My Pool (Part Four)

After almost two years, the affair ended… as all do in one way or another.  And there I was: alone with my thoughts..  I had been treading for almost 30 years in very murky, polluted waters.

All I ever wanted was to matter.

I wanted to be LOVED by someone…
I wanted to be GREAT at something…
I wanted to be REMEMBERED when I was gone…

And the truth was… I had MADE it.  By the age of 30 I had attained everything I ever set out to acquire.  So why did I feel like such a nobody?

My relationship with God was starting to pick up again.  This was good except He wanted to heal me.  The NERVE, right?  He was starting to reveal root issues I had buried so deeply, I wasn’t even aware they existed.  These were things I wasn’t ready to face.

My life was a swimming pool FULL of trash.  God was helping me bring all of my rubbish to the surface, but it was up to me whether I wanted to use my net to fish it out.  I knew if I were to grab the net, I would have to really look at the trash before I could destroy it once and for all.  It was much easier to just push everything back down and just never swim in the pool.

On the outside, my life still looked fine.  I accepted a new position at a local church plant in Portland as the Worship Pastor.  Brian and I got pregnant and birthed another healthy little boy, Paxton.  Chance started his first year of preschool.  I was happy… but I should have been ecstatic about my life.  My secrets were eating me alive.  I was missing out on my OWN life and couldn’t recognize it.

You see… my pool wasn’t only for me.  Brian, Chance, Paxton, our family, and all our friends were gathered around it… just waiting for me to give them the “ok” to jump in and play.  And man, did they want to play… it’s always a hot day around here.  But my pool was polluted and not safe for anyone to swim in.

It was time to clean my pool.

I told Brian about my affair, and the following 5 months were beyond painful.  My pool had been stirred and now the waters looked murkier.  I didn’t know if we were going to make it.  By the looks of it, this mess was getting worse.  This was NOT what I had signed up for.

As I was “fishing”, I began to get really angry.  I noticed that though most of the trash was tossed in by ME, a LOT of it was from other people.  However, I had a choice: to place blame and wait for “them” to come clean up their litter, or just take ownership and clean the parts that affected me.  I was mourning some deep, deep issues for the first time.  It hurt… but it was good..

While God was re-surfacing all my trash, and I was obediently fishing each and every item out one-by-one… my friends and loved ones had put a brand new filter in my pool.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the friends and family we had told were intercessing on our behalf.  They were helping me clean my pool without me even asking.

** Thank you, my dear friends.  Even now, as I write this, I sit… tearfully and humbly thankful to each and every one of you.  Thank you. **

My focus was tightly wrapped up in the rubbish I was taking out.  I mourned each and every re-surfaced piece of trash I once treasured.  I was permanently destroying the remnants of my garbage in a huge bonfire… when one day, Brian and I looked in and noticed the most amazing sight.  Not only were the waters clean, but the once cluttered pool bottom was now cleared of ALL debris.  And there stood Jesus, inviting us in with some floaty recliners and margaritas, complete with those cute little drink umbrellas made by underaged and underpaid third world children (you still there? just checkin’ to see if you’re still reading).

Friends… all of us have a pool.  And if we don’t tend to it, it will become polluted and dirty, rendering it completely useless.  I also want to reiterate that I didn’t do this alone.  Christ was there, Brian was there, and friends were there.

This can’t happen overnight.  It’s really grueling work that seems hopeless and never-ending at times.  You don’t have to do it alone… but to get help, you need to be willing to show others how dirty your pool really is.  I, for one, promise to help get you a filter for your pool if you tell me you need one.

I’m not saying my pool will be clean forever.  Occasionally, trash will drift in and the water will get stagnant.  I know Brian and I will need to drain the pool at times in our next 70+ years together and put fresh water in… but it sure is a lot easier to upkeep when we don’t let it build up.

What’s in your pool?
Isn’t it time to go swimming with all your loved ones?

I think so, friends… I think so.

The Clayville Clan


To read the whole series:
Part One: In My Daddy’s Lap
Part Two: Floater
Part Three:  My Empire

34 Responses to “My Pool (Part Four)”

  1. pa3cia September 24, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    our redeemer lives. your story has touched my life. it has opened my eyes to dig even deeper for continued healing and to find grace to forgive my mother even more. thank you for sharing your story of forgiveness and redemption.

    • jenni November 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm #

      thank you, pa3cia.

      please know i am praying for restoration in your relationship with your mother.

  2. Lynse Leanne September 24, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    jenni, i love the pool analogy. i have never thought about it that way. I have always felt like i keep different things from different people and never have anyone that knows everything…and through this i have seen that it means that no one can truly go swimming…because even if i dont have “secrets” in the truest sense of the word i still have secrets because i am not totally open to those closest to me.

    I am praying for you and Brian and the kiddos as you all jump in and go swimming. I love you!

  3. Rachel September 24, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    Jenni – you are awesome, and I so admire your honesty and the way you are using your story to encourage others!
    Oh, and that has got to be the greatest family picture ever. :)

  4. Randi September 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    Thank you Jenni. So many parts of your story are very familiar to me. It’s great to see that you came out on the other side. Gives us hope to know it is possible to fight through it. Thank you again. Will be praying for you, Brian, and the kids.

    • jenni November 24, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

      randi – i hurt for you that you have ANY familiar parts to my story. i know the pain… so i am sorry.

      thank you for praying for us. know I am praying for you!

  5. Liz September 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm #

    I just listened to this song and my spirit stirred within me and you came to my heart:

    I love you Jenni. “You have work to do.” Walk with your head up, for God’s grace is upon you. Not only is it time to start a new “marriage,” but it is also time to start a new praise.

    I pray that God will not only continue to heal and guide you, but I also pray that He put a new song in your tongue in this season of restoration.

  6. charis September 28, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    your words and honesty inspire me. the way that God is molding and directing your life is world-changing. i’ll be praying for this restoration process that is infiltrating and healing your family. keep trusting the Author and Finisher of our faith!

  7. jenni September 28, 2009 at 8:26 pm #

    Thank you, all. Your prayers are coveted and SO appreciated.

    For those of you who have similar stories in one place or another… know i am praying for you. really… i am. for your pool to be cleaned… for you to be healed.

    God is in the business of restoration. He is soooo good!!!

  8. Helen September 29, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    I love this photo. I love your family. And I love YOU!

    • jenni November 24, 2009 at 11:46 pm #

      i love YOU, sister!

  9. Joseph Louthan September 29, 2009 at 10:57 am #

    This is absolutely incredible. Glory to my God.

  10. Lindsey @ A New Life October 10, 2009 at 12:11 am #

    “I had a choice: to place blame and wait for “them” to come clean up their litter, or just take ownership and clean the parts that affected me”

    Oh wow, this really moved me. I am really struggling through some forgiveness issues right now and your words reminded me that all I can be responsible for is myself and my actions.

    The man I was involved with was a leader in our church who befriended me, knew all about my abusive childhood and wrecked marriage, and was my first real exposure to Christ. After the affair was over and we were in recovery, our pastor revealed to me that his interest in me had been deliberate. He was a predator. And of course, once that was said it was all so clear.

    While I have taken responsibility for my actions in choosing to give in and slowly learned, as you have to have, to have healthy relationships with other believers and especially other women; it is SO difficult to not to want to DEMAND an explanation from him. How he could take someone seeking God and just destroy them.

    Love this, and thank you!

    • jenni November 9, 2009 at 11:34 am #

      i’m looking forward to reading more of your story, lindsey. keep telling it. it’s part of the healing… not just for YOU, but for people you may never know.

      praying for you. really!

  11. Lindsey @ A New Life October 10, 2009 at 12:12 am #

    Sorry, a little tired so my grammar is all messed up :-)

  12. Traylor October 19, 2009 at 9:20 am #


    Thank you for your boldness and courage to share your story of redemption. I have a very similar story and have learned first-hand just how amazing God’s grace truly is.

    Unlike your story, my sexual sin ended my 11 year marriage. We were divorced for 6 years and God miraculously restored our relationship and we were remarried last October. Every day for us is a reminder that God specializes in bringing beauty from the ashes. Our Redeemer lives. We know. We have experienced it first-hand…just like you.

    Our Story

    God bless you and your family and keep telling your story!


    • jenni November 9, 2009 at 11:35 am #

      your story is amazing, traylor! thank you for linking it here!

  13. ckroboth November 4, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    Ok.. I just read through all four parts for the first time.

    Thank you!!! Just Thank You, for the honesty.

    Can we make Christ is our Pool cleaner t-shirts? OK maybe not. ;)

    Peace and Love

    • jenni November 4, 2009 at 10:41 am #

      let’s do it. haha! thanks for reading, friend.

  14. Ruthie November 9, 2009 at 1:11 am #

    Thank you. My pool began to be cleaned this year. It’s still pretty murky and there’s a long way to go but your story gives me hope. Life also went ‘pear shaped’ for me around the age of 7…

    Now I know of you, I will be praying for you.

    • jenni November 9, 2009 at 11:33 am #

      thank you, ruthie… and i, you! keep on cleaning. it’s a lifelong process… but SO worth it in the end.

      God bless you!

  15. Chrissy November 16, 2009 at 3:29 pm #

    Hi there,

    I’ve been reading your story, and I just want to say that I really appreciate the honesty and openness with which you have written it. There’s a lot to be learned from the experiences you’ve so willingly shared. Thanks so much.

    I also want to tell you, that picture above? Is the most awesome thing I’ve seen all day! How adorable! :]

    • jenni November 17, 2009 at 12:10 am #

      thanks, chrissy!!! the photo above was taken by Joshua White with Love is Greater Photography. He’s pretty awesome!

  16. Tina November 18, 2009 at 8:49 pm #

    Thank you for sharing so fully the raw truth. I know not what God has planned for me but have vowed to follow and asked Him to lead. This has touched me in a way that makes me think I’ll be doing some pool cleaning of my own. I see myself in the descriptions of your mother “emotionally checked out” and worry that I’m not able to provide the things my own daughter needs as your mom did not provide for you. Please pray for me. Thank you agian for sharing. What a marvelous ministry to allow God to reach people in this way through your story. Brian is a blessed man and what a force of strength God has made him into. Wow.

    • jenni November 18, 2009 at 9:15 pm #

      Tina… believe it or not, the fact that you are even aware of that right now is good. i don’t think my mother was aware. she did the best she could with what she had, but was and still isn’t aware of how damaging she really is.

      you can’t live in fear. just live day-to-day… and find a way to tell your daughter how much she means to you every moment you think of it. remind her how much you love her and tell her how proud you are of her. when you mess up, apologize. she knows you’re not perfect, but it’s amazing how far an “i’m sorry” can go.

      • Tina November 18, 2009 at 11:27 pm #

        Lately, I’ve really been working on those things with her. I hope that even though I still don’t have the time I’d like to devote to her, that I can at least make her know that I love her. Thank you for your words of encouragement. Please know that you and your family are also in my prayers. Brian is actually a childhood friend, we were not close, but still I knew him and his family and our parents knew each other. I’m happy that God has brought you two together to bless each other’s lives and the lives of others. Please continue to pray for me and my family and also that I might find a place of worship here in Pendleton, OR that is a good fit for us. God bless you. He is truly amazing!

  17. JD August 11, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    I love, love, love analogies, and yours was great, Jenni.

    This really spoke to me: “I had a choice: to place blame and wait for “them” to come clean up their litter, or just take ownership and clean the parts that affected me” I can relate… I could be angry and bitter at my father (or satan!) for 18 years of sexual abuse/slavery, but what good would that do? To use your analogy, it’d be like taking a big huge gulp of polluted pool water and expecting him to choke on it and die, it just wouldn’t honor God. He forgives us freely, and so must we.

    My issue with my mom is that she can’t handle the reality of what my father did, of what he’s still capable of, and her denial is utterly dangerous for all of us. God’s working on it :)

  18. Rebecca August 24, 2010 at 10:31 am #

    I had an affair 2 years ago told my husband, i think we worked through it all, but i still don’t feel free of it.

  19. Laura August 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm #

    Aside from this being an AMAZING grace filled, faith filled, life changing story….the picture at the end is just beyond words! I am smiling ear to ear for your family, and I don’t even know you. In fact this is the first day I’ve ever read your blog.

  20. Celiza November 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Thank you. You put to words what I have been feeling. The things I couldn’t quite make sense of were there, written out for me. Your testimony gives me hope for myself.

  21. Sarah August 16, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Thank you, Jenni, for sharing your story. I am there. I just revealed an affair to my husband and I covet all prayers for restoration. I have clearly heard from God in so many ways that He wants to restore this marriage but my Brian doesn’t believe it or want to try. I know my God can do the impossible! I know that He wants to use our marriage as an example to others of His mercy and grace and restoration.


  1. My Pool « He Is Our God - August 5, 2010

    [...] recently read @jclayville‘s blog about her pool. Take a moment and read it so you know where I’m going with this. [...]

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