I wonder if you’ve ever tried to learn to play a stringed instrument? With bowed strings the player has to make the notes by placing her fingers on the strings. There are no frets or markers to guide where the string should be pressed to play different notes. The novice must learn to place her fingers correctly and in order to do that she must listen to the tuning. It is all about learning to hear dissonance. To hear dissonance you first need to be able to recognise the sound of the notes played correctly. Then if you misplace a finger, a quick shift can be made and the tuning is restored. It can take many hours of practise for a young player to ‘hear’ well enough to play in tune.

I hear dissonance in my life like an out of tune note. There have been times when I’ve become so accustomed to playing all of the notes out of tune, that I stop noticing the dissonance. I know that sometimes I have also decided that there is no point in correcting one note when so many are misplaced. However, in recent months I have been trying to listen more carefully. To improve my tuning. This week I realised that there were a few things which gave me a tight feeling in my stomach every time they occurred. I ignored the feeling, but eventually I paused for a minute to consider it and realised I was hearing the out of tune notes. I had to take time to understand the reason for the dissonance and I then began to correct it. I say ‘began’ because unlike playing a note in tune, more than a finger wiggle is required. I had to open up my heart to correction from the Holy Spirit. I needed to hand over some more things to my Heavenly Father. I needed to remember Jesus’ words that he had come to bring abundant life. I say ‘began’ because I need to do those things repeatedly. Every time I hear that wrong note, I need to make the correction. In time I will start to play the right note automatically because I will have learned how to place my fingers on the strings.

I think that it’s only through hearing dissonance that we learn to play the right notes. Now that I’m well and truly into this musical analogy we need to follow the conductor and listen to the notes of those playing around us. Lean towards those who have good tuning. Be imitators. Keep your eyes ( and ears) fixed on the Leader of the orchestra. Always in tune. Always following the conductor. Always sitting with us.

This post is linked with Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday 

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I want to hold your hand

When I began this blog I said that the process I was in was not linear. That hasn’t changed. Sometimes it feels like a sea with waves that rise and fall. At other times I most definitely move round in circles. It’s also like that when I try to think of how to share the real life lessons learned in this process.

If only they came neatly numbered 1 – 10. I’m not sure which is most important, and which comes in at the bottom.  I have a sense that they are all interlinked and that there is no value to anyone in trying to untangle and understand.

All I can share is my truth. Piece by piece, and if you find that any of them resonate then pick them up and see if they fit in your life too. Having an extra-marital relationship is a truly awful thing for everyone, but if you can mine the depths of yourself and try to understand why the pull was so strong towards something that wasn’t right, then there may be treasures to be found in the darkness.

Some of the treasures I’ve found will apply to marriages whilst others are applicable to all human relationships. I’m sure if we really stuck to ‘Love God and Love your neighbour’ it would probably cover them all.

I’m starting with a really straightforward one tonight.

Hold hands.

With each other.

We’ve had other little hands to hold for years and years. Those hands are soft and squidgy and do something to our hearts when they reach for ours. Sometimes they are attached to little people who can make a huge fuss if we don’t hold their hands. Sometimes it’s the easiest way to get a family to move in the right direction, and I love holding my children’s hands.

But I discovered last year that having my held hand by an adult who wanted to hold it because (he said) he loved me, was a wonderful thing.  Recently I have let my husband know that I want him to take my hand. I want to be physically connected to him. I want to be identified as a couple. I want to enjoy his company and conversation. When he chooses to hold my hand instead of holding the hands of the children I gave birth to, it shows all of us that I really matter to him. I think maybe we thought it was not right to prioritise ourselves over our children, but that was, frankly, nuts.

Our children may object to not holding our hands, but they will never object to parents who choose each other over all others.



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The one where I realise this is now a marriage recovery blog

In my last post I wrote in response to a prompt ‘Whisper’ and I think it’s time for me to start whispering some truths on this blog. I began writing these Hope Diaries in January of this year to record my decision to stay and work at a marriage which I believed to be dead.

It’s not dead now. It’s very much alive. And in much the same way as I didn’t really want to choose the word Hope for my year, because it felt too, well, hopeful, I am really hesitant in declaring my marriage to be alive and this blog somewhere where I will share some of the lessons I’ve learned about watching dead things come back to life. It feels impossible. How can this be my reality now? 12 months ago I was in love with someone I wasn’t married to and I was working out how to end my life because it all felt like such a broken, shameful, lonely mess.

And today. I love my husband. I really do. And I am utterly certain that he loves me, more than anything or anyone else. And more than I could ever have believed. And my life is still intact. Many things were broken. Those which I have any control over are now in some stage of restoration or repair. I have set shame aside. And I am not lonely. I have friends whose worth could not be measured in gold. Honestly. They are treasure. How I came to have them standing with me is a mystery but they have been there. My love for my heavenly Father and for Jesus has never been greater.

This is real talk and I constantly feel the call of authenticity so the paragraph above is not describing a white picket fence scenario. Yes all those things are true, but it took us several years to get to our lowest, most messed up, hurtful and hurting point, and it will take us some time to come out. So most days I fight ghosts, and my husband works at forgiveness, and it can be really rough, and truth still hurts, and restoration is painstaking and exhausting. And we don’t have control over it all, and there are a few flying objects which we have to try to avoid, or just apply the bandages when they hit us. But we are doing all of that together.

None of this makes sense to me. I think those watching from the sidelines have been amazed too. It’s testimony to God’s ability to do more than we believe to be possible.

I never thought this was going to be a marriage recovery blog, but I think the rest of my life is going to be a marriage recovery story so if I am to write about my truth this is what will be here.

I was talking to a friend about my marriage relationship now, and she said that it gave her hope for other couples because it wasn’t ‘just’ our faith that had got us to this point. She said that what she has spent a year watching has been hard work, a lot of tears, and a willingness to keep going beyond the point I wanted to stop.  I believe that God has enabled me to do the work and keep going.

The lessons I’ve learned about dead things coming back to life are not faith based. I think that they are for anyone in any relationship. And maybe like me you’ve heard variations on them over and over again. And maybe you question why I think I should add to that noise?

I have shared my pain here with you. I hope that you know that nothing I write here is written lightly. It is written with trepidation and in response to a call to live truthfully.

So in the next weeks, months – who knows, years(!) I will share parts of our life here. I don’t have all the answers, or even any of the answers. What I do know is that I was lost and now I’m found, and I want you to know how that has happened. IMG_5873

Once again I am linking up with Marvia Davidsons’ Real Talk Tuesday 


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It’s a little whisper and it’s in my head and in my heart and it’s saying, ‘You’ve got to share these things. You are discovering treasures all the time and they can’t stay hidden’. I’ve been excavating for months now, and it’s amazing what is turning up. Precious jewels, and riches. Buried emblems and forgotten manuscripts. Images of things past which hint at the future.

The digging has been dirty, and tiring. Back breaking work. I’ve been physically exhausted and mentally, emotionally and spiritually spent. Throughout another whisper has been heard. A question I asked and a whispered answer that kept returning. My question, ‘Is God enough? Can he be?’ and the almost imperceptible whisper each time ….’wait’.

I’ve waited and I intend to keep waiting because I love that whispered answer. And now the other whisper is telling me that I need to tell of what has happened in the waiting. Of lessons learned and truths discovered. I’ve been sharing the truths I’ve been learning of God on this blog, but the truths I’m learning about how to rebuild a marriage when infidelity has come and trust has gone and the last thing you can imagine is spending the rest of your lives together, have not been shared yet. I only want to whisper them. It’s still less than a year on, but I think they matter. I think they need to come out. So maybe just maybe I’ll start to tell them to you. But only in a whisper.

This post is in response to a five minute Friday prompt. Five minutes of unedited writing on the word ‘Whisper’. 

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