An Open Letter of Encouragement

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“Courageous” by Casting Crowns
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My Friends, I have a story to tell you. I hope it brings encouragement and hope for a future of intimacy and honor.

Last week, Tuesday I think [actually January, 2021], Lynn hurt her back picking up a log that was too big for her. I jokingly told her she was showing off for her boss as he had the other end. She re-injured a recurring back injury and is currently in constant, often excruciating pain. We’ve been dealing with that all week. Her resolve and her temperament is being challenged with the constancy of the pain and the lack of sleep.

Last Thursday her best friend came over for a long personal weekend with God. She stayed in Newport and on Saturday Lynn drove down for the day to see her. I stayed home and did some office work, straightened out the garage and dismantled the fence that blew down. I got a lot done. It was a great feeling.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Saturday from about 11am to 5pm I was alone.

Lynn and I are “those people” who make their bed every morning. On Sunday, as Lynn was in the shower, I began making the bed. On the sheet I saw what looked like lipstick. I know for a fact, after 38 years, Lynn “NEVER” goes to bed with lipstick on. I instantly felt the old panic begin to well up inside of me. The voices in my head whispering, “You were alone yesterday. She’s going to think you cheated. AGAIN! It doesn’t matter that you didn’t do anything wrong. How are you going to explain this? You’re toast! You’re going to lose EVERYTHING!” In that moment I even considered getting a washcloth and trying to clean it off. It was on the sheet. I could wash it off. Hide it. The pillows would cover up the wet spot. It’ll dry and she’ll never know. Lynn was in the shower. She’d never know. As you all know, this entire thought process took a whopping 5 seconds (or less) to fly through my brain.

Praise God as sanity began to return and the “right” possibilities began to flow. Lynn “never” goes to bed with lipstick on. But I know it wasn’t me. There’s got to be an explanation. V-T-H and being forthcoming – NO MATTER THE COST. I chose to toss the pillows to the foot of the bed, leave the sheet unfolded so the mark was visible and wait for Lynn to get out of the shower. Our Recovery Action and Safety Action Plans require that I be forthcoming. Now that I think about it, my walk with Jesus requires it. Whatever it is. When she got out of the shower, I showed her the mark. In spite of the fact that I had done nothing wrong, my heart was pounding.

“Do you know what this is?” I asked.

“Oh. Yes. Last night I needed some Chapstick and the only one I could find in the dark was the tinted one I rarely use. Apparently, I got it on the sheet.”

The tears welled up and flowed. Even now, as I think back on it, they well up.

She looked at me and said, “You thought I’d blame you?”

“Yeah.”

“But I’m not unreasonable.”

“I know that now. Finally. But I still fear the time satan puts out a stumbling block that I’m not able to adequately explain. I don’t want to lose you.”

The lies in your head will never give up. Sure, they get less frequent and not as loud (thank God!) and they get easier to recognize and dismiss but they’re always going to be looking for an opportunity. This is war, after all. As long as you’re drawing ever nearer to Jesus and your Heavenly Father, and Holy Spirit dwells richly in you, the minions of the father of lies will never give up. I know. It sounds weird, but TAKE COURAGE IN THAT KNOWLEDGE. You’re kicking his behind and he’s ticked off. God your Father is trustworthy; always faithful; always loving. And your wives, the Godly women they are, are trustworthy; not unreasonable. I believed the lie for 33 years that Lynn was unreasonable and untrustworthy … no more. She is the Daughter of the Most High God. Heavenly Royalty. Even in excruciating pain.

To be fully honest, she laughed at first. Then she realized how deeply I was feeling it and we talked through it. Maybe I shouldn’t have felt the fear so strongly as I did and boldly strode into the conversation with “right on my side.” Probably. That’s twice now where something unusual has brought us to the “trusting point.” True to His Word, Holy Spirit was there and exposed the lies for what they were and helped me choose wisely. And Lynn? She’s two for two in the being totally reasonable department. The next one should be easier.

Now that it’s out here in print, it seems a little sappy. But you should be used to that from me by now. 😊 Still, I share it with you to give you hope and encouragement – no matter where you are in your walk.

I love you guys. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Freedom is a gift from God. It is also His Promise; and He ALWAYS keeps His Promises.

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