At Christmas time, I think of the many people whom I have the honor and privilege of helping through the “dark valley of the shadow of death” – the pain of dealing with an affair in your marriage.
When we were surviving our own affair-healing nightmare fifteen years ago, I remember wondering if it was even sane of me to believe that I could ever know a single day of happiness in my life again. Oh, but I did. Many, many days of joy above and beyond what I could imagine.
I share these words with you now as an encouragement. You may be in your darkest hour, but you can and you will get through this. I hope you will avail yourself of the more than 100 articles, and more than 50 podcasts available right here (see left side bar) covering every aspect of affair recovery. You can and you will get through this.
I want you to know that we really do understand. Since our own recovery is now fifteen years past, when we reach out to help you, we are relating from our memory and from the experience we’ve gained in working with hundreds of couples and individuals over the past twelve years to restore their lives after infidelity.
We know that one of the things people have greatly appreciated about our approach is how personal it is. To us, you are not a number or a “case file.” You are a unique, real, hurting person who deserves to be treated with respect. In this regard, we also have come to realize that from time to time, people like to hear something personal and current from us. With this in mind, here is our Christmas message to yo.
BELIEVING FOR YOUR CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!
We have been anticipating Christmas with extra excitement for some weeks now. Our three children have grown up, married, and we have four wonderful grandchildren. When Brian and I were young, we didn’t have extended family close, and so many Christmas’ were spent with just the five of us.
So for me it’s extra exciting to have multiplied our five into twelve. Since the kids have grown up and built their own families, I no longer get to spend every Christmas with them, because sometimes they spend it with their in-laws, and sometimes they’ve gone on a vacation Christmas. But we’ve agreed that every 3rd Christmas would be a Bercht family Christmas. And this is our year!
My father passed away this year. Since he outlived everyone in his life, except his kids, a funeral would have only involved a handful of family, and since we are spread out living in Copenhagen, Chicago, and Washington, we decided it made most sense to have a memorial for our father over the holiday, when it was actually feasible for us all to gather.
So we are hosting fourteen people for Christmas this year. For us, that is a big Christmas gathering, and I could not ask for a better Christmas present.
The one thing I’ve desired more than anything throughout my life is to be part of a family. You see, growing up my parents were divorced, and I was raised by my single parent mom. My core family growing up was my mom, one brother, and me. (Other half brothers came later from future marriages of my parents.) I was always jealous of kids who had a mom and a dad, and a seemingly “normal” life.
When I married Brian, I finally had that family I longed for.
Family means the world to me, and throughout my life, I’ve done my very best to be a good wife, and a good mother, and to nurture an environment filled with laughter, joy and peace, where each member would feel loved, respected, encouraged and safe.
My successes have not come without failures too. There can be a gap between our intentions and our execution. No one is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage or a perfect family.
Just because we’ve overcome many trials and obstacles (including an affair in our marriage), done our best to do the right things, and even achieved a certain amount of success, does not mean we are exempt from trouble, difficulty and pain. At times we still have these. They are, after all, part of life.
Life ebbs and flows like the seasons. I am thankful for seasons of blessing, and I know that I also need to be thankful for seasons of suffering, because it is in the seasons of suffering that our character has a chance to grow. That is easier said than done. As my good friend Gayle likes to say, “If suffering is supposed to make me a better person, than just leave me the jerk that I am.”
While looking forward to this wonderful big Christmas of fourteen with such joy, I was hit with a trial, seemingly out of nowhere. I felt like I was punched in the stomach. The pain was huge. It tested my faith. I wanted to do something, but there didn’t seem to be anything I could do. Anything I tried to do or say seemed to make matters worse. I felt powerless.
As I decorated my Christmas tree, I felt melancholy. I tried to use my “tools,” the ones we encourage others to use, like counting your blessings, and living in the present … but my mind kept going back to the people who were hurting, then to the things that hurt me, and then to my knees in prayer, because sometimes you just need a miracle, and there is nothing else you can do, because you’ve tried everything, and nothing has worked, and all your efforts seem to futile. You become desperate.
With each ornament came memories of Christmas’s past, the good Christmas’ and the bad Christmas’. Relationships! Why do we hurt one another? Why so much misunderstanding? Things left unsaid, that should be said? Things said, that should never be said?
To believe, if suffering comes to us, (and it does) that things can be turned around, that what seeks to destroy us can, in fact, become a stepping-stone to a better life. Give it two years, and see where you are at then.
We here at Passionate Life Seminars and the Beyond Affairs Network would like to stand now with you and believe for your miracle.
So what miracle do you need this Christmas? What is your greatest need? What is the deepest desire of your heart? Write it down, right now. Consider your list, carefully.
This Christmas, if you would like, we would like to stand with you and believe for your miracle, so we are inviting you to share your request for a miracle with us, and if you would like, we will pray for you.
To share just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . We assure you that your email is confidential. The only people who have access to emails to this address are myself, Brian, and Passionate Life Coach Tammie, who has worked right along side Brian and I for ten years.
With a heart to help,