Dave and I experienced a full-circle moment recently.
A circle where the loop returns to the original spot. But not a circle with nice, smooth, pretty lines from start to finish.
In 2007, our marriage teetered on the brink of collapse.
Dave confessed a secret addiction to pornography and the fact that he’d been caught at work and might lose his job—his job at a Christian ministry.
His secret porn addiction threatened to shatter what I thought was a perfect world.
Dave and I spent the next eighteen months, fighting for our marriage. But those months are only part of the circle and story.
I wanted to believe this was Dave’s problem. But the havoc of this addiction revealed deep wounds in me. And caused new ones too. I needed to heal, understand this addiction, and forgive Dave. But, oh, it wasn’t going to be easy. I couldn’t snap my fingers and make it go away. The shame, anger, fear, and “what in the world?!” feelings never left my side. But I knew the hope of God’s word and that this sin did not take Our Creator by surprise.
The recovery process required both of us to recognize the devastation and decide to live differently—every single day and night.
We learned to identify the triggers and develop a new, deeper love and respect for each other.
The full-circle moment came when Dave and I sat across from Focus on the Family’s President, Jim Daly, and broadcast co-host, John Fuller.
As they asked questions about our story as written in my book, Choosing a Way Out: When the Bottom Isn’t the Bottom, I realized that God’s restoration process involved more than just Dave and me. He could and would use our story to bring hope to others if we told what He’s done.
Jim commented that most of the time, we don’t want to go to the valley and deal with the secret pain or addiction. We prefer the top of the mountain. We’d rather hide the truth than do the hard work to overcome.
But sometimes, you have no other choice than to face the pain head-on.
I’m thankful God brought Dave and me to the crossroad.
I’m grateful that God’s love and grace prepared the path of recovery from our secrets. I’m stunned at His precise provision before we knew to ask. But why should I be surprised? The Bible tells me repeatedly that God cares for me, plans for my good and not evil, and desires an intimate relationship with me. It’s been His plan from the creation of the world.
We’re the ones who run from the pain, thinking we can dodge and dart fast enough never to face the truth. Not so. Our gracious God loves us more than we can imagine. Therefore, He knows we need to face our pain and fears if we are to live abundantly.
As Dave and I shared our story all these years later, we felt the pain of his addiction and my depression.
I choked up a couple of times while answering Jim’s questions. But, now, I feel less sting to that pain. We know what God did for us. We live a brand-new marriage free from porn’s addiction and depression’s vise-grip. Free from the secrecy that almost destroyed us.
While listening to the broadcast, Dave and I looked at each other grateful to still be together. We wouldn’t wish this recovery process on our worst enemy. But, we wouldn’t trade what we went through either.
The God we serve is big enough to overcome deeply entrenched secret addictions.
He provides the way to live victoriously in recovery every day. It’s always my decision. And Dave’s decision. God doesn’t force me; He lovingly offers a different path.
God asked me this question during our crisis, “Am I big enough to heal your marriage?” I had to face what I believed about my God. Then, I had a choice to make. Praise God, I chose to run to Him to rescue me, to believe He would provide a way out of this mess we were in, and to learn more about Who the God of the Bible is.
What secret do you struggle with today?
What valley scares you? Is God big enough to _____________________ [fill in the blank]? You can ask Him your questions. He’ll answer. You can express your emotions to Him. He won’t get mad or walk away from you.
For years I wondered why God allowed this horrible pain in my life. But I don’t wonder anymore. I believe God allowed this pain to draw me closer to him and care for other women whose husbands are addicted to pornography.
Research shows that online porn viewing rates are just as high in men who attend church as those who don’t. And TechCrunch reports online porn viewing increases infidelity in marriages by 300%. I was shocked. But I’m not anymore. I know there’s a battle for our husbands’ hearts. And it is destroying marriages.
I help wounded women heal from this horrible pain. I offer free resources, a tender heart, and one-on-one help through my short-term Aftershock Recovery coaching. You deserve to heal whether he decides to change or not. You don’t have to live with that pain. I can help.