Proverbs 31 Ministries hails from North Carolina and seeks to ‘lead women into a personal relationship with Christ’. All Christian ministries seek to do something akin to this, but this particular group, led by Lysa TerKeurst, has been through its share of tumult.

Why do I care? Why do I have an opinion about the Proverbs 31 Ministries?

Because good people who know nothing about Lysa TerKeurst have a strong and vocal opinion about her. And I have an entire town that hates me. They’re related.

It’s a smallish town, smack between two cities three hours apart. When I first moved there, I made weekly forays to the city for a taste of civilization. Locals thought I was nuts. Civilization? Where people run over you and steal from you and where shoes cost sixty bucks? But my then-wife and I were from the Seattle area, and I wanted to have a nice meal or shop somewhere other than Big 5, later supplanted by Walmart with claps from the community. I needed a bookstore that sold real newspapers with news about something other than the soybean market. I was a snob.

Then, one morning, cresting over a short rise on my bicycle, I saw the sun so bright and huge that I thought I might reach out and touch it. It bathed the fields around me in golden fire. I had an epiphany: I had chosen – voluntarily –  to live somewhere that I hated. That just might define stupidity. But natives loved the place. They called it God’s country and invited anyone who disagreed to leave. Now. “Let me help you pack,” they would say. I decided right there, pedaling over the hill, to look for things to like. I discovered Southern hospitality and made real friends. I began collecting butterflies with a true expert and learned much. I tromped through woods that had possibly never seen a white man. People here didn’t care about shopping or Porsches or even newspapers. They cared mostly about faith and each other and about what is right and true. Many swung too rightward for me. A few swung too far left. But, amid the differences, I settled into a life that I enjoyed.

Farming soybeans at You Woke Up Breathing

Farming soybeans. Photo from Unsplash.

I moved back to Seattle, later, to work for a new company. It was home and easy to adjust to. I finished college and my wife and I finished with our marriage. My divorce caused a small stir in the Southern town where we had lived. I had a few phone calls from good friends, asking what in the world I was doing.

I stayed in the Seattle-Tacoma area and my ex-wife carted our at-home children back to the South. Soon, I had an entire town that hated me. There were holdouts, to be sure, good friends, but the community was against me. Maybe for good reason. I never once told my side of the story or tried to defend myself. In true Seattle fashion, I felt it was my story, a private tale between partners. I still feel that way.

The take away to my post is this: not a soul living in the hot, humid town, knew a thing about what happened within my marriage. Yet that stopped nary a soul from having a strong and vocal opinion about it. Such is the human condition.

Together again, Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 Ministries, announced a couple of years ago, that she was done with her husband. She refused to announce details and said it was important to her that her marital issues be kept private. I became interested because I heard of the enormous backlash aimed at her and husband and her ministry. It was almost as if those who now opposed her knew a single thing about her and her issues. They didn’t. But they drooled at the mere thought of gossip and taking a side. The town I lived in did the same thing.

I went back there for a few months, for a job. Maybe a smarter person wouldn’t have been surprised, but I was. People saw me at the grocers – good friends – and they would duck into the other aisle, fascinated with the nutrition label on a box of prunes, to make their way out of the store, so as not to have to talk to me. People at work did the same thing, walking past me starting at the floor, humming, as if I didn’t exist. I finally made one woman, a good friend that I worked with, sit down and talk to me. She was clearly uncomfortable. In the end, I was there for work, and I worked. Later, when my now wife – both my former wife and I remarried – came to visit, we went shopping, and I noticed an old friend of mine in the store. When he saw me, you could see the gears in his head churn. He made his way to me, slowly, inspecting the vinyl floor, like a pup holding its tail between its legs. “Hey, man. Long time no see! How you doing? And the kids and your wife? How are they?” He looked at me like I had hit him. Maybe I had? “Jesus loves you,” was all he could force out before running out of the store.

In closing, I don’t have the slightest clue about Lysa TerKeurst, Proverbs 31 Ministries, her husband, or their marriage. I admit that. But, no one else does either. That is their story and I will let them have it.


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Another time I traveled for work. I saw Jesus in Maine. He needed a bath. On Medium.

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