As the wife of Bobby Jackson, a 12-year veteran guard in the NBA and current NBA assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves, life started out like a fantasy. Just like every girl, I fantasized about my dream wedding, with my dream guy, living a dreamy life. It didn't matter to me that I met my husband in a bar; he was my prince charming. A Southern gentleman meets California girl, God had finally sent the prince among all the toads.
Being a wife in a professional sport, everyone assumes you have automatically traded in a life of decency, integrity, honor, and faithfulness in exchange for a life of luxury, fortune, affluence, and material gain. In fact, my friends and family made these assumptions about the life I chose. And I did buy into the lie that I shouldn't expect to have a God-honoring marriage because men in this culture just can't be faithful to their wives. So I lived in great fear and terror of other women. I always lived in the thought that my husband would leave me for someone more vivacious, prettier, and sexier. Yes, even as a young woman I thought this way. I operated in that mindset for so long that I always felt afraid or suspicious. Even church became a place of terror, deep insecurity, and shallow thinking. Your fears will follow you wherever you go, when fear is left unchecked.
My greatest fear was that another woman would get an edge over me and somehow take my life away from me. I always felt as though the women who sought athletes or married men with money had a power I couldn't control or pray away. I thought they had the advantage until I read something so powerful that came out of the mouth of Jesus. Before he was about to be crucified, Jesus said, "You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above" (John 19:11).
Jesus was telling Pontius Pilate, the man who had the power to give him his life or take it away, that if he did have any power over Jesus, it must be from God. Tears streaming down my face, I postured myself to get the deeper meaning behind this Scripture. God led me to this Scripture to show me that no one has power over me unless it comes from God himself. God chooses what I need to bring him glory and to show me me. He either sets it up or signs off on it for his purpose. God can use anything he chooses to help me overcome my greatest fears and force me into his spiritually wealthy place.
So in the natural world, I saw women all around me who sought my demise and wished me harm. The fear had gone from a tiny toehold to a huge boulder of a stronghold in my heart. My mind was the battlefield, and what looked like horror really was the enemy deceiving me into doubting and pouting over God's love for me.
And make no mistake. Satan knows our weaknesses; he studies his prey and roams around like a lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
His favorite trick of the day is to deceive us into believing our greatest fears will take us out. I always believed that my deepest fear would be the end of my life. I believed for so long that I couldn't survive without a man in my life or that I couldn't live on my own two feet. The enemy will throw darts at our minds for so long that we don't think we deserve anything less then calamity, chaos, and foolishness in life. God will allow this battle for so long, then he steps right in to save us, in order to bring about Christ-like behavior and kingdom-minded changes.
As painful as it was, the Lord made ways for me to face those fears. Fears that were paralyzing my relationship with him. One of the worst things a woman can face is betrayal in her marriage. I would go out on a limb and suggest that most married women have watched enough TV or watched a friend go through some darkness in her marriage to know it's a scary thought to wrap your mind around.
We sit in our comfort zones and go over things that just wouldn't fit our daily struggle: "another woman" or a "defiled marriage bed." "No thanks, God, I'll take what's behind door number two." We wrestle with God and assure him of the things that would take us out or cause an ultimate flat line.
No, God, I cannot and will not do this with you or for you, I said over and over again. The pain would be too significant, and I don't have any room left in my life for this type of pain. The struggle is great, and anything else would just wipe me out. I told God that long enough until I thought it had gone away.
Whew! I thought. I made it over, no injuries, no brokenness. That road of insecurity was jagged, but I made it. I made it to third base with my eyes on home plate, thinking, I'm there, yes, I'm almost there. I was almost free from the shame game.
And just like that, my insecurity manifested into a full-on assault from the enemy. What once was stinking thinking and shady-side eyes became my worst nightmare. My marriage suffered a huge blow of betrayal. So there I was, dialing another woman's phone number and facing a deep fear. I finally faced the tragedy of infidelity in my marriage.
Marriage betrayal can either wipe you out or be the best thing to happen to your spiritual life. Yes, I repeat, marriage betrayal can be the best thing to happen to your spiritual life. I know this because this is where God met me. He met me in this dark place. It was in the fear and pain where I met my Savior, Jesus, and experienced firsthand faithfulness and unconditional love. Nothing like being found in a dark pit of despair and then being lifted out with a firm place to stand (Psalm 40:2).
If I didn't have this horrible circumstance in my marriage, I probably would have continued living my comfortable shallow life and being a fan of God. In the natural world, betrayal can be a hot mess. In the supernatural, it can be the exact catalyst for the next-level manifestation of you and God going to a deeper, more intimate level.
You see, what the opposition meant for evil turned out for my good. The very thing I thought was going to kill me taught me who I am in Christ. In the natural world, I'm a woman with fears and insecurities. But I'm a supernatural sergeant in God's kingdom-building army. Only God's truth will abound and matter.
Without these other women and the betrayal in my marriage, I never would have seen who God was, who he is, and what he can do in my life. Without facing our greatest fears, we can never know God and his true character. Safe in our gated communities and lavish lifestyles, we miss out on the real glorious riches of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:19).
People see professional athletes and they want access to the material stuff, but God will use this same lifestyle to betray any false sense of security you have in anyone but himself. He used my deepest pain, fear, and regret to reveal the true nature of all that he can do and what his love really means.
I speak to every woman who ever has been betrayed. Trust me when I say you can lean into the pain, the hurt, and the experience. It's there where you will meet a man who will love you unconditionally—Jesus Christ.
It's painful—tears well up as I type. I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything. These experiences have a great value in my destiny. They have worth and merit. To you and me in the natural realm, it looks as if the "other women" will win and fear will debilitate faith. All the good feelings I felt in church are gone and now I'm left with two decisions: Sink or swim. Believe or doubt.
I'm either going to look at "the other women" circumstances as opportunities to advance to the next level in my spiritual walk with Jesus, or I'm going to sink and shrink back to a pit of darkness.
God knows me; in fact, he trusts me with trouble. He has allowed my deepest fear and pain to be used for purpose, passion, and redemption. Women all over will know that they will "live and not die," that the other women don't win—we do—when we enter the winner's circle with God. When we allow him to use our greatest fears to change us into women after his own heart.
Only God knows what the final chapter of my story will say. I can't write any days of my life, only God can. So trying to rewrite or fix this chapter of life is pointless. God's already got the blueprint and the manuscript in place. My husband and I have a lot of healing to do; he has a story that God is completing until the day of completion and so do I. Divorce is not an option and counseling is not a tapped-out resource. One thing is for sure, I choose to forgive my husband. Not because it makes me comfortable because it doesn't. Forgiving my husband honors God and gives my husband the same mercy and grace I receive every day when I fall short. Sin is sin, and not one of us is sin-free (Romans 3:10). If God can love and forgive me for my wicked ways, certainly I can return the favor to my husband.
My husband and I are both focused on getting individual healing and raising our children in a healthy, God-honoring environment. God is a miracle healer, and I believe he can do abundantly more than I can think or ask for in my marriage (Ephesians 3:20).
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Doña Jackson is a wife, mother, and child of the Most High. She blogs at Wifey Chronicles; disciples her children and their friends in weekly Bible study and devotional periods in her home; and mentors high school girls at a Title I school in Sacramento for emotional, spiritual, and mental support. She also leads a ministry at Bayside Church of Granite Bay, "Breaking Free," where she helps women of all ages break free and get healing from wounds and scars of their sexual past, like rape, sexual abuse, abortion, and prostitution, through God's Word.