Now, I'm not putting this out there to excuse my decisions or behaviors. But to say that this is no joke. It's a dangerous thing. It's an addiction. Being emotionally fulfilled was my drug. Just because it's not something I drink, smoke, or shoot up doesn't mean it's not equally as powerful. And in truth, it is something Satan will use the rest of my life. I'll explain a little bit more about some of the realizations I had about this in Part 3, but right now I'll pick back up where I left off.
The month of November was hard for me. I lived in a torn state. I wasn't ready to give up on the affair because I had put so much of myself into it. I craved the attention and the emotional high of it. But, I didn't want to give up on my marriage because I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. I knew that I needed to surround myself with a select few people who l knew would love me but be honest with me. I needed accountability. But, it didn't take long before I was back into the regular habits and patterns of hiding and lying to most of them.
On December 4th of last year, Aaron came home in a rage. He had found out again that I'd been lying about the situation and had finally had enough. He told me that he loved me and he wanted to make our marriage work, but my choices were making it impossible to do that. He went upstairs, packed himself a bag, and packed a bag for our girls and told me it was time to make a choice. I was either going to continue down the path I was on or I was going to choose to do what I knew was right. If I chose my current path, he was taking the girls and leaving. At first I was totally enraged. And indignant. In fact, I left. I got in the van and I drove to a CVS parking lot down the street and sat there and cried for over an hour. I knew it was time. I was at a fork in a road and the choice I made would determine what direction my life would take. But, ultimately, my decision to go home was 100% for my girls. It really had nothing to do with Aaron. I came home, sat down with Aaron and let him set ground rules for how our relationship would proceed. I cut off all forms of communication with the other guy. Then I went to bed.
I woke up the next morning and I felt a physical relief. It literally felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. But I still felt like a shell of myself. A rock hard shell. Yes, I cried. Yes, I hurt. Yes, I felt things. But I was so used to experiencing God in such a deep emotional way that I couldn't make sense of the fact that I felt almost nothing regarding the choices I'd made. I felt almost nothing towards to state of my marriage. And most of all, I just agreed to stay married to a man that I felt nothing for.
It was a few days later when I got some advice from one of those trusted people that really changed my life. The words themselves didn't change my life, the carrying out of the words changed my life.
It's not about how you feel. It's about what's right. And the right thing is doing the things you don't feel like doing sometimes.
Aaron and I decided from that point on we were going to do the hard things. The things we'd been avoiding, the things we didn't want to do, because we knew it was what we needed to do. God intervened in our life and relationship in so many ways during that time it's almost laughable now. During this time, Aaron was in the process of transitioning jobs from his old job to the post office. It ended up, because of the holiday's and his training schedule, he was home with us for almost the whole month of December. It gave us the opportunity to spend almost every minute together. It was like God dropped us into the middle of relationship boot camp. God led me to a bible study I did with a friend, and later with our women's group from church, and it addressed almost each and every issue I went into the affair with.
And still I prayed.
I prayed that I could understand my sin. I could understand my consequences. That I could grasp the chain reaction for potential generations that was put in motion by the decision I'd made. I wanted to feel guilt. I needed to feel shame. I wanted to feel anything really. I expected self loathing. Any self respecting person should right? I mean, I'm a christian- a Pastor's wife for crying out loud. I should be wearing sack cloth and rubbing ashes on my face. I wanted to wear around a Scarlet A. And in many ways I felt like I was. I'd walk through the grocery store and think... "man, if that person only knew what was going on in my life and what I've done". I sometimes felt like there was a sign hanging above my head. A flashing neon sign that labeled me. I expected everyone to judge me harshly. I knew that's what I deserved.
Mid January I learned an old word. A word that I'd thrown around for years but never understood. That word was grace. And grace changes everything.
To be continued...