I would like to introduce you to Jaylin Palacio. I immediately connected with her when I read her story. We’ve both been through similar heartaches and our desire to help others who have experienced this pain is something God has put on our heart. Her story explains how she used prayer and the power of God to see her through a painful time in her life.
I have had one true love of my life (other than the Lord). His name is Jay. We met when I was 16, and we married when I was 19. Twenty years later, I discovered that he was committing adultery. I was devastated beyond words. Never in my life have I felt such an intense ache in my heart. The one person that I trusted the most hurt me so deeply. How does one cope with such a painful ordeal?
In the aftermath of adultery, the flood of emotion can make a person crazy. But no matter how chaotic our life gets, there is one source of strength that never changes. No matter how unreliable people can be, God will never leave us or forsake us (Joshua 1:5). The Bible is our guide for living, and it is the ultimate resource for how to respond to the inevitable trials and tribulations of life.
Some of the guidelines found in the Bible are “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32 NIV) and “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2 NIV). The Bible instructs us to be kind to each other, to be tenderhearted, to forgive one another, and to live a life filled with love. That is much easier said than done when you have been deeply hurt by someone you love. I did nothing wrong and did not ask to be put in this situation of immense pain. I was there because of the actions of two other people. This is the question I asked myself: How do I forgive when I have been hurt so badly?
Forgiveness is the last thing that we feel like doing when we are in so much pain. However, when we make the choice to forgive in obedience to God, He heals our hearts and leaves no bitterness in our spirit. When my world was turned upside down, I relied on the source of strength that never changes. I prayed in three general areas, and He answered my prayers in each area:
- Opening Jay’s Eyes. Jay was not acting like himself. He was saying and doing things that were so unlike the man I married. I could not wrap my mind around how a loving husband and father could leave his family. I prayed that God would intervene and that Jay would realize that he needed to come home. God answered that prayer in a tangible way. Jay came home six weeks after I started praying about this, and his eyes were definitely opened. He even said that he knew that people were praying for him because he felt so uncomfortable in his sin.
- Providing for My Needs. Ironically, my boss was the other woman, so that job ended when I found out about the affair. I could not collect unemployment because I voluntarily quit the job. My husband left, leaving me with no job and a huge mortgage payment that I could not pay. I prayed to my God who provides all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Amazingly, all of my needs were met while I had no income. Once Jay returned, he started a new career that he loves, and I started to work as a paralegal. God has blessed Jay in his career so much that I am now able to stay home by choice. Thankfully, we did not lose the house while Jay was gone. We modified the loan after he came back resulting in a lower monthly payment and interest rate, and we are now rebuilding our credit.
- Healing My Broken Heart. In the midst of the anguish, I could not see how I would ever be able to function again. Since then, God has healed my heart in so many ways. I still remember the pain, but now the anger is gone. I feel so strong emotionally, and I want to help others who are dealing with the aftermath of adultery. I started a support group on Facebook called Christians Surviving Marital Infidelity which allows me to encourage others who are going through the pain that I remember well.
When I look back at this time in my life, I am reminded of the Footprints in the Sand poem. The author was dreaming about walking along the beach with the Lord. She noticed that during the low periods of her life, there was only one set of footprints. She questioned the Lord as to why He was not there for her during the lowest periods of her life. The Lord explained to her that He was carrying her during those times. In the same way, God carried me through this trial. I also recognize that even though we are all capable of being hurt by others, God gives us the ability to forgive. He also heals our hearts so that we can overcome the storms of life and come out stronger as a result.
Jaylin Palacio is the author of He Will Never Leave You, a first-person narrative about facing the aftermath of adultery, the faithfulness of God, and the healing power of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the loyal spouse’s way to leaving the consequences in the hands of God and allowing God to heal the betrayed person’s heart. You can get to know more about Jaylin and check out her blog at http://jaylinpalacio.wordpress.com/know-someone-facing-the-aftermath-of-adultery/.