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It's Not Supposed to
This Way - Interview with
Lysa TerKeurst's current book,
"It's Not Supposed to Be This Way," entered the ECPA
Christian Best Seller's Top 50 list in December at #2
and remains there in January
us about the disappointment
that prompted you to write this book.
I had been very happily married for over 20 years when I
experienced an unexpected upheaval in what I always thought was
my safest, most secure relationship. There were addictions and
an affair that became part of the devastation that entered my
marriage. I've had my heart broken a lot, but nothing like this.
This has been the hardest message to write because it was the
hardest to live.
"upside down" hit at a time of great personal and professional
success. What immediate steps did you take when you realized
was radically changing?
The most important thing I did was to open up to a couple of
friends and tell them what was going on. When my faith got
shaky, I knew I could stand on the faith of these friends. They
would speak truth to me and remind me of who I was, even though
my identity felt like it had been completely upended. Yet they
could say, "Lysa, this is a tragic part of your life, but it
doesn't define your life." That was important.
Also, I knew these friends would pray more words over me than they spoke
to me or would speak about me. They were completely safe because
I knew they were going to the Lord on my behalf. I kept that
circle tight because I was very committed to not inviting the
weight of public opinion into my family's very private pain. I
didn't let the public know what was going on for 18 months.
had a very clear vision of where you were
in God's process during this time.
You used the phrase "between two gardens."
Why that metaphor?
As I was walking through this journey, I felt like I kept losing
my spiritual orientation. I was wrestling with that question so
many people wrestle with, "How could a good God let so much hurt
happen? We do serve a good God. But we serve a good God who
allows hurt sometimes.
The Bible started in the perfection of the Garden of Eden. Everything was
perfect. Relationships were perfect. Humans walked in the
perfect presence of God. That's where the Bible starts. And the
Bible ends in the restoration of the perfection of Eden. When I
say "between two gardens," I mean that we live in a time between
the first Garden of Eden and the last Garden of Eden when
perfection is restored. God's great message to us is that
nothing on this side of eternity will ever satisfy our desire
We know that perfection exists because it is etched into the DNA of our
soul. But we can't achieve it between the two gardens. We don't
live there. It is a way of leading us home. On this side of
eternity, God is the only match for our desire for perfection.
Nothing else can ever satisfy us. That great desire for perfect
connection can only come in our relationship with God.
Once we make peace with this reality, then we can make peace with our
spiritual orientation. We are doing life between two gardens. In
a practical sense sometimes, I'll be going through my day and
something will hurt and I can just step back and say, :Of course
this is happening. It's because I'm doing life between two
gardens. It won't always be this way, but this is the way it is
now. This isn't evidence that God is far away. In fact, it is a
reminder that God is close and that I can be with him right now.
say, "disappointment is a way of God leading us to his heart."
How does that happen?
The space between our experiences and our expectations is where
disappointment grows. The enemy of our soul would love to rotate
those disappointments and make us feel like God is withholding
something from us. In reality, God allows us to experience
disappointment so that we will always be reminded that lesser
love will never satisfy us.
In Genesis 2, when God was giving Adam the rules of the garden, the first
three words he said were, "You are free..." However, when the
enemy speaks to Eve, he twists God's first three words and says,
"You must not..."
The enemy wants us to believe we serve a God of restriction when we
really serve a God of freedom. Disappointment comes when we
believe that lie because we believe God is withholding something
I have trained my mind to say, "God is not withholding, but He's
protecting me." Somehow, this disappointment is protection.
Several of the strategies you used
in your healing process run counter to conventional wisdom. Talk
I don't like bumper sticker answers that people sometimes try to
apply to deep pain. Those answers can cause more damage than
good. As Christians, we like to be able to say things like, "God
doesn't give you more than you can handle." But the problem was
that I woke up every day knowing this was more than I could
handle. The advice hurt more than it helped.
God will sometimes allow more than we can handle so we can learn to rely
on His strength. I had many suggestions to God about how He
could fix this, how He could change this, but God did it in a
way that was outside of my ability to conceive. I would sit in
His presence and let Him reveal Himself to me. I said in my
book, "God doesn't want to be explained away, He wants to be
Whether your pain is emotional, spiritual, relational or physical, I
don't want to diminish it, but I do want to put it in this
perspective. God loves you so much. He will answer your prayers
at the right time and in the right way.
say the enemy taunts us with the words,
"you are not good enough."
A lot of leaders wrestle with imposter syndrome - that we are
not good enough to be where we are.
How do we avoid this trap?
I think every leader hears that at some point. I've learned to
flip that question on the enemy and I say, "You are right. I am
not good enough." Every time the enemy sends it out to me, I
say, "Thank you for reminding me that I need God."
say it's our choice whether we stay stuck in our hurt or get
renewed in our hearts.
How do we choose renewal over hurt?
The biggest step is realizing renewal is a choice and there can
be purpose to your pain. When we experience pain and it feels
pointless, that's where discouragement sets in. I am convinced
there is a point to my pain. It is not just a deviation for a
season. It will ultimately give me a great revelation from God.
Recognizing that is empowerment. I am not going to be stuck here
forever. I'm going to move forward and I'm going to help others
move forward. And if that is the only other point to my pain, so
be it. I'm going to make sure others move forward, too.
Announces She is 'Cancer Free' Following Double Mastectomy: 'Praise
New York Times
bestselling Christian author and speaker Lysa TerKeurst announced on
November 17, 2017 that she is cancer free less than two weeks after
undergoing a double mastectomy.
"Today my surgeon stood up in my follow up appointment and declared me
CANCER FREE! They got it all out and nothing had spread," the
president of Proverbs 31 Ministries announced in a Facebook post.
"I'm so thankful and relieved and deeply moved by the outpouring of
prayers that have carried me through the surgery and first week of
TerKeurst said she still has a "couple of surgeries to go" and asked for
"There were a few complications but hearing 'no chemo or radiation
needed' makes my complications pale in comparison," she said. "And
please keep praying for others still battling through tough stuff by
lifting up some of the comments in my last post."
She concluded: "I love you all so much. Now, I'm going to have a 10
second dance party with my daughter, Ashley, who just got in town!
And then I'll get back in bed-I promise mom!"
The Christian blogger also shared a photo bearing the simple phrase
TerKeurst first announced she had been diagnosed with breast cancer in an
October 2017 Facebook post.
"I've sort of dreaded this moment of telling you guys," she said. "I
really am fine, but I think because I've been through so much in the
past couple of years...I've just kind of been dreading telling you
because I think people will think, 'What in the world"
TerKeurst said she recently went in for a routine mammogram but the
results came back unclear. She later went in for a second mammogram
and then a biopsy, and doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer
after finding the tumor.
The previous week, she shared a photo of herself on Facebook revealing
she had undergone a double mastectomy.
"Your prayers and kindness have meant so much to me," she wrote. "The
double mastectomy surgery went really well and I'm feeling good.
Thank you Dr. Menendez, Dr. Harper, and all of the amazing nurses
and staff at Presbyterian Main."
"Love you all!," she concluded. "And if you or a loved one is fighting
cancer, let us know in the comments below. My team and I would love
to pray for you."
2017 was a difficult year for TerKeurst; in June, she announced she
would be divorcing her husband of 25 years.
"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," TerKeurst wrote
in a blog post titled 'Rejection, Heartache, and a Faithful God.'
After learning of her husband's infidelity last year, "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," says TerKeurst. "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."
"What can you do for us? I'd simply ask you to pray. Pray for my precious
children and grandchildren. Pray for me. Pray for our team at
Proverbs 31. And yes, please, please pray for Art."
In a later blog post, she said she and her husband are "praying for a
miracle and walking the road to healing."
Not one prayer you've whispered on behalf of my family has been wasted.
God is moving and we are so thankful," she said. "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."
Lysa TerKeurst is president of
Proverbs 31 Ministries,
a ministry that works to reach women in the middle of their busy
days by offering free devotions, a daily radio message and a
variety of other spiritual training resources.
In her new book, It's Not Supposed To Be This Way,
Lysa shares how leaders can walk through pain and disappointment
in a way that honors God.
"Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out and Lonely"
"It Will Be Okay: Trusting God Through Fear and Change (Little Seed & Little Fox) Hardcover"
"Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst
of Raw Emotions"
"The Best Yes:
"Unglued Partcipant's Guide: Making
Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions"
"The Best Yes:
To Crave Devotional:
Satisfying Your Deepest Desire
with God, Not Food"
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to Be This Way"
What happens when life looks very different from the reality
we long for? In It's
Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa TerKeurst
offers a Biblical perspective and hard-won
advice to encourage readers facing their own challenges.
Find unexpected strength while wrestling between faith and
feelings and learn how to stand through uncertainty and
trust in God's goodness.
100 Devotions to Know God
Is Holding You Close"
Embraced is the beautiful new
devotional from Lysa TerKeurst, the president of
Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times bestselling
author of Uninvited, The Best Yes, Unglued, and
Made to Crave. Embraced features 100 devotions that will
resonate with women in all stages of life by giving them a
godly perspective on the issues they face each day.
"What Happens When Women Say Yes To God: Live
More Fully, Love More Deeply, Experience God's
Best for You"
Total obedience to Christ can transform an ordinary walk
into a remarkable journey. Sharing personal experiences and
biblical insights, TerKeurst shows you how to discern God's
voice, follow his direction, and discover a life of joy and
purpose as you partner with him. Includes a Bible study.
Previously titled Radically
Obedient, Radically Blessed. 192
pages, softcover from Harvest.
I Am - Bible Study Book: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry
of Your Heart (Paperback"
What is the deep cry of your
heart? The ache in your soul that keeps you up at night? The
prayer you keep repeating? Jesus not only cares about this
deep, spiritual wrestling, but He also wants to step in and
see you through it.
Join Lysa TerKeurst on the streets of Israel to
explore the seven I AM statements of Jesus found in the
Gospel of John. Through this interactive, in-depth study we
will be trading feelings of emptiness and depletion for the
fullness of knowing who Jesus is like never before.
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