“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
It was by quoting this verse from Psalm 27 that New York Times bestselling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries Lysa Terkeurst ended her heart-wrenching blog post on June 13.
The article came as a surprise to many who follow Terkeurst’s popular ministry.
In the same transparent voice that has conquered many followers through her career as a writer and speaker, the 47-year-old announced that she is filing for divorce from her husband of 25 years, due to his repeated infidelity and battle with substance abuse. After extensive counseling, prayer and attempts to reconcile, Terkeurst has concluded that her husband has “abandoned” their marriage. She has therefore decided, in her own words, to “release him to the Savior.”
Like many who follow her ministry, my heart breaks for her, and I have committed to pray daily for her family.
I met Lysa a couple of years ago while attending her annual writer’s conference in North Carolina, and was happy to find the same pleasant, down-to-earth personality that one meets when reading her books.
Her recent story brought to memory several other ministry leaders that I have known through the years, who experienced traumatic circumstances that had the potential to destroy their ministry.
In each instance, the way they responded in the aftermath of the storm determined the course of their future.
Some allowed their circumstances to take over their lives. I’ve watched them give in to immoral lifestyles, or refuse to rise above the pain.
Others, on the contrary, chose to trust God through it all, and therefore I have had the privilege to watch God restore them, and take their ministries to new heights.
Indeed, neither temptation nor pain are strangers to even the most faithful ministry leaders. They can’t be.For how can we minister to others, unless we know the depth of their suffering? Click To Tweet
And how can we reach out with mercy and grace, if we do not know the weight of our own weaknesses?
We simply cannot.
Lysa herself can attest to that truth. She is not a stranger to pain. Anyone who has read her books or heard her speak understands that she has known rejection, abuse, loneliness and the heavy price of bad choices. And yet, she has committed every heartbreak to a God who can turn our mourning into dancing, and help us find purpose for every valley we cross.
Like a ballerina who fixes her eyes on one spot in order not to lose balance while performing the perfect pirouette, Lysa once again shared her pain, while committing to stay focused on her God. She has lived through enough valleys to know that He is faithful to those who choose to trust Him through the final act.
She says: “I am brokenhearted beyond what I can express. But I am more committed than ever to trusting God, His promises, and His plans, whatever they are from here.”
Indeed, the difference between those who quit after heartbreak and those who rise from the ashes like a phoenix lies in two words: trust and commitment.
There is no question people will disappoint us. Even those we love the most. There is no doubt that dreams will be crushed and that we will suffer loss, sickness, betrayal and heartbreak. It happens to everyone who breathes.
It’s called life.
That’s why I am grateful for people like Lysa Terkeurst, whose confidence in her Maker surmounts her sorrow, teaching us to trust that God can make beauty out of brokenness, and give us the strength to endure the storms.
This article was originally published on my column for The Atlanta Journal Constitution on Saturday – June 24, 2017.@LysaTerkeurst teaches us again. Read my column for the @AJC Click To Tweet