In a series of beautifully written posts, prominent Christian author Lysa TerKeurst explained why she took back her husband after his repeated unfaithfulness, substance abuse and refusal to seek reconciliation.
Prior to 2017, TerKeurst was mostly known for her well-written books, her passion for teaching the Bible, her talent as a speaker and her leadership of Proverbs 31 Ministries.
But TerKeurst really shot to fame when she publicly announced the heartbreaking news that she was seeking a divorce from her husband, Art, in a blog post written in June 2017.
Christians sneered at her. Women stopped following her on social media.
The delight of a Christian leader going down in flames seemed to stir up a prideful, evil haughtiness in people from all walks of life.
About a year after her painful public admission about her marriage, TerKeurst unexpectedly announced that she and Art were in the process of reconciling.
In true American media fashion, nobody really talked about the miracle of restoration that God was working in a marriage that seemed utterly hopeless.
In December 2018, Lysa and Art renewed their marriage vows in an intimate setting shared with their loved ones.
The unlikeliness of it all has led many to question TerKeurst’s decision to leave and then return to her husband.
“Many people have asked why I stayed and fought for my marriage,” she wrote on social media. “The answer to that is as complicated and intricate as trying to understand what makes a massive ocean pull back and stop at the shore.”
“Apart from God, who can ever truly understand a thing like that?”
It is never loving to allow someone to abuse you, and there are certainly times to draw strict boundaries in a relationship, as TerKeurst did.
“There was a season that it wasn’t reasonable or responsible to stay,” she wrote. “Just like when the ocean doesn’t respect the boundary of the shoreline and hurricane conditions force evacuations.”
“So there were long stretches of silence, separation, and seeking wise counsel.”
“But then the shoreline became safe again. And I had a choice. I was offered a second chance at moments like this one.”
“Forgiveness is a process. Healing is a long journey,” she wrote.
“And I’ll never ever criticize another person for choices they made that were different than mine when placed in the same horror and heartbreak as me. Or maybe they had no choice at all. I have nothing but tender love and understanding. It’s a brutal walk.”
“So why did I stay?
“I was given that chance.
“I love Art.”
“And I’ve discovered imperfect love is still full of sacred possibilities, redemptive strength, it’s own kind of purity, and moments like the one pictured here.”
Lysa and Art decided together that their messy, authentic story could be used to help others find healing and learn to put their hope in God, no matter their life-shattering circumstance.
And so they have shared their story, with Lysa repeatedly saying that she is not the brave one — her husband, Art is the brave one.
Art has allowed his wife to publicly share his sin so that others would be led to Christ and learn to place their hope in Him — not in a marriage, or a restored marriage, or a big, happy family — but in Christ alone.
In Nov. 2018, TerKeurst released her latest book, “It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered.” (You can find it on Amazon through our affiliate link here.)
The book does not promise that every broken marriage will be restored as the TerKeurst’s has been. It does not offer a quick and tidy solution to complicated, messy scenarios.
Rather, her book gives readers the real solution they need to face any circumstance: hope in God as our faithful Father who is using our pain for our good and his glory.
God works in mysterious ways that we don’t often understand, and sometimes never will this side of eternity.
But one day, God promises to wipe every tear from our eyes and heal every wound in our hearts as we rejoice with him for all eternity.
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