Tag Archives: Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst: This is how it’s supposed to happen…reconciliation

This is great news! 

We all enjoy good stories that begin with “Once upon a time” and end with “happily ever after” in the same way as Disney movies and children’s fairy tale books. Even the Bible begins and ends in such a way, but what about everything that happens in between the beginning and the end? The hard stuff; impossible circumstances, heart-breaking realities, tear-stained pillows, regretted decisions, accidents, a devastating health diagnosis, death, broken relationships, words we wish we could take back, decisions that haunt us…mistakes, over reactions, sin. None of us are exempt.

For background into Lysa’s in-between here is a video clip of her announcing that she had breast cancer…“Art and I are both praying for a miracle and walking the road to healing. We are clinging to the promises of God on this journey full of twists and turns, ups and downs. There is often a process God will take people through to prepare us for the Promise. We are a work in process. And this process is often messy and unpredictable. I don’t know exactly what tomorrow will look like but I do know who I’ll be looking to … The Lord … whose love is unfailing and whose hand is the safest place to entrust my hope.” Video: Click here.

She was declared, post surgery, cancer free here…

We applaud for the underdog, and hope and pray for those we know who are suffering. We don’t live in their skin and experience the fight they endured to get to where they are.

We don’t know the in-between for Lysa TerKeurst and her husband Art, but we cheer them on as they seek healing for their family.

I reached out to Lysa for an interview but due to scheduling limitations she has put a hold on media and publication commitments.  I totally understand! I was told by her staff, “We’re so grateful for your heart to share about and support Lysa and Art’s reconciliation. I know they will be so thankful for your prayers and encouragement.”

A year ago I wrote about Lysa TerKeurst’s open letter explaining the reasons she filed for divorce. We mourned with her.

Today we can rejoice with her!

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

She has the best news for her family; they are doing the hard but rewarding work of reconciliation.

This is the outcome I hoped for after serving my first husband with therapeutic separation and later divorce papers, and I know it’s the outcome most of my readers hope for when they finally make the decision to serve their husband with the same legal paperwork.

It’s rarely about wanting a divorce. No! It’s about forcing our spouse to see the gravity of what has happened and hoping, praying, and waiting for the gift of repentance to gloriously show forth its fruit.

God does not use repentance as a form of punishment or shame. Quite the contrary; it is our invitation to healing, power, wisdom, blessing and restoration. Repentance is a gift; it is our right! There is joy to be found in it. Oh, that we would all understand and welcome this process when we need it…and we all need it!

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Acts 3:19-20 (NIV)

I’m not sure how I missed this terrific, God-glorifying, joyful news for the last 3-4 weeks. Maybe because I’ve had the worst three months of health problems due to auto-immune disease flare-ups and it has stolen my summer from me. Whatever the reasons, I saw Lysa’s good news on the internet for the first time last week. I’m genuinely ecstatic for her and her family, and I know you will be too.

Lysa T family pic together again
Lysa T together announcement
*Above photo and text from the official Lysa TerKeurst Facebook page.

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Continue to pray for Lysa and her family on this road to restoration. Although I can’t speak for Lysa, I imagine healing will be an ocean of waves like it is for most women. Doing alright one moment, overcome with emotion the next; thinking you’re going to make it, wondering if you can hold on for complete healing, forgiving…remembering…smiles, tears. It can be a roller coaster, but prayer to our faithful God and a daily relationship with Him makes ALL the difference.

God takes our broken and makes it more beautiful and valuable than our earlier state; much like Kintsugi, also known as Kintsukuroi. Most people would like damages to their broken items to be concealed and hidden by repair making the object look like new. But the Japanese art of Kintsugi follows a different philosophy. Rather than disguising the breakage, kintsugi restores the broken item incorporating the damage into the aesthetic of the restored item, making it part of the object’s history. Kintsugi uses lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver, platinum, copper or bronze, resulting into something more beautiful than the original.

Kintsugi
Lysa new book

What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, his lack of intervention hurtful, and his promises doubtful? Preorder Lysa’s newest book here…   It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way

If you have suffered betrayal this new blog might be a place of encouragement and validation as you walk the long and difficult road of restoration. Afflicted Hope

Are you in need of your soul being ministered to, or need music to help you praise God for what He has brought you through? I highly recommend Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road CD. It’s beautiful and healing.

In Defense of Lysa TerKeurst

This is in response to some of the backlash I have read against Lysa TerKeurst over the last few weeks regarding her decision to pursue divorce.

I recently posted a letter written by Lysa TerKeurst, “Rejection, Heartache, and a LysaFaithful God,” posted 6/13/17.  Lysa is a popular women’s ministry leader and teacher, and she is a New York Times bestselling author. Her ministry, Proverbs 31 Ministries, is named after the chapter reference in the Bible of the well-known passage depicting what a virtuous woman looks like. If you’ve ever checked out my list of favorite blogs in the margin (header or footer depending on which digital platform you use) you know I’ve had Proverbs 31 there since I began blogging in August 2013.

In all fairness, I’ve read more comments in support of Lysa than against. Yet I’m not sure why some in the Christian community are shocked by the news, and saddened or enraged that Lysa decided to pursue divorce.

Lysa had the right to walk away from infidelity and to publicly name the reasons, biblical reasons, why she was choosing to file divorce proceedings.

“My husband, life partner and father of my children, Art TerKeurst, has been repeatedly unfaithful to me with a woman he met online, bringing an end to our marriage of almost 25 years….I don’t share this to harm or embarrass him, but to help explain why I have decided to separate from him and pursue a divorce.”                     ~Lysa TerKeurst

I’m sure she was well aware that some in the Christian community would take the opportunity to verbally shred her over the airwaves, in the blogosphere, and on podcasts. Many Christians believe Christians should not divorce—ever!

I especially notice this in legalistic backgrounds and those deeply engrained in the patriarchal movement.

I ascribe to the Biblical grounds that God allows for divorce under specific circumstances. I consider divorce a merciful gift from our gift-giving Heavenly Father for a spouse enduring unfaithfulness, a spouse’s addiction and/or abuse.  (I’m yet to hear of a pornography addiction that didn’t fuel verbal and emotional abuse.)

I’ve also read excerpts of Lysa’s letter picked apart and spun in different ways. As a woman who was in ministry, and who divorced a pastor, I’ll add my commentary to the mix.

Lysa writes,

“I so wish we were sitting face-to-face so you could see my tears and hear the deep grief in my voice as I share this with you.”

It took courage and I imagine hours heaped upon hours of Bible study, prayer, and professional counseling, topped off with immeasurable puddles of tears for Lysa to reach the conclusion to file for divorce. I’ve personally never known a sister-in-Christ who made this decision quickly, thoughtlessly, or gladly. It’s just not an emotionally healthy woman’s nature. We are nurturing, long-suffering, forgiving, and abounding in providing extra chances for the offender to make things right.

Even if Lysa didn’t have deep grief, or was past that stage, she would still receive my compassion and prayer support for choosing to divorce her unfaithful husband who was also not seeking healing for substance abuse issues.

Next, she writes about her commitment to marriage:

“Anyone who knows me and Proverbs 31 Ministries knows how seriously I take marriage. I’ve always encouraged women to fight for their marriages and to do everything possible to save them when they come under threat.”

I believe her.  It takes the commitment of two people to get married, but only one person to break the vow. Lysa learned like many of us that one person is not capable of fighting the battle alone to save a relationship between two people who both have the free will to choose. We are not the Holy Spirit and cannot convict the unfaithful spouse of their error/sin. Even the Holy Spirt won’t make them do what they don’t want to do. It only takes one person to abuse, abandon, and destroy the marriage. I know Lysa took her marriage covenant seriously and earnestly wrestled through her husband’s infidelity.  If she is anything like me she refused to give up or give in until she knew she had done everything humanly possible to save her marriage while waiting on God and waiting on Art. After all, as Christians we know God can provide the healing and restoration…but here’s the catch: both people must desire it. In the end, Art didn’t desire it and he made a choice. Lysa simply decided to make Art’s abandonment of their family legally official.

Lysa also mentioned the effort she put into trying to “save” her marriage after discovering her husband’s infidelity 18 months prior. 

She concludes:

“But sadly, though I have repeatedly forgiven and accepted him back, he has continued to abuse substances, be unfaithful, and refused to be truthful to me and our family.”

She went above and beyond to give Art time to repent, heal, and restore their relationship even though she was not biblically responsible for doing so. He was the cheating party who should have been putting in the time required for the hard work of winning her back to save their marriage and keeping their family intact; as well as, restoring his fellowship with God. Art rejected reconciliation; he broke the marriage vows and refused to stop cheating. Lysa may have been the one to file for divorce but make no mistake; he is the one who first left and his choices led to divorce.

 

Moving on…

“After much prayer and consultation with wise, biblically-minded people, I have decided that Art has abandoned our marriage.”

Yes, he did. He also defiled their marriage bed and broke his covenant between him, Lysa, and God. 

I understand and agree with Lysa that her husband abandoned their marriage. If only it were a past action that could be filed away. For those who haven’t lived through betrayal you should realize…it is an ongoing, active trauma that continually violates a woman’s heart, soul, mind and strength. The road to healing is long.

I’m grateful for Lysa’s courage and vulnerability to share the facts with her readers, without going in to details, as to why she is choosing divorce.  Lysa strives to be real, even when life is messy or ugly, for the sake of passing on gospel lessons.

“Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.” I Thessalonians 2:8

Lysa’s a teacher at heart; with a heart that is broken but still nurturing. Her marriage failed because of her husband’s choices; she did not fail. I believe it’s safe to say this trial has not been fun or easy, but when she comes through on the other side she, because of her faithfulness to God, will see fruit—not just in the circumstance—but in herself.  God knows the fruit is there because He’s already prayed His will over it.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Lysa kept her husband’s secrets, endured his unfaithfulness, chanced danger from his substance abuse and possible STDs, loved him, and offered him forgiveness multiple times.

Telling Lysa, or any other betrayed or abused wife, that she should … remain subjected to lies, neglect, cheating, emotional trauma, and probable STDs while loving him and hoping to save their marriage because God hates divorce… is not biblically necessary.  I imagine Lysa did that for a time; hoping Art could come through the mess holding his head high with his dignity intact.

I desire for Christians to put away the, “God hates divorce” as the one size fits all quote to prevent a marriage from ending. God hates unnecessary divorce that could be prevented by spouses loving each other, being faithful, and placing each other’s needs above their own. He hates the pain divorce causes each member of the family.

Divorces feels like it will surly kill you when you are suffering through it.

God hates the wounds and the pain caused by divorce…but…God allows divorce in the cases of infidelity and abuse.

Over the last 5 years of ministering to broken women in destructive marriages I have been heart-broken at how quickly the church takes the unfaithful abuser’s side in an attempt to persuade the woman to stay.

Let’s stop assigning damaging words and expectations on the faithful spouse and instead understand their hurt, pray for them, and offer practical help as they walk through the valley of abuse, betrayal, abandonment, and/or divorce.

I’m grateful Lysa will continue to pour her energy and gifts into her ministry, Proverbs 31. I’m thrilled that those around her have not placed blame on her for the wrongs her husband committed against her, nor asked her to step down from ministry. To remove Lysa from ministry and from her current source of income would be revictimization. Her husband’s failure does not damage her character and gifting; in fact, she has been subjected to exemplifying the Proverbs 31 woman in the middle of extreme stress while enduring the public’s eye and a few Christian’s judgementalism. Some Christians believe divorce is sin and should never be used as an option. Others believe that the offended or abused spouse should die to self, take up their cross, and endure more unfaithfulness and/or abuse. God does not place the institution of marriage above the safety, sanity, and health of the victim. He is a God of relationship and he does not expect us to experience the death of our personality, energy, heart, spirit, and strength to appease the offender/abuser and keep the marriage together.

Honestly, I see that the Christian world places more expectations on the innocent victim of the divorce than they do on the offender. Our community of believers tends to want more details so they can verify if you have biblical grounds for divorce.

I sure would like to see this same community hold the unfaithful spouse, or abuser, to the same standard of accountability. Perhaps if they did, the intervention and accountability would have relieved the victim from more heartache and—perhaps—helped to save the marriage.

In the end only One opinion matters—the One who forever calls Lysa worthy.

I’m sure Lysa waited patiently for the Lord, and He allowed her time to work through everything. Through this, Lysa knew she did everything she could to save her marriage and did not prematurely leave.

Did Lysa find what many of us who went before her found? The greater and deeper our emotional trauma; the more intense our spiritual walk becomes. When we are too weak and the problems too big; God supernaturally exerts His power in us resulting in a life of extraordinary growth.

 

“Marriage and family are important to God; just as important to him are the individuals within those marriages.” ~Leslie Vernick, The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope

 

For more perspective see: Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse