Separation Day One

The day before I decided to separate from my husband we were at the happiest place on earth–Disneyland. And it was a great day. Our little children were quite the handful, there were meltdowns and faces covered in churro, but we were all together.

The next morning, Simon and I laughed and reminisced about the previous day and scrolled through the pictures on his phone. I didn’t want to miss a single one and swiped to the beginning only to find…I don’t even know what to call it. Because it was more than a screenshot. It was more than a woman’s name and number. It was more than the selfie I saw that my husband took and sent to her. It all wrapped up tightly into one big cosmic black hole deep in my abdomen.

It was death. Like the last breath of trust and hope was exhaled from my marriage and I died…again.

I’ve died in front of Simon several times now. And he never sees it.

Discovery Day was November 8, 2014. That night my husband’s mistress of six months called me. She heard me die over the phone. I died a slow death the weeks and months after as betrayal after betrayal was disclosed to me, then attached to me like a heart draining leech, sucking the life, hope and worth out of me.

For years, for nearly the entirety of my 8 year marriage, I had been living as a wife betrayed. I remember looking at pictures of myself taken during those years and saying in my head over and over, “You’re so stupid. Look at you. You actually think you’re happy. And you have no idea. So stupid.”

But I’m not.

Yesterday when I found that picture on the camera roll, I died. But the thing about me is that I rise from the ashes every time. I come back. After yelling, crying, going to trauma in some crazy seconds I quickly pulled myself out and remembered that I’m in recovery, and have been for over a year.

I watched my husbands behavior, we discussed what I found. It was like the “Addiction Cycle” chart had been ripped from my LifeStar book and taped to Simon’s chest. I mentally checked off addict behavior after addict behavior as he revealed his heart. Addict.

Sexting was added to my boundaries list months before. And “If you sext, I will separate” is etched there in permanent ink.

With my boundary stated, Simon left calling me a “terrible person.”

Then he called thirty minutes later crying, apologizing, playing victim, trying to manipulate me to back down from my boundary. To give in. I didn’t. My boundary is firm. We hung up minutes later, he hadn’t asked once about how I was doing. I was dying. And he wouldn’t see it.

I formulated a self-care plan. I needed to simplify. I needed to address my needs. I needed to get to the temple.

I canceled a church meeting. I canceled a group date for the weekend. A friend drove to my house and hugged me and watched my kids while I searched for my keys in my tornado stricken home. My sister and mother watched my three precious children. I drove to the temple. Here I was at this beautiful building, this House of God, this place where I was married and sealed, this place where I had to attend alone…again.

I needed to feel power. I needed to be blessed. I needed every part of me to feel connected and strong. I performed Initiatories.

I walked up the spiral staircase to the Celestial Room and had to keep my face pointed upward. If I looked down, I would have seen the memory of Simon on our wedding day, standing at the bottom of that staircase smiling at me.

 

 

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Yoked with the Savior: My Guest Post on The Power of Family

The following post was featured on The Power of Family this week. I wrote it at the very start of my Recovery journey and have edited it many times. It’s still incomplete, because I still have so much to learn and understand about the Atonement, Grace and my capacity to draw upon its strength and healing. But its published nonetheless and I am so happy that my words can be of help to even one person suffering from the devastating effects of pornography and sexual addiction.

Yoked with the Savior

Well, hello. I am Anne Girl. Obviously, that’s not my real name. But it’s who I am. 

On the outside, I’m a late twenties Mormon mom of three very little children. I have a handsome husband, a loving family, a mortgage and a dog.

On the inside, I am Anne Girl. A writer, a dreamer, a planner and a wife struggling with the effects of her husband’s recently discovered sexual addiction. 

I am one of the “wounded innocent” that Elder Holland has talked about. Life hurts at the moment, and even though it may be downright painful for a long time yet, the truth is I have never been closer to my Heavenly Father and to my Savior. 

The Atonement of my Savior, Jesus Christ, astounds me. It is everything. It is marvelous. My husband’s choices are his choices. Not mine. But my trauma, pain and despair are real and they are very much mine. I am wounded. And with time, the Atonement will heal those wounds. I know it will.

I’ve read the following scripture dozens of times:  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

But a friend shared this new one with me, and it has become one of my favorite verses during this time:  “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

It pierced my heart and warmed it at the same time. I realized from those words in Galatians that I was wrongly yoked to my husband and not with my Savior. And it was placing me in an emotional and spiritual bondage. I was carrying burdens that I was not meant to. I was taking over the role that the Savior had purchased with His Atonement. My husband’s choices and their consequences were laden on my shoulders, and I was willingly placing them there. I was blaming myself for what had happened. I was desperately trying to find a “cure”. I was trying to somehow lessen the addiction and control it. My husband had become the center of my life. The chaos of his addiction was consuming me. And it was making my life unmanageable. After reading that verse, I knew I had to step away from that entanglement and yoke myself completely and wholeheartedly to my Savior and the liberty He promises. I had to put Him in the center of my life.

But it was, and sometimes still is, difficult. Oftentimes, I replace Him with fear—fear of the unknown and the “what if’s” that fuel this trauma and pain. When I lose focus of the Savior, when I go to fear, then my identity becomes lost a little. And when that identity is lessened or forgotten in the smallest degree, I slowly forget that I am first and foremost a daughter of God. I forget my liberty (and my husband’s liberty, too!) that I am free to choose a life of liberty from this addiction. A life focused on hope and trust in the Savior and His Atonement. A life focused on my free agency—that marvelous gift that empowers me to choose righteousness and to come to my Savior for my own aid and relief.

In my mind, I can see two oxen united by the placement of a yoke. That wooden beam that binds them together is strong and solid so they can help one another pull a heavy load as a team. I am one of the oxen. But who is the other? I used to think he was my husband. But the truth is, if that other oxen is anyone other than the Savior, then he is the wrong person. Yoked with the wrong person, we will move in circles. If that oxen is an addict, and does not choose recovery, he may choose to sit in the muck and the mud while I desperately try to move forward. We will get nowhere. Never progressing. Round and round I will go, sinking deeper into the muck. I will suffer. And so will the addict. We are stuck.

Or maybe my addict-ox does move, maybe even down the right path! But, maybe possibly down the wrong path. Either way, I’m pulling and carrying a weight that is too much for me to bear. And I suffer. I am stuck under the weight of another’s load.

The key is remembering that I have my own cart to pull, and that the Savior stands ready to pull it with me. I don’t have to do it all and I don’t have to do it on my own out of sheer grit and determination. If I yoke myself to the Savior, and make room for Him, then the burden is light, because we really are a team. We pull together. He carries my weight when I need Him to. He knows where we need to go. His strength never slackens. He teaches me along the way and encourages me to endure the path well.

If I make room for Him, and allow Him to step in and pull, then we become of one heart and of one mind. We move forward, in the right direction, together. I progress toward being the person Heavenly Father dreams I will become. I stay on the path that leads to personal joy, healing and growth.

But what happens to my husband? Does this mean I have deserted him? No. Does this mean I don’t love him? No. Instead, I have done the most loving service I can muster—I have made room for the Savior to step in and help him with his own cart. I have entrusted him, and his addiction, to the Savior’s care. My addicted loved one has to yoke himself to the Savior, just as I have. I can’t pull his load for him, even if I may want to at times. If I do, I have robbed him of his connection and access to his Redeemer. What I can do is cheer from the sidelines. I can love and support while keeping my own identity and salvation intact. I can lovingly detach myself from the agony and burden of the addiction and not get pulled into the muck. I can work my own recovery and heal and allow my husband to do the same. I can give God the control. What I can’t do is be his savior, for Jesus Christ is his Savior.

There is blissful freedom in the knowledge that I am a Daughter of God. That Heavenly Father has given me my own cart to pull, my own load to bear, and my own choices to make. Yes, I am a wife. But I AM A DAUGHTER OF GOD first, foremost and always. I am an individual of divine nature and eternal substance. I chose free agency, I chose to come to earth to prove MYSELF worthy to return to my Heavenly Father.

And I can only do that by choosing to yoke myself with My Savior. I can only control my own choices and actions. I am responsible for my own salvation and happiness. I have to make it.

Through all this sorrow and uncertainty, I have never felt closer to my Savior. This addiction and trauma can steal the life out of you if you let it and suffer the weight of another’s choices. I never knew I could feel such pain and heartache not only for myself but for my loved one. But I also never knew that the very pain and heartache I’m experiencing could be the very things that have led me to lean on Him so greatly and allow Him to help me, and my husband, with our burdens. From sorrow has come joy in small, little moments.

It is truly amazing what the Savior is doing for both me and my husband when we let Him in. My husband is changing remarkably, as am I. Our marriage grows stronger each day. Not every day is good, but we are progressing. For now, we walk the same road, pulling our own carts, side by side with the Savior’s help. Sometimes we fall and stumble. Sometimes we sit and don’t want to get back up. But the hand of the Lord reaches down to us and we find the strength to make it through one more day. We are learning to cheer and encourage one another, dismiss judgement and blame, and so the chasm that once divided us is beginning to thin.

I am so grateful that my Savior willingly yokes himself to all of us individually. I am so grateful that He is happy to strengthen me just as much as he is happy to strengthen my husband if we will but come to Him and surrender our wills and burdens at His precious feet. All of us fall short in this life. All of us need the Atonement—whether to heal sin or sorrow. He truly makes us free if we will but stand fast in His joyous liberty.

You can find Anne Girl on Instagram: @helloannegirl. Or through her blog: annegirlrecovery.wordpress.com

*Now, if I could add to the article some more (I was pondering this the day after the article was posted and I had just seen my therapist) I would talk about the need to set appropriate boundaries to keep your cart from getting rammed! My husband and I are on the Recovery Road together, and sometimes his actions can knock me off my feet and hinder my progress. Boundaries keep me safe–emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically safe. I love and support my addicted loved one best, and respect myself too!, by protecting myself from another’s bad choices. The Savior doesn’t want me to be a doormat. I can be kind AND firm without being mean and judgmental. The Savior is a perfect example of this. He was/is kind and firm. Tough love. Love that stretches us and gives us experience.

Let His love fill your cart and keep on pulling!

Today, I Build

I was sitting at my kitchen table, talking on the phone with a new friend. She had just discovered her husband’s pornography addiction a few days earlier. She said, “I feel so weak. I never thought I’d still be here after something like this.”

I was sitting in a church classroom with other betrayed women whose husband’s had pornography addictions. They nodded, asking the same things, “Am I weak for staying?”

I was sitting on my bed blogging that same thought months ago. Except I typed: “What the hell am I still doing here?! Am I just too weak, too scared, too confused, to leave?”

I’ll tell you why I’m still here. Because I feel it is right. And no, I am not weak.

I struggled immensely with this thought of “weakness” in the beginning. Mainly, because I was worrying about what others thought I should do. Would I look weak for staying? Would I look unforgiving for leaving? I so desperately wanted to do what looked right that I neglected my own power to choose what was right for me. I still had not come to that full realization that I had an inner conscience, common sense, intuition, the companionship of the Holy Ghost. I did, and always had, followed the Spirit. So, why would I think that Heavenly Father would desert me now? I can know for myself what to do, is the enlightenment that finally dawned on me. And I can have confidence in my choice.

I felt a little like Joseph Smith. I was going to man looking for answers. Which church should I join?! What is the right path?! he practically begged to be told the answer. But nothing sat well with him. It was not until he went to the Father and fully submitted to His will that he was told what to do.

At first, I too listened to the people around me. And almost all said, LEAVE. I was going to leave to shield myself from further heartbreak. I was going to leave to “get back” at my husband. I was going to leave because, well, didn’t people do that after infidelity? And isn’t that what everyone wanted me to do? I tried to make that decision. I decided to leave. And I felt immediately ill. It was not right.

So I “stayed.” But “staying” seems to be a dirty word after infidelity. Staying does not mean I accept what’s happened and then I just forget and move on. Staying does not mean my husband gets away scott-free. Staying doesn’t mean I am too weak to leave. Staying does mean I am simply seeing what tomorrow holds.

Can staying be weakness? Yes. I’ll tell you what weakness is to ME: turning a blind eye to the addiction and sweeping it under the rug, saying, “it’s ok” to the addict’s behavior, not valuing my own worth, not expecting full respect, not setting and keeping boundaries, not looking out for my own safety and well-being, and not accepting that I have choices. Every day I make a choice.

I choose to face the future with faith and trust in my Heavenly Father. I am demanding respect from my husband. I am not sweeping the addiction under the rug. I am proclaiming and acknowledging my worth. I am setting boundaries. I am giving a second chance. I am learning to forgive. I am not forbidding joy in small victories. I am following that prompting that says, stay.

So far, my husband is actively and sincerely seeking recovery. He is desperately trying to prove his remorse and repent. And so I stay.

And if I must, it will take strength and courage to leave. If my husband decides he no longer wants recovery, if his efforts are no longer sincere, if I or my children are  put in danger, then I will have more decisions to make with the direction of Heavenly Father. Today, I stay. Tomorrow, I may leave.

Sexual Addiction is not cut and dry. I used to think it was. I used to be one of those women who scoffed at infidelity and said, “I would be gone if my husband ever did that to me.” Well, it did happen to me. Pornography, Addiction, Infidelity, Trauma all happened to me. And I am still here. I stay today because I feel, that for now, it is right. Should everything fall apart tomorrow, today it is right.

The Mormon pioneers when asked to once again build a temple (the Salt Lake Temple) did not think they should have to, nor that it would even work out. After all, their two previous temples had to be left to be desecrated. Why build again if it didn’t work out the last time? Why put in all this work if they happened to be forced to leave again? It seemed all so hopeless and in vain. Why risk it?

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, gives us Brigham Young’s response to these weary and skeptical pioneers:

“Some will inquire, do you suppose we will finish the temple Brother Brigham? Well, I’ve had such questions put to me already. My answer is, I don’t know. And furthermore, I don’t care. I have never cared but for one thing: And that is simply to know that I am now, this day, right before my Father in Heaven. If I am this moment, this day, doing the things God requires of my hands and precisely where my Father in Heaven wants me to be, I care no more about tomorrow then though it would never come. I do not know where I shall be tomorrow. And I do not know whether this temple should be completed. But this I do know, there should be a temple built here. And I know it is the duty of this people to commence to build it.”

Holland continues in his own words:

“Do what you can do, when you have to do it, in the day that you have been given. And let the future take care of itself.”

The future comes one day at a time. Today is all we have. Today I stay. And I feel right before The Lord. It is courage. Tomorrow, I may have to leave that temple I’ve been building, and that would be courageous too. Living one day at a time is amazing faithfulness.

Heavenly Father’s opinion is the only one that matters. Stay. Leave. The choice is mine. God will confirm what is right. With Him, I am strong. With Him, my choices are strong.

“I do not know where I shall be tomorrow. And I do not know whether this temple should be completed. But this I do know, there should be a temple built here.”

Today, I build.

(the amazing address I referenced above can be accessed here. audio only.)

The Cell

Women suffering from Betrayal Trauma all describe it in different ways–mostly through the use of metaphors. I’ve heard it described as being pushed into a dark, murky pit that can’t be climbed out of, or as being run over by a semi-truck with their husbands behind the wheel, or as being abruptly yanked into the mud when they thought they were happily walking along the road of life.

I related to all these metaphors, especially in the beginning. I very much felt like I had been yanked violently out of my secure world, run over and then pushed into a pit left to die. I felt like I would die. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to live anymore. My world was taken from me and this new one was terrifying, dark and strange. I was naked and alone in the darkness.

Surprisingly, the pain doesn’t actually kill you. One thing that has been ingrained in me from my early childhood was that my Heavenly Father, my Higher Power, wants me to be happy. I am here on this earth to have joy. Betrayal Trauma would not win–pain would not destroy me–I promised myself this. And out of grit and grace I’ve worked my recovery as best as I could to get to the place where I am now.

It’s been nearly four months. I’m at the beginning still, but November 8th seems like decades ago. Heartache has dragged out time for me. But I am grateful to look back and see the progress I have made. It’s one baby step at a time, sometimes one inch at a time.

The trauma has morphed for me a little. Where before I felt immense emotional sorrow and was left to sob in tears, I now find myself full of rage when the trigger strikes.

I stayed up late last night, unable to sleep, mulling over my rage and how I could describe it if someone were to ask me. I pictured myself being dragged, kicking and screaming by the collar of my shirt and then thrown into a cold, dark cement floored cell with black iron bars shutting me in with a slam of metal. I run to those bars and shake them. I shake them as hard and as fast as I can, yelling until the breath has seeped from my lungs and I’m left in a corner to sit and stare. I don’t have energy to sob. I just sit. I let the tears rolls down my cheeks. I don’t want to wipe them away. They deserve to be there.

That’s how I feel in this phase of my trauma. Triggers strike or a memory or thought surfaces and I’m thrown into an iron cage of rage.

Most of the time, Simon stands outside the bars offering me something: a blanket, a drink, a note, a tool to break the bars. He’s trying to be kind. He wants to help me. Sometimes I let him. Sometimes I don’t.

The injustice of my situation is incomprehensible to me. And so I think that’s why I stay in there for awhile. I have to sit in that dark corner and think a million thoughts until I can accept all over again the facts of my life and Simon’s.

And then when I’m ready, I ask Heavenly Father if He’ll bail me out. If He’ll give me the key.

And then He reminds me that the cell has always been open. My Savior, Jesus Christ, unlocked it for me long ago. All I have to do is Rise. Walk. Be Free.

I don’t know why I forget that. I have made covenants to always remember Him. But because I am imperfect, because my faith is imperfect, because I suffer of the flesh and of the spirit, I do forget.

Remembering my Savior, remembering He IS the key, is the very keystone of my recovery. Without Him, my recovery and all my efforts to heal are for nothing. There cannot be healing without the Healer. There can be no redemption without the Redeemer.

He restores my soul and frees me from the bondage of my cell.

Serenity Now

Anything that takes you out of your serenity needs to be surrendered: to your sponsor, to Heavenly Father, to your God Box, to the air around you, etc.

My serenity was majorly disturbed the last two days. First, at a not so great and frustrating ARP meeting. Second, during a confrontational Instagram debate. I honestly don’t know why I even participated in it. Most likely because this experience has taught me to stand up and fight when I feel like I am being mistreated.

But recovery has also taught me to release control of the things and people I cannot change. And I forgot that important detail the past couple days. I didn’t surrender it out of pride. And so I suffered. I was irritable. My inner peace was disturbed.

Peace and serenity and a calm mind and quiet heart are everything in this stressfully psychotic addiction and its effects. Things have been very good for Simon and I lately, but I noticed that my mood today was very agitated towards him.

He didn’t do anything wrong and yet because my peace was disturbed already, my mind started to dig up past hurts and dwell on them.

I was slipping back into the victim mode. I had to surrender to my sponsor and admit that the root of the problem–the core character flaw–was that I am self-righteous.

I expect others to work recovery my way because my way is best. How prideful of me! I felt it at ARP. I resent my facilitator because she has not personally experienced sexual addiction and that is so hard for me.

I was shamed when the women in my group talked about how they would be GONE if their husbands ever had an affair.

I was angry on Instagram when I felt injustice.

Those feelings are real. I’m allowed to have them. But I don’t and can’t hang on to them.

For the sake of peace, they must be surrendered.

I’ve written my surrender. I’ve written my peace. I’m working on humility.

The Three D’s

After my first year of college, I came back home and worked as a secretary/personal assistant for a CPA firm. The owner/CEO is a long-time family friend and just about the quirkiest and kindest man alive. I’d file papers, pay bills, answer phone calls and get him a diet coke with a frozen straw when he needed one.

I remember his desk and office were immaculate. (Which was awesome because I love a clean workspace.) He gave me free reign to organize and de-clutter to my heart’s content. We were a good team and I loved working there.

Occasionally, he would call me into his office and we’d have talks. He was a member of the church and I looked up to him as a second grandfather. He was successful, professional, efficient and hard-working, but he always took time to have deep, concerned conversations with me. It was like a stake president interview in the middle of a work day. I loved it.

During one meeting, he talked about The Three D’s:

Death, Disability and Divorce.

He encouraged me so sincerely and so strongly to make sure I received a degree and that I was educated and qualified to work if needed. He counseled me that life was always unknown. And that I would need to be prepared to support myself should my spouse die, become disabled, or do something to warrant divorce.

It was needed advice. I would never have guessed how essential it was. Sometimes I fear the outlooks of the young women of the church are a little too rose-colored (I know it was for me). Hopes and dreams of marrying and staying home with your children are not bad things. They are the ideal. That positivity is wonderful. But there must also be a mindset of preparation. An educational food storage if you will should life turn out to be not what you quite expected.

D&C 38:30 states, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”

When discovery happened, I immediately thought my marriage was over. And while I was devastated, I was also extremely fearful for my financial future. How in the world was I going to support myself and my three young children? What could I do? I had been out of the workforce for years. All I had ever wanted to be and dreamed of, was staying home to raise and know my children and play an ever-active role in their lives and development. Of course, I could live with my parents. I am very fortunate to have their support, but I didn’t (and don’t) want to live with my parents forever! I wanted to be my own family. I wanted to be self-supporting. But how? The fear and reality was crushing.

My employer’s advice had come true. One of the D’s could happen to me very shortly.

Thankfully, I had graduated from college and received a Bachelor’s. So, I had that. But, I had never really done anything with it. I had no real experience. I was not prepared. I had no working food storage to see me through.

I was talking to a new friend just yesterday morning about this topic. I had met her at SAnon the night before and she was fearful just as I had been (and sometimes still am) about the prospect of supporting myself. My heart went out to her. She, too, is a stay at home mom and feels completely dependent on her husband’s income. She felt stuck.

So what can we do? With little ones at home, it’s not viable to just run out and get a job, unless you have the financial (and emotional) means to secure a nanny. Maybe you don’t have a degree. Maybe you don’t have any work experience. Maybe you’re just plain-scared! I know I am!

That’s ok. What you do have is intellect. You have courage. You have strength. You have determination. And those gifts can grow and develop if you work them.

So, start on the path to self-sufficiency. Start small. What do you want to do–or what do you NEED to do right now? Study and read up on your desired career path or skill set. Sign up for a community or city class which are often very inexpensive. Take an online course. Seek a mentor. Start.

Death, disability or divorce may not happen in the near future. But, unfortunately, they could. Preparation and education will help lessen the fear and increase your confidence.

Above all, keep your head high and never apologize for being a stay at home mom. The home and family have been your workplace and you have learned to juggle and multi-task beautifully. Many of those skills that being a mom has taught you, will transfer into the working world. Discover what they are and adapt them to a working environment.

I started out writing this post for my new SAnon friend, but it ended up being a pep talk for myself. I am no authority on reentering the workplace. And I am in no way saying that our families should not be our first and primary goal. But life sometimes necessitates a working mom–and always need an educated mom!

Gordon B. Hinckley stated, “You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your hearts and your hands. The Lord has said, “Teach ye diligently . . . of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—that ye may be prepared in all things” (D&C 88:78–80).

He continued, “The Lord wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators, or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you. In this day and time, a girl needs an education. She needs the means and skills by which to earn a living should she find herself in a situation where it becomes necessary to do so. There is not anything that you cannot do if you will set your mind to it.”

In this uncertain time we must, above all, go to our Heavenly Father in prayer. We can pray for guidance and strength and wisdom. He answers the heartfelt and honest pleas of righteous women and will aid in our success, this I know.

Know you are loved. Know that your Heavenly Father will provide. “Get on your knees and pray, and then get on your feet and work.” (Gordon B. Hinckley)

You can do it.

The Prayer That Set My Course

One night in October 2014, I knelt beside my bed and uttered the prayer that–unbeknownst to me–would set my new course in life. I can still vividly remember it–the words I spoke and the way I felt–and that testifies to me that it was no ordinary prayer.

It was a message to God. I told him I was ready.

Earlier that day, I had met up with a dear friend for a play date. While our kids played, we talked about our lives. My friend has seen and endured many, many heartbreaking struggles in her life–struggles that I simply couldn’t relate to because I had not experienced them. I felt helpless to give her any kind of comfort and so I could only just listen and be her friend.

That night, with my dear friend’s pain heavy in my heart I prayed the following to my Heavenly Father:

“Heavenly Father, I feel so blessed. I have not had to endure any major trial in my life so far. I’m not exactly sure why. But I know that it’s not a matter of “if” a trial will come but “when.” And I pray Heavenly Father that I will be strong. That I will endure my trial with strength and happiness when it comes.  I promise that I will stay strong in the gospel. I promise I will get through it and never lose my testimony. I pray that I will be prepared to face my trial with courage, whatever it may be.”

When I imagined the trials that could possibly invade my life I thought of death, of loss of job or home, or of illness. Sexual addiction–pornography, lust, immorality, infidelity, possible divorce-was never on my mind.

But I imagine my Heavenly Father weeping at hearing my prayer. I had confirmed to Him that I was ready to know all that had been hidden from me by my husband. I had confirmed to Him that I could handle it and that I would make it through. He knew I would not falter but triumph.

I can imagine Him weeping, knowing how much I would be hurt. But I can also imagine Him weeping for joy that His daughter would soon be set free.

I went to bed that night feeling so blessed, not knowing what the imminent future held for me.

Heavenly Father did indeed free me. I firmly believed He brought about the circumstances that led to the discovery of my husband’s sexual addiction that night of November 8th.

It was that prayer that allowed Heavenly Father to say, “Enough is enough. If Simon won’t free her. I will.”

Prayer is powerful. It has changed my life.