the day everything changed

>> February 2, 2009

A NOTE FROM CLUTCH: This is the first chapter in Cindy's book, Life After Porn: A Redemption Story. I can't think of a better way to share Cindy's story and start the conversation. Cindy is working on rewriting and publishing her book, but for now you can read the chapters online. You can also check out her posts on marriage and the couple's marriage ministry here. (Photo is a stock image and not a photo of the Bealls.)

Chapter 1 - The Day Everything Changed
by Cindy Beall

Knee deep in boxes at 217 Brackendale Lane, I heard the front door open. The jiggle of the doorknob was a familiar sound, for I knew the entrance of my husband was soon to follow. Inching my way through a small pathway in between many boxes, I looked up and saw the face of the man I married nine years ago. Chris walked toward me and asked if we could “talk”. The look on his face said enough - something was wrong.

After getting our oldest son, Noah, settled with a Blue’s Clues video, Chris motioned me toward the newly-purchased sofa that had arrived just twenty-four hours before as we began our new life in a new town.

He began by confessing that he had
numerous affairs with numerous women from numerous places. My heart began to palpitate while I listened to him. I heard the cracking of my heart as he spoke and felt the devastation setting in almost immediately. As if that information was not enough to handle, he also informed me that one of the women was pregnant, and he was pretty sure the baby was his child.

You have got to be kidding me.

I’m quite certain that Webster does not have one word that could have even come close to describing my immediate state of mind and heart condition.

Bewildered. Stunned. Shocked. Overwhelmed.
Befuddled. Floored. Jolted. Nauseated. Sickened.
Disturbed. Crushed. Dismayed. Paralyzed.
Pissed off.

Nope, none of those work. The truth is that I still can’t tell you to this day how I felt in those first few moments.

What I can tell you is that I was keenly aware that my world as I knew it was forever changed. I woke up that morning a relatively comfortable housewife and stay-at-home mom, and within a couple of hours I became a seriously damaged woman.

As one might imagine, my mind began to race with all sorts of one-word questions. What? When? Where? And of course, an all-time favorite question asked by thousands when thrown into an unwanted circumstance – Why?

I guess I need to tell you the stinger in all of this. Up until the day my husband confessed his adultery, he was a pastor at our church.

This is where your jaw drops, your eyes get big, and you might even say, “What the…?”

I began to ask questions.

Why in the world would my husband choose to do this? We both made vows to forsake all others for the rest of our lives. I had kept my vows. He had not.

Why did you need other women?
Wasn’t I enough?
Why so many?
Were you in love with any of them?
Where did it happen?
When did it happen?
What did you do with them?
What did they do to you?
How many times?
Did it happen in our home?
Did it happen in our bed?
Do I mean anything to you?
Was it all a farce?
Did our ministry mean anything?
How did you lead others to Jesus while you were living this life on the side?

He knew those questions would be coming and as I asked, he simply sat there and cried.

After gaining some composure, he assured me that it wasn’t my fault. He told me that he loved me and found me attractive. He told me that I was a great wife. He said he loved being married to me. He told me that he never loved any of the women. He told me that his relationship with Jesus was real and that he did love the teenagers to whom we ministered.

Then why on earth would you risk what we have to be with someone else?

He replied, “Because I’m addicted to pornography.”

****

Read the Introduction and Chapters 2-10.

****

What is your initial reaction to Cindy's story? Any questions for her?

Stay tuned tomorrow for an interview with Cindy.

5 comments:

Anonymous,  February 3, 2009 at 12:18 AM  

Probably a few years ago, I would not have the response I do now. My eyes have been opened and although it still is crushing to read Cindy's story, it is (to me) just another day in the life of the broken-hearted.

You may think that I am referring to Cindy, but I am not. I am talking about her husband pastor who allowed his internal struggle to not only become realized in his actions in which his marriage bond and vows are broken, but also his broken covenant with God.

What Cindy is experiencing as the wife of a pastor can be compared to what any spouse may feel when faced with the unexpected (or sometimes even suspected) reality of betrayal, rejection, deceit, and indescribable pain while also realizing that her husband has failed to live up to his own code of ethics and therefore has failed himself.

Am I angry that a baby will enter the world under these circumstances? YES! Is it wrong for me to feel this way in God's sight? YES! It's hard enough for Cindy to have to deal with her husband's affairs. It's hard enough without the added element of a new baby. Cindy will have to embrace the affair for the rest of her life through the eyes of the innocent child to come. She will have to be strong and provide healthy ways for their son Noah, and their other children to connect with and develop a lasting bond with their new sister/brother. She will ALWAYS have to be the one to 'go the extra mile' and may never truly deal with the personal damage her husband's affair caused.

The other perspective suggests that Cindy was not 'taking care of business' at home thus leaving her husband no other choice but to turn to pornography and other women. I will leave this argument for someone else...

dpm February 3, 2009 at 10:26 AM  

whoa, whoa, anonymous... let's not get caught up in the details and judging Cindy's situation with her husband. don't miss the point. this is a story about restoration and redemption. i think all of us are capable of making horrible choices that could potentially destroy our homes. yes, she does have a lot of things that she'll have to live with the rest of her life. the point is, we serve a God who can turn something horrible into something beautiful that glorifies Him. And that's what Cindy's story, testimony and life are all about. don't miss that.

Robin February 3, 2009 at 3:01 PM  

anon...unfortunately, your observations miss ENTIRELY the message of this story...one of redemption. And the neat thing is...it's available to all of us. Sin is sin. And we all need a Savior.

I know Chris and Cindy personally. This child of which you are speaking is a wonderful little boy who is dearly loved by Cindy, Chris and her boys. It's an amazing reality! It would bring tears to your eyes to witness the love they share.

Was he a mistake? No way.

What Chris chose to do has nothing to do with Cindy....to put blame on anyone else for our own sins is nothing less than a cop-out. And I know FOR SURE that Chris has never even had those thoughts.

Read the rest of their story before you jump to conclusions.....you'll be blessed! I promise :)

Natalie @ I AM (not) February 3, 2009 at 4:30 PM  

This is truly one of THE greatest redemption stories I have ever had the privledge of watching. I too know them personally and they are amazing.

I agree with Robin, please go read the rest of the story, anon., and you will watch God do miracles!

Anonymous,  February 4, 2009 at 12:10 PM  

My husband, a pastor, is a recovering addict to porn. Thankfully, he has not gone outside of internet porn at this point. God gave me an amazing strength to tackle this hidden issue. He has confessed this sin to counselors, group therapy and a few trusted friends. If there is another "slip" he knows he will need to confess to the leaders at our church. Even though he and I are OK, I do wish that he could be more open about this sin in order to witness to the congregation. And I'm sure God will lead that process one day. But right now it would not be appropriate or healthy.

I am so thankful to Cindy for sharing her story.

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