It’s pretty easy for women in ministry to fall into adultery—much easier than you probably think.
It shocks us to hear that women leaders struggle with sexual sin, but it’s more common than we know. The problem is that no one talks about it because there’s so much shame surrounding the topic. That silence means those who struggle will continue to fall because they don’t have the support or tools needed to overcome.
So let me break the silence and tell you about my own struggles with sexual sin. I want to bring out into the open what many feel they need to hide. Shame is incredibly deceptive. It tells us that if we keep our secrets, we’re safe. But friend, we are far from safe in secrecy—we are bait. I pray sharing my story will give you courage to tell your story if you’re struggling, and the wisdom to listen without judgment to women who may confess their struggles to you.
I’ve always told my husband that it wouldn't take a tall, dark, handsome man to lead me astray—only one who would pay attention to me if times were rough at home. Because my husband and I are such opposites (who truly complete one another), our "becoming one" has produced much friction over the last 16 years of marriage. There have been seasons of enjoying the fruit of our endurance and seasons where we could hardly face one another. Add two young boys—one with behavioral challenges—and home can be a hard place to be. Interestingly, both times I’ve been tempted toward adultery have been times when things at home were frustrating.
The first time I was tempted was when I was writing my book, Culture Rebel. I clicked well with a man in my sphere of work, and I started struggling with my thought life. Jesus' words haunted me: "You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.' But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). I knew I had to get a grip, but the force of lust was strong on my heart, and I was becoming weak from fighting it.
My breakthrough finally came when I was at a conference listening to one of my favorite leaders, Matthew Barnett. I was in such torment, I could hardly hear him speak. Shame filled my thoughts: How could you think such things? You're a dirty woman. A poser. You think God can use you? No one would ever want you if they knew what goes on in the dark chambers of your mind.