One Couple's Unexpected Tragedy and Blessings
Scott and Erin Wilson share how they moved from the pain of two devastating trials in their family into an experience of God's amazing love and power.
As a couple, you have been through some very difficult trials in the last couple years. But I know God has done some amazing things through it all. How did the difficulties start?
Scott: Erin and I got married in 2009, and I think on the surface people looked at our marriage as the perfect couple. Things were just going great. After about a year, we attempted to have children, and I think that was really the first moment our marriage had some difficulty, because we had some troubles conceiving. So we began to go to some specialists to see if we could get pregnant.
Erin: So after over two years of struggles, the day finally came. There was a positive test, and we were pregnant. It was one of the happiest moments in our marriage to date...and then quickly that evening it turned to one of the darkest days. Because later that evening I found out that my husband was having an adulterous relationship with another woman.
Scott: In that season of our lives, whenever we would celebrate, we would just live it up. We went out, and I was drinking. It got to the point where I was drunk, and when we went home that night, I passed out on the couch. I'd been texting one of the women that I was having an adulterous relationship with. But Erin saw my phone buzzing, and that's when she discovered the inappropriate conversation that I was having with this woman. And that began a horrific season. We began to try to find things to help fix what was happening.
Erin: There was a third time that I caught him pursuing his sin, and I was just like, "I can't do this anymore. I can't help you." And it was the breaking point of saying, "Lord, you've got to do a work." And I just handed him over to the Lord. That's when we came across Pure Life Ministries.
Erin, what kind of struggles did you go through while he was away from home at Pure Life Ministries getting help?
Erin: I really just struggled with trying to forgive Scott. I knew that I'm called to forgive, but he hurt me so much that I didn't feel like he deserved forgiveness. I couldn't make it happen; the Lord just had to do the work. A month into the program, we came to visit, and I knew that I needed to tell Scott that I forgive him. So I did, and the Lord just did the work to complete it. He showed me what Jesus did for me on the cross; he showed me I can forgive him because of Jesus.
What did God do for you individually and as a couple through Scott going to the Residential Program?
Scott: I never dreamed that it was possible for me to be able to walk in freedom from my sexual sin the way that I do now. When I went to Pure Life, I honestly just went to be free from sexual sin. I had no intentions of going to be radically changed by the Lord. But what's amazing to me is that when I was at Pure Life, we spent so little time dealing with my sin issue. Instead, I was shown how selfish, how prideful that I had let my life become. The program showed me biblically about humbling myself and looking at how I could serve others, and in that process the desires that my heart once had became the complete opposite. All that old stuff was just disgusting to me. It was just getting in God's Word and finding out who Jesus was, and the Lord just does everything else in your heart.
Erin: After the program, it was different from before. I never thought our marriage could be better than what it was when we initially got married. I thought it was amazing then, but now, after the program, it's even better, and it just keeps getting better. Communication, how we parent, how we just pour out love and serve, intimacy—everything just keeps getting better.
I know you've faced another difficult chapter in your journey more recently. Can you tell us about that?
Erin: So we were down the road...three kids later...with a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a 9-month-old. Life was great. But our oldest daughter, Vivian, who was four, was having leg pain, and she started having trouble walking. It just kept getting worse. Finally, she had an ultrasound, and it revealed that there was a tumor inside of her body. That was the first time we heard the word cancer.
Scott: It was so surreal. You have this normal life, and then all of the sudden doctors are saying that your daughter has stage 4 cancer. You're whisked into this treatment plan that's going to last a year and a half or two years—chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy. She's going through all this different stuff, and her body is getting hit hard. As a parent, you're supposed to protect your children, and you see your baby girl going through so much. And you just feel like it's completely out of your control.
What have you seen God do for both of you as parents in this difficult time
Erin: With the news of cancer, all the fears, all the unknowns—it can just weight you down. The only way that we found freedom was just by going to the Lord in prayer and worship.
Scott: We had to come to the reality that that cancer could take our daughter's life. And we had to just mourn in that realization, and we just had to take that to the feet of Jesus. We said, "God, this is your daughter, and we're just going to completely surrender her to you. And we're just going to say that this is your battle—to fight, to cure, to win. And we're just going to sit at your feet and praise you and thank you. And we're going to wait for you to do whatever it is that you have planned in this journey." We saw we don't have to worry about this anymore; it is not our fight. All we have to do is just worship the Lord, and He will use us through this. And there was complete freedom after we did that.
How has treatment progressed for Vivian?
Erin: For the first six months, the cancer was not responding; it was getting worse. We were saying, "Lord, we need you! Nothing is working here! Our trust is in you.” And just bowing down to the Lord and His goodness gave us peace. Finally, there was breakthrough in her numbers. It was just such a gift, and all we could do was just thank the Lord and praise Him.
Scott: That was January of this year, and we have not seen the cancer change since then. But yet there's still peace. We saw the Lord move, and we've just been able to rest in the Lord's timing.
What would you say to someone else going through a really hard trial in their life?
Scott: My biggest piece of advice is that you have to just be patient on God's timing, because it's usually not a quick fix.
Erin: Yeah, and no matter how big or small it is, God cares. He just wants our eyes fixed on Jesus. Then, the rest will get taken care of. And for me, it was very helpful to stay current with my emotions—being real and giving them over to the Lord, and then letting him fill me with his peace and his love.
How have you seen God use this whole situation for His glory?
Scott: Our response to dealing with Viv's cancer has definitely moved people. They've seen us respond by giving God praise. It's given us a platform that that we never saw coming.
Erin: People look at Vivian and say, "This girl does not look like she has cancer." The energy, the joy—she's full of life. They see her, and it doesn't make sense. It's all to God's glory.
Scott: One of the beautiful things is seeing Vivian mature in her walk with the Lord through this. She just praises the Lord, and she won't go to bed until we read the Bible to her. I'm not thankful she's sick, but I'm thankful she's building her faith so strongly at an early age.
In the midst of all this, what are the things you are grateful for?
Erin: Iam so thankful for the trials—the hard times in our marriage, because it has only broken me and brought me closer to the Lord. I can't imagine going through this season of cancer without that foundation. I would be a mess.
Scott: We all want more faith. To build that faith, we have to go through tough stuff—trials. I'm thankful for God's mercy in walking beside us through these trials and giving us a chance to build our faith. We can confidently look at people and say, "Jesus can change your situation," and we would have never had that opportunity unless we went through all that we've gone through.
This excerpt is from our podcast episode, “Thanksgiving Stories of Life-Changing Mercy, Episode #325”.
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