Serena Woods: Black Sheep (Pt 1)

My brave friend, Serena, has written a truly authentic and self-examining post here from the viewpoint of a woman who had an affair, had a baby, got a divorce & married the man she had an affair with.

In my opinion, she’s truly one of the bravest women I know. Her story isn’t wrapped up and tied up with a perfect little ribbon… but she still chooses to share it boldly. She doesn’t place blame. She doesn’t make excuses. She owns all her own decisions – and because of that, God has given her the most amazing platform to speak from.

It’s not what we’ve done in the past… it’s what we do with it now… TODAY.

Serena’s Blog: www.graceisforsinners.com
Serena’s Twitter: @serenawoods

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“… Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, … that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” –Luke 22:31-32 NIV

That’s the first thing God ever used the Bible to say to me. So ominous, but I had no idea what it meant.

I’ve heard so many beautiful stories about marriages that survive an affair. Poignant stories that parallel God’s relationship with His bride. If couples are willing, God uses their pain and heartbreak to feed ‘His lambs’.

I had an affair, but my story is different in the middle. When I had the choice to fight the current or ride it, I rode it. My marriage ended in divorce and I married the man I had an affair with. I had reasons and they made sense to me. I learned something about reasons, though. They’re the path of candy bits on the way to the trap. Candy can get you trapped, but it can’t set you free.

There’s a strong line when people talk about grace. For a lot of people, I’ve crossed it. If you look at my sin, I’m not a good story.

“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” – Anne Lamott

I was raised to run from evil and that meant people who do evil. There was no separation between the two. The deed and the doer were the same and I had a lot of out of context, half-scriptures to back it up. If ‘you know the tree by the fruit’, then you know the person by their sin. I was self-righteous and brutal to people in the name of Jesus.

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” — Blaise Pascal

I’m not a good story if you look at my sin. But, my story doesn’t end there.

There are numerous scriptures about chaff being separated from the wheat. The wheat is truth and the chaff is truth’s shroud. There is a threshing floor where the shroud is stripped from the truth.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” -Matthew 3:12 ESV

I never saw this in me. I didn’t know I was capable of such disgusting behavior. I had no problem in owning my fault and deserving the pain that comes with sin. I deserved getting disowned by the Christian community. The only problem was, I was still alive. I was told that any attempt I made to be forgiven would be seen as ‘role playing’. I was cut off from the cross. Jesus was heavily guarded by His followers. The shroud covering His truth.

I had a baby, got divorced and remarried in the same year. I thought our love would make it worth it.

I was wrong about a lot of things…

Count on it: The day is coming, raging like a forest fire. All the arrogant people who do evil things will be burned up like stove wood, burned to a crisp, nothing left but scorched earth and ash— a black day. But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings. –Malachi 4:1-2 MSG (emphasis mine)

I was naïve about grace back then. I thought that it would cover me. I didn’t realize how much it would change me. Jesus let me feel the dark long enough to separate the false from the truth. The chaff from the wheat. I was ‘sifted as wheat’ and ripped apart on the threshing floor.

Grace is crazy and intrusive. God didn’t save me with judgment. He saved me with love. I learned a lesson about grace. It doesn’t just cover me. It changed me.

‘…healing radiating from its wings.’…

(… to be continued… )

17 Responses to “Serena Woods: Black Sheep (Pt 1)”

  1. Jenny August 24, 2010 at 6:55 am #

    “I was naïve about grace back then. I thought that it would cover me. I didn’t realize how much it would change me.”

    Grace without change – is that really God’s grace? I will be pondering this today. Serena – so thankful that Jenni is sharing your story and this perspective of the affair journey. It is not as much talked about – but it is an important piece.

    I love the lessons God has taught you, and admire you for risking opening your heart to God… thank you for sharing your story so honestly and risking being vulnerable.

  2. Serena Woods August 24, 2010 at 7:20 am #

    Jenny,

    Thank you for your kind words. It’s definitely a sense of nakedness I’m feeling.

    Yeah, when a person is aware of the magnitude of crazy grace, it absolutely changes them. Scarred, by grace, for life.

  3. HisFireFly August 24, 2010 at 7:21 am #

    Where sin abounds.. grace abounds much more. Not that we should seek sin to obtain more grace.. but…

    what a wonderful testimony to His great love.

    Serena’s story has and will continue to touch many with His heart.

    • Serena Woods August 24, 2010 at 7:43 am #

      …and, greater gifts mean greater responsibilities.

      The gift of grace requires an end to me. I get to have my life back as long as I give it away. :)

  4. Tracey August 24, 2010 at 7:39 am #

    Serena, your Black Sheep (Part I) post was amazing! Thank God that you are willing to share your story! I too was in an adulturous relationship. I too was deeply wounded. Being able to identify with your spectrum of feelings is comforting — it helps to know that I’m not alone. May God bless you richly for your honesty, humility and transparency.

    Read more: http://www.graceisforsinners.com/life/me-today/#ixzz0xXBiCRXp
    Under Creative Commons License: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives

    • Serena Woods August 24, 2010 at 7:51 am #

      you brought tears.

      My heart –>

      To lambs lost: Hold tight. He’s coming.

  5. jenni August 24, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    how i love you, serena! thank you for sharing your story here… raw, unfiltered, real.

    you are one of the good ones, my friend. no. you are one of the GREAT ones!

  6. Bajanpoet August 24, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    Pondering this today…. Thank u for sharing Serena… I am hearing that what I think I want is not necessarily what’s good for me …. The longer we stay separated the more likely it is that my wife and I are going to divorce. I feel at one with ur story, although urs has happened and mine is being written in the pages of my life. I am holding on. I’m tired of being on the treadmill. I want to get off.

    I’m reading…. keep praying.

    • Serena Woods August 24, 2010 at 11:38 am #

      it’s heartbreaking that so many people are going through what you’re going through and they all feel individually alone.

  7. Jason August 24, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    Amazing how quickly Christians will cut someone off from access to the cross if you slip up and have an affair.

    I’m looking forward to (as the late Paul Harvey would say) the rest of the story.

    • Serena Woods August 24, 2010 at 11:55 am #

      well, let’s change that. :)

      ‘see’ you tomorrow.

  8. Jodie August 24, 2010 at 10:23 am #

    I never tire of your story. Never. I’ve been self-righteous and prideful, and still struggle with it to some degree. I’m growing in grace, I know I am, but what a powerful lie, thinking that type of “standing for righteousness” the only way to be pleasing to God. It is my heart’s desire that he separate in me, the wheat from the chaff.

    Keep writing Serena. Keep assaulting our minds with the Grace of God. Thank you for your bravery.

    • Serena Woods August 24, 2010 at 11:59 am #

      Thank you, Jodie. I used to say ‘Careful what you wish for.’ ;) But I’ve found that God has more ways of teaching a lesson than making you be on the other side of fear (love’s opposite). There are amazing people out there who have the gift of understanding grace without having to eat their words. I think you may be one of them. ;)

  9. Julie R. August 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    Serena… Praying for you as you tell your story. I am also planning on entering to win your book.

  10. Jennifer October 27, 2013 at 2:15 am #

    I love you Serena!

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