Beauty for Ashes

Yesterday, I was sad to hear that author Lysa TerKeurst is getting a divorce. Divorce is hard for everyone. It’s really hard if you are in any way a public figure. And it’s particularly hard if you work in Christian ministry.

In spite of theological discussions of Jesus’s “exception clause,” allowing divorce in certain circumstances (this article offers a terrific explanation of the issue) it still remains taboo. The women I know in ministry who’ve experienced divorce wrestle with this constantly. There is an almost constant level of guilt simmering below the surface. I’ve felt it too, withdrawing from small groups and home churches, because I felt I should not be there.

I know that something good will come of her trials and I’m hopeful that she will be in a position to rejoin the world and share her wisdom over the coming weeks and months. She preaches the message of “living loved” and I hope she feels that in this season. I know that God will make something beautiful from her pain.

That is, after all, the promise.

During times of hurt, I lean hard on a couple of verses. One, from Isaiah 41:40, was read to me by a very good friend when I was in a season of brokenness.

I made the words into a necklace at one point and wore them around my neck for over a year. I also wore a ring on my right hand that I referred to as my ‘righteous right hand ring’ as a reminder that all shall be well.

Over the years, I’ve also leaned hard on John 11:35.

This is perhaps my favourite line in the New Testament. When Jesus learned that Martha and Mary’s brother Lazarus died, Jesus wept. He did not immediately jump up and perform a miracle; he sat down and grieved with the family. God is not always doing flashy things when we want Him to, but he is with us in our pain.

But then, Jesus acts. He tells the family to get Lazarus, whom he has risen from the dead. Beauty for Ashes: that’s the promise. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

And that’s what always draws me back to God, in spite of all the flaws of the church and its followers; in spite of all the flaws that are mine.

I hope Lysa TerKeurst rejoins the world after an understandable period of mourning. We could use her words and her wisdom. I will be waiting to see how God transforms her experience into something undeniably good.


  1. I am so sad for Lysa and the pain she must be in right now. I pray that shame won't become her friend, as it does so often to Christ following women who go through divorce. I'm on marriage number three here so I KNOW. It took a lot of healing before I could share my whole story with the “perfect' people of the church. Prayers up for the TerKeurst family 🙂


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