This post was written by my (Elaine’s) mother.
I heard the question asked, “How do you know someone truly is repentant?” The answer, “Time will tell.”
Months before Dave was “discovered” we could tell something was not right. I guess the best word I can come up with is that he was absent — emotionally, physically & spiritually. I can remember that look in his eyes to this day.
I am 60 years old and I have walked through the premature deaths of my father, my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law, and five sweet precious babies to miscarriage. I have walked through very difficult circumstances with friends, including infidelity. By far, these days were the hardest of my life.
I will never forget the words Elaine said when she showed up barefoot at our door VERY early one morning. “I have every reason to believe Dave is having an affair.” She crawled into our bed as she had often as a child. I held her and we cried and prayed for about an hour until she forced herself to go home because the girls would be getting up. She would get them and come back to our home.
I called out to the Lord asking for wisdom.
Later that day, I had to run back to their house to pick up something for her. The picture in my mind is of Dave sitting in his bed, shoulders slumped in total defeat. A true picture of someone who had hit rock bottom. When we have been absent from the Lord’s presence and living life our way, I think it’s then that we seek God with all our heart.
Dave had to find a place to go. We opened our home to him. Had we not prayed for wisdom? God laid it on our hearts and we chose to obey. In the days to follow, I had several ask me how we could do that. My answer, he was a sinner just like me and we had opened our hearts completely to love him as a son when he joined our family. We had no other choice. Jesus expected nothing less.
We have a very wise pastor/wife team at our church. They were both right there for us. Our Pastor recommended a course of action to Dave. First, he had to make things right with God. I can hear Dave telling us, “I just want my girls back, but I have to get things right with God first.” He was instructed to fast and to get in the Word of God. He did just that. He spent hours up in our guest room. Each time I saw him I would notice a difference. It was the burden of sin being lifted. We prayed often for him and with him. Roy or I would lead in prayer. Dave couldn’t, at first. Then it came. We sat down to pray and he boldly said, “I want to pray!”
We heard the most beautiful, humble prayer as He talked to God. This was the beginning of confession of sins. It was a goose bump moment for me to hear our daughter’s husband speak to the Lord the way he did! His countenance was changing. We saw the look of forgiveness on a repentant sinner’s face … forgiven by God but not yet by his wife. He desperately longed for her forgiveness but he knew it would take time and lots of work.
After that prayer time, Dave always led out in prayer when we gathered to talk and pray. He started taking actions to demonstrate to Elaine his desire to heal and restore their family.
The burden of sin is heavy – forgiveness lightens our load. I think that totally describes what I saw in Dave. I know this was a process but we witnessed the beginning. Trust had been broken and it would take time to build that trust. I am so glad Dave and Elaine took the time, sought Godly counsel and worked super hard to rebuild their marriage on the foundation of Christ.
It was hard to see Dave leave our home once a friend opened his home to him but we knew it was the right thing for all of us. We couldn’t keep up the pace of being there for Dave at our home and there for Elaine at their home. Elaine needed to be able to come to our home and she wouldn’t with Dave here. I am so glad we chose to obey the Lord and do what He told us to do because I will cherish the memory of those days forever.
Remember my first sentence? “Time will tell!” Dave’s repentance was indeed genuine. That season was very hard, especially for the two of them, but it was worth it. “Joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
~Norma (Elaine’s mother)