A Brief Look Inside the Book
Hope in These Light Afflictions Day 5- It’s Okay if You’re Not Okay
*All week, we will be taking pieces of a devotional I wrote on marital infidelity, Hope in These Light Afflictions. The story is mine and shares many thoughts and feelings from that part of my life’s journey. While it was a season of incredible emotional pain, it also opened the door to becoming better acquainted with the Great Comforter. My prayer is that our story will point others facing similar pain to Jesus. Additionally, I pray that some of the things I learned through that period of time would be a help to even just one.
Every day was hard, but some days were especially hard as I journeyed through the aftermath of infidelity. A newly uncovered lie, a memory, a song, or loneliness would often send me into feelings of despair. As much as I wanted to hold myself together for the sake of our children, it was, at times, impossible to do. I felt I had to appear calm and relaxed while my insides were in turmoil. In reality, though, my life was in shambles—or so it seemed—and not being “okay” was perfectly understandable.
We have pretty high expectations for ourselves, and sometimes even we can’t attain them. We are all human, subject to pain, heartache and feelings of despair. These are all part of the very real grief we are processing in the brokenness of our marriage. We won’t always feel okay, and God—the Creator of emotions—perfectly understands that about us. Some days will be filled with wrestling and tears. Other days we may feel hopeful and less anxious.
You’ll have good days and bad days. You may not feel up to going out on a particular day, preferring the quiet solitude of your home. You may spend a day in prayer and go through a whole box of tissues. Other days you’ll want the companionship of others or the normalcy of your old routines. Don’t beat yourself up over those days when you just don’t have it in you to talk or face other people. You need those quiet times, for it’s in them that you’ll be able to hear the voice of Jesus more clearly.
When we are in those moments of despair and feel afraid, anxious or even sick with grief, Jesus longs to comfort us. He, too, felt the sting of betrayal and experienced grief and heartache. God wants us to lean on Him and allow His strength to carry us through. Some days, I didn’t know how I would make it through the next 24 hours, and yet, day by day, He walked me through the fire.
There are sweet lessons to learn in this painful season—lessons you’ll look back on one day and see the faithful, loving hand of God resting on you. He wants us to give up control and simply trust Him with whatever He has for us. For me, that was tough; I knew what I wanted and I wanted nothing less. God was asking me, though, to put away my desire to manipulate the outcome, and let Him do His best work for me. He was asking me to let down my guard and even not be okay so that He could fill the places in me that needed help and change.
Sexual betrayal is something that deeply affects you. It’s normal for it to crush your heart and break it in two. You have no obligation to not feel angry, confused, afraid, jealous, hurt or empty inside. God will help you process each emotion in time, but feeling is normal, healthy and necessary. Give yourself some space to work through your feelings and show yourself grace when you’re having a particularly bad day. Take every thought to Christ and express yourself freely. He knows what you’re feeling anyway so why not talk to Him about it? You know what helps tremendously? He gets it. He knows. And no matter how you feel today, He is able to completely heal you in time. He is our good, good Father.
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. (Psalm 94:19, ESV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)