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Devastation and Hope: When God changed his heart (Part 2 of 4)

Last Updated: February 20, 2014

Guest Author

Want to write for the Covenant Eyes blog? Share the story of your journey to freedom from pornography. Let us know how you overcame porn or how Covenant Eyes has made a difference in your life or the lives of those you love.

by Serena Abdelaziz

[Read Part 1 of Serena’s story]

Josh called me one afternoon to meet him at the park; he wanted to tell me the whole truth. He said he owed me that much. I can remember everything about that day.

He shared with me how he never told me the truth about his addiction to pornography before we were married (even though I had questioned him about it). The affair in 2006 had not actually been his first, but his third. He was currently in his fourth relationship, and this one meant the world to him. He felt the need to share everything about how wonderful this woman was, and how inadequate I had been.

I didn’t scream and yell, even though inside I did.

The Prodigal Husband

When I left the park I felt emotionally drained, but I was learning Josh’s addictions were not a reflection of my lack, but they were a reflection of his. This is a revelation that kept me going, even when things felt like they were entirely my fault. I knew we had to start with the truth, no matter how ugly. This was not my problem; it had nothing to do with me being a bad wife. This was Josh’s problem. He had no desire to stop. His heart was so hardened, and he had given up fighting. I am sure he had feelings of hopelessness in spite of his lies. Having been addicted to pornography for 15 years and having no lasting victory…what is the point of trying? There was nothing left to do but pray for him.

The things Josh would say made me feel like my heart was being ripped out. He was speaking lies. Time after time he attacked me, and I would just take it.  The children and I just prayed constantly. I read to them from the Bible about the Prodigal Son, and how this was a picture of Daddy. Prodigals leave home and forget where they come from for a season. They leave home and live like the devil, and leave the ones they care about behind. They lose their senses. But when the prodigal comes home he is welcomed with open arms, completely forgiven.

My heart towards my husband remained soft, in spite of the circumstances. Josh sleeping around and waving his sexual indiscretions in front of his family were minor compared to what he must have felt on the inside. His desire to leave his family was out of character for the man we all believed him to be, so we just continued to pray.

Answer to Prayer

Josh felt like his life choices were made for him. He was made to marry me. He was told he had to be a pastor. Ultimately he never got to do what he wanted. His choices certainly weren’t wise ones, but he wasn’t about to admit defeat. Feeling remorse wasn’t even a blip on his radar; he was going to live the life he always dreamed of.

Satan has dreams for us, too, and Josh was fulfilling all of his dreams. Satan always has a plan for our lives that runs parallel to the plan God desires for us, and Josh was running full force along the path Satan had laid out for him.

The Holy Spirit continually gave Josh opportunities to get right with his family, but he didn’t have a problem with his life. Sin is fun for a season, and he was having fun.

November 15, 2007, was a different day for all of us. Josh called and asked everyone to pray if they believed there was still hope. Of course, we all did. The switch had been flipped. Josh woke up that morning, and he was crying uncontrollably; he had no idea why. Nothing had changed in his life; the circumstances were still the same. He was still making plans to move in with his mistress. So, what was different? Nothing from the outside. It really was just a miraculous heart shift.

Although Josh was not free from his addictions he wanted to come home. Josh describes it as a crossroads. He knew if he didn’t choose to come home then, he would never come home. He didn’t want to, but something deep inside him did know it was wrong. Through tears he asked if it would be okay with me or if things were too badly messed up. He came back to our house that night.

Knowing that God promised to never leave me was the only thing I had hope in, so the journey of restoration began. Josh had come home, but we both knew his heart wasn’t really changed. I just continued to pray for him. Life seemed to have hope now, but it was going to be a long road to complete healing. I wanted to make the changes happen fast, but I knew that would make no difference.

We decided that our marriage was worth taking a 50% cut in income, and we moved our family from California to Colorado. It was worth starting over. Although leaving our family and friends was a tough decision, we knew that we were walking into a safe community when we moved. Josh and I had researched the church we wanted to attend, and even visited it before we moved. I had talked with the pastors and even explained why we were moving. For our marriage, we had to move, but we believed we would be moving to a place that would provide for us the community that would help us move into more healing.

Although it took over a year for things to fall into place in our lives, I never stopped believing that things were going to be okay. Josh’s heart showed no signs of remorse or true repentance for almost a year. But God answered my prayers in so many ways.

Stay tuned for Part 3

. . . .

Serena Abdelaziz has been married to Josh for 13 years. They live in Indiana where she homeschools their six children. Josh works as an assistant manager for a furniture company. After Josh’s 15-year struggle with pornography, their heart is to spread a message of hope for hurting marriages. Listen to their two part interview on Covenant Eyes Radio.

  • Comments on: Devastation and Hope: When God changed his heart (Part 2 of 4)
    1. Dana on

      Reading these articles helps my heart feel I’m not alone in this. After years of sexual deprivation from my husband, I’m the one that strayed into an affair. So my fall from grace I justified with his behavior. The next 20 long, hurtful, confusing years have brought us back. He was found with porn, dating websites and even escort services. He’s now going through the motions of a Prodigal Husband. Keep us in prayer.

      Reply
    2. Kristina Cruz on

      Please pray for my family. It’s been years of praying and it has affected our son. I’m tired of hoping and praying. Thx

      Reply
    3. Amy on

      Please pray for my husband Adrian. May God also break his hardened heart and may he see God’s plan for his life, our marriage, our family. Thank you.

      Reply
    4. Kelly on

      Porn and drinking have destroyed my marriage. My husband tried to poison me where I became so. paranoid I tried to take my own life. He manipulated all my technology and destroyed an important project I was working on and I have been in hiding for fear fo him. I a, certain after 25 years of pron, pathological lying and not remorse he will try and have me killed when I divorce him. Porn I think can make you crazy. He has said he’s hasnt had any affairs but its a lie and suspect he may be bisexual and maybe into younger girls. I am praying so hard despite filing for divorce. His should is trouble. I have almost had multiple. break downs. It’s beyond comprehension. My heart is so broken that someone I loved so much could do the things he’s done to me. One of my children doesn’t speak to me because he turned he against me. My son doesn’t trust him. I am alone and living in hiding until he is served but I am Catholic and I pray the Rosary, Divine. Mercy Chaplet and go to Mass for him. I am hoping God willl convict his heart and save his should

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Kelly,

        I’m so sorry for the pain you’re going through. I hope you are safe. That’s my main concern for you. You should be able to access resources at your local women’s shelter. Here’s a nationwide list of shelters, so you can find one in your area.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

    5. Ann on

      Please pray for my husband John – we have been married 25 years – after 18 years of marriage we were in the middle of building a house – my husbands brother hung himself – shortly after we moved in my husband started using spice to cope- which ended up a long 6 years of chaos – our daughter was 12 – he abandoned her emotionally and it almost destroyed him and our daughter ended up with many medical problems we are still dealing with today from stress. She was a daddy’s girl and he was an awesome dad to my nephews – they stayed with us a lot Because my sister was in addiction – they felt the loss of him also – and when my husband went to Home of Grace a Christian Rehab the first time – my oldest nephew was killed in a car accident at 19 years old on his way to work- so my daughter felt like she lost her brother and me a son and John is in rehab . It was the most horrible darkest time of our life – but God did send his Hope in many ways to me .

      He came home and 6 months later I called the cops on him because he was driving impaired and I begged the cops to help me get him back in rehab and in several days I was driving him back to Home Of Grace – which is an Awesome place and affordable . I prayed and prayed – wrote down scriptures to pray and many Godly friends of mine praying –

      He came home the second time we thought a different person- he has never went back to drugs but has been caught drinking and looking at porn again – which was confessed to me at 2nd time at Home of Grace . He also confessed he had done Marijuana the first 10 years of our marriage and I had no idea but does explains some behaviors looking back –

      When he came home I had Covenant eyes installed and he had an accountability partner – pastor friend he was meeting with and we attended Celebrate Recovery together

      But he has been caught looking at nudity in other forms and also caught watching a porn show on Netflix- with our 19 year old daughter home- she said he kept pausing show as she walked through- very troubled when she looked the series up – be careful because Netflix and even regular tv has inappropriate entertainment there.
      It got worse when all this Covid started –

      When he is confronted- their is much anger , lashing out name calling , threating divorce – but he goes to church every Sunday – still praying and he is meeting with our pastor now but is not honest with himself or us .

      Very exhausted and emotionally drained and broken by all the promises He has broken again – I started readying his journals from his Christian Rehab

      He started with playboy around age 10 , drinking by age 12 and using marijuana at age 14 – which now explains so much . He was left unsupervised as a young child because parents worked all the time and his family never showed affection or love – they provided financially well but him and his siblings were left alone a lot – it was a high price to pay.

      Please pray for him and our marriage- and for me to try to be respectful and build him up when I don’t want to – confrontation, criticism , talking about God pushes him farther away- this is a road I never thought I would go down but I am still on it and praying God will save him and we can be a testimony of what God can do with such a broken mess .

      Also my heart breaks for others since I am there- at least he never lost his job and we are still together and my daughter still loves her dad being here and my other nephew comes home from college to stay with us and still loves him – I never want to take that relationship from them

      A book I have read about 4 times has helped me a lot – called – Created To Be His Helpmeet – by Debbie Pearl

      It is full of scripture and Hope for a women in a terrible marriage and what us wives can do to win our husbands to the Lord— has many personal testimonies in there also .

      I am thankful my husband has always and still does allow me to work very part time as a nurse – no matter how awful it has gotten – it allowed me to homeschool my daughter and spend lots of time with nephews and that I am very thankful and do not want to give up on him and our family-

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Dear Ann,

        What a terrible, heartbreaking, traumatic time you’ve all been through. It’s no wonder your husband is self medicating in these ways. We can understand exactly how he’s gotten into this dark place.

        I would say that your husband needs real, trauma-informed therapy to help him process through this lifetime of pain and reconnect to himself so that he can reconnect to you in healthy ways.

        Here at Covenant Eyes, we are big proponents of healthy boundaries for spouses. Here, here and here are some articles that talk about what that looks like.

        You are not a slave to sin, including your husband’s sin. Not only does he sin against himself, he abuses you through name calling, threats, etc. You are not required to be abused. As the scripture says, you have been set free for freedom and not to be enslaved ever again.

        Peace to you,
        Kay

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