This time of year, we naturally look back and forward. And we must take the appropriate pause to do both.
What happened during this past year that you need to
Michael Hyatt teaches that we must stop and work through any open loops to finish a year well. Dave and I schedule a day to do this for our business and personal lives each year. Usually, this comes during the week between Christmas and New Year celebrations. This annual practice does make a difference in how we start each new year. We learn new things about each other, along with our goals and dreams. Before jumping into the new one, celebrating the past year helps us realign personally and professionally.
For a woman who discovered her husband’s betrayal, the holiday season and prospects for the coming year may not feel merry and bright.
Each woman I listen to reveals pain, confusion, and despair. Even those who love Jesus feel rocked to their core from such a revelation.
I remember that first holiday after my husband’s revelation, only four months later. Add my depression and PTSD diagnosis right around the start of the holiday season, and life felt abnormally difficult and colorless. I remember looking at the New Year with jaded thoughts.
- Could I recover?
- Would our marriage survive these blows?
- Where was God?
- Why didn’t He prevent this?
- Did God even care?
If these thoughts resonate with you, please read on.
You can take steps beginning today to move beyond your pain toward healing.
But that doesn’t happen unless you intentionally take the time and actions necessary. I know you feel overwhelmed right now, and you can’t see your way out of the darkness shrouding every moment.
That’s normal. However, you don’t need to remain stuck. Reach out for help. Just getting to tell your story and feeling heard helps tremendously. The worst thing would be to stay silent, suffering alone. You need a safe person or persons to walk this journey with you right now. Therefore, your best next step is to get some help.
You do have hope for a bright future with Jesus. Here’s how
1. Choose to recover.
Why do I say it that way? Some people say they want to recover but do nothing to make it happen. Recovery won’t happen without deciding to do whatever it takes to get there. You must choose. Part of this choice means recognizing your excuses and letting go of each one. You control your recovery. Totally. No one can force it on you. Therefore, the answer to the first question, “Could I recover?, was “It’s up to you.”
2. Prioritize a healthy marriage relationship.
I hear this second question a lot: What do I need to do to save my marriage? And that’s the rub. You cannot save your marriage alone. Marriage is a relationship, which means more than one person participates. To save the marriage, it takes two working toward the same goal. Yes, he chose porn over remaining faithful to you. But, if you are honest (part of recovery), you know other issues are going on in your marriage as well. Therefore, to save your marriage, you need to prioritize creating a new, healthy relationship. Through coaching, we talk through ways to work on personal growth, change communication patterns, develop and live with healthy boundaries, evaluate external relationships to see which ones need to stay or go and learn to date again. And, if your husband is willing, agree to couple’s coaching to work together on your marriage.
3. Recognize God never left.
The Bible tells us that God is ever-present. Often when we feel like God is distant, it has more to do with us than Him. Have I spent time with God daily? Or do I only reach out to Him when I’m in a crisis? Like you desire an intimate relationship with your husband, God wants a personal relationship with you. My understanding of God changed when I realized He never left me in any crisis. Perhaps by His grace and mercy, He allowed this situation to mature me. The truth is, my feeling distant from God indicated my relationship with Him needed some work. Every time I turn toward God, He’s right there.
4. Understand God did protect you.
Even though I couldn’t figure out why He didn’t prevent the situation didn’t mean He wasn’t there with me. Do you believe God is obligated to protect you from anything wrong happening ever? That would make Him more of a genie than God. Often, I wonder how much happens around me that God protects me from. In the relatively recent movie War Room, the story reminds us that real drama happens in the spiritual world and impacts our physical world. Jesus verified this by quoting Psalm 91 when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. Jesus said God orders His angels to protect His children wherever they go.
5. Grasp that God does care.
Yesterday, today, and forever. The lie that the enemy of our souls whispers to us during a crisis goes back to the beginning of time. What better way to trouble God’s children than to encourage them to question God’s love for them? We experience disappointment, failure, injury, crisis, and more because of our sinful nature, not because God’s character is in doubt. God is always good. He’s the epitome of a loving father. In Isaiah 43, God tells us that He has called us by name, and we belong to Him. Discovering who God is according to the Bible helps us know His true character, not the one we’ve been told. God is OTHER. He’s not like you and me. And, frankly, I’m thankful God is God. I’m pretty fickle most of the time. He never changes.
Your hope for a bright future and mine resides in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
Is God who He says He is, or isn’t He?
If God is who He says He is, then our future carries hope, peace, and promise. That question seems so elementary, but how we answer and act on the answer affects every part of our lives. When I answered the question about who God is, I realized nothing in my life falls out of His sight and will.
Will life always be easy?
No. That’s not what we’re promised. The Bible tells us to expect problems in this life, but Jesus overcomes each one. God’s presence brings the peace we need. Staying connected to Him provides answers and calm during the crisis. If I look anywhere, but to Jesus for answers, I’m confused and try to wrestle control into my hands.
Two years ago, Dave and I chose to step out of formal employment into solopreneurship. We’d committed that decision to prayer well before this time. So, when the pandemic hit and every freelance gig we had dried up, we found ourselves looking back at the decision process. We clung to the verses God gave us during that time of prayer:
The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place.
This assurance reminded us about God’s presence and promised provision.
As you conclude this year, I hope you take some time to process through the past year. Celebrate your wins. Let go of whatever holds you back. Grieve and weep over the pain. Resolve whatever is outstanding if you can. Then, look forward to what God has for you in the coming year. Tell God your dreams and plans. Invite Him to direct your thoughts and actions. Commit each one to Him, trust Him to guide you every step of the way.
Your future is bright in Jesus.
Hold onto His promises. He’ll never let go of you.