"The Other Victim—the OW"
Your Spiritual Milestone is in today and tomorrow's lesson
I’m sure every woman feels the same way when they find out about the other woman, which many refer to as the OW—that wretched woman who stole their husband!
Yet, though that may be how you initially felt, the more wisdom, knowledge and most importantly understanding you begin to gain during your Restoration Journey, becoming even more spiritually mature, the less you’ll continue looking at the OW as the enemy.
“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness (or consideration in KJV); each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
Galatians 6:1-3 The Message (MSG)—
“Live kindly, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.”
Clearly none of us is blameless. Each of us put our marriages and husbands at risk.
If you still doubt that, it may be time to read Day 8 in RYM Chapter 6 "Contentious Woman" again until you do understand this principle.
We are who tore down our own houses and relationships by acting like the world promotes, along with us not having a deep relationship with the Lord—which changes the way we look at other people.
“A wise woman builds her house but the foolish tears it down with her own hands”—Proverbs 14:1 So if you tore it down, now you are wiser and by treating the OW kindly (in your heart and mind—even without saying a word to anyone), you can begin to build your house and life as a wise woman.
The Forgotten Victim
Moving on from this vantage point, of no longer looking at the OW as evil, I’d like to take you up even higher and see things differently— understanding that the OW is a victim too.
When I first found out about the OW in my husband’s life, I felt the very same way you probably felt— like someone had robbed me. But slowly I came to understand about my contentious ways and how I had torn down the walls of protection surrounding my marriage. It wasn’t until later, when I became more spiritually and emotionally mature AND began to experience the LORD’S love for me, when I began tosee her precarious and painful situation for what it really was.
In my personal Restoration Journey, the rumor was how much my husband looked like the OW’s ex-husband. And then, when I heard the heartbreaking story of how her husband had cheated on her, with someone they both worked with, someone younger and prettier—it was soon after this horribly painful experience, when she set her sights on my husband.
Can you honestly blame her?
No, I can’t. I couldn’t.
And the main reason is because she didn’t know the Lord at all! So how could she handle her pain and rejection any better than I could when I DID know the Lord?
No, not the way I came to know HIm, but He was my Savior when all this went down.
So here she was, hurt, bleeding from her heart, rejected as the OW in her husband’s life was flaunted in front of her face! They all worked together, the OW, her husband, (my husband) and her husband’s OW. Ugh! It was enough for me to know what was going on without having to face it every day! How horrible!!
Slowly, as I chose to look at the OW in this way, and by this time my husband was alluring me, (which meant, lying to her when he stayed later “saying goodnight to his children” or said he was going somewhere else when he was really with me) that I began to really HURT for HER!
No, I didn’t confront my husband to tell him to stop treating her that way (speaking to my husband about anything would be going against the truth I knew about being quiet). Nor did I foolishly pray he would remain with her, (living in sin is not good for the soul), but I did ask the Lord to help me see the OW the way HE saw her, and He did.
Later my test came.
Many of you have read it elsewhere in a book or lesson, but it was when my husband came to me saying he could be home when he promised me and the children. I listened as he told me that the OW’s father had suddenly become ill and he needed to go with her. Without hesitation I said something like, “Go! She needs you. How sad. And let her know I am praying for her, her father and her family.” That’s when my husband stopped and said, “Why? How? After all she’s done to you?!”
It was then that I realized “she” hadn’t done anything to me, she was a victim of evil. She was being used and abused and lied to just as I had been, so how could I think ill of her?
My act of kindness wasn’t well accepted by the OW. Later I heard she cursed me out, but that doesn’t matter and I may know why. Either she wasn’t ready to hear it or it was delivered badly by my husband. He thought I was a saint, and if I had to guess, he probably told her how he felt.
It really doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not my problem since I wasn’t communicating with her directly. Which leads me to share another HUGE HUGE HUGE reason why we need to be able to look and deal with the OW in an “understanding way…”
A Matter of Life and Death
Many of you may have heard or read something about Hillary in South Africa. Her situation was that her husband introduced the second OW to Hilary—hoping they would be friends.
Since I had little to no experience with a situation like this, but in order to help Hillary navigate through this valley, I just listened and watched and often SG for her. At one point it got so crazy because I heard that the OW was speaking to Hillary about marrying her husband, how happy they’d be and text Hilary several times a day! Even at her sons’ ball games the OW would come to sit with her and spend the whole time talking about Hilary’s husband and their wonderful relationship.
It’s true that His grace is for the person who is going through it and not the onlooker, because I just couldn’t fathom going through something so difficult. But Hillary did go through it and honestly befriended the OW.
*Please keep in mind, this was what Hillary's husband ASKED her to do, and also after she SG through prayer and fasting to have this thorn removed.
(Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 to understand about asking a thorn be removed.)
The only thing I shared with Hilary was if she spoke about HOW she was able to be so kind to the OW (since the OW often asked her)? The reason was, I told Hillary it was a perfect opportunity to share about her relationship with the Lord. Telling her that “no man was perfect and could fulfill all her needs” etc. —thus opening the door for her to come to know the LORD personally.
This topic came up often in emails, but each time Hilary felt she was inadequate to share the gospel with her. And each time (because one day I went back to check) I told her that whatever she learned in church wasn’t what I saw or she saw really worked. Instead, of fire and brimstone, it’s simply telling the woman about her Lover, Her heavenly Husband who was always there for her. AND I told her that each time she praised her for her kindness, He was opening the door for her, so just just walk through the open door (this opportunity) and tell her about the One she, Hilary, cared about the most and who cared so much for her.
Unfortunately, the fear of not knowing the right “scripture” or “sharing the gospel” correctly kept holding Hilary back until one day…
I heard that the OW had been killed.
It was at that point that Hilary fell into a deep and horrible depression over her death, and there was no way I could console her. She said it was her fault this woman died without knowing the Lord.
So, the one thing I really hoped would not happen, happened...
A while ago my children started calling the OW mommy. The first time I heard it, I felt a coldness go through me that is so difficult to explain. I wanted to say something, but I am sure that the Lord held His hand over my mouth:)
The moment I was alone with my HH, I told Him what I thought of it and as always He led me as only He could. So now the enemy knew this was a sore point for me so at every opportunity I would hear about the other mommy. So one day I told the Lord, "What does it matter, I will not let this upset me." So whenever my children would mention the other mommy, I would purposefully say something kind about her.
This was not easy and I know it would have been impossible if it was not for the fact that I had my Heavenly Husband with me every step of the way.
So much later when my children returned from their dad on a Sunday, my daughter was particularly naughty. And I turned around and asked her: "Were you this naughty at your daddy as well today?" She said "No", so now I asked her "And why not?" She answered: "Because you are my real mommy"
LOL, of course she was in trouble for being cheeky with me, but the Lord just showed me through her words, that it does not matter what the OW is called, I am still my children's real mommy. The mommy they can just be themselves with and does not need to pretend with.
If I did not give this over to Lord and with His help made the decision not to let to this bother me, He would not have blessed me with those wonderful words from my precious little girl:)
He is the best!!!
Here is the thing, we are NOT asking you to reach out and befriend the OW.
Not unless your husband brings it up and asks you to be her friend.
AND should you be tempted, you may also remember how I thought I was who the OW (in my husband’s life) needed the Lord and I took the bait (still being such a Pharisee) and went to speak to her, which led to her paying for my husband to divorce me. So again, don’t begin getting any ideas of spiritual grandeur.
What we ARE asking you to do is to continue along your Restoration Journey—finding the life-changing LOVE that will allow you to see the OW as a victim. And if you can’t seem to find it, ask Him to see things from the OW’s eyes. And when you do, I promise your heart will break for her.
Finally, if you have a testimony of how you struggled, then overcame this hurdle PLEASE
SUBMIT AN “Overcoming a Hurdle” PRAISE REPORT CLICK HERE
If you’re having trouble getting over this hurdle, trust me, it’s due to fear—fear that IF you look at the OW compassionately, it means you think what she did or is doing is okay OR it means you don’t care enough about restoration.
Neither is true. It’s a lie. Jesus said that the proof we are His and followers of His, and certain His bride is when we show our love (which means how we feel in our hearts towards others).
Our Husband loved us so much that He “gave Himself up for us, so that He might sanctify us, having cleansed us by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church [His bride] in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.”
bathe in this truth
To accomplish this cleansing, here is the verse that says how your love as a Christian is proved by your love for one another— in many Bible translations—so you can bathe in this truth:
“By this everyone will know that you are my followers, IF you love one another." Message: "This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” Take a moment to open this and read each of the different Bible versions from this all important foundational verse: John 13:35
If the Lord has convicted you of having ill feelings toward the OW, be sure you pour out your heart to Him in a What I Learned. Discussing this issue with the Lord, as you journal your thoughts and feelings, confessing and praying will change you life in order to help others come to know Him.
"Dealing with Anger" —getting to the root
Living in a foreign country the first year on my own I'd often had to rely on others to translate or help with minor tasks such as paying bills etc. Being lonely also propelled me into asking others help for matters where I should have kept quiet and went only to the Lord.
I remember once being so frustrated and angry with in laws who were telling me what I had to buy for my son's birthday party, and when it got pricey that I just had to deal with it, etc. I didn't say anything back particularly, but I cried out to the Lord to take the anger away because I could see that the frustration was spilling over into anger and this was part of that old life I wanted gone! He lovingly showed me that if I would go only to Him and stop asking others for help, then they would not have the avenue or opportunity to "overstep their bounds". (according to my culture anyway). And prevent me from being in that situation in the first place.
I was the one putting myself in that position without realizing it! I asked Him to forgive and help me to learn to go only to Him, and then I wouldn't be in that mess! Then He showed me further, that anger was really about possession. If I owned something then it was mine, and I had a vested interest in how, where that thing or person was or was doing. For instance, if it was my house, my husband, my car, my job then when the house needed repairs or the husband left or the car was wrecked or the job ended, my natural reaction would be anger. But if instead I transferred ownership of everything to my Heavenly Husband, then it was His house that was falling apart, the husband - His to deal with how He chose, the car was His to fix or not, and the job was His to keep or not. Then suddenly I was carefree! The opposite of anger, not apathy, but care-free! So when I start to feel anger, I realize I've forgotten that its not mine, its His. When something comes up, I know that if I ask Him first He will either bring someone to mind, or answer the question Himself, leaving me free from being bound by others opinions and ending up feeling anger. I can be care-free!
“Encouraging the OW”
I have been asking God to give me the opportunity to use my hurt and pain for His glory and to minister to other hurting women, to give them His hope and share His love. I never expected it to be one of the OW.
My marriage, just hanging together by a thread, fell apart when a man called (over two years ago now) and identified himself as the husband of a woman with whom my EH was inappropriately involved. That led to me confronting him (which I know now was not the right thing to do) and resulted in my EH leaving and saying he didn't want to be married to me anymore.
Fast forward two years and this woman texted me asking to meet to apologize. I prayed about it and let her know that I didn't feel the need to meet, that I'd forgiven her. Her reply was so full of regret and guilt, it was like deja vu, reminding me of all the guilt and shame I'd lived with for years after my own adultery. I knew I was forgiven by God and yet I felt like the prodigal son, deserving only to be a slave or servant in my relationship with God and in my marriage. God loved me enough to take away the pig sty I was choosing to live in so that I would finally turn and cling to Him only, and give up the pride that paradoxically was keeping me in a place of being unable to forgive myself. I felt led to share Romans 8:1-2, encourage her that God is pursuing her and wants her heart, and shared this ministry with her.
Looking back at what I wrote I know that it was not me but the Him speaking through me and giving me His love to share with her. I ended up offering to give her a copy of How God Can and Will Restore Your Marriage and we agreed to meet so I could give it to her. I can honestly say I felt and still feel nothing but God's love and compassion for her. Only God!
I was able to listen and encourage her in her own marriage struggles and share what I've learned through this ministry about God's heart for each of us, His never ending, unfailing, tender love and pursuit of us to be His bride, to be so completely and utterly dependent and focused on Him that He is all we want, all we need, and all we live for. She had asked how I have such peace in this hard situation and now I see it in her as well.
My sweet, loving Lord, I thank you for restoration; for restoring me to You (over and over) and taking away the weight of my shame and guilt, for restoration among believers, and drawing this precious bride to You as well. Thank you for letting me be a part of Your work to make all things new, what a privilege and blessing!
"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death." (Romans 8:1-2 NLT)
Am I the OW?
The closer I get to restoration, the more the enemy tortures me because of my close relationship with my FH. My mind or the enemy tells me that what I am doing is wrong, that I am becoming the OW. With thoughts like: "How would you feel if you were in his wife's shoes?"
I honestly don't know exactly how to deal with this situation, I have gone through the lessons but there is no clear guidance that I could find, but of course I realize I need to SG in this and hopefully what He shows me will help someone in a similar situation.
Going to HIM first and asking Him to reveal the truth is always the way to deal with any and all of your questions and concerns. We trust He told you the same thing as He told Erin when the enemy lied to her in the very same way.
The truth is the OW and your FH are currently living in the sin of adultery, which needs to be the real focus of your concern for her. She, like all of us, looked for love with a married man when the only place deep lasting love can be found is by having a relationship with her Heavenly Husband. Therefore, rather than being concerned by what you're doing to her (having a relationship with your FH), for the sake of your children and your FH spiritual wellbeing—hope that she will find that all human love is fleeting—while He will never leave or forsake her when her relationship and adulteress marriage ends.