This past week, in the MOMS group that I’m apart of, we had all of the “Mentor Moms” (older women that have lived through the baby/preschool phase of life and want to offer encouragement to the younger women still in it) share some “Words of Wisdom”. These Mentor Moms were asked to share a life changing moment, or some household/parenting trip, or just some truth/words that they wanted to share with the 100+ women that sat in front of them. I LOVED the meeting/time together and learned quite a bit that I wish I had known/been able to put in to practice years ago. We actually ran out of time and I was unable to share (verbally) what God had put on my heart to read…so, I’m following through on the promise to share it in written form.
This is for those women…(and whoever else wants to read!) –
I would like to share with you a life changing moment in my life – parts might seem silly or funny (or “old fashion”/prudish), but I truly feel like God protected me from a life of heart-ache because I was willing to take His conviction seriously…
It was back in 1990—I had two of my three girls…they were 1 & 3. Tom and I both desired for me to stop working and stay at home full-time with the girls and God allowed that to be a reality by providing us a job as apartment managers that gave us free rent for looking after the property. While I loved being home with the girls and loved my husband…I often found myself longing for the excitement of working in the hotel business—in sales—as I had done for several years. I was used to entertaining clients (mostly men), being surrounded by friends/co-workers, and getting lots of attention and feeling good about myself. My life at home, taking care of the girls while Tom worked really long hours, was VERY different…I found it hard to work in a shower every day, rarely got out of sweats and often stuck my unwashed hair in a ponytail.
Except for once a month. Once every month a really nice man came to the complex…as weird (and maybe pathetic) as it going to sound—he worked for an exterminating/insect company (I’ll not put the name in print – to “protect the innocent”). While he was always “professional” – we had grown into calling each other by our first names and after he spent an hour or so on the property, we would always stand around and talk—sometimes I offered him a coke, we would sit at the kitchen table, etc. Most of the time he was scheduled around the girls nap times so, I had extra time/some freedom to interact. At the time, I would have argued that it was completely “innocent” but looking back—it was flirting.
I’ll never forget THE moment—I was standing in the bathroom, rushing to dry my hair and apply some makeup—knowing that he would be there in just a few minutes…I leaned closer to the mirror to get a better look and found myself looking straight into my own eyes. Time stopped, my stomach felt ugh and I heard myself say out loud, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” I realized that I was putting time and emotional energy into preparing myself to see him. I realized that I felt a sense of excitement that he was coming that day—and that I had looked forward to it all week.
While some would say it was “no big deal” and TRULY nothing had “happened” that was “inappropriate”, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was WAYYYYY too happy about interacting with him. Obviously, this was NOT about how he looked in the beige/tan company shirt and I hardly remember what his face looked like—it was just the excitement of being talked to, of being noticed, of feeling something other than the frumpy “mom” that I felt like. In that moment I had to be real with myself, and with God, about my thought life and emotions.
I decided then and there that I had to put up some boundaries—with him and any other men in my life. I decided that I would never again put more of an emphasis on my appearance or preparing myself for someone other than I would my own husband. I also decided to confide in a trusted friend that I needed and wanted accountability in this area.
I’m thankful that this moment happened BEFORE I continued down a dangerous path—of investing in a personal friendship with ANY man that was not part of a couple that both Tom and I knew and would spend time with together.
My prayer for each of you (as it is for ME) is that you would be aware if you are ever tempted to crave and want attention from ANY man—other than your own husband. No one at the gym, grocery store, MDO dropoff, school, work , in your circle of close friends or even at church. I think Satan likes nothing more than destroying marriages and families. Often he does this by distracting us with “innocent interactions” with men that we have no business spending time with or energy on. No one wakes up and thinks, “I think I’ll start down a path of having an affair today…huh…let me look around and pick someone!” It’s a subtle shift in our attention and priorities.
This past year we have walked the painful road of watching the marriage of some dear friends of ours almost destroyed by an affair. While this couple never set out to have their marriage fall apart, it happened because of one “innocent” conversation that turned into another…and another…lines crossed with shared texts and calls…lunch and dinner meetings…all leading to secrets, lies, and adultery.
I’ll never forget the night we found out about our friends…I was a wreck after they both came and shared the news with us and I told Tom, “We haven’t eaten, and I need to get out of the house”. So– we drove to a restaurant and shared a meal and a margarita (ok…I did NOT share the margarita). As soon as the waitress left the table I grabbed Tom’s hand, and looked him straight in the eyes and said, “I just need to say this…if there is ANYONE in your life that you look forward to seeing more than me…I need you to fix that. I need you to end the relationship, stay away from where you see them, give up the business – whatever it takes.” He looked right back at me and said, “I promise you, there is not…but I need you to commit to do the same.”
It was an emotional moment (not sure what our poor waitress thought) as it served as another “security check” on our relationship. Many of you have heard me talk about the ReNew group that Tom and I are involved with here at Chase Oaks. It’s another way for us to continue to make sure we are keeping our relationship THE priority God designed it to be. ReNew meets every Thursday night and there is free childcare—you don’t need to sign up, you just need to show up…you can come to work on your marriage (whether it’s currently “good/great”-and you just want it better…or horrible and in the ditch and you think it’s over). If your husband won’t come with you, come alone- and take the time to work on yourself without him. ANYONE and EVERYONE could/can benefit from ReNew…and I’d love to give you more information.
I pray that we will be WISE and DEVOTED women…the bible is clear in Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” I don’t want to tear down my house with my hands…or eyes…or mouth…or heart…or mind. But – I know that I could.
I could have REALLY screwed things up back in 1990…and any day since then! I could have continued to develop a friendship that would have been inappropriate and WRONG—I’m thankful that from that time on I committed to only flirt with my own husband. If any of you EVER see me interacting with someone too friendly, flirty, or whatever—I ask you to please call me out on it. That’s how seriously I take this.
Is there someone in your life that you feel tempted by? Maybe it’s someone that you interact with regularly and it’s getting close to “inappropriate”? Are you justifying the interaction even though you wouldn’t approve if your husband was doing the same thing? Maybe it’s someone that you find yourself comparing to your husband? I want to beg you to stop…just end it. Put up some boundaries and ask for some accountability. Will you join me in praying for wisdom on what is appropriate and what could lead to something dangerous and heartbreaking?
If you find yourself already in an affair (or you are attempting to get over one that you, or your husband, have been involved with), please know that there is help available. Just like my friends are now experiencing…it’s devastating and HARD work to put things back together, but I (and “they”) believe in a God that can repair, restore and redeem. He has an AMAZING way of turning our mess into something amazing. Please – if you need help, seek it out/ask your Mentor Mom or come talk to me.
I assure you, there is no judgement here. You are not alone. I am very much aware of what could have been for me/my marriage….and I am also very much aware that Tom or I could do something STUPID tomorrow to mess up what we have today. That’s why we are part of a community (with family, friends, church and ReNew). MARRIAGE IS HARD…I want to encourage you not to go at it alone!
#marriageIsHard #weLoveReNew #andIreallyReallyREALLYloveMyMOMSGirls
**Oh, and if anyone (reading this) is newly pregnant/has a baby or preschool ages kids and isn’t in MOMS…you need to be! Let me know and I’ll tell you all about it! #bestGroupEVER