In May of 2004 I stood on the northern rim of the Grand Canyon for the first time in my life. I was stunned. No picture had ever prepared me for the vast beauty that stretched before me. The sun was setting, casting a shimmering halo all around me and a warm breeze wafted up from its eternal depths. It was a moment of pure beauty. Tears spilled from my eyes and trickled down my face–not only because of the scene that lay before me, but also because I was keenly aware that something greater and more beautiful than the Grand Canyon had been created inside of me. Four years prior to this day, my life was a train wreck. I had committed the unthinkable: adultery. And the consequences were life shattering. Much of my story has been published in my book called, “Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman”. So what I write on this blog is not telling stories out of school. My adultery was made public and in a small town news travels fast–especially when it involves a former pastor’s wife, a public school teacher, a mother of 4 and a wife of 25 years…like me. On the outside–we were the perfect Christian family. But the façade came crashing down and along with it my marriage, my Christian witness, and the respect of my children, friends and family. In a moment, my life shattered and so did my heart. And no wonder. I had cast aside God’s warning;
Enter through the narrow gate (the faithful gate) for the gate of (unfaithfulness) is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many (oh, so many) who find it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life (real LIFE) and there are few that find it. Matthew 7:13-14.
The broad way of adultery, of unfaithfulness, led to the destruction of everything I held dear. I did not end up with the man; I ended up with divorce papers. I did not find happiness; I found complete and utter despair. I did not find heaven; I found hell. The story of my life during that time could aptly be titled, “How to have an Affair and Ruin Everything you once Cherished.”
Adultery’s end result is not only a bloody carnage of our outer life but also inwardly—leaving a gaping soul wound that seems beyond repair.
But praise God, I stand in a brand new place today because of God’s amazing story! God’s story upon our life is this: He never leaves us where He finds us. We can be in the pit of despair and hopelessness, but God has the power to re-story our lives into a scene as grand as the Grand Canyon itself—-one of absolute awe and beauty! That is why my blog is called The Heart Mender. I know of only ONE person who can restore a broken heart and life back to complete wholeness and it is God. Listen to Him boasting about Himself in Ezekiel Chapter 36:
Thus says the Lord God: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. The desolate land ( I read this as my desolate life) shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in sight of all who pass by. So they will say, This land that was desolate has become like the Garden of Eden, and the wasted, desolate and ruined cities ( my heart, my life ) are now fortified and inhabited. Then the nations that are left all around you shall know, that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken it, and I will do it. vs 33-36
What will He do; what can He do? He will and can take an absolutely wasted, desolate, and ruined life and rebuild it into something like the Garden of Eden! How tragic it would be to believe in a God who was powerless to rebuild the ruins of our lives. But that is not our God. He is boldly declaring, I WILL MEND!! I will mend ( make whole that which has been torn asunder) your broken and ruined life. I will mend–make whole—your shattered soul! If… IF we give Him the opportunity. And not only IF we give Him the opportunity but IF we let go of the sin at hand.
For over a year I have been counseling a woman who divorced her husband to be with her adulterous lover. Over and over again he has betrayed her, yet she refuses to rid her life of him. One day as she poured out her misery I simply told her, “Keep on sinning, keep the misery; stop your sinning and start the healing.” God cannot heal us if we keep on wounding ourselves with sinful choices! God CAN and WILL mend but it all depends upon how well we heed His IF’s found in His word. One passage that I clung to that became the antidote for my healing was God’s promise recorded in Job11: 13-18:
IF you would prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands to Him; IF iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, and would no longer let wickedness dwell within your tents; then surely you could lift up your face without spot; yes, you could be steadfast and not fear; because you would forget your misery and remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life would be brighter than noonday. Though you were (once) dark, you would be like the morning. And you would be secure, because there is hope.
These words promise us freedom from our miserable and unhappy condition in life. But there are conditions: IF we let go of the iniquity in our hands, IF we stretch out our hands, our hearts to God, flinging our sinful selves upon His mercy, IF we let go of the wickedness that dwells in our hearts, in our homes, on our computers, behind closed doors, THEN God’s promise is this: YOU WILL KNOW JOY! Your misery WILL pass! And just as you stand at the seashore with water racing over your toes only to be gone in an instant without another thought from you, so will be your misery IF you obey HIm.
If you are life and soul shattered today there is hope for you. But we must first grasp these two IFs. They are simple yet life changing truths: One, give God the opportunity to create beauty out of brokenness. Give Him the chance to do what He does best–mend broken hearts. If you only have the strength to utter one plea like I did this is it: “Help me Jesus! I am caught in a snare and I do not know how to be free-but I want to be!” Pray that prayer and then watch in awe how God will begin to move upon your life in healing fashion.
And the second IF–do what he commands you to do. Don’t think you can pray that simple prayer and live life as usual. Cooperate with God. Take His “medicine” for your soul. Hear what He has to say to you by getting into His word. Claim his IF promises–that IF you do this He will DO that.
I promise you that these 2 IFs are a journey you will never take in vain! There is HEALING when we call upon the Heart Mender. And there is JOY on the other side of obedience.