Toxic Tuesday: Lysa TerKeurst’s Betrayal

My heart aches for Lysa.Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

I suspected this for several months. The  times I listened to Lysa in Bible studies or on pod casts over the last year I wondered if this was the difficult circumstance she was living in of which she couldn’t speak. There are some things so profoundly deep and traumatic that when you hear someone else speaking with such words…your betrayed heart reaches through multi-media and feels their secret soul-hurt.

I realize publication dates precede the release of her letter. I don’t know when it happened or when she made it public, but I’m grateful she was obedient in her calling to write a book and Bible study that would help her, and help others who would go through similar circumstances.

Rejection, Heartache, and a Faithful God

No person’s rejection of me can ever exempt me from God’s love for me.

“A Gut-Honest Look at Love.” That was the title of my first blog post of this year. Based on 1 Corinthians 13, I wrote, “Love isn’t what I have the opportunity to get from this world, love is what I have the opportunity to give.

This perspective on love has been a lifeline during the most painful season and decision of my adult life. I so wish we were sitting face-to-face so you could see my tears and hear the deep grief in my voice as I share this with you. 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. For the past couple of years, his life has sadly been defined by his affection for this other woman and substance abuse. I don’t share this to harm or embarrass him, but to help explain why I have decided to separate from him and pursue a divorce. God has now revealed to me that I have done all I can do and I must release him to the Savior.

Continue reading the continuation of Lisa’s letter here….


If you find yourself in a season traveling the same road as Lysa you may find her book “Uninvited” at Amazon or Christian Book Distributors (Book, study guide, DVD study, or Audio book)


The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.

In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers:

    • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt.
    • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence.
    • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging.
    • Stop feeling left out and start believing that “set apart” does not mean “set aside.”
  • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.


Continue reading the continuation of Lisa’s letter here….

Published by Carolyn Deevers's my spiritual superpower for surviving crises and complicated relationships. Here is where I share stories...or at least the ones I can tell you about. ;-)

12 thoughts on “Toxic Tuesday: Lysa TerKeurst’s Betrayal

  1. Lysa, I know you don’t know me, but you’ve been a friend to me for the last year through a dark season of betrayal in my life. No wonder your words brought such deep hope and encoragement to my broken heart. Thank you so much for having so much courage to stand and be a shining light of hope, forgiveness and live through your own heartbreak. I am so very sorry for your pain. I love you and your family and will be praying for you. 💔🙏😊

      1. love that you wrote this, as I went through about the same in a much smaller scale of ministry. Yet I lost everything, my church friends, my in laws , my home etc,, that was almost 5 years ago. I still struggle with the religious group but have found so much comfort in my small support groups. Thats were I feel god is , some of the Church people need to wake up.
        It takes more than prayer, it takes courage and action to move forward.
        her husband obviously has a sickness, and is broken. I admire her intentions and I admire her courage to call things the way they are.
        Just because she didnt share these things before , doesn’t make her weak, I know the heart of a godly wife, we will do almost anything to repair our marriage.
        However it is not what God would have for us, once our husbands hearts have turned cold.
        So many broken believers hide behind their faith until one day it just doesnt work anymore, their broken behavior takes a life of their own.
        My desire is to help bring more emotional support and 12 step recovery into the churches and share with people the tools they need to know they dont have to stay in a Toxic , betrayal relationship.

        God Bless you Lysa so glad you have influential friends like Shelly & Louie who understand that bad things happen to good people and God will not fail you….

    1. When do you give up? There may be a different answer for each individual. 1) When you are in danger. Take the threat assessment test. 2) If you have biblical grounds for divorce you have the option to divorce immediately. You also have the option to forgive and work it out, but you aren’t required to do so. 3) If you know your spouse has a character/personality disorder manifesting in physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse with no regard to your needs and feelings, not one mention of remorse or an apology, and endless denial and justification then it may be time to seek help for leaving safely. If you decide to stay, you need to be able to stay safely with your integrity, sanity, and boundaries in place. I recommend Leslie Vernick’s book; The Emotionally Destructive Marriage for help on how to do this. Leslie has questions in the front of her book to help you understand if you are in an emotionally destructive relationship. Please understand that most abusers do not get better, the abuse usually escalates with time. I also recommend biblical counselor, Patrick Doyle’s free videos on Youtube. Most importantly; pray about everything involved with staying or leaving. I hope this helps you.

    2. I’m way behind on checking and answering comments. I’m so sorry! When to give up is an individual decision based on prayer. Is it abuse or infidelity? Either way, you have grounds to leave. If you are unsafe, leave immediately. If you have no where to go, call Domestic Violence. Call the police too if there is grounds to do so. Domestic Violence exists for not just physical abuse but also emotional, financial, and sexual abuse. Unfaithfulness while still having sexual relations with your spouse is a form of sexual and emotional abuse. If infidelity has occurred repetitively, or is ongoing with no repentance chances are the behavior will not stop. If you are asking I believe it’s safe to say the unfaithful spouse needs long term, ongoing, professional help with a counselor who specializes in helping abusers, or helping with unfaithfulness. Not just any counselor is knowledgeable for helping with these issues. This IS NOT to include marital counseling. You SHOULD NOT attend counseling with him/her. If their counselor insists on seeing you, it should be only you. Even this I would run past your own counselor before attending. Do you have children in the home? The world tells us that kids are resilient. Bad news: This is a lie straight from the devil’s mouth. Do kids adjust? Yes, but it does change them. Good news: They can make it through with the power of prayer. My personal belief is that if safety isn’t an issue and you can keep your sanity, it may be beneficial to wait until the kids are grown. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to such a complex relationship/issue. If you need professional help from an expert in this area, Leslie Vernick offers a CONQUER group for women in difficult marriages. Her cost is $27 per month and gives you access to all her teaching materials, video casts, podcasts, and multiple live phone calls per month with the ability to ask her questions one-on-one. If you don’t have the ability to do this; counselor Patrick Doyle has over 100 videos offered FREE on YouTube. I hope this helps. ~Blessings

  2. Maybe you should also post and give glory to God that Lysa and her husband have reconciled and are re-married.

    I’ve read over many over your posts and why just post the negative things about marriage and relationships? Why not also post about couples who have endured the pain and decided their relationship or marriage was worth the fight? It seems you have at times a victim mentality. Yes, What you’ve experienced in your marriage is tragic but why not give others hope? Divorce is not the best answer but it seems that is your covert advice. Yes, you give some suggestion to stay but overall it appears that you tend to target men as the abuser mostly. May I ask a few questions? If you’re married now how is your marriage? You mention your 3 children but I don’t recount reading anything of an amazing husband? If you are married why not give some light on what he has to deal with on your past? Are the children from your first marriage? How has this man supported you and them? How about your parents and brothers and or sisters. Help us to see how your past has affected your relationship with them. If your married how does this affect your relationship with your in~laws? You mention that if you’ve biblical grounds for divorce that a person can divorce immediately…Wow, that blows me away. Yes you mention you can stay but you have the ‘option’ to do so. What about scripture that states God hates divorce, the 2 become one, what God put together man shall not separate, a covenant may not be broken, a man and woman married can only be separated by death. If a person divorces their spouse and marries another she or he commits adultery. You see, you take once scripture about divorce and omit to bring to light what the Word says about marriage. It’s not just a union between two people but a covenant with three…God as the head of the man, man the head of the woman and the woman submitting to her husband. I mean submit by God’s standards not the worlds. The scriptures I paraphrased show that the Father takes this union very seriously and so should we. If you advocate divorce do you advocate also for the spouse to remain single for the rest of their lives? For scripture states that if you divorce your spouse you must stay single or be reconciled to your spouse. That’s tough to swallow but it is there. That’s New Testament. God gives us illustrations about marriage by comparing it to His relationship with the church. God has never broken away from the church and God’s ideal for marriage is that the two become one and are that way until death. Have you given council to anyone to divorce? By your posts you may have. But are you grounded in scripture deeply enough to do that, have any type of psychology degree, not a counselor but an actual psychology degree? Have you gone to Seminary? Any training what so ever? I’m not trying to demean what you’ve experienced but reading your blog it appears to me that you are giving counsel and advice that can and will directly affect the lives of people. Each marriage is unique and the depths of the struggles they go through are more than anyone can know. God does not speak to people and release them from marriage or speak through other people to walk away. Only through deep prayer and fasting and a strong guidance in biblical knowledge should any such life changing event be confronted. Divorce not only affects the adults but the children’s lives and their children’s lives. Friends, family members, neighbors, whole communities. Satan loves divorce. It is easier to go after one spouse and destroy a lineage than to go after each person singularly. I’m privy to know many marriages that have survived sin and divorce to be reunited. Each couple states that their relationship with God is much stronger and they love their spouses even deeper and better than prior. It’s not easy but they’ve done it. Oh to the glory of God. How about instead of promoting divorce recovery the church promote marriage recovery? I’ve dealt with many divorcing and divorced couples. In the ones that don’t deal with physical or mental abuse, just want to leave, which is the majority, there is generally another person involved and the blaming towards the spouse that is being divorced is the same. The grass isn’t greener, the other person is not the answer, and there is no forgiveness, satan wins. For every toxic Tuesday post why not follow up with at least four posts of successes or how to help the person who you deem as toxic. God accused the Pharisees and Sadducees because of their hardened hearts and pride but He showed compassion and love to the sinners. In fact he ate with them. It’s easy to push a topic and point the finger but it is far better to show compassion and love. Educate them on how to love their spouse through this. If they have negative thoughts and all their being told is to leave the marriage what can they gain from your site except much of the same. Change the direction and identify the traits and illuminate how change is possible. After all, they married them because they fell in love. I know people say that people don’t change. Well, if you believe that you don’t know my God. He become born again, what is old is now dead and you are now a new creation in Christ. Just because we deem one sin worse than others we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. I feel you spend a lot of time pointing to the sinner and not the sin. Jesus pointed out the sin and loved the sinner. and he redeemed them as He has done both you and me. For our creator so loved us that sent His beloved son to die for us that we May have eternal life. Go forth into all the nations declaring the word of God.

    1. Thank you for your interest in my blog and for taking the time to read some articles.

      I’ve been writing for several years and have hundreds of articles in which I’ve answered almost all of your questions.
      I’ve written about Lysa Terkeurst’s reconciliation, my husband and children, what God says about divorce including the scripture about God hating divorce, and written about the covenant relationship. I’ve addressed that men are also abused but my ministry is to women and I write in that manner. I’ve written about divorce not being the answer in most marriages, but I write mainly for people living in extremely abusive homes, not people living through tough times, tragedy, or unfaithfulness. I’ve explained my background including a disclaimer in the margin, my passions, and my walk with Jesus. I’ve written about the statistics behind angry and controlling abusers’ ability to change. I’m not going to give abuse survivors hope that their abuser is going to change. I will not be responsible for the death of women and children who thought if they stayed and prayed more, read the Bible more, or pleased their abuser more that the abuser would get better. I’ve addressed the need for prayer, fasting, and in-depth Bible study before deciding on divorce. I use scripture to address permission to leave a destructive marriage.

      Please understand, it’s not that I don’t care what you think about me or think about what I write. It’s that I care more about what Jesus thinks about me. My desire is to be found loving Him with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and loving and serving others. I want His heart and will for myself, and for those I minister to.

      We will not agree on all things; not even scripture. I don’t think any of us will arrive in heaven and have God say to us, “You, you interpreted every word of scripture correctly!” But I do hope we arrive and hear Him say, “You loved well, proclaimed My Son, discipled others, and lived your life chasing after Jesus’ heart, will, and words.”

      For this reason I’m not going to spend hours answering all of your questions because I’ve already spent hundreds of hours writing about them and they can be found here on this website.


    2. Hey Penny. Just so you’re aware Lysa is now divorced from her husband again because he continued in his adulterous ways. Some people are toxic and do not change from making bad decisions and living in sin. The bible also tells us to not be yoked with unbelievers. Sometimes using scripture combined with common sense goes a long way.

      1. Yes, Jayla is correct. Lysa’s marriage ended a few years ago due to her husband’s unfaithfulness. I haven’t been writing much due to illness, so thank you, Jayla, for addressing the topic and updating readers of this website. My heart continues to be for women living in or leaving abusive marriages.

    3. It’s great when the person committing adultery and abuse changes their mind and actions! However, that doesn’t always happen because that person doesn’t always want to change their actions. It’s 2023 and now Lysa is divorced because her ex husband repeated infidelity after reconciliation.

      1. Yes, and thank you for commenting on this. I read about Lisa’s divorce, but Lyme disease has kept me away from writing. I was sad for her, yet grateful she had the Biblical wisdom and courage to leave.

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