Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst (The Best Yes, Uninvited) usually writes about her life's problems after they've been resolved, but her newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength when Disappointments Leave You Shattered (Nelson Books, Nov.), is written during a marriage crisis and a cancer diagnosis.
“I wrote this book from the middle place; the book was unfolding as my life was unfolding,” said the president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, a popular women’s ministry complete with Bible studies, podcasts, radio programs, and apps. “I made that decision with my publisher because that’s where most people live.”
It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way examines a place between dreams for a “happily ever after life” and the hard realities of life, according to TerKeurst. “Part of making peace with life is knowing that in every season there is sorrow and celebration,” she said. “The quicker we learn to embrace that middle space, the more we’ll be able to embrace the unexpected.”
Over the past two years, TerKeurst was faced with her husband's infidelity and the realization that she needed treatment for breast cancer.
“It was hardship upon hardship, hurt upon hurt,” she said. “But the devastation in my marriage had put me in a season of rest, so I got the mammogram. I think God used that timing to save my life. A mammogram wasn’t urgent on paper, but in reality it was. I had lots of options and a good prognosis.”
Her marriage is intact today, and she is healthy, but the healing continues. TerKeurst delves into her marital problems in the new book, and notes that her husband read it and had the opportunity to make changes. She focused on facts, but not every detail, and highlighted her hope, not despair.
“I don’t want people to consume the book’s message to satisfy their curiosity; I want to point out the life lessons so they can transfer that hope to their lives,” TerKeurst said. “I don’t want to add to the noise of declaring how wrong all of this is; I want to be the voice to move forward into the healing I know is possible. If people know the depth of how I hurt, they’ll trust the healing and teaching I give them.”
The tough realities of betrayal and illness forced her to discover that she can live with both celebration and sorrow, and that place can be both good and peaceful. And she hopes her book helps people of faith not only acknowledge disappointment, but grow from it. “Disappointments are not God’s way of withholding from us, but God leading us home," TerKeurst said.