“Why I stay” … Alexis impressive faithfulness in the midst of strong feelings
Remember my friend Maria?
She amazes me daily with her heart to be a wonderful mom for her daughter, overcoming their difficult past with her teachable, soft spirit.
Today I will introduce to you another friend of mine. Let’s call her Alexis.
Alexis is married and a mother of two children, age five and seven.
She’s a devoted worship leader in a big church.
In the past months she experienced an overwhelmingly difficult situation. During our phone calls (as she lives many hours away) she told me what she experienced and how she was dealing with it. Many times I was blown away by her way of handling it.
I asked her, if she would agree to share her story with you.
I know her story is a story that could happen to anyone. It could happen to me.
However, the way she dealt with it was mind blowing to me. I doubt I would have that same strength, faithful heart, determination and love for God she was showing.
All right, let’s go:
The following letter is addressed to a young man on my team. I will call him John. He’s single, attractive, gifted and very kind. After nine months he decided to quit the worship team and leave the church because he felt the call to go back to his hometown church.
This letter will be my last deep and personal words to you, but there are still some things I would like to tell you.
During the past months as we have played together in the band, our relationship has grown incredibly. We both tried to stop this growth because we both knew that our relationship was becoming something that wasn’t right. But the more we tried to detach, the deeper it got. It was like magic, a feeling that we just understood each other without words. You always felt what was going on inside of me without me saying anything. We had a non-verbal communication that no one around us had understood, not even my husband.
This feeling of being seen, understood and taken seriously was incredibly beautiful, but it made the relationship complicated.
If anybody criticized me, you’d defend me in front of everybody. I knew I could trust you, and you supported me wherever you could. But not only to me you were so kind (that would have simply been a bad flirting for me) no, you have an incredible heart for everyone, this has touched me deeply. You saw the best in every person, through every weakness you accepted people and made them feel valuable and loved. However, you radiated strength and did not let yourself be crushed. You always radiated a magnificent dignity! I never saw you lose your temper or treat anyone with a moody or derogatory attitude.
Your longing for God struck me away; when you worshiped, you so often reminded me of King David. You forgot everything during the worship times and it always seemed so sincere and emotional.
Your warmth and empathy magically attracted me. I had never seen a man who could make such dazzling compliments, they seemed so sincere, serious and touched me so much. I felt seen, appreciated and your honoring attitude in so many things touched me again and again!
In your presence I found myself very attractive, very pretty. Even if you rarely said anything into my direction, your glances and your attitude at those moments when I entered the room said enough to me. I just knew it.
It felt so good to be seen as a woman, because up until then, I only saw myself as an unattractive mother.
Suddenly I felt the urge to be pretty again but when I realized that it was because of you, I often resisted that urge. You’ve triggered a lot in me in this area, which I’d completely forgotten since I had children.
So our relationship got more and more complicated and one morning I woke up and I realized that …
I had fallen hopelessly in love with you.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams that you would fall in love with me, too. That a man could fall in love with a married woman was not a reality for me.
But in spite of everything, I always knew I would never give myself in to you and start a relationship. Whether it was an affair or something else, I didn’t have to think about it for long.
God also spoke clearly to me and showed me a vision that I was very hungry for recognition and you have an hurting heart. We would both try to help each other with a little water or a small bandage. But your and my recognition is far too little for your and my needs, but we need the great stream of the living God, Jesus Christ.
Only he is able to satisfy my hunger and heal your wounds. I held on to that. In addition,
Jesus told me that this was not a decision between you and my husband, but between temptation and Jesus!
“This was not a decision between you and my husband, but between temptation and Jesus!”
You know, I love Jesus more than anything and I never intentionally do anything that hurts him or doesn’t match his will for my life. I can’t do this!
Sure, my feelings wanted to, but my heart couldn’t and wouldn’t. I was deeply divided and this almost tore me apart. My dilemma was so big that I lost 22 pounds. It just made me lose my appetite. Whenever I could not attend rehearsals or church services for various reasons, I was aching to get there, I had such a longing for you. How often have I tried to let you go in every conceivable form… but only one encounter with you and I was simply melted again. I could hardly think clearly anymore.
A storm was raging within me, but it was also a very beautiful time, very exciting and intense. Somehow I felt life in me again and I could have embraced the whole world.
It was like a game and we had gone way too far, because we totally burned ourselves on it. But no matter, even if we hadn’t gone that far-
There was only the wrong way to play this game. And Victory would have been our defeat.
I was so incredibly relieved when you finally left, I couldn’t have lasted another day having you so close to my side.
“There was only the wrong way to play this game. And Victory would have been our defeat.”
Because my decision is not based on feelings, it does not come out of the moment.
My decision is connected with many struggles, tears and pains. That’s why my decision is irrevocable, I can’t help it, even though it would have been my most ardent wish..
I choose the way Jesus shows me and unfortunately this way is only a way without you.
Through all my pain, my longings and my incredible feelings I choose a life without you. I love Jesus and I can’t leave the straight path.
Also, after a long time of mourning I’ve come to realize that I was so hungry for your approval, acceptance, love and admiration, because I have not gotten this in my relationship with my husband for a long time. You showed me what I’m missing, you opened a part in me that I had felt for a long time but had never seen. That’s why I was so receptive and that’s why I always gave you the feeling that I was still free, although my words were always different.
But it is not up to you to fill this longing, because that would inevitably lead to adultery and this I can’t and won’t do.
My heart is totally broken right now, yes, I have the feeling that my heart is shattered when I have to let you go, but
my prayer is that my heart will not become bitter or hard in this whole story.
I remind myself that God has loved us since the foundation of the world, he loves us in these short years we live on this earth and after that he also loves us for eternity. Now during this brief time on earth it is the only time we can love Jesus back with our own free will. The only time we would have had many possibilities to go our own way, to follow our feelings or something else.
I have decided to follow Jesus, and I am not turning away from this.
Yes, we cannot change the truth, but the truth changes us – if we allow it to.
I return to where I belong, to my husband and my children. I have decided to stay there and be faithful. I want to love my husband, even if this has little to do with feelings at the moment. We have come to the end of our relationship, but not the relationship with Jesus. He will satisfy my thirst and create new things. He’s a God who sees much further than we can ever see. I believe in a breakthrough in my marriage, but first you must go, even out of my thoughts. With God we’ll make it!
“We cannot change the truth, but the truth changes us – if we allow it to.”
In midst of these intense longings and feelings, she stood firm. She refused to follow them and did what she knew right. She had the courage to face her unmet needs, her longings and deep pain. In her pain, she ran to Jesus, many times she was at his feet, pouring her heart out to him.
I admired her for her love for Jesus, her radical decision to follow HIS process in her life, not taking shortcuts or accepting an easy solution to calm her painful reality.
Alexis and her husband are both more than willing to go through the process of healing and restoration. Both realize that all their efforts will not be enough to overcome their present situation.
However, they are surrounded by people they can trust in. They have a counselor to whom they can be real, someone helping them in their process to rebuild their marriage by the grace of God. And they have this authentic relationship with God. They let God into their painful reality of their life.
We all live in a real world, with real problems and real longings. I pray that her story, the things she realized in her situation can help you in whatever individual situation you encounter yourself in.