I Confessed

How do I even begin? I guess the best place is back when a woman who told me about a woman's group that met at a Baptist church not far from me. I knew it was the answer to my prayer as I'd been crying to God for help!

Restoration Fellowship had maybe a dozen women at their meeting and as I walked in I immediately noticed each of the women there had a glow on their faces. Though others have told me I am very beautiful, the truth is, for more than a year only I knew that my beauty was only on the outside. Inside I was being tormented. I was carrying such a huge burden that kept me from the joy and peace I had once known. I was carrying the burden of a secret sin that God was prompting me to confess. Confessing to anyone is always difficult, but the fear I had of rejection from those I loved the most had kept me in bondage, and as I felt alone, unable to confess it to anyone, I had been carry my darkest secret knowing I just couldn't tell anyone. Thankfully that was all about to change.

One evening a few days earlier, I'd had a chance meeting and met a woman who had a restored marriage, and when I inquired further, she told me her marriage was restored by reading and applying the principles she found in How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage. That's when she told me about the fellowship that met on Mondays. So with my sin weighing me down to the point I was about to break, I finally felt this was a safe place to share and confess the details of me committing adultery with someone.

That night in the Fellowship, I honestly have no idea what that night's lesson was about, but hearing the minister share from her heart, and was openly telling us of all her mistakes in her own marriage, to the point she boasted about them (that I didn't know was actually a Bible principle). But what got my attention the most was the glow I'd never seen on anyone before when she spoke of her "Beloved." That's when I knew that when given the opportunity I could open up and confess my sin to her. I knew she'd understand. Once the meeting was over the minister sat down to speak to me, but stood again, leading me to another smaller room when I asked to speak to her privately. 

Once inside almost immediately I began to cry uncontrollably. The minister, I could see when I looked up, tried her best not to show any emotion when I began to share the details of what I'd done, because, she told me later she thought, here I was such a beautiful woman, fully dressed in my Mennonite clothing. My head had a white covering because of my deep "religious" beliefs, and she'd wondered how I could have fallen victim to the sin of adultery. That's exactly why I'd beaten myself up about for several months! I had no idea how this could have happened and why I'd cried out to GOD to please help me rid myself of the shame and burden of my sin.

As I began to confess, I couldn't help but tightly grip the neckline of my dress while I also began to pull my dress down to cover my ankles, over and over again as more of my ugly story unfolded. Once I was somewhat composed, I also explained that husband was NOT a believer but he never minded me going to church without him (just as so many other Mennonite husbands aren't bothered by it either, like me many wives go to church alone). I explained that not only did my husband not mind I was going, my EH actually loved that I went to church. And because he's such a good man, he'd told me he believed that my church was the spiritual covering I needed. I was under the protection of my spiritual leader, my pastor, whom I'd known and loved since I was a small child. I explained to the minister that our head covering we wear is a symbol of our devotion to God and represents the covering necessary for us to be protected from evil. So my mother wore it, I wore it and my married daughter also wore it. Yet all of this was a lie, because I'd not just sinned against my husband, but also against God and the church.

Though it's not as difficult to share my testimony now, nothing at all close to when I confessed it the first time with the Fellowship minister, I hope to share openly now just how this could have happened to someone like me. I hope this can help someone else. 

I was actually a registered nurse at the local hospital and it was the doctor I worked for whom I'd become involved with. When I asked the fellowship minister, while telling her over and over how I had no idea how this could ever have happened, she explained how this could happen a week later. That week she and another woman in the group, both fasted for wisdom and came back to tell me what she needed to share with me. She said that whenever a woman works under the authority of anyone, and also due to me understanding the benefits of submission and practicing this from a young age, each time the doctor asked me for an instrument during surgery or to do anything in my capacity as his nurse, I'd begun being vulnerable. This later then led to the doctor, slowly but surely, begin asking me or tell me to do things that I was uncomfortable with, but what I submitted to, which ultimately led to the intimacy that resulted in my breaking my marriage vows! But I'm getting ahead of my story.

Once I'd finished pouring out every last detail of my confession, in order to rid myself of the shame, following the Bible's command in James 5:16 to “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much” the marriage minister didn't say anything.  When she saw I was done, she simply continued to hold my hand, then bowed her head and began praying for me. I was astonished as I listened to her praying almost entirely using scripture, Bible verses I'd known and memorized all my life. 

Later, after reading the How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage I realized the prayers she prayed were in several of the RYM chapters, and also were the some of the actual prayers in this book (though I saw she never once opened her eyes and wasn't reading from the book). At the end she stood, hugged me for a very long time until I let her go and then she told me she really didn't know what more she needed to say, but like it said in James 5:16 she would pray for me and for wisdom. Right before I left she handed me the How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage book (that I hid in my purse, then the next day bought a cover to put over it before I went home so my husband wouldn't see what I was reading). Though most of the book really didn't apply to me at the time, I knew it would, as soon as my husband found out what I'd done. But deep down I hoped that by simply confessing this to this marriage minister it would absolve me from sharing it with anyone every again.

That week, I later learned, the marriage minister began to "seek God in earnest for wisdom and hear Him clearly" she said. The first thing He told her was that I would have to confess her sin to my husband, but thankfully she never told me until we met the following Monday so I had a full week of feeling free from the burden I'd been carrying. But even more importantly, what she said, was she needed to help me know the truth in order to be set free. The following Monday she explained that my husband was my true covering, NOT my church, nor was my covering what I wore on my head. To me the most startling was why. Why I had fallen into adultery. She said it was "because my husband was not in the position to act as my spiritual covering—that meant I actually had NO spiritual covering or protection—and my sin was the proof because I put myself under the authority of others."

By placing myself under my pastor, not my husband (and when I was younger, not my father), I was vulnerable to falling into sin. This explained so much because all my life, I'd find myself unable to resist just about any sin I knew was wrong. That's not an excuse, but it is a reason (one more thing I later learned through so much wisdom she shared with me the difference between an excuse or a reason for something).

Now for the difficult part of my testimony. A part I don't believe was ever shared. The following week when I came to the fellowship meeting, my face was beautiful again due to feeling forgiven. I knew God had forgiven me and I also knew that the marriage minister never thought ill of me either. So I was surprised that during that next Monday's lesson she never looked at me, not once. At the end, just as the week before, she sat down, looked at me so kindly, but this time it was she who asked me to meet with her privately. That's when I knew what God had been convicting me of all week, she was about to confirm. 

That's just another part of what the minister shared with me. She began by telling me she'd actually asked another older woman in the fellowship, Melanie, to fast with her for a full week, and together they knew God would give them the wisdom needed. As a Mennonite member, we are actually required to confess first to our pastor of any immorality, then to share it before the entire church, then finally we are excommunicated (or asked to leave) our church. Then, we ask to join again, once the church feels we've done the appropriate penance for our sins. During this time, no church members are allowed to associate with us. As the minister explained though, we are not merely wrestling with “flesh and blood” but this is a real war in our spirits. The Bible tells us that we don't see the battle, because spiritual wickedness is fighting in heavenly places as it says in Ephesians 6:12 KJV, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."

So when she told me I needed to go through the process set down by the church I was a member of, I told her NO and began weeping and begging her not to make me! She of course said it was not her making me, but she sensed God had convicted me this was the right thing. And of course, I confessed, yes He had. But before confessing before my church, she said that the first person I needed to confess to was my husband, my true covering. Again I cried and begged and again she told me it was not her making me do anything, but to simply confirm what she (and Melanie) believe God had already spoken to my heart. Again I confessed He had.

A day later I finally got the courage to confess what I'd done to my husband, and even though he was a good man, he told me to get out, then he told me NO, he was leaving! Then he said he was leaving and he was going to take our four young children with him!! So he told me to go pack their bags. Knowing I deserved what was happening to me, I said nothing but began to pack the children's things. Praise be to the merciful and everlasting God, as I was packing I heard the door close and our car screech out of the driveway. My husband was gone but he'd left our children with me. I immediately called the minister and was weeping from the pain I knew I'd caused my husband, the fear of him returning to get the children— to the point I'd wet myself and began vomiting. I could hear the minister praying for me and very soon I felt an enormous peace wash over me.

Once I recovered, I knew that what was next was confessing before the church. So I called to asked for an appointment to speak to our pastor and met with him the next day. It was not at all difficult to tell him, nothing close to telling my husband, so when my pastor began explaining to me what would happen next, I already was prepared for the process. 

The next Sunday I stood before our church and confessed. My pastor told me I shouldn't go into as much detail (as there were children present, which included my own children). Then I had my head covering removed by a church sister and then I walked down the middle of the aisle and out of the church. Normally an excommunicated member would then enter the pastor's office to ask to join the church, but instead I quietly gathered my children and we went home because I knew that was the turning point in my life.

First I knew that I needed my Beloved in my life more than ever because no matter what He would never leave me or forsake me. But more important to me, I simply wanted a glow like all those ladies in the fellowship whenever I spoke of Him to anyone like they did. I also knew that it was my husband who needed to be my spiritual leader (if I was ever given the chance of him returning) . And, I knew too that it didn't matter if he was a believer or not, that God made no distinction and that women who use that excuse opened themselves up for danger.

Knowing I was done living the way I had been, under improper authority, taunted by the "accuser," it was easy to resist returning to the church in the days that followed. Not only did the pastor call and then come by, everyone in the church who knew me did the same thing. Reminding me over and over what I'd always been taught was the truth, that the church was where I belonged but I knew that was not true. Unless my husband brought me to church, or the Lord Himself told me to go (to share the truth with other church members), I needed to remain at home with my children.

Less than three days later my husband called me from a pay phone. He told me he'd forgiven me, and was asking me to come meet him. Immediately I called Melanie to see if she could watch my children, and when I dropped them off, she handed me a bag of clothing and told me to put them on before I met him. What was in the bag was a beautiful white blouse and a pair of red slacks (pants!!). I'd never wore anything but a dress my entire life, but I knew this was part of me letting go, trusting Him and also ridding myself of false religion in order to have a true relationship with my Lord and my lord (like Sarah called her husband). I stopped at a rest stop and put the clothing on (both fit perfectly!), but I still had my head covering on. With just a mile to go, I began removing my headpiece, then I let my hair down. When my husband saw me he was shocked. He stood staring for the longest time, then he began to cry and he embraced me tightly.

After my husband got over the shock of what I was wearing, he wanted me to put my head covering back on, along with my dress, but I said I simply couldn’t. Then we sat down so I could explain to him about him being my spiritual covering. We had a lovely lunch and we continued walking through the park for many hours before returning to pick up the children. We went home and packed, as we agreed we should do, then drove a few hours south, staying in a motel close to where he'd found a job right after he'd left me. He said he had planned to leave me for good, but he felt his heart slowly turning. This was amazing to me because that's how Melanie said they'd prayed, for the Lord to turn his heart! And they'd ask me to pray these verses after he'd left.

1 Peter 3:1-9— "In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment [as a Christian] must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. For in this way in former times the holy women also, who hoped in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear. You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered. To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing." What touched me is that my husband wanted to take me away from everyone, from the Mennonite community who knew of my sin and the shame they continued to pour on me. Though he never said so, I know too that he wanted to remove me from any temptation and actually called the doctor himself to let him know we'd moved. I was there and he never said anything to the doctor about what he knew, which made me fall in love with my EH in a much deeper way.

>>One day soon after we moved to the new city, my husband and I mentioned a truth I'd learned, after he'd once again told me he'd feel much better if the children and I returned to the church, joining a local one not far from where we where and to put on my head covering. “Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of woman, and God is the head of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Again I told him I was under his authority now and whatever he said I'd do. That day, on his way home from his new job, he spotted a church that said “Bible” in its name and he said that he knew “that the Bible was good,” so he got out and stopped to ask to speak to the pastor. He told him everything that had happened and at the end, the pastor invited my husband to come back on Sunday and to be sure to bring his wife and children. That morning we all sat in the front row of the church. The was actually the first time my husband had ever even been in church!! He'd even gone to funerals, but would only go the a funeral home or the grave site. So having him bring me was beyond anything I could ever have imagined. It was like a dream especially when all of a sudden my husband stood up and went forward for the altar call. That day he got saved, and also joined a men’s group that met weekly!!! That day my husband became my Spiritual leader and also the spiritual leader of our family!!

Before I share more, I need to speak to a few of you who are carrying this burden. I've met many women that I've shared my testimony with, then afterwards, they confess to me that they too have been unfaithful to their husband and go on to say that he doesn't know. May I encourage you dear sister? If you have been intimate with anyone in your marriage, you must confess it to your husband no matter what: no matter how long ago it was or what you believe will happen if you confess. God says this in Proverbs 28:13, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion." But there's more. As long as you hold onto your sin, without confessing it to the person whom you sinned against, such as your husband if you were unfaithful to him, you are carrying the burden of it. And this will rob you of every bit of freedom and joy He died to give you.

May I also share here something else the marriage minister taught me? After reading this, you may become convicted, which is far different than the condemnation you have been feeling since you first committed the sin. The difference between condemnation and conviction is this: Prior to me confessing, I'd been bombarded with all manner of condemnation that I later learned was from the enemy. It felt horrible! I felt hopeless and helpless, which I learned is the first sign this is not from God. The Lord never condemns us, instead He convicts us, which doesn't feel bad at all. It's just a knowing that you need to do something to make it right. And the Bible verses the minister used to prove this is true was, “And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more’” John 8:11. And John 3:17 NIV, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” Trust me when I say that though you may go through the fire when you confess (though you may not because I've met more woman who said their experience was not difficult at all and immediately their husbands forgave and embraced them). But should you go through the fire, you will be set free from everything that's ever caused you to fear, all because He is there in the fire. 

After  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were thrown in the fire, in the book of Daniel, chapter 3 it says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king [who'd had them thrown in] was astounded and stood up in haste; he responded and said to his high officials, ‘Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?’ They answered and said to the king, ‘Certainly, O king.’ He answered and said, ‘Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!’” (Daniel 3:24). The fourth was the Lord who was there in the fire. It goes on to say in verse 27 "The men were not burned, their hair wasn't scorched, and their clothes didn't even smell like smoke." This means you will come out clean, with no trace of the fire, which is the way I came out of it all. Many women ask if I had it to do over again, would I do anything differently? The only thing I would change is confessing sooner. This would have helped to end the sin that had me bound for longer than I care to remember. The pain, shame and fear of being found out, kept me tied to the doctor far longer than it should have.

So, please dear sister, I encourage you to confess your sin to your husband because everything you fear is what ties you to the sin, and rather than getting better, it will become worse and worse. You will also be vulnerable to different sin, as if your spiritual immune system is gone. Many women told me they deadened their pain and shame with drugs, which opened them up to committing adultery with more men. It's a vicious cycle but it can be broken, He will help if you just take it to Him and use my testimony to overcome the wicked one who has you bound. Your “own iniquities will capture [you], and [you] will be held with the cords of [your] sin” (Proverbs 5:22). 

Dear sister, you deserve a fresh start, a new life that's covered by HIS love. Join me in smiling with contentment and joy in your heart. 

In His love,

~ Laurie in Vermont, RESTORED


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