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Popular speaker and prolific author Lysa TerKeurst announced the end of her marriage after nearly 25 years of marriage.
"Anyone who knows me and Proverbs 31 Ministries knows how seriously I take marriage. I've always encouraged women to fight for their marriages and to do everything possible to save them when they come under threat. So, for the past couple of years I have been in the hardest battle of my life trying to save my marriage," the Proverbs 31 Ministry president writes in a recent blog post.
"I believe I have the capacity to love Art and to forgive him, but his steadfast refusal to end the infidelity has led me to make the hardest decision of my life. After much prayer and consultation with wise, biblically-minded people, I have decided that Art has abandoned our marriage. Yet, the Lord has been so faithful to help me at every step of this very painful journey and has now assured me I've done all I can do," TerKeurst writes.
TerKeurst says her husband Art was unfaithful multiple times, abused substances and lied to their family. The couple attempted intensive counseling for 18 months, but Lysa says Art refuses to reconcile their marriage.
Lysa is most known for her role as the president of Proverbs 31 ministries, which was founded in 1992, and as author of several New York Times best-sellers.
"As many of you who have followed our ministry know, I've never shied away from sharing how God has gotten me through tough seasons and even grown me through my struggles. Thankfully, my story has been one of learning that I'm not defined by my circumstances. I'm Lysa, a beloved child of the one true God. 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," she says.
After a season of rest, TerKeurst says she will continue on with her ministry and speaking engagements.
"Many people think Proverbs 31 is a picture of a perfect woman; but the Proverbs 31 woman is, at her core, someone who seeks the Lord in everything she does and trusts Him wholeheartedly with her life. Our mission is to meet women where they are in the real, hard places we all experience, and to intersect God's Word right there. We are simply a group of women sold out to saying yes to God—and He truly does the rest."
While some criticized TerKeurst decisions, many praised her boldness.
Naghmeh Panahi, ex-wife of former persecuted pastor Saeed Abedini, was among TerKeurst's supporters.
"I was so heartbroken to hear of this news today ... It is the sad condition of many lives/marriages and the church. It is something I have cried over, wept over, and prayed about for the last few years. People ask me what I have learned most during my journey. There is so much to share. Today after reading this blog by Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries, I felt led to share a glimpse of some of the things God has been graciously teaching me," Panahi says.
"God has used my suffering to humble me and bring me to a place of dependance [sic] on Him and His Word. To bring me to a place of great hunger to read His Word and ask the Holy Spirit to help me obey it. I can say that I am so very thankful for how God has used suffering in my life to reveal so much of Himself and His Word and to draw me close to Him," Panahi says.
Jessilyn Justice is the director of online news for Charisma. Born and raised in a pastor's family in Alabama, she went to Lee University and the Washington Journalism Center. She's passionate sharing God's goodness through storytelling. Tell her what you think of this story on Twitter @jessilynjustice.
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