Confessions of An Empty Heart

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Today I want you to meet my brave and beautiful friend Lelia Chealey  who shares her story of emptiness and how God redeemed  her brokenness.

Italicized sentences are from Chapter 3 of A Confident Heart

Until our hearts find complete security and significance in God’s unconditional love, we will constantly turn to other lovers and never be satisfied.

Although I stood before family and friends professing my love and faithfulness to my husband, three years later I found myself trying to fill my emptiness in the arms of another man.

When the closed door of a previous relationship opened I ran through it. On Wednesday I was serving on our church’s youth team and by Saturday I was in between the sheets of a bed in a cheap hotel. The result of my affair led to a pregnancy I knew was from the other man since my husband had undergone a vasectomy.

Driving out of an abortion clinic and heading home to my unsuspecting husband, I wondered how I’d gotten to this place. Here I was a Christian wife and mom who had compromised my beliefs in more ways than one. Looking to fill my void with anything but Jesus, I walked further and further away from the One I needed most.

By being honest about her life and the lies she believed, she could start turning toward the Truth. She could bring the thirst of her heart to Him. Only then would she find confidence in the power of His love and start living in the security of His promises.

I ended my affair soon after the reality of my abortion set in. It shook my Jesus-loving heart to the core. One morning, after everyone was out of the house, I turned on some worship music, got down on my knees and began to sob.  Raising my hands toward heaven, I told God, “If I lose everything – my marriage, my kids, my friends, my reputation, but I still have YOU, I’ll be okay.”

Admitting all the lies I had told and believed, I got gut-honest with God that day. And in that place of truth, I was set free and could then turn toward Jesus and away from my life of sin. Like Renee wrote, I could bring the thirst of my heart to Him. That’s what I did — I brought my parched soul to the only One capable of filling me and changing my mess of a life.

Three years later, I felt God leading me to tell my husband about my affair and abortion. We’d attended two marriage conferences during the in-between years and  I couldn’t keep my secret any longer. Deep pain was evident on his face and in his tears. My heart broke once again over my affair as I listened to my husband process my choices.

Still in shock, he told me that while I was having my affair he too had been involved in one.  I sat there stunned, silent and ticked off at God. How had He not prepared me for this moment of my husband’s truth? I felt instant emptiness, but this time I made the choice to bow my heart before Jesus and ask Him to help me.

Jesus came to give us more than salvation. He wants us to experience complete satisfaction in Him.

These words from chapter 3 resonate deeply with my soul. Although, I had attended Christian school from kindergarten though graduation in 1988; went to church on Sundays and returned on Wednesdays and knew countless Bible stories by heart, what I lacked was a relationship with my King.

Sitting there with my husband trying to process his unfaithfulness, God let me know He is the only One that could take my empty, broken heart and fill it with His unconditional love and confidence that I had sought in all the wrong places.

I love what Renee asked us this week, and how she encouraged us to write our own “when-then” statements:

So what do we do when our hearts start tossing and turning with emptiness and uncertainty? We need to stop and ask Jesus to help us see the worth we are placing in other things and the worth we are seeking in other people and shift our reliance to Him instead.

{Here are mine}

When I start to feel like my marriage is not giving me what I deserve then I will turn to God and ask Him to be my portion.

When I feel tempted to return to a life of emptiness and rely on my old patterns of comfort and fulfillment then I will praise God for what He has brought me from and remind myself that I am worthy of the sacrifice of the cross.

Lasting security comes when we bring the empty well of our hearts to Jesus and ask Him to fill and fulfill us with the security of His unfailing love.

It’s been ten years since the day of my and my husband’s confessions. Our marriage is far from perfect, but with God’s help we have walked through the process of forgiveness and restoration. My husband and I serve at a marriage conference every spring and God has used our mistakes to help other couples realize He is much bigger than any circumstance we face. He has also taken the shame and regret of my abortion and used it for His glory by calling me to be part of an abortion ministry, “Surrendering the Secret,” where I now serve as a leader.

I have no idea what your story it, but please believe this woman who almost lost everything for nothing. Jesus is worth seeking and giving Him a chance to fill up all the empty places of your life. If He can look at an unfaithful wife and compromising mom in Nebraska and see beauty instead of ugly then anyone is within reach of being embraced by His amazing grace.

You need to know that God wants you. There is no sin too heavy to stay nailed to the beams of the cross. You are the reason He trekked His way to Calvary and you are worth every step He took!

***
Thank you Lelia, for the courage and risk it takes tell your story – so raw, so real yet so full of His redemption. I see and love Jesus in you!

Let’s Connect: Will you take a minute to thank Lelia, and let us both know what has risen to the surface of your heart as you read her story or  as you read Chapter 3 this week?  {REMEMBER: you are reading this via email, click here to visit my website and connect in community.}

Under this post, click  “share your thoughts”  and do just that. Also, feel free to share some answers to your end of chapter 3 questions. I treasure this space that connects our hearts! {Love you guys so much!}

 

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. OH WOW! I have never before read anything like this–that is real life! Your strength is inspiring! “If He can look at an unfaithful wife and compromising mom in Nebraska and see beauty instead of ugly then anyone is within reach of being embraced by His amazing grace.” Amazing! And it is proof that He uses the devil’s disasters for His good! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

    • Thank you, Lelia, for sharing your story. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! This brings back to my memory the Lifehouse Everything skit. If you ladies have a chance, youtube that skit or find it here: I’ve been redeemed and am saying so! God Delivered Me From…: http://adjustedsails.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/god-delivered-me-from/

      • Thank you! I’ll check it out. 🙂

        • I love this skit. The youth group at our church has done it a few times and it always brings tears to my eyes. Very powerful vision of how we can choose to turn to Jesus and His love when we are tempted.

      • Barbara R. says:

        Thank you for the link! The skit is so visually powerful and moving! I had tears in my eyes as she was crawling and reaching out to Jesus, and when He was fighting off her oppressors to rescue her and wrap His arms around her.

      • bobbyjo21 says:

        Thank-you soooo much Lelia for your words of truth and light. This video from dKnight ~ POWERFUL ~ I’m a mess on the floor ~ such a visual of the grace, mercy LOVE of our Savior. The end ~ He puts on HIS robe of righteousness!!! Oh praise HIM ~ PRAISE HIM!!! <3

      • Hi dKnight Tweets That was a great play it goes along with Lelia’s story about God Forgiving Grace. Thank you for sharing this. In Christ love

      • I watched the video God-Deliver-Me-From. Thank you for sharing it is a powerful video. It brought me to tears. We have all felt this way one time or another, some may be feeling this way right now. Nothing is too much for our God.

      • I loved the video. Thank you for sharing, and yes, it is by His grace that we live.

      • Amazing you tube video. Thanks for sharing!

      • Wow thank you so much for posting the video, that is so powerful!

      • Thank you for sharing the skit it was powerful….

      • Thank you so much for sharing this video. I had seen it done at a local church but didn’t get the Power of it like this video does!!! Want to share it myself now. And thank you Lelia for your testimony. I truly see more and more how only by coming to Father naked and unashamed and allowing Him to lance every spiritual boil that we have in us do we ever get completely healed and set free. I am so thankful He put this study in my path. It has just been amazing to me what all Father has been doing in just the 2 weeks since I started it. Father bless ALL my sisters

    • Thank you Melinda! Amen He will use them for His glory!

    • Thank you for sharing your story Lelia. By testifying to our brokenness it gives others permission to do the same, It makes us realize that everyone has a story, not just us and by letting the light shine up it, we can truly be healed. God is in the business of redemption…we just need to let him.

    • Thank you Lelia for sharing your story. You are an inspiration. God is working in this study.

    • Thank you for sharing your story. It is amazing how you sharing your darkest of times can minister to others. I was having a difficult discussion this morning with my husband, and your words spoke to me. I have to know that my family will not be able to be filled up by me alone. They have to find that they can only feel happiness and satisfied through a relationship with God. I also have to realize that I will not find my security knowing that everyone is happy with me. It can be exhausting trying to please the world. Blessings and Grace upon you. You have a beautiful heart. I am so thankful you found your way, and I hope no matter what choices I make in life, I will also find my way back to the One who loves us Unconditionally! AMEN!!!!

      • Julie,
        I love that you realize that you have limitations because only God is able to fulfill the needs we all have. If you can order Renee’s talk called “Rest Assured”, I strongly encourage you to do so. You can order it off of the P31 shop. I’ve heard her speak on this twice and each time God used her to speak His truth into my heart. It goes along with what you’re saying.
        Thank you for your encouraging words. So glad you are part of Renee’s amazing community of “A Confident Heart” women!

    • Bernadette Burgess says:

      Lelia thank you for sharing your story. I am so happy that we can go to God for comfort in our time of need. I wish to one day be able to be as open as you are and share my story openly with others. I am praying that God will give me the boldness that I am seeking.

      • Me, too, Bernadette…in the Lord’s timing and the Lord’s way…could just be sharing your story in parts/pieces…and to individuals instead of an audience, so to speak. May God bless as you seek to be led and used of Him.

      • Bernadette,
        I agree with Cherri, in God’s timing. When I first thought I was supposed to confess to my husband, God clearly shut the door on that. I confessed to other trusted believers and a counselor, but had to go through some growing with God before He gave me the thumbs up to confess to my husband and ask for his forgiveness.
        Also, with sharing my (our) story publicly, God did that in pieces too. For the longest time I never shared of my husbands infidelity, but when he saw the powerful healing things God was doing with my story, he encouraged me and gave me his blessing to share his too. God has done amazing things with it, but we never give too much detail because we want to stay focused on Him.
        Also, going through Renee’s book, “A Confident Heart” a few times (reading it again right now), was a serious life-changing experience for me and gave me a confident heart to share of His greatness because my confidence is placed on God, not myself.
        I know God loves your wiling heart and that never goes unnoticed by our King!

        “We can trust God’s plans as we realize that His story is being written in ours.” ~Renee Swope, chapter 4 of “A Confident Heart”.

    • Thank You sooo much Lelia and dKnigTweet for not only sharing your story(Lelia) but for the beautiful skit. Both brought forth different perspective of how trials and tribulations leave you away from the only true man that Loves unconditionally, without asking anything in return. Lelia, your story made me reflect on my life, and how I felt unloved, unwanted, ugly (inside/out) worthless when my ex-husband left me for another woman (how he referred her as the perfect woman). Through my journey of feeling not only disgusted but unworthy I was angry with not only the world but with God (cause I thought I was doing everything according to him yet divorced) until God showed me through my divorce that it was time to stop putting him aside and running away from his arms and let Him fix me (what I tought I needed fixing). I remarried, and yet I sometimes feel that I am still fighting the unloved/unwanted, it seemed that I once again am giving everything and not receiving anything in return. (I yet haven’t found my confident heart) Chapter 3 not only with your story and the skit, made me reflect on how God is showing me that no matter what I go through in life, marriage, work, etc…My priority is God and placing everything in his hands. Like the skit God will fight all my battles, worries, disgrace and Love me for me. Like in chapter 3 “Only God’s unfailing love will _fill___ and fulfill_ those deep longings and empty places in my heart. In fact, until God’s love is “_enough_” nothing else will be.” My heart and I Thank you for sharing your beautiful story

      • Thank you for sharing your story. I have been divorced 4 years and felt the way you felt when it first happened. I was left for a younger women who he said was perfect ? I am blessed by everyone sharing and I realize t look for comfort in other things.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, it is inspiring. Many times, we know God forgives us but we have a hard time forgiving ourselves. Chapter 3 really hit home with me when it talks about unconditional love. I always struggled with this due to the fact that both of my parents were addicted to drugs. I was bounced back and forth as a kid. FElt like i wasn’t important enough to anybody, carried those feelings all thru my adult life

    • A big thank you to Lelia for sharing her story. We all have something under the rocks of our lives which we should give to THE Rock of our life in order to be totally free. God bless you Lelia, your husband and your 3 girls for the courage you have shown us all.

    • Thank you Lelia I understand your pain. It is so hard to put our hearts and worry and feeling of failure out for the whole world to see. Your story helps people relate and feel better about knowing for sure we are loved. We are worth something. We are not alone. Though I can’t share now I hope you know how important your testimony of Gods love is to all of us.
      Genia

  2. Thank you SO much Lelia, for being so open and real- for sharing a story which has touched me so profoundly, (you just can’t imagine!) and I know will touch so many others too…

    I am taking away the mind boggling, but heart comforting thought… : “There is NO sin too heavy to STAY nailed to the cross…” What an incredible reminder… one I have written down and will carry with me through the day.

    Thank you again for allowing the Lord to work through you! Richest blessings!

    • Thank you Patti! I agree, it is so mind boggling, but worth receiving the truth of it! Be blessed my friend! 🙂

      • Lelia I have gone though something like this and I’m still in the process of believing God can forgive me for everything I have done in my past before I gave my self to him. ( November 14th 2012) this helps me to believe he has and will forgive me my past. God Bless you for sharing. Thank you. In Christ Love

        Ps love you site. Will be trying to keep up with it also.

        • Angela,
          For years I struggled with self-sabotage, meaning every time I was close to believing that I was worthy and usable by God, I would remind myself of the pits I had dwelled in by choice. Last summer Renee spoke some deep truth into my life and the combination of her spoken words and going through her book more than once has helped me to stop getting in God’s way. Later in the book, “A Confident Heart”, Renee will teach you how to “boss my soul around”. So instead of a pity party, I have a praise party. Instead of feeding myself with negative thoughts, I chew on His Word.
          Keep reading Renee’s book and applying what you learn. Don’t just read this book and put it away to start on another one, read it again. Application has been very key for me because Satan wants to keep us in the seat of shame and not let us forget where we came from. But when we believe God’s truth over the devils’ lies, God is able to use our past for His glory. Renee and I both are living proof that it doesn’t matter how low we’ve chosen to go, the cross was a gift to us and when we accept the sacrifice Jesus made for ALL of our sins, freedom awaits us.
          Not to long ago, my pastor said, “The ground at the foot of the cross is even.” No matter where you’ve been Angela or what you’ve done, when you ask for God’s forgiveness, you will be granted it and lavished with His love.
          Hugs from Nebraska!

        • Jennifer says:

          This post hit me so profoundly and so close to home. When I was 19 years old I had an abortion, the man I was dating was not wanting a child, I was young and my family wanted me to have an abortion. I have not been able to forgive myself completely for that decision. Now married to someone else 20 years later, I found myself at a point in our marriage of feeling unloved and unwanted by my husband and a door became opened to the man I had dated when I had the abortion and I had an affair. My husband did find out about the affair and was able to forgive me, but does not know of the extent of the affair. I struggle with the courage and strength to reveal the truth as I am afraid of what I will lose. I also struggle with forgiving myself and wondering if God will forgive me, even though I know he loves me and he will, and obviously I know that Jesus died for my sins, but I put such a human emotion on it and can’t imagine how I can be forgiven. Your words are words of inspiration and are a great reminder to me of how great his love is.

          • Jennifer,
            I can’t wait until you get to the point of accepting God’s forgiveness. When you do, it’s amazing and offers such freedom. Living in shame, secrecy and guilt is right where Satan wants you to stay because you are frozen in regret and convinced you’re not only unforgivable by God, but unusable. The only offer I advice I can give is to get in and stay in His Word. Open the Bible and not only read it, memorize it and seek Him. When you seek Him, you will be found when you do it with your all. OH sweet sister, freedom awaits you, and believe that you deserve it.
            Hugs from Nebraska,
            Lelia

  3. God bless you Lelia for sharing your story, I was so blessed by it. What a powerful statement you said “but please believe this woman who almost lost everything for NOTHING.” We think that the grass is always greener on the other side, but there are always weeds there too. satan wants us to believe that our everything is NOTHING so we search for those things to fill us other than God and God alone. But He forgives us and goes on loving us no matter how many mistakes we make. Thank you again for being so vulnerable and sharing your story!! God bless you!

    • Janet, I love what you said, “Satan wants us to believe that our everything is NOTHING!” So good!! If you didn’t watch the video on Renee’s last post, take the time to do so, it is amazing! 🙂

      • Lelia, I did watch the video, I loved it. This study has been so powerful with so many powerful messages. I am so blessed to be a part of it and glad that the Lord lead me to it!! I had never heard of online Bible studies until Feb. They are awesome!! I am hooked for life!!! 🙂 Thanks again Lelia for your heart to help others who have gone through issues like yours. You are a blessing!!! 🙂 ♥

  4. Jo-Anne Craik-Cooper says:

    Thank you Leila for your honesty and openness – it’s so encouraging hearing real stories of real Christian women who still have struggles but find their hope in Christ. More than that – God can still use us and our experiences of brokenness – he never gives up on us! Praise him!

  5. Thank you Leilia for sharing your story with us. I think in some way or another we can relate. It helped me to see that no matter what, God is really there for me. Without Him we make not so wise decisions. We have all done that!

    God used Chapter 3 to speak to my heart. I also have used a plethora of activities, business to fill me and of course, it didn’t in the end. The past year I have been more selective in my activities, and now I see that God did that to slow me down and reflect on Him. The good Lord does work in mysterious ways! Many days I must just tell myself to “be still” and listen to His soft voice. It is there. It is there for all of us.

    God bless!

    • Lynette…”be still and listen to His soft voice.” I love that & such wisdom! And what you would have missed out on this last year had you not been obedient. Awesome example to all of us…thank you!

  6. Lelia,

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I too have been in similar shoes. While reading Chapter two, I discovered that I WAS the Woman at the Well, I am Sam. It’s been almost 10 years ago but my life was a mess. I was the Good girl going to church, attending Youth Group, Singing on stage and loved by a lot of people. Then, I grew up to attend church, lead youth group and sing on stage. All the while wrapped up in the good girl package, I let my self worth be defined by men. First in high school, then collage, then through three marriages. In between husband one and two, I had an affair with the Youth Minister at my church. Although he was a predator and sought out many woman in that church, I wanted his attention and “Love.” Almost 15 years later, I cry over that shameful affair. Shame defined me in everything I did. It’s when I realized that Christ nailed that promiscuity, affair, broken covenants and shame to the cross for me that I began to let go. The fact that my slate is now clean, by his Glorious Grace, I live free!! I now have a beautiful life with a loving Christian husband and two beautiful little girls. I’ve been blessed beyond measure and now I am free to tell my story and help people to heal. Thank you again for your story..

    • Shelly, I love all that He has done in your life which outshines anything the enemy tried to do. Continue to let God have His way in and through you because He has lots more in store for you, sister! 🙂

  7. Thanks you Lelia for having the courage to share your story. I know how hard it can be to be so honest in front of people so I thank you for being so open. I still have a hard time believing that the Lord forgives me or even actually notices me. I grew up in a negative household and still to this day I long for approving or encourage words from my mom and sister. If I cant even get them to notice anything good about me or actually like me, then how am I to believe God actually likes me? It is hard when I cant not see or feel the Lord. I feel, see, and hear my mothers criticism everyday so that is easier to believe. If the people here on earth can not give me what I need how do I get what I need from someone who I can not sit face to face with, or feel? I have a hard time separating God from how I am treated here on earth. I figure if the people here who are suppose to love me cant then how can someone .i cant even hear or see love me? Or I tend to think these people are right about me so why would .god waste his time on me? And if he does really love me then why does every person he send into myself act the same towards me? Im like a doormat. I am used to make others feels good about themselves and I am always last and/or forgotten about. It gets tough. Especially when I have been begging and crying for years for change, for help, for something! God knows what I long for, what I need, but I never get it, so I then think I am being ignored by God or used as a joke. And to top it off now my father has ALS and it is moving fast and I am having a hard time dealing with it and I cant go to my mom or sister about it. My father has his faults yes, but he is the only one in my family that would at least encourage me or praise me. He would call me out of the blue and say I am doing a good job or keep doing what I was doing. And now God is going to take the one person in my family that actually likes me? Whats up with that?! And it cant be so I get closer to my mother cause she is a long story and there is no way she would ever want me close and if she did, it would never be real. I am used to the worse. I am used to being last. I dont know how to fill up my voids with God? I have at times thought of having an affair to fill the voids of what i am not getting from my husband but no one even looks at me so that void is never gonna get filled. My whole life has been like this and I am tired of it. Im tired of being alone or overlooked. I feel i do so much, so much for everyone and now that I am christian and learning about God, etc and reading all these books, I find myself learning that I need to honor my husband even if he doesnt deserve it, or to keep my mouth shut, etc. to me it is telling me to keep being a doormat. I get confused? I feel like I am being punished even if the books tell me I am not being. I have a hard time thinking God loves me or sees me. This world is huge full of people and if Im invisible to the few people around me how can I believe I am visible to God? Or even worth his time? There is so much I want out of this life and I have never gotten it and I am crippled by fears and worry. Fears that I will always be alone, taken advantage of, or my dreams never coming true. Fear I will die before I get to do and see certain things. Fear of being a crappy parent and what my kids are going to grow up like. Fear my husband doesnt really love me and is lying to me. How do you let go and give all that to .god? How do you forget your past? How do you give all that to .god? How do you hear him? I am new at all this. I was raised Catholic but recently became a christian a few months ago. I never knew about having a relationship with God. i was just always told what not to do and how I would go to hell for this or that and that God is always watching. I was raised in fear you could say, so .i never felt good enough for anyone, let alone God! I just feel like I am doing everything wrong and fear I will never get it right or understand things. Im just so lost and have been most of my life. Thank you though for your story. It really touched my heart.

    • Holly I noticed you. I see you. Please remember no matter how hard it is or gets God Loves You and I am your sister in Christ. Somtimes the only sisters we have are the sisters in Christ. Please keep praying for your marriage and your children and remember God answers prayer.

    • A prayer for you dear Holly,
      Father in Heaven – Almighty God – You Lord know my dear sister Holly. You- Father, took Your time and great personal details into creating Holly. Father, we read in Your Holy Word that You chose Holly before the creation of this world and You Father, set her apart, Father, You selected Holly as Your own. (Ephesians 1:4) Help that to soak into Holly’s heart and mind.
      Lord, as I read Holly’s post, I remembered Your love and O how much You love Holly. I can’t be there for her but I know that YOU can. “Shower” Holly today with Your abundant, unending lavishing love. Remind her that it’s not about what others think or do, it’s not about what she does, looks like, or says it’s all about YOU – Jesus. Give Holly a new thought of how You love Holly as if she were Your only child! How Holly has Your full attention and You, Lord God – never take your loving eyes off of her.
      Father God, take away Holly’s fears and the lies that Satan is throwing at her, in Jesus Name. “Flood” Holly with Your peace. As the scripture says; fears has to do with torment. We claim victory in Holly’s life in JESUS Name. For it’s in JESUS Name – we pray – AMEN

      • Christina says:

        Father God I stand with Karen for Holly! Please shower her with Your peace and love. Let her know that You see her and love her! In Jesus’ mighty name – Amen

    • Rokhshie in U.K. says:

      Dear Holly,
      God loves you because He has given you the courage to pour out your heart to us. We see you and acknowledge you. As Tina says ‘keep praying and remember God answers prayers’, maybe one at a time. Lean on Him and remember Jeremiah 32:17 – I pray that verse again and again.
      “O Sovereign Lord, You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm,
      NOTHING is too hard for You”.

    • O Lord, you know Holly. You knew her before she was born as you knit her together in her mother’s womb. May she feel your loving arms wrapped tight around her. My she feel your presence & know that you have loved her with an unfailing love. Lord give her the security in knowing that you know the deepest parts of her and love her unconditionally. Help her to look to you and focus on your Cross. Lord place in her life Godly women who will be an encouragement to her. Give her the strength to face her father’s diagnosis with ALS. Lord give them special moments together, ones where she can see your hand and where they can be an encouragement to each other. In your Name I Pray, Amen.

    • Holly I SEE you , I HEAR your cries for help and your anguish I love you….God.
      Holly, I’ve walked where you are. God sees you, he hears you precious one . He has you in the palm of his hand. Remember He sings over you, He speaks good words over you, he loves you with unfailing , unconditional love. Only God can love with that kind of love. Listen I’ve been where you are …that pit is my pit maybe we were neighbors? My family did the same thing to me. I read the story of Joseph in Genesis 42 and I was struck by the fact that after Joseph’s brothers threw him in the pit they refused to hear his cries of anguish and sat down and had lunch. Maybe your family doesn’t hear your cries or worse even care, perhaps they laugh at you like mine. Holly, God hears, he sees, he knows the hairs on your head, he keeps a bottle full of your tears. He hears he knows intimately your pain, your desires. He wants you to be utterly convinced that He loves you. Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand Holly and says to you do not fear, I WILL HELP YOU. Forget the things of the past and call on me…God.
      There are several books that have helped me deal with my family situation. Mine was so bad at one time I contemplated taking my own life…I was just in so much pain, physical and mental, and felt utterly worthless and failure… and everyone in my family hated me for my weakness and Satan used them to try to destroy me. Telling me I should “just get over” the things that repeatedly happen to me, or devaluing the things that had happened. At one point they were trying to interpret reality for me…” It didn’t happen that way, you just mis read everything as usual.” Funny thing is when I woke up I realized that they weren’t even around so How did they know. They were just as happy to hand me the shovel to dig my pit and then told me I deserved to be in it. These are all LIES. There is a battle for you soul and it’s very real. What has helped me..Pour out your heart to him and surrender it all. I stood in the shower one morning and wailed out to God that I was done with it all, I was a mess making a bigger mess of everything around me. He could have everything, my life, my family my future, my health. My burden was soo heavy. No, there wasn’t a moment where he quickly lifted it from me, but he wooed me and I am now convinced that he loves me. I found I was carrying a burden not meant to be carried…unforgiveness. I could handle with His help the burden of my diminshing health, but the burden of unforgiveness was going to quite literally be my undoing. There are several books I started reading to help me see my families dynamic and how I was fitting into that dynamic. Taking responsibility for what is mine in that mess of relationships and not for what isn’t. You are not a door mat nor was that ever God’s plan. God wants every captive free. He wants you free and full and totally satisfied in Him. I read Townsend and Clouds book, “the Mom Factor” it really opened my eyes to what was going on. They have others you may find helpful as well as “Boundaries when to say YES and when to say NO to take control of your life” . The other book I used is “Get out of that Pit” by Beth Moore and Neil T. Anderson’s ” The steps to freedom in Christ” . I feel such an urgency and love for you. Remember that Satan is the enemy, he’s out to devour you, but you are God’s and he can’t have you. Satan wants you convinced that he has you and that God is not good… buts thats all he can do is CONVINCE us. God has used his powerful mouth, the one that spoke the world into being and breathed life into man…. to call YOU by name Holly and speak blessing over you and about you. Yes, God is talking about you…He’s crazy in love with you. I will be praying for you for God to remove the obstacles in your path, for God to show himself in the mighty way you need Him to. For you to dwell on Gods faithfulness and goodness in your life. Keep a journal of the things God has done for you in the past and think about those things and you will become convinced of his love for you. Above all seek Him day and night with all your heart, soul and mind. Saturate yourself in his word. Hugs……more Hugs…..your battle buddy.

    • Sweet Holly,
      The one thing that popped out to me above anything else is what you wrote here: ” God knows what I long for, what I need”.
      There is so much truth packed into that sentence because as your Creator, He is the ONLY ONE that knows all your needs and He is the ONLY ONE Who is capable of filling any emptiness in your life. I’m living proof of that.
      Anytime you are having thoughts that doubt Who God is, please know that Satan, who is called the father of lies in the Bible is messing with you. He does NOT want you to have a relationship with your Savior and will do his best to steal your joy, kill your hopes and destroy any good God has for you.
      One of my favorite chapters in Renee’s book is when she teaches us about “Turning toward the Truth” in chapter 5. She teaches us how to turn to God instead of the shadow of doubt. She says here: “Turning leads to transforming, as we allow our thoughts to be made new, and transforming leads to believing as God’s thoughts become our Truth.”
      Stick with God Holly and eventually your thoughts, heart and mind will be renewed and transformed. He has much for you! Don’t give up!

    • Holly My Dear Sister~N~Christ,

      As I was reading your story I started crying. You are not alone sweet sister, I have been in the exact same place, I know your pain, frustration, your fear, anxiety, and worries. The unconditional love you have been longing for from your mom and sister, the longing for them to love you for you. I too know how it feels to only have your dad to lift you up and understand you. Through all my pain and struggles this has been the biggest challenge for me and I ask myself “If I’m not good enough for my mother, why would I be good enough for God” sometimes the best thing we can do is just pray for them, let God deal with their problems, move forward and stay focused on him and his glorious words of grace. Sister even though we may not feel is presence he is working in you, to move closer to him. He wants a relationship with you. As you look back on resent events a few months ago you became a Christian, don’t you see this is him working in you!! He wants to have that relationship with you.
      I am praying for you sweet sister, keep your chin up cause you are a strong women, even in the weakest moments.
      Sending you Hugs

    • Thank you so much Lelia for sharing your story. My husband and I separated about 20 years ago. It ended up being one of the best blessings we could have asked for. I was saved and when God brought him home he and both our children were saved. Sometimes He takes away so we only look to HIM.
      Holly my heart goes out to you. My prayer is that you are in a Bible believing Church and that there will be a godly women who can mentor you and help you see how much God loves you and has given HIS all for you. I have a low self estem myself and its hard to build myself back up when I feel knocked down but God is helping me to see that I do not need to look to others or compare others its about me and God and my own journey. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” This verse has gotten me through many hard times.
      Love and prayers to you.

    • Holly, you are not alone and you matter mightly to your Creator. This verse came to mind while I was reading your post – “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

      Lord, please wrap Holly up in your loving arms and help her to feel the love and comfort of knowing that You are there to hold her up, especially when others in her life don’t or won’t.

    • Hi Holly, my heart breaks for you. I deal with getting “confused” a lot. I read so many books, watch so many different preachers, think of all the “things” I can do to really solidify that relationship with God. It’s so complicated and confusing. Well recently, I heard a preacher address this very issue and he said that many of us ask what is that next step once we give our heart to Jesus. His answer was simple…”fall in love with Jesus”. Spend time worshipping Him, getting to know Him (through scripture) spend time with Him through prayer and quiet time. I think back to when I was suffering from post pardom depression and I was at the bottom of the pit. Nothing helped, not my husband, not my family, not counseling, not medication. All those things were very important to have to deal with my depression but I still wasn’t full, joyful, loving, living, or satisfied. I needed more. I opened my bible and started reading through psalms until I found one that fully articulated how I felt and what I wanted God to do in me. I prayed that psalm daily, many times a day, until it no longer applied. There was no self help book that could do that, only God. Once I started to feel a little life grow in my heart, I dove into Christian music. I just let go and let the lyrics of those songs take over. For so long, I couldn’t even put into words my unhappiness or what I wanted or needed. So my prayers felt empty, but I think it goes back to “praying Gods promises”. Using the very words from the bible, pray according to His will, and God will take care of you, He will heal you, He will provide for you. I didn’t even pray specifically to my particular problems or struggles, but once I found scripture and worship music that conveyed what I felt, I could finally start breathing again. I seriously felt the breath of life being breathed into my heart and soul. You don’t have to dwell on all the struggles you are facing. God knows your heart, he knows your pain, he knows your hopes and dreams, and He has good plans for you, plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Start with falling in love with Jesus, because He is in love with you. God will guide your steps, He will make your paths straight. Praying for you Holly.

      • Just to follow up, I didn’t mean not to do this or other bible studies. This bible study is so thick and full of scripture and Gods truth, you cant help but grow from it. I was referring to the millions of self help, quick fix books. 🙂 God, please bless each of us involved in Renee’s bible study. May your truth and love speak to our hearts and make us a new creation in You.

    • Thanks Leia for your testimony.
      How painful that we as women need to put our heart soul and body through so much stuff and shame for nothing. The world needs Jesus and thank god he is love and forgiveness.
      Holly please everyday, every minute say I’m worthy of God’s love. Even if you don’t believe it, say it. Say it until it becomes a garment that you but on first thing in the day. You are worthy in my eyes sister. May the lord uplift you with his right hand. You are a bless woman because you bless others with your love. Remember that is Jesus commandment to his disciples. And you are doing that without you knowing it. Do for and your rewards will be evident soon enough. Hang in there. Xoxo.

    • Holly,

      You are the daughter of the Almighty… that emptiness only He can fill. I know you long for the acceptance of you mom and sister. Just know you have sisters here in Christ that will pray for you and will accept you for the WONDERFUL BEAUTIFUL woman you are!! Pray for God to soften their hearts and see their neglect towards you… Remember you are STRONG through Jesus. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life and had a very hard time thinking I was worth loving… looking for love in all the wrong places because I didn’t know He could fill me with the satisfaction I need… Let me tell you from experience HE CAN!!!! He can and will fufill your EVERY need. Keep looking for Him and He will be found. Give your heart to Him and you will be surprized, you have found what you have been looking ALL your life.!! Love you Holly.

    • Grace and peace Holly.

      I happened to stroll down the page, and your words almost made me cry.
      I felt so strong to write you, I know about negative words they can be very hurtful. I didn’t experiences negative words from my family, but from many others. I wasn’t as pretty as other girls in school, and I had big buck teeth. Being picked on was a every day occurs. I too was raised in Catholic church .I felt close to God because he was only person who knew what I was going through. I used to day dream a lot it was my safe haven. I would go to church, and put holy water on my fore head and teeth.ask God to fit them and for wisdom. Why wisdom because I didn’t think I was smart enough. If we are being honest sometimes I still think I’m not smart enough. I don’t think you are on this site for nothing. I don’t think you accidentally part of this bible studies.God has you, and you are not alone. I sometimes feel that I let God hands go,but I know that he holds on to mind. I know God is also holdings on to yours as well. I believe change starts within. You need to tell yourself that you are beautiful, and write all positive words and practices saying them. You need step listening to negative words from your family. Say to yourself that those words don’t defined me. I note stop listening to those words, and find words that made me feel good. I’m still working on somethings, but I think the day we stop asking God for his love and help we are not alive. You are not alone we are your family, if you need someone to listen I’m here. Never give up on God, because he will never give up on you. Change starts within. I’m not going to say we are perfect, there is only one holds that title. I’m not going say I have someone issues also, but with this book confidence heart & God I know I will get three. You see God already has a hand in it. So continue to read book, bible, trust me you will find God’s love. He often speaks in a wisper. I pray that God will keep you, and fulfilled you with is spirit. This prayer I pray in Jesus name Amen.

    • Jennyp1973 says:

      Dear Holly…I am you also…I recently experienced a restored and redeemed marriage…it was not easy, however my only choice was surrendering to God. He is the Mighty Counselor Healer. Reading your post this scripture came to mind…as I have so many saved from my valley

      Ephesians 3:16 I’m asking God to give you a gift from the wealth of his glory. I pray that he would give you inner strength and power through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will live in you through faith. I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. 18 This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep his love is. 19 You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God.

      I also experienced a lot of healing around this song…it spoke to me in reminding me how worthy he thought I was…I listened to it a dozen times in one day at times!

      http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l2zHk95UnsE

      Lord we ask You to send the Holy Spirit to Holly…let Your truths settle deep in her heart. She is deeply loved, completely forgiven & fully pleasing to You…she is totally accepted and a new creation, complete in Christ. Lord protect Holly’s young spiritual heart from the lies of the enemy. We come togther in Christian sisterhood as Your beloved children to lift up our sister Holly for You to lavish Your sweet love on. Thank You for already meeting her where she is at and we have confidence in Your healing over her heart. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

      • nancyclaire says:

        Jennyp1973
        Search for Significance ! Deeply loved, completely forgiven, fully pleasing, totally accepted, a new creation, complete in Christ ! It’s all true. Though the world shouts its lies, God whispers truth. Amen !

        • Jennyp1973 says:

          NancyClaire…love that book. I had a wise Christian therapist who led me thru that book and it changed my life!

        • Yes! Search for Significance is a wonderful book!
          So helpful for those of us (Holly, there are many!) who have felt insignificant in life for a long time. God’s peace, my sister.

      • Stephanie says:

        In a perfect world I would believe all that this song says. I don’t see any thing in me worth loving. Especially since I can’t even get my pastor to meet with me and help me understand what part of a huge misunderstanding between me and another member of my church, I was responsible for. If a pastor cant make time for someone who, admittedly, faild at staying out of an emitonal affair yet is working with you women and some others in my church to be free of the attaraction to porn and no longer wants to justify engaging in blatant sin, why should I fell lovable?

        • Stephanie, I so agree with what you shared with our dear sister. Many times we look to others to fill those empty spaces, as Renee mentions in her book. NO ONE can do that, only our complete confidence in the Lord’s ability. We must delve into his word, pray His word and listen. Prayer changes things. I have been the type that when I an frazzled the first thing I want to do is call someone and vent, now I am learning the first person I need to call is the LORD. Have a blessed day.

          • Thanks for sharing that Connie. The reminder about calling the LORD first is SO essential. It helps us gain perspective and control of our emotions.

    • Holly, just remember that time takes time and that it is about
      Progress not perfection. Just keep your heart open and God will fill it in
      His perfect timing. I know for me that he seldom gives me all the answers at once
      He knows I may not be ready for it. So through it all I am building a relationship with him
      That is what it is all about. A relationship. You will get there. I promise you.

    • Holly,

      The tears started flowing as I read your words and felt your pain–for I, too, was where you are. Let me tell you there is healing and God will heal you. He will put people in your life that help encourage you and sustain you, and little by little the transformation happens–“glory to glory”.There is joy, love, and peace beyond imagining on the other side. Don’t give up! Stay in church, listen to Christian music, read books, recite and memorize out loud Bible verses such as the ones the other women have given you. God’s Word will renew your mind and replace the negative patterns. There are good books–Joyce Meyer has great ones–Battlefield of the Mind was one that helped me. Your identity is not what you were taught–you are God’s child and worthy of so much more. A crown of splendor in God’s hand–. It is hard work, but your past does not define you or your future. You must forgive those that hurt you and just say it until one day, you will realize that you actually mean it. When it seems too much, take all these words that all of us have written and encourage yourself. All of us touch and agree that God will provide the way out of no way–when it seems hopeless, just remember–if God is for us, who can prevail against us? No devil from hell, no person on this planet. Nothing.

    • Maureen Chiasson says:

      Holly, I have a friend that struggles with the negativity in her biological family. She has a difficult time seeing her worth and with relationships. She sought Godly council and had some of her emotional needs met by healthy relationships outside the family. She still desires relationship from her family that is healthy but is coming to realize that some are incapable or unwilling to give it. We can not control others but we can find safe people to love. There are several books by Cloud and Townsend that can help you with this. Boundaries and Safe People are just two titles that are helpful. As Joyce Meyer says, hurting people hurt people. There negativity is a reflection of them, not you. Find positive and loving people to connect with. I pray God’s guidance for you. My heart goes out to you. You are worth so much in God’s eyes. Who knows, as you choose to grow you may influence others in your life to follow that example. Attraction not promotion:)

    • Holly,

      I also grow up in a household filled with negativity, and at time those critical words creep up. However, I have sured my bible and I have made a conscience effort to fill those words with God’s words. One of the things I do is keep index cards in my purse and I have memories scriptures that fill me with God’s love. It was really difficult but I had to make the decision to remove some people I loved out of my life until I became stronger in the Lord.

      I have a model “exposure limit” I learned this from my husband. Once this start to get to a place were the criticalness is coming out. I leave and pray for my father. Over the years I have gained a tremendous amount of compassion for him and pray that God will deliver him from his in demons…

      Joyce Meyers a book called “The Secret Power of Speaking” Remember that God loves you and you have been reconciled. Pray for guidance and wisdom – but don’t let you family, husband or anyone else hold you hostage to their words. Remember they are projecting – not reflecting…. I pray that the Lord will deliver you from you and give you the wisdom, power and courage to stand firm in your security with HIM>

  8. Thank you Lelia! Your story let me see yet another example that God is all we need ! ! I was married for 20 years, when I divorced my ex because of alcoholism and multiple DUI arrests. I got tired of trying to hold things together ….. Our children would hide in there rooms when he was around ….We all walked on egg shells. I felt embarrassed and ashamed because I was not enough for my husband…..I tried what I thought was everything. I met a man 1 year after the divorce…soon found out he was married….but I loved the attention he gave me…..a year later we slept together …..I took what ever he gave me tid bits of his time because I felt that was all I was worth…….I no longer engage in a relationship with this man….but the guilt is there….I am working on my relationship with God, but need support as some days I could really use a hug!

    • Ruth,
      I hope you are reading Renee’s book along with God’s Word! 🙂 God has used “A Confident Heart” to change my life. I’ve learned how to “boss my soul around” as Renee teaches us in it. One thing in chapter 3 she said that hit me is “Until our hearts find complete security and significance in God’s unconditional love, we will constantly turn to other lovers and never be satisfied.”
      God is the only One who is capable of being our All.
      Oh, sister, give Him your guilt and see what He does with it…it will be beautiful! 🙂

    • I agree, it’s hard to deal w it’s guilt and discouragement, but you are on the right track so don’t give up. Hs strength is sufficient! It’s not easy to realize that we are not enough for our husbands, but then again, we are all created to only find fulfillment in God. I pray that you’ll seek Him out today for a heavenly hug. God bless!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m glad that the we can read as women that the enemy will be defeated. I am at a place now where I have become completely naked before the Lord because I have come to realize that it is the only way I can be set free and begin to receive healing. I am so thankful for this study because it has opened my eyes even more, but most importantly it has opened my heaet to receive God’s unfailing love . Just from reading the testimony today that is proof that God has unfailing love for all of us.Wow I am in awe of how awesome God is. Love each and everyone of you ladies keep trusting our Lord and Savior!!

    • Twana, YES YES YES!! You got it! Receive His unfailing love like Renee and I have both done! He is a transforming, redeeming God that doesn’t need us, but wants us and is crazy about us! So excited for you! 🙂 Big hugs and love from Nebraska!

  10. God’s love is amazing. Thanks for sharing your story.

  11. Julie BS says:

    Thank you very much for sharing Lelia;

    It’s the Holy Spirit who dwells within you who worked through you to share your story with us. Thank You Holy Spirit! You reminded me through your story of Romans 8:28 which says “all things work together for the good of them who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” I’m grateful that you listened to God’s petition to lay everything at His feet because He cares. Thank you for the reminder that no matter how bad things may seem its my contrite & broken heart and spirit, laced with my total honesty and obedience to God that He will use to restore, redeem and fill me – us. May the Lord continue to be your anchor as you share through obedience what He’s laid on your heart.

    Thank you Renee for being such an awesome woman of God as well. You inspire me to stay rooted and grounded in my faith in spite of what I feel and see. To God be all the glory for His Word and those inspired to continue to share it laced with personal experiences that we can relate to. I bless You, Lord for every woman in this bible study and pray that as your Word says, iron sharpeneth iron; that we will strength each other by trusting You and sharing that which you’ve brought us through.

    • Julie,
      Thank you so much for your encouraging words from me and also on behalf of Renee who is flying today to the midwest to minister to to women this weekend.
      Our redeemed lives are living proof of a God so much greater than our enemy! Trusting God over the lies of the enemy is beyond worth it! 🙂

  12. Thank you Lydia! I realize that my emptiness over the last few years has caused me to seek the wrong thing to fill it. I thank you for this story. I surrender my selfish desires and my fill my life with Jesus.
    Bless you

    • Jenna,
      Yes girlfriend, allow God to fill all of your emptiness! Renee has some great teaching videos on this blog about that very thing. He is the only One capable of filling us up. Keep surrendering…it’s a daily “must”! 🙂

  13. Lelia
    Thank you for sharing…God is so good to call us Worthy of all he had to do for us to be free…last night at my ladies group we went to the enemies camp and we held hands and stomped our feet and sang claiming our stuff back….so powerful and his presence was so near….
    The journey of Jesus is So powerful in and for our lives….as I started to read your story, The Lord said , daughters gathering…..this is what we’re doing here…gathering together and sharing the goodness of the Lord together in the midst of our stuff…whether it be the beginning, middle, or out come….but he says We his daughters are Worthy…..no one can or ever will Love us like this….

    Blessings!

  14. Lelia, I’m thanking God right now for your vulnerability and strength and love and the true interest you have in our lives – to share such deeply tender life experiences. Thank you for allowing us into your heart and life. I’m still working on sharing my ‘insides’ – longstanding insecurity. Hurting alone on the inside is never easy. May you be blessed beyond measure in the place you now stand allowing God to use your story for our healing. Thank you also, Shelley and Holly and others for ‘teaching others of us’ about opening up, confronting insecurities by sharing your life experiences.

    • Correction: “Shelly.”
      Group hug to Ruth right now … for you, Ruth, but also because we all need it too. Thankful for you ladies!

    • Tammy,
      “hurting alone on the inside is never easy”…you’re never alone my friend. Easy to hear, hard to believe, but true when we allow God to interrupt evey area of our lives, exposed or hidden. He’s such a mighty healer. Thank you for your encouragement!

  15. Thank you for sharing your story. What an encouraging testimony of forgiveness & love.

    • Thank you, Vickie! xo

    • Thank you so much Lelia for sharing your story. I too have a story that hurts me deeply and know that God brought me to this bible study for a reason. I lost my dad at the age of 23 months and have spent a lifetime trying to fill that void with people/things that have only left me feeling empty. I am recently divorced and lost many friends in the divorce. I have spent MANY lonely days/nights crying & wondering where God was taking me. I think this study is a wonderful start to my new life – it’s time to heal this void before moving on. God Bless you & Renee for being able to openly share!

      • Dianna,
        I’m so sorry for all of your loss. I love that you said, “it’s time to heal this void before moving on”. Such wisdom!! Allow God to take you on a wild journey with Him. He will never leave you or forsake you…take Him at His Word! Excited for you and the life of a woman with A Confident Heart in her King! 🙂
        Hugs,
        Lelia

  16. Thank you so much for having the outrage to share your story. Many lives will be touched by your testimony . God has a way of being glorified through someone’s troubles. Praising Him for your restoration!!!!

  17. Thank you Leila for sharing your story. It blesses me to see how Our God came through for you and rescued your heart with tenderness. How He redeemed you and used you to minister to women like myself. I am very encouraged by your testimony of His faithfulness. I have struggled with the emptyness of being single and not feeling worthy of a man’s love. I am learning from testimonies like yours and Renee’s that I can go to Him to fill my empty spaces. I am allowing Him to fill my heart and replace lies with Truth. I am So happy to begin to understand that God thinks I am worthy and He loves me! I am resting in His love and allowing him to bind up my broken heart and to have confidence in Him! Thank you so much for your courage. It has blessed me so much! God bless you.

    • Maria,
      Yes! You are so worthy! I love your honesty. I hope you’re reading Renee’s book and if not, get your hands on it! She speaks so much of this in chapter 3 and throughout the whole book. Bless you as you trust Him with all areas and allow Him to be the One that sweeps you off your feet with His unconditional, endless, passionate love for you.

  18. Veronique says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Most of the time we are ashamed to do so. The Lord loves so much. Be blessed

  19. “Jesus came to give us more than salvation…” amen! He came that we might have life, and life more abundantly, and furthermore, HE CAME HERE! As I worshiped with my sis. the other day, she reminded me that while Jesus ever-lives to intercede for us, thank God He also showed His love by coming here to give us an abundant life. His redeeming blood has already paid for it!

  20. Thank you Leila for sharing your story! It encourages me. God showed me this week that I fill my well with people pleasing. I like to please people with everything I do. And fill my well with their thankfulness. But the thing is, after years of doing so, it is not working anymore. I am emotionally exhausted. And need to soak myself in Him. It’s the only way to get completely satisfied.

    • Grace,
      I love that you recognize that your people pleasing efforts are not working! I love what Renee says in chapter 3: “By recognizing and replacing our emptiness with the fullness of God’s promises, we drink the gift of living water. We acknowledge our need, which allows Him to pour His truth into the well of our hearts.”
      Love that because we don’t think of trying to please people as filling an emptiness we ourselves have. Excited for you as you give up and as you said soak yourself in Him!!

  21. Sandy Steinkoenig says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are an overcomer! God bless you and your family.

  22. Thank you for sharing with us today. I received the news of a spouses unfaithfulness. I was stunned and ticked off as well. Unfortunately I did not find out until after he had been killed in an accident. Jesus is the only reason I made it through.

  23. What a story of finding forgiveness…..Your story and the impact on your life is encouraging. Your willingness to open up and be vulnerable is so refreshing and shows us how God can be that portion we need. Thank you for sharing your life’s encounters on how to turn emptiness into worship and seeking of the Lord.

    • LeAnne,
      Thank you so much! Love what you said, “how to turn emptiness into worship and seeking of the Lord”…wow! Never thought of it like that! Thank you for your encouragement! xo

  24. Sweet Lelia, I have never heard your entire story before. Thank you for sharing so honestly. You have THE most beautiful and tender heart and now I know why. The Lord has met you in the deepest of broken places and healed your heart. There is no greater way to meet and experience the love, grace and mercy of God!! I pray that many, many women are encouraged and inspired today to go before the Lord and before their husbands and seek forgiveness, freedom and healing.

    Love you,

    Wendy

    • Wendy!!!
      Amen!!! I can’t imagine where I’d be without His love, grace and mercy!
      Love you too my sister! You’re such an encouragement to me, thank you so much!
      Love you,
      Lelia

  25. Rokhshie in U.K. says:

    Thank you Leila for sharing your story. It must have taken a lot of courage to trust in Him and to bare your soul. You are blessed and I am encouraged as I struggle too. You are a shining example. Thank you.

  26. The story was awesome. Thanks to Holly and Ruth for being so honest. Remember you are not alone in anything. From being a new Christian to being hurt by the Love of your life But GOD IS IN CONTROL.

    Lord Please touch everyone who has posted and will post today with your love and understanding. Please Lord gives us a word or scripture today that touches us and reassures us that your are right here with us as we go thru thes trails. Lord you tell us your word will not return void so Father give each of us a word. In Jesus Name AMEN

  27. Leila your transparency is a blessing to myself and others. Thank you for sharing and lifting you and your family up in prayer as your journey continues. I praise him today for our journeys. I have looked back over my life and identified things GOD let me have just to show me HE KNOWS WHAT HE HAS IN STORE FOR ME… As my personal relationship with JESUS has developed and grown – I decided NO DECISION would be without GODS direction. I have been single for many years and sought out the LOVE/PHYSICAL relationship to fill voids…these relationships were of the flesh and not of GOD and they filled me with nothing but heartache, disappointment and EMPTINESS… My “boyfriend” is now JESUS. I hope this statement does not sound weird but I go to him now to fill my cup. Is my life perfect – NO – do I still have moments of heartache, emptiness… yes – I pray everyday for discernment…To make sure I am hearing GODS voice not mine or my flesh… Again thank you for sharing…

    • Thank you for saying your boyfriend is Jesus it sounds touching…true He can only fill the emptiness we have

    • Bonita…LOVE it!! The boyfriend, the no compromise attitude you have…NO DECISION would be made without God’s direction. Love love love it!! Keep seeking Him, you’re helping others, like me! 🙂

  28. Hi Leila, I have never heard a conversion like yours before, you’re wonderful. God bless you for sharing this with us.

    I love you.

  29. Redeeming love! Will we embrace that our Father wants to take the wreck & redeem it for our good & His glory? My heart aches for the pain Lelia went through, along with countless others, but rejoice that we have a heavenly Father just waiting for us to run to Him and make a message from our mess! Thank you for sharing the gift of hope!

  30. margaretr says:

    thank you for sharing your story.
    Every story is different, but everyone of us has some void
    or some heart ache that needs healing.
    I need to go to that place, and cry out to our Lord Jesus
    to turn my thoughts to Him and not to my emptiness, which
    I so often do.
    Thanks again. Bless you.

  31. Thank you Lelia for your honesty and for sharing. Being able to share your life journeys takes such bravery and courage. To see how Jesus has used you and your husband is such a blessing. I’m sure the pain and emptiness can only be filled by our God. May God bless even more than u can ever imagine..

  32. Leila,
    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your pain with us. That took real courage and I am so grateful to you for opening the pain of your life to those of us in this Bible study- for trusting us enough to become vulnerable. I’m truly in awe right now.
    Thank you also for opening our eyes to the fact we can be born into a Christian family, raised in the church, taught in the church, yet might not have a relationship with God. Through everything you wrote, this is the paragraph that spoke to me:
    -These words from chapter 3 resonate deeply with my soul. Although, I had attended Christian school from kindergarten though graduation in 1988; went to church on Sundays and returned on Wednesdays and knew countless Bible stories by heart, what I lacked was a relationship with my King.-

    I thank God for working within your lives and within your marriage but most importantly, within your hearts Leila.

    Blessings~
    Cindy

  33. Thank you Lelia for sharing with us! So many times we look at others and their “issues” and rate them from bad to worse. Or compare ourselves to them thinking, “at least I’m not that bad”. Truth be it known, God loves us ALL the SAME!!!! We are all the same to Him!
    All of us have problems, needs and desires. None of us are anything without God! HOWEVER, with God we are children of the King! Praise The Lord. I, too struggle with the shame of a past and that is exactly what satan wants me to do. Through the last couple of weeks, and with the help of this study, I’m finding that my worth is only in Christ’s redeeming blood!
    I want to thank Renee, Lelia, and all of you beautiful women who take time to comment. You will never know how much you are helping me! Thanking God also for His love to me and how He is taking me to a better understanding of what His love truly is!!!! GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!!!!

  34. Thank you Leila for sharing your story and for sharing God’s love with all of us.

  35. Oh Holly!! You are so loved by God!!! Even though you can’t see him he is there. God knows everything about you, good and bad and loves you so much anyway. Always remember you were special enough for him to send his Son to die for you. Take time to be alone with him in Bible study and prayer and he will speak to you and make himself known to you. Don’t let others define who you are. You are special, you are a child of the King!!!!

  36. Wow, Lelia. Thank you so much. What a humbling story. My story is not exactly like yours, but I understand some of the pain you went through. God loves us so much that he is willing to let us walk away. Then He patiently waits for us to come back, and rejoices over us when we do. Unconditional love. Amazing!

  37. WOW Story..May Almighty God bless you Lelia for this story and for the courage. You are blessed.

  38. I am weeping as I read your story Leila. Thank you for sharing. Though my story is not exactly the same,there are parts of your story i can identify with. I have searched for men to fill empty places in my heart. Most recently I was involved with a man whom I gave my heart and my body to, knowing it was wrong..knowing that this man could never fill the empty places in my life. Discovering he was involved with multiple women,and then hearing him tell me that one of these other women was the one he truly loved, the one he had given his heart to was devastating. Renee’s book and study came along at just the right time for me (Isn’t God cool like that?) I’ve been on my knees before Him confessing to placing others ahead of Him, looking to this man and other things to make me feel worthwhile,but then being devastated when I found out that the life I had created in my mind was a huge lie. God is healing my very wounded heart and putting me back together. I am so thankful we have a God who loves us unconditionally. Though I never get married again,I will be content, I am God’s perfect creation and He is truly all I need!

  39. Lelia, You touched my heart with your story! May I share some of mine with you and the other ladies here? I was abused by countless men starting with my stepfather at the age of six. I became someone like Sam, feeling like a piece of trash, used and thrown away. I became pregnant at the age of 16, let a wonderful couple have my beautiful son, only being able to hold him for a few precious moments. The father of my child wanted nothing to do with him (I’m ashamed to say I don’t even remember his name, it was 37 years ago). I think of my son often and pray he has a good life. Went through a bad marriage, but God blessed me with 3 beautiful sons. We divorced and 2 years later God really steps into my life…I left my babies with a babysitter one night and went out with some friends (I never did this, but God had His hand in this outing). I was introduced to a nice looking man standing at the bar ( yes, God is everywhere .). To make a long, incredible story short, we married 3 yrs later. This man God put in my life in none but the best. He loves me for who I am and is the best father to my sons (our sons). We have a beautiful daughter who is our sunshine!! Why did my life start out so bad? I don’t know, but I know God was there and brought me through it. Will I ever meet my first beloved son? Only God knows. We serve God with all our hearts and are so thankful for His love, mercy and great wisdom. Thank you again Lelia for sharing and encouraging me to share my story, one that only God and my husband knew about up until this point. God bless you all!!

    • Debbie you are so awesome! If you don’t meet your first child on this side of heaven we can all pray that you will meet in heaven! Isn’t it amazing that when we stop trying to do what we want/think is best for us and let God give us his absolute best for us … it is far beyond anything we can imagine? I was married and divorced as well – if there is such a thing as a knight in shining armor my 2nd husband is it! He is everything I could have asked for and more. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Debbie, Thank you for sharing your story! God is the Great Redeemer of a broken life & your story is a beautiful example of that! Thank you for taking the first step to sharing your story with others. I know God is going to work in the lives of others through the way He has worked in your life.

    • Debbie,
      I’m so glad you chose to give your son life! Blessings to you as you share of God’s greatness!

  40. Lelia,

    Thank you so much for sharing with us – I share many of the same things in my past. As you did I tried to fill a very big void in my life with many other “things and people,” all of the time the Holy Spirit was trying to call me to Him. It is amazing when we have that moment of release … and go to Him with a truly repentant heart that he takes the mess we have created and uses it for his glory! The challenge then becomes not letting Satan use it to continually accuse us every time we make a mistake! It requires daily communication with Him and reminding myself who I am in Christ! Thanks again!

  41. Lelia, I want to thank you for your story. I’ve been thru some things a lot like this and am now filled with God’s mercy. I only hope that I can, like you share my story someday with others and lead them from this place. I have never shared my story, only with God. Thank you for your bravery thru Christ Jesus our Lord. My Love, Dawn

  42. I am struggling with a long distance relationship. One of the reasons that I joined this group is to learn to have a confident heart. Every time I think of living in fear rather than living in faith a verse or a story like yours comes up. It is like a test of my faithfulness to God and to this gentle man. It is those little whispers that in the past I would have ignored waiting for a bigger sign that keep chipping away at my insecurities. I applaud that you and your husband work through the difficult times as it seems that in today’s world it is so much easier to just give up, thanx for your strength and faith.

  43. Thank you for sharing I cried a lot,reading your story because I had an abortion with my dad baby your story
    made me realize that God loves me no matter what I have done

    • Yes Doris, God does love you. As is. I hope that if you haven’t experienced healing in this area that you will pursue that for yourself because you deserve it. Surrendering the Secret at http://www.surrenderingthesecret.com is the tool God gave me to heal. When you heal in this area of your life, it is amazing.
      Also, finish and APPLY what you learn in Renee’s book, “A Confident Heart”. This is a book that you just keep reading. I have read this book more than once because the message God gave Renee through it is so important. Applying is the key though. 🙂
      Big hugs from Nebraska!

  44. Relebohile says:

    Wow! I am inspired and humbled. Jesus is us the hope of glory!!!!!!

  45. Patricia says:

    Wow!!!! Awesome story and I thank God for you being so open and real, so women around the world can begin to heal. This week there has been such a joy in my spirit through reading the book, video, and the posts. Being open and honest before God is truly the starting point for us all. He already knows what we are struggling with and knows the end of the story but we allow the enemy to hold us captive in our circumstances instead of emptying out the trash, so God call fill us with His fresh, living water. My sisters in Christ, my prayer for us as we continue on this journey is we take off our masks and be open and honest with God, so He can mold us on the pottery’s wheel back into His creation. We all have a story that we can share to help someone around us. Ladies I challenge us to be sensitive to those around us today and as we are lead of the Holy Spirit, show love today. Know that as we give it will be given back to us. Be blessed and remember God loves us unconditional!!!!!!

  46. Thank God you are free I thank you for your honest and heart felt sharing.

  47. Katherine says:

    Wow! WOW! WOW! I see myself in so many of the comments I have read. Broken relationships, On my third marriage and not a happy one at that. Searching for answers, asking myself why me God, fear of never being fulfilled, and I could go on and on. I know that God is all I need, but the past haunts me every day and the future is ugly. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t want to run away. But at least I see hope knowing that I am not alone. Maybe one day soon I will be able to let it all go and have my jar filled with living water.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

  48. Thank you Lelia, for sharing your story. I believe that when we can truly be real with God, that is when we open our hearts for Him to begin the real healing.

    When I read the question: “What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done for love?” Wow, so many crazy things. What popped into my mind was the first love of my life. I was 16 years old, and he was turning 19. He wanted to break up with me, because “he was too old for me….” I remember crying, and begging him to give me another chance. That I would be the girl he wanted, I would change me whole life, if he would just keep me….I completely humiliated myself, and he did give me another chance. But of course, you can’t change yourself into someone else, and you can’t change another persons heart. We stayed together for about a year after that, he didn’t respect me, he wasn’t attracted to me, and he definately didn’t love me. I don’t think he even liked me at that point.

    After this experience, I sunk deeper and deeper into depression and despair. Feeling worthless, figuring noone would ever respect me, or love me…least of all me. I have had three marriages, two of which ended in divorce….figured Jesus didn’t want used goods either. I didn’t figure that He could want or change a woman like me….but then I learned about Sam. I relate to her on so many levels. I remember the day I got saved, I was so filled with joy, and excited….I just had to tell everyone what Jesus had done for me!!! And He still does for me! I strive to be a woman that God can use. I pray that my story will reach others, and that they can understand how much Jesus loves us….how he can take our crushed defeated hearts, and make them strong and new! I deserve to be loved! And Jesus is worthy to be loved back!

  49. This brought me to tears….. When I feel tempted to return to a life of emptiness and rely on my old patterns of comfort and fulfillment then I will praise God for what He has brought me from and remind myself that I am worthy of the sacrifice of the cross.
    I was doubting choices I’ve made recently. Looking at the flesh and wanting the easy way out instead of going the direction God has for me. When you make wrong choices and turn away from God after a while it’s hard to turn the right way again. Just this morning, as i was looking back (I’d probably a pillar of salt by now) I said to God…. please show me. Please show me that what I’m doing is what You want me to do. That what I turned away from wasn’t You. Because the enemy lies and makes the ugly look pretty and the bad look good. So all morning I’ve been remembering the bad parts of my old life. Thank you Lord! I know it was an answer to prayer. And then I read this! God is awesome! Thank you Leila! Thank you for being real! So many times ‘Christians’ testimonies are so ‘prettied up’ that they aren’t helpful to me. You were real and it was exactly what I needed to hear! I love, love, love your reaction to your husband’s confession. I was right there with you…. to hear you say you were ‘ticked off’ was refreshing. To surrender your will to God and then get ‘blind sided’ when you don’t get what you expect is not easy. But then to hear you say that your reaction after that was different and you turned to God is perfect!
    I’m rambling now. But I am so overwhelmed by God’s timing! I read most of chapter 3 during the week but didn’t read last night and so I haven’t finished it yet. I almost didn’t even open up today’s email b/c I wanted to read more first. Ha! It was God’s perfect timing that I read this this morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Oh Nicole, I love how God will use things to get our attention! His timing is so amazing. I loved what you wrote, ” the enemy lies and makes the ugly look pretty and the bad look good.” SO true!! As we grow closer to Christ we become more aware of what is from God and what is not.
      Keep drawing closer to Him sweet friend! 🙂

  50. Lelia,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I love how God shows us that He is the Great Redeemer by redeeming the broken places in the lives of both you & your husband. Thank you for following God & helping others who are going through similar difficult times.

  51. rdeloria says:

    Lelia,
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I, too, had an affair and it was the most miserable time of my life. God, in His grace, also restored our marriage and I am SO thankful But I continue to struggle with insecurities concerning my worth as a woman. The only thing that mattered (from my perspective) to those around me was what I looked like. I do not consider myself beautiful by any means, but it was always important to have perfect hair, be thin, etc., etc. Therefore, attention from men is what fills my heart. I now work in a restaurant and it is very hard. I am the oldest woman and work with men my age and boys who could be my sons. The temptation to be physically beautiful to them is intense. Just got my hair cut yesterday and am thinking it is too short and I will be ugly – how shallow is that!!!??? I have prayed that God would fill my empty heart, but can’t seem to hold on to that. Anyway, I’m ramblng. Just felt like I had to get some of this out in the open. I am so glad for this study beause it i helping me get honest with myself and God. Thank you, Renee.

  52. WOW! Thank you for your honesty and testimony. This has spoken to my heart and I praise you for your faithfulness out of this.

    • I was blessed by the fact that when we feel empty, things and people are incapable of filling that emptiness. We MUST turn to the well of living water, the true source of sustaining happiness and joy, our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. My marriage of 17 years (together for 20 years) has ended. My husband married less than a month after we divorced. Our two sons (ages 21 and 15) have definitely been affected. But through it all the Lord has been my rock and I have had tremendous support from many Godly praying saints.

  53. Thank you Lelia for sharing your story! I was truly inspired , you know God is the true example of unconditional love. He can use any circumstance and being to display this love as well. I thank you for the reminder, when there is an empty place whether it be marriage, finance, relationships,careers and/or etc., God is the only satisfaction and best of all fulfillment to and for that emptiness. “Draw me near to the cross”,these words meditate in my head and heart as I close this comment to you. Thank you again and God bless!

  54. Patricia says:

    Thank you Lelia, for sharing your story chapter hit home with me, I know that only Gods love can satisfy, but I wish it would settle in my heart, and take root, right now just feels like head knowledge, I say to myself I know God loves me, he has proved over and over to me his faithfulness, and commitment to me, yet I flip flop around with my feeling, he loves me he loves me not he loves me he loves me not. Does anyone else have feelings like that, or is it just me. I know this is a big forum but I wonder if someone could respond to my post. So I dont feel so alone.

    • Patricia,
      I like how you are aware that your feeling can be deceptive…as a man thinks so he is ..keep remembering how good God has been to you… is being to you now today. His finger prints are all over your life. You are held by the great I am. The disciplining our minds is hard but the results are that when we do our feelings WILL change. We all struggle in our thoughts and feelings…we are human after all and still breathing air.. I’m encouraged and reminded that both Jeremiah and David took their memories and framed them in God’s faithfulness, his love, and their Hope in Him. Praising God and disciplining our minds to think on the fruits of the spirit…what so ever is good….etc. is an act of will and not feelings. So feeling are usually and indicator of how we are thinking., notice how easily our feeling can betray us. Be encouraged they will change as you continue to seek God and may his truth sink deep into your soul.. I pray God will show you in a real way today of his unfailing love for you…Lord wrap your arms around this dear one, take her close onto your lap and lavish your love on her. Help her to feel loved by you and may the truth of your love sink deep into her heart. Remember Satan wants you to feel alone and isolated..it’s one of his devices. Hugs and more hugs….beloved one.

    • You are not alone, Patricia. You are daughter of The King, a princess. Don’t forget that. I “ditto” “W’s” reply too and agree with her prayer over you. Thank you, W, for words that also encourage me. We’re all ‘sisters’ here, Patricia. You have sisters who feel all the same feelings you deal with. Hugs. Be blessed today. T

  55. Cass James says:

    Leila, thank you for letting God’s Grace shine through in all your weakness. I would love to know more about ‘Surrendering the Secret’ ministry as that part resonated with my life so much. Is there a website or literature about this ministry? Again, thank you for the blessing of your testimony.
    Cass

  56. Thank you so much for sharing so others can see how God’s love can heal the worst of things. My husband and I are attending a marriage conference, next week, because I found porn on his phone. He wont go to counseling so that and prayer are my best efforts. I have been trying to reach him for months, praying, studying, but feeling he was gone. He is a Christian, but has gone thru some changes I don’t care for. He seems distant from God as well. I hope and pray he hasn’t had an affair, like my dad, his dad, and most of my close friend’s husbands have. I felt relief reading your words. Even if he has done this horrible thing to our marriage, or worse, God can bring us thru it and work it for good.

  57. Wow! I read everyone’s posts so far….and I pray that you all see a blessing today!
    My life is not at all like any one else’s. I feel many times in my marriage of 36 years that my husband and I are not on the same page, man…sometimes we are not even in the same book. But we have our differences, we voice our opinions, sometimes too loudly, but at the end of it, we are still together. I still have this huge void in my heart and I still need to learn the lesson of letting Him in and letting Him guide, and letting Him fill that void. It seems much easier for me after reading Leila’s story. Thank you Leila and thank everyone for opening up to all of us! Blessings to all….

  58. Wow! What a beautiful story of forgiveness & restoration. Thank you Lella for reminding me of the sovereignty of God & no matter how far away we go, He doesn’t let us out of His site.

  59. Lelia, thank you SO much for sharing your story. I LOVE this Proverbs 31 ministry that shows transparency and validates our pain and releases us to be the women God created us to be!

    I, too, carried the secret of abortion for many years until I found healing in Jesus through a loving support group of other women. Many might be shocked to know that statistics reveal that probably close to a third of us (yes, Christian women, too) share the painful secret of abortion. And as this fact slowly emerges, many seek the forgiveness and healing that is available to all. I have ministered in this area for many years and can recommend several resources: “Forgiven & Set Free”, “Surrendering the Secret”, “A Solitary Sorrow” are just a few.

    Please, if you are hurting, seek the help that is available…come out of that “dark cave of guilt and shame” and allow Jesus to set you free!

  60. Renée M. says:

    This is what loving each other does. It reminds us of the love Jesus had for us when he was nailed to the cross for all of our sins. No sin is worse than another. He died so that we could be free from the shame and guilt. Does it mean we keep sinning? No, of course not. However, it means we are to forgive others and ourselves for the many wrongs we have committed against God and others:-) He will always love us no matter what, but we must be honest with him instead of putting up a false sense of relationship with the very one who set us free. Thanks for sharing your heart and being completely honest….

  61. Thank you for sharing!! What raw emotion! It brings a deep ache into my heart as I started reading, and the joy and gladness that replaced it at the end is amazing!

  62. Thank you Leila for your story. I was in a similiar situation in the past, although myself not married. I was looking to men to fill my emptyiness. I was involved with a married man, got pregnant and my son is now 7 years old and his Dad has nothing to do with us and accuses me of ruining his life. During my pregnancy I went and saw a Christian counselor as I wasn’t sure what to do and from that moment really developed a relationship with Jesus. I too had grown up in a Christian household, gone to church but really was lacking that relationship with Jesus. It took a while to forgive myself for the mistakes I had made but I did eventually. I have really struggled in my life being involved with the wrong type of men and now have been with my boyfriend of 3 years and he is wonderful, like no one I have ever been with before. He is a man of God, loves me and my son for who we are and is aware of my past. God truly does bring us through any situation and work it for good.
    I so much appreciate the honesty from all of you, thank you for sharing and being so open about your lives.

  63. Wow.. Amazing honesty and love. While I cannot identify with the story, I know what heart emptiness us. God richly bless you!

  64. The world just got smaller 🙂 I attended Lelias conference last month… what a beautiful woman and such a beautiful story of Jesus and His heart for us. I so appreciated hearing the truth of this story and reading it here in the context of the book and satisfaction… it got me to thinking of the places I am searching to fill that ache. The choices I have made and still make sometimes that dont fill my empty spots. The Spirit truly is the only one that can reach each and every one… I know that and yet I still look to the things around me to do it. Thanks for sharing you story Lelia… I pray many more are moved by it.

  65. Thank you so much for your heartwarming story and sharing it with your sisters in Christ. I grew up in a household with a criticizing mother and an absent father. I married a wonderful man, but, after seven years of marriage, made the same mistake you did and had several affairs. He eventually found out, and our marriage got stronger in the end, but to this day, I ask God for forgiveness every single day. I think the lack of a father made me look for approval from other men. I know that God has forgiven me, but still feel the guilt from this mistake which happened 15 years ago. Your story touched my heart in such a personal way! Bless you for sharing with us

  66. Reyna HaRT says:

    What a story of finding forgiveness…..Your story and the impact on your life is encouraging. Your willingness to open up and be vulnerable is so refreshing and shows us how God can be that portion we need. Thank you for sharing your life’s encounters on how to turn emptiness into worship and seeking of the Lord.

  67. Thanks Laila

    For helping to point me in the right direction. I am still working on the total surrender to Jesus. I am not there yet but i am not where I use to be.

    Again many thanks for your story.

  68. Leila,
    The courage and confidence in Christ to share such an intimate trial with us was a blessing and inspiration to me. I’m sure that we can all agree that your testimony contains the many facets of the way Christ can fill our hearts and lives as well. This book is blowing my old self away. I’m honored to be on this journey with you. Thank you for sharing, may God continue to increase your territory of his message of hope in your life. Blessings and hugs!

    • Briget,
      I love how God is using “A Confident Heart” to change your life! Happened to me also! Little advice…when you finish it, start it again. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t read it multiple times and our lives are not the same. God is good!!
      Thank you for your sweet encouragement.
      Hugs from Nebraska!

  69. I don’t know if I’ve ever read or heard a story that rings the blatant song louder of “the truth will set you free.” Thank you so much for this vulnerable honesty. It really is the confident courage we all need to have in Christ. His redeeming power amazes me again through your testimony. Wonderful.

    • Loved this Robyn because it is proof to me that you clearly saw all that God has done in our lives versus the sins we chose. Love Him and love talking and writing about His greatness!
      Blessings to you!

  70. Leila,

    Thank you so much for sharing. Your story hit very close to home. I am that same “good Christian girl” that allowed myself to be tempted into the arms of another man. I wasn’t married anymore, but he was in a relationship. I’m still struggling with how far I’ve fallen and what it’s going to take for God to forgive me. Your story helps me realize that I’m the limiting factor here, not God. He is there waiting for me, all I have to do is turn into His arms and accept His love and forgiveness.

    Thank you so much for sharing so openly and honestly. I know I will be reading and re-reading your devotional.

    God Bless – Wendy

    • Wendy,
      Yes!! you have to accept His forgiveness to be able to forgive yourself and move past your own failures. Satan loves when we choose to sit in the seat of shame. As far as “what it’s going to take for God to forgive” you…it takes you getting before Him and asking.

  71. Christine says:

    Thank you Leila for sharing your story. What a testimony of God’s forgiveness and unconditional love. I am so glad God is using your life to help others who are going through the same thing.

  72. Thank you Leila. Thank you for reminding me that God is more than big enough. You are a truly wonderful woman. Thank you for your courage to share your story.

  73. Thank you Leila for your transparency and openness. I’ve found myself earning the same things, but reading ch. 3 has pushed me to turn from my husband as being the one to solve my problems or fill voids, but to look to Christ to fill me. Especially with all that’s going on in life, wanting to have a baby, wanting a new job, wanting to move into my career, there’s so much change I want to see, but I have to first let Him change me.

  74. Leila- thank you for sharing your story today. It helps people like me too who are still dealing with guilt and shame of past sin which is why I choose only to use the first initial of my name and nothing else. I grew up in church and like you, was there any chance I could get. I felt called to go into the mission field which was my plan after graduation. My home life looked good on the outside but it was anything but on the inside. Raised by a very unpredictable and sometmes abusive father, I never felt what I did was good enough for him. I strived to please him but never could. He constantly compared me with my sister which caused constant conflict between us. He was at times physically, emotionally and verbally abusive. As I got older and continued to feel as if I wasnt worthy in my dad’s eyes, I began to seek acceptance and love in the eyes of men. I was so “thirsty” for someone to just love me and tell me I was beautiful. I gave myself away to many and in the end had my heart broken many times. At 19, I found myself pregnant by a young man who was engaged to be married to another woman. Scared and in shock, my reaction was to take care of it immediately. I was going to have an abortion. My father was so disappointed and my mother feared what our family would think. She knew I was scared. She stood beside my decision and walked through my abortion with me. The year was 1992. Later than year, my mother became ill from a simple illness. Due to some complications and her not seeking a doctor sooner, she died two months later. Not knowing how to grieve or being allowed to grieve, my father and I fought constantly. I will never forget the day he told me that since I took the life of my child, God had taken my mom; therefore this was my fault. This still hurts today as I hear those words. I cant help but think what if?? At that time when this happened, I felt such shame and guilt especially to God therefore I ran away from home and from Him. I continued to fill my emptiness in others. This week’s chapter has spoken to my heart in so many ways and then to read your story today. God has truly made beauty from your ashes. Thank you for surrendering your secret. My abortion continues to hinder me from my relationships and different roles in my life. Thank you for sharing how God can love someone like me and still want to pour love into them even after such a terrible mistake. I am still getting to that point. I am so afraid of what others will think and people have such harsh criticisms when it comes to abortion. I tell my children all the time to be careful not to judge. I have done so many bible studies but still never able to overcome my emptiness. Chapter 3 this week has encouraged me to change my way of thinking. I still strive for the approval of others and base my identity on that. I am striving each day to ask God to fill the well in my heart. To be my satisfaction. I desire so much to come through this study as a different person; not ashamed. I pray that one day I too can be as transparent as you. I pray that I will have the confidence to be honest wtih others and not so afraid of rejection. As I read these stories today, I know that I am not alone which is encouraging as well. This is a huge step for me to write this down. Thank you again and Thank you Renee for this wonderful study!

    • K, I was so moved by your story, I too had an abortion at 18, for years it was thrown back in my face by my family. I’m so grateful for Gods grace , mercy and comfort. It’s so encouraging to know we are not alone, I’ll be praying for all of us to be completely changed by the time we are done with this study!!

    • Leila!!

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It truly blessed my soul. I too struggled with looking for what was missing in all the wrong faces as Renee put it on her video yesterday. After a failed marriage and another failed relationship, God brought me my husband and two years later my salvation. One of my first tests was that of being tempted to run to the arms of a very close friend, I thank God every day how he stopped it from going further, because there is no earthly explanation for it. We’ve been married now almost 12yrs and God is still doing a mighty work on our marriage, but I’m so looking forward to how much better it will be after this study!!

    • K, I’m so proud of you for taking that huge step to share. You have the ‘approval’ of a loving Heavenly Father. You are a most loved and adored daughter of The King. Live in that knowledge, remembering that our sins, poor decisions of our past, remain nailed to (disposed of even) the cross Jesus himself carried, hung and poured out himself on – for EACH of us. Thank YOU Lord. We praise You right now in this room where we all gather, feeling (knowing) we’re in our most safe place with you. Hugs, K. T

  75. It’s amazing how God works! Thank-you Leila for your honesty and courage. My husband had an affair and in my brokenness I sought the arms of another- it was a terrible experience that still haunts me. I know my Father forgives me, but I don’t know how to forgive myself. How do you get to that place? I’ve spent many nights crying on my knees and yet still carry it like a thorn in my heart. I want to release it. My husband and I are still together and he knows everything. We’re in a good place in our marriage. I just am so tired of the shadows of our past.

    • I’m so sorry that you are still feeling guilty. In order to fully forgive yourself, you have to fully accept God’s forgiveness, and that He has thrown your sin into an ocean and put up a ‘no fishing’ sign. Then, seek and receive forgiveness from your husband. It sounds as though he has, so let the Spirit work in your heart so that you fully receive forgiveness and freedom. You’re in my prayers!

  76. Lelia Oh thank you for the real uncensored testimony you have been blessed to share, it truly brought me to tears. I have thought of my roller coaster testimony from my first marriage beginning with drugs until that night in October when I asked God to take away the what I knew was wrong and He did. Then Him blessing me with a Beautiful baby boy all the while my gut telling me my husband is cheating and finally he told me he had been. I left with our son in hopes that things would change they never did and three months past and I knew that it would never be any different. So I moved on from the ability to being a stay at home mom to a full time working mom. I met my second husband and thought this is it I have found a good Godly man only to find out it wasn’t true it lead to deceit and a violent end to a marriage and a 7week pregnancy this was rough i started blaming myself for making the wrong decision and learning so much in the mean time. So I am now to the future, current, and everyday I confess I wouldn’t have gotten here had it not been for the Unfailing Love of my Lord and Saviour!!! this book has just give me the push I needed to COMPLETELY let the Lord fill me I had still been looking and through all that I have been through only He had been there even when I wasn’t letting Him fully he was still there. I am now excited to see the works He will complete as I wholly surrender to letting him fill me instead of look in all the wrong places. To Him be the Glory!!! Thank you again Lelia for the Real True Testiment of God you have shared, it truly has blessed me.

    • I should clarify the second marriage ended due to an abusive one time incident causing me to miscarry, this is why i starting blaming myself.

  77. Thank you Leila, for your willingness to share so honestly. I spent a few years as the good girl and hiding my needs and flaws from everyone. Then I wondered by no one would offer to help me or pray for me. Well they wouldn’t do that for someone who appeared to be perfect! God knew and saw my imperfections and He led me to slowly change. A few months ago, He led me to confess to my old friends that I had been pretending to be perfect. I was terrified of what they might think! But I did it and God was there, and they were extremely warm and understanding. Praise God! Confessing and coming honestly before God needs to be a daily practice for me.

  78. Thank you for sharing your story. I also have had an affair. I ended up leaving my abusive husband, and now am married to the man that I had the affair with. I know people say this could never work. I am glad to say that my husband and I have given our life to Christ, and through Christ all things are possible 🙂

  79. Lelia,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are very brave and honest and amazing. I read your story and saw nothing but beauty because you are able to inspire others through your honesty. I understand the shame and regret caused by actions that are performed out of perceived desperation. I, too, have been through the highs and lows of unfaithfulness in a marriage (ended one and almost the other). My first husband was the one who was unfaithful physically, but I was guilty of unfaithfulness in my mind and heart. My second marriage started the mirror the first and I learned of it in a very hurtful way, but God has used it to not only begin the path of restoration to me, but to my husband as well. We are still working toward building trust back, and it has been some ups and a lot of downs but we are still together and trying to get past the hurt to the glory side of our mess. I had to work through the pains of abortion from my past and didn’t realize how much bondage it had created. I was ashamed and miserable and tried to find my worth and value through men as well. Just call me Sam. This very week, God showed me through this study that every word Renee had written was talking about me. It was comforting to know I was not the only one out there hurting this way and that there is hope. I have never known life without God in it, which made all my poor choices all the more poor to me. I never knew Him daily in a relationship way and I never saw the reason to until recently. How I had been living with my eyes covered by the true enemy!! I never wanted to engage in spiritual warfare because I absolutely hate conflict. But, I was listening to lies. Thank you so much for speaking out and letting God use you to reach women who are hurting, silently. Your courage is remarkable and your story is encouraging. God bless you and your husband and your family.

  80. Lelia: Thank you, for being so open to share your story. I know that just by reading some of the post, that your opening up has helped others that have gone through the same thing.
    Even though I have not gone through what you and your husband have, we can still take your response to God in other situations and see Him work through us as well.
    Thank you for being such a strong woman. The LORD, is great!!!
    Have a blessed day.

  81. Thank you. You are a beautiful and brave woman of God. You are very much an inspiration to so many women. You have proved with God taking control of your situation that NOTHING is impossible with God by our side. God bless you and your family!

  82. Debra K Yarbrough says:

    Leila,
    I too had an affair and a pregnancy from my affair. The affair left me with a beautiful gift my youngest
    daughter. I feared my husband finding out this was not his child. this was the beginning journey for
    me with Jesus. I repented, accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior, made a commitment to God to
    never have another affair and to warn all women what an affair does to you. I am so grateful to say
    26 years later God has helped me keep my promise to never return to adultery. I have shared my story with
    many women. I tell women my sin stares at me everyday of my life, as a reminder of what I have been
    redeemed from. My beautiful daughter was my blessing from God that got me turned around towards God. I never thought my sin would turn out to be my blessing also. God is a loving kind God who never
    left my side once. Even when I had to tell my precious daughter at 17 her dad was not her father. I had
    promised God if she ever asked I would tell the truth. This pain became too much for her to bare, she turned to drugs, alcohol and sex. She went through rehab and was free for a while. Now her life is still centered around alcohol, drugs and sex to dull her pain. I have never given up that God has changed her.
    I stand on the word promises that my daughter is delivered from the enemies camp of drugs, sex and alcohol. I see her serving the Lord as an obedient servant of the Lord. I stand on the word of God each day as I read her bible never giving up. I know this will sound crazy to some who don’t understand, but I am forever grateful for my sin, it pushed me to God. I know that I don’t fear or doubt but only believe that my beautiful daughter is saved, a servant of the Lord, who is obedient and free from all pain, as great is her peace in the Lord. I don’t look at the years, or days of my prayer being unanswered as I see it answered as I praise the Lord each day and thank Him for all He has done in my daughters life and mine.

    • Debra,

      Unfortunately, our selfish desires hurt others, but I believe that God will bring your daughter home to HIM!

  83. Thanks for being so transparent! God is using your truth to set the captives free! I truly believe He is doing a miraculous work of healing and restoration in all of or lives! God bless you mightily!

  84. Beautiful! What is that verse, “…that is what you were but now you have been bought, sealed,” I should look it up; I think it’s Paul talking about sinners and saying we were all that but now we are made clean through Jesus.
    I was filled with gratitude that my story, while similar, had much less pain. Yet I am just as needy of depending on Jesus day by day. I am thankful for all that God saves me from even though he didn’t save me out of it. That’s a line I heard Alistair Begg say once in a sermon.
    Also I am reading Good and Beaufiful God and in one of the last chapters he deals with the false narrative that we are sinners saved by grace. No, we are no longer sinners, we are saints living still in a sinful world. Sinners saved by grace wouldn’t be like apple trees worried that they grew apples; the fact that our sin worries us proves that we have become something else.
    When I am fearful I will trust in God and pray hard!
    When I am mad I will ask God what is my portion in this?
    When I see others’ pride I will pray for God to forgive my pride and theirs.
    When I am lazy or discouraged I will ask God what one thing he wants me to do next.
    Thank you for this time to write!
    Beth

  85. It brings such glory to God when women can take off their mask and be real with other women. I appreciate when strong Christian’s can come foreward and share when they fall. Your love for God brought you back to where he was waiting to love you even more. Temptation and trials make us “human” and shows others who may be skeptical that Christian’s aren’t perfect and God’s love abounds. Your story encompasses so many tender subjects, I know you are speaking to the heart of a lot of women. Thank you for sharing.

  86. Today’s message has really encouraged me….I’d love to share my story but although I am a Christian and on fire for God…I still feel shame and regrets from decisions that I’ve made. I know that God forgives and never brings it up again…I feel such pain in my heart and find it so hard to believe that He loves me the same. When I find it hard to love me sometimes. Not sure if this makes sense. I’m encouraged by this blog today and yet find myself searching for contentment in my heart for my old actions. 🙁

  87. Thank you Leila for sharing your story. When in doubt just remember NOTHING is greater than Gods love for us. NOTHING is greater He died on the cross for our sins your story is powerful. Thank you for being part of my life. We serve an amazing God how great is He. Godbless 🙂

  88. Marcella R says:

    Thank you Lelia for sharing your story. What a great testimony of Gods redeeming love. I’ve been married to the same man for 33 years. I don’t feel he has ever loved me. I feel alone and unloved. Needed only to keep house, sex and cook. I have tried filling my emptiness with work, friends and church, but none of it is satisfying. I need to find my worth in Christ. Thanks for sharing with us and Holly, your story resinates so much with mine. I feel your pain and so does God. Let us both find our worth in Christ. Thanks for being so real. I lost a son at the age of four to cancer. I have such guilt that I didn’t pray for God to save him. I prayed for his will not mine. My husband called the 700 club and brought in some holy water to anoint our son with it. He prayed over our son but I didn’t believe. I feel like I failed my son and my husband, and that God took my son because I’m such a bad person. I thought I’d gotten over this but since I just typed it I found that I still believe it. My marriage is in terrible shape right now. Porn addiction and unforgiveness is destroying it. I know God can bring it back from the broken ashes it’s in. I need to again fill my self with Christs love and all of this will be washed new. I need to learn to trust again.

  89. Lelia, I never get tired of reading your story. Sister, you know I’ve walked the same dusty road, with the same thirst of shame and guilt that I cared because of my abortion. Your testimony gives others the hope of redemption, not shame because of the unfailing love of Christ.

    In His Grace~Tammy

  90. Thank you for sharing your story! I have walked some of the same path and it is true that NOTHING can fill us like Jesus can and NOTHING is too much for Him to forgive!

  91. Thank you Leila for the reminder that we can and should be “gut honest” with God. Yes, he knows it already, but having that conversation enters the process of giving it to him and then hopefully accepting His priceless forgiveness.

  92. Stacey Rohweder says:

    I loved this, maybe because I know it to be true. I am so very thankful God has never allowed anything to satisfy that huge place in my heart except Him. Like Beth Moore says… there aint no high like The Most High!

  93. I ditto all the comments to you Leila and to Renee for reminding me that if I feel that i’m turned away by love ones i can turn to God immediately for his LOVE that is greater than anyone else’s including my love ones. All the prayers for Holly apply to me as well, Holly do not give up we are here for you as sisters in Christ. Keep on believing!

  94. Barbara R. says:

    Thank you Lelia for obediently allowing God to use you to minister and offer hope and healing to other women by sharing your testimony!

    I am encouraged by Renee’s Ch. 3 pg. 62 quote “We become secure as we know and rely on His love more and more. It is a moment by moment, day by day experience where we process our thoughts, emotions, and decisions with God, positioning our hearts to let His perspective redefine ours.” I pray to remember to consult WITH Him instead of going it ALONE which leads to the path of destruction.

  95. Melinda Rogers says:

    Thank you Leila for sharing…It made me realize how much God loves us uncondionally. I think about how God doesn’t look at sin as big or little…..We could say “by the Grace of God there go I”…that it could be us…going through those same situations….we could say oh I would never do that…well, life can get so out of control that we could do that……Thank you God for forgivness…..

  96. Thank you Leila for sharing your story. That takes guts. See how Jesus can take the worst of a situation and turn it into something beautiful. I am a believer. He has healed my marriage as well. Adultery & lies nearly ruined us. But I believed that God could & WOULD take this broken place & make it whole again. 🙂 Thanks Renee for sharing your time with us as well. I am praying that God richly blesses all of us.

  97. Thank you!

  98. Thank you so much for sharing your story Lelia. It will touch and help so many lives!!!

  99. Lelia, thank you for sharing your story. It is such a reminder that we all make mistakes, we all feel guilt, but God is there to forgive and to fill our empty spaces if we will turn to Him and ask.
    Like you, I grew up in church, got married, had children, made sure my children grew up in church. I served on many committees, participated in all the church activities, but felt empty inside. I knew something was wrong and I looked and looked for something to fill me. Long story short – I looked everywhere except to my relationship with God. I believed in God, but I didn’t have a real relationship with God. Now my children are grown, I am separated from my husband and I have found myself asking “Why did this happen? Luckily, I felt God tugging at my heart and I knew that He had been there all along, just waiting for me to ask Him to fill my empty spaces. My life is challenging right now as I try to forgive myself and work through my family/marital issues but my relationship with God is getting stronger every day and, for that, I give thanks!
    Just know that this study and your story are just what I need – praise God! And bless you and Renee for sharing your stories and God’s love for us!

  100. Katherine says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. God does love us & even when we think we’ve gone too far, His love will never stop. I have a friend with a scarred past who repeatedly faces rejection from the world because of it. This story reminds me that it’s never too late to find unconditional love – God is there, we just need to turn to Him.

  101. Leila, thank you for sharing your story. It’s takes a strong woman of courage and confidence to share something so personal. It’s amazing how Jesus can turn something that seems like the end of the world and awful and turn it into something beautiful. Sometimes he has to take us to places that are not as pretty for us to give our testimony to show others of his love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. Once again, thank you for your story and may God continue to bless you and your marriage.

  102. Elke Kelly says:

    Let me tell you a part of my story. I was in a relationship with an alcohol addidted men for almost two years. One day he brought home a story from the uneven tree. These story touched my very deepley. Because I tought I was an unenven tree. I admired all the straight trees around me and wanted so badly to be one of them. But in these story GOD told you that he loves me for who I am. I had a kind of day dream that day. Jesus spoke to me. He said … I never left you alone, I was always by your side.
    So I dicided to go to church again. Jesus is still with us, every step on our way.

  103. Thank you Lelia, and thanks to all of the other sisters sharing their stories today. I think one of the biggest blessings in all of this for me is that when i am walking in the depths of despair and feeling as if i am all alone and the only person to ever feel this depth of aloneness that others have walked this walk before me and been able to pull themselves back from the loneliness with the grace, mercy, and love of our heavenly father. It fills me with such hope knowing that even during my darkest times, i am not alone.

  104. What a power testimony of true love and grace. It is humbling the read of so many, including myself, that struggle with the loneliness and emptiness in our hearts, How in our need to fill it, we seek or hide, until we meet Christ at that “well” and accept his living water. I have read this story and taught this lesson but through this study and stories it has came off the pages and into my heart. God Bless you. Learning to “Come to the well”!

  105. Leila,
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. My story is so similar – I related so much. A number of years ago I hung my sins on a life size cross at our church in Illinois. It was such a relief and I felt better than I had ever felt in my adult life. I have come a really long way from that time in Illinois – actually lived in 3 other states since then and got married. My problem to this day is sharing my story with strangers. I am ok sharing if they have a similar story – but not good sharing otherwise. It has helped me a lot to see your story in writing and the great response you have received. I guess my fear is that someone will judge me for my decision. I just need to remember it is not their place to judge me anymore than I should judge myself. I need to leave the judging to our Heavenly Father. Thank you again!

    • Hey Sue,
      Thank you for sharing this. It’s important to focus on God’s greatness and redemption because that is what our story is really about. I’m very vague in what I share. This is just a glimpse of my sinful choices, I’d make you run away from me if I gave too much detail. 🙂
      Keep focused on Christ, read and re-read Renee’s book (that helps me A LOT) and always wait on God’s timing of when you to share. He’ll blow you away with His response to your obedient heart.
      Blessings,
      Lelia

  106. Lelia-what courage that took for you to “tell all”. I too, have dark secrets only God knows though. I’ve confessed these things to only Him because of fear of human condemnation. Your honesty about getting caught up in satans lies even as a Christian took so much courage to share. I guess I have hoped that God has forgiven me over the years. I need to stop questioning His forgiveness, and know that He has. Thank you Lelia for your honesty, courage, and hope you’ve shared. It’s an awesome example also of how God can help us forgive each other even when we do such imperfect things. That is an area where I struggle…..the fear that I won’t be loved if I’m not perfect. I’ve been shown and told so many times I’m not worth loving if I have something wrong, and I’ve believed that by men and women in my life. Let me share that this is a continuing process of wrapping my mind around what God tells me my worth is in Him, to living that in daily life. Thank you God for loving us all even though we make very imperfect choices. That’s UNCONDITIONAL love:)

  107. Very courageous to share.

  108. Priscilla says:

    Leila, Thank you for your story. So many of us think we are the only ones who have done crazy things to fill the love voids in our lives. I too had the pain of an abortion taken away by God’s unconditional love. He is amazing. He just keeps coming after us! May God bless you and your marriage as you seek Him and allow Him to go to the deep places in your heart that only He knows about. He is faithful!

  109. nancy kimball says:

    It is a beautiful story and it takes a lot of courage to tell a story like that. It takes a lot of courage to relay what you have been through and that the Lord is with you and taking care of you and your marriage. Praise the Lord and God Bless you.

  110. Firstly, thank you Lelia for reminding us that even in our darkest, bleakest, and broken hours all we need to do is surrender. You are a woman of great courage. “If you’ve ever doubted God’s personal pursuit of you, let this truth sink in, my friend: wherever you are, He wants to meet you there. He is waiting for you to stop, come up close, and turn your heart to listen to His. You don’t have to pretend things are fine when they aren’t. He knows what is going on in your thoughts. Nothing could keep Him from wanting to be with you”. I realize this quote is from Chapter 2, but it’s been on my mind since I read the email this morning. The last 4 or 5 years haven’t been easy for me, I’ve walked some dark corridors, and often felt I was doing it alone. This past autumn I felt as though I was at my lowest…although I was sure the worst days were behind me. I could not shake the emptiness, the heaviness, and the hopelessness I was feeling. Then one day God spoke to my heart in a way I hadn’t experienced in years, if ever. I was on my morning commute (over a rural highway – no buildings, just trees) and the leaves appeared to have changed colour overnight. The beauty of the richness and depth of the colours overwhelmed me. It was just as though I could hear Jesus say , “I painted this masterpiece just for you…I hope you like it”. I weeped. I had read books about our Lord being the pursuer of my heart, but had never felt it the way I did that day. Even now as I type this I feel as though my heart could explode. He did that…just for me. Incredible.

    • Norma,
      I love this and I love how tender-hearted our Chief Shepherd is. He tends our souls like no other. Continue to allow Him to have His way with you. He’s got His best for you.
      Hugs,
      Lelia

  111. This really touched my heart. Thank you.

  112. What an amazing God we have –he forgives us completely and continues to bless us beyond our expectations. I too betrayed my husband and my two precious sons, fell into several depressive episodes, thought my only way out was hurting myself and ending it all. But deep within my soul His light was shining, even through all the pain and heartache and dispair. God wasn’t giving up on me. My sons wouldn’t give up and reminded me that no matter what, I was their mom and they loved me. My husband was devastated, but held fast to our marriage vows to love me “for better or worse and in sickness and in health”. I thank God because I was “worse and indeed sick”. I can’t dwell on my past and the ugliness, but I can rejoice because during all of it God’s light was still shining in that darkness … and the darkness did not overcome it. (Reference John 1:5)

  113. Tami Meyer says:

    Wow!! Thank you for sharing…. this is me minus the abortion. Last May I found out that the roommate we had living with us was who my husband was with. I had also had an affair with one of my best guy friend. We decided that we wanted to work on things and stay together since we have three children and we do love eachother. The next few months were rough. I went to pot to take away the pain and numb me cause feeling anything made me feel like I was going to break. The situation we were living in we couldnt afford the house without her so from May to September I got to live and see her on a daily basis. One of the hardest things I have ever had to go through. Then in September she moved out and I finally starting to feel peaceful.

    My marriage was never the same and our sex life has suffered as well. It is still not the same and has not been restored. He is not saved at the moment and thinks that adding people into our marriage is a good idea and I will admit that I have been tempted with the idea of getting that from another man. Just admitting that makes me want to cry cause it goes against everything I believe…. please pray for me ladies I want to go to God with my needs which I dont even know how to do yet. But I also want to rely on my husband to be my one and only….

  114. Lelia, thank you for sharing your story. I am so grateful when I see the authenticity of another believer. Sometimes I think, like our book has already pointed out, we are more often than not behind a mask that says, “I am just alright. And everything in my life is squeaky clean and bright.” When I was young I was a drinking, cussing, smoking, hell raiser of a woman from a home of alcoholism and abuse. I didn’t need anyone or anything besides a drink, a cigarette, a joint and a man. My life too was a train wreck. Jesus brought me to Him in a Damascus experience of His saving grace and truth. Then he brought me into relationship with a woman who became my mentor, teacher, friend and mom for 35 years. I was 26 and she was 65. I write about it in a book to be published this fall called, “Dolores, Like the River.” I have prayed over every word and asked God to bless a project that shows His Glory when he reaches down, covers, redeems and refuses to let go of the lost, frightened and broken. Then with His help, He calls us to lift up others by sharing ourselves and our truth in Him. Like the little drummer boy, we bring our gifts, ourselves and our hearts before Him and say, “This is all I am God. This is all I have. Praise you Lord for ALL that you ARE. Use me for your great purposes.” Blessings dear ones. Blessings in His love.

  115. Thank you Lelia for sharing, it gives me so much encourgement to keep going on. Each day I feel God is speaking to me, confirming He is a forgiving God.

  116. shannon jacobs says:

    That is such a touching story. My husband and I have been through something similar, only he didn’t have the affair, I did. Telling him was the hardest thing in the world for me to do, but I knew it had to be done. It took some time, but he fnally forgave me and we have worked very hard on our marriage. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than it used to be.

  117. patricia swindle says:

    Wow. Powerful testimony. I must admit that I would be scared to death to share my past with others, and I have one. I know God knows my past, and I have gone to Him over and over again. I am forgiven because of Christ. Sometimes I feel though that I act like I dont’ have a past or don’t want others to know because then they will judge me. And, we all know, many, many Christians judge as well as non-Christians. So I keep those things between me and God. He has allowed me to move forward.
    what I love about your testimony is the honesty, the humility, the forgiveness! I cried as I read because we have been forgiven. God still loves us! Thank you for being brave to share! I know it helped me, and I know it will help others.
    Patricia

  118. After finishing chapter 3 & answering the questions, the Lord made me realize I was trying to fill my cup with works/words to impress ppl, just to make me feel better about myself, instead of doing this for His glory, I wanted the attention directed at me, please forgive me for this Lord, and help me to live for Your glory & Your will for my life, thanks for giving me this insite, but I do need pray cause I know this is going to be a very hard thing for me to do beings most of what I was doing was for my own gratification, am so sorry Lord.

  119. Thank you Leila and Renee. I have loved the Lord for many years, but have always felt empty. Since I was a little girl all I have ever wanted was to grow up and get married. I do not want to grow old alone, I want to share my life with someone. I have even been angry with God for not sending me that special someone. My heart aches for something to fill that void of not haveing a husband. People have often said maybe I am gifted with singleness. That just made me angry what do they know, they are married. What I am trying to say is that this study has me thinking and praying differantly. Chapter 3 has been a difficult chapter for me, and I may have to read it over and over til I get it.

    • Hi Shannon! Thanks for posting. I can definitely relate. God hasn’t released me from chapters 2 or 3 yet. He’s not letting me move forward until I get it. I can recite it to you, but I need to get it deep down in my heart. I am a believer in the Lord, but I have struggled for many years with being satisfied. There’s only One that can fill our deepest place. I need to trust him to fill those areas I feel so empty.

  120. Angela 2 says:

    Hi every one I have changed my email address this is the new one. Renee how do I change it for your blog. Please help I don’t want to miss anything

    In Christ Love

  121. Lelia,
    Thank you for your raw honesty, it helped me understand better what Chapter 3 is really about. Prior to last Fall, I led an empty life – I had been in multiple “relationships”, was sexually promiscuous as a young adult, had an unplanned and aborted pregnancy in my mid twenties (which I did to keep the boyfriend at the time), married and divorced an abusive man who gave me a beautiful daughter, led another promiscuous life, and eventually met an incredibly patient and kind man who engaged in an online affair after 8 years of trying to get my attention as a very distracted wife. I was trying to fill my life with things, people, and work. I never gave a second thought to God’s role in my life, and how He could fill my empty places. I thought it was too late for my marriage last year, but my husband and I worked out our issues together with a Christian counselor and the help of amazing Christian couples who had thrived after coping with marriage challenges. I grew up in a catholic school, and catholic church and never understood a relationship with Jesus was even possible until I attended a different church in my 30s. Surviving, and now thriving, through difficult circumstances and leaning on Jesus in my times of challenges has made an amazing difference in my life. I am much better and keeping my focus – God, family, work. As a result I am becoming more confident and have been able to cope with the daily stressors faced as an adult.

  122. Lelia!!! I never tire of hearing your story of redemption! xoxo
    Renee, I’m finallyyyyy here!!

    I am now reading ACH for the 3rd time… I hear Renee asking me, “What’s God showing you about His words?” I can say with all honesty that I.am.enough.
    God loves me for just being me and I can see my shortcomings as He does, proof that I need Him. I’ve been seeing all my imperfections as ways I’ve failed Him. He’s spent LOTS of time showing me that it’s ok. I’m ok. He loves me when I’m spending time with Him but He loves me all the same when I’m running around with my hair on fire, which is most of the time!! lol
    He loves us, Ya’ll, He loves us!!!

    Thank you, Renee. Again, for letting God use you to change my life. xoxo

  123. Thank you so much Lelia for sharing your story. As Christian women, we sometimes think that it is better to hide our past from others. After all, who could identify with me or love me if they knew what I had done previously? Thank you for showing us that God can use our imperfections, our moments of doubt, our sinful pasts, to His glory. He can use each of us to minister to others–the question is–will we let Him? I am so glad you have allowed Him to use your past to draw others to Him. You are living out Joshua 1:9–“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

  124. Thank you Lelia for sharing your testimony. I’m so glad that you and your family were able to remain together in the wake of everything that happend.

    I’m so grateful for this study and even more grateful for the lesson this week. I know that I need to stop filling my life with material things and turning to others, expecting them to satisfy me. I know that I also need to stop turning to food when I am stressed and start turning to God for comfort.

  125. cammie joon says:

    I’m so happy when I read/hear about marriages God heals…thanks to all of you who have shared your stories.
    I think sometimes I have Jesus in my right hand, and my relationship in my left. I want both to love me…I guess I still want control. I have experienced the peace, the joy given by God through Jesus – I know no human love can – or should be asked to try – come close to God’s love. Seems I want human love, too, though. Praying, seeking, knowing God will lead me through this as well.

  126. Dawn Marie says:

    Lelia, thank you so much for sharing your story (and Renee, thank you for allowing her to)! I am very moved by how God has used your mistakes to bring you to places of helping others. I love your when-then statement:
    When I feel tempted to return to a life of emptiness and rely on my old patterns of comfort and fulfillment then I will praise God for what He has brought me from and remind myself that I am worthy of the sacrifice of the cross.
    I am going to use it as a catalyst to come up with something similar for my own statement, since I struggle with the same thing.
    Blessings to you both.

  127. Thank you, Lelia, for sharing and for opening the door for us to bring into the light all the things Satan would desire to keep in the dark! Yours is a beautiful testimony of the awesome power of Gods redemption and love! Keep telling God’s story, so others may also be set free! Many, many blessings to you, dear sister!

  128. Thank you, Lelia, for your testimony to the power of redemption in Christ Jesus. It is never less than amazing what “living in Christ Jesus” “living through Christ Jesus” will cause as we surrender our choices, our wills to His resurrection life. We are, indeed, new creatures in Christ’s resurrection and your sharing here has allowed me to know that this new freedom in Him, this new knowledge of the need to surrender my will fully to Him will bring me to a full understanding of the eternal life than I can live now.

  129. Hi Ladies
    Something I have learned in doing Lysa Turkust book, what happen when women say YES to God..that our mess is our message for somone else…our test are the testimomies to share what the Lord has done…And it all is HISstory….we may not like to share our past stuff, but we are here to share one anothers happy times and difficult times…
    We are here to love and hold up one another in these times, whether good or bad…

    Blessings

  130. New creatures in Christ through the power of His resurrection! Thank you for sharing.

  131. Wow thank you Lelia for being so real. You’ve encouraged me to get closer to being able to do the same, again. (Hurt really takes a lot out of you.)
    I’m amazed. Truly I don’t know what God is doing or how He’s going to turn things around for this place my husband and I are in, but I’m waiting. There are no definitive stories concerning him that I’m aware of but many wonders that would naturally point in the wrong direction based on attitudes and behaviors. I cannot imagine what you felt upon your husband’s confession (beyond your description), and all on top of feeling hurt based on your own confessions. This is amazingly – God’s orchestration of events! So glad He’s caused all of these things to work together for good AND you’re back on track!

    Also ch. 3 is continuing to help me RECEIVE God’s love and develop a relationship beyond what I’ve known.

    • Thank you Ilesia!
      “hurt really takes a lot out of you”…amen! But what is taken out of you by hurt can be replaced with beauty that only a Savior can provide.
      Keep seeking Him and applying “A Confident Heart” to your life. You’ll be shocked at what God will do in your life! 🙂
      Hugs,
      Lelia

  132. Lelia, thank you for sharing your story. This past year I, too, was unfaithful to my husband with a married man. I, too, was in church, involved in church, involved with the youth, involved with my kids. How could we do this! And, I met him at church. We are both devastated by our actions. We have both asked for forgiveness from God, but not our spouses. We are both scared to do that. Afraid of the consequences. Afraid of the humiliation.

    I’m not sure what God will ask of me in the future. But I know, because of your testimony, that I can handle it. I know God can restore anything or anyone. That’s what keeps me going.

    • Angie,

      He will not allow you to live in humiliation. We’re our own worst critic. God has placed it in your heart to stop what you were doing and made you realize both of your mistakes… He will use this the same way He used Lelias situation, for His purpose to make you and your family stronger. I will keep you in my prayers and soon that burden will be completly lifted and He will take up for Himself and your spouse will be by your side throughout this journey telling you “We’re going to be alright”… I declare this for you and your family’s life in the name of Jesus.. Amen!!

  133. Lelia, thank you for being real. I am struggling with telling my spouse the real truth about the sins I have committed. Your story gives me hope and courage.

  134. Lelia, I commend you for your courage to put yourself out there for us. I loved your testimony and its’ proof that His word is the only word! When He tells us He will use our struggles for His good it is true!!! You have given us strength to know, that even though we have made our mistakes and we feel that there is no coming back from our sins, we can! Thank you so much for your story!! I admire you and again, your testimony will live with me forever because my God is GREAT ALWAYS!!!!

  135. Gloria C says:

    Thank you, dear Leila, for sharing your heart and your pain. It took a lot of courage to do the things you did! I’m so proud of you! Praise be to our God that He not only forgives, He redeems! He brought something beautiful out of your ashes! How exciting that so MANY other women will receive healing through God’s love as they process their own past mistakes and failures. Your story will inspire them to take that first step. Thank you for sharing and for being an example to us all!

  136. I am so moved by your story, Leila, for, with just a few exceptions, it could be my own….that IS the root of the problem – though I did exactly what I was supposed to throughout most of my growning up years, due to the divorce of my parents when I was very young, I always FELT broken and empty, and have always had the tendency to cling to things to “fill me up” that I shouldn’t. I ended up pregnant at 19 by my controlling boyfriend of three years. Fortunately, we worked it out, and have been married almost 25 years now, but I recognize what initially drew me to him – This same thing that pushed me to another’s arms. Though that relationship was discovered by my husband and ended before it become physical, the hurt for him was just as deep.

    I admire your courage to talk about this – this is the first time I’ve spoken of this to ANYONE in a decade…..thanks for the opportunity to open up.

    In Christian Love,
    Sherri

  137. Angela G. says:

    Leila, thank you so much for opening up your heart and sharing your story. Your courage and straight forward honesty is inspiring. It shows how God can find you in your deepest wilderness and perform His greatest works. I have made terrible decisions in the past and up until I got gut-wrenching honest with God, the guilt was too much to bear. I never experienced an affair but I hurt people and was ashamed. Everyone forgave me but I had to forgive myself. That was the most difficult thing to do but once I did, God worked miracles through the mess and destruction I had caused. I feel very blessed to have read your story and am so thankful for your willingness to share. Much love to you and your family. You are a blessing and I hope many others can be touched by your story of faith and God’s grace in the way I have.

  138. Thank you so much leila for your honesty and openness. The pain of adultry has hit my marriage too. My husband of almost 7 years has had affairs with 9 different women in the past 5 years. All of which was confesed to me a few monthas ago. He had been a drug addict alcoholic and womanizer since a very young age and was saved and born again back in 04. We got married and had a wonderful marriage for the first year or so. Then we moved and both of us fell away from the Lord. The drinking came back but I had no idea about the women or drugs. Everything fell apart last september. Since then my husband has completly surrendered to Jesus again. He has mived into a men’s discipleship ministry for a while and God is restoring our marriage.
    It is hard and the pain is still there at times but this time away has allowed us both time to seek the Lord and grow closer to Him.
    I used to wish none of this happened but in order for us to be where we are today God had to completwly break us. I am grateful for that.

  139. Thank you Lelia for your openness and honesty. How refreshing and encouraging you have been, and a blessing as I read through your story.

  140. Thank you so much, Lelia, for being willing to share your story in order to encourage others. May God continue to bless your ministry.

  141. Monet R. davis says:

    I just want to say you are also The Truth. A lot of people are being fake and hiding who they realy are. And in order for us to move forward in life we cannot lean on our own understanding but in all our ways we need to acknowledge the One who died on the cross just for us and He will direct our path and make our path straight. I know someone who is living a fowl life, dating several men right in front of her children and using men for money. All I can do is pray for this person because she doesnt have a true relationship with God. Its pretty sad. But I just related to your story because I too was looking to a guy to fill my emptiness. One day I also cried out to God because I was so sick and tired of feeling alone when i wasnt with this guy. I said Lord I am so sorry for putting this one person way before you. I knew God was mad at me, but He just said Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. And ever since I cannot put the Bible down , I cant go one day without the Almighty One. he has been so good to me. I love the quote when you said If I lose everything I will still have You and be okay. That quote right there shot threw me like electricity. I believe that was the Holy Spirit. if more women confessed and turn toward Jesus, then they would find the security that they need. I have found security in Jesus and I lean on Him for MY LIFE. Continue to pray for me because I have never been married but I long to be. But I will definitely wait on the Lord because every good and perfect gift is from Him.

  142. Christina says:

    Lelia thank-you so much for sharing your story! It breaks and uplifts my heart because I am fixing to get on my knees and do the same thing! My Daddy liked to call me “wild” in my twenties and I was. Your testimony has moved Me to my knees for forgiveness. Thank-you!!!

  143. Well. My hiding place is not a marital issue. It is a business issue. Being beat down by the economy and circumstances we can’t control. But you can’t tell anyone how hard it is, because if you do, it shakes their confidence in you, too. We have a great reputation for service and integrity, but the area we are in is disintegrating around us… Relocation isn’t an option, so here we are… I understand the idea of turning it over to God…I struggle with what that truly looks like. We still have to figure out how to untangle it all. I know the road ahead will be hard and has the potential to be ugly, too. We believed we have been where God wanted us. Now we have to sort it all out and I don’t even know where to begin. In and above all I desire to honor God in all our choices… The choices just aren’t that great. Thanks for a safe place to vent.

  144. I too had an abortion it has been 30 years. I was saved when I was 8, but I gott from under the wiill of God I medt my husband two years later and we married three years after that and when we were married 15 years we had our daughter she is a joy. I stiil think back at the child I had aborted and wonder howthey would have gotten along since at the time of my daughter’s birth my other child would’ve been 20. She doesn’t know.
    Back then there was little talk and I felt pressured into having it done. I know God has forgiven me. It has taken along time for me to forgive myself and accept God’s forgiveness, but know that I have I feel the peace He meant for me to have.

  145. Thank you Lelia for sharing your story and allowing all of us to enter into the promises God continues to place in our hearts concerning our insecurities and the “skeletons in our closets”. It is so helpful to know others powerful stories of how the Lord has impacted their decisions and brought peace into the brokeness of their lives. All of the stories shared in the group have brought my attention from my imperfect self to the perfection of our Father. Thanks girls:)

  146. Lelia, your words bring hope to my life. One that was very similar to yours . Thankfully god has redeemed marriage and we are together and closer to god then ever before . Even though we have a long road ahead , I know gods plans for our future are perfect and great . I am learning to let Him be the one to fill my empty spaces . Thank you

  147. I thank God for the courage and honesty of Lelia. God wants us to be real, he desires truth in the inward parts. I am single and found myself attracted to someone half my age. I was in emotional turmoil as I know this was wrong and the person is not a Christian. I am not professing that I am an angel but our encounter came out of a business transaction that I had to do at his place of work. I had no intention of seeking a friend or getting involved with anyone. But my dear friend was interested and continued to pursue me. At first I thought it was a joke, but I got used to the calls and Iooked forward them and his kind words, even though I knew this was wrong and would not work. I eventually cut ties, still long to hear those kind words and desperately want to be friends even though I know it is not worth it. But that is how I want to fill my emptiness. I continually cry out God for is help and I am not quite over but I am not hurting as much.
    Thanks for sharing your heart and enable me to share mine.

  148. Lelia

    Thank you so much for your transparency, your courage is truly amazing! Your testimony is the vessel that Chirst is using to help other couples, and woman open up in this area that is so sensitive.

    I pray that all of us who have had the priviledge of reading your story, will use take this opportunity to re-evaluate their hearts before Christ.

  149. Felicia Hepburn says:

    Wow! Where to begin? Thank you for sharing your story. Thank You God for allowing me to know I am not the only one.

    Short version: I am a divorced woman because of my affair when I believed the lies that I deserved happiness and that my husband was too busy with work to make me happy. I found this lying poison called happiness in the arms of a co worker who I had to lie to so that he would sleep with me. He was attracted but knew I was married and did not want to do that to my husband, or so he said. This went unnoticed for about 1 month partly because I was purposely careless and was numb. I didn’t care if anyone knew and wanted to do what I wanted. The other part? I had been so deeply wounded by my husband before marriage and after being married that I wanted him to hurt too. There was no baby but after admitting by screaming at my husband and nearly killing him because he would not give me my phone and had been physical with me, I jumped into an almost 8 year relationship with this man. I didn’t lose my children but they lost their mom emotionally for most of that time as I was severely depressed and felt trapped.

    Before all of that, between my first two children and way before marriage, I had four abortions. Not consecutively but 3 were with the same man… my husband before marriage.

    The enemy lied to me continuously saying that once I told my story I would be judged. I believed it wholeheartedly and stayed in that prison for most of my twenties and half my thirties. After all of that, being in a church for 7 years as not knowing what all the celebration was about or feeling like I belonged, I surrendered my life to Christ in 2009 and came to terms that this same man, the one I committed adultery with was not who I was to be with. I still struggle with believing that Jesus could loves sinner, a super sinner like me but I know He does.

    Again, thank you for sharing. I gives me hope to know I am not the only one who has been in this struggle. While my ex husband and I did not reconcile ad he has made it his life’s purpose to see me suffer, I know I am forgiven and I pray that he gives his life to God.

  150. Thanks for sharing your life with all of us. You are very brave! Thanks for the skit. It was very moving! I hope everyone has a BLESSED weekend!!

  151. Wow. Thank you for your honesty. Allowing God to use your story/pain to comfort and help others is wonderful. The things we do when we think God isn’t looking! And how we can be overwhelmed by His grace is amazing. I love your statement about losing everything BUT God and you would be okay. =)

  152. Lelia thank you so much for sharing your story. I know you drew strength from God to do so, it makes me stop and think of what so many of us have gone thru, and things that we have done, but God is so good, and forgiving, its us that sometimes can’t forgive ourselves…but God slowly works in our hearts and draws us near, just as we are. What an awesome God we serve….. Lamentations #:22-23 tells us “The Lord’s mercies are new every morning” what a beautiful promise. Thank you Jesus.

  153. It just shows that were all human and make some bad choices…but thank God, He is the one who held you and His glory is shining through your relationship now… Thank you for being so transparent. God bless you.

  154. Stephanie Rudash says:

    This week has been so touching and inspiring to me, I don’t know how to put it into words. God has really been speaking to me about having the courage to share my story with others, and how thankful I am that he rescued me from the huge life of sin I found myself in earlier in my life. Now I have fully committed my life to Jesus, and I wake up in the mornings saying “Yes” to him.

  155. Thank you for sharing your story. We are all sinners and we all make mistakes but Jesus forgives. He died for our sins. What a powerful story.

  156. thank you for your honesty and for being proof that our past does not eliminate us from the work God has for us to do. What hit me was my own story that I have kept well hidden. My part in my divorce that included looking for love in other men. there I said it. Not something I could say most places without having it thrown in my face again and again, so I don’t share it. thanks Renee for this safe place to be honest, and for reminding me that God can still use me as I bring my broken pieces to the Potter who can remold and make me into a beautiful new vessel for His glory.

  157. Thanks so much Lelia for the incredibly moving story. I have never been married, but I have always looked in all the wrong places to have my emptiness filled inside me, but it never was. Thanks to this Bible Study & Renee, I’m truly finding that only God can fill all the empty places in my heart & every part of me. I’ve really have never had a successful relationship due to the feeling I have towards myself & always giving everything of myself right away & never giving the relationship a chance to be more. I have had an abortion as well, and when I first started going to my church a little over three years ago, I was so ashamed of myself & my past that I thought these people would condem me & there was no place for me in the church. I participated in a ministry that fall, and the minstry was for those who have experienced past abuse (verbal, physical, emotional) & I was always afraid to tell my story to the other women for fear they would judge me. It was only when I gave the director of the ministry a letter I had written about my numerous mistakes from my past (always looking for love in all the wrong places, abortion, etc.) that I was able to release that guilt & knew that God had forgiven me for it as well, although I had struggled with that guilt for many years. I still spend a lot of days blaming myself for recent mistakes, and always saying “if I just would have been different”, “if I just would have been like this woman or this woman”, “if I would have been normal”, “if I would have loved myself” that person may have stayed longer. When my last relationship ended I thought of turning to someone else to fill the emptiness, but said to myself “what good is that going to do, because you’ll just feel empty & lonely inside the next day”, so I’m glad I didn’t go that route again, because it seems to be what I always do, and it just makes things worse.

    The director of that ministry feels that I should be an advocate for the unborn, and help other women in the same situation. I’m just not sure that is what I would be good at. I don’t feel that is God’s calling for me, as it may be others. But as time goes & I listen to God, he may direct my steps in that direction.

    Thanks again for sharing your story with us, God bless you always 🙂

  158. Last year around this time, I was coming out of a struggle with anxiety-induced depression and letting go of a binding emotionally abusive relationship….your story gives me strength right now as I look back and sometimes feel the same anxiety and emptiness…I love the when statement…”When I feel tempted to return to a life of emptiness and rely on my old patterns of comfort and fulfillment then I will praise God for what He has brought me from and remind myself that I am worthy of the sacrifice of the cross.”

    For me…”When I feel the glimpses of anxiety in my heart and am tempted to dwell on the darkness and live fearfully, then I will praise God for how much healing He has brought to my heart and remind myself that nothing is more strong and wonderful than His marvelous light.” He is still my healer and will always be.

    Thank you for sharing your story…it sounds like it was very difficult and probably felt quite impossible at the time. But God does a lot with impossible. : )

  159. Oh, Renee, I also wanted to tell YOU something specifically, in response to page 53 in your book. You wrote, “During the first semester of my senior year in college, I hit a breaking point. I remember sitting on the floor in my apartment, sobbing on the phone to my mom. I blurted out questions like, “Will you still love me even if I never accomplish another thing? Even if I don’t get a job…? What if I don’t finish school?”

    I too, lived for my parents’ approval and affirmation. A perfectionist in my junior year of college, I still had no idea what I wanted to do for a career and the pressure was crushing out my joy and hope and purpose. That was me, Renee. I literally did the exact same thing. I sobbed on the floor. Cried out to God to no avail. Went at least 3 weeks of very sleepless nights. I called my mom nightly. My questions were, “Can I come home after I graduate? Do I have to have a job right away? Why do I miss my ex so much when I didn’t like being with him? Why isn’t God answering my cries for help? What is wrong with me? Will Dad still be proud of me if I graduate with this degree? What if I don’t graduate as a Scholar? Will you still love me?” I was so burned out, but more than that I was just empty and felt guilty for my own emptiness…

    God brought me healing gradually…then I went to Colombia for my mission trip and within 3 days the anxiety during the middle of the night was gone. Now back at school the same thoughts threaten my heart BUT I am so glad I went through that last year because now I know that He IS there and that He is protecting me. I don’t live for the affirmation from my dad anymore. I live to please God. Or I do my best to try to live to please Him. Because I’ve learned that it is the one whom God commends who is blessed. And I am just trusting and believing that somehow, somewhere, God has a place for me to work for Him and that He has led me to study this degree for a reason. I will keep turning towards Him and not doubt Him now. He is enough.

    Thank you for sharing your story, too, Renee. I connected so much with it the first time I read it (last August) and just see myself in the pages each day. Jesus speaks to my heart through your words and reminds me that I’m not alone in all of this. Never alone and never forgotten. <3

  160. Tammy Haymon says:

    Question 3: There is one empty place and God knows what it is. Please pray that I will learn to trust God to fill it in his time and in his way.

  161. Tammy Haymon says:

    I so appreciated Lelia’s honesty and humility in sharing her story. It was humbling to me to read about her willingness to make the hard choices to deal with her poor choices. I don’t always face up to the consequences of poor choices and want to blame others. This was a wonderful example of confession, repentance and forgiveness. Thank you, Lelia, for sharing.

  162. Thanks Lelia! You ARE ‘brave’ as Renee writes. So many women will see themselves in ‘your story’ and begin to reach out to the only One who can heal and make them whole again. I’ve heard it said that God doesn’t waste any of our pain! He will not only use our pain to bring us closer to Him, but also will use it to help restore others who have gone through the same pain! Only our Awesome God can do something so wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing with all of us!
    May God continue to richly bless you as you bless others!

  163. Sheila L says:

    Thank you so much Lelia for your story.

    I can relate on many levels. It would take way too much time to write out my stories. Suffice it to say I was forced into marriage (by the male person and my parents) the first time two days after my 16th bday. It was physically and emotionally abusive. I didn’t know God back then, but now I can look back and say I got out by the grace of God in less than two years. My second marrage ended from unfaithfulness. We both had transgressions, but he excused his and was unforgiving for mine and left me and the chidren. Long story short… had another bad marriage after 7 years of aloneness and now I am happiliy married to my best friend.

    Even though I know God loves me and forgives me in my head, and I know that He has helped me through so many of my challenges in life, I feel like I still struggle to feel like I have a personal relationship with Him. I am thinking it’s because I don’t love MYSELF with unconditional love and have a hard time believing God can as well. Renee writes “Until our hearts find complete security and significance in God’s unconditional love, we will never be satisfied”.

    I don’t know. I pray, I read His Word, I sing worship and praise (my preferred music), I believe, I literally cry out to Him, but I don’t know that I ever FEEL or HEAR His unconditional love and His answers coming through clearly like others describe. I long to serve Him and have taken steps TO serve Him, but so often I wonder if I’m doing it to earn it rather than because I already KNOW I HAVE His approval and unconditional love. But again….perhaps it’s because I struggle so much with loving MYSELF “as I am.”

    I HAVE recorded Renee’s prayers from chapter 1 or 2 and have started listening and saying them out loud at minimum every weekday on my way to work when I am alone. I truly WANT “A Confident Heart” and plan to press on towards that goal.

    Thank you so much for your time reading this..whoever has. 🙂
    Sheila

    • amen sister and great idea for playing truths out loud

    • I read it all Sheila:-)) And usually the longer ones I don’t. Hang in there, I’m finding out it’s a day to day struggle, but so worth it when something good in our eyes actaully happens & we see a break through, I hope I can keep proclaiming His goodness!

  164. Charletta Rupert says:

    Thank you Lelia for sharing your deep innermost self with us. It spoke volumes to my soul.
    I actually didn’t have anything come tosurface, but am asking God to reveal anything to me and help me to be honest. Love you all for being so loving.

    • Charletta,
      I love this. I pray if He does reveal anything you accept it and allow Him to make whatever changes He wants to do within you. So cool and what an example of wanting God to be in every area of our life.

  165. Hi Leila.
    Thanks for sharing your story, I know well can identify with some of your pain. I know I can, I was never married but abortion I been through.I know the shame and the secrets that can keep you from God. Because
    You feel like you disobey is commandments. I also felt like Peter when he had denied God. I’m a mother of three and grandmother of four beautiful kids. God has forgiven me & showed me favor. I’m so blessed because of his love. I never wanted to marry as child, because I based it on my parents failed marriage. I don’t think that now, just waiting for good Lord send me a man of God. As young person I didn’t read the bible like I should of. I know what said about marriage now. My children father we ended our relationship long time ago, we had lot’s of problems. Looking back now I wish we had handle things differently. I wish I had prayed on our situation instead. We remain good friends through. I know prayers as a way to make you feel humble & not pride. Pride as way to make you feel selfish. I to has come along way. God bless you, and again thanks for sharing. Caren

  166. Thank you so much for sharing and reopening past shames to help others heal.We all should be confident in the love of Jesus Lord help us to feel that way and to help others grow in strength . Amen

  167. Stephanie says:

    OK., This is too painful to read. My pastor emailed me two weeks ago and plainly told me NO MORE CHEATING!!! Today, I ran through that door. Gave into temptation and fantasy. I have been trying to get my husband’s support to attend Celebrate Recovery so I can talk about being raped in college and again two years ago by a neighbor. My husband is a hard nut to crack and when he is ready or makes advances we generally are intimate. However, more often than not I get spurned when I make advances so I do’t feel valued as a wife or as a woman. Other opportunities arise and I go where I am wanted and valued. There is so much, as Lilian said, to loose yet I find myself not caring. Why don’t I care? We have been married 15 years and been through several counseling sessions. There have been a few changes, non that have lasted very long. David, my husband, makes a half hearted attempt an we are back to existing like roommates. And again i say, part of me just doesn’t care or want to try anymore. I think I love my husband, I think he loves me. I want to know and be told ike he means it not just says it because he thinks i want to hear it. Does any of this makes sense?

    • Yes, Stephanie, this makes sense! My heart breaks for you because I know exactly how you feel. Although I never actually cheated, I certainly did in my mind and fantasies while my husband was so wrapped up in pornography that he never even noticed! What I can tell you is that once my husband gave his heat to The Lord things changed – nor over night mind you and we’ve had set backs, but his addiction to porn is now beaten and it was only because of the work of The Lord in both of our lives. The catalyst was my asking him to leave – although we both claimed to be in the “I just don’t care anymore” spot, it was quite apparent that there was still something worth fighting for when I asked him to leave and by the end of the weekend, we had agreed to try one more time. We did counseling thru our church , joined a couples’ study and basically refocused on our marriage. We’ve had to do this a couple of times in the intervening years, but we”ve never hit the spot of not caring anymore again, and we will celebrate 32 years this year”. God is good!

    • Jennyp1973 says:

      Stephanie…I too like Alice know how you feel. My husband and I were not intimate for 12 years! No porn addictions, no infidelity, no lack of love either…however a prideful heart believing the lie that our intimacy issue would fix itself. I begged, pleaded, cried…turned spiteful, hurtful, resentful most times as the years went on. I was ready to leave and he begged me to go to counseling…this is when the Holy Spirit got busy. God’s finger prints were all over the process of our therapy, my individual therapy…then him finally surrendering to the Lords nudge to ‘drop the pride’.

      Like Alice it was not an easy process, and came with much guidance of a Christian therapist, safe encouraging pro-marriage friends, and a true surrender to the Lord for both of us! I too felt like ‘roommates’ most of the time…when my husband shared he felt like the college roommate I didn’t want to be around…it was God slapping me in the face saying ‘do you not love him like I love him’? I sobbed and that was my turning point. I had to recognize that I needed God to change my heart to change my marriage. I had to start with me…you can’t change your husband…your cheating won’t…only he can make the decision w/ God. I also believed the lies that I was unworthy to be his wife, he didn’t love me enough, he was abandoning me…lies from the enemy to keep my heart in resent, hurt, spite.

      I didn’t have a physical affair…however many times I fantasized about it! Now I am so glad we didn’t have that to overcome also…the road without is tough enough!

      Again…the process of restoring and redeeming a marriage when trust is broken is treacherous at times…but also very rewarding because God is working with you thru you. We are both very thankful that God gave us courage thru Him to take the narrow steep winding path to forgiveness, restoration, and truly leaning into God together.

      We are called to love even when we feel we are not being love…his decision is not justification for your actions. I remember our therapist saying ‘sometimes just truly loving someone can change a heart’…love is a decision, not an action. I made a decision to love my husband again…it was always there just got bogged down in the ‘muck & lies’ of those years. He the same…I never not truly felt loved by him…it was just hard for my heart to believe it.

      I agree with Alice…our God is a good God…His heart breaks at both of your broken hearts. Lord help Stephanie believe in her heart that she deeply loved, complete, and accepted because of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Do not let the space between her ears lead her heart…let her heart be led by You and only You Lord. Show Stephanie the steps to take Lord…and let her heart be open to the leading. Thank you for being with her in the hurt. Thank You for Your great love. Amen!

      Our God is a redeeming God…He wants to heal you and your marriage…He wants you to trust Him work on your husband…and work on you. I personally experienced a restored marriage…one that lead us closer than ever and closer to Him…it has been an amazing journey that I do not regret. And I will not live in the shame of my secret anymore…we are two broken sinners married and willing to put God & His love first. Sending my love to your tender heart.

      • Jennyp1973 says:

        Stephanie…Please forgive me…I need to correct myself…’Love is a decision, AND an action’. I originally stated ‘love is a decision, not an action’. My fingers are too fast for my brain sometimes.

      • Stephanie says:

        But I keep letting the fantasy of someone, ANYONE that appreciates me take me in. How do I resolve that? I want to be appealiong to my husband. Maybe we don’t know enough of each other to do this marriage things. During our three year engagement we both agreed, because his parents had divorced for abuse reasons, that divorece was not an option for us. We are pushing 15 years of marriage, i may have mentioned. Yet I don’t feel amy more loved or special than when I asked him to marry me. Maybe that is what I did wrong. I wanted the sedding and not the marriage? Last night we watched a dvd of Chonda Pierce and through most of it he was attentive yet visible bored. i gave it to him for Easter inhopes that it would be something we could do together and share, adn laugh at, etc. Date nights have been suggtested, adn his standard answer is “I can’t really predict my schedule from day to day like that” Does he really want to? Part of me feels that if it was important to him or something he wanted to do, or if he really wanted to make me a priority, he would find a way to be home, or be mroe enthusiatic about finding someone to hang with our 11 year old son. Again, does any of this make sense?

        • Jennyp1973 says:

          Stephanie…You are already appealing to God. Our sin is not appealing to God. You are only responsible for you and your decisions and actions towards your marriage and husband. Surrender your husband to God…trrust He knows what He’s doing in his heart. Our God is the creator of the universe…He most certainly can change hearts.

          I can only encourage you, from personal experience, to find a trained Christian therapist to help you. However therapy is a ‘two-way’ street…so you need to be open to getting real and down right dirty with yourself and God. We are all sinners…and the enemy wants us to believe the lies that we are not worthy, unloveable, unnoticed, etc…he is smarter than you and will attack you where you are vulnerable. This is where you need to lean in strong and extremly close to the Lord…you can start by changing your heart towards your relationship and your husband. When you are feeling tempted…cry out Jesus name…go sit at the foot of the cross…turn on worship music…pray for it to pass and God to sustain you. It sounds like you still care as well…so dig deep girl…dig deep in God.

          Do you know what your husbands Love Language is? that is a great place to start regarding engaging in things that he relates to.

          Lastly…relationships and people change over years and circumstances…it will never be exactly like ‘when you first meet’. It sounds like your husband wants to try too from your original post….it’s a difficult road to navigate in marriage therapy…you need someone trained that can help you.

          There are many examples on this thread of broken marriages by two broken people being restored and healed…have hope because it is everywhere in this bible study. Our God is waiting for you to surrender into His loving arms and be your everything.

          I will keep you in my prayers this week.

          • cindy walters says:

            Jenny just a comment about the husbands love language. My husband bought The Five Languages of Love for me many years ago but never read it himself. After many months of following the suggestions of Dr. Chapman it still did not stop my husband from watching his pornography. He just wanted more from me. I felt like such a failure! I asked him why he bought that book and gave it to me? He replied that it had been suggested to get it for me. I was heart broken. How could we make it if he still chose to follow his own wants and needs? As you can tell his language is physical affirmation. The more I gave the more he wanted even though I was and still am praying that God will change his heart. I believe that God wants to give us the desires of our hearts as long as it falls in line with His plan. God wishes that no man should perish, so I still trust in Him daily and with a loving heart that some day all will be as it should be. I must have faith! God through His word shows me constantly that if I keep my eye on Him he will give me more blessings then I can count. And they do come. I don’t give up on my love for my husband but do still ache for the true husband and wife team that God cherishes.

    • Stephanie, I understand your feelings of not being valued and wanted and a husband not making you feel loved. When I became a Christian, I was coming out of a severely dysfunctional family of origin, rape, and years of seeking value, comfort and love in relationships and hard work. When I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord, I was truly a baby Christian! I married my husband, who had shared his faith and his experience of, and with, Christ with me and was a huge part of my coming to the Lord. Our challenges started within hours, no minutes, of saying “I do”! (My father and brother had been abusive; my father was openly unfaithful to my mother, and she allowed it, even to the point of accepting the mistress and my half sister into the home. We were taught to believe that this was the norm and the way things should be. This is only the tip of the iceberg in the sad, sinful life I grew up in. I only tell you this to demonstrate the amazing power of God to heal). On our honeymoon, I was already wondering who “she” would be, who the other woman would be. Sad, confused thinking! My husband had no intention of betraying me, yet I would not trust him. I put expectations on him that only God could meet: to make me FEEL loved, accepted, valued, sufficient, etc. Needless to say, my husband could not do it. As hard as he tried to demonstrate his love and acceptance to me, it was never enough to fill my emptiness. I got counseling, which helped me to deal with some of my emotional issues, but life slowed the work down. Over that past 5+ years, God has really been teaching me that He and He alone can meet my emotional needs. He showed me that I was believing the lie that because many people in my life had hurt and betrayed me, my husband would, and even God would. He showed me how my demands and expectations that I put on my husband were actually getting in the way of His healing. He has also showed me that the trials that I have gone through, and some that I continue to go through, are being used by Himself to accomplish His plan in my life! None of it is being wasted! Read James to see what our trials are for. As believers, they no longer are miserable afflictions, although they do not feel good; but they are for our spiritual maturing! James 1: 2-4 says: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. I found out that I had spent too much time trying to make things go my way for my own sense of well-being, trying to get my husband to make me feel of value and wanted, and not allowing God to do it. I spent a long time with this head knowledge, and thinking that because I could say it, I was living it. It was only after I allowed God to move the knowledge to my heart that the deeper healing really started. Only when we let God define our value, accept His love, and believe His view of us are we really able to love and to receive love.
      Hang in there. Let God work in your heart, and just as important, let Him change your husbands, too. Don’t settle for the status quo, but let God do His work and set the agenda and then we need to cooperate with His plan.

      Several great books that have helped me tremendously are this one, of course :-), and The Bible Primer, and Love and Respect.

      I pray God’s peace and comfort as you do the hard work of surrendering and submitting to Him and allowing Him to perform the”heart surgery” that we all need!

      • Amelinda says:

        Well said…. Love ur words of encouragement. I find myself having to do
        The same thing surrender and let God do the work for me and my husband

  168. I guess I’m still stuck in chapter 2, took my mask off again today, what an amazing freeing feeling, God has put such amazing ppl in my llife, that truly love me for who I am, and it just gives me shivers how He set it up, I now must have faith/trust in Him always, and tell everyone how much He truly loves us, He knows what’s best for our lives, He created the whole world & we wonder if He can help us with our problems:-))

  169. Thank you, Leila, for sharing. God is so good – taking our pain and turning it into something beautiful. Although my story is not the same, it sure could be! God bless you!

  170. Thank you for sharing your story, a part of your life in which most would keep hidden. Your sharing brings hope and faith to many struggling with the comprehension of Gods love, Mercy, Grace & His miraculous workings. Giving the Glory to God you shared such a powerful raw message, as well as, the working of God to repair. Much Love

  171. cindy walters says:

    Leila, thank you so much for your sharing of yourself. In my marriage I feel is so stagnate. It’s as if we are going in 2 different directions. Mine closer to God and his further away. I know he believes but only the parts he wants to believe. My husband will not give up his pornograpy! When he shuts me out when I show him the biblical truth I am so sad. It does draw me closer to God and to rely upon His strength. I pray that God will help him to see what God wants him to see. Can we be polar opposites and still survive in this marriage? Only God knows. I thank Him for helping me to draw closer by reading his word and praying all the harder. I too have to trust in His word that He will never leave me or forsake me. Praise God!!

    • angela 2 says:

      Hi Cindy I too am going through the same thing with my boyfriend of 20 years he loves his pornography and thinks I should watch with him NO WAY I WILL and this makes us fight all the more. He even told me last night that I was only here because he need a maid and that he didn’t love me. We have been together for 20 years and this is nothing new. I pray to God every night to touch his heart and change him, I’m still praying and waiting. He don’t believe in God that much only parts. I’m praying for you and you will be forever in my prayers. In Christ Love Amen

    • cindy, idk where the comment is that u just made, but it came to my inbox. you’re right, hon. don’t ever give up. if God’s given u a vision for your marriage, one of wholeness and healing, hold fast to the vision! if He hasn’t, yet, i pray He will and that you will not lose faith as u wait to see everything He’s promised come to pass! as Habakkuk 2 tells us, tho the vision may SEEM slow in coming, it will NOT be delayed. a favorite quote of mine is: “God’s purposes know no haste and no delay.” Continue to cling to His promises; I have prayed for you and the other women on this journey!

      Luke 1:45 – Blessed is she who has believed that God would fulfill His promises to her.

  172. Miss Mary T says:

    Lelia…your story brought me back to a time in my life that was hidden away… and although I never got that far, my sinful behavior could have had a different ending but for the Lord answering my prayers and leading me home. I learned I was deemed worthy by Him not anything I did or didn’t do and He loves me! Thank you for sharing! God bless!

    • That’s so awesome! Thank you for sharing. People need to read how sometimes we’re heading in the direction I chose to do, but some people stop and turn away. Flee from sin. Encouraging and needed to hear this! 🙂 God is good!!!

  173. Thank you Lelia for sharing your heart with us. It takes courage to do that and you truly showed it. I realize by reading your testimony that God is not only merciful and forgiving but He really does truly restore us back to Him and heals our hurts and empty feelings of insecurity. You helped me to see God from a different perspective today. My situation is different but the end results are the same. God Bless You and your family!

  174. Ferehiwot aka 'Tati' Michael says:

    Hello Leila, thank you my sister for sharing your heart, sharing your story. I am rejoicing with you, and thanking God for his Redeeming Power and Faithfulness in YOUR life. HALLELUJAH!!!!

    We all BARGAIN our faith. IT IS SO TRUE, as you said we ALL are willing…. to loose our Faith, and everything else for nothing. Thank God for HIS Grace-Mercy-and Love!!!! If it was not for the Grace of God, where will any of us be now? ‘where sin increased, grace increased all the more’ (Rom 5:20b)

    As the shepherd goes off leaving the 99 sheep behind, to go look and bring back the one sheep, so is OUR SHEPHERD OUR LORD with us. Leila, it seems you still loved the Lord, but your Flesh was your main enemy waring with the spirit within and— the God of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, the GOD OF MERCY saw that and ‘graciously’ pulled you out of that mess ‘Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Ps 23:6) so HE can use you for HIS Glory for you—–Follower of Our Lord-fellow saint, is willing to fulfill his word on Revelation 12:11 for you are overcoming ‘him’ by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of YOUR testimony, and….. have put to DEATH the Lust of the Flesh by the Power of Grace (Col 3:5 rephrased).

    THANK YOU SO MUCH SISTER for your boldness to share your life so you can encourage thousands of us women who put aside our faith daily, willing to loose it ALL for NOTHING (in an effort to gratify our flesh). THANK GOD FOR HIS GRACE–MERCY-LOVE and FAITHFULNESS. THANK GOD FOR JESUS FOR….. HE IS ALL IN ALL

    Tati

  175. Helen H. says:

    Thank you Lelia for your amazing story. It has obviously touched many hearts including my own. Forgiveness seems to comfort me the most from your story not only your husband but yourself with Gods unfailing LOVE. Jesus walked with that cross and like you said every step was for me……. what a visual and how could I not feel my life is not important to HIM who loves me. God Bless you and every Christ filled sister in this study I hope some day to hug all of you. Your friend in Christ Helen

  176. Thank you Lelia. I admire your courage so much. Thank you for showing us what it is to walk in the LIGHT of God’s grace and love instead of cowering in the shadows of guilt and shame.

  177. When we let Jesus into our heart with NO conditions our real journey with Him begins. My imperfections keep bringing me back to Him because I know only He and PaPa can truly love me unconditionally. Why delay grabbing hold of Jesus hand and join Him in your journey. He’s just waiting….

  178. angela 2 says:

    Hi Sweet Ladies, I had this in my email this morning and wanted to share it with you all. It is from a website I’m signed up to. Hope you enjoy it.

    God chose to create human beings different from the other animals, in his image—both male and female—and he gave them authority over all other living creatures. This gives us great value and raises an important question: In what ways are we made in God’s image?

    God obviously did not create us exactly like himself, because God has no physical body. Instead, we reflect God’s glory. Some believe that our reason, creativity, speech, or self-determination is the image of God. More likely, our entire self is what reflects the image of God. We will never be totally like God because he is our supreme creator. But we do have the ability to reflect his character in our love, patience, forgiveness, kindness, and faithfulness.

    Knowing that we are made in God’s image and that we share many of his characteristics provides a solid basis for self-worth. Human worth is not based on possessions, achievements, physical attractiveness, or public acclaim; instead, it is based on being made in God’s image. Because we bear God’s image, we can feel confident in who we are. Criticizing ourselves is discounting what God has made and the abilities he has given us.

    Knowing that you are a person of worth helps you love God, know him personally, and contribute meaningfully to the lives of those around you.

    Stop and thank God for creating you in his image. You are his unique creation and he loves you. Thank him for your special gifts, talents, abilities, physical characteristics, emotional makeup, and personality. And ask him to help you respect others, even those you don’t get along with, because they are his image-bearers as well.

  179. Cindy Martinez says:

    Thank you Lelia for sharing this powerful message. I believe that it took a lot of strength, courage, and obedience to do what you did. Your story proves that God can convert for good what the enemy meant for evil. It further confirms God’s will for our lives, according to the word is to give us hope and a future! May God continue to bless your walk and that of your husband, and continue to be an inspiration for those who need a testimony of hope. God bless…

    • Thank you Cindy. Your words of encouragement are so appreciated. I always thought this would a secret kept between me and Jesus, but so thankful He had his own plans for my story. 🙂 May He bless you as you seek Him.

  180. When I fell away from God ten or so years ago- I was Sam at the well. I had stolen someone else’s husband and I walked away from God knowing I had let him down and he would probably never forgive me and satan kept using Gods word against me. I was without hope once again as I was for twenty years before becoming a Christian. I was in fear of being lost again. I pulled away from the things of God, from the people of God, I felt like the Holy Spirit had left me. But then one day as I was driving, I heard God speak audibly to me, He said, “I know why you did it”. And I said, why? And He said,”you needed to be the other woman.” Then I felt Him continue to speak in my spirit and show me how because of how horribly my father had abused my mother in every way but how he was always so sweet to his girlfriends, bringing them flowers and they only ever saw his happy side, a side he rarely showed at home. And I understood, I was afraid of being anything other than the other woman. As people of the church all around me sat in judgement and pushed me away and just when I thought my sin had pushed God away forever too- it was then that He pursued me even harder, proving His love for me and never once leaving! I realized in time that the Holy Spirit had not left me but that feeling of despair was the dread of my purposeful sin and He was allowing me to feel the weight of it. I am so thankful for His great love! And I love how time and time again He takes people in scripture and real life who are thought as useless by the world and restores them! God has restored the years the locusts have eaten:)

  181. Thank you Leila for your story. I too had an affair and I felt God telling me to confess but before I did the truth came out to my husband. It has taken a while to come to the place that even if I lose everything as long as I have Jesus I will be OK. My husband and I take it one day at a time but I crave to be loved and held by someone who trully loves me, warts and all and I am finding that the only one who does that is Jesus. It is very hard to be fully reliant on him but we have to be.

    • Amen Amanda! I’ve learned that surrender has to be daily. I’m so glad that you know Who is really capable of fulfilling all of our needs. Continue your journey to Jesus my friend, He is so worth every hard step.

  182. Lynda Parker says:

    As a woman that had an ex husband that constantly cheated on her, and even got another girl pregnant while I was carrying his child, I have a hard time with this story! My full term baby boy died, and her (the other woman’s) baby boy lived. I was told I should have an abortion, but CHOSE not to, I gave this baby a chance for life. Aaron Tracy weighed 8 lb 10 ou and lived three hours. Also, I did NOT choose to cheat on him, and I did NOT choose to abort my baby! Since this time many years ago, my little black haired, beautiful baby boy, has become a joy that lives in my heart, and I know I will see him again one day, and the Lord gave me a wonderful husband that loves the Lord and knows how to love me and treat me. I’ve been with my current husband 30 plus years. I have three living children by my ex husband that are grown and have given me beautiful grandchildren. Things have been TOUGH! Sometimes it has been so hard to “trust” men, to “trust” my husband, and to “trust” the Lord! Sometimes, my son that is just like his dad hurts me. But, He has helped me learn to forgive, to live with the consequences of my wrong choices, to love Him with all of my heart and to realize He is a forgiving and redeeming Savior, that loves us and wants us to have a life filled with His Joy!

    • I’m so sorry that you had to go through this, all of it. From the affairs, the other pregnancy, the loss of your son Aaron. I’m glad that you did not choose to abort like you were advised. But all that you have endured, I’m grateful that you chose to follow the Lord even in your toughest trials and I hope that by you sharing your pain that other women who may be thinking of getting involved with a married man or cheating on their own spouse can be deterred because of the pain it causes.
      I’m not proud of anything I’ve ever done that causes God pain, but I willingly give Him permission to use my story to bring other women who have made similar choices to His throne. That’s where I soak in His redeeming grace versus showering in shame. Satan kept me silent long enough and we all have a story worthy of Him telling. I pray your story brings Him the honor and glory He deserves.
      Hugs from a redeemed & forgiven former adulteress.

  183. What a powerful testimony. Thank you for your honesty. My father was a compulsive gambler and came and went in my life. I sometimes would not know where he was for weeks and then get a call that he was around. I have come to realize that I feel the same way about God. That he comes and goes from my life but I have figured out that I am the one that comes and goes. He is always there with open arms waiting for me, to trust him and know that he will always be there. Thank you for this study.

  184. Lynda Parker says:

    I’m sorry, I just have to ask, some of you that “choose” infidelity because your not getting the attention you want from you husband, have you really “thought” about who you might be hurting????

    • Lynda Parker says:

      I am so sorry. Even after so many years infidelity is hard for me! I know He forgives and I know He heals and even uses our bad choices for His glory. It just strikes my heart how much someone is thinking about themselves without thinking about the “friends” wife or even his children.

      • Hi Lynda,
        Thanks for asking. My hope in sharing my story is that people will focus on what God has done in my life, not all the sins I chose to live out. The human mind tends to grade sins, but bottom line is whatever the sin of choice is by His children, sin grieves His heart. I’m so thankful for my Redeemer. 🙂

        When a wife & mom has the heart of an adultress, her choices are not for the best interest of anyone else, not even herself. Her selfishness began way before her affair did, it started when she believed God wasn’t enough for her.

  185. Maureen Chiasson says:

    Thank you Lelia, for sharing your story. God can heal anything. This story is raw and honest. I think we all need to be honest with each other. I hope this will help others to move out of the darkness and into the light ofGod’s love. As far as chapter 3 I could relate to it so well. Different circumstances same concept. Thank you for sharing your eexperience. I am getting so much out of this study. So grateful for this community of women. God bless.

  186. Christine Romero says:

    I need Jesus. I need to let go of my fear of trusting Him and trusting others. I isolate and let no one in. Not even my husband. Too many hurts in my past. A life of regrets pain and deep depression. I escape by drinking and isolating yet I know God is calling my name. Lord please help me let go if the things and beliefs that keep me from a real up close relationship with You helpme Lord to let my walls down and become who you want me to be. I need you Jesus. Amen

  187. Amelinda says:

    I need Jesus too otherwise I cant function without him. It’s so difficult
    for me to trust him. I try so hard to let Him be in control. I know
    I need to surrender and leave all my cares to him. And when I do
    Then later I find myself taking control when I should just let him
    Work. I’m going through a difficult time in my life right
    Now… My husband wants a divorce. Says he is not spiritually in
    The marriage anymore. We r a result of an affair. He was married at the
    Time when we had an affair. Plus he does not live here even tho we r married.
    He is from another town because of his job.its his hometown. We never lived
    In the same city.
    It has been difficult because he blames me for feeling alone
    When he needed me …especially divorcing and leaving his three kids for me.
    He says he regret s leaving and hurtinghis kids for me. I feel so unloved and not good enough.
    I know God loves me unconditionally and will never leave me.
    For so long I have desired a man’s attention and love. I have been thru one divorce
    And abusive relationships and where they too cheated on me. I ask
    God why can’t someone just love me. My husband is now
    Saying that we lied about everything. And god will not bless our marriage
    Because of our sin by having an affair. He says that he is not going
    To make God accept our lies. I try to encourage him with speaking
    About god but it’s not helping. I just want all this Pain to go away. I find
    Myself talking, praying and crying out to Jesus everyday . I don’t know
    What to do … My pastor and counselor tells me to file for
    Divorce but I can’t do it.

  188. “I Choose Jesus” by Moriah Peters ….look it up, listen, choose and worship Him. Our only true happiness – found in Jesus.

  189. “Beauty In The Broken” by Hyland. You’ve got to hear it… Praise music first thing in the morning “helps” me at least ‘start out’ with an uplifted Spirit. My birthday wish today is that you ladies be built up in Him, through Him, by Him, because of Him … for Him.

  190. “I Love The Lord,” Whitney Houston

  191. Wow, thank you for being so honest and real!

  192. Thank you for sharing your story and being so honest and open. I am encouraged that God is restoring and mending broken marriages. I sometimes feel that it would be best for us to go our separate ways due to all the baggage we seem to be collecting. I know the grass isn’t greener elsewhere but I sometimes think it’s better than this. Not sure how we’ve made it this far (over 30 years) only that God’s grace keeps us together. I love my husband and know he loves me. We just have such a hard time communicating and being on the same page. I get so frustrated then critical. But God is showing me that I am looking to hubby too much instead of Him. I need to continually release him to God. And I need to keep my mouth shut more.

    • Barbara,
      Family Life’s Weekend to Remember is a conference that God has used in mighty ways in our marriage. We volunteer every year and each year learn so much. Check into it and if your hubby isn’t into stuff like this, don’t count it out. Either is mine and he love it so much. The key is to apply what we learn, which is an ongoing work in progress. http://www.familylife.com
      Also, stick with Renee’s book and APPLY what you learn in it too. That’s the key to change. 🙂

  193. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Leila! Knowing that others struggle with the same hopelessness and insecurities makes me feel like I’m not crazy! It also reminds me that there is Hope and redemption through all our pain and struggles.

    Thank you also for sharing that video, dKnighTweets. I have seen it so many times, but when you are in the middle of going through a rough time it really makes an impact in your heart to know that Jesus died for me.

    Thank you also Renee for your book, it speaks to my heart everyday and really helps me to find what I really have been longing for all my life- unconditional love.

  194. Searching for Significance spoke out to me. I was having a hard time with my emotions and menopause. My husband, kid and even my mom commented to me that I was not a happy person anymore. The afternoon I cried and had a great talk with my mom, I was still emotional so I decided to go visit the grave site to talk to my father and God. When I got there it was very windy, but while I was opening my heart to God the winds settled down and I felt calm. God does have unconditional love, I sometimes forget that. Thanks Renee for this wonderful Bible Study.

  195. Lelia,
    Thank you for sharing! What God can do with broken men and women is amazing, and a real demonstration of His unfathomable love for us! I know that it is not always smooth sailing, and the journey continues, but when we have the monuments of His faithfulness in our lives to look back on and point to and say, “This is to remind us of the amazing work of our Father in heaven”, it spurs us on through the next trial, and the next.
    Bless you for your proclaiming His goodness!

  196. Wow! Thank you Leila for your honesty and willingness to share. I really can’t find the words to express what I am feeling, but as I read your story, this quote I had read previously, came to me, “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you.” Your willingness to share really helps me to realize that I too can share my feelings and sins with others, knowing that I am forgiven and still worthy of His love, no matter what.
    Another thought that has come to me, is that everything happens for a reason. I have experienced 2 pregnancies, that both ended in miscarriages and have learned some lessons through those experiences: (1) I have come to realize that God will not give me more than I can handle, (2) He will always be there to help me through, (3) there is a positive somewhere in every situation – I just need to find it, and (4) I am exactly where I am supposed to be at in life, because He put me right where he needed me, in order to do His work.
    Thank you again Leila for sharing your story and thank you Renee for this book and Bible study.

  197. Leila, thank you so much for sharing your story. It is a very encouraging reminder of Christ’s forgiveness, restoring us and using our brokenness for His glory. I have also been through a lot that has left me wounded and feeling vulnerable. I know the absolute truth of Jesus’ love for me and His complete forgiveness, but my feelings often don’t match that which I know is true. I still feel “too damaged”, “unworthy”. I know too this is what the enemy wants me to believe to hold me captive, so I just continuing praying and reading the truth of His word. I’m thankful for the blessing of this study!

    • Jen,
      Renee’s book, “A Confident Heart” has helped me get past my feelings of unworthiness. The truth is that we are unworthy, but God is worthy of a surrendered life from us. Letting Him take my past and do with it what He wants has been a hard and yet amazing journey. Trust Him with whatever has left you wounded and feeling vulnerable and then watch in awe as your Savior redeems you in ways you didn’t even know possible. He’s such a Savior!
      Hugs,
      Lelia

  198. Leila, when I started to read your story, I found myself judging you, and by the time you were on your knees that day asking God for forgiveness – so was I. Your story is MY story too. Kindergarten to college in church schools, but I too had to go through some big life changing things to find that what I was lacking all of those years is a relationship with the Savior who loved me more than I could imagine. Some days are still hard, so deeply seated has been the insecurity I have live with and the hate I have had for myself, but thank God that He is the ultimate stain lifter and everything else I need. Espeicallu when I am empty. I am sorry for judging you, Thank you Leila for sharing your story with us. Thank you for the hope you’ve shared..

  199. Rosemary Osborne says:

    Leila,
    Thank you for your story. I had gotten to the point where I felt like I wanted to have an affair. I did not but still so unhappy. Then I finally turned it over everything to God. It hasn’t been easy. It’s been a struggle especially since my husband had stopped going to church and alcohol has become his God. He has been an alcoholic since I met him. There have been some major problems but we got through. Then I just got to the point where I was sick and tired of his drinking and not getting my prayers answered. I stopped going to church, stopped praying and dug myself a pit of depression and hopelessness. Now I am trying to climb out of that pit. I am so thankful for my church family and this Bible study. It has been helping to restore my relationship with God. I know I can trust in God to fill those empty places in my heart.

    Again, thank you from a fellow Nebraskan.

  200. Leila, thank you for being such an example to me and so transparent. It was like I was reading my story. I too had an affair and an abortion. Unfortunately, we have never recovered from this or my husbands struggles. We are still struggling 25 years later and I don’t know if our marriage will survive.

    This bible study has spoken so deeply to my heart. When you have been hurt so much, you begin to believe you are not worth anything. When people continually leave you, you start to believe you’re not worth staying for.

    I know God loves me and believes I’m worth it because He gave His life for me. No one else would do what only He did and can do. Knowing and believing are two different things, but I’m working on it. No matter what direction my marriage takes, I have to rely on Jesus. He has never left me and his promises are for me too.

    • Oh Sandy, I so relate! I hope and pray that you both can get to the place God wants your marriage to be. One tool that has been extremely powerful in our marriage is Family Life’s Weekend to Remember conference. We have been involved in that for years. But we can read the Bible, “A Confident Heart” and attend all the marriage conferences we can, but if we don’t apply what we learn it’s just head knowledge. Not saying that is true about your marriage, but that is where we were and life took a different turn when we learned that God actually wanted us to apply what we learn into our marriage and our individual walk with Him.
      This what you said here: “When you have been hurt so much, you begin to believe you are not worth anything. When people continually leave you, you start to believe you’re not worth staying for.”
      And then you went on to say knowing and believing are 2 different things. One thing I have learned from Renee is that I have a cross on my nightstand (my daughter bought it at Hobby Lobby) and I have note cards & every time something comes to my mind that I know is not from God (knowledge), I write it on a note card and on the opposite side counteract it with a truth from God’s word,. So one side, I list my worry, or negative thought and other side, TRUTH. That has helped a bunch! We just have to daily fill our minds with His Word and when we do that trickles down into our hearts and our belief in His Truth overshadows the beliefs of unworthiness. (Then your knowledge transforms into belief)
      Oh I hate that you’re going through this, but at the same time, if you stick with God, you will eventually see things differently because any journey of seeking Him will not leave you unchanged. (Jer. 29:11-13)
      Praying you up from Nebraska!!

      P.S. Read “A Confident Heart” more than once…trust me in this. My girlfriends & I are on multiple readings, it’s just that powerful! One of them, Lisa Smith left a comment about that on here…find it and be encouraged. {hugs}

  201. Leila – thanks so much for your honest and moving story. It’s so wonderful how much we are reminded of God’s unconditional and everlasting love for us. When we come to Him in truth, with no reservations no matter what we have done, in complete surrender, we are set free to experience His love for us. What greater love than that?! We serve such an AMAZING and LOVING God! Many blessings to you all.

  202. Debbie Jo says:

    Thank you, Lelia, for sharing your story. I, too, felt empty in my marriage and filled up on affairs, which eventually tore my life apart….It is SO encouraging to see how you’ve brought it all to God…I want that, too; but, haven’t quite gotten there yet…..Our God is SO great….I know he is waiting for me to surrender totally when I am ready…I know He is there for me and loves me and for that, I am truly grateful…..

  203. Barbara A says:

    Thank you so much Lela for sharing your experience. I too am a woman of God, having grown up in the church and currently working in my church and women’s ministry. I am have been having an affair now for 6 1/2 months and deeply feel the shame of my actions. I know this is not pleasing to God and I feel so ashamed. I want to end the affair, but have been reluctant to do so. I love this man and know how wrong it is to love him. My life feels so empty. Please pray for me.

    • Praying for you Barbara

    • Barbara,
      When I began my affair I was working on the youth leadership team in our church. The scary part about this is we get good at walking through the motions of looking the part of a Christian woman while our heart for God slowly hardens. I pray that your desire for Christ becomes stronger than this affair you are choosing to be in. The only one that loves you here is Jesus Christ period and He will never hide His relationship with you, never sneak around with you, never leave you empty like I know this affair is doing.
      I feel sad for you because I know the heaviness you are feeling with trying to serve in ministry while living a life so far from the plans God has for you. You sit in meetings, thinking “if she only knew this about me”. Such a destructive path.
      Run sister. Please run.
      Love to you from Nebraska!
      Lelia

  204. Heather S. says:

    Thank you for sharing your amazing story, Lelia! Your story is such a powerful reminder that God loves and forgives unfailingly!

  205. I had a baby when i was 14 years old by a man that promised me the world but gave me nothing absolutely nothing not even a bag of pamper, at first i felt real bad when i first left him but later in ohio i found myself in the arms of another man this one a family member that i still hate to this day for what happened I believe God has forgiven me but I feel so unclean,by reading your book A confident heart has finally made me look at myself in a different oh such adifferent

  206. Angelina says:

    Leila,
    Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your story. I’m so sorry that you and your husband went through such a troubling time. But as you know forgiveness from God is what you both have received and deserved. And your story has touched and will continue to touch many lives. I too have been plagued by negativity, lack of self confidence, lack of self worth, being abused, being used by everyone in my life, my parents, my friends and it is so hard to get over and to get past. I read some of the posts and am relating to many others. I was assaulted twice, once in college and once as by an acquaintance, and getting past that took years. I struggled with trust, feeling safe. My parents raised me to not show emotion, that it was a sign of weakness, so each passing day I was dying a bit inside. My daughter’s father used to abuse me, and he slandered my name so badly in the town that we used to live in that we had to move. He said that my daughter was not his, he called me very bad names and it was so damaging to me as a person who was already so badly destroyed as a human being and I did not want my daughter to grow up in that town because I feared that he would influence her life negatively. The only amazing thing that I got out of that relationship was my daughter, God and her saved my life because I took her and ran away to protect her from that evil monster. When I met my now husband, I almost lost him too because I was so hurt by all of the previous relationships that I have been in that it was hard for me to accept and believe the things that he would say that were positive. My natural reaction was to push people away because that way you don’t have to let people get in and possibly hurt you. One day I fell to my knees on the beach in front of the ocean, and begged God for a change, because we had moved 1200 miles away from everything that was negative but oddly so familiar but I had almost pushed my husband away because I couldn’t get past all the negativity, we were almost to the point of divorce. I had my eyes closed and was crying, and suddenly I got knocked over by a wave, almost like it was to wash away some of the pain. My husband and his family were not religious people and that was something we always disagreed on, he never wanted to go. I found the most amazing church where we now live and my daughter and I used to go by ourselves. One day as I was sitting in church praying, crying, begging God to give me the family I wanted, to start to let go of the anger, the hurt, the the family that serves him, all of a sudden I felt a tap on the shoulder and there he was standing there. Ever since that day I am thanking God for what he has done, we are a lot closer, every day since I am forgiving him and others for hurts, every day since I am forgiving myself for mistakes and in reading this book and reading the stories of others I am not feeling so alone anymore. My husband and I pray together, which is in a miracle in itself. And I can only thank God for that. I know have experienced HIS unconditional love and he was just preparing me for things that are better than they used to be. I used to think that the world would be better off without me. But now I am starting to think that is just my past demons trying to over come me. Some sentences that are resonating with me are “a personal relationship with God sets us free to be all we were created to be” and “God’s love is perfect, so you don’t have to be”, and ” I was made to “know Him and be known by Him”. This book is honestly changing so many things in me. Renee, I can’t thank you enough for letting God touch your heart and writing this book.

  207. your story was powerful and awesome! I want to believe w/o doubt God wants me and that’s hard, so I do ask if you all would pray for me.

  208. Kayla W. says:

    Thank you Lelia.
    Your story is a testament to Gods unfailing love.
    You have inspired me.
    Thanks again!

  209. thank Lelia for sharing . You have encouraged me to seek God with ALL my heart concerning my daughter. God is enough and he can fill the barren places of my soul, just like he did yours
    Sherry

  210. Thank you Lelia for sharing your heart with us. Your honesty and openness gives me hope that God is in control when all around us seems so out of control. The hurt and pain we suffer and deal with now will shape us into the person and the ministry God has for us.

    Through reading chapter 3 this last week there was one statement that really stood out to me.
    “Until God’s love is enough, nothing else will be”
    Most of my life I have felt unloved and in the way… Not wanted by my family, not a suitable replacement for the family member who died.. The person I was named after, the person my family tried to recreate.
    I felt my faith wasn’t sufficient and God could never love me because I wasn’t sure my faith was strong enough. How could God love me when it felt like no one else did.
    I was not worthy of love even though I craved it and was looking for it.. Taking my cup to whoever would fill it even ever so slightly.
    Reading chapter 3 and watching the video (particularly the video) has opened my eyes to the reasons I have tried filling those empty place with things, friendships and trying to control every situation to avoid pain.
    I’m starting to understand in my heart that God’s love is enough as I begin sorting through and throwing out those things I have tried to replace His love with. I get that those things will never completely fulfill me.
    Thank you Renee, your team and to all you lovely ladies who open your heart and tell your stories. Every story God is using to encourage and help us understand that we are not alone in this battle, even though we may never meet in person, as sisters in Christ we have the ability to support and encourage each other through his format.. YAY… JESUS 🙂

  211. Lelia thank you for sharing your story. I have done some shameful things just so that I wouldn’t feel empty inside. I have come along way since then but I still feel empty. The struggle is getting less and less but your words are so encouraging. When I read your story my first instinct after hearing what your husband confessed would have been to shutdown, but you didn’t do that. You gave it up to God. I shutdown too much. I feel to vulnerable and just stop right there and I don’t want to process anything or feel anything. But your story, I loved it. It gives me hope and lets me know even in the darkest of times I will be ok.

  212. Leila – Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. My husband and I are dealing with the aftermath (at least I hope it’s over) of his second affair. Your story has encouraged me and taught me some things that I can do to get through the healing process.

  213. Lelia,

    Thank you so much for being open and honest about the trials you have faced in your marriage. It is so amazing to hear about the redemptive work that Christ has done in your heart and your marriage. Your testimony of God’s grace reminds me of just how wonderfully He worked withing my own heart and life. I spent many years of my life believing that I was a Christian despite the sinfulness I was entangled in. I spent my college years giving myself to different idols, premarital sex, drugs, alcohol, etc. It wasn’t until I became pregnant out of wedlock my last year of college that God humbled and broke my heart by His undeserving grace. God used what I thought was the scariest and worst thing that ever happened to me, pregnancy, to bring about the best for my life. He broke my heart and brought me to true faith and repentance in Christ. He showed me the beauty and joy of His love and how only He and He alone could fill the emptiness that my heart had felt for so long. I am so thankful for the unconditional love and mercy and grace that He demonstrated in my life. He took what I thought was a curse in my life and gave me the greatest blessings of all, a beautiful daughter who is now almost 4 and a godly husband who is adopting her as his own. Thank you once again for sharing the testimony of God’s love in your life. It has been an encouragement to me.

    • Deana,
      I LOVE this! And I love how you shared your story, but you shared more of God’s grace and greatness! That’s awesome! Thank you for sharing this with us! Kisses to that sweet 4-year-old that belongs to you and your hubby!
      Blessings,
      Lelia

  214. Charlene says:

    Thank you Lelia. Your story helped ease and reassure me (I need this assurance again and again) that He will not reject me, no matter how guilty I feel. I need to remember that no matter how I feel or view myself that it is not the way He feels about me. What a beautiful story of healing and love that was experienced between the three of you.

    He came to you in your darkness- a great testimony of His character and love. It is so important for us to remember, understand and accept that darkness exists- but not to dwell there. He removes the darkness little by little and shows us a better way. Light exists also and we can choose to dwell there.

    Thank you again for sharing Lelia. An amazing story- a miracle.

  215. Thank-you Lelia for sharing your story. I ,too, have tried to fill my life with things or people instead of with the love of Jesus. I finally have reached the point that I knew I needed Him in my heart, so that I could be the person He had made me to be. Thanks to Renee as well, because my daughter and I are using this to study together from afar. She is in college, and we talk about it over the phone. Thanks for creating a way for my daughter and I to connect and grow closer to God!

  216. Brittany B. says:

    Thank you Lelia for sharing! The thing most heavy on my heart is my own marriage. I want nothing more than to hear God say I am where I am supposed to be. Long story short, started hanging out with a man, found out he was married but was seperated. I was not following Christ then and did not have my priorities straight, so we dated and fell in love. For a while there was a love triangle going on (cant believe I am sharing this!!) between him, his ex-wife and myself. I grew up without a father and didnt know of the love of our Heavenly Father so I put this man on a pedistool. I just wanted to be with him. It was after I found myself pregnant, and I had another life to be responsible for that I knew my ways, and ways of thinking needed to change! I started going to church, I reached out for prayer to women I trusted in church and I broke up with that man. So pregnant and single I asked to be baptized. I felt so much peace and love. I knew from then on out I needed to live life the way God wanted me to. So for the first 7 months of my daughters life, her father and I were friends. Barely talked because it was really hard with all the past hurts. I started getting thoughts that maybe I could forgive, prayed and talked to God about it and after some time I brought it up with my daughter’s father. I said that there is a part of me that would like to try again under some conditions, he needed to be absolutely honest with me, no locks or password, no sex and we couldnt move in together until we were married. He agreed to these things and promised much more with tears of joy. We were engaged 9 months later and married 3 months after that. I have no worries of lying or cheating, he has been a wonderful boyfriend, fiance and husband but it’s all those dang past thoughts and the fact that his ex-wife and him have 3 children together so they need to talk. I completely understand that and would never want them to not talk. I guess i feel guilty, even though i’ve a bajillion conversations with my husband about my guilt and he tells me i have nothing to do with it, it was his decision but there is something in my heart that comes and goes. I know i am forgiven but why cant i shake this?? My husband and i have been married for almost 10 months now and it has honestly been blessing after blessing besides my insecurities. I dont want to remember my first years of marriage me always asking my husband if he wants to be with his ex-wife, i am driving myself crazy with these questions. Ok, i feel a little better, obviously you all now know what has been on my heart today haha. I am going to get to praying for some healing. God knew i needed this study!!

    • Brittany,
      Thank you for sharing your story. Focus on God and allow Him to use any ugly in your past for His glory! And apply what you learn in Renee’s book. I can’t stress that enough! APPLY APPLY APPLY…there! 😉
      Seriously though, this book is one I have read more than once and God has done some major changes in my life. Trust Him!!
      Hugs,
      Lelia

  217. Thank you Lelia, I wrote this down to remind myself: “there is no sin too heavy to stay nailed to the beams of the cross” — what an awesome reminder of our worth to our Savior. Thanks again for sharing.

    • That’s something I need reminded of too because by nature I sabotage God’s goodness in my life. Stick with reading AND applying what you learn in Renee’s book. It’s so life-changing!

  218. Very very inspiring article. It is the truth of Jesus that completes our heart and our life. Check also my reflection at http://gracepointers.com/2014/03/24/desiring-you/

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  220. I just happen to find your story, after looking on the internet of people telling about their abortion experiences. I myself am a male. But I have been through multiple abortion experiences. It happened with the same girl. Her name was, Stacy. We met in high school and one thing led to another. I was so excited to have someone in my life, someone who said they loved me, and I told her that I loved her. But for me, I don’t know if it was truly love, or just lust. I know for me, that once we started to become intimate, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to be with her all the time, she made me feel good. One day, she came up to me and said that she was pregnant. I asked her, what do we do? I was afraid to tell anyone. I didn’t want my parents knowing that I was having sex. We both decided to have the abortion. But it didn’t end there. I got her pregnant 3 more times, which ended in 2 more abortions, and a miscarriage, and soon after the miscarriage, we went our separate ways. I look back now and don’t blame her for leaving me. I had become very controlling and jealous. I do think about my unborn children and wonder what or who they may look like. I will miss out on seeing them grow up, get married, etc.. For a long time, I didn’t think much about it. I just kind of moved on trying to fill the hurt and void with more women. It was hard for me to trust anyone. I was filled with jealousy, insecurities. I was drinking quite a bit as well. It just seemed like the thing to do, but maybe I was doing it partly to numb the pain inside me. I’ve made a mess of my life. There came a point in my life where, all I was doing, was going to work, and then out to clubs to try and pick up women. Day in and day out. I think about Stacy every now and again. I hope she is doing better now. I feel like my heart is so hard right now.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Lelia Chealey’s guest posted on Renee Swopes blog last week. (Click here to check it out!) http://reneeswope.com/2013/04/confessions-of-an-empty-heart-2/)  In it, she shared her adultery/abortion story.  Little does she know, but the first time she […]

  2. […] Lelia Chealey’s guest posted on Renee Swopes blog last week. (Click here to check it out!) http://reneeswope.com/2013/04/confessions-of-an-empty-heart-2/)  In it, she shared her adultery/abortion story.  Little does she know, but the first time she […]

  3. […] Hostesses: I have asked our online study blog-post guests – Melanie, Rachel, Donna and Lelia – to join us so you also get to talk with them and they will be answering questions, […]

  4. […] serious that if it’s not met with the thing that can truly satisfy, it would drag us to emptinessand lead to some harmful behaviors such as drugs, sex, and alcohol abuse. This deep longing cannot […]

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