Faith, Hope, Surviving Adultery and Divorce

Live Out Loud!

My house is loud!

At the moment, I am enjoying a few minutes of peace and quiet. My kids are with their dad, so it is just me, my music playing quietly in the background, and the dog lying at my feet. But, on a normal day, my house gets loud and rowdy!

With a teenage boy, a near-teen boy, a tween girl, a dog, and a puppy, my home is a revolving door. All of the neighborhood teen boys (about five in addition to my own) consider this house a second home. I frequently find basketball games in my driveway even when my kids aren’t home. A few days ago, one of the neighborhood boys was sitting at my dining room table as I cooked dinner. He had come down for help with his algebra homework. I joked with his dad that I was a one-stop shop: hit Dena’s house for friendship, food, basketball, tutoring. (I even found his dirty socks on my kitchen counter recently! Ugh! Definitely a second home!)

And, when the average number of children in my house at any given time is around seven, I GUARANTEE that my house gets loud! Really loud!

The ironic thing is that I am the quiet, reserved, calm one in my family of origin. My siblings are all far more extraverted than I am; I would never choose to be on a stage. I am perfectly happy to sit in the peace and quiet, soak up the beauty around me, let others take center-stage. While my daughter will choose the most flamboyant outfit she can simply so she can thrust herself into the spotlight, I would much rather choose a simple, classic look so I don’t draw attention to myself. I can easily blend into the background and be perfectly happy. I like the security of being with an out-going person so that I don’t have the pressure of carrying the conversation, of jumping into the middle of the action. I can simply ride someone else’s coattails.

I am a simple, quiet girl from Oklahoma. I grew up as the smart girl, the bookworm, class valedictorian, editor of the yearbook. I was too terrified to put myself out there and do something crazy like try out for cheerleader. I avoided the party scene because it was uncomfortable to be in the middle of the action. I preferred solitude, peace, a degree of anonymity.

Yet God has called me to live my life out loud!

Live out loud! The words seem to be constantly echoing through my mind. Live out loud! Be an open book. Live out loud! Let the world see your heartbreak and pain. Live out loud! Show the world the power that God has to restore a broken life.

As I attempt to follow God’s path for my life, I find myself thrust into the limelight—the most uncomfortable place in the world for someone with my quiet personality. I wonder how in the world I ended up on a radio show discussing the most painful event of my life, sharing the most intimate betrayal with an audience. I wonder how I ended up writing for an international audience at crosswalk.com. I wonder how (and why) I have a blog with the most wonderful and devoted readers possible.

I’ve been told repeatedly that my openness and vulnerability are what make my blog what it is, the things that draw people to me. Ironically, my gut reaction when I learned about my husband’s infidelity was to hide. I put on a mask and went about my life as if everything was still perfect. I hid my hurt and pain from my family and those closest to me. I pretended that I was ok.

But I wasn’t.

It wasn’t until I opened my life to others and let them love me that I began to see a bright future. It wasn’t until I was willing to admit that I was powerless to handle this pain on my own that I began to find the strength to move forward. It wasn’t until I allowed other believers to surround me and hold me up in my darkest and most difficult days that I began to be able to walk, then run, into the amazing future God has for me. It wasn’t until I opened my heart to others that my heart was able to begin healing.

I never want to wear the mask again. I want others to know that it’s ok to hurt, it’s ok to not be perfect. I want others to know that someone understands, that someone has walked the difficult path and survived. I want others to know that there is an abundant life waiting for them when they get through the darkness. I want others to know that what Satan meant for evil, God will use for good!

I want to live my life out loud, shout it from a mountaintop that God is good—even when life is crashing all around you. I want the world to know that God has the power to resurrect a broken, hurting life and make it a beacon of light to the world around us! I want the world to know that the Great I Am is standing, waiting for the opportunity to step in and reveal his mighty power! I want the world to know that there is no hurt too deep, no pain too great, no betrayal too big to be transformed into a story of redemption! I want the world to know that there is a God who sees, a God who hears, and God who loves.

One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:1-10

Peter and John were going about their normal lives when they were interrupted. They were ready to pray, worship. They were leaders in the church, important, needed. But there was a man in need. He had spent his entire life crippled, broken, hurting. So they stopped. They spoke. They offered hope and healing to this lame man begging for help. They had something he needed, and they weren’t content to go about their day without reaching out to someone who needed God’s love.

Right there, before they offered their praise to God, they offered the healing power of God to another. Suddenly, the man who had never walked before was not just walking; he was running, he was jumping, and he was praising God. Peter and John knew that they had been called to live their lives out loud. They knew that God had entrusted them with a message for all the world. They knew that their words and prayers were only a small part of what God wanted from them. He wanted them to share this message, the healing power with a broken world around them.

And because Peter and John chose to live out loud, they showed others how to live out loud. This man was not quiet about the restoration he experienced. He was LOUD! He was shouting it from a mountain top! He wanted the world to know that he had once been sick, hopeless, broken. But now, because of the power of God, he was singing a new song. He had a brand new life with a bright future!

That’s how I feel. My life was broken, ruined. My heart was shredded, my dreams and future gone. But the love of my brothers and sisters in Christ, those who reached out to love me and encourage me in the darkest days of my life, helped me see the Savior who was waiting for me. I’ve had such a remarkable change, seen such an amazing work in my life that I can’t quit shouting! I am living my life out loud! I am letting the world see how God picks up the pieces of a broken life and puts it together to make something beautiful. It might be vastly different from what I dreamed or imagined, but he promises it will be better than I could ever ask or imagine!

Are you hurting and in pain? Please don’t hide behind a mask, pretending that you are ok. Let others in. Let them lift you before the Father when you hurt so badly you can’t pray yourself. Admit your weakness because God promises that his strength is made perfect in our weakness. Has God done an amazing work in your life, carried you through difficult days of trial and tribulation? He didn’t pull you through so you could keep that story to yourself. Share it! Open up and be vulnerable! Someone out there needs to hear your story, to be encouraged by what God has done in you. He has given you a message that needs to be shared. Live out loud!

Some would argue that I’m sharing too much, too open. Some would say that the intimate details of betrayal should be kept quiet, that it’s not something to be shared publicly. But, the longer I write, the more I share, the more I live out loud, the more I find that others are waiting for someone to be open and vulnerable. Others need someone to say that it’s ok to be real. As a friend recently said, “Vulnerability breeds vulnerability.” It is my great pleasure to have you open up, share your hurts and fears with me. Our world is desperately in need of people who will be real, vulnerable, open. We as Christians need to get rid of the masks and let the world see that we aren’t perfect and don’t pretend to be. We are real humans who have the hope of brighter days because of our Savior! We need to live out loud in a world where other voices are drowning us out.

Join me today in living our lives out loud!

***********

Missed the show? This past Sunday, I was on The Sitting Room with Kathy Chiero discussing life after adultery. Missed the show? You can listen to it at http://sittingroomradio.com/

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6 thoughts on “Live Out Loud!”

    1. Yes, they absolutely will. And yet, God can take and use it in our lives to make us better, stronger, faith-filled examples of what he can do when we fully surrender!

  1. I am encouraged by your words but still doubtful. It is hard to imagine this pain of my husband’s recently discovered double life and consistent infidelity is going to get better. I spent my whole adult life with him, from 18 until now, 37. We have 5 beautiful children who are devastated. A home and dreams and our shared history shattered. The worst part is, he doesn’t care. Won’t admit to anything, acts like I am to blame, which I am NOT! He is angry at ME! What audacity! My future is blank and my emotions are knocking me down like ocean waves. I have known Jesus since I was 10. But, I never imagined he would let this happen. I grew up as a child of divorce, and I would fight to the death to prevent my children from experiencing the same. But, I have fought for it, and it doesn’t help and doesn’t matter to my husband. He claimed to be a man of God. A leader in our church. He influenced people. Now is is dragging God’s name through the mud yet still calling himself a man of God! Ugh! I hate it! I am trying to trust and let my church peeps help me, but it is excruciating. I have asked for prayer from everywhere. I want to trust God, but it feels like he has broken my trust too.

    1. Oh, how I feel your pain! I completely understand every single word you say. I have been there. Pastor’s wife. Faithful and loving. Nothing more important to me than my marriage and family. Nothing I wanted more than a marriage that went the distance, following the example of my grandparents who were married for 72 years. No pain that I could ever imagine being greater (except the loss of a child). To discover his infidelity. To discover he was actively dating on an online dating site. Then, to have him twist the truth and make it my fault. I was the one who woke up one morning and didn’t love him any more. I was the one who kicked him out. I was the one who had multiple affairs and destroyed multiple families. And, one of the hardest parts was to know that he defamed the name of my God, the one I had committed my life to serving from the age of 6! How dare he? But he did.

      I was mad at God. I wanted no part of him. I thought my life was supposed to be blessed? I did everything right. How could he let this happen? Why didn’t he answer my prayers? I would live my way because his way didn’t work out so well. I couldn’t open my Bible. I couldn’t pray. The devastation was too much. I even contemplated suicide.

      And the kids. It was all on me. He didn’t have to deal with their hurt and pain (still doesn’t). I was left to pick up my own pieces AND try to help my poor, innocent children deal with the shattering of their lives. Nearly 20 years tossed aside as if it was nothing. All of the good memories wiped out by some simple choices. Twenty years of my life that suddenly simply vanished.

      Yes, I understand. I so wish I could sit with you, wrap my arms around you, let you cry and scream. I so wish I could walk with you through these darkest of days. I so wish I could show you the vision that God has for your future. While I can’t physically be close to you, I have been praying all morning that God will wrap you in arms, let you feel his tender love and care, give you the vision that he has for your future. While you are frantically trying to scrape together the pieces of the puzzle that you have been carefully putting together for the last 20 years, you will find that the pieces are different. But, the master crafter is going to begin weaving all of those pieces into a beautiful mosaic for you. He will not let your pain be wasted. He will use it to make you stronger, better, more amazing. He will take a surrendered heart and do an amazing work in you so you can one day comfort others with the comfort you have received. He WILL honor your faithfulness–even if it doesn’t look anything like what you had planned. You CAN trust him–even though right now it seems you can’t.

      Yell at God. Let him know how angry you are, how you aren’t sure you want to follow him any more. Tell him about your hurts and your pains and your fears. Let him have it! He will pursue you with the love of a shepherd seeking out the one sheep who has wandered away. He will fight for your love and affection. He will call you to get your security from him. He will reveal himself as the Great I Am–everything you could ever need exactly when you need it. He will prove himself more faithful than you ever dreamed possible. He will bind up your wounds. He will restore your joy. He will give you a relationship with him beyond your greatest imagination!

      I know that right now you doubt my words. But, I have walked your path. I am part of the great cloud of witnesses cheering you on, promising that if you stay in the race you will receive the prize. If you determine that you will let God do an amazing work in you, he will use these trials to do an amazing work through you, to perfect you in his image, to give you a faith that moves mountains. If you determine that you will not survive but will thrive, he will give you the abundant life he promised–far greater than you ever imagined. You can walk in joy and know that he is with you every step of the way.

      Lord Jesus, let Elizabeth have a special dose of your grace and mercy today. Somehow, give her a glimpse of the amazing future you have planned for her so that she can cling to that vision. Reassure her that you are with her every single step of this journey, that you see and hear her pain and anguish. Give her an overwhelming sense of your presence. Carry her through these difficult days, and give her the strength to make it moment by moment, day by day. Help her to see and know that you are more than enough for her and her kids. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

      I am always available by email at denasdevos@yahoo.com. You are in my prayers, dear friend. You will make it!

    2. I know how you feel too. It’s almost too painful to bear. But I do promise that God will not leave you there. Don’t worry about doing anything other than getting by for the first few months. It’s been about a year for me since the lowest low. I didn’t even want to live. I felt everything had been taken from me. The women I loved betrayed me and took custody of the kids. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that God had work for me to do. If I gave up the Devil won. It’s been a steady climb with lots of falls. Random crying through it all. But God has been working for good through it all. It doesn’t make it hurt any less, but it makes it bearable. The pain has a purpose if you let God lead. It’s ok to doubt and be mad. God understands. He created us. Just know that even through the anger, pain, and doubt that you still love Him and will take his best over what the world can give you. Love casts out fear. He will restore all that has been taken. I’m sorry for your loss and pray for healing.

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