Photo: Lysa TerKeurst on Instagram
The Christian section of the Internet was rocked yesterday by this blog post from Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries announcing she is seeking a divorce from her husband, Art TerKeurst. I’ll let her tell it:
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.
It’s subtle, but it’s the word “almost” there that is the most heartbreaking part of that statement. They almost made it 25 years. And Lysa sure did do her best to get them there.
I have the utmost respect for Lysa and her ministry, and I have the utmost compassion and grief for her as she goes through this. In her blog post, she details that she has been fighting to save her marriage for about 2 years—living with the knowledge of her husband’s adultery and substance abuse for ALL that time, loving him through it, holding her head HIGH, keeping his secrets, STRIVING to save her marriage. It honestly makes me a little sad that she had to go into as much detail as she did, but in the Christian world, especially when you are a leader of a huge ministry like Lysa is, you have to have ALL your boxes checked off before you pursue divorce, even if you have Biblical grounds. That’s just the way it is, right or wrong. She says:
When I first found out about Art’s infidelity 18 months ago, I made the decision not to divorce him. I had just finished fasting and praying for 28 days and really felt led by the Lord that I was to love Art in my reaction to this shocking news and trust God for every step moving forward. I was still committed to doing everything I could think of to make our story one of restoration, even in the face of the worst kind of betrayal imaginable. I prayed continually. I sought counsel from family and other wise friends. And Art and I even made repeated trips across the country together for intensive counseling especially designed for marriages in crisis. 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.
The TerKeursts are a fairly “famous” Christian family. They are a couple who has made Christian ministry their life’s work. They have raised 5 children together.
I have learned a lot from Lysa TerKeurst thougth Proverbs 31 Ministires, as have many of you I suppose. And now, through her transparency in the demise of her marriage, I have learned something about my marriage, and about yours.
Not ONE of us is immune to Satan’s plans for our marriage.
A really great way to hurt the Kingdom of God here on earth is to take down Christian marriages. They are a foundation of God’s work here. Christian families having children and adopting children and raising up more disciples to go out and love our fellow men…that is certainly something the Enemy would love to stop in its tracks.
Because I believe what Paul says in Philippians, that He who began a good work in you, me, and Lysa TerKeurst will be faithful to complete it…I KNOW that he will use Lysa’s suffering for His glory. And I PRAY that He will bring Art BACK to Him for HIS glory!
But I also know we should do everything we can to guard against temptations to flee from our own marriages. When I read Lysa’s words yesterday, I wanted to RUN to my husband and grab him and hold him as tight as I could. (Sadly, he is OUT OF TOWN right now. I can’t wait til he gets back!) I wanted to tell him how much I love him, I wanted to reassure him of my commitment to him and my children. I wanted to make a pact with him, renew our vows right then and there. I wanted us to say out loud to each other that we KNOW we are vulnerable and that we will do everything we can to avoid temptation,flee it when it comes, and TALK to each other and trusted friends who are grounded in God’s Word about it.
Wives, please hear me: if you’ve got friends who aren’t encouraging you in your marriage, you’ve got friends you don’t need. If you’ve got online temptations available to you through old flames on Facebook or an overly attentive man in the PTA group, shed those things like they’re a coat made of ticks.
I love my husband with my whole heart. He loves me with all of his. We desire no one but each other. But if I think that can’t change, I’m a fool, and so is he.
At some point, Art TerKeurst made one bad choice that led to a slew of others. And so can I. And so can my spouse. And so can you and yours.
But God. Cling to him, my loves. And to the one he’s bound you to through marriage.
All my love and prayers are with the TerKeursts today. Say some prayers for them, and for your marriage, and your friends’ marriages. And remember, when times do get tough, what Lysa says here:
My true identity doesn’t shift or fall apart under life’s strains, failures, my own imperfections, setbacks or heartaches. While people—even God’s people—change, I’m so glad I serve a God who doesn’t. I love this verse in Malachi 3:6—’I the Lord do not change; therefore you, children of Jacob, are not consumed.’