Moving on

I would love at this stage to introduce Charlie but I’ll need to be patient for just a little while longer and wait for Christmas, in hope he’ll find a few spare moments to reflect and write down his thoughts and feelings. We’ve talked about it already and he wants to add his side of the story, even if it’s only one post. It’s been a year and 2 months since D-day and time is really flying.

This year for Christmas our house will be full. We’ll welcome 3 little rascals and their great mum who happens to be my little sister. We’ll do our best to make it a memorable one and bring a little light into their life which went into a spin in the last couple of months. Her battle is harder then mine but we’ll fight it together and pray it will bring even more glory to God. Her story is in the making and maybe one day it will want to be told too. It started on Bloomsday this year, the day I started writing this blog… There have been lots of ups and downs, dreams, visions and tears. Let’s just say for the moment we are praying for the eyes and heart of her husband to be opened to see the treasure he’s about to throw away.

And I’m back to my story…

I felt a relief after Ana left. At least I wasn’t nervous walking the streets any more in case I bumped into her. There was also this crazy fear at the back of my mind that she might plot something against us or our family. Totally paranoid but I couldn’t get rid of it.

I realised we were very lucky to be able to end this whole affair like that – to send her thousands miles away. She was now far away across the sea and it made it so much easier to move forward. It is difficult to get over an affair in any circumstances but it must be almost impossible if the affair partner is still somewhere on the scene.

The concert was one of the breakthrough moments and gave us energy to keep going. On Sunday the next day, while in church on Sunday meeting, Charlie was asked to break bread. No one apart from our pastor knew what had happened. Charlie consulted it quickly with him to make sure it was ok and before he prayed over the bread he said:
“I shouldn’t be here. The only reason why I am standing here is because Jesus saved me. And if he could save me I believe he has great plans for all of us. I might say my testimony some other time but today I just want to ask the church for forgiveness for two things: first – for bearing a false witness, and second – for taking bread and wine when I was in no fit state to do it.”

I was so happy to hear those words coming from him and proud of him too for admitting in front of everyone that he wasn’t as perfect as it seemed. He didn’t need to say anything more, it wasn’t the right time or place to do it.

That Sunday was the third one in a row when we fasted. We started just before WW and continued for four weeks. Each time brought a change, more freedom, more closeness to each other and to God. The chains were being broken and prisoners set free.

What followed was days and nights filled with very honest, very personal talks. We opened to each other like never before, without masks, without hiding. We talked about our pasts, our parents, old relationships, mistakes we have made and secrets we haven’t discussed with anyone else. We read the Bible together and prayed every day. Sometimes we would get so engrossed in all of it we didn’t pay any attention to time. Once we even forgot about bringing children to school.

My trust in Charlie was severely limited though. For many weeks I was veering between being positive that we are moving on and feeling heartbroken and cheated. 3 days after Ana left Charlie had a late meeting with a client. I knew exactly where he was and with whom, plus his father was with him and still I found myself panicking suddenly while he was gone. I locked myself in the bathroom and cried. After knowing the truth about all the lies I was told in the previous year, my trust was so low that if someone had told me then, that he wasn’t at the meeting but with her, and that she never actually left but just pretended, I would have believed. I felt I couldn’t tell truth from lie anymore. I once was confident that I could but I didn’t know anything anymore now. That’s how Charlie found me when he came home. I told him how I felt and we cried together.

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The word for today – 14 Dec 2015

“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” 2Cor 7:10

The word ‘repent’ means to acknowledge your sin, renounce it, seek God’s forgiveness, and try to live differently. It means doing an about-face turn and heading in the opposite direction. If you go twenty miles down the road in the wrong direction, it requires doing a U-turn and coming twenty miles back. At first this can seem discouraging. But it’s profitable, because next time you’ll think twice about where you’re headed. Repentance sometimes means making restitution to others. Zacchaeus was a tax collector who got rich by overcharging people. But after he met Jesus he said, ‘If I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times as much’ (Luke 19:8 GNT). God is more than willing to forgive you, but He may allow you to experience the painful consequences of your sin in order to motivate you towards obedience. ‘No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening – it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way’ (Hebrews 12:11 NLT). Satan will try to tell you that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace, but you’re not. The Prodigal Son wasted his inheritance and ended up in a pigsty. But the day he decided to come back home, his father ran to meet him and restored him to full sonship in the family. And God will do that for you too. ‘Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously’ Isaiah 55:7-9 NLT

You are my tower

I haven’t written for a long while. It has probably been the longest time of not writing, not thinking and not living the affair since our D-day. It’s a good sign. Sign of moving on, forgetting and letting go.

I am constantly amazed how quickly the healing is coming. I was preparing myself for a long struggle and a time where love is a distant memory or a hope for the future. I read some time after WW that it takes 2 years to heal and gain trust after your partner’s affair. I don’t know to what extent that healing is supposed to take place after 2 years but 1 year on I can only say I’m glad to be in a place that we are now. It’s a place of peace, trust and love. Place of commitment, understanding and knowing each other intimately. We aren’t perfect and never will be but we fully accept and love each other the way we are. The imperfections are what makes us human, part of our personalities but they are not the ones when you deliberately hurt the other person. We give freely and receive fully. We go to bed and wake up with thanksgiving: for love, for family, for grace and forgiveness, for marriage.

I feel so free I could stop writing now but I will continue to finish the story and to give testimony to the One who saves. Recently we attended a course called the Family Project. The leader keeps reminding us: God is in the business of fixing.

So what happened next?

10 days after WW came another milestone – the day of the concert for which our children won tickets on Spirit Radio. We only got two so we were looking forward to spending more time together but before we went we had something even more important to do – the last talk to Ana before she left. She was leaving for home the next day and we were hoping to never see her again, still there were things that had to be said.

It was I who insisted on that meeting. Not to let go of my anger towards her, although there was a lot of it built up inside, but to make Charlie ask her to forgive him for leading her on and to say that I forgive her for her part in the affair. I hadn’t fully ‘felt’ that in my emotions yet, they were too raw at that stage, but I knew it was our gateway to freedom, both for her and for me and this was the only chance to do it. We also wanted to give her one of the books she returned on TT. It was a special edition of “Jane Eyre”, she was very fond of it and mentioned she would like to keep it. Since then I read it and I think she might have identified with the character in the book.

So we asked her for a meeting and to my surprise she agreed. She only had half an hour for us but we didn’t need more than that. We arranged to meet in the office. It was Saturday and there was no one there. Before she came we prayed for peace and God’s presence. She came on time, wearing big hoop earings, with her head held high, as if she tried to say: I’m not hurt and I still have everything under control. However, under this cover I could detect pain, I heard it in her voice and saw it in her eyes. She didn’t answer to my greeting, passed me barely noticing I was there, going straight to Charlie – in other words – doing just what she had been doing since she came to work for us. He smiled to her and said:

Hello Ana. I haven’t seen you in such a long time.

The way he said it showed closeness between them and I felt a pang of jealousy.
We took our seats ending up at three different sides of the table and Charlie started:

Ana, thank you for coming, it means a lot to us. I know it’s not easy and we won’t keep you long. I want you to know that we decided to stay married and for this reason I won’t be in contact with you any more.
I’d like to thank you for all your work. I appreciate your help, it’s been very good although lately your presence was a distraction for me, I lost my focus, or rather my focus was in the wrong place and I started to see the effects of it.
I would also like to apologise for what happened between us and ask for your forgiveness. I know I have deceived you.

Here Ana stopped him for a moment.

You don’t need to apologise, we were adult people who knew what they were doing. The only thing I’m angry about is how you treated me in the last 10 days.”

“I had to do it. I saw I wasn’t a good man and I caused a lot of pain to my family. But I’m changing. Jesus really is powerful.

Ana sniggered quietly but she quickly added:

You know I tolerate all religions and points of view. Everyone has a right to believe what they want.

That’s ok. I saw that our relationship with God depends on whether we see that we are sinful or not. I saw I was. Also, I told you you were the love of my life – I’m sorry I said that to you. Ella is the love of my life and always has been. That’s why I’m sorry if I deceived you. I don’t have much more to say other than I’m sorry again. This is the book you wanted. We want you to keep it. Is there anything you want to say?”

“No. I have nothing to say to you. But I would like if you send me some photographs of our projects when they are finished.”

“Of course. I’ll have that arranged.

She got up and was about to leave but I stopped her.

Ana wait. I also want say a few words.

She looked at me probably for the first time since she walked in, smiled faintly and sat back down.

I was talking to my sister during the last year about how jealous we were of our husbands. I said I would scratch out the eyes of a woman who looked at my Charlie – don’t worry I won’t do it to you. I want you to know that what happened between you and Charlie and the length of time it lasted could take place only because I trusted him. I did have a bad feeling about his friendship with you and I confronted him about it a few times but he denied each time that anything was wrong and I trusted him. I didn’t have many reasons not to, things were good between us although we lacked time together and children often missed him too. We could talk here all day but I know you don’t want to, so I’ll just say one thing – I forgive you. I hope you’ll find someone for yourself and that you’ll never experience what I did because the pain is really huge.”

Tears were welling up in my eyes when I said it and my voice started breaking so I didn’t say anything else. I noticed she looked very uncomfortable when I said the word ‘forgive’, almost as if she was offended. She probably would have preferred to hear me curse her rather than forgive her. She got up and left, her nose up not as high as before but still composed and cool. All we heard from her since was a text message she sent to Charlie from the airport next day, thanking him for the work opportunity. He replied with the 1 Corinthians 13 verse, saying “please read it, it is not what we had but I hope you’ll find it one day“. After she left the office we got into the car and drove 2 hours for the concert feeling like we had passed another big milestone and closed the door behind us.

The concert turned out to be one of the greatest gifts we got from God in that time. It felt like 2 hours in heaven. We never heard of the band before it but we love it now. It’s Rexband – an Indian, charismatic, Catholic Christian band – what a mix! High quality music, professional musicians and each one of them have a personal relationship with the Lord, we were told. That night they played the music of our souls, they translated our prayers into notes and led us all into the Spirit. An unforgettable evening, filled with tears of repentance and hope for full reconciliation. If you were there and saw a couple at the back of the hall, who from the start joined wholeheartedly into the worship and thoroughly enjoyed themselves, it was us. Of all the songs one stood out for me and became my prayer – “You are my tower”.

Only when we left the concert hall and got back into the car did it dawn on us how amazing it was to be there. When Charlie was 18, just after he finished secondary school he went to India for a year to do voluntary work. He was in various places including a month in Calcutta working with the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Theresa’s order. During this time he met a born again Catholic girl who led him in prayer for salvation. It couldn’t take on the full meaning for years because of things that were still in his heart and mind but that evening there at the concert it was like he had made a full loop and was back in India, giving his life to God again, this time for real.

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PS. We came across these verses and that picture in one of our bibles (Sunrise Good News Bible) soon after that day. It made us smile.

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“The Lord said, ‘Look how proud the women of Jerusalem are! They walk along with their noses in the air. They are always flirting. They take dainty little steps, and the bracelets on their ankles jingle. But I will punish them – I will shave their heads and leave them bald.’
A day is coming when the Lord will take away from the women of Jerusalem everything they are so proud of – the ornaments they wear on their ankles, on their heads, on their necks, and on their wrists. He will take away their veils and their hats, the magic charms they wear on their arms and at their waists; the rings they wear on their fingers and in their noses; all their fine robes, gowns, cloaks and purses; their revealing garments, their linen handkerchiefs, and the scarves and the long veils they wear on their heads.”

Isaiah 3:16-23

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You are my tower – Rexband (Sonrise)

Everything is a changing all around
Wanna hold on to you
Everyday is a new beginning now
Wanna know what is right

You are my tower
Unchanging power
When storms come raging
You’ll be my road
You alone will do

In the night when I am tossed upon the sea
I will call out your name
When the road takes a million different turns
Wanna follow you lord

You are my tower
Unchanging power
When storms come raging
You’ll be my road
You alone will do

When I’ve lost my way
And I am far away from home
I will seek your face
I will always cling to you Lord

You are my tower
Unchanging power
When storms come raging
You’ll be my road
You alone will do