Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go.
If I could go back and change anything about my affair and the seven and a half years I spent running from God, it wouldn’t be the affair itself. Hear me out. I’m not saying I am proud of what I did. I’m not saying that it was right or that I harbor some nostalgic feelings about that time in my life. I do not. I am actually quite disgusted by the life I lived and the things that I compromised for the sake of being “happy.”
The events that led to my choice to become an adulterer, the years I spent living a lie, all of that has been used by a gracious and forgiving God to make me stronger and to bring about real change in my marriage and our hearts. Of course we regret the hurt we caused one another. But we do not regret those years that separated us, because we see all the good that God brought from all the heartache. Who we are is so much more than we could ever have hoped for or imagined.
Do you know what I would change? It is perhaps the only alternative that would have been better than living all of those years in deliberate sin.
I would change the way I reacted to my husband’s pornography addiction. I would change the way that I hardened my heart toward God and my husband. I would do as the first verse of the song above encourages.
I would give up my control.
I would find the freedom that is only found in true surrender to God.
I would lay down the pain and the burdens that I allowed to distract me from my wedding vows and I would trust God more.
It’s one of those things that you really only understand in hindsight. I recognize that had I lived out the concept illustrated by Casting Crowns in this song and surrendered all the control I thought I maintained over my marriage and my husband’s addiction, I would have found the freedom that I have now.
I would have been able to see that God would bring about something amazing from the trails and the pain. I think that is why sometimes I am so passionate talking to others who are fighting their own marriage battles right now.
I get what it is like to feel alone.
To be lonely.
To feel like your spouse has abandoned you, running after something that you can never compete with.
I understand the discontentment and the ache in your heart for God to restore your marriage.
What I didn’t understand back then is that I was standing in my own way. I was so concerned with control. I wanted my husband to change because his actions hurt me. I was far less motivated by caring for his soul than I was caring for my broken heart. I wanted to behave like a wounded animal, hiding my injury, using my body as a protective shield around the pain.
I believed that if my husband would change, if he would take serious steps to overcome his addiction that we would be okay. We could be stronger in our spiritual lives and marriage if only he would give up his sin. And what I have come to realize is that this way of thinking is extremely detrimental to your hurting heart, and ultimately your soul.
I wish I could go back and believe God’s promises. I wish I could have understood that our marriage couldn’t be better when we were both focused on trying to change one another, and trying to fix each other.
I allowed confusion and uncertainty to guide my steps.
I allowed distance to grow between me and my husband, which put distance between God and my heart. While I thought I was cowering over my wound and hiding it, what I was really doing was exposing my raw pain to an enemy who sought to steal, kill and destroy.
I didn’t believe this chorus from “Just Be Held,” at a time when I needed to cling to that truth the most.
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held.
My world was falling apart and all I could see was my own pain. I absolutely love this next verse of the song. It is exactly where I was, and maybe where you find yourself today.
If your eyes are on the storm
You’ll wonder if I still love you
But if your eyes are on the Cross
You’ll know I always have and I always will.
In the midst of your pain and trials, can you honestly say that you live with your eyes on the Cross? I didn’t. It is my biggest regret.
That alone would have changed the course of my life. That alone would have given me the strength to press on as my husband battled addiction. That alone would have saved me from years spent in the arms of another man, looking for the solace that only God could provide.
There is hope, my friends! You just have to believe that the God you love, the God who loves you, is bigger and stronger. He is strong enough to hold you in the pain. He is strong enough to bring you through.
And not a tear is wasted
In time, you’ll understand
I’m painting beauty with these ashes
Your life is in My hands
Lift your hands, lift your eyes
In the storm is where you’ll find Me
And where you are, I’ll hold your heart
I’ll hold your heart
Come to Me, find your rest
In the arms of the God who won’t let go
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