Christian author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries Lysa TerKeurst recently opened up about her plans to speak about forgiveness at the upcoming “The Word Alive” Lifeway women’s conference in April.
The conference, which takes place from April 3-4 at the Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Vestavia Hills will also feature Ellie Holcomb as the worship leader.
In a recent interview with AL.com, TerKeurst opened up about her plan to talk about life’s hardships and learning about forgiveness rooted in the word of God.
“I’ve yet to encounter a person who doesn’t experience hardship,” TerKeurst shared with AL.com. “Everyone has hardships. Everyone has something they’re going through. We’re really united in our tears. We can’t always relate to perfection in others.”
Over the past couple of years, TerKeurst has learned about forgiveness the hard way. In 2017, the mother of five announced to the public that she was separating from her husband Art. She explained that he had been unfaithful along with battling a substance abuse problem.
Not only did she experience intense heartbreak, but she was also diagnosed with breast cancer.
But TerKeurst’s story didn’t stop there. A year later, in December 2018 TerKeurst and her husband got back together and renewed their vows in a sweet ceremony in North Carolina.
“It was a really special time,” she shared. “I wasn’t sure that day would ever come. Everyone can relate to struggles, hardships, and imperfections, devastation and tears.”
“Surprisingly, I’m still a private person” she added. “I’m just not secretive. Different people have a different threshold for being vulnerable. When you tell everyone, you don’t have to keep track of who you’ve told and who you haven’t.”
She pointed out that there is a fine line between being open about your battles and gossiping.
“It’s not that we want to tell everything about ourselves,” she said. “I share just enough to glean the experienced wisdom. What I really desire to share is God’s truth. It’s less about my story than what God’s sharing through it. That’s what I want to do, share God’s truth.”
TerKeurst shared that while much of what she shares is centered around her personal experience and testimony, she will be focusing on the Bible at the upcoming Lifeway conference.
“The focus is very much God’s word,” TerKeurst explained. “People know this is not a conference about Lysa’s story, or where I’m going to share my opinion. We’re going to be digging into God’s word.”
“The Bible relates to everyone’s life and situation,” she added.
TerKeurst, who has shared openly about her relationship and reconciliation with her husband, explained that each and every person is living out a story.
“We all have a story we’re living and a story we’re telling ourselves,” TerKeurst said. “We’re all kind of on a journey, believing more and relying more on God’s word, or believing less and relying less on God’s word. This conference will give women a fresh passion for God’s word.”
“I want to help them match the struggles they’re going through and match it with the truth of God’s word,” she said. “The focus for this conference is on forgiveness, what the Bible says and doesn’t say about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a cornerstone part of the Christian faith. Not many of us have been taught what the Bible teaches about forgiveness.”
TerKeurst plans to talk about her personal relationship with her husband and how she learned to forgive him, but shes also empathetic to those who are in difficult situations.
“For those who feel, ‘I’m not sure if I’m ready to forgive’ – all that will be held tightly,” she said. “Women that attend, their heart is going to feel very safe.”
But there is a path to forgiveness, she said. “God has provided a way for forgiveness to be possible,” TerKeurst added.
“In some relationships, it’s not possible to sit down and have closure with that person; maybe they don’t want to, or it’s not safe, or they passed away,” she said. “Forgiveness doesn’t just happen when the other person is ready. Our decision to forgive isn’t dependent on what the other person does. If we forgive what the other person has done, that hurt us deeply, the hurt doesn’t matter.”
She concluded that at the end of every day Christians should ask themselves, “Have I gotten rid of the bitterness, and the slander, and pursued kindness and compassion, and forgiven as the Lord has forgiven me?’”
“The best time to forgive is before you’re ever offended, and the next best time is right now. Forgiveness is not validating what the other person is done, or saying it’s okay, or that my hurt doesn’t matter. It’s a step into cooperating with his grace. When we have been forgiven much, we’re supposed to allow it to flow through us. It is the pathway through which the healing of all the hurt is made possible. It’s quite a gift from God. That’s what makes it possible. It’s really what we have allowed God to do for us.”