The Great Fall: The Morning After
I was only gone for three days. But in a matter of a weekend, I changed the course of my marriage, my children—my life as I knew it. My husband and I had the all-too-common marital argument, which often left one or both of us wanting a divorce and wondering why we married each other in the first place. Without saying goodbye, without a moment of prayer, I sped out of the house at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning heading to my hometown. The night before he had already given me an ultimatum of taking this weekend not only as a vacation, but a time to decide if this marriage was truly something I wanted to continue to work at.
I cried the whole drive. The fact that it rained the entire way didn’t help my whirlwind of emotions. I truly felt like I was in the storm of my life. In my heart, I knew it was over. In my mind, I wanted it to be over. But there was a small part of me that still fought to keep the marriage together, even though I didn’t know exactly what I was fighting for.
Then it happened. There was no alcohol or drugs involved. Just a man who caught me at the right place, at the right time. We had crossed paths many times before through family members and friends. He spoke my love language. He told me how beautiful and smart I am. He asked me about my dreams and aspirations, and even told me that I was the source of his motivation to go back to school and pursue a greater life. After more than eight hours of intimate conversation, I gave in.
He didn’t have to force me. He didn’t have to get me drunk or drug me with a pill. I willingly gave in to temptation. After all, my marriage was over. What did I have to lose?
It wasn’t the conversation or even the physical act that bothered me. It was the feeling that lingered the morning after. I returned home from my long weekend, but couldn’t even look my husband in the eye. I was sure that if he got the chance to look into my eyes, he would know what I had done.
What happened next was even more shocking than giving in to the temptation: God told me to tell him. At the time though, I really wasn’t sure if it was the devil or the Holy Spirit.
Although his immediate response was to pack up half of the house and declare that he wanted a divorce, he decided to stay. I was flabbergasted! I was prepared to file the paperwork, go to counseling and arrange visitation between the children and him.
But his response to me was simple: “I’ve done things worse than that, and God still forgave me.”
If I never knew there was a God before this (and I did), I was 200% certain that there was something much larger than us working on our behalf. Even when I’d given up on my marriage, and my husband gave up hope, God did not. We think we’re in control of our own lives, but ultimately, the Master orders every step, even what we think are the missteps.
While my husband forgave me immediately, it took me almost three years to truly forgive myself. I’d get flashbacks of that night. The enemy would tell me that I’m not worthy to speak, to serve in the ministry or to help other women overcome temptation, simply because I gave into it. I fell. I fell hard. But people don’t fail because they fall. They fail because they fall and choose not to get back up.
It took some years. But I got back up. You can, too. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. God’s mercy and grace is infinite. He forgave you the first time you asked for forgiveness. Don’t let the enemy steal your future because you’re trapped in the embarrassment from a moment in your past.
The morning after, you’ve got to make a conscious choice to get back up and try again. Don’t give up because you fell. Don’t lose hope. Even our great falls can be used to the glory of God. You’ll look back and wonder how you made it over.
I truly love Him, if for no other reason, because He first loved me.
Signed, Someone who made the choice to get up after a great fall!