Georgia Coy carried the brokenness of her childhood into her marriage, and continued a cycle of sexual destruction until she eventually found faith after
I grew up in a rural town in central Victoria, Australia. When I was 18 I met a sweet guy who pursued me hard, despite my broken background. Two years later he followed through on his promise to marry me – and I believed nothing in the world would make me more complete…
Waking up to an empty bed the morning after our wedding, my stomach fell as I pulled my knees up to my chest and wondered: “What have I done?” I made myself remember all the times my husband had fought for me; when Dad was jailed – he accepted me.
When my family was evicted – he helped me find us a home. When our lives were threatened with the axe of a madman while trying to help my sister get out of a toxic relationship – he protected all of us. So why did I feel so empty after marrying him?
As my world was overcome with disillusionment, in my husband’s world, he had crossed the finish line in his fight to save me. I didn’t understand that he had been loving me running on empty.
I found myself trapped in a marriage that echoed the fights of my childhood; somehow I had recreated the scene of my absent father and my mother begging for time.
A man from work stood at the door to my office asking: “How was your day?” This question led me over what I believed to be an uncrossable line. I was dismissive at the beginning, but that listening voice, asking day after day, caught me.
I loved my husband, and I was angry it wasn’t him standing at my door asking and listening. I didn’t want this man who was twice my age, and honestly made my skin crawl.
But I was starved of attention, not knowing I had crossed a line…until I was on the other side of it. A new world opened up and consumed me, and just two and a half years after I pledged my faithfulness to one man, I became the other woman.
It was only a matter of time before I received a call from that listening man’s wife. Her screams followed me around our town, which was so small that everyone – my clients, friends and family – all knew in a moment.
She burst into our office and confronted me, not us, me. All my life I had never witnessed an adult take responsibility for their mistakes, and I didn’t want to be like that. I knew I had done the wrong thing and that it was my duty to own it.
That day I stood, listened and apologised, but another day three weeks later when our paths crossed at the supermarket, she broke me. Standing at the checkout her screams called me out as a “husband stealer” for everyone to hear, while I stood frozen and unable to speak.
A second chance…ruined
Driving home with nothing left to return to, I found myself at the end of my capacity, too tired to live another day. So I sunk under water and let life leave me in large round bubbles.
When my breath ran out I realised I had to fight to die. I thought: “If I have to fight to die, shouldn’t I be fighting to live?” At that moment the voice of love spoke to me and said: “Stand up and walk with me all the days of your life.”
I stood up out of my water-filled grave and met a God so loving that he extended himself down, into the pit of my sin and lifted me back into life again. I had attended church my whole life, but didn’t know God was real until this moment.
Broken, I stood in my second chance and decided to run away – the only survival currency I knew. I was 23, hiding behind a bright smile and a new name, disappearing into the big city a two-hour drive from our town.
I prayed it was big enough to hide me. But the wife’s screams reached into my inbox as she threatened to expose me. I had to come out of hiding – but only to him; the man she threatened to expose me to, my new boss. He dismissed it all as small-town gossip and invited me into a club that boasted no consequences. The cost of admission – my soul.
At first, I didn’t realise my mistake with my boss, but I was certain of it the night we descended a narrow staircase into a candlelit bar. He pressed his hand into the small of my back and led me to a lonely table at the edge of the room.
Everything about the scene felt familiar, and I withdrew into myself, running my fingers through the candle. He pulled his chair close and asked: “Do you like playing with fire?” I refused to meet his eye but answered: “I’ve played with fire before and got burnt.”
The back of his hand brushed up against me as he responded with: “My wife doesn’t have to know.”
Breaking the cycle
I wanted no part of these men and yet behind every face I found them; we were drawn together like the lyrics of some tragic song. However, the one true thing I knew was that the God of Love didn’t reach down into my grave and save me for this. There had to be a way out of the destructive cycle that owned me.
Seasons passed, and one day I received another call, but this time there were no screams. I sat in front of my boss an hour later holding onto the seat beneath me. He couldn’t tell me what happened, saying that I wouldn’t believe him.
He was scared. We both sat in silence and I waited for him to break it. He said, “I was in the shower this morning and I was thinking of you when a voice said: “Georgia is my daughter.”
He pushed back from the table in disbelief continuing: “you know I don’t believe in that stuff, but the voice came again and again, it said three times ‘Georgia is my daughter.’” He leant forward in a whisper: “All I know is that if I ever touch you again, your God is going to kill me.”
Is it bad that my first response was to laugh? I mean, what was even happening?! His earnest eyes looked back at me, searching for reason or answer, but I had none. Who was this God?
That he would reveal himself to the man who represented my enemy, and call me his own? That he would fight for me and say: “Don’t touch my girl” when I couldn’t even keep my pledge of purity to him?
Nothing was the same after that day. And I managed for a time to modify my behaviour to align with what I knew to be true. But the nagging want for sexual destruction was always there, waiting.
Like an old familiar friend, it wound itself back into my life until I found myself in a one-night stand. Not wanting the stain of this night to cast a shadow on my efforts to turn my life around, my hesitation must have been evident as he sensed it and pushed, saying: “Come on, you know you want this.”
A light flicked on and flooded my entire being and in that moment I knew that he was wrong. I answered: “I didn’t want this.” I searched inside my heart and couldn’t even find a desire for it; the only thing I found was a resounding truth: I am righteous!
The cycle of destruction that held me shattered to pieces in the light of this revelation. True freedom that surpassed the realms of behaviour modification was mine, and I knew I was finally healed of the love deficit inside me.
The polluted thoughts that strangled my every breath became wide, open spaces where I could create and dream. The desires left inside me were for good, and my soul was finally at peace.
I never got the ‘happily ever after’ I was chasing on my wedding day - but I found something better, redemption. Every burnt-down relationship in my life has been restored by the extraordinary power of Grace.
Including my ex-husband and even my now friend, who is referred to in this article as ‘the screaming wife.’ We found reconciliation amidst our broken humanity, but this didn’t lead us back to each other, it gave us permission to stand as whole individuals.
Pursuing new lives built on this wholeness, instead of trying to fit our broken lives back together. It’s the greatest honour given to me to hold up these scars of my past that point to the truth and the power of Jesus. Freedom is real, it is complete and no one is disqualified from receiving the finished works of the cross.
Georgia is an international speaker, life coach and consultant based in Australia, and is the founder of North Life Consulting (northlifeconsulting.com).