“…the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” Isaiah 61:1
At the very heart of Revive Ministries is the Scripture Isaiah 61:1-3. Each verse captures what we pray women will experience as they seek their identity in Christ. All this month we have been talking about freedom, so today we wanted to focus on “binding up the brokenhearted and proclaiming freedom”. Today’s post is a little different from our usual weekly bit o’ encouragement, but we felt that it was important and relevant for so many of the women we encounter every day.
Over the years, we have met many women who have experienced betrayal in their marriages or relationships. It is precisely the kind of experience that turns one’s entire world upside down leaving deep questions about their own identity, and leaves wounds that are painful. The truth is, life is messy and painful and no one is exempt from brokenheartedness or disappointment. When we met our guest blogger Stephanie Broersma, and heard her story of being a broken bride made whole again through Christ, we knew we had to share it with you. Whether you yourself have been through the trauma of betrayal in your marriage, or maybe you know someone who has, you will be blessed and encouraged with Stephanie’s real-life insight, wisdom and humor.
Stephanie Broersma is the author of “Reclaimed: Finding Your Identity After Marital Betrayal” and the founder of Reclaimed Ministries. Her mission is to help others find wholeness and healing again after infidelity, through redefining their identity in Christ.
Below is an excerpt from her book that we are honored to share with you. Stephanie will also be our guest in a special episode of The Experience Revival Podcast, that comes out on Friday! In the podcast, you’ll hear more of Stephanie’s story and how Reclaimed Ministries came to be, learn how a traumatic relationship experience can shape your identity and how you can move past shame, anger and brokenness to gain confidence as you rebuild trust and self-worth in Christ.
A big thank you to Stephanie Broersma for her willingness and vulnerability to share her heart and her story with us! “Reclaimed: Finding Your Identity After Marital Betrayal” is available this month for purchase as an individual devotional or a group study, at reclaimedministry.com.
“Reclaimed: Finding Your Identity After Marital Betrayal” by Stephanie Broersma
“It is critical to know who you are in Christ as you offer yourself to your marriage and other relationships.”
Many women, scrambling to pick up the pieces of a broken heart after the confession or discovery of a marital affair, often state the same question: “Who am I?”
Everything a broken and devastated bride thought they knew about themselves suddenly becomes testimony in the courtroom of life, with their identity on the witness stand. “You’re not a good wife because your husband cheated on you and sought pleasure through a pornography addiction rather than his wife. You’re not pretty enough or skinny enough, so your husband went outside the marriage to seek beauty. How can you be a good friend or mom if you can’t keep your marriage whole?”
The majority of women walking through a confession have expressed how shattered their self image is after attempting to pick up the pieces of betrayal. I know this all too well. When my husband confessed to a ten year pornography addiction followed by multiple affairs, my entire being was crushed. Who I was no longer existed and everything I thought to be true was seen and felt as a lie. My complete existence was felt as a veil of ungodly beliefs and the Enemy had his firm hand on my identity, worth and my value. The command to kill my self worth was perfectly being executed by the maker of lies and his legions. The negative narrative that kept on repeating in my head was that my husband’s web of sin and consequences now defined the person I would be, if I could ever make it out alive. I felt as if the mistakes in our marriage would now identify how I approached relationships. Shame, embarrassment, filth and self disappointment weighed like a ton of bricks making it impossible to take a deep breath.
Your identity is not found in the sins of the past or web of consequences from the mistakes in your marriage. Your identity is found in the Risen Savior!”
I continually wrestled with God about who I was now, and yet His gentle voice would quiet the wandering thoughts that consumed my every waking minute. What I learned in the months post confession was that if I couldn’t identify who I was in Christ, my faith would be crippled and from there every other relationship would fail. Securing my own relationship in Christ was key to healing my wounds before attempting to heal the “us” in our new marriage.
Knowing who you are in Christ is key to any relationship, especially your relationship with yourself. Your identity can’t walk out in confidence if you don’t understand the depth of God’s love for you. You can’t love well if you don’t experience His love first. Scripture reminds us of how much God loves us.
In 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) it says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”
Our citizenship is awaiting us in Heaven. Abba, your Daddy, has given you “a crown of beauty, the oil of gladness, a garment of praise and an everlasting joy.” (Isaiah 61:3,7 NIV)
The negative narrative needs to stop cycling through your head and heart, and instead be replaced with Godly beliefs that speak truth and life. It takes discipline to silence the lies that influence and persuade the course of your life. The narrative we have with ourselves will determine the decisions we make in every relationship we share, in the circle of community we live in. This has been an incredible challenge for me as I battle with self worth, questions of identity, whether I’m good enough, and knowing my value as a cherished bride. The pornography addiction stripped all ideas of beauty from my mind. How am I to compete with airbrushed images and Hollywood fantasies? God clearly did not wire me to be that sexy, mischievous or exposed. But, let me tell you this much…I’ve since learned that’s not what my husband desires for me to be.
Having the clarity to separate the truth from lies has greatly increased my view of who I am. Knowing that I am accepted, secure and significant as a chosen, claimed, precious daughter of Christ’s is key to any pursuit of healing and wholeness. Speaking these truths out daily over yourself, your home and family is such a powerful tool against the Enemy.
You are not called to be weak. You are not of lesser value or diminished by another’s sinful actions. You are not defined by sin or the mistakes of your past. You are not unworthy to someone else’s love. You are not too far lost to be rescued by the Creator of the Universe.
You ARE enough. You ARE worthy. You ARE chosen. You ARE bought by the blood of Christ. You ARE forgiven. You ARE beautiful. You ARE redeemed. You ARE a child of God. It should be a daily discipline to silence the lies and shame of the Enemy, who is here to “kill, steal and destroy,” (John 10:10) God wants you to share in an intimate (in-to-me-see) relationship with Him as He’s already given you a place at His table. Take a seat, rest in His truth and know that you ARE His.
Are you ready to embrace your eternal identity? What do you currently see your image being rooted in? What evidence is there that Christ is working in your life?
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NIV)