My Healing Place
“God is more powerful than anybody’s past, no matter how wretched. He can make us forget – not by erasing the memory but by taking the sting and paralyzing effect out of it”
“… But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:24-27
I walked through the doors of Austin Music Hall – not for a concert. A concert would have felt so much more comfortable. I was surrounded by 1,000 plus women for the first ever IF:Gathering. I was invited by my friend to help with a sponsor table he had. Attending women’s events was not exactly on my Top 1,000 Favorite Things To Do List in that season of my life. But for some reason, I went.
Coming home to my marriage and family almost a year earlier was the beginning of something new and beautiful in the making. It would take time to heal. Redemption and healing are full of dimensions. We couldn’t do things the same way we had done before. It would be a whole new way of loving, relating, living and learning. There is always more of God to be found and always more of ourselves to lose and let go of.
I was still fragile, frail, healing, and carrying the secret of adultery that I planned to leave back in Dallas, Texas. Being new to Austin though and not knowing many people yet, I felt safe. ‘I won’t see anyone I know’, ‘It’s for a good cause’, I thought. ‘I can attend in anonymity. ‘
My friend,who was a sponsor, had arranged for me to have a seat among some of his friends …at the FRONT…with a table of known, influential, Godly female bloggers….right next to all of the globally influential speakers. I felt like God was hilarious…or just ridiculous. I didn’t know how to feel. Scared. Nervous. Excited. Excited? Nervous.
For a couple of months I had felt like I needed to share my story of God’s redemption – maybe it would help someone not give up on their marriage, or kid, or mom, or dad. Maybe it would help someone to not quit the race. Maybe it would help someone see how much God loves them and He’s worth following and He can be trusted. Maybe it would help someone see how much God loves the sinner.
But HOW could I ever tell? I felt so much safer with this information sealed inside my family and the ones that knew because of their closeness to the fallout.
Jennie Allen was closing the first session at IF:Gathering that day. It was called “Throwing Off What Hinders”. This wasn’t the typical ‘to run your race throw off the sin that so easily besets you’ type of message. No small talk. As best I can recall Jennie Allen said something like this “I want you to break out into groups of three or four and confess to each other what is holding you back from obeying God. If you’ve had an affair, if you are filled with shame……” I didn’t hear another word that she said after those words in that moment.
I turned to the two ladies across the table from me and the one sitting next to me. We gathered to discuss – well, our guts. My heart raced, my palms sweat, lump in my throat. At that moment I knew why I was there. God brought me there to take the step He had asked me to – tell the story. I’ll admit though a few more thoughts raced through my mind “If they judge or reject me, I can just leave and never see them again.” “If I tell my story, I might become a topic on someone’s blog…or worse yet – their book. “ I didn’t want anyone to know – much less the world.
In that moment though, something not of my natural self took over…. I wanted God’s Presence and Healing at that moment more than I cared about my comfort. I longed to please God and be healed and free more than I cared about the opinions of other’s . And for reasons unknown to me at the time, I felt like this confession might be the thing I needed so that I could be set free.
At that moment I would do anything.
I went first so I wouldn’t back out. I told them that ‘the thing holding me back from obeying God was shame of the secret I was carrying. I had an affair and we are ten months into affair recovery. God wants me to tell the story, but I can’t even. I’m embarrassed, fearful of what other people would think about me, fearful it would hurt my family because we still had wounds that were pink.’
Three pairs of tear filled eyes looked back at me with the deepest compassion that followed with words of love, life, encouragement, compassion, prayer, and prophecy.
God had given me a safe place to begin to learn what the power of confession could do. The secret lost it’s power when brought to the light.
It was out and something shifted inside of me.
The enemy lost the piece of ground he was holding.
I waked out that day free – free to tell the story in hopes that it will help set someone else free and see how deeply Jesus loves the sinner and how God is able to rewrite any story.