About the Author

Jessica Turner is the author of Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter and Thrive, and blogs on The Mom Creative. Every day is a juggling act as she balances working full-time, making memories with her family, photographing the every day and trying to be...

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  1. This is a wonderful format for a shared book reading, it feels very refreshing and honest and open amongst friends.

    The stories where there is redemption at the end are easier to hear, but what happens with the couples who never let it come to a head or who never survive the crisis. I guess what I am asking is, what happens to the women when what they fear does happen, and there is no redemption at the end of it?

    Thanks for doing this ministry and for taking the time to read and share here online.

    • Hi Rejes, I think perhaps we are looking at the ‘redemption’ of it the way we want it to be redeemed. I want my marriage back , I want my husband to love me and be well and whole. But at this point, I’m not sure that is ever going to happen. Therefore, I need to keep my eyes on God, even if it’s the small things I can see Him redeeming, the stability in the home, my relationship being shifted from my husband to my God. I don’t know what my family will look like in a year or even 5 yrs but I know, that I know, that I know, my God loves me and will redeem this season for good. In God’s Love, sheila

      • Sheila – I think you hit the nail on the head here…we may not see redemption in the way WE want or feel we believe but somehow – someway it will be redeemed! And if we can focus on the small things like you have we start to recognize the good and stop focusing on the bad, Maybe there is redemption in just a perspective shift. Praying for you!!

      • Wow Sheila! This is so true!!! My sister recently told me that I should focus on the “small” good things happening around me and my familiy because it is God working in our hearts and redeeming.
        Blessings!

    • There is no easy answer for this. There are two griefs that you are talking about here. First there is the awful, unexplainable grief — deeper than words — of having been betrayed by the person you became one with. Second, there is the grief that there won’t be the resolution that you desire. It is so hard to trust God when we are hurt, but even harder when the hurt is long-lasting and does not seem to have an end in sight. I’m not on here to give you a pat answer to this (I don’t think anyone has given you one) but to tell you that through this unthinkable pain, God will reach you and you will find what I call the “bittersweetness” of trials. It is bitter, yes. But it has a rare sweetness like no other connection to Him because we find Him in a new way in our desperation and need. Time alone does not heal, but God works and reaches us in time and in that way time does heal. Know that no matter whether we are married or not, we all go through betrayal and we all have others who don’t repent or who misunderstand us long term. It is just a part of this life on earth. Sure feel this with you.

      • Everyone’s comments were so refreshing to read. I have gone through three difficult situations where God redeemed but there really was not closure or what looked like “redemption.” If that makes sense. In one situation I was abused by a man I completely trusted and had my first born daughter with him. He never owned the abuse and blamed his behavior on me. I can say now, that I forgive him and God has redeemed the situation for me. I feel free of my abuser and am able to trust God even when things to make sense. Thankfully God has kept him out of my life and my daughter’s life. But I daily have to trust God to keep us safe.
        It is so difficult and challenging but I was able to forgive my abuser without him ever asking for forgiveness. I also had to forgive myself (for the many times I went to him for fulfillment).
        My abuser and I don’t have any contact. We just can’t. But I truly believe God has redeemed this situation. I hope that makes sense.

        • Thanks for sharing your testimony Melanie. I have not been in your situation but I understand what you are saying. Forgiving others, even when they have not asked you to, is like removing a load from your back. You are letting go, for your own good. May God continue to bless you and help you through your difficult times.

  2. First, let me say that I had read this book before the book club, and am reading it again to go along with the discussions. Still, after reading this chapter twice already, I feel like I would benefit from reading it again, just to absorb all it contains.
    To me, this all boiled down to vulnerabilty, and fear of seeming “foolish”, as Angie said. It’s difficult to trust anyone (sometimes even God) when you have been hurt in the past. What I realized though, is that it is “foolish” to measure God by human standards. He is so much more than that. This is probably nothing new to any of you, but it was a personal acknowledgement and understanding of an error I have made when thinking of God. Humans are fallible, and can cause significant damage to each other in the mistakes they make. God is not one of us, so we can’t expect for him to do what we do: abandon, hurt, betray. I’m not saying that I never doubted, but I just have to keep coming back to this truth.
    I applaud Trish for sharing her story; it really added another layer of depth and meaning to the writing. This was an amazing chapter and discussion. Thank you!

    • Rebecca I love what you just said “I have to keep coming back to this truth”.

      This January will mark the 2 year “anniversary” of my world falling apart from the infedelity of my husband. 2 years later it is still a strugle and I have had to fight, scratch, & claw my way through Scripture (TRUTH) just to hold onto my faith in a loving God because Satan has sure used this to try his best to convince me that God (and even fellow Christians) are anything but loving. I feel I have become over sensitive and easily offended and have had to “unearth” so many things about myself that I thought were right! I love how you all are able to put into words the aches and yearnings of my heart! As I watch and read I find myself exclaiming, “Yes! Yes! Me too!” Thank you all for participating here and encouraging others…and Me.

      My One Word 2011 is HOPE because I am clinging to the hope that God can restore and redeem us.

      • Becky,
        My heart breaks for you. You had me fighting back tears. Believe me when I say that as you share your story, you are inspiring and encouraging others. Your enduring faith and hope are an inspiration to me 🙂

        • I agree with Rebecca, Becky. You are finding strength, even when it’s tough to do so. What a testiment of your love to God above all else. I am praying for you right now.

  3. I love this forum, love this book and can’t stop underlining and rereading. I love the honesty of the journey and the truth that is spoken through Angie’s book. Thanks, ladies, for pulling all of this together.

    I am Just sort of piggybacking on what Rejes asked, what about when refining the marriage and the relationship isn’t what happens?

    I am in the midst of this very journey, the uncovering of an affair my spouse intentionally sought out on line with a stranger, the betrayal, a spouse whose anger and bipolar disorder has moved my home from a haven, a place of peace, to a place where Christ is not modeled, where tension thrives. I journey this road with a spouse who will no longer attend church, who questions every bit of my faith. I seek God’s will and I crave a fast forward button.

    I am believing God an I believe he – and only he – will refine me and my situation. I believe he is the one who is capable of refining my marriage, if he chooses. But what if what he seeks for me and my children is freedom *from* this marriage? Am I weak in faith because while I ask God, above all, to work his will in my life, in honesty, I am no longer asking God to rescue my marriage, but instead for him to show me how to be free from it?

    • oh Anne, thank you for your honesty. It’s a hard place to get to when enough is enough. In God’s Love, sheila

    • Praying for you Anne. I have been there over the years of my marriage more than once. From my experience God can do miracles in your marriage regardless of infidelity but I encourage you to seek counsel in your church community and/or look into the resources provided through Trisha (chapter 2 guest) and Justin’s website: refineus.org. Your heart is right to seek His will and many in your situation have felt the need to “be free from it”. Nevertheless trust Him, rely on His guidance and ask Him to help you persevere unless it is clear that He releases you from your marriage.

      • Kathy, Such wisdom — especially to look in your local church. For something this important and painful, you need the Body of Christ in person right around you. If that isn’t present where you attend church, pray to God to give you that support in your community somewhere through His Body. Praying for you, Anne. I am thinking about Col 3 which I just re-read this morning. Let heaven fill your thoughts. Your real life is there with Christ — hidden there. It is one of my favorite chapters. I’m not just “shoving” a scripture at you. There is real comfort in that scripture. And, trust this: God will NOT leave you here. It may feel eternal, but it isn’t.

        Dear, Jesus,
        Please be the comfort to Anne in her tremendous pain. Give her your peace. Be her husband since her husband has abandoned her. Thank you that You will never leave nor foresake her. Please, God, do not let Satan block her from your love. Use this tragedy, that Satan has authored, for Your glory and Anne’s growth in you. May she live through this to tell great stories of Your amazing Love and Faithfulness when humans have been unfaithful to her. Lord, I do pray that You would extend Yourself through your body to her and help her to feel the reality of your care as You reach her through your people. May she live to smile in you despite the chaos around her. Amen.

        • Patty – you just took me back to the days of Bible camp as a teenager, when someone had a hurt, worry, fear, etc. and someone else would simply jump in with prayer rather than advice, or direction, which needs to come from the Almighty anyway. What a blessing you have offered…. thank you….

  4. Thank you. I have been thinking a lot the past 3 days about God saying, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” My pastor who we love so much took his own life this week and I have been trying so much to make some kind of sense out of it, but keep coming back to being in awe of my sovereign God as Job was. . even in this.

    • Praying for you and your church family during this difficult time. Praying for healing and for God to show himself in a mighty way through all this.

    • Jane – that just shook me to the core. Sending prayers for you and your church family – not for answers that may never come, but for the comfort that is guaranteed as long as we are open to receive it…

    • thank you all. God is being glorified here in this and I praise him for the blood of Christ that covers every sin for those who love him. WONDERFUL MERCIFUL SAVIOUR

  5. I couldn’t hardly get through the first couple of pages before I just dissolved.
    When I was in jr high a group of girls had me believing that I had misplaced a book that one of them had loaned to me. I was sick to my stomach and ended up buying another one, something we could not afford. I found out that I did not misplaced the book, they took it from me as a sort of experiment to see what I would do. Until this reading this book I thought I was the only person who had experienced that type of humiliation.
    I wish I would have learned then that Jesus is sufficient however, I still struggle with trying to find my worth in what others think about me. It is the biggest burden and one I constantly bring back to the throne room. He is worthy to let go of it, He is worthy to only rely on Him.
    I loved what you said on page 40-There is power in relying on the Lord’s view of us over the opinion of everyone else.
    What a powerful chapter for me and I agree with what has been said above me, that I could read this chapter over and over and still want to read it again.
    Angie…you write in such a way to bring people in and make me feel a part of the conversation and that I have known you for quite some time, instead of an author and a reader.
    Thank you for being so transparent.

    • Tonia,
      I can relate with your experience in Jr. High as well. I have just learned that kids can be so mean. I try to remind myself of what Jesus said on the cross, “They know not what they do.” (Don’t quote me…just from memory)
      I struggle with allowing God to be enough for me as well and fully relying on Him. It’s not easy. Thank you for reminding me of what it said on page 40 about relying on God’s view rather than the world’s opinion of us. Isn’t that so hard? It is a real struggle for me. I am a people pleaser and this is hard for me.

      Thank you for sharing,
      Melanie

      • Tonia and Melanie,

        I, too, am a people pleaser. Those words on page 40 struck me as this is something that I deal with all the time. Thank you for sharing and helping me see I am not alone in this struggle.

    • I dissolved while reading the first few pages of this chapter too. I didn’t realise how much pain I had buried deep down inside of me, due to girls at school.

  6. I read this chapter twice, but I think I need to read it another time. The part that spoke to me as I was reading it the second time was on pg. 42. “He is the only One Who can love us in a way that truly satisfies our soul.” Then you go on to say that this should be our goal, we should make Jesus, the One we want to please and honor more than any other person. In the past, I was always doing my best to change in me the things that needed to be changed. I wanted to be the perfect wife, to gain the aproval of my husband. It got to a point where even if my house was spotless, there was always something he will find wrong and make me feel bad about it. So instead of now trying to gain the aproval of my husband, I’m now seeking the aproval of my Lord and Savior. Nobody is perfect, and God does not expect us to be.

    I’m learning from the other ladies that are sharing their stories in the comments. I’m learning from Angie’s and the other ladies who are sharing in the videos. I see that even in the best marriages, there is problems. I mean that in a marriage where both know the Lord and serve the Lord. Like I mentioned before in the last discussion my husband is not a believer. Sometimes I have asked myself, what if I had chosen another person for my spouse that was a Christian and rooted in the faith. Will my life be any different?

    • I understand how you feel about wanting to be ‘perfect’. When I hear slamming or banging around in the kitchen (my husband’s sound of frustration), I immediately wonder what I did this time. We talked recently about it and I told him it’s like I constantly wait for the other shoe to drop – that no matter how hard I try, it’s not good enough and I go through my day (I’m recently unemployed and now at home – so there have been changes there) I try to anticipate what might cause that banging and eliminate it so I’ll be in peace. It’s not the greatest way to live – but he is trying to be better about it since we discussed it.

      • I also live in fear of trying to make my husband happy, and every time he is upset I feel that it is my fault. It is something that I am working on, trying to just be in those moments, but I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop as well.

        • Cody, Debbie, Rosario
          I am just in such prayer for all of you. I have walked the life of not being good enough…of worrying what would set my husband off. It is a HARD road. We walked in active alcoholism for 10 LONG years. It was lonely and scary and I was angry and bitter.
          But God IS bigger than my nightmare and He can and will redeem even the darkest of places. Saturday my husband celebrates 5 years of continuous sobriety and 5 years of walking in Gods will. YAY!! It doesn’t mean that it isn’t still hard but God is there.
          So if it ever feels like you are in this alone. You Aren’t!! And if it ever feels like no one else has ever been there. They have.
          I get it….I’ve been there…and I have seen redemption. I am praying the same for all of you.

          • Kristin, thank you for sharing. What a praise that your husband has been sober for so long.
            Rosario, Cody, Debbie-
            I also struggle with wanting to be the perfect wife and please my husband. I have to remind myself that I am not doing it for him or anyone who comes through my house….but working for the Lord. I used to get so disappointed when my husband didn’t notice how hard I worked with 3 kids under 6 to get the house clean before he came home from work – but he always notices when it’s messy….right? I just now do my best for the Lord. Sometimes the house isn’t perfect but I know that God had me somewhere else that day or on the floor with my kids.
            It’s so challenging to please others, I guess we will never please our husband, kids, parents, friends etc. I am working hard on serving my Lord. I wish I would remember that more often.

          • Thank you Kristin!

            I also thank Cody, and Debbie for their comments. I was just sharing this with a new lady at our prayer group. About how I have tried everything to change in me those things that are wrong. I have prayed for more than 14 years. All I can do know is just leave it to God. He is the only one that can change my husband. He is the only one that can fill the emptiness our husband’s can’t fill. And I’m praying for husband to be sober too. My father is an alcoholic. My parents divorced when I was just 5 yrs old. Until know we have not had a bad problem with my husband. I try not to argue with him when he is drunk. He seems to be in a worst attitude when he has not had a lot to drink, then when he is drunk.

    • We can always fall into the trap of wondering how perfect our life would be if our husband were only more … (fill in the blank). If he were a Christian … If he were more calm, more energetic, more spiritual, more fun-loving … God wants us to look to Him, not our husband for our approval (as you already said). It has been a process for me to grow in that, and I still have days when I just get frustrated with my husband and wish he were different (bless his heart!). But, in time I always come to the place where I am humbled and see God as my source and my husband (flaws and all) as a gift to me. Expectations. They’ll kill me every time 🙂 Acceptance and Gratitude are the keys to my contentment.

      • Praying for all of you ladies to have God work his beauty within your marriages. All things are possible through him.
        Thank you for sharing your testimony, Kristin.

      • Patty,
        Thank you for reminding me of that part. I really need to confess that I often get in that trap….if my life were this way, if my husband was this or that. I need to just look to the Lord to fulfill my need and then I can overflow with love to others.

    • :0( Sorry you have to deal with that too. I struggle with trying to keep the house clean, laundry done and kids taken care of. My husband is a believer, but has been depressed for the last 2 years since he was laid off work. When he is home, if he calls me from another room, I immediatly think “What did I do this time?” It has taken me years (okay, I’m actually not there yet, but getting there), to realize that sometimes, he is just talking to me from another room. I don’t need to read into anything. I find that my expectations of myself at home are far higher than my husbands. Thank God! I struggle with trying to please my husband far to often, rather than turning to the Lord. I am also reading a book Power of a Positive Wife and have been making intentional decisions to put God first, always. So, there are still these kinds of problems in marriages with two believers. I think the difference is who you put your hope in. Praying for you!

      • Sabrina,
        I ask myself that same question, everytime my husband calls me. Since he is not the type of person tha call you just to have a chat with you. So I immediately think is something urgent or something I did wrong.

        God is my first priority, One thing that non-believers do not understand. My husband wants to be my first priority. Period. He does not understand when I want to focus on God. I can’t be reading the bible when he is home. So far, I have made it clear that Sundays are for going to church. And after that is family day. I can’t miss Church just because he wants to do something different.

        Thanks for your prayers. Will be praying for you too.

        • Rosario, I totally understand about your husband wanting to be a priority. My dad “disowned” me for years, because I chose to go to church in high school instead of spending my sundays with him, and I went to a christian camp for one week every summer instead of spending that time with the family. My parents were divorced, and he felt that any time I wasn’t with my mom (whom I lived with) I should be at his house. And even now that I am a married adult, my relationship with my dad and other siblings isn’t great, because they go do “fun” things on the weekends, and I go to church, and church events. It can be so hard to get them to understand. My husband has also not been wanting to go to church. Even as a believer, he isn’t “feeling the love” there. I am so thankful that my son (2) asks to go. Thanks for the prayers!

    • Rosario: My husband is not a believer either and I too ask myself the same questions. I struggle with going to church by myself with my kids. I feel like I am being judged even though more people than I can count have told me how proud they are of me for coming to church alone. I’ve been going to a wonderful church and need to hold onto only worrying about what God thinks of me. I definitely worry too much about what others think of me when the only one that matters is Him. I’m at a point where I need to turn my marriage, my life over to God and trust that it is only Him who can strike the desire in my husband to join me at church. It’s letting go of the what-if’s and trusting that this is the life the Lord has planned out for me. Thanks for reminding me that I am not alone.

  7. My heart just broke at the pain and humiliation you felt at the hands of ‘mean girls’ and the ‘dance school’. I think we’ve all felt that kind of pain – wanting to be liked, appreciated – only to be used and ridiculed. I think we need to remember the Lord’s pain and humiliation at those points in our life – and if we can unite our pain to our Lord’s – he can really use our sufferings to bring about good. It is part of the cross we bear in this world and the glory of which will be seen in the next.

    I can remember being the outcast in school as well – wanting to be perky and cute and invited to all the parties. Those times while my acquaintances partied gave me many opportunities to know myself through books and quiet time. And I’m guessing, Ang, that you had those times as well. We’re all so blessed by how God has used your pain for something greater – the opportunity to be published and to share your book with this group – and the opportunity for us all to be healed and blessed as a result of us working and praying together. Thank you.

  8. SO much to love in this chapter! The passage in Job, where God begins to question Job, is one of my most favorite parts of the Bible. Who are WE to question God? Yet, He allows it, if only to soothe us.

    Interesting thought: despite the fact that Jacob “despised” Leah, he STILL kept “visiting” her (at least 7 times that we know of). Makes one wonder…..

    I loved the part where Angie confronts all of us about using someone other than God, to meet our needs that God should be fulfilling. I’m not saying this well… we are using another human as a poor substitute for our God-needs. Wow!

    And, Angie, it hurt me when you told the story about the ballet “school.” I could see it coming, knew it wouldn’t end well for you, and hated that it happened. I also was one of the never-accepted, and have had my share of cruelties. I’m sorry for your pain. I KNOW how you felt!

    • Elaine, you brought up so great points! I never thought of why Jacob would continue to visit Leah if he despised her. Maybe he had lust for her but then despised her after he was with her? (maybe similar to the story of Tamar?)
      And I was heartbroken for Angie with the ballet story. Girls are so mean 🙁

      I struggle with trying to get fulfillment from humans and not God. I feel like I am constantly bringing that back to God and asking for forgiveness. Our God is truly the only one that can fulfill our needs and satisfy us.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Melanie

    • Elaine ,
      The part about using a person in your life as a substitute for God really struck a chord with me. It opened my eyes to the times that I have done this (or still might being doing this). It made me realize it’s a bad situation for everyone involved. God is ignored, and you miss a chance to nurture that relationship. Also, the person you are relying on feels bad for not being able to live up to impossible standards; and in the end you all end up disappointed.

  9. This chapter was SO good. I don’t have much time to write right now because my kiddos are all running around. I struggle with the fear of abandonment and rejection. I went through some similar experiences with Angie in the book and a very similar experience with Trish, so it was so refreshing to hear from her.
    I underlined the truth that Angie wrote that God will NEVER abandon me. I am SO thankful for that. I have experienced Him holding me hand and caring for me while I felt like the world abandoned me and I have experienced Him welcoming me back after I had rejected Him. This chapter was so refreshing. I reminder that no matter what God is here and He isn’t going anywhere.
    Thank you, Angie. And Trish for being so open. God is so good and I am thankful for this book club.

  10. There are so many great parts to this chapter. I continue to be blessed by these words Angie wrote and the videos too. Looking like a fool is a huge fear of mine and of course being rejected as well. There are several parts that stand out for me personally like “What a beautiful, profound image for all of us who are tempted to believe our pain can’t be transformed into glory.” I find that to be very comforting. Also this part particularly hit home with me. “In times where I have faced the sting of rejection and the agony of feeling forgotten, I have found the Love of my life faithful. That is the steady foundation for all other relationships, and the more I find my balance in Him, the less I will fret about what the world says.”

  11. It has been two months since my husband and I were reunited (by the grace of God) after almost 2 months of separation. Before the separation, I saw a relationship developing between him and a coworker and confronted him about it. Before we were united he confessed that during the separation, they had an affair. Everyday it has been a struggle emotionally and mentally to deal with everything that has happened. I am being treated for depression and anxiety (hereditary.) which complicates it further.

    My faith is the only thing that kept me hopeful of our marriage being restored. Through the separation, God provided me with the opportunity to overcome my fears of not being accepted by other women and trusting Him completely. As a result, I have some great new friendships and experienced the Women of Faith event. These things would not have happened without the separation. There is purpose in the pain.

    Things are going great now with our marriage. My husband is dedicated to our family and learning to trust God more and more. It’s a beautiful thing to be a witness to. My goal is to keep growing my relationship with God and not put my husband in His place when it comes to taking care of my needs. Thanks ladies!

    • Tiffany I am very happy to hear about your marriage. May God continue to work in the hearts of both of you drawing you closer to him. In God’s Love, sheila

      • Tiffany I am so glad to hear about your marriage! I pray that God will continue to work in your marriage!

  12. Thank you Angie and Trish for sharing your betrayal stories. I have walked a parallel life alongside of Trish. My husband was a pastor, we had a thriving church, we have three boys and my husband had an affair with a good friend. I am just a few steps, (years), ahead of Trish on this journey of life after betrayal. We lost everything within minutes of his confession—our church family, income, retirement savings, friends, our home—our life. The life we had known before this traumatic event was completely altered, forever. I have learned many lessons on my journey; some came at quite a cost, others were not so difficult but more like a soothing balm to my wounded heart. Hope was restored—my life was restored.

    Over the years I have heard many tragic stories of marriages that did not survive the assault on their lives—their hearts. Rejes and Anne asked the same question that others have asked, “What happens to the women when what they fear does happen, and there is no redemption at the end of it?” My heart aches with such a forlorn question.

    Brokenhearted girls; you may be walking this painful path without your spouse, but one thing I do know—God is not done with your story. Your heart will in time stop bleeding from the wounds that have been inflicted. You can heal; you can move on. Choose to survive; choose to do the hard, hard work of discovering the broken and mangled parts that are left after such a heart injury. Redemption starts from within oneself. If one does not ‘choose’ to heal, whether a marriage stays intact or not, their life will not be restored. It is hard work, the lessons are painful, but worth it. Never give up on hope; Never! God is walking the path right beside you; lean in close to him—do not let go of his guiding hand—you are not alone. Do not give up on you! My prayers go out to all who are struggling with life after betrayal.

  13. Even though it made me uncomfortable, I could relate so well to this chapter. I definitely had to deal with the “nasty girls” at school growing up. My mother suffered from debilitating depression, so while the other kids in my class had play dates and mothers who were friends with one another, I was left out of that network because my mother rarely ventured out. Because of that, fear held me back from other people for way too long.

    I’ve been finding myself thinking on that passage from Job all week, though. Such a powerful reminder!

  14. My book came in the mail on Sat., Sept. 4, the day after my husband left me. I knew I would need this book and you ladies in the coming months and it’s never been more true than right now. My husband battles with depression, serious depression that then turns him to his vices. At this point, it’s not something me and the kids can live with. So we are separate. My rejection, betrayal and abandonment is all mingled and at times confusing for me to understand as a Christian wife and mother; ‘in sickness and in health’.
    Now I am the one rejecting him,

    The sentence on Pg 37 makes me cringe: ‘the other person always has the decision of what to do wtih your affection.” we all long to be ‘in the inner circle’ – I love this, because it’s true even now at 40, I long to have friends I can share everything with, yet I don’t because ‘what am I afraid of? Them knowing the real me, me seeing myself for who I really am?

    And then on Pg 41, learning to own what it ours (our feelings, our reactions), not making it someone else’s fault. My husband is not the only one to blame for the collapse of our marriage, mental health & addictions did not help, but I think I really tried to do in his life what God was intended to do. And when it wasn’t working, I am/was lost. Will God redeem this marriage? I don’t know, but I am learning that God can care about me, even if I am separated from my husband. Ow…
    In God’s Love, sheila

    • Sheila – praying for you in this difficult season. It is so hard to understand the “whys”…esp. when we look around and it seems like everyone else has it all together and perfect. But as I read just even the comments here today I am reminded that we are not alone. God is with us – but there are fellow believers, other women out there battling with similar struggles and we can draw strength from eachother. Praying for one another and hopefully some day sharing in the joys of how God has transformed us!! Hugs coming your way!!

    • Sheila-You will be in my prayers! What a hard thing to go through! I know what you mean when you long to have friends that you can share everything with. I am in the same boat! I would love to be able to tell friends about struggles in my marriage or just in life in general but I feel that I will be judged because they all seem to have everything together! I am so glad that I have this book study to open up to everyone even if I don’t know you I will still take what you say to heart and pray for everyone!

  15. “I have no issues believing He set the wavs of the ocean into their course, or that He breathed life into being, but as far as this situation with someone who broke me? I can’t imagine why He would make Himself small enough to care. My mind says, “They have rejected me, so I guess You have as well.” pg. 44
    This is the section of this chapter that resonated with me the most. I am thankful that my life is full of sound relationships at the moment, but it hasn’t always been that way. And now, I find myself believing that God’s Word is true, but not really believing it’s true for me. It’s a hard thing to share because the two seem impossible to put together, but this book is helping me look at scripture and wrap my head around it. I’m so thankful for all of you who are willing to share your stories, the hard and the hopeful.
    Peace,
    Emily

  16. What a great and challenging chapter. One of the comments that hit me was on pg 32 “And in each of these moments, whether you realize it or not your image of God has been tested. You know He would never leave you, even if the rest of the world did. At least you don’t think He would”.

    When my husband and I walked through a year yr season of active drinking and fighting and struggling….I began to believe that God HAD forsaken me. I mean here I was a “Christian good-girl” ha ha right :)!….who had done everything “right” and look what my reward was. A husband who couldn’t control his alcohol. He would lie straight to my face….tell me he wasn’t drinking and then stumble away. I felt like a crazy person. I couldn’t distinguish the true from the false….and that spilled over into my faith life as well.

    I would believe God wanted the best for me but when I would pray for a miracle and I didn’t get one. When my husband got sober and wanted to start praying as a family I was bitter and resentful. It was like how dare he try to be the spiritual leader now….even though I had prayed for that for years!

    The lies that I believed permeated every aspect of my life and I was unable to see the blessings that were unfolding in front of me. It took a LONG time – but that area of my life and my marriage has been healed. God took my darkness, my resistance and made beauty in spite of me.

    I am so grateful for this book and this forum where we can share and encourage each other and it is my hope that we all will begin to see that we are not alone regardless of where we are in our personal journeys.

    • I can relate to that – “He’s lecturing me – on spirituality? Give me a break.” It did to be a little much and he finally realized that he was pushing people away rather than bringing them closer – but I am constantly amazed at the changes in him. It’s funny how an encounter with God – no matter what stage in life you’re in or how old you may be – can fast-forward you up the spiritual ladder. Sometimes I do find myself trying to ‘catch up’ and perhaps, even a bit of envy on how he is able to ‘talk’ with the Lord throughout his day. My husband was unemployed for nearly two years and God really used that time to bring him closer to Him and help us to realize that we were not in control. Now it’s my opportunity to hopefully learn the same lessons as I struggle as an unemployed middle aged woman in a new area – while my husband works. Praise God.

  17. “It’s easy to trust in the sunshine of life, isn’t it?” I agree with that.

    when I got married, I felt like my husband would meet my every need. If he didn’t, my children would..one of the two is in heaven. It took me 3 years and a loss of a child to help me realize that people will NOT be everything I need. They WON’T always know what to say or do.

    After my daughter died ( I am sorry if your tired of me talking about her. just tell me 🙂 I wanted people to have the right words, do the right things..it seemed like everyone left me..all but one friend..I had one true friend who I could call to be with me whenever I needed. It was heartbreaking but it was a harsh reality only God can heal..and as someone put it who had been through her own grief “Where else would I go”

    I wanted so badly to run from God, if there was a God. In the same token, if he held my baby close, I wanted to know the guy who held her even better than I had before…

    that was sort of a tangent…

    • If anyone tells you they are tired of you talking about her, I would be sad. You will need to grieve this loss until the day you go to be with Jesus (and her!) in heaven. I am SO sorry for this horrendous loss in your life, Ashley. I can not even imagine what that would be like though I have walked that road with a few dear friends. What a huge pain to bear. I am thankful that you were brave enough to let the pain turn you towards God and not from Him (though there are waves of grief and both turning towards and from Him are normal parts of that process). I remember the passage where we are told that Jesus wept. It helps me know that God shares in our grief. He chose to then. He is our Great High Priest Who Sympathizes. He is with us in our pain.

      • Thank you Patty 🙂 I needed to hear that. I particularly needed to hear that the ‘road’ of grief takes us to a place both to and away from God. Over the past 2 years in particular , I’ve strayed..and come back and vice versa. To me, there is so much shame in it. I am reading the book ‘ a grief observed’ by C.S. Lewis (as recommended by a preacher) in it, he talks about how our beliefs don’t become real to us unless there is a life or death situation (very loosely translation of what he said)..I could totally relate!

        • Ashley, another great book is “Recovering from Life’s Losses” by Norm Wright. He is a Christian Therapist who specializes in grief. The book helps give a “map” and understanding to grief as well as really practical tools and some bible study type questions too. Very good. I gave it to a dear friend when her eight-year-old daughter died of brain cancer and she said it was the best tool in helping her grieve well. God knows how much this hurts you and He is not going to leave you after such an awful tragedy. If you rail against Him or wander as a result of your grief, He is bigger than those emotional reactions. He truly is not surprised by them and actually is with you as you go through them. Praying for you.

  18. This chapter was such a beautiful reminder that we must put our focus on God and how he meets our needs rather than on people. People can let us down. People can hurt us. We are only flesh and blood – even when we try to do our best. Thank you God, for mercy! I have to remember to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust that his promise to never leave us is TRUTH. I make a conscious choice to focus on this each and every day.

  19. Okay, I have over-participated already, but I was so moved by some of the comments as I read, that I had to post some replies. I still want to thank you, Angie. This chapter (and I have read a little further in the book) is my fave so far. I truly appreciate you sharing your horrible hazing experiences. I am so sorry you lived through such bad treatment. Girls can be so mean spirited, and without any real deep reason. You have turned into an amazing and beautiful woman as a grown woman, but I know somewhere in your heart there still can be the feelings of that little girl who was so hopeful and so taken by others.

    I was excluded as a child and I owned the opinions of the girls who formed a club and wouldn’t let me in. When I look back at the girl I was, I just want to give that girl (me!) a hug and a pep-talk and help her (myself!) to see beyond the moment. Unfortunately, the grown ups around me weren’t as encouraging. I felt that way for you too, Angie, as I read about your experience. I just wanted to go give those girls a piece of my mind (I don’t do that, but sure felt like it!) and to tell you what they were missing by putting you in such a humiliating position.

    As you say, those early experiences are so formative in our hearts. It took me years to overcome the drive to make others approve of me. I’m still growing and I find those fears driving me on occasion in ways that surprise me. Outwardly I am at a place (even to my own mind) where I don’t care what others think. And, I experience so much more freedom as a result. But, still, when certain people come to my home I worry about it being a mess. When I gain a little weight I wonder if friends of mine will judge me. These are thoughts that are driven by the fear of rejection and the pain that goes with it. As you say on page 37, “The sting of rejection is brutal, and for many of us it leads to avoiding any situation where it could happen again.” You hit the nail on the head. But, if we avoid rejection, we also avoid intimacy and we become so lonely. That’s what happened to me. I finally had to let some people in to my loneliness. Thankfully, God sent some loving, affirming women into my life in the past 15 years and I have grown through their loving touch (Jesus loving me through them).

    Thanks, Angie for your honesty. I, personally love when you put yourself into this book. I get the most from the parts you have relayed from your own life.

  20. I will echo again – thanks for writing this book, Angie! Thanks to Jessica for helping to create this online community. AND … thank you Trish for sharing your story with us.
    I’ve read the comments here and love that women are touching one another’s souls with love and care. Praying for you ladies this week.
    The fear of abandonment/rejection – is not a stranger to me, either. We were not chosen to parent this year – when we sought to adopt. I’ve lost friendships – and some have changed.
    The ‘take-away’ from this chapter for me was this; ‘When we depend on others to be our God, we strike out on a couple different levels. We burden them with blame for their lack of ability and we forfeit what God could have done if we would have honored Him the way we should have.” (Smith, 41)

  21. The ending of this chapter was amazingly powerful. I got goosebumps!!
    I can relate to how Angie became dependant on her husband fot everything. I am the same way and im working on it. Just like she said, I hang on ehat words he chooses to comfort me and basically my mental state hangs on the balance, lol. So well said, He has not or ever will forsake me. He will never reject or betray him like some have and will.
    I can also.relate to the fear of rejection. I, too was teased in middle achool. I was over weight, had really crooked teeth, and dressed bummy. (i grew up with my grandparents in a lower class neighborhood, so when I had to move to the upper class area with my father, it was a shock to the system and very tough to assimilate to another way of life). These days, I still have my moments where there could be other mothers talking quietly around me and I always get nervous that they are talking about me….

  22. LI also loved the scripture on Jobs conversation with the Lord and how blantant God was with him. It was an eye opener.
    I also cried about Leah. What a horrible way to live, constantly trying to win him over. Thankfully, finally reaffirming herself with God and living for him.
    I have so much work I have to do regarding my faith and relationship with Him. I want that ultimate soul quenching relationship with him. This season of my life is lacking. I need him now more than I ever imagined. Im so busy with the 3 babies… its so hectic. No one will ever stay by my side like he would. He deserves for me to put in the leg work to get closer.
    Im a bit late to this chapter so I will read all the other comments when the baby goes down. Thank you!!

  23. This chapter was great! It poked and prodded at parts of my heart that I didn’t even realize were hurting! I would love to think my marriage is great! We love eachother wholeheartedly but my husband is gone nightly having “a beer with the guys”. I know it’s not just one beer and I am becoming exhausted trying to make our marriage better, being a parent and taking care of our house by myself! I try to tell him how I feel and he apologizes and says he knows he needs to try to do better but he doesn’t! Why do I feel I need to please him when I feel that he isn’t trying to please me? I love him and want a great marriage we are just struggling! I have a fear of not being perfect for him or our friends. I smile and act happy in public, but deep down I have hurts.
    On pg. 39 I highlighted when Angie said “I haven’t specifically done that, but I’ve done plenty in the way of trying to make someone love me for the wrong reasons.” I have done that my whole life! Especially in highschool when it was cool to party, makeout or even have sex. Did I screw up?? Ya, big time! I know I am forgiven but now that I am older and looking back how was that going to make people love me?? Really Lisa! Uggh! Did I ever think to turn to God and remember that he loves me no mater what! I didn’t have to prove myself!
    I can’t wait to read more of this book! It is making me really look deeper into myself!

  24. I think this is such a powerful chapter because in some way or another we have all struggled with rejection, abandonment, and betrayal. My story of rejection is not unlike Angie’s with mean, mean girls in school but little by little the situation improved. After being with the same peers for nine years, I got the opportunity to start over in college. It was in that fresh start that I saw God’s faithfulness and built amazing, godly friendships. Yet God asked me to let go of those friends this past May (darn graduation… why didn’t we all fail?) and has (temporarily, I hope) moved me 900 miles back to the town where I grew up (with no friends). Now as I search for a job, it’s the rejection once again. Rejection from this grad school, that job, this group of friends, that activity… Yet through it all I strive to remember that God WILL not reject me. Not now. Not in middle school. Not ever.

    In reading the chapter, I had written down the passage that Jess read aloud because it’s something I need to read and reread and reread. “The world is not going to teach us how to love God; only God can do that” (43 in my book). And sometimes God does that through rejection, through hurtful moments, through realizing that He is the only thing you have. And He teaches you to be ok with that. It’s a hard lesson to learn and one that we need to keep learning.

    Katie

  25. This chapter kinda made my guts hurt… 🙂 so many emotions!

    p. 32, as discussed in the video: “It is a terrifying thing to put your full weight into someone, only to be exposed as the fool”… and even more terrifying? When you find out you have allowed it to happen over, and over, and over again…

    p. 37: “It is so hard to love people in full expectation of them loving you back. You put it all out there, knowing that the other person always has the decision of what to do with your affection.” And we can sometimes put it out there over, and over, and over again to the SAME person, thinking, “this time will be different… I have lost enough weight… I gotten a big enough raise… I am taking better care of my bills, my house, myself….” and… that other person may STILL no receive you for all of the beautiful worth you were made of.

    p. 39: “I’ve done plenty in the way of trying to make someone love me for the wrong reasons.” What about simply because you THOUGHT he was the one?!?! Maybe the reasons didn’t seem so wrong at the time…. I mean… who really knows exactly whether or not the “love” that you are feeling IS love??? the real, long-lasting, LOVE?

    p. 40: “She made the conscious decision to stop trying to please man and pursue what she desired in favor of praising God for blessing her with children.” (Talking about Leah) Conscious…. it takes a long while for this decision to become CONSCIOUS… but when it does… THAT is when the redemption begins to unravel… when the decision is made to be open, to listen, to be patient, to be Loved by a God that desires our hearts… a God that WANTS to heal our hurts… a God that will not abandon or forsake us…

    In my small group Bible study, we just began studying 2 Corinthians. Tonight, we discussed chapter 1, vs. 20: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.” NO MATTER WHAT. The problem? God doesn’t promise to give us whatever we want, or to have things always go OUR way. God promises to never abandon, He promises to provide, He promises LOTS of things (have you checked a concordance for the word promise lately? It’s a BEAUTIFUL search)… but, the hardest part for our human brains, is that we don’t get to determine how His promises are fulfilled. We just have to have faith that it will all lead us to a day of glory.

    I am not married. I have never been betrayed. However, I worked extremely hard to be loved, and to be good enough, and in the end, I was abandoned. And, at the time, I was devastated… and I was devastated for a LONG time. I fear ever feeling that way again. I have avoided dating every since. I long to be a wife, and a mommy. However, I fear giving myself so wholly to a man, that I forget that God deserves to be (and I only thrive, when he is at) the center of my heart and my life.

    When my relationship ended, I fought to understand. However, I continuously wanted my ex to be the one to explain it. It took months, if not a good couple of years, for me to ask God to explain. It took even longer for me to be open to His answer. But, they have come. My life is in a place it NEVER would have journeyed to had that relationship not ended. I still consider the what-ifs. I still miss that friend and many things about that partnership. But, now, several years later, I have a peace I never expected. I understand things that only God could reveal, and only over time that I spent relying on Him. It has, albeit difficult, been a beautiful journey.

    And now, when I wonder where my husband is, and how I will ever find him, and how I will keep my eyes on Jesus even in the midst of falling in human love… I pray… because God keeps his promises, and He will allow me to prosper. I thank him for the brokenness that has brought me to where I am… I thank Him for growing me and preparing me for a life spent glorifying Him…. I thank Him for being my everything… especially when I need it the most.

    • Oh, sweetie – my heart just aches for you. It is a journey, isn’t it? You will find the mate that God created especially for you – and you don’t need to go looking for him – God and his holy angels will bring him to you. I know that as such a certainty in my heart. Trust. “Jesus, I trust in You” should be your mantra whenever you’re feeling down and disheartened. Offer your day to God every morning in praise and thanksgiving, ask that His will be done in you and let it be. Go about your day in faith that the God of all creation has your best interest in heart. I know you know all these things in your heart and that you’re most likely doing all of them – but I just felt a call to reinforce the good works you’re already doing and let you know how very happy I am that you’re on this journey with this wonderful group of women. God bless you.

  26. I love reading through the comments. We all have so many different stories and I leanr from reading and listening to what everyone is going through. I can’t say I can nail down one instance that has brought me to where I am but a lifetime of feeling betrayed and rejected. I am in my second marriage and it is not a good one. I asked my counselor why i have done this again. I’ve read the books and prayed. But the realization that a lifetime of feeling rejected by parents and then second husband has lead me down this path of thinking that how people are around me rules my world and I try to control all that and I don’t lean on God like I should. As Trish said, I have learned to ‘unearth’ some things from my past that have helped me come to where I realize God keeps putting me in situations where I have to lean on Him because it’s all I have and now I see it’s a lesson He’s been trying to teach me for years. Yes my husband is completely detached and depressed all the time but I can overcome. Yes my 17 year old son is angry for his dad leaving us (still after 7 years) but I can overcome. Yes I am raising a special needs daughter who will forever need me 24 hours a day but I can overcome. BUT only if I lean on HIM and not the people around me. I am getting that.

    My favorite line, page 42: ” Sometimes I think He allows us to go down the little bunny-trails of expectation with others because we have to learn the hard way in order for it to be real to us. He is the only One Who can love in a way that truly satisfies.”

    And I say AMEN!

    • So true of your comment “…BUT only if I lean on HIM and not the people around me. I am getting that.” I read a quote not too long ago, and it was a huge eye-opener forme. “God won’t give you anything you can’t handle…WITH HIM.” I’ve seen the other version a lot “God won’t give me anything I can’t handle…I just wish he didn’t trust me so much!” but the first one is so true!

      • Oh man, I HATE that second quote. HATE IT. I’ve had 19 surgeries in my life, 9 of which were in 2009 and 2010, and everytime something new happened, another prolem or another surgery showed up, people kept telling me that. I started to listen to it, too. And then I learned – God will give you PLENTY of things you can’t handle on your own. He gave me all the surgeries and missing college, so that I could fully realize that He is the ONLY reason I am alive and where I am at today. It took 5 years of basically medical hell to realize that everything good that has come out of my life, the fact that I am still alive, is because He has carried me through everything.

        During the 1000 Gifts study, I brought up that quote and another woman reminded me that there is NOTHING Biblically true about that statement. That also helped me learn. (Did I mention I LOVE this community? :))

  27. Angie, Jess, Trish: I just wanted to say a huge Thank You. The love and encouragement from the ladies above truly touch my heart. In God’s Love, sheila

  28. After watching the chapter discussion, I visited Trish and her husband’s website, and learned more about their story. Wow! Despite the hurt, this is a shining example of grace, forgiveness, and healing. To see how they both handled their crisis was awe-inspiring. God bless them!

  29. This was a hard chapter to read. It brought back some memories I hadn’t thought of in a long time. We didn’t have much money growing up, and a lot of our clothes came from the thrift store. I didn’t like that because they were used, old clothes, but my mom would just tell me that no one would no. Yeah, they wouldn’t…until I went to school wearing a flannel that used to belong to one of the “mean girls”!

    This girl already hated me, because I said I was hispanic (caucasion mom, mexican dad) but I have very fair skin. My sister has a darker complextion, and she didn’t believe we were sisters. The things kids care about….anyway, she saw me on the bus wearing the flannel that used to be hers. I denied it. She was making mean comments until we got off the bus. She told her friends, who laughed. Then she walked over and lifted up the bottom of the shirt. Yup, it had her name written in permanent marker on the inside of that shirt.

    I don’t know if that’s when my “perfection” kicked in, but I can’t remember trying to please everyone so much before that. I only spoke when spoken too, I agreed with everyone because they might think my ideas were silly, I didn’t (and still don’t) say no to people, because I think they might not like me if I do. I still try to please everyone in my life. My dad, my mom, husband,siblings…what a hard job! I am trying to focuson pleasing just one, our God, an in turn be a blessing to others, even if I’m “just” me.

    • Sabrina-
      We had a Champion factory outlet store in the town where I grew up. My mom always made us shop there for clothes first. It was soooo embarassing! I always hoped no one would see me going in. Funny thing though, when I got to college Champion brand was all the rage and everyone wanted to wear it! People were actually jealous that I had a Champion outlet near my home!
      I’m sorry about what happened to you with that mean girl. I’m certain you are a blessing to others. And NOT because you agree with everyone and try to please them. But because you are as you said, “just you”. I hope you realize that you will still be a blessing to others even if you don’t agree with everything they say or do and even if you do tell them, “no”. It is ok to be “just” you. As Dr. Suess said, “Those who matter won’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.”

  30. Can you please instruct me how to access the video discussions for Intro and Chapter 1. I am doing the book in my Bible study and would love to be able to view these. We are doing Chapter 2 tomorrow and can access that, but unable to get to the first two. Thanks. The book is such a gift! Thank you Angie and thanks to Jess and all the other chapter guests to share publicly their fears and experiences. God bless you!

    • Yep! If you go to the Bloom Book Club link on the Incourage website and scroll all the way to the bottom and there is a list of “Recent Posts”. You will see that Chapter 1 is there, as well as the Intro (and if the Intro is gone by then, go to “older posts” and you should still be able to get to it). Open the link to the older post and the video still works.

  31. I’ve always been kind of the social “outcast”. I’m kind of quiet and afraid of people anyway. Not because I think they’re mean or anything, I’m just afraid they’ll think I’m stupid.

    I really understood what Angie was saying on pg 37 when she talks about the subtle conversation that doesn’t include you. Most of my experience with that though is that it included me, but not because they were talking TO me. They were talking ABOUT me and pointing mental fingers, at least that’s how I felt. In school I was quiet and smart and didn’t have “normal” friends. I was friends with all the other “outcasts”. A couple of us even mentioned something about it to one of the other girls in class and she told us we weren’t. Too bad we weren’t really treated that way. I didn’t want to open up to people, even people who really wanted to be friends, because I didn’t feel like anyone would want to be my friend. I mean really, no one else did, why would they?

    Fast forward some years. I’ve liked the man I’m married to for something like 16 yrs. And this was before we were married. I fully believed he’d never ever even think about cheating on me. I mean why would he? He loved me, hadn’t ever dated anyone but me, etc. We didn’t get married life off to a great start, him being fresh back from Iraq and me not having the “friend” I was convinced I had. While I’m thankful he never did cheat on me, I was kind of hurt when he told me he’d thought about it. I knew I wasn’t the best wife ever but really? I felt pretty dumb. I’d never even thought about any other guy as “cute” or “hot” and he’d been thinking about sleeping with someone else. Wow. I was upset with him, not as much as I would have been had he actually done it but still… Oddly enough, I never had a beef with God about it, but boy was I upset with the one who offered it to my husband. I felt disrespected more by her than by him. She knew he was married, with one kid (and one on the way) and she still offered. Seriously? Now we’re fine but I’m still working on getting back to a place where I know, in my head, that nothing will happen. I know it in my heart ‘cos I’ve seen him change but in my head, there are times when I go “get it right or else”.

  32. I know I’m late to the party (darn this college education!) but I had to come let this out because this chapter deals with the biggest fear that I have struggled with for pretty much my entire life.

    My dad died two days after my seventh birthday. That’s a pretty huge abandonment. I know it’s different because my dad didn’t *choose* to leave, but on top of losing him, I saw it as God betraying me by taking him away. It took me about four years to even want to bother with God again. But once I managed to work through that, I started being bullied at school even worse than I had been before. Every single “friend” I let myself trust was a fake, stabbing me in the back just to get amusement from my pain. I thought I was the fool. I thought I was the one with the problem because no matter what I did, I couldn’t stop it. By the time I was in high school, it was happening every day so badly that I didn’t even want to go to school anymore. I had ONE friend, who by the grace of God is still my best friend today, and I didn’t speak to anyone else. But when he left for college (he was two grades ahead of me), I felt abandoned again. Our relationship wasn’t the same because he didn’t have the same time for me that he did when we were in high school together. And even when we did talk, I had this nagging feeling in my gut, terrified to even spend time with him because something (which I now realize was Satan) kept telling me that he was going to hurt me just like everyone else, that he couldn’t possibly care about me because I was such a loser. I thank God every day for Matt, because no matter how many times I questioned him, he never got angry, he never left me, even when I did a lot of really stupid things out of fear. Over and over again, those voices would haunt me, and he would listen and reassure me, and about a year ago, I finally realized that he had never done anything to deserve me questioning him or our relationship. Even now, though, as a 19-year-old college student, I struggle with those same trust issues today because I have been abandoned, rejected, and betrayed so many times. But I finally have the wisdom to know that when bullies in my (college!) classes make fun of me, it’s not my fault. I still have to fight through the instinctual reaction of blaming myself and feelings of idiocy, however, and I hope and pray that I don’t have to deal with this for the rest of my life because I want to have a good, solid relationship with my future husband.

  33. Trish, I thank you so much for your openness and sharing your testimony of betrayal and grace with us. Your story hit close to home because as I read this chapter I thought of my own marriage. Though, my marriage was not under attack quite in the same way yours was, I discovered that my husband (a great Christian man, husband, and father) had been addicted to pornography for over two years. I was heart broken. I felt betrayed. It is adultery in every sense of the word. I felt very betrayed and lied to. He had spent the years in our marriage making statements about “protecting his heart.” I can think of countless times where he didn’t go certain places with friends because he said “it is a bad situation and I need to protect my heart and eyes.” It was all a big lie. I really connected with what you said, “God, I know you are there, how could you stand aside and let me look like a complete fool??” I have been able to forgive my husband, and God has given shown me how to give him grace in ways that I never imagined in the beginning that I could. However, this being in recent years, I still have that fear in the back of my mind. Satan is constantly whispering “How do you know that is all that went on?” In the beginning of our marriage counseling and trying to work things out, I wouldn’t leave the house with him at home alone. I had let fear and betrayal let me think of and look at my husband as a man that could not be trusted. Though he did need to earn my trust and intimacy back, I was letting satan lie to me that nothing could change. “Once a porn addict, always a porn addict.” I battle with these thoughts, but I am confident that with God’s help and strength I can overcome them and learn to whole heartedly trust my husband again.

    This also makes me think of chapter 1, and the “what ifs.” When we first were going through this issue as a couple, I CONSTANTLY had “what ifs” being whispered into my ear by satan. “What if you had made yourself more available to your husband?” “What if you had lost the baby weight faster?” Satan had drilled himself so far into my brain that I was blaming myself for an addiction that had nothing to do with me.

    I also have struggled with something that was said on page 37: “It is so hard to love people in full expectation of them loving you back. You put it all out there, knowing that the other person always has the decision of what to do with your affection.” With me, this battle is dealing with my grace and forgiveness. It is hard for me to extend full grace and forgiveness to my husband, knowing full well he could go behind my back again or just throw it all in my face and say forget it. Again…satan’s lies.

    • Katie,
      first and foremost I am so sorry to hear of your story. I too have been there. It is devasting. I have a blog friend who is a godly woman. She has just battled breast cancer and just found out that her husband what doing pornography. Her blog is
      http://feelthetatas.blogspot.com/. Maybe this will help you some.

      Praying for you.

      lori wilson

  34. ok, I have been away on vacation and am playing catch up. I am so late to this party.

    Trish: Thank you for being willing to share your story. I visited your blog, and as God would have it, we had a friend in town who shared he was having issues in his marriage. I was able to share with him a lot of what I had read and pointed him toward your blog. Later, my husband and I chatted about some of the things you shared on your list of 8 things that hurt and then healed your marriage. I know I will be sending others your way. What a story of redemption! Wow! 🙂

    This chapter took me back to a lot of scarred places in my heart that God and I have had to deal with — the part of the chapter that encouraged me the most was on page 42: “The Lord chose the woman who had been rejected to be part of the lineage that brought the Redeemer Himself. What a beautiful, profound image for all of us who are tempted to believe that our pain can’t be transformed into glory.” I have to remember that Jesus Himself was a man of sorrows — he knows all about rejection, and He will meet me right where I am not matter what.

  35. This chapter hit me to the core. It was amazing and eye opening all over again. I just like Trish, and probably so many others that have written or that maybe are quiet right now bc this is the season that they are going thru this, have been cheated on. My story is difficult still because even though it has been 2 years feels like yesterday. I remember my world ending April 17, 2007, 5 months after the birth of our son I too found out that my husband cheated on me. At that point too, I felt the fear of being a fool. Why when I thought I had and was to have the perfect marriage would my world be totally flipped and the man that I loved cheated on me? We went on to “work” on our marriage but a year and a half later again I found my world stopped because his cheating didn’t stop. I remember thinking “Lord, what are you doing? Why Lord? I am trying to be the perfect girl for you Lord.” Well I wasn’t I was trying to hold my marriage together and trying to be what everyone wanted me to be. I couldn’t understand, but I was determined to forgive once again. I always had the love of God and true forgiveness for my husband. But yet again 2 years ago in December my life was put on hold. Found out for the 3rd time in less than 4 years that my husband was cheating on me. This time I didn’t feel the abondment of God, I didn’t have harsh feelings toward Him. I just knew that it couldn’t go on. Its been almost 2 years and it is still day by day. God has grown me in ways I never knew. We are still technically married. We don’t live together. He is dating someone else. I am alone. But I know that Our God is helping me and walking me thru things. I have the “praise” that Leah had. We probably won’t get back together. I have forgiven him, I still love him like I will probably always will, but he has not forgiven himself and has totally turned his back against Our God. It is the hardest journey ever. After reading this chapter it is such a great reminder that God is still there for me. I love the part Angie when you wrote, “Once there was a little girl who wanted to be a ballerina. But even more wanted to be liked. When the world told her she could do niether. He walked her home and asked her to dance…” God is dancing and walking me thru this season of my life. Don’t yell at God He is the one that is still walking beside us when those we depended on for so long let us down. Thank you for letting me share.