exposed

Posted: November 12th, 2009 | Filed under: life | 19 Comments »


It was a brisk Saturday morning in early Fall when those words popped up in a chat window on my computer screen.

Melody, my wife, had run to the grocery store and I was home alone, having just logged into an instant messenger service that I used often. The woman on the other end of that post lived somewhere in Kentucky. I had recently made contact with her in an online chat room.

An adult chat room.

I stared at the words on my screen. My heartbeat sped up…palms began to sweat.

How easy it would have been to ignore her post. How easy it would have been to simply have told her that I was not available to meet her later.

It was the moment of decision. I had recently started chatting again after a ten month hiatus. I started back innocently enough with sports chat, but quickly migrated back to the seedy and titillating adult rooms full of other bored, lonely, checked-out people looking to connect with someone…anyone.

I had taken a break from chat rooms because ten months earlier I had done the unthinkable. I actually agreed to meet a woman face-to-face that I had met in a local chat room. My private, virtual life and my flesh-and-blood “real” life intersected. Nothing happened that day, but as I sat across the table from her at a local restaurant, I realized I had crossed lines that I had vowed I would NEVER cross. I came home that day and took Yahoo Messenger off of my computer and stopped cold-turkey.

For ten months…

“I can be in Birmingham tonight if you want me to be.”

Ten months later, I sat staring at those words on my screen…watching the cursor blink…knowing she was waiting for a response.

I typed “Ok” and, after what seemed like forever, finally hit “send”.

At that moment, paralyzing fear and intense excitement rushed through me simultaneously.

Terrifying fear because I knew what she was coming for and I knew that I would cross that final line and go there, if for no other reason than because she had driven all the way from Kentucky and I felt some twisted sense of obligation.

The excitement flowed from playing with the forbidden. I think a needy and desperate part of me also relished the fact that someone was willing to drive over 350 miles to meet me.

I crossed the line that night and never even got her last name. Today I can’t even remember her first name. I never spoke to her again, but the damage had been done. I had added physical adultery to my secret life of pornography and chat rooms. I crossed a line that I never imagined crossing. The lies I had fed myself for years about pornography being innocent and “something men do” and “not a big deal” mocked me as I drove home that fateful Saturday night.

One word consumed my thoughts. Adulterer.

The shame I felt and the contempt I had for myself was suffocating. Oh how far I had drifted. What I thought was innocent and “not a big deal” had been literally sucking the life out of me. I was a shell of a man completely checked out…thinking only about the next alone opportunity I would have for my fix.

And then I thought about my precious wife and my kids. Telling Melody what I had done was not even remotely on my radar. I vowed this was the last time and was successful in white-knuckling it for another nine months. Nine months later it happened again.

And again.

And again.

And, again.

By the time my secrets came out, it had happened seven times. Seven times over a three year period.

Secrets. Lies. Cover-up.

I was a desperate, conflicted, empty shell.

And then my two worlds collided and I was exposed. It was a beautiful undoing. Pain and relief rushed into my empty soul at the same time. Witnessing the heartache and anguish that Melody went through was unbearable. Melody’s deep, anguishing wail from behind our locked bedroom door will forever haunt me.

I went to an intensive in Minnesota and began to understand sexual addiction and my own woundedness and started the journey of recovery. It took much more pain before I finally reached my bottom in 2002. I knew that recovery was worth it so that I would not hurt Melody and the kids, but that was not enough. I had to get to the place where I believed in the core of my being that Tray Lovvorn was worth recovery.

Early one morning as I was reading through the Gospels, this thought occurred to me:

“God knew all about my sexual addiction and my seven affairs when he saved me.”

That was the day I began to understand just how amazing and scandalous and wonderful God’s grace is. I began to uncover layers of unbelief that skewed my view of God and His tender mercies toward me. I ran to promises like Zephaniah 3:17:

“The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”

I chose to believe that God saved me because He loved me and because He delighted in me and not because of anything I could offer Him. I spent years delicately managing my personal reputation and He showed me His love and favor when I doubted it the most.

No matter what you have done or how far you have strayed, God is right now singing over you. You can surrender…and stop…and rest…and listen to the beautiful song or you can choose not to believe it and go on with your efforts of self-righteousness.

My prayer is that you will stop and listen sooner than I did. That it won’t take as much pain and heartache in your life.

He is singing over me…

He is singing over you…

Do you believe it?

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Traylor, thank you for breaking your heart open again so we can see how deeply you have been healed. It’s an honor to host your story. -Serena

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You can find Traylor on Twitter, read more of his writing here and watch a video with he and his wife Melody here.


19 Comments »


19 Comments on “exposed”

  1. 1 Serena Woods said at 7:48 pm on November 11th, 2009:

    'You dance over me, while I'm unaware. You sing all around, but I never hear the sound.' -Amazed, Phillips,Craig and Dean

    Tray: Your honesty…wow. Thank you.

  2. 2 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 8:02 pm on November 11th, 2009:

    "I chose to believe that God saved me because He loved me and because He delighted in me and not because of anything I could offer Him."

    This literally has me in tears.

    Such a beautiful story of redemption.

  3. 3 Traylor Lovvorn said at 2:35 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Thank you Serena and Lindsey. Melody and I shed a few tears yesterday as I finished this post. It is so tempting to bury our past failures in the past, but I have realized how quickly I want to take back the reigns of my life and how quickly I can jump right back into performance mode.

    I need to be reminded daily of my desperate need for Christ.

    I know when I am trying to minimize my sin that at some level I'm not resting in the Gospel. When we see God's grace for what it is, we can step boldly into the light and it's a beautiful thing.

    Traylor

  4. 4 Jamie Mullins said at 2:53 am on November 12th, 2009:

    I knew bits and pieces of your story and having read more in depth, I see that God can do anything! No one is left out, no sin too great, no addiction to strong, He is in the midst of it all. I loved where you said, He knew I would commit adultery 7 times and still saved me. WOW, that's powerful. I will continue to read your story. Thank you for your honesty. Jamie Mullins

  5. 5 nikki said at 3:33 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Absolutely marvelous. Thanks for brining your secret out into the light. Scandalous grace is a good term for it. How much victory do we have when we finally break down and recieve it? Wow. Thanks for the vulnerability of pouring out your heart. This scenario goes on and on and on in "good christians" over and over and satan uses it to tie us up. Letting it out of the dark and into God's grace sets us free! Thanks for sharing. Blessings to you and your wife.

  6. 6 April said at 3:53 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Amazing. I got so much out of this story and the video of Tray and Melody sharing their hearts. I was blessed and encouraged. I really related to what Melody said in the video about trying to please her father and then relating the same way to her heavenly father- me too.

  7. 7 April said at 4:25 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Serena, thank you for the Phillips Craig and Dean song! Wow… I looked it up and have listened to it over and over… so wonderful. so true.

  8. 8 Traylor Lovvorn said at 4:35 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Thank you Jamie, April, and Nikki!

  9. 9 Jenni said at 5:42 am on November 12th, 2009:

    "It took much more pain before I finally reached my bottom… I had to get to the place where I believed in the core of my being that Tray Lovvorn was worth recovery."

    Tray… how amazing true these words ring in my heart. Thank God for His gift of restoration!

    Thank you for sharing your story, friend. You have yet again muted Satan on this one!

  10. 10 Jason said at 5:54 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Thank you for being willing to share your story, Tray. Having walked the porn addict road I know a lot of the feelings you were fighting and experiencing. It's amazing to see God's restoration in your life. It gives hope to those of us God hasn't chosen to restore yet. To tie it into your question, I'm listening for the singing but can't hear the tune right now. Someday I know I will.

  11. 11 Traylor Lovvorn said at 6:51 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Jenni-

    Thank you for your kind words. It is so fun to simply brag on God and His ability to bring beauty out of the ashes.

    Jason, keep listening, brother! The God of the universe who slung stars into constellation order is your Abba…your Father…your Daddy and He delights in you. Simply rest in that truth. Keep me posted…I'd love to step into your story as I share mine with you.

    T

  12. 12 Larry said at 9:10 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Traylor,

    I read your story and thought of a song by Larnell Harris. You can listen to it here:


    It is amazing how God continues to hang around, isn't it? His love is simply too wonderful to walk past, and yet we often do. Thank you for caring enough for brother and sister sinners to remember what I'm sure you would like to forget. I have those areas in my life as well. But God knows it and sometimes walks us back through them in order to steal the power they wield over our lives. Thank you Jesus… Friend of sinners.

    lw

  13. 13 Traylor Lovvorn said at 10:54 am on November 12th, 2009:

    Larry, thanks for that song, and you are most welcome, brother!

  14. 14 Lindsey @ A New Life said at 12:17 pm on November 12th, 2009:

    I've been thinking today that reading the agony you went through and the description of your inner struggles in the midst of your sin is giving me a teeny tiny bit of empathy for the man I was involved with.

    That's a start towards forgiveness.

  15. 15 Serena Woods said at 12:22 pm on November 12th, 2009:

    Lindsey, that's amazing! It's a start. 🙂

    sin always has a root and the root doesn't look like the sin. If we could see what God sees, the root, our response would be compassion, patience, mercy….LOVE.

  16. 16 Traylor Lovvorn said at 1:40 pm on November 12th, 2009:

    Lindsey-

    That is great and so very encouraging! Also very mature for you to attempt to see through the eyes of another. God is at work!

  17. 17 Nicole said at 6:48 pm on November 12th, 2009:

    Oh, Tray…. I loved this post. I love your honesty and your willingness to allow God to use you.

    And Melody, if you're reading this I have no words. Jesse and I know that for us to share our story means that BOTH of us have to be ok and be vulnerable and be exposed. Thank you for being such a brave, supportive, loving wife. We love you both!

    Serena, Affair Week has been great (that sounds so of strange). Thanks for hosting an authentic conversation. xo!

  18. 18 Traylor Lovvorn said at 4:45 am on November 13th, 2009:

    Thank you Nicole.

    Honestly when I first sat down to write the post, I had a thought about how Melody would respond and what pain might surface within her. When I shared the post with her before sending to Serena, we both had a good cry and discussed things at a level we haven't ever discussed before.

    I'll encourage her to post her own reply, but one thing I have observed as she has journeyed through this process is that at first, she wanted logical answers to logical questions. Along the way she has come to realize that addiction and the behavior that flows out of addiction is rarely logical behavior.

  19. 19 carikaufm said at 6:56 pm on November 22nd, 2009:

    Tray,

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for your openness and your willingness to allow others to learn from your mistakes.

    Serena,

    This is a beautiful conversation. Thank you for hosting it.