Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the worst day of my life.

this time last year, i think my husband and i were just getting back together after a month and a half separation. i know...what? ya, i can't believe it either. i don't want to think that this is my history that i'm writing about. after all, i should just be reading about how someone almost got a divorce and how my marriage is better than that. well i guess the truth is out: my marriage hit rock bottom last year. like, completely-divorce-worthy-rock-bottom.

my husband and i had been married for three years... we had 2 great kids, a great house, great jobs. his career had just taken off and i got to stay at home with the kids. i thought we were good. we were bible study leaders, we attended a good church regularly(or as regular as it gets with a newborn). we were that christian couple sitting next to you in church that you think is doing great! and up until i found out that my husband was having an affair, i would have said we were doing ok. rough season with a newborn, but ok. husband working more(a lot more), but ok. a little disconnected to each other, but ok. just normal married people ups and downs. but in my heart, i knew something was wrong with us.

i was even using language like, i feel like your having an affair...but with your job. unless your a paranoid kind of person, when you can form words to say something like this, there IS usually something wrong. but it was such a gentle slope downward, i didn't even know we were in a pit. when i had the courage to look at his phone and see text messages that looked like they were to me (hey honey! language), but addressed to someone else, my world literally collapsed. it was an out of body experience. i was so deeply upset, but could not comprehend that this situation was happening to me. this is crap you see on tv or in movies. it's like how we sometimes cheer for infidelity in a storyline, because, look...they are so much happier with that other person--she just wasn't right for him. they weren't "happy". and we go on eating our m&m's and talking about the weather, not thinking about the devastation the act of infidelity and divorce really has on the spouse and children.

but this was my life. i had two babies that needed a daddy, and daddy was maybe "in love" with someone he met 3 months earlier.i came to the harsh reality of becoming a single mother. and to the word, D-I-V-O-R-C-E. it was excruciating and terrifying and i was alone. for the first time ever, i felt so alone. i had to turn to God to give me energy to do the most menial of tasks...chewing food, drinking water, showering, changing diapers. my relationship with God morphed into something i had never experienced. in a really good way, but through a terrible means.

a couple weeks after finding out about the affair, my husband and i had to separate because he wasn't being honest with me about himself. through some crazy events, like talking with the "other woman", there were so many things that were coming to the surface about his life and his past(not one, but two affairs? please tell me this is a bad dream) that i couldn't reconcile it with the man i had married those years earlier. he wasn't broken. he needed to feel the pain of separation from his wife and kids and community. it was so scary to see him walk out the door. i had lila on my hip and layne at my feet. it was gut-wrenching trust in the Lord and an amazing community around me that allowed me to say, go figure it out but don't drag me and your kids through your sh*t while you do.

yes i cussed and now i'm going to talk about the gospel. comedy relief, anyone?

the gospel of Jesus Christ is, in a nutshell, that we all have terrible things going on in our heart--whether we admit it or not. we miss the mark just as much as the most terrible person (that occasionally cusses)we can think of. and yet, He still loves us so much that he died for us. and forgives us. and rejoices when we come back from whatever pit we've dug ourselves into. infidelity, alcoholism, addiction, selfishness, fill in the blank. we all have crazy junk in our lives. i felt that God somehow gave me the ability to forgive my husband by holding up a mirror to my own sin and depravity. i needed God's forgiveness just as much as my husband needed God's forgiveness. what a concept.

my husband did come back by the grace of God. we did go to marriage counseling twice a week for a very long time. we did get advice to get a divorce from some well-meaning people. we did lose some friendships and we did hurt a lot---alone and together. definitely not perfect around here. but i will say that our marriage is better than it's ever been. i look at him and i don't see his sin. i mostly look at him and feel gratitude that he had the courage to come back. the courage to make a lot of changes and lead our family in the right direction. the courage to let me write about our personal life for the whole world to see. thanks babe, you're brave.

it was difficult to post this story because the thought of what others might think about us. but i don't want to keep it a secret. in fact, i am thankful that this happened to us and i don't care who knows. to know me is to know this story about me. and to know this story is to marvel at the work of Christ.

lengthy post, huh? and this is the short version! ha.
***you can read about our progress in the "marriage" tab on the side bar***

p.s.
thanks em, for giving me the nudge to post this.

66 comments:

  1. Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I am proud of you and your husband.

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  2. i'm so glad i get to be your friend! we had just recently met you guys when all this happened, but i most definitely saw Christ in you. thanks for sharing.

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  3. This is a great post. I always thought you were the strongest most amazing person I knew (really) and this is just further proof. We haven't been through this but I have several friends that have and I admire both of you for going through this valley and coming out of it together. Thank you for sharing
    (and if anyone gives you any crap about this post send them to me I have recently been going all crazy white girl on people when they mess with me or people I love.)

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  4. Hey Jami- we love you and your family. I love reading about your lives, although I wish this type of pain didn't have to be part of it. It is encouraging, however, to realize God's amazing mercy and grace and that we ALL so desperately need, because we ALL are so broken. Thanks for the sobering reminder to cling to Jesus, and give grace to others we encounter- we never know what they might be going through!

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  5. So grateful for your willingness to be real. It's evident Christ has and is working through your family and touching loads of people including me. Love you friend!

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  6. You both are amazing! It's amazing what the power of Christ and His Atonement can do for us and our lives. It takes really selfless, humble and motivated individuals...centered on Christ to overcome such a trial. And if anything, you are great examples to others who maybe experiencing such heartbrake! Thanks for sharing...and don't worry...i think very highly of you :)

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  7. Hey, just one of your viewers who reads your blog and doesn't know you. :) Strange how the blog world works, but thanks for sharing your story with a complete stranger.

    I admire your faith and courage. What a beautiful reminder of how we need to love others the way God loves us....with UNENDING love and forgiveness.

    It is encouraging to hear of a story where a couple works through the crap of life and remains committed to staying together. God is truly proud of you, and is and will continue to use your story for His glory.

    Great story to share during the Lenten season.

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  8. Jami, I admire you and your husbands courage. Thanks for painting such a relevant picture of the gospel and His redeeming power.

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  9. so glad you took the nudge. you never know who's marriage might be saved just from reading this.

    when i see you TOMORROW night, i'm going to hug you and not stop. be prepared.

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  10. What a beautiful testament to God's grace and forgiveness. Thank you for being real and raw. I am deeply touched by your post - thank you for sharing.

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  11. jami, this brought tears again. grace became real to me because of what you guys went through...no longer a cliche religious term we throw around.

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  12. jami, thank you for your courage. and mark's too. your story has impacted countless people. thank you for allowing your story to open up conversations that might not otherwise have happened. i thank God for you and your family.

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  13. wow. thanks for sharing the gospel to me YET AGAIN. its a privilege to be a part of your circle, watching you do ministry through your own pain.

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing in such a courageous way. You really have shown us all what the gospel looks like in real life. You have given me a living, breathing example and I am so thankful.

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  15. I'm so proud of you for posting this and so proud of the woman of God you are. Your story is a HUGE testimony to God's power, grace, forgiveness, and incredible love. I'm still in awe of how you came through it. Thanks for being such an encouragement to me and Billy B. We love you! You should write a book. I'm just sayin...

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  16. I can't even begin to tell you how much your strength and courage through that time ministered to me. Love you, love your story, and love that many more people are going to see Jesus through your story.

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  17. Hey, Its amazing how open you are with what happen in your marriage. the night you shared with Justin and I we truly saw god in your relationship, in each of you. The courage to truly admit our sins and realize we all sin every day. I am so glad to have become your friend this year and I hope to get to know you and your family even more. much luv :)

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  18. such a beautiful picture of courage, redemption and restoration. thank you for sharing.

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  19. I just came across your blog from Emilie's blog..I've been reading her super cute blog for awhile..

    Your story almost made me cry (I'm sitting at my desk at work so I had to force myself not to)...I was in the same situation you were...My ex and I seperated when my son was 6 weeks old...He had actually told me when I was 6 months pregnant that he was done. He still to this day will not admit the affair...but there were text messages, emails, business trips together (she worked for US) and I'm not stupid...I knew!...He left...and he never looked back. I was heartbroken and still am sometimes...but I'm better off...Much better off now!

    I love hearing stories like yours because I honestly, truly believe things can work out and we can forgive....in my situation that obviously didn't happen and wont happen (nor do I want it to at this point in my life)....but I believe in love, marriage and forgiveness.

    I look forward to keeping up with your blog!

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  20. i happened upon your blog and am really thankful for your post. i'm even more thankful for the gospel! thanks for using your voice to share deep, intimate, real things that perhaps might be used to draw someone to Him.

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  21. Found you through Emily's blog ~ I have been through the same thing. Interesting how before it happened to me I always thought, I would pick up and leave or kick him out. I mean really, why would I take that? But like you, there are children, there are memories, there is love, there is God. We too worked things out. I love my husband completely. I think it really made us find US again and make US important. What a great post!

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  22. Thank you so much for sharing. Your demonstration of courage and humility helps so many of us turn to the One who can provide the same strength we all need.

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  23. Wow! What courage you have to share your story! My husband and I went through the same situation four (I can't believe it's been that long) years ago. It's gut-wrenching! We fought our way through by the grace of God also. The Lord is good to carry us through those times and make us better and stronger through them. Bless you and your husband. Thank you for sharing. You will reach and bless more people than you know.

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  24. Wow. I am so inspired that you had the courage to write this. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. God bless you and your precious family!

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  25. this is a wonderful story and you wrote it beautifully! i think if we all shared the (crap) we've been through then this world would be a much kinder and gentler place. we'd all realize that we're not so different from each other. we are all humans. praise God for the gift he has given to you and yours.

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  26. i read this a while ago and just read it again, thank you for sharing. thank you for displaying christ's love in your marriage and for gathering the courage to make your story known---to make HIS story known.

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  27. So I am a new follower, but already a fan. I got here from you link today and was so encouraged by your story, or rather, God's story. Redemption is beautiful. Thank you for your openness and willingness to share all that God is doing.

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  28. What beautiful faith and courage you have. This has been such an encouragement for me today. Thank you...

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  29. Wow, I love your blog and have been following it because I love crafty stuff and always get hooked into blogs like yours.

    You are such a strong women. You have such a beautiful faith in God and I think you are amazing.
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiring.

    Ngaio May x

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  30. Wow, I love your blog and have been following it because I love crafty stuff and always get hooked into blogs like yours.

    You are such a strong women. You have such a beautiful faith in God and I think you are amazing.
    Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspiring.

    Ngaio May x

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  31. OK, wow! First, thank you for sharing your story! How courageous and wonderful that both you and your husband, equally yoked, looked for forgiveness and worked through this with Him at your side. He truly is amazing and works through 'mysterious' ways. Secondly, I love following your's and Emily's blogs...the crafty thing... but saw this and said 'hum'....and how appropriate of a reminder for me with what I am going through now myself. So just 'thanks'!

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  32. no words really, just wanting you to know I read this and am thankful you wrote it

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  33. What a beautiful heart you have Jami.

    He is GOOD at redemption.

    Blessed to know you lady.

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  34. thank you so much for sharing this..
    you have no idea how much it means to me...
    I was on your husband's shoes before, and I know how excruciating the entire jourey was, I just happen to meet your blog today and I will for sure follow it from now on.
    Because people like you inspire me to become a better person.
    thanks again for your courage on sharing this.

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  35. Through your pain you will bring so much hope to others in the midst of despair.

    Thanks so much for your honesty - I love your blog!!!

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  36. i just found you through ericamay tonight... but thanks for this hopeful post. my parents just got a divorce after a 2.5 year separation. my mother was having an affair as well. i'm 23 and i still can't cope. my mother and i don't speak. she was my religious mentor growing up, but now it feels like my world has crashed.

    i just graduated, got married and moved 16 hours away from where i've been my whole life and she wasn't really "there" to support me through any of it. sometimes i wonder what God's plan is.

    thank you. for your post of encouragement. if His plans don't go according to His will, then He has the power to alter it as we go along. you've given me so much hope and i've only been on your blog for 7 minutes. Godsend. i know.

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  37. Thank you... and praise Jesus!

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  38. Truly amazing what God can do with 1 repentant and 1 forgiving heart. Your honesty is humbling and you appear to be wise beyond your years! Thanks for blessing me today:)

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  39. Thank you for your courage & posting this. Thank you for showing how powerful God is by sharing your story. :)

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  40. thanks for posting this. You are an amazing woman. Following now!

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  41. Thank you for posting so openly...and so honestly about your marriage and the troubles in it. So many people give up when things start to go wrong but you stuck it out and God made you stronger through it.
    One of my favorite songs right now is "Lead Me" from Sanctus Real. Men have a huge responsibility when it comes to being the LEADERS of their families and its a challenge to men to mean it when they say "in good times and in bad."
    XO,
    Sarah
    HandbagsnPigtails.blogspot.com

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  42. Jami. God blesses my heart through you. That is all.
    Good day!
    :)

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  43. Grateful you have shared your heart...I have several friends that I am sending your blog to.

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  44. ok.... So thank you for your comment today! Things have been so crazy with this series I'm doing on my blog so my head isn't always in it.

    Praise God for what He is doing in your marriage!! That is awesome that you wrote about it too!!! God is just so good! OK... I want to read on a bit more but might you be willing to talk about my series on your blog at any point this month? If not, I totally understand... just thought I would ask one survivor to another ;)

    Praying for you and your family! Love seeing what God is doing in your life and in your marriage! I will start following your blog now!!! hehe! Again, thanks for the comment!

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  45. WOW! God is so good. In our sin and weakness He is glorified ... we turn our backs on Him and He still desires us... Thanks you Jesus! Thank you for the encouraging post.

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  46. I'm a new reader, found your blog through a friend "sharing" it...so you just showed up in my reader! (she shared the get your booties in gear, moms post...not this one :) but I was clicking around and saw this).

    What gross people we ALL are. What courage you both have. And what love and grace does Christ have. Wow. Pretty thankful for that last one.

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  47. I just want to thank you for posting this and for your husband sharing his experience as well. My husband and I went through this 3 years ago and reading your post made me tear up because I could literally feel your pain as I went through the exact same events...shock, not being to feed myself, shower, and "talking with the other woman". I feel so inspired to hear people that actually make it through the storm instead of running away from it which is the only advice I was getting from friends and family was to leave and I did for a while. Now we are 1000x better than the day we got married. God Bless you both in your journey!

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  48. Thank you for sharing 'Your Story'. I have been following your blog for a few months now, and to be honest I can't even remember why or how I came accross it. Until toady I never knew you had 'a story'. My husband and I have been married twice.. to each other! We divorced and a year later fell in love again.. by the Grace of God! It's a beautiful thing and I am so glad you experienced it too!

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  49. Sometimes vomiting up the honesty is the only path to healing. I just want to encourage you with your daughter. Even if she ends up with a diagnosis like autism, she is still the same Lila you know and love. I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome. It was a devastating blow to everything I had dreamed up in my brain for him. However, at the end of the day, he was still Luke as the day before the doctor gave us a diagnosis. If anything, we finally had the tools to help him be the best Luke possible and for us to parent him the best way possible. Thanks for the realness of this post.

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  50. I just found your blog, and I'm so glad that I did. My husband and I are both children of divorce, and we are daily learning what it looks like to live out a marriage where divorce is not an option. The legacy we, with God's constant help, will break. The gift you and your husband gave your children is perhaps bigger than you'll ever know here on earth.

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  51. I can't believe this. I came to your blog via Pinterest for some cutsie stuff, and God is in my face, as usual. I LOVE IT. I love how HE works. I just told my sister to read your blog b/c well, you're like us: a sweet Christian girl who is REAL, who may cuss here and there. ;) I just told her I liked it. Anyway, I just started reading about your marriage. I can't tell you how surreal this is. My husband and I were just separated for a month and got back together the week of Thanksgiving. Same basic situation (no situation is identical, but I feel very much bonded to you now, sorry. ;)). I even said close to your same comment about not dragging me through his shit. Wow. God is good, ALL THE TIME. And no, our marriage isn't "fixed" and never will be, but I am so glad to know I have your support and can read about your story and hope, even though it's via the internet. Thank you!!!!

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  52. Hi Jami. I found your blog through a friend via facebook and man has the Lord used your story to encourage me! My husband and I are currently going through a very similar situation as you and your husband. I found out during the summer that my husband had an affair a couple years ago, we started going to counseling but things still didnt seem to add up. In the beginning of October I found an email that sounds very similar to the text you found, which made it very clear that he was having a current affair. It's been a crazy few months but I've never known the faithfulness, love, and grace of my God more than I do now. I see the Lord doing a miracle in my husbands life and by God's grace we are on the path to restoration. I have like a million questions for you and wondering if there's some way to email you. There's probably a bunch of people who want to email you all the time so I totes understand if you can't. Please know that your courage in sharing your story has totally blessed and encouraged me.
    rccola62202@aol.com

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  53. Amazing! We have been through this x3! It was him, not me. Thanks for sharing this story & giving such practical advice. Just because we are Christians, doesn't mean we are sinless. Our troubles happened before we were saved people. Walking down the isle in a Methodist church doesn't make you saved, right? Well, that is us completely. Living life without Jesus crossing our lips, unfortunately cost us a lot of pain. Now, with a fourth child from one of these infidelities, and a lot of emotional baggage, we still carry on...by the grace of God! We will soon celebrate 20 years of marriage. This all happened 5 years into our marriage. We have 3 beautiful children now too. God is faithful & merciful. :)

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  54. Thanks for sharing your story and your heart : )

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  55. Wow. Thank you for the honest look into your lives. You have touched me.

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  56. wow, just found your blog though somebody else ............different names but the same story here (even down to the details) .......thank you for being honest
    lena cook

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  57. This response is way late, but I felt led to share.

    "Yen said...

    i just found you through ericamay tonight... but thanks for this hopeful post. my parents just got a divorce after a 2.5 year separation. my mother was having an affair as well. i'm 23 and i still can't cope. my mother and i don't speak. she was my religious mentor growing up, but now it feels like my world has crashed.

    i just graduated, got married and moved 16 hours away from where i've been my whole life and she wasn't really "there" to support me through any of it. sometimes i wonder what God's plan is."

    I had nearly this same situation. I felt lost because my mom was the church mom. She cooked the Wednesday night meals at church, she led the Wednesday night kids ministry. How could she falter was my thinking. It was so hard to talk to her. I had to realize that she was a fallen sinner just like the rest of us. She needs the grace of God. It was so hard, but I still loved her. I have seen God work incredibly in my dad's life through this season of life. At first, I was so worried for my dad because he was growing thin and seemed to be wasting away. But Jesus caught him and worked in him amazingly (he used to just seem to go along to church because of my mom, but now when I go home, he is sharing the devotions he is reading, scripture that is speaking to him, and just things I never thought I would hear from him - in a good way). God is still working in my mom's life, but I know he has a plan for everything (there are no mistakes in God's plans, though that is very hard for us to see). I hope you have seen God at work comforting, molding, and lifting you up. Prayers are going out for you and your family, even though you probably won't see this.

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  58. I had this same thing happen to me and my own children. It didn't turn out as your story did. Sad to say, some men don't ever open back up the door they closed and realize what all they are about to lose. I held on to hope, prayer and my ever ending faith. I thought he was the love of my life, my high school sweetheart. Someone I could depend on, who would lead our family in a faith structured world, hold morals high and me too. I came to realize after a year and a half legal divorce battle that I am stronger because of the horrible road I was faced to travel down on. My children are happier and healthier. I sometimes find myself looking back in time to a period in my life where the first time in my life, I felt the most secure while married to my high school sweetheart. I thought the world was my merry-go-round and life was just a soft stick of cotton candy. I had never been happier in my whole life. My world was shattered like broken glass when I found out my husband had been lying to me and cheating with a co-worker. What was even worse, was his promise after my heartfelt tears rolled down my check in streams, only to find out months later he never told the co-worker goodbye, that they had continually saw one another the entire time. My heart sank inside my body, I felt I had lost everything that mattered to me most in my whole entire life. It was so hard to do anything, even get up in the mornings, walk, brush my teeth, run a comb through my hair. Taking a shower seemed like the impossible job of my day and the water felt like ice cutting through each layer of my skin. I cried for over 3 years plus. I felt I had lost a piece of who I was, what "we" were all about.

    I at times still look back to pictures of us, the old us, the old family--hard to see couples together still to this day because my world looks different now. I had built up all this fantasy about having "us" together until death do us part, and because things are different now it is hard at times to come to terms that this is no longer my portion of my life and my story, the story I saw of our future.

    I am so glad your husband was smart and man enough to return, you're a very wonderful couple and have a great loving family. Bless you all ♥

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  59. My friend introduced me to your blog. Thank you for sharing your story, and praise the Lord that you two made it your difficult times together!

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  60. Wow. Thank you for sharing this story. And thank you for your solid faith. And thank you for sharing about it!

    I cannot imagine the pain of going through something like this, but it is truly amazing to read about how through your struggles and trials you relied on God. What a testimony!

    I am so glad that you were able to work things out. I think it speaks volumes about the relationship you have with each other and with God.

    I am so happy I stumbled upon your blog (via bloglovin' - they said yours was similar to mine, ha! what an honor!!) Anyway, I'm very excited to follow along!

    Cheers,
    Niquelle
    1paperplane.blogspot.com

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  61. Courage is the exact word! Thank you for sharing such raw and private thoughts. I remember having to go through this but it just couldn't get reconciled and sadly my oldest son is the one who is paying the price for both of our selfishness. I admire the fact that you two are working through imperfections. We all have them and like you said, it is all through the grace of God that we will all get through whatever trials we encounter.

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  62. Hi Jami I have read lots of your blog over the last year.. i actually stumbled across it when a friend of mine was going through an affair.. thinking that I was being "the better friend" giving her links to help her cope, and manage through this difficult time.. Little did I know a year later.. I would be the one sitting her crying, sobbing through these posts putting in context with my own life... 9 short months ago I stumbled across an email from another woman to my husband telling him how much she loved him and him responding in the same matter.. we are high school sweethearts, married for 5 years with two beautiful daughters. both come from good christian homes and on the outside we were "the perfect family" on the inside we were falling apart... God has shown me what Grace, Mercy, Love and Understand truly is... he has shown me what forgiveness really is because without it I wouldn't be married to my best friend still. I want you to know how much I appreciate your transparency with your love and devotion to not only your marriage, but to yourself. I really would love to talk to you over emails.. I am new in this and its still very fresh... could I contact you?

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  63. Hi Jami I have read lots of your blog over the last year.. i actually stumbled across it when a friend of mine was going through an affair.. thinking that I was being "the better friend" giving her links to help her cope, and manage through this difficult time.. Little did I know a year later.. I would be the one sitting her crying, sobbing through these posts putting in context with my own life... 9 short months ago I stumbled across an email from another woman to my husband telling him how much she loved him and him responding in the same matter.. we are high school sweethearts, married for 5 years with two beautiful daughters. both come from good christian homes and on the outside we were "the perfect family" on the inside we were falling apart... God has shown me what Grace, Mercy, Love and Understand truly is... he has shown me what forgiveness really is because without it I wouldn't be married to my best friend still. I want you to know how much I appreciate your transparency with your love and devotion to not only your marriage, but to yourself. I really would love to talk to you over emails.. I am new in this and its still very fresh... could I contact you?

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  64. Thank you for sharing this. I am a soon to be divorced mother of two. Our marriage didn't make it. Different circumstances but very very raw pain, in spite of the fact that we had been separated for over a year before he filed for divorce. To have a community that supports you as you encourage him to work it out (all the while hoping he doesn't drag you and your children through the crap) is a blessing beyond measure. I can honestly say I had that, my story is just going differently. It does my heart good to know that, in Christ, we can choose forgiveness. Chose humility. Chose repentance. And that He can restore what the locusts have eaten. Thank you for sharing your story and for blessing myself, and others.

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  65. Thank you Jami for your very real story about real pain and a real hope. Cold water in the wilderness

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