One hurting pastor.
His hurting wife.
Two separate letters with the same message…
Two sinners needing forgiveness but will THEY forgive?
One amazing Savior.
One hurting pastor’s letter:
“Sonya Brunner, you are a beautiful picture of God’s grace and mercy. What a powerful story of redemption. My wife and I just watched your video testimony and then we read a few of your articles.
What no one knows is that my wife and I have been struggling in our marriage for the last year or so to the point that both of us have been tempted to cheat. A couple joined our church and we hit it off right away. We’d even do vacations together and our kids went to school together. We spent a lot of time together. In ministry it’s difficult to find people that you can trust. We were both craving relationships that we could just be ourselves and connect with people that had similar goals and interests as we did.
They were encouraging to us, especially the wife. She would tell me how much my sermon spoke to her and she would always pray for me. She was an excellent listener and was ready to offer support to us…to me…all the time.
One night I got a phone call from the wife of this couple saying she had car trouble and needed a ride. My wife was visiting her mother out of town with the kids and her husband was away on a business trip. I didn’t think twice about helping her out because that’s the relationship that we had with this family.
When I got there, it was clear that she was going to need a tow truck, so I waited with her. It was getting late by this time and we kept talking. Finally the tow truck got there and they towed her car to the shop and I took her home. She had a box with her and I carried it in for her. When we got inside, she asked me if I wanted something to drink and I was thirsty so I agreed. We sat at the kitchen table and a few minutes turned into hours. She shared that her marriage was not going well and she felt that her husband might be having an affair. I shared that my marriage was not going well either.
I don’t know why I shared that with this woman. Maybe I felt safe to do so, I don’t know. My wife wasn’t around very much. She wasn’t happy with the amount of time I was spending at the church. Because this woman was sharing her pain, I guess I felt I could share mine with someone who would listen. She didn’t judge me but she willingly listened like she cared.
When she started to cry, I stood up to hug her.
There was this moment that she and I were holding each other and I realized that I could easily kiss her. I knew the moment that I put my hands on her, it was wrong. The truth was I WANTED to kiss her. I pushed away from her and left immediately. But this event shook me to my core. I have never had the desire to be unfaithful to my wife. In that moment, I could see myself doing just that.
When my wife got home from her trip, I confessed the entire thing. Only I was not prepared for what my wife had to say to me. She had her own confession.“
His hurting wife’s letter:
“Oh my stars, Sonya. Your story is exactly as you describe…Fifty Shades of Beautiful Grace. I can’t stop my tears as I think about what you went through as a little girl, thinking no one loved you and feeling like you were nothing. I have too many emotions right now but I want to try to tell you how I’m feeling.
I’ve been married for 11 years and have two kids. I’m a Pastor’s wife, too. I used to be so proud of that. Oh and I should mention that I’m the worst wife on the planet. When we first got married, we were passionate. Neither one of us had any idea what to do with each other or what intimacy was but I remember thinking, “Is this it?” I told myself that all couples probably feel this way and intimacy wasn’t important. We both had a desire to do ministry together and wanted a family. My marriage was good, but lonely. After the kids came along, he was spending most of his time preaching and helping people. I felt like I got the scraps and I started to resent it. The church was the “other woman” in my marriage.
We met a couple from church and became best friends. We did everything together. For the first time, I felt a real connection to another couple and we had true friends. We’d do anything for each other. I began to notice that the husband would always flirt with me. Neither his wife, nor my husband ever said anything about it so I thought maybe I was just imagining it.
One day we were at a church event and he and I ended up sitting together and talking. We both realized we had a lot in common and as the kids played, we talked about our lives and what we liked to do. And after that we just kept talking. He would send me text messages that he’s praying for me and funny things the kids did or whatever.
Something changed between us.
I looked forward to his texts or seeing him at church. We confided in each other more and more. Eventually, he shared that he was struggling in his marriage and that he was lonely. I felt a connection to him because I felt the same way. So I confided in him that I was also lonely in my marriage. I felt like he genuinely cared about me. And it felt…good.
One day he asked me to meet him for coffee. I was supposed to meet my husband for lunch but “something came up” so I was feeling pushed aside. I agreed to meet him for coffee. He told me that he had feelings for me and he’d had them for a long time. He said that it was getting harder and harder for him to keep those feelings to himself and he wanted to know if I felt the same way. I had butterflies as he took my hand. He looked me in the eye and told me that I was beautiful and that he wanted to give me the world. For the first time in my life I felt WANTED. I was actually “first” to someone for a change. I told him that I needed to think so we parted ways. He continued to pursue me every day, telling me that he wanted me and that he’d wait for me till I was ready.
At home, I was just empty. My husband was always helping everyone else. He’s not a bad man but he didn’t want me. We were hardly intimate any more. I kept busy with the kids and I could feel myself pulling away from him.
One weekend, I went to visit my mom with the kids and I got a text from this man saying that he needed to see me and would I meet him “just to talk”. I walked in to the restaurant and I knew that something was wrong. He told me that his wife was talking about divorce and that he was ready to take the next step with me. I knew immediately that my answer was no. I thank God that my heart said no to that invitation.
I knew that something had to change. I couldn’t keep going like this. I left the kids with my mom and went home to tell my husband the truth. That was the longest drive of my life. How do you look at the person you’re supposed to love the most and tell him that you have been talking to someone else, giving away what belonged to him…my heart. Would he care? That’s what scared me the most. I was afraid that he wouldn’t even care.
I was scared to death to face him. I wasn’t expecting him to tell me a confession of his own.”