Monday, October 11, 2010

Deep Breath. Here We Go.

We were happy once. It's just the bittersweet truth. There was a time when we lived in blissful denial of the pain we had caused and ultimately, the pain we would cause eachother. 

See for awhile now, I've been thinking I need to tell this story. For you to understand me. For me to be able to talk to you. 

We need to have this conversation. 

I don't like feeling as though a secret is hiding in the corner, waiting to pounce. Living in the light is vulnerable, terrifying, but necessary. Especially if I'm going to tell you that I am nothing. My righteousness is nothing. That really, honestly, when it comes down to it, I needed, need and will need salvation.

This is the kind of conversation I prefer to have over coffee on my couch while tucking my knees under my chin. Or over a glass of wine, late at night when we've both exhausted our stories and it's time for the real stuff to come out.

The story of the other woman. The story of me.

I don't feel like I need to give you the gruesome details. But I will tell you the honest ones. 

...The true story that a few years ago, before my husband was mine, he was someone else's. 
...That before he vowed to spend the rest of his life with me, he was vowed to someone else.
...That through lies, deception, secrecy and selfishness, I played a part in the story of a broken home, a divorced couple, and the division of children. 

I wish I could tell you that I immediately recognized the error my ways and backed out of my folly with fierce repentance.

But I didn't. 

I ran. 

Far away. 

Partially to escape my own insanity. And partially to see if he would follow. I broke relationship with the people I love — my family, my friends, my mentors, my pastor — all of them. I allowed my heart to turn cold against them and found comfort in the easy, do-it-yourself mantra of the world. Sin became relative. Principles were old-fashioned. 

Within a year he was divorced and we were planning our wedding. The wedding that would have been celebrated for three years this fall.

Except, it didn't work that way. And I've watched over the past 18 months as the faulty building we tried to build on shifting sand tumbled into the sea. 

And in the past 12 months, I've found something even more shocking.

— Grace —

Nothing else, neither good or bad, has stopped me in my tracks like the reckless, unimaginable beauty of the Grace of God. I've found reconciliation with broken relationships. Forgiveness where I thought the hearts were too tired of me. Hope. Joy. Restoration. 

5+ years of running and hiding wore me out. The dissolution of my broken marriage brought both pain and relief. 

And now, we move forward

Me and the sweet girl who is not yet two. The girl who will one day be a part of a story that God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. That he exchanges beauty for ashes. That a broken spirit and a contrite heart He will not despise. 

I won't get into more. It's not the best way to tell you all of this. 

But I wanted to start here. With this ugly, broken, being-redeemed truth. I am full aware that I may lose some of you because of this. That I may get enemies simply because pain breeds pain. I can't help that. I just have to rest in knowing that my Dad accepts me and forgives me. And really, that's all that matters.


  1. I LOVE YOU! I know your brutal honesty, I know your fear of bringing the truth out for others to see. But I also know that the you have slayed the stronghold of the one who wanted to hold this over your head forever! You are under grace and do not let anyone rob you of that! No more hoops.... Forgiven!

  2. I'm proud of you for sharing this. Sometimes the beautiful testimonies are the ones that aren't testimonies yet. The stories that don't have a red ribbon, that wouldn't make a great sermon illustration. Because those stories are where God lives and breathes the very essence of his nature. Press on friend.

  3. You may be surprised at how many people you DON'T lose. When I publicly stated that I do not claim to be a Christian anymore and hadn't privately believed it long before that, I thought I'd surely lose someone. But nope, not ONE person turned away from me. I hope you find the same to be true for you. Because you don't need any stone throwers in your life. :)

  4. another day of being honored to call you one of my besties:) so priviliged to walk through this journey called life with you you!!!

  5. mom-i love you.

    j - thank you. i guess if we don't share the journey and suffering together, we'll never get to learn and celebrate together

    peggy - i've found the people who stick around are the people who have experience their own life wrestles and struggles. it's nice to walk with people who aren't shocked by stuff. like you :) i'm grateful for you.

    kate - love you too friend. i'm glad we can be linked during this season!

  6. You are honest, what more can we ask for? I'm sorry for your struggles but I'm thankful for God's grace in your life. Love you.

  7. I know this was hard for you....but if we aren't magnifying Him and all that He is and does...what is there to talk about? May you continue to find and hear His will Andrea. You know I love you.

  8. michelle - thank you.

    dee- it was. and you're right. if we're not lifting up the cross, what's the point? love you.

  9. What can be said that hasn´t been yet... I love you, I treasure you and I can´t wait to witness the best, and the most beautiful yet to come from your story!

  10. And you just said my post was honest and refreshing. Girl, you take the prize. I am humbled by your bravery and your vunerability. God is using you to rock this world. I'm so glad that you came to Finding Heaven. I'll be following you now...

  11. keila — thank you!

    jen — i love finding new kindred spirit friends here on the lovely internets :) i'm looking forward to journeying with you via blogs!

  12. Courageous girl to walk in the light! I'm certain there is more beauty to come from your story.

  13. Andrea, Sometimes the hardest truths do need to come out and I commend you for this admission.. We have all done things that were painful or hurtful and you are 100% correct that it's grace that we are restored.. It takes a big person to admit sometime like this in such a public way.. I love you and I want you to know I am here for you.. If for some reason people do stop talking to you then it is because God has a better set of friends for you.. You are love and admired.. ~Kristi S.

  14. You're lovely and I'm very much encouraged by your courage to share your story. Praise God that He would love us despite us, eh?

  15. Sara — thanks friend. I hope God uses these broken pieces to make something beautiful :)

    Kristi — thanks so much for your continued friendship and encouragement!!

    Bre — seriously. what a mess we are.

  16. We are 2 sides of a similar coin. I am right there with you on that journey of redemption. I understand my decisions, both right and wrong, and now I am left with trying to make the best out of the mess. Sometimes I can feel God looking down at me the same way I look at my kids when they make a mistake, and say "Jay, this isn't what I wanted for you. You have made another mess, but that's ok. I can still work with this. You are not too far gone, and I love you." I can now see why I fell the need to share my story with you.


  17. Jay — thanks for your encouraging comment. I'm looking forward to spending that evening talking about God's amazing grace. :)

  18. So glad to call you friend! And I'm so glad that you are living in forgiveness in redemption! This is what that looks like!

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  20. I recently found your blog. Thank you for your courage to share this. Honesty and truth amidst the messiness of life is refreshing.

  21. kristen — i'm thankful for you too!

    Christina — thanks so much for your encouragement. stepping out into the light is scary at first, but so refreshing once there's nothing in the shadows.

  22. Andrea- I feel like I am so much a part of your amazing world through all your blog that I read. Remember, "it's not how you start, but how you finish that counts." You are a beautiful person, inside and I am I forever in awe of the beauty and grace of God that oozes from your life. You inspire me in so many ways, and although we aren't friends, I still count you among the AMAZING in my life.
    I want to encourage you that this honest look in the mirror is just one small glimpse into the way that God is going to use this for good and for His glory in your life. I think that more people need to hear your story, because it could save someone from walking the painful path that you've had to walk.
    I wish that you didn't have to go through everything you did and that life could have been less painful for you. I do think though that God's grace and redemption must be so sweet to you though. Keep walking in His marvelous victory and letting God shine through you.
    You are amazing and you inspire me. I am inspired to shine the light on all my dark corners so that I can experience the freedom that I know you are. You will always have a friend in me.
    Beth Smith
    P.S. I have some really ugly skeletons in my closet too! Thanks for trusting us with the most intimate parts of your heart!

  23. Andrea

    thank you for sharing your heart and your life.. and being so open and transparent. I thank God for his grace and that no matter how much we mess up or how bad we mess up he is always there to accept us back with open arms.

    and then I think of the chours of an old DC Talk song : What if I stumble, what if I fall?
    What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
    Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
    What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

    we all stumble and we all fall.. but the "real" friends are there with you through it all.. you are forgiven.. you are accepted and you are LOVED by many... Keep your eyes on Him... Keep the song in your heart... and train that little one to do the same...
    If you ever need a friend... I am here

    Love you!!!!
    Sue :)