Monday, February 7

a love story

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our love story is unlike a lot of love stories you probably hear. in fact, our love story is kind of a heart-wrenching, painful story, with quite a few embarrassing bumps in the road. but more than that, it's a story of God's redmeption to people who really don't deserve it. so ya, great intro, right? ha...i know, it's really vague. i'll just tell the story. it's long but i'm not sure how to shorten it anymore.

my husband and i met in 2004 working with a christian youth group called K-life... he volunteered weekly and i was the children's ministry director for the church, so i was at every churchy event. we saw a lot of eachother. and although we generally thought the other was a nice person who loved Jesus, neither of us liked eachother for a year while we worked side by side. he apparently thought i was too loud and laughed at everything. which is weird because laughing just means you enjoy life...he was such a hater. i thought he was a really cute guy...but that's all i thought about "us". anyway, somewhere in 2005, his heart changed and he started to like me. really like me.so much so, he thought he wanted to marry me. now that is weird for not even dating a person. anyway, he asked me out and i said yes, totally intending to call him the next day and tell him NO. but for some reason, i didn't and i went on a date with him...from that point on, we fell and sprinted into love! and then 2 months later, we were engaged. 4 months after we got engaged, we got married. 2 weeks after we got married, i got pregnant. woopsie! whirlwind. but it was awesome and fun and exciting...life was good. we were invincible... super christians ready to conquer the world!

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now fast forward to 2008, 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. in my heart though, i knew something was wrong with us.

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(we look super happy and normal, right? wrong...)
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. he is having an affair...this is not happening to me. it was an out of body experience. i was so deeply upset and probably more surprised than i had ever been about anything, 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, but 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. luckily my family and church rallied around me and helped me walk through the next extremely difficult moments.

i decided to forgive him and take him back almost immediately. i wanted it to work. i didn't want to give up. i thought i could WILL our marriage to work. but 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 me 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 that awesome christian guy 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.

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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. ready to make some hard changes. 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. but God pieced us back together. somehow, 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.

of course, we still have our ups and downs dealing with infidelity. there are some days that are hard for me to walk in forgiveness. but day by day, we realize that commitment triumphs over love. over feelings. over walking out the door. and we are truly amazed that we are still together...we should totally be divorced. there's no way to come back from something so tragic and devastating. unless a miracle happens. and that's what happened to us. our love story is a miracle.

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and that is the super brief, cliff notes version. i write about infidelity every so often on our family blog. we are not secretive about our struggles. we don't want to be. we don't care what people think about us anymore...we just hope that people see Jesus all over this story and not us. so that's why we keep talking about it.

41 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for sharing this. I think a lot of people need to hear it. loved every bit of it.

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  2. Such an incredible story of God's redemptive love for his children! Praying for buckets of joy to pour out over this sweet family!

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  3. i love my best friend. and am so incredibly proud of her.

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  4. "but day by day, we realize that commitment triumphs over love. over feelings. over walking out the door"...so beautifully put, jami! thanks for sharing this story again :)

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  5. Beautiful Story! People do need to hear stories like these, it helps to show world what God is capable of. Every situation can be fixed with the help of God, we just have to remember to keep HIM in the center of our world.
    You and your husband ARE incredibly brave for sharing.

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  6. LOVE this post!!! So brave of you to share and speak about. Very inspiring!!

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  7. How brave to be so honest. Thank you for sharing and not being afraid of what others think.

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  8. man, i seriously applaud Jami's honesty!!! what a real, honest look at life and marriage. thank you Jami!

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  9. What a story. you're right, different from the traditional love story, yet so relevant today. i appreciate you sharing, and the strength and faith that you both showed. i'll be following your blog now, also!

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  10. whew... this was hard to read this morning, but you know what? kudos to jami for sharing a REAL love story, and for being brave enough to admit that we are all so very broken, able only to be redeemed by the one who loves us most. beautiful and inspiring.

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  11. What a great story of strength and forgiveness.

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  12. wow...really had to soak this one in and hear every word. What a story of redemption and grace. Precious.

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  13. Thank you for posting, I went through the same thing with my husband's affair. We are working it out and staying strong. I feel my strength and forgiveness are the bless.

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  14. I love Jami's blog. She is so honest and real, and I think people need to see that from a Christian. So often, we just try to cover everything up. I'm glad she never does that!

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  15. seriously so fabulous! adore this story! and Jami is the cutest--love her blog~

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  16. Wow! That is incredible. Thank you for sharing!

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  17. What an amazing story. Thanks for sharing. I have often said aloud that cheating would be one thing that *I* could never forgive. I guess until it happens you don't understand that you would have to let *god* forgive for you. Praying for your relationship. You are both brave and a miracle.

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  18. For me, this was really hard to read, because I am currently with the guy, that I know I am going to marry and I never want to think anything bad/devastating will happen to us, enough that he would have to leave.

    But you give me hope, because I know that the best of people go through struggles, and they overcome it and become stronger for it. Thank you for sharing, this really makes me think differently about marriage, but it does not scare me away from it.

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  19. wow. i so wish i have her bravery!

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  20. what an amazing story! i just wanted to share how awesome it is to hear about another couple fighting for their marriage-my father had an affair when i was a teenager, and my mother (despite many in our church where my father was the pastor telling her to divorce him) said that if God could forgive her for her sin, how could she not forgive my father? it was a hard, long road both for their marriage and my family (he moved out to be with this other woman for a time), but eventually God brought our family back together. may God bless you and your family as you continue to walk WITH HIM in the midst of the wonderful "up's" and horrible "down's" that can come across our paths.

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  21. wow!!! this is one amazing story.

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  22. Wow! So genuine and such a testament to Christ's love and work in people's lives. Thank you for sharing!!!
    <3 leigh

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  23. you give grace when the rubber meets the road and that is just absolutely amazing and inspiring. really. thanks for sharing.

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  24. Great story. I am pretty new to Jami's blog but had already read most of this post in various places there, and am really enjoying her way of sharing her life in a candid but positive manner.

    PS I have started using the term "Crafternoon" with my friends as a result of Jami's blog :)

    kerryandscott.blogspot.com

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  25. i told this story to one of my smallgroup friends and totally ugly cried...and it was last week. it's amazing to bring yourself back to such and awful/amazing experience. it's still very raw for me and i'm just her sister. infidelity is demonic and gross but god can make all things new...and he did. thanks for laying it all out there james. you're the best sister a girl could have.

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  26. Wow this is an amazing reminder of how good God is. We can't even grasp the depths of His love for us!! Thank you for sharing.

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  27. Praise the Lord for your miraculous story. It's all about Jesus, and I love how you give him all the credit and glory. You are beautiful and so are the photos!

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  28. wow. and wow again. what an amazing, amazing story. what a miracle - God is good!

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  29. it's what you call a beautiful mess, all because God had control of the entire situation. He is GOOD!

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  30. everytime i read this story, i think "would i do it, let him back?" i am not sure, but i am glad if god forbid i ever find myself in this situation, i have a freind that could share her heartache and wisdom with me. you are brave and he should kiss your feet {gross, i know} everytime he walks in the door.

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  31. i second what everyone else is saying. truly an amazing story.

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  32. You are one brave woman. I felt so many different emotions while reading your story. If I were to be completely honest, I really don't think I would have it in me to forgive him. But God has given you the strength, and now you are able to share the story and encourage others as well. Love your courage.

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  33. Jami, and your husband, you are both brave brave souls. I admire you so much. And was cheering for you both the whole time.

    I think it is important to be brave and share personal stories. My husband and I are doing it on our blog right now about our marriage. It's not quite what we want it to be. So we are working on it. And sharing with others how we are working on it...because chances are...we aren't the only ones that are struggling right now to communicate respectfully, appreciate each other and raise kids with the same parenting skills. I think if we always act and look like everything is OK...a lot of other people end up feeling like failures.

    Thanks again for sharing your beautiful love story!

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  34. Jami - you rock. This is a story with a happy (not easy) ending and I never get tired of hearing it. I think of your strength and God's sovereignty often when I see other couples struggling. I know God loves your openness too - how else do we show people how amazing He is? Love to you and your fam.

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  35. Jami...THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing this story. My husband and I are going through a struggle right now with his addiction to pornography. At times I feel like I SHOULD divorce him...that God disagrees with adultery, and that he won't change...just to know there is someone out there that has been through similar things and made the choice to stick with the marriage when it was hard to do that is SO encouraging. Thank you so, so much for sharing this. I feel like this is exactly what God wanted me to hear today. :)

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  36. awesome. I love the Natos and their story. Thank you Jami for being so open and honest. For sharing Jesus. You are truly an amazing woman!

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  37. i love jami! i love how brave you and your husband are to share your story. i love that you give every ounce of credit to Jesus. yours is a story of real, true love!! xoxo

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  38. Thanks for such an honest love story! What an inspiration!

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  39. It takes a lot of courage to share things this intimate and I applaud you for that. It takes even more courage to go through what you have been through...to work through it, to wake up each morning and say "I am going to love this person today" until it becomes a reality again.

    Other people need to here these stories to know that marital troubles (even the most painful one's) happen to almost every marriage and what is more important is what you come out with in the end. That is the measure of a good marriage...are we growing? are we changing? are we turning our hearts towards God so that we can turn our hearts toward each other.

    Thank you so much for sharing honestly

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  40. Your story is a true testament to what God can do and what He can do through you. Keep it going sister because He will bless you and your family.

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  41. This is absolutely amazing, beautiful story.

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