Posted by: JennyRain | May 6, 2010

A Different Kind of New: Jenni Clayville: Day 1

Welcome back to Guest Blogger week at the Rain!

Jenni’s story, upon initial read for me, was really difficult. But, I came back to her blog, again and again. I read her story over and over. The more I wrestled with her story, the more I saw God’s redemption. The more I saw God creating a NEW thing in her marriage, the more I was in awe of how incredible Jenni and Brian are for pushing through the tough stuff and what great lessons they have to teach to the rest of us. Their story of hope, healing, redemption, and newness brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.

If you are reading this on Thursday or Friday, please pray for our team as we continue to train in Burundi.

Now on to today’s blogger, Jenni!

Guest Blogger, Jenni Clayville



Jenni’s blog: www.jenniclayville.com
Brian’s blog: www.brianclayville.com

In 2006, I walked into an affair.

At that time, my husband, Brian, and I had been married five years and our oldest son, Chance, wasn’t yet a year old. This man and his wife were close couple-friends of ours. We went on family vacations together, spent holidays together, our kids played together, we did ministry together… close.

I could make up excuses to how I let this happen: “I came from a divorced family”, “I grew up without a dad”, “My mother was abusive”, “My husband was distant”, “The other guy made the first move”… blah blah blah… but what it all boils down to is this:

I made my own grown-up choice and I WALKED INTO adultery.

I walked into a relationship that didn’t belong to me and didn’t walk away until I let it overtake two years… no… THREE years of my life.

In April of this year (2009), I finally told Brian about my affair. The affair had lasted two years, but I let it steal three from my family and me by hiding it and not revealing it in all its ugliness.

You see, secrets were something I kept well. I had a lot of secrets, so I thought, “why not just add this one to the list?” I never told ANYONE. I was never caught. But as I tried to keep this one hidden, it felt as if my soul was tearing away from me. The affair was no longer taking me away from my marriage and family, but now, I was stealing ME from myself. Worst of all, it was claiming everything I ever had with Jesus.

In my secrets, I was holding back any and every blessing I could have been or given to my kids and husband. I thought I was self-preserving… but in reality, I was self-mutilating my heart. I was failing at everything. In my quest to prevent complete brokenness, I soon found myself failing even that.

Brokenness ensued… and I embraced it.

The next six months proved to be the most trying time of our lives. After some prompting from Brian, I ended up telling all our closest friends and family about my affair. Some were gracious… some were not. That’s part of the package of sin… and I had to learn to not own their feelings as my own.

That’s a whole ‘nother post though. (Tune into Day 2 of Jenni’s story!)

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Responses

  1. I love you for being open with your story. Honestly, your redemption helped me walk with a friend when her husband cheated on her this year… I’m not convinced I could have seen redemption in him if I hadn’t seen it in you. You have my heart, Jenni.

    • Gitz… you are my hero. Forever! If you only had an idea of what I really mean by this.

  2. I’ve read through the posts of your affair a couple different times. I’ve said that God forbid should adultery ever happen in my marriage I would want to work it out. You are Brian are evidences of that. Of striving and fighting for your marriage.

    • Prudence… THANK YOU! Marriage is hard work… even without “kinks” thrown in. Many marriages don’t make it through damage like this… but Brian is good… and GOD is better. It IS a fight. When we start to think marriage is easy is when disillusion wins and our marriages fail.

  3. Thank you, dear Jenny, for hosting me here. I am humbled that anyone would even want to share this as good… but God IS good.

  4. Jenni, I’ve read your story before but reading it again warms my heart to you all the more. I love the courage you show each time you so authentically and honestly share this part of your story. As others have said you give me hope that even in the face of an affair redemption is possible. You are a beautiful example of the redemptive power in God’s grace. Thanks for sharing your story again. You inspire me in more ways than you may ever know.

    • Thank you, Makeda! Only God can bring out the beauty from ashes. We get to choose to be a part of that or not. 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing your story. I look forward to read the following entries, and i just checked out your own website.
    My husband and I have had to deal with the results of his infidelity, (although it happened years ago, and long before we were married,) and i really like to read other people’s stories of surviving similar things.

  6. sigh… i love you, jen.

  7. Jenny,
    I went back a while, because I want yhis note to you to be more personal. I wrote my post about scars this weekend thinking about You mostly, Alece, my lovely wife, and how you are all serious warrior women of God. You have been through Hell, you have every reason to be angry and bitter, yet you choose to encourage. You have changed the way I think about many things, and have encouraged me many many times. I have many scars, some I still wont reveal, but hear this, My wife, who I know we will never part, because of God’s love for us and our love for each other, well, we were in counseling six months after we got married, we went for a year, then hit a tough spot a year after that and were right back in counseling again. Tough times aren’t fatal unless we want them to be. God loves you Jenny, and He loves John too. You are doing the right thing in your submission to God on this. You and John are prayed for twice daily by me, and I will ask him to help the healing continue. God Bless
    Jim


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