I’ve got work to do – Part 1

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

Do you ever know that you have some work to do?  And you know what the end result needs to look like?  But you just don’t know how to get there?

Kinda reminds me of my forgiveness journey.  I knew I wanted and needed to forgive Jason.  I knew that by forgiving him, my burden would be lighter.  I knew that the ONLY way to live a whole and joy-filled life was to chase after forgiveness.  And yet, I really didn’t know how to get there.

I had no choice (Actually, I had a choice – I could stew in my bitterness and resentment or I could GRIEVE) but to slowly and surely put one foot in front of the other and TRUST that God would lead the way, just as he did with the Israelites as they left Egypt some 3500 years ago –

“By day, the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night, in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or by night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” – Exodus 13:21-22

And that’s exactly what happened – I started to get real (I mean, REAL) uncomfortable sitting in my pain and grieving my reality and allowing God to lead the way.  Grieving that the one man on the planet that I chose and that I thought had chosen me – also chose other women, too.  And he never told me this reality until after I said – “I do”.  I had to grieve that no. matter. what. my marriage was officially tainted.  I had to grieve that I was officially broken.  Oh yes, so so much to grieve.

And little did I know that it was that grieving that propelled me toward forgiveness.  More specifically to the grieving, it was putting on my brave pants and getting super honest about how I felt.  You ask why it required my brave pants?  It’s because there is NO way I could FIX those feelings.  I had to SIT with them.  I had to SIT with them.  I had to SIT with them.  UGH.

And then I realized, the one and only way to move forward through the pain was to lay it all at the foot of the cross and ask Jesus to do a miracle in my heart and release me from the hurt and the pain that Jason caused.

Jason never could do enough to pay me back.


So maybe that’s the answer to my question from above.  I know I have work to do.  I acknowledged late last week that there are not one, not two, not three but FOUR people that I need to release.  Dear me.

I keep thinking of Paula Rinehart from Strong Women, Soft Hearts, where she talks about pulling out her yellow legal pad and going to town – just she and Jesus – looking inward and asking the big question – who do I need to let go of?  It’s something she says she does every six months.  Inspiring.

I’d say that’s my next step – to take out the paper and make my confessions obvious in black and white – a marker of sorts.  To confess what I did wrong in these relationships.  To confess that I’ve harbored bitterness and resentment.  And then to ask Jesus to work in me and through me to change my heart.

I am ready to release.  I am ready to be more free.  Anybody want to join me?

6 thoughts on “I’ve got work to do – Part 1

  1. D

    November 14, 2017  |  04:58 pm

    Thank you Shelley for this. Forgiveness is so difficult. The process takes too long and sometimes seems impossible. When I am struggling to forgive, to extend grace, I try to remember how much God has forgiven me. What price He was willing to pay to extend grace to me. That Jesus Christ had to die on that cross as much for my sin as anyone’s. Then I open my hands as I pray for Him to release my grip on the pain and resentment. And yes… I still have work to do.

  2. Elizabeth

    November 15, 2017  |  05:01 pm

    Your pain, and your obedience, continues bring so much hope, help and healing to the rest of us, Shelley… Love you!

  3. Chelle

    November 16, 2017  |  11:46 am

    ❤you always speak to my pain , my heart and my insecurities.. thank you . I feel God nudging me , I thought I was done grieving and letting go … guess not I need to SIT , and SIT somemore this is such a deeply personal pain , this betrayal no matter how much you know ” it’s not about me” ugh , it sure feels like it , but as a wise lady (Shelley) said in her book Rescued,” remember, what your husband has chosen to engage in isn’t about you. It was his choice. It isn’t your fault. With that being said, it’s still painfully personal and hurtful….” this is a long journey … “he can never do enough to pay me back “… truth

  4. Bonnie K

    November 16, 2017  |  06:30 pm

    Thank you Shelley for always speaking into my life at just the right moment. Xoxo Bonnie

  5. Debra

    November 27, 2017  |  08:44 am

    I am so grateful for not only the topic of having work to do but how you bring to light with such honesty that G-d often gets my attention about where to focus next through pain and that grieving is a huge part of that process.

    With a recent slip in my husband’s recovery I finally felt enough pain to stop the waiting (which to some extent I didn’t even really know I was doing) for him to do something that would take away some of this pain. After he got some help, I realized I needed to help myself. I booked a hotel room for a weekend took the lap top and got to work using Facing Heartbreak: Steps to Recovery for Partners of Sex Addicts by Carnes and Rodriguez. I usually can only do small doses of this work because it is so painful for me but I found the Inventory of My Losses on page 73 and the Envisioning Making Peace with Pain on page 75 particularly helpful. That writing process always reveals more to me than letting things race in my head and these inventories gave me the format I needed to not only articulate my losses, but get me thinking about what steps I can take to start healing and identifying what the roadblocks are.

    Another tool I use often is from one of Alanon’s books about working the 12 steps called Paths to Recovery. In discussing Step 6 (Were entirely ready to have G-d remove our defects of character) it suggests two active steps I have used over and over when I can’t figure out how to move forward with something or let go of behavior or thoughts that no longer serve me. One suggestion is to write G-d a letter stating both why I’m willing to let go of this defect, AND why I’m struggling to let it go. The second idea is to write the actual defect a thank you and good bye letter. The writing often reveals far more to me than I ever heard with the thoughts racing around in my head.

    Again, thank you for creating such a meaningful and warm space where you are like our big sister…I’m so grateful for your willingness and generosity in sharing your journey.

    • Shelley Martinkus

      November 27, 2017  |  02:29 pm

      What amazing insights you shared here. Thank YOU!!! In particular, I really love the thank you and good-bye letter. There is just something so powerful about writing feelings, thoughts and emotions in black and white and marking a big “yes” of saying – I am ready to let it go! xo – Shelley

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