Personal Testimony

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We never know where life's experiences will take us. My journey is not what I planned, nor what I desired, but I can say with conviction in my heart that God is faithful and loves us beyond what we can measure or comprehend.

After 34 years of marriage, everything I valued in marriage was destroyed and my family was shattered. I had married a man who knew the Scriptures better than I, but who came into our marriage with strongholds of sin of which I was naïve and who hid it well. In my youthful trust, understanding, and new-found commitment to the Lord, I believed that anyone who knew God's Word and claimed to walk with Him could not live a secret life contrary to God's ways. But, I found, very sadly that the man to whom I had committed my life and heart and who I believed loved me and would always care for me really used me only to satisfy his own lustful desires -- to break my heart and betray my trust. Life could only be about him and his wants, and everything that he did was motivated to that end.

Betrayal is a pain understood only by the experience in which it is clothed. And, there is no betrayal like that in the covenant of marriage where trust must be the cornerstone upon which it is built and will thrive.

When you give everything humanly possible and your best is never and will never be good enough, it is a defiling feeling within. There aren't words to describe the sense of loss, defeat, and waste from years of investment to a hopeless situation.

Although young when I married, I was committed for life and was a one-man woman. I valued marriage as a covenant to honor God, bless my husband, and raise righteous, Godly children. Two months into the marriage, when my husband admitted he had lied to me about his past prior to our marriage, I was broken hearted, not so much about his past, but the fact that he had deliberately lied to me. Honesty and integrity are values I placed in high esteem. Nevertheless, I had made a covenant before God, and regardless of that trust broken, I was committed for life. Divorce was not an option. I began the walk of "forgiveness," a walk that would require much grace and perseverance over the remaining years of our marriage as he continued to undermine and erode the very foundation of trust upon which a Godly marriage depends.

My husband was (and remains) a narcissist, sex addict, and sociopath. I possessed no knowledge of any of these strongholds because I believed those terms were for mentally unstable people with whom I would not have reason to associate. They certainly would not be terms used to describe someone who verbally and publicly espoused Biblical principles. My focus was on being a Godly, faithful wife and mother, committed to blessing my family and instilling honorable values in their lives. I home-schooled my children, taught Biblical submission and marriage classes through women's Bible studies, and wrote and spoke on child-training and Biblical parenting. It was devastating to find that my husband used me as his "cover" and deflection for who he really was. With a wife like me, his church and business audience would never suspect his secret, double life.

As time went on, he continued to undermine and criticize everything, and his escalating deception and bad behavior discouraged my heart more and more. Nothing I did could make him happy or please him. As bad as his behavior was, and only growing worse, I thought, "Well, at least he will never be unfaithful to me as I certainly please him in that segment of our life together and give him no reason to dishonor me in that." Little did I know that he had mastered that deception with well-orchestrated lies and great deflection over any concerns I dared to express for many years. Never was he transparent, honest, or repentant. Over many years he covered an affair he had with his secretary when he was principal of a Christian high school. I was a young, attractive 30 year old; she older than he.

When his sexual addiction was finally discovered (via pornography) in 2008 and lovingly confronted by church leadership (since he was the acting lay pastor at the small church we attended at the time), all hell broke loose that his double life was finally exposed; the emperor without his clothes; a fraud.

Rejecting all help to get counsel for this alone, he hid nothing. A month later he was followed and photographed coming out of a XXX strip club on the east side of St. Louis, smoking a cigarette -- something I had never known him to do. He went through all of our savings, stole money to pay for his addictive lifestyle, and flaunted his debauchery before me in any way he could find to punish me for confronting his sin and trying to get him help.
I had "forgiven" (which he demanded I do) credit card fraud -- his forging my signature for a 7-year period, leaving a debt of $55,000 in my name, ruining my good credit, which I am still struggling to rebuild. For 10 years I patiently waited for him to file and pay his business taxes, which he never did. And, I endured continual disrespect, criticism, and the undermining of my efforts in training our sons, especially our younger after our older son left home.

I finally realized that he had no conscience, no conviction, no caring about anything that most people would. Then I asked myself how I could be married to a man of such confusing character when I had done my best to be his best cheerleader and support as a faithful, committed wife. My sense of logic just wasn't fitting on the grid of life with a man given to wickedness. I thought if one knew the Word he would want to live the Word or at least feel Godly sorrow if he did not.

The things he did then (after being discovered) became unbelievable and unbearable. He went from pretending to be a "Godly" father, having required our son to memorize Scripture a few years earlier, to buying him alcohol (at age 17), smoking with him, and growing marijuana in the garage of our studio/office where he refused to leave to get help or give me peace and time to heal after the church leadership sought to implement Biblical discipline.

My heart was further broken watching our precious, trusting son rebel and turn to substance abuse due to the poor example his father set in degrading me as his mother and the terrible spiritual confusion from a man who he was instructed to respect and honor throughout his life.

Time does not allow me to expound on the many travesties we experienced at this man's hands composed by a sociopath mind and evil heart. It came to the point of my physical safety and I began to fear for my life.

As the abusive behavior worsened I finally found a man who had been our family friend (and who had married us) and was now retired from church leadership who would listen and act -- something no man had done up to that point. The only counsel I had from the male leadership in the "church" was for me to pray, "love," and "submit." I had done all of that ad nausea, with his behavior only growing worse and my health and stamina along with it. I was slowly dying inside and finally I came to realize that as a child of Father God, He would want me to value myself more. I found that submitting to an addictive personality only enables further, which explained why he only grew worse and his actions more controlling. My hope was that my husband would see how much I was doing to bless him and honor him. But, I found that for a narcissist, addict and sociopath, nothing will ever be enough. Such people will suck all the life from you they can, take more than you have to give, and persecute you for not giving more. Their appetite for control is insatiable.

When I realized that submitting to ungodliness was not for a woman of God and that God does not ever require us to submit to wickedness in the name of Biblical submission, I reluctantly but courageously began the process of legal separation. I did not pursue divorce in the hope that he would repent and I could say with conviction in my heart that I was committed to my marriage vows and kept the door open for a miracle to occur. Scripturally I did what I believed was honorable and right. I hoped beyond hope that he would not want to lose his family but found that he was too far gone. As the Scriptures state, God had clearly "given him over to a reprobate mind," as he had repeatedly rejected any effort made by every person who appealed to him -- even his older son.

People in the church want to believe that nothing is impossible with God, and I believed that, too. However, God clearly lets us choose; that is why He is God, having given us a free will. I believe that He grieved over this more than any of us. The loss of a beautiful family with the treasure of precious sons and a devoted wife was not enough to keep a man whose heart was set on his own sinful and temporal pleasures. He simply did not care; he had practiced deception for too long to feel any remorse over his wickedness. That was very difficult for me to comprehend and it has been a long lesson to absorb and accept.
I share my story to encourage you to live honestly and transparently before the Lord and others. We cannot have true freedom if we are unwilling to deal with the issues that permeate our lives. The pain I bore was so great that I wanted to leave this earth on numerous occasions. Being an example to the body of Christ and a mother to my two precious sons are what kept me here and persevering in this on-going spiritual and physical battle. When I was so weak standing against the frightening behavior of this man who wanted nothing more than my physical destruction, the Lord kept me going through the precious prayers of others who loved and cared for me and the fortitude of a precious sister in the Lord. When I was so broken and fearful for my future and felt I could not go on another day with one challenge after another, she reminded me that we as believers are called to "endure until the end" and that this was preparing my heart for the last days before Yeshua's return. She boldly implored me, "You have to go on. You cannot quit." I knew she was right.

When I sought the Lord for why, when I valued family and marriage so very much and was so deeply committed to it for life, I would be the one called to lose mine, He spoke to my spirit in a distinct way. He said that He needed a mouthpiece for women like me -- neglected and manipulated by "the church" and men in leadership who were uncommitted to righteousness and guarding the heart of His women -- His precious vessels - "thrown under the bus" for centuries. I sought help and felt I had nowhere to turn in my situation when my former husband was leading in our church. The men blew me off as critical and un-submitted, and my appeals for intervention and help were not taken seriously. I felt that I had been "hung out to dry" and wished I had never sought help through the "Scriptural line of authority," of which they made a mockery. Their own spiritual neglect and strongholds prevented them from taking any action to protect me or bring my husband to any legitimate accountability. These are the things that break the heart of God and render the church ineffective.

I will always grieve the loss of the family and Godly marriage I so committed to, which is all I ever wanted in my life. But, I know with new resolve that my purpose is to glorify Him with my life and that He is the Master Recycler -- able to do more than I can ask, think, or imagine. Life is about serving His people in love, learning to walk free because of all that Yeshua did on our behalf so that we could, and trusting that He holds me in the palm of His hand and has only good things for my future. He is the only One in whom we can fully trust and He alone is worthy of that trust. He is our faithful Father.

In the midst of all the pain, loneliness, regret and failure He whispers to my spirit, "I love you. I am all that you need. And, I am more than enough."


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