(I am writing something with a different slant, hoping someone dealing with this issue will stop and think before it is too late. As a counselor team, my husband and I come across incidents like the one I will share, way too often. The story I tell is a conglomerate of several situations we have seen over the years. Names are not used so to protect and keep information confidential. I felt the need to write this, letting you see in the window of our office, so to speak. You will see the heartbreaking results of making wrong choices just for the pleasure of a moment. I hope it helps someone to avoid a wrong turn….)
Phil and I are having our morning coffee and the phone rings. He answers, “hey man, hadn’t heard from you in a while, what’s up?” There is silence all but the words “oh no, so this is a lead couple in your church, what can we do to help?” And then, “OK, tell him to call for the dates”. Our Pastor friend on the other end is broken over the news he is telling my husband. He wonders how the news was going to affect his flock when they heard that one of their church leaders had fallen. With this weight on his shoulders and the church where he serves, he is relieved he called to connect with us so he can go back to his post trusting things to work out for these two people he has watched grow up from their youth. As they begin to hang up my husband prays and gives encouragement to this friend, letting him know he will be available for a healing process in the church as well, restoring a brother and a body of believers, as instructed in the Scriptures. The husband calls, the dates are set and the ball gets rolling.
Out my window, I see the couple taking luggage from their car into the house, setting up for the next two days. It will be in that place where they will be dealing with their pain, as the story unfolds. Safe Place is a place “where we can come and feel safe telling it like it is as we dump our garbage watching it disappear ” our clients tell us. Telling the events that crippled them, actually it is their stinking flesh coming out falling where it may, as they painfully deal with it. When both parties are willing to pick up the broken pieces, they can together walk forward in a healing process. It becomes a Divine Appointment with the One who wants to show them who He is. Their eyes are washed with tears that they can see, as a song goes, enabling His healing love and forgiveness to take action. We realize it is only our All Mighty Father that can provide this! It is at that point they act upon what He provides and put into practice Christian character toward each other as He empowers them to start a New Beginning!
The two day Kairos program, means “A Divine Appointment”, by the way. It was developed years ago, as a starting place to enter the healing of the wounds caused by wrong choices. In this case, it is called Infidelity. I have thought for some time about writing on this subject, hope to help someone passing by this site. One that just might be dealing with this temptation, getting ready to step off the cliff. I thought even how great it would be to help someone who has been here at SP to have their memory refreshed for where they have come in a renewal way. Maybe you have let your guard down and have gotten involved and don’t know how to get out. You might be one of many that have “been there and done that” and now helping someone else recover.
The first day we hear the facts, starting from first memories as a child, working up to the presenting problem, getting the full account of the event that got them to our conference table. As they sit across from us disparate for our help crying, I can’t tell you how many boxes of Kleenex we have gone through over the years. We keep Sam’s in business as we track through their aisles gathering supplies. Many tears flow as the two sit sharing their stories. Active listening on our part has to be strongly practice, to make the two days stay in its realm. I never cease to be amazed at how the enemy can set a person up to be vulnerable to his schemes. It’s like he has a flip charts that says, “you want this one, how about this one?” And they say, “oh! Let me have that one”, feeling like they have no choice. And then…. they have put their foot in the trapped and it is snapped shut.
His story starts to unfold… I was working at my desk when she walked by my door, asking to come in. She smiled as she sat telling me what was on her mind. We talked a bit and as she left she place her hand on my shoulder telling me how good I looked that day and how she wished her husband wore my cologne. She began telling me some more things about being dissatisfied at home, especially the night before, she and her husband had a horrible argument, she started to cry. I didn’t even notice when she asks me what she should do? I began to tell her how it was in my marriage, but as I began to tell her, I realized it wasn’t what we had when we got married 15 years ago. The kids took all her time now and the romance slowly fading, like maybe our relationship was getting cold, but funny neither of us would admit it…at the time. Time didn’t allow for us to talk right there at my office, so the plan was made to gab some lunch and go to the park near by, sometime. It would be a time to just sit and talk trying to find a solution to her problem. With a broken down deep cry, he began to sob as he goes on to tell how he never dreamed they would end up at the motel. As I walked to my car I felt sick he said, to the place of throwing up beside my car, the damage was done! Looking over at his wife he said, “then I thought how will I ever tell my wife?
Pain is all over her face with a small tear running down her cheek, as I look across the table into her eyes, she is sitting there listening again to the story she has heard for maybe, the thousandth time. He told us he was telling her what she wanted to know to get it all out and it was becoming a broken record, but he was willing to do whatever it took to make their marriage work.
So here we four sit, with all this stuff out on the table, so to say, now what do you do with all this? The day finishes without one walking out; they bravely face their “dragons” or “demons”, I usually say. Thankfully, they are willing to “own” their failures, find a path and begin to walk forward building their future. Forgiveness is hard to even bring up at this point because they don’t quietly understand that forgiveness is for them not the other person. She feels if she gives him forgiveness that will let him off the hook too easy and that is a sign to us she wants to see him punished. Little does she know that the punishment she could give is nothing up beside what the punishment he is giving himself. I am sitting there thinking how I wished it was a year from now, with a growth of real forgiveness and they would be receiving and giving it as they walk in the Spirit living out their Life IN CHRIST! I always have to be patient at this point, knowing the end of the story makes me want to give it to them early and Holy Spirit is telling me “now wait they can’t process that yet leave that to Us”!
One thing we have learned seeing these situations before us, is when you turn to the scriptures you always find the answers. Yes, sin does take it’s hold, but the work at the Cross, well it loosens the grip that it intended. Next comes the works of allowing the healing process to take action. I thought one day, marriage is a place where a couple can practice all the characteristics of the Christian life. Walking in the Spirit not After the Flesh, allowing the Fruit of the Spirit to flesh itself out as the two walks together loving one another!
Well you say, so what happened to our couple? They left here very happily married after deciding to put their guns down, putting it on the problem and not on the persons. They were able to see what their “flesh patterns” were, those things that give the enemy a place for temptation. They were given tools to use when they got in a tight spot. They began to see their strengths and weaknesses. Most of all they went back to the day when they met and what they saw in each other and where they got off track. Priorities were explained so they could see where they were putting their time, it turned out he was putting all his time in his work/ministry and her time was all wrapped up in the children. They realized they were not getting their needs met by each other. They had not even discovered what they needed were. But most of all, they discovered the only One and Only One who could meet their ultimate needs. Oh and they were told to fall in love again by getting to know each other! To start dating again too!! And at that time to look each other in the eyes and see the one they cherished to start with, when he said, “will you marry me” and she smiled and said, “yes” back then….
As we waved goodbye, as they drove us the driveway, it’s always sad for us. After having the honor of Father allowing us to walk along beside them as they face their pain we begin to feel like they are ours, adoption is even brought up. But we don’t and we have to let them go. Holding on would be selfish on our part. If we let them go, it makes sense to us that they can fly on their own now and if we held on they wouldn’t find their path. How exciting to think they have a whole new clean slate ready to begin their new journey together making …. A New Beginning!