Lysa TerKeurst on decision to 'keep pursuing joy,' healing one year after divorce announcement

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries and author of 'Forgiving What You Can't Forget.'
Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries and author of "Forgiving What You Can't Forget." | Proverbs 31 Ministries

Proverbs 31 Ministries head Lysa TerKeurst reflected on her decision to “keep pursuing joy” one year after her marriage of 29 years ended due to her husband's infidelity and substance abuse issues. 

On Christmas Day, the 53-year-old speaker and author shared a series of photos with her family, including her grandchildren. 

“We made the decision to keep pursuing joy through it all,” she captioned the photo. “We laugh together. We cry together. But the best part always is, we keep coming back together. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to still be pretty miraculous. The hope of the world has truly come. We love you Jesus.”

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Last December, TerKeurst filed for divorce from her husband, Art, after he engaged in “chosen patterns of behavior that dishonor God and the biblical covenant of marriage.” She publicly announced the decision in January. 

At the time, TerKeurst said that though she and her husband renewed their marriage vows three years ago after a “painful separation,” he had since “broken those vows.”

“It has crushed my heart to know he has broken those vows,” she wrote.

TerKeurst said she believed the “wisest (and hardest) choice I can make is to stop fighting to save my marriage of 29 years and, instead, accept reality.”

She added that though there is “clear biblical justification for my decision to end this marriage,” she would keep most of the details private out of respect for the couple’s children and grandchildren and “to give space and privacy for my family and me to continue to heal.”

“It’s hard to face a future that looks nothing like what I desperately and constantly prayed it would look like,” she wrote. 

After remaining quiet on social media for a time, TerKeurst has, in recent months, posted several updates about her emotional health and personal well-being. 

Earlier in December, she reflected on what healing “looks like,” describing the process as “admitting I’m not fine;” “wanting to give up;” but ultimately, “refusing to give over to defeat” and “kneeling to God humbly.”

“Two years of healing. Two years of focusing on my own health,” she wrote in another update. “Two years of learning how to sit in the quiet with myself and be okay. Two years of believing God for goodness even when things felt not good at all. Two years of learning to go home to an empty house and counting the blessings that are still abundant.”

She continued: “Two years … and I’m good. Better than good. I’m honestly surprised by how far I’ve come and how honest my laughter is now. My life looks different but it is full and joyful and I’m more grateful than I’ve ever been.”

TerKeurst, who has five children, first revealed she would be pursuing a divorce from her husband in 2017 due to his infidelity and struggles with addiction. At the time, she wrote he had “been repeatedly unfaithful to me with a woman he met online” and was abusing substances. However, the couple renewed their vows just over a year later after working to restore their marriage.

In her 2022 divorce announcement, TerKeurst said her husband had "broken" those renewed vows. It was later revealed that Art TerKeurst spent over $100,000 of the couple’s money on an “illicit sexual” extramarital affair with a woman he met online.

TerKeurst, the author of numerous New York Times bestselling books, including It’s Not Supposedto Be This Way and Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, is one of the most influential leaders in women’s ministry. 

She recently released her latest book, Good Boundaries and Goodbyes, which features lessons she learned about when to biblically end a relationship.

“A lot has been said on boundaries, but in the context of forgiveness, what we have to understand is that when Jesus said to ‘Forgive 70 times seven,’ He didn't mean to stand close enough to that person who's hurt us or abused us. ... He doesn't say, ‘Stay in close community with that person and allow them to abuse you over and over,’” TerKeurst told The Christian Post in a 2021 interview. 

“I believe Jesus is saying, ‘Establish enough emotional distance to where it's safe enough, that, if this person never changes, and they keep doing what they're doing, you have enough boundaries in place, enough safety and emotional distance in place, that you can forgive that person 70 times seven without being destroyed in the process.”

Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at:

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