By Diane Gruette | Photo by Derek Lowrey
Derek and Liz Lowrey were both raised in loving Christian homes. Church had always been a big part of their lives. He had attended bible college; she was praying for a man who loved the Lord. They met at a young singles group and two years later, married. They had done it God’s way, saving sex for marriage, carrying in no baggage of previous relationships. Life was good.
But Derek had a secret. A warped view and pre-conceived notions were brought into marriage from experience with porn, leading to disillusionment and wanting more. When their son Grey was born, Liz thought the marriage was good, but they had become excellent roommates; friends with benefits. They didn’t talk about sex and Derek drifted back into porn.
Three years later, their daughter Violet was born. They were co-leading a Home Team and Derek was on the Worship Team. Their busy lives pulled them apart and they forgot to focus on each other.
Derek never dreamed he would ever cheat on Liz but when a woman at work approached him; he was too weak to say no. When the woman’s husband confronted him, he hit rock bottom. He asked his parents to take the kids for the evening and told Liz they needed to talk. Liz was devastated.
On the counsel of Liz’s former Pastor, “We separated in our own home.” Liz didn’t know if she could ever be with him again. “It’s my personality to need specifics to understand fully, and then I prayed God would help me let it go.“
“Our Home Team was a crucial part of our healing process.” Though humiliating, “I needed to be held accountable,” says Derek “and she needed community, so we told a lot of people early on.” The team gathered in tough love, Godly anger and concern for the couple. “Not one person ever judged us; the guys understood and the women surrounded me with support,” says Liz.
It wasn’t until Derek repented (and wasn’t just remorseful) that Liz was able to open her heart to forgive him. Liz saw God change his heart. God was going to use this pain to show others that marriage CAN survive sexual sin. “Now I’m willing to be vulnerable, less perfect for her. Our marriage is one of support… doing life TOGETHER,” says Derek. “My relationship with God has shifted for me. It’s not about ‘knowing,’ it’s a working relationship. I went from wondering ‘Am I even saved?’ to knowing we are ALL broken.”
God has led them to be open and share their story with their current Home Team and their church. God has used their honest transparency to bless their marriage and the lives of others.