From Betrayal to Healing- Keep Walking

I have the great pleasure of featuring a guest blogger today! Lynn Cherry and I are both featured authors with published chapters in “Becoming Women of Worth: Stories of Hope and Faith,” so I already know that I love her writing. Her story is powerful. And I’m so grateful that, rather than living in defeat (which, if you read her story, was a completely valid option), she has chosen to be a voice of hope, redemption, and truth. And you know I love hope! Without further ado, welcome Lynn Marie Cherry!

cherry-aI laid in bed staring at the ceiling fan, watching the spinning of the blades punctuated by the rhythm of the shadow they cast above them. Our bedroom felt enormous, vacuous space engulfing a small and shrinking me.

The fan was spinning. My head was spinning. The entire room began to rotate around me. It was hard to breathe. 

My husband and I had been to our first couples’ therapy session that day.  At the conclusion, we were each handed a survey. There was a graduate student observing our class and collecting data for his thesis. My marriage, my life had become a statistic. The form was optional, but encouraged for the sake of science.  It seemed a noble thing to do, like donating your organs.

I only remember one question on the form. In the bottom right-hand corner were the instructions, “Circle One” with two words to choose from  “Betrayed or Betrayer.”

I knew I wasn’t the Betrayer but that other word startled me. It had never occurred to me in all the years I spent coping with my husband’s use of pornography. He didn’t have an affair. He hadn’t cheated on me. He just had this porn problem, this ongoing issue that whittled away at me until I felt like a completely insignificant version of myself.

I had been betrayed.

I had been betrayed.

I had been betrayed.

With that word ringing in my ears, the Holy Spirit sorted through the file folders in my mind and pulled out a familiar phrase, “on the night he was betrayed.”  Those words spoke solidarity.

Jesus had lived this moment. He had suffered this pain. I wasn’t alone in this feeling or this experience. Jesus was right there with me.

This shared suffering sent me running to the Savior I had loved but hadn’t ever before so desperately needed. I read my Bible not because I should, but because I need a promise to carry me through each day. The Word delivered promise after promise that helped me take step after step that brought me through to the other side.

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned Isaiah 43:2 NIV

Betrayal cuts deep but God heals deeper. 

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There is an other side.

There is a way through.

Put one foot in front of the other and Keep Walking.

Lynn, thank you so much for sharing this piece of your journey. This is a topic close to my heart for many reasons (one of which you can read about if our next “Becoming Women of Worth” book on sexual addictions makes it to the printer!)

Check out her newly published book, “Keep Walking: 40 Days to Hope and Freedom after Betrayal.” I know you won’t be disappointed.

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Sisters… Thanks to My {Dad}

“Nark, Nark, Nark!” chanted all the girls in my fourth grade class.

Ears blushed red.

Tear-stung eyes.

Head bowed low.

Disgraced.

An innocent attempt at finding my place in the soft-ball line up led to this awful moment.

The moment when I decided girls were not good friends… and never to have any again.

The moment when all of the boys took pity on me… ushered me into the shadow of their wings and offered all that the brothers I’d always wished for (but never had) could…

And I became one of them.

Sorta.

For the next ten years (at least) guys were my best friends. Then in college, my dad began encouraging me to find a girl-friend. I was ready to try it again… and did! I ended up with all best guy-friends… and one girl-friend. It was a start!

Life carried on… and for the sake of not appearing “boy crazy” (I’d never dated one of my best friends… or any friend for that matter)… I began to spend more time with girls.

Then I got married.

Then I needed women.

In a way I’d never experienced before.

This man… my husband… just couldn’t relate with me on every level… and I needed a woman’s heart to confide in.

Well, beautifully enough, my dad has adopted LOTS of children… and I have a great number of sisters. He began to introduce me to them… and, well,  I love them.

Drama and all.

Well, I don’t love the drama… but I love the women behind the drama. Because my dad has taught me how to love in spite of discomfort, pain, frustration, personality differences… and to hope for the same from others when I’m the one being difficult to love.

Confession: Because I took the risk (it sure felt like a risk when my dad asked me to get to know and love women)… I have some of the best relationships with my sisters I could ever ask for.

And they are all over the world.

Some I see daily, some on Skype, some only on Facebook… but I love them as much as I did during the seasons of life when I lived with them.

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Joanna and Christine in Canada.

Sofia in Sweden.

Liz in Paraguay.

Hava, Christina, Kara, Laura, Heather, Brittani, Dawnette… in various states around the U.S.

Sisters 🙂 Dorina, Chris, Heather, Maari, Lisa, Jamie, Debbie, Bethany, Amy, Cori, Bergann, Stacie, Leslie, Jessica, Lisa, Sarah, Regina, Katie, Beth, Trae, Allison, Mindy, Rachel, Niki, Raquel, Devon, Colleen, Jill…

My little sisters: Laura, Wendy, Promise, Stephanie…

My big sisters: Michelle, Serena, Caroline, Kim, Lucie, Susan, Kathryn, Chris, Gail…

Newest sisters: Susan, Kara, Debbie, Cammy, Melissa, Nina, Lesley, Staci, Melody, Jennifer, Allison, Ashley, Elva, Elena, Brandi, Viane, Lara, Valerie…

This list is by no means exhaustive… and it’s late so I’m probably missing some of the most obvious ones… but the point is… I have the most amazing circle of sisters because my dad knew I needed them in my life.

And I took the risk.

The risk of being shamed, slandered, abandoned, betrayed, separated (by distance), deceived, hurt…

And found love.

And love sometimes hurts. But if it’s true… then it doesn’t depend on being in the same place at the same time.

And it can love through pain.

Until healing comes.

And it’s worth it.

I would do it all over again. Because they make me smile. And cry. They hug me when it’s hard. They trust me with their deep places. They let me help when I can. And they are generous with their time, resources, and energy when I need it too. They love my children like only aunts can do… and have provided “sisters” for my own daughters… delightful little friendships that make my heart smile deeply.

They invite me in.

And it’s a precious trust. To be handed the key to one’s deepest fears… and not use it.

This is the joy I have.

And one I hope for you.

That as a woman who has felt the searing pain of a broken friendship, the betrayal of another woman’s unfaithfulness to friendship and the thing that makes it sacred, the deep loss and grief of goodbye…

I pray you find the strength to try again. To love relentlessly. Laugh contagiously. Soak the shoulder with your tears when you need to.

Take the risk. Choose well.

Sisters make our time on life bearable.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.

-C.S. Lewis

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 13 of 31 Days in 2012.

Tips from My Physician… AKA {Dad}

Last night my 3-year old daughter came into my room. It was midnight and she wanted something to drink. My husband ran downstairs to get her some water. She had a few sips.

Then began coughing.

A horrible barking cough.

Then a gasp for breath.

Cough. Gasp. Cough. Gasp.

I asked her to calm down and stop gasping. Her panic grew as she said, “I can’t!” Cough. Gasp. Cough. Gasp.

Then my own panic set in. She could not breath. How many minutes would I have, if whatever was causing this constriction, suddenly inhibited her from breathing at all?

I remembered something my dad taught me.

Steam.

Tossing aside all cares for the cost of precious German water, I turned the shower on full heat, full blast. My husband and daughter sat in the bathroom while I called a friend.

And talked to my dad.

My friend’s calm and loving voice eased my own panic. My heartbeat returned to a normal speed, but my hands and legs reminded me of the adrenaline coursing through. She assured me, graciously, that the steam was a good idea and life should be okay.

I traded “jobs” with my husband.

Holding my precious, exhausted child in my arms… I talked to my dad. He also assured me that we were doing what we needed to do. And that Hannah would be okay.

Her breathing returned to normal.

My dad smiled at me. That reassuring smile.

Confession: Anything I know about health or healing I learned from my dad.

He’s a doctor.

But not just any doctor… he is THE doctor. I don’t know a single person who understand the dynamics and wiring of the human body like he does. I’ve never met another physician who understands how every single plant, food item, or … anything, can be used to cure an ailment, physical or otherwise. I’ve seen him heal incurable diseases. He’s brought vision to people who’ve never had it.

He’s even brought people back from death.

And to see the love and joy in his eyes when he does it. How could I not learn to love helping others in their illnesses? I want that joy! I joke that he has the “magical” touch… just looking at someone seems to heal them.

Everything good and true that any doctor knows… they learned from him (he’s a teacher, too).

I have a lot left to learn… but I’ve gleaned a thing or two over the years… remedies that have healed and cured without additional doctor attention:

Cinnamon– drinking, eating (or even just smelling) cinnamon during a bout of nausea will clear it right up… calming the tummy. (Sometimes I just put some in a cup of hot water and sniff up the scent when I feel really sick).

Anis- Ground up anis in some hot tea or carbonated drink will stop diarrhea immediately. A little less immediate, but still effective, for stopping the runs, is toast with cheese.

Vitamin B12– Taken as a supplement (or in whole foods), vitamin B12 (supposedly… I don’t know all the reasons why it works, just that it seems to) creates an odor in your blood that mosquitoes find unappetizing… a sort of natural mosquito repellant.

Dandelion Plant- Certain plants, including the dandelion plant, cure warts. Take the sap from the stem and rub it on the wart multiple times a day until the wart is gone. (I’ve done this, it works)

Raw Local Honey- Prevents and cures allergies from local allergens. MUST BE local honey (so that the bees are dealing with the same pollens as the allergens affecting you).

Jewelweed- An anecdote to the sting of stinging nettle

Stinging Nettle- Too many remedies to list! You can read some here or google it.

Seaweed- Again, another one with many remedies… but the one I used it for was skin lesions Just place damp seaweed (even sushi seaweed works) on a cut or tear (for moms of newborns) and watch it heal overnight. It’s incredible, actually.

This is just a sampling of what my dad has taught me over the years. There is so much more yet to learn… but that’s whats great about my dad being my dad… whenever I need to know something, I just have to ask. He gets a beautiful pleasure, I’ve noticed, when he’s talking about ways to help heal or cure an ailment, disease, or disorder.

And like any doctor, I suppose… he knows when the best kind of healing comes through death. This makes him weep as much as any other… but I’ve seen him allow death to come when it is the best way.

The best thing about my dad as a physician is this… most doctors can only walk with you to death’s doorway.

He walks you through it.

I am the Lord, who heals you.

Exodus 15:25b

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 3 of 31 Days in 2012.