Sexting, Porn & Affairs: How to Heal Layers of Pain

It’s kinda heartbreaking trying to imagine the pain of discovering that the man you love has been viewing pornography, sexting, or having an affair. Sexual betrayal deals one unbelievably devastating blow to our self-image and self-worth. You grapple with the fact that the man you thought you knew has intentionally lied and deceived you. In the midst of this betrayal you might ask if there is hope for a future free of this pain? Dr. Sheri Keffer experienced the devastation of sexual betrayal first-hand and invites you to discover the healing you can have after this trauma. She has helped many women going through the same trauma she experienced now find healing and hope. It is a grace to welcome Sheri to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Dr. Sheri Keffer

It was a cool November day as I sat in an airport waiting to fly into Reston, Virginia.

Looking down at my phone, I saw a text come in from one of the counselors, Barbara, saying, “I am praying for all of you this weekend. I am praying specifically for deliverance.”

When I got into my hotel room, I decided to look up the word deliverance:

1) The action of being rescued or set free

2) A formal or authoritative utterance

Early the next morning I got an email from a woman named Gale:

I will pray God will break those chains and truly set the women free. He is alive in us and able to overcome. I’m painting a lion as we speak. He is the Lion of Judah and is on the move in your hearts. Unleash Him! I just started painting Him so it’s mostly the underpainting. Just remember I have a bunch of work to do on this painting, just like the Lord continues to change me!

Concealed within this story is the idea of an underpainting.

These are the layers of color we never see.

The artist paints them underneath what will become the finished art piece to create richness and depth.

Like the artist Gale, we can feel exposed by our unfinished product—the imperfect parts of us that others typically don’t see.

Yet when we share our stories and invite others into these layers of rich imperfection, we can find comfort and acceptance there. 

Used by permission of Gale Strickland, artist. Underpainting

Used by permission of Gale Strickland, artist. Final painting

After seeing the painting, one of the women shared how much the idea of underpainting helped her open up in her partner trauma group:

“I felt so much shame about Adam’s sexting and affairs—I didn’t have enough curves to keep his interest. I couldn’t keep the pain in anymore, but it was too embarrassing to talk about.

When I saw that underpainting of the lion, I realized I don’t have to be perfect. My beliefs were “My body’s not good enough,” and “I’m shameful”—now I know those beliefs aren’t true.

Why am I letting Adam’s betrayal judge my body? Why am I telling my body something’s wrong with it? I used to like how I looked. When I said it out loud, the women cheered.

They met me with grace and love. Instead of hating my body, I brushed in some new layers of paint.”—Amanda

Investing in whatever it takes to heal our underlying shame beliefs will influence how we see ourselves on the surface.

That may be the most impactful portion of our recovery work.

Two hours later Sharon, one of the women on our prayer team, emailed a formal declaration of hope that included these lines:

Here is my prayer for you and the women as I read Lamentations.

Declaration of Hope

I declare God’s faithful love over you and bless you with His love that never ends!

I declare over you God’s mercies never cease and bless you with His mercies raining down upon you in this time!

I declare over you, “How great is the Lord’s faithfulness!” and bless you with the greatness of His faithfulness towards you in the midst of all that surrounds you!

I declare over you that the Lord’s mercies begin afresh each morning and bless you with His new mercies for today!

I declare over you that the Lord is your inheritance and bless you with all He has to give and provide you in this very moment!

I declare over you that your hope is in the Lord!

Yes!! I bless you that your hope is in the Lord!

I declare over you that the Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him.

And so I bless you with the goodness that comes from waiting quietly for His grace, His daily saving grace, His deliverance!

Yes! I bless you with the Lord’s daily mercies raining down!

I bless you to stand with ever-renewed hope in Him!

I bless you with the goodness that comes from quietly waiting upon His grace, His daily saving grace, His mighty deliverance!

Because your hope is in Him!

I bless you that He and He alone is Jesus!

Lord of Lords! King of Kings!

Your Champion in the seen and unseen realm!

Yes! I bless you that He is your Faithful and True One who rides the white horse!

I bless you with daily hope arising! Hope, hope, and more hope.

It was stunning to see how again these lines spoke of a Faithful and True One.

God as our Jehovah Ezer connected three women —

an artist, a counselor, and a prayer warrior —

to bring us a formal declaration of His presence, a promise of deliverance, and hope.

 

Dr. Sheri Keffer is the cohost of the nationally syndicated Christian talk show New Life Live!, with an audience of more than two million people each week on 150 stations nationwide. For nearly twenty years, she’s been in private practice as a marriage and family therapist in Newport Beach, California, and is a Certified Clinical Partner Specialist (CCPS) and Certified Sex Addiction Therapist (CSAT). She is a passionate advocate for women who’ve experienced betrayal, and she holds a doctorate in marriage and family therapy and a master’s degree in theology, both from Fuller Theological Seminary.

In her new book Intimate Deception: Healing the Wounds of Sexual Betrayal, Dr. Keffer invites you to discover the healing you can have after the trauma of sexual betrayal. As a marriage and family therapist and a woman who has personally experienced the devastation of sexual betrayal, Dr. Keffer gives you the tools you need to not only survive this traumatic experience but also thrive in your “new normal.” Life will never be the same after sexual betrayal. But you can recover and become stronger. This compassionate book shows you how.

[ Our humble thanks to Baker for their partnership in today’s devotion ]

 

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