They say “when it rains, it pours.” That’s a line I think Author and Christian community leader, Lysa TerKeurst, would nod in full agreement with.
After the couple of years she’s had in learning of her husband, Art TerKeurst’s infidelity and hidden addictions, only to be told just three months later that she has breast cancer, it’s a wonder how this mother of five and Christian media mogul has kept the faith.
In an interview with The Today Show’s Jenna Bush Hager and Dylan Dreyer, TerKeurst opens up about the testing of her faith, and how she’s leaned into the one constant in her life to get her through.
“I’ve looked my greatest fears in the face and I’ve been able to walk to them and through them and with the help of God, persevere through it all,” she says in the clip. “I think the unexpected strength has been physical, emotional and spiritual.”
In her new book, It’s Not Supposed to be This Way—Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointment Leaves You Shattered, the Proverbs 31 Ministries founder finds the beautiful truth that is redemption even without complete restoration — something that has been pivotal in the re-building of her marriage.
She tells Bush-Hager, “We are both doing the hard work of reconciliation, which means daily pursuing togetherness,” something TerKeurst says she’s extremely thankful for.
“There’s a big difference between complete restoration and redemption,” she continues. “Redemption can be ours today even before the complete restoration and reconciliation has happened,” something she says her and Art are both pursuing in a spiritual and emotional sense, as well as a relational sense.
Being the Founder and President of one of the nation’s largest women’s ministries, faith has always been the foundation for TerKeurst’s life. But how does one of the most influential women in the Church keep the faith when life shatters everything you’ve ever known? She opens up to Dylan Dreyer with this little nugget of Truth:
“My faith in God allows me to elevate my perspective beyond just what we can see,” she says. “So there’s a story that we see, but then there’s a story that we tell ourselves. And I think that story that we tell ourselves determines so much about the pathway that we’re going to head in. It’s either going to be one of brokenness and bitterness or it’s going to be one of restoration and redemption.”
TerKeurst says that although she couldn’t choose the circumstances of her story, she has been able to choose redemption.
“So much of that is because of the goodness and the forgiveness God has given me.”she says. “It’s impossible to forgive another person, unless you really understand how deeply you’ve been forgiven. My relationship with God allows me to see I’ve been forgiven of much, therefore I can certainly forgive.”
The Today Show hosts press TerKeurst for some practical next steps for anyone who finds themselves shattered asking, “How do you forgive? How would you recommend that people pick up the pieces of a shattered life?” and “What is that first step that people need to take?”
Without hesitation, Lysa TerKeurst takes on this question with PURE grace and Truth.
Being led by the Holy Spirit she explains that it takes just as much energy to be bitter as it does to be forgiving.
“Either way you’re going to have to work hard at both, and so I’ve made the choice to invest my energies in forgiving.”
“There’s two parts to it: you have to forgive the facts of what happened, and then you have to forgive the impact of what it’s done to you.”
TerKeurst says that for her, “globally forgiving,” or finding reconciliation with the facts has been the easy part. It’s making the choice to forgive on a daily basis that takes time and hard work.
One of the questions she’s learned to ask herself often is “Do I want to prove that I’m right? Or do I want to improve this relationship? Because I can’t do both at the same time.”
Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, It’s Not Supposed to be This Way—Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointment Leaves You Shattered, is available now wherever books are sold.