with us. It is the 10-year anniversary of the worst and best day of our marriage. The cause for celebration is a little different, but we are thrilled to be together and we want to revel in God’s amazing grace with those who have traveled with us at various points during this journey of restoration...and that includes YOU!
May the vision of future parties give you hope as your heart aches today. May you encounter God's amazing grace as you grieve together.