FROM ADULTERY TO FORGIVENESS
By Jenni Clayville: Adulteress. Promise Breaker. Home Wrecker. Whore.
Those are my labels. I can't say I don't know how I got here, because in July 2006, I intentionally chose to break my marriage vows. I chose to step into an affair.
I was aware of what I was doing every step of the way. I knew I was breaking my covenant to my husband. I knew I was helping him break his promise to his wife. And, oh, the kids...
At that time, I was a pastor at a large church. My faith was strong – at least I thought it was. Yet for 3 years, I chose a deep, dark pit while I kept going back to him. And when it was over, I continued to choose darkness by keeping it a secret.
Then, one day, I finally chose a different path: Restoration.
I didn't know that's what I was choosing then. All I knew was I couldn't keep the secret anymore. I confessed, first to my husband, then my pastor, then to everyone else. And before I knew it, I was getting a second chance. Though I didn't deserve it, grace was extended to me from multiple directions. And because I was so broken, I didn't know what to do other than accept it – soak it in.
But extending grace to myself? That was a different story. Though my husband eventually forgave me, and many of the friends I hurt forgave me, and even the wife of the man I had an affair with forgave me... I couldn't forgive myself.
After all, who in the world wants an AFFAIR to be a part of their story?
So I made a decision. I knew I could never undo what I had done, or pretend it never happened. And though my past was labeled, I made a decision to not define myself by what I had done. Instead, a new label had to be made, but I couldn't do it by myself.
I dove headfirst into counseling and life coaching. My counselor was my "doctor". She gave me the "prescriptions" to heal. My coach was like a "cancer survivor" helping guide my decisions in my new journey. The waters were murky, but I stayed in, neck deep, because quitting was not an option. And before I knew it, the water cleared up. My soul was healed and I wrote a new label for myself:
I chose a second chance.
Forgiveness is still a daily ritual for me, and though what I've done will never be forgotten, I'm not longer defined by who I was. I have a choice to be who I am today.
FORGIVEN PROMISE KEEPER HOME MAKER RESTORED
And THAT'S who I am!