Newley: One morning in August of 2012, we were getting ready to go to church and a fight erupts between us. I don’t even know what it was about. But it was bad. Karen just looked at me and she said, we’re a joke. Our marriage is a joke.
Karen: Life was crazy working full-time, three kids, and Grady in the middle who has Down Syndrome.
Newley: Living a life that looks like we are Christians and we’ve got it all together. On the inside behind closed doors, we’re fighting, and we’re fighting a lot.
Karen: So I went to a baseball game of one of my boys. And one of the other mothers sat down next to me, and she began talking about the freedom that her husband had been experiencing just from confessing pornography in their marriage – how they were healing and working through that. That night, I felt almost like I was just being prepared to hear secrets.
Newley: She’s asking me if I struggle with pornography, which I deny over and over. And she starts to pack a bag. And she says, I know you’re hiding things from me. And I’m not going to put up with it anymore. I’m done.
And in the spirit to win, I volleyed at her a confession to hurt her where I confessed that I’d been unfaithful to her. And she left with her bag. And then I didn’t fall back asleep.
So the next day, I get the kids off to school, and I went to work, and I was a wreck. I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t talk to anybody. Karen called me – I’m going to meet with these two ladies tonight and I want you to call and meet with their husbands. And I shared with them what I shared with Karen, and they were great listeners.
One of them had gone through, and walked the path of confessing sin against his wife, and was in the process of recovery and healing and had hope to offer. Karen was scheduled to go on a trip the next day.
Karen: And as I’m driving from Fort Worth to Dallas, my phone was just going nuts with text messages. And it was just all scripture – encouragement from these girls. And I’m just, why this? Why not, hey, you’re going to be this close to NorthPark Mall, go blow some money. Go shopping.
I remember the very first verse I fell on was Exodus 14:14 which says, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” There was this surrender that just was starting.
Newley: So Karen was in the hotel in Dallas. She called and asked me if I would come and have breakfast with her the next day. I’m in my truck, I turn my radio off, I begin to pray. My prayer is just interrupted with my mind being afield with sin – more and more sins that I have committed and committed against Karen that I didn’t confess to her.
And it just broke me. I barely got my truck parked. I was a sobbing mess. All those bad things that He’d been replaying in my mind, I had no way to fix it, no way to get to Him. And I cried out for Him to have mercy on me. And I cried out for Jesus Christ to save me.
I immediately felt different and hopeful. And I went into Karen’s hotel, she opened it – my knees buckled. I just poured into her hotel room. And I just began to confess. Sin after sin rolled out. It was 40 or 45 minutes of confession and crying. And she was there to receive it.
Karen: We just had a really long day of confession and understanding, I think, for the first time in our marriage.
Newley: I had a friend that I called and asked to come and talk to me. He came over that night at 11 o’clock in the evening. And then just sharing with me the Gospel and me hearing it for the first time with a different set of ears – and Scripture after Scripture in support of this great news. We spent time studying God’s Word and what His design for marriage was, what His design for forgiveness was, how He has forgiven us of so much, and how He calls us to forgive each other.
Karen: I, most mornings, have a love note from him that’s telling me what he’s learned, how he wants to encourage me that day. Because of Jesus, I have a family – they just see what an example of a Godly man looks like the way he leads this family, the way he leads me. I never knew that this was how we’re called to live life together, and authentically.
Community has been just one of the biggest blessings. They’re going to be there not with the worldly advice that I think we all just want to hear that sounds good, this is just the truth, and get back Scripture. For the first time in my life, I felt the Lord’s presence. I felt Him speaking to me directly through Scripture.
Newley: God pursued me. I felt like He passed the baton to this group of guys, that he said, I’m going to pursue you through these men. And together, you guys are going to go from here and grow into a community group who are committed to one another. My day-to-day decision making, the attitude that I will have towards Karen, my employees, people I will meet in life is shaped and formed by those words that He’s provided as a love note to me. It’s an awesome gift that He’s given us.