Charles Spurgeon said, “Lean your whole weight into Jesus and you will be saved.”
His translation of Acts 16:31 (NIV) says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”
When I read this, I sat frozen at my computer. A follower of Jesus for about three years, I felt God spoke directly to me. He tenderly drew me near Him with those words. I knew I wasn’t leaning completely into Jesus. And. IT. HURT.
Since I was a new believer, or as some call it “baby christian,” I had laid so many of my hurts out and brought them into the light, allowing the Lord to pick up the pieces of brokenness and mend them back in a new way that glorified Him. I had sought healing from childhood sexual abuse and was about to finish a recovery program when this secret burdened me more and more.
My husband and I had been married almost 8 years that day I sat frozen at my computer. Beginning marriage as non-believers – both my husband and I – has been our biggest struggle. We both lived by the flesh and engaged in so many sinful behaviors.
I struggled with bulimia, lust, needing attention from men to feel my worth, control, fear of being known, fear of being betrayed, anger, and not feeling worthy of anything or anyone good. I was in constant internal turmoil preparing myself daily to hear something like, “I want a divorce, you are crazy, you are too hard to handle, you are not what I want” from my husband.
We lived almost separate lives as we worked opposite schedules, did not have healthy communications, and had no emotional intimacy.
I did not feel known by him.
Within the first year of marriage, broken and still in constant need for attention from men, I had two affairs with coworkers. I already struggled with feeling shame and guilt from my childhood and from my life of disastrous choices growing up on my own, so I added to that when I gave in to my flesh. I felt like I was already so far gone. I was not in any shape to love my husband the way God intended, and I honestly didn’t even know it. I kept this secret hidden deep for almost eight years. At the time of my affairs, I remember thinking my husband was supposed to love me unconditionally, but he didn’t, so I thought I must have been a failure. I gave up and looked elsewhere to feel loved.
Over the course of a few months, the Lord revealed the importance of this last piece I held onto. It was a wedge in intimacy between the Lord and me and my husband and me. Previously, I had confessed to God and received forgiveness and grace, but I knew holding on to it and not bringing it into the light of my marriage would burden me severely and rob me from what God created in marriage.
That we are now one flesh (Genesis 2:24) and God wants us to live in understanding with one another.
I remember feeling like I had surrendered so much to God up to this point. At first my heart raced and I felt sick to think of the possible outcomes if I confessed. The long hard history of our marriage wasn’t just my feeling unloved or not good enough. I had often doubted my husband’s fidelity and accused him many times of being unfaithful in spirit, mind, and body before and after a relationship with Christ.
I made our marriage hard for him; I trusted noone, and I took it out on him. There were many scars between us, some inflicted against each other, and others self-inflicted. We had just started building trust in a godly marriage. God was working on us and changing our stony hearts to hearts of flesh who cared for one another.
Ezekiel 36:26 NIV “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
I feared revealing my affairs would shatter that and my husband would become enraged about how I treated him in the past. I was the one who had the affair while I accused him of it. I was afraid his heart would break., and I cared about his heart now.
I wore a teal leather bracelet with, “Surrender” on it during worship at church. I see Him and me very clearly. Yes the stage, the lights, the effects, the talent of the musicians are exciting ways to interact with music during worship, but I just love being in a peaceful spot with the Lord. This day, it was pitch black in my mind, my eyes were closed and I had been thinking about the affairs and that I needed to tell my husband.
I wanted emotional intimacy and a healthy marriage.
I knew this kept me from what the Lord had for us. God had worked so deep in my heart over the last year in recovery from my sexual abuse and I trusted Him in a new way. I saw Him more than ever before.
I allowed Him to tell me I am good enough, I am His treasure, I am holy and blameless, without a single fault (Colossians 1:22 NLT). I believed I was a new creation. The old had passed a way, the new had come (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV).
I had allowed God to make my heart His home and He continually refined me. He spoke tenderly to me that day in worship. I felt Him say, “I am able” very softly. I knew that was from Him. Tears streamed down my face as I began trusting He was able. If I didn’t give it to God, I believed God was not big enough. He couldn’t save my marriage. I would be my own stumbling block. I didn’t want to admit I was not trusting God if I continued to hold onto it.
A few days later, I heard a story of infidelity and how God redeemed it beautifully. God had worked in both the husband’s and wife’s hearts. I thought of what would happen in my story. My heart didn’t race. I felt peace. Over the next week, the peace became the dominant feeling I had. Again a thought not from myself, came. It was to confide in my closest friend, the friend who loved the old Amy. The friend who loved me so much she told me about Jesus. I met with her for lunch that week and told her everything. I told her I wanted to share this secret and confess to my husband. She cried with me as I bared my darkest secret. She comforted me in her tears and prayed for me.
James 5:16 NIV “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
She gave me some great advice. She told me to be bold and completely honest while holding nothing back and to ask the Holy Spirit to be in the conversation. As the evening neared, I felt the peace of God. I felt what was coming would be good. How can that be – that this could be good? I knew my husband loved the Lord, and he had a life transformed by truth and love like I did. God could work a miracle here – I had confidence in that truth.
Read more of Amy’s transformative story later this week!
Amy Merritt, Contributing Writer
Amy has been married for 11 years to her husband Chuck. She’s mom to two spunky kids. She and her husband came to know the Lord six years ago with a distinctive line of before Christ and after Christ in their lives and marriage. Working as a nurse practitioner- the best part of her job is treating patients’ emotional, spiritual, and physical needs while loving and sharing Jesus with them. Her passion is for ladies who have been through trauma, specifically sexual abuse. Recently, she and friends started a blog at Ebenezer Collective where they share stories of what God is doing all around us. Come and see! Connect with Amy on Instagram @amymerriand @ebenezercollective
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