New year, new marriage (Ashley’s healing story)

Jan 2, 2012Family Uncaged, Find joy today

My friends Ashley and George who run Tekeme Studios are a picture of reconciliation and healing. Here we are last November when I had the chance to surprise them at their home. I love them. George designed the header for Live Uncaged and does a lot of my design. Ashley? Well, she’s just a little firecracker of Jesus love. I adore them both.

We’re starting off the new year with Ashley’s story of healing and their story of reconciliation after she discovered George’s addiction to porn. It’s a hard story, but a good one. I pray it encourages you to work through your insecurities, to cling to Jesus, and trust Him to do great things in your relationships.

Ashley writes . . .

Glory to God! December 27th marked 5 years since I first found out about George’s porn addiction. What a rollercoaster. For those of you on different stages of this journey, I thought I’d give you a recap of our personal journey through the mess into the beauty that we thought would never come.

December 27th, 2006 – I discovered George’s porn addiction and our marriage dissolved almost completely.

January 1st, 2007 – I forgave him (so I thought at the time) only to discover more lies that he hadn’t revealed.

January – March 2007 – We tried Christian counseling and every one of them gave us advice that nearly ruined our marriage even more. “There are just some things your wife doesn’t need to know.” …. “Ashley, you just have Daddy issues from when you were younger, you need to heal from these without blaming George.” …. “Why does it bother you so much that he thinks other women are more beautiful than you?”

April – August 2007 – Time of intense, intense, intense insecurities post-pregnancy and summer when the women dress with less clothing than other seasons.

August – December 2007 – More difficult times. Roller coaster days. Some days were okay, others were the worst days imaginable. I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, get over my insecurities and trust him again. He was changing, slowly. No more porn, but he had some other issues we needed to work through that no one really helped us understand.

January – April 2008 – We continued ups and downs, ups and downs. I started writing Exposed and learned about what porn stars go through, which brought me to realize that it’s not just about me. That I was being selfish by only caring about how porn affected myself. This helped a lot, but also made me more insecure. I had started to heal a little bit from insecurities, and through looking into this stuff all the time, I relapsed and starting dressing immodestly myself, trying to get attention and please the eyes of lust, instead of the eyes of Love. This was a time of testing for me, and I failed. During this time, I started to get angry at George again and even started seriously considering cheating on him.

April – August 2008 – My second child was born and I went into a deeper stage of insecurity, struggling majorly with whether to try to please the eyes of my husband’s lust, or the eyes of Love and hope that my husband would find me beautiful the way God does. George also went through more and more healing, still no porn relapse, but he still had issues looking at women in public in an impure way. Our marriage bed was still tainted too.

September – December 2008 – I started praying more, reading more, trying to sort through my own issues. While at the same time George started to dive deeper into Church and love for God. Slowly, we were growing and it wasn’t always easy. Involved a lot of sacrifice. Our hearts were deeply anchored into the world, around this time they started to get pulled out.

January – June 2009 – I finished Exposed and felt like I turned over a new leaf, while I also saw George changing in the way he viewed women. It felt like we were finally free from the chains of lust, now we just needed to overcome the chains of my insecurity.

June – December 2009 – I started More than Desire and it really, really, really aided in my own healing. I shared my journey and tried to encourage others. A lot of old posts are no longer on there, but I am working on compiling them into a book. I have changed so much from the very first posts that I wrote (hopeless and bitter) that I want to edit them to still reveal how I felt, but add more of the hope I discovered along the years.

January – April 2010 – I had major battles with my insecurities. I feel like this was the final push. It was time to either give in or let go completely. This was the time I let go completely, but still had to heal from the effects.

May – August 2010 – Struggled through the summer with insecurities again, up and down, up and down, no longer mad at George because I could see the changes in him, but I still didn’t trust him fully, and I didn’t trust in God and the beauty that He decided was right for me and my purpose in this life.

September – December 2010 – Completely freed from insecurities during this time. I learned what it means to be humble. Suddenly I realized that I didn’t need to trust George to be faithful to me in order to have joy. I found my joy in Christ alone. This was the biggest turning point in my life.

January – April 2010We had already published Resurrection, the workbook, by this point, and then in April I published Beyond the Mirror, highlighting my journey out of insecurities. This book is truly the heart of my journey out of this mess and into the beauty of God’s love.

April  – July 2010 – I still struggled with pride issues here and there. Still had insecurities a little bit here and there, but following the steps and stages of dealing with sin I highlight in Beyond the MIrror, I was able to overcome this issues with God’s hand through the process.

July 2010 – NOW! — I can honestly say this has been the best time of my life, ever. I am more alive than I’ve ever been in my life. Completely 100% free of any insecurity about anything I’ve ever had in my life. God has humbled me in this way, and my heart, anchored to the world, has been pulled from the earth and tossed into heaven. I couldn’t describe the beauty I’ve found if I tried. It’s a love so deep for God that George could leave me for another woman and I’d still be happy. It’s the kind of love that would step out and love the woman he left me for, showering her with mercy and grace and love. It’s a love I’ve NEVER known before. It’s all so new to me. Every time I approach God in prayer I have tears in my eyes. Tears of joy and love. Tears of repentance and compassion for others too.

George and I have been through a lot over the years. All of my books highlight these times, but every journey is different. Every personal journey through this mess is designed especially for you. Especially for your marriage. It’s designed by God to help you come closer to Him. That may not mean perfect healing for your marriage. Your husband may never be perfect, he may never love you the way you want to be loved. But that’s not the purpose of this mess. The purpose of this mess is to shake up your life to bring you back to your First Love. And through that Love … you will discover a love in your marriage that doesn’t depend on the love you receive.

I know this from experience … and if I could trade places with any one of you … I would in a heartbeat. My hope is that you find complete and true healing in your precious Lord. That you find love, love, love. True love. And that your heart burns with a desire to please the eyes of Love, and never, ever the eyes of lust.

You are loved. All of you. Don’t ever forget it, no matter how up and down, or just plain down your journey is. God desires you. Run to His embrace!