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Three Things to Remember When Your Normal Gets Hijacked

November 26, 2018

“‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” Mark 14:36 (NIV)

The only way I could fall asleep was to lie to myself. “If you can just fall asleep, when you wake up you’ll realize this is a nightmare that will soon end.”

But that wasn’t reality. The next morning, I woke up and the devastation was there in an even more heartbreaking way. I reached across the covers and all my fears were confirmed.

My husband was gone.

Death hadn’t taken him. No, the hijacking of our normal was a slow erosion that led to an eventual landslide wiping out everything secure about our relationship.

That awful morning happened nearly three years ago. And I promised myself if I actually survived looking my greatest fears in the face, I would eventually be a voice of help and hope for others thrust into a darkness they never imagined.

So, here I am. I survived. We survived. And we’re determined to turn our battle scars into a battle cry to help others.

Whether you’re reeling from a life altering circumstance or you’re wrestling through something not turning out the way you thought it would, I know what it’s like to say, “It’s not supposed to be this way.” And I feel compelled to tell you three truths you must hear:

1. You are not alone in wanting things to be different and asking God to change your situation.

Did you know even Jesus asked God to change His circumstances and fix what God surely could have fixed in an instant? Listen to these words of Jesus right before he was arrested and eventually crucified:

Mark 14:36. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me….”

I have found such comfort in remembering the humanity of Jesus. Yes, His divinity made him perfect and sinless, but His humanity felt the brutal weight of human hurt. He understands loneliness, betrayal, and being devastated by people He should have been able to trust. He knows what it’s like to be lied to, misunderstood, falsely accused, and rejected. And because I know He’s felt what I feel, I know I can trust Him to lead me through my heartbreak.

2. There is a place to attach our hope but it’s not to our desire for changed circumstances.

Verse 36 doesn’t end with Jesus’ request for things to be different. It ends with the strongest statement of trusting God that I can find in the whole Bible: “… Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

In other words, Jesus had a strong desire for change. But He had an even stronger desire to trust God with it all. This is hard for a girl like me who loves to suggest to God all the ways He could surely fix my circumstances. But God loves me too much to do things my way. His plan is always better even if I can’t understand or see it clearly as it’s unfolding.

3. Though my story took the most unexpected twists and turns through the darkest valleys I’ve ever known, God’s plan was good.

Only God could take a string of really bad circumstances and add them together to make a good I never knew was possible. None of my suggestions to fix things ever worked. The good only came in God’s timing and in unexpected ways.

And though our normal will never look like it used to, it’s been replaced by something better. A deeper awareness of who God is and an unexpected strength that comes with truly trusting Him.

Don’t give up dear friend. Don’t stop praying. Don’t stop hoping and believing. But also, don’t believe that your way of getting to the other side of your circumstance is the only way. God has a perfect plan for a path to a renewed joy and a redeemed future that’s probably one you can’t even fathom. Trust Him.

The hijacking is over. I no longer lie to myself. Now the only way I can fall asleep at night is to speak truth. God is here. God is near. God can absolutely be trusted with it all.

Father God, these devastating circumstances have left me so weary. But the truth of Your love leaves me hopeful. I’m trusting in Your plans for me and I’m lifting up these words to You – not my will, but Yours. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

_____________________________________________________________

In my newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way, my heart is cracked wide open so that the words, life lessons, hope, and courage I’ve found in the midst of disappointment can help you find unexpected strength for your journey. Order your copy here today.

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34 Comments
  1. Angela

    I have been reading the book with tears in my eyes. Can I connect with Lysa without it being public?

    Reply
    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Hi Angela!

      You can send an email here:
      [email protected]

      Thanks!
      Mary Scott, LT Ministry Team

      Reply
  2. Teresa

    Thank you Lysa for your encouraging words as always. I love reading your posts especially on my not so good days. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Donna Walker

    My husband of 33 years had an affair and eventually we divorced. I was devastated. During that time my house was destroyed by a hurricane. While building a new home, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I said all that to say, I would have never have made it without God. My life has changed completely but I am so thankful God carried me through. I prayed for my marriage to be restored but that didn’t happen. I know God wouldn’t force my husband to do something he didn’t want to do. I am not the same person. I know I’m stronger, thanks to God.
    Thank you for sharing. I can relate.
    Donna Walker

    Reply
    • Deborah

      Donna, I cannot imagine what you have been through… But I am so thankful you leaned in to God and felt the fullness of His faithfulness. You now have an empathy and testimony not many of us have. I have no doubt God will use you and your story “to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which you yourself have been comforted by God.” ❤️

      Reply
  4. Maggie

    My marriage was hijacked 10 years ago, very much like you Lysa. I cried out to God, I had no idea how to handle the devastation that my husbands affair had caused. God walked with me and held me up and guided me through the some of worst days of my life. Today me and my husband have a stronger marriage a d family. God worked everything together for the good of our marriage and family and for that I am so grateful. I do not wish the pain of an affair in marriage on anyone, but if you find yourself in this situation turn to our Heavenly Father for answers, He will guide you and give you strength to heal.

    Reply
  5. Chris

    Lysa, Your new book reads like my current biography. Thanks and Praise for God using you to write this book. It’s been a lifeline of Hope for me. Praying for you as well/

    Reply
    • Karla

      Chris said it so well . . . your book was like reading a biography. It was like water to my soul to read on the pages that someone else understood, someone else had walked through this nightmare, through this valley of the shadow of death, and survived, could still have hope.

      Thank you for being so raw and real, and reminding us that the Almighty is our only true anchor of hope and life. Your book had a huge impact on me and ultimately my decision to decide to begin to forgive what felt unforgiveable. . .

      Reply
  6. Esther

    Lysa,
    We’ve met personally several times through the years at our former church, on retreats, and COTW. I’ve been following your journey for the last 3 years…thank you for your vulnerability with things so devastating and personal.
    It is a monumental exercise of faith to allow God to define our circumstances rather than letting them define God. As confusing and painful as it is, we (by God’s grace) choose to embrace a posture of trust that God is doing something magnificent in His love and wisdom, and that our story isn’t over yet. We live out these hard middle chapters in faith that God is good, all the time. I thank God for the truth and encouragement He is pouring out through you. Just started reading your latest book. May your restoration from dust be complete.

    Reply
  7. Susanne Butler

    Lisa, go over to YouTube and look up Susanne Butler (that’s my name) and listen to the songs on my album Dreams. Be sure to read my artist notes as well. I think this will bless you. Love in Christ,
    Susanne

    Reply
  8. Paige

    Oh. My. I’m blown away. I just started your book. I jumped on “the Googles” to search to see if there was any information on you. AND THIS PAGE CAME UP and it is SPOT. ON. I even rechecked the date of this post multiple times. (Definitely today’s date.) How timely. Gracious, God blows me away sometimes. I’ve had your book for over a week. Today, after a definite blow and a LOT of prayer and tears, I picked it up to start. I can’t wait to keep reading.
    But this post… I can’t even explain my awe at how God lined everything up the way He did for this post to be right on the money.

    Reply
  9. Hyacinth

    Thank you Lysa for sharing your heart. You are a great source of inspiration. I admire your transparency, your integrity and your boldness for Christ. God will always bless you. I love you.

    Reply
  10. Rebecca

    Thank you … I have so many emails coming I started to delete this
    one and I am ever so glad I didn’t. I know what you say is true … my
    own circumstance is so much the same. Married to what I thought was a
    man of God finding out he had been unfaithful with different women for
    6 years … willing to seek God to save our marriage but he chose the
    other path. One year later I can see God’s provision … His
    protection and His grace. I would love to share my testimony with you
    … God showed Himself strong when I was so very weak. Abandoned on a
    farm I could not take care of myself … a young couple came to the
    door and long story short fell in love with it enough to ‘trade’ homes
    with me … God’s provision. A couple came before the move and cleaned
    out the storage sheds and barn … when asked their fee “I am not
    going to charge you Christ told me to take care of you. On my social
    security I am able to pay bills … electric no more than 58.00 in an
    all electric home… water bill no more than 12.00 a month … God’s
    provision. The best part was hearing the still small voice during the
    time I was on the floor last years cold winter crying out to God. He
    said, “this is temporary” … “roses will bloom again” … one day
    when I was feeling so lost and crying out in self pity “pick up your
    cross” to which I replied “I can not carry it alone.” He has been with
    me through the long dark nights and quiet days … Feb 2 will be one
    year since the divorce and I am stronger in the Lord … I am learning
    He is all I need … His love is greater than anyone or thing. I am 66
    years old and I can relate to David’s psalm “I have been young and now
    I am old … I have never seen God’s children lacking bread.” He is
    the true bread of life and the living water … I am loved. Thanks for
    your site. Rebecca Chadwick

    Reply
  11. Jennifer

    I am currently walking through the same valley. I don’t have anyone in my life that has survived infidelity with the marriage intact or even better than before. I am grateful for your courage to share your story. I know the crushing blow and the utter devastation.

    Reply
    • Mandi

      Mark and Jill Savage have a ministry for couples reuniting and reconciling after an affair. You may want to check them out. I believe it’s called “No more perfect marriage”. If you just Google their names though, it should come up. I hope you may find this helpful.

      Reply
  12. Tammie

    Lysa, your recent book and writings have been ministering to my heart. My husband of 36 years filed for divorce two months ago. I am devastated. I go back and forth having hope to being hopeless. Many days don’t even know what/how to pray. Thank you for being transparent and real. This is life, and we need to have people who will walk it with us.

    Reply
  13. Paige

    I tried to leave a comment just after midnight, and couldn’t, but I wanted to say thank you. I’ve had your book for about 2 weeks, and had yet to start it. But yesterday, after a shattering conversation, I finally picked it up and read the Introduction. I’m blown away. I then came here, to your page, and read your post. And I laid in bed in awe and tears and blown away by God’s timing that led me to read your post. It’s like you were writing specifically to me. And I am still incredulous over it. Thank you for your willingness to share your experience and your honesty. What amazing confirmation and encouragement on the exact day I was dealing with being shattered. My faith is bending under the weight of this trial I am going through, and my hope is fragile and sketchy at best, but God has used you in a mighty way. Thank you.

    Reply
  14. LaTonya

    Thank you, Lysa!

    I have been up most of the night thinking about how I can change situations in my life. I thought my life would be different at this age. I went after my goals with all everything I have, but I’m not where I want to be in my career. I have degrees, experience, and I do great work. But, I have never been able to get the position that would give me a decent salary. I have been underemployed for a long time. There was a time I could not find work for a year. I feel stuck sometimes. I’m deeply disappointed that I am not financially secure like I should be. I feel I like a failure, I thought I was pursuing God’s plan for my life, but I feel like I have come up empty concerning my career. Thanks so much for your encouragement and for sharing your experience. I must stop comparing myself to others and trust God’s purpose and plan for me.

    Reply
  15. Abby

    I have been struggling with the turns my life has taken, my disappointment and the feelings toward God that I have because of them. My desires are simple; a normal life with a loving spouse-I am not asking for fame or riches, just normalcy. And I don’t have it. And it seems like God is saying wait. I am so tired and the evil one destroyed all of my peace first thing this morning. I have been on the verge of tears all day and ran an errand to get school project supplies at Hobby Lobby. At the checkout was your new book. Just the title was a reminder that I am not alone. I will be reading the book but already want to thank you.

    Reply
  16. Lisa

    I am walking in the same dark season. After reconciling our marriage 3 times for my husbands online indiscretions, he has been at it again for the last 7 months. My husband left me after 23 years, on our anniversary, and has filed for divorce.
    My husband is claiming he is right with God, for betraying me, lying, being physically violent, cheating on me, and ultimately abandoning our marriage.
    I have sought God’s Guidance hoped and prayed for reconciliation but know that is not what is best and safest for me. My fear, loneliness and rejection are palpable. Friends,family and Pastor are at a loss as to how to help me “get over it and move on”.
    I know there is Light and Hope – your devotions often find me in my dark days and bring my anguish to the surface so that I may look at it and give it my Savior and Lord who holds and sustains me.

    Thank you for the hope you share!

    Reply
    • Nancy

      I would encourage you to look at Dr. Ramani’s YouTube’s descriptions of a narcissist personality disorder. It sounds as though your husband may fit that category. They are very difficult types to deal with, always turning the tables, and not responsive to reason OR emotion (or faith, as their faith is false and self-serving).

      Reply
  17. Shantese Jennings

    Lysa, I read your first book that helped me through my pregnancy. I was going so much and trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I decided to lean to God to finally walk with him. You’re encouraging words really helped me as well. Thank you for being such a positive example. My daughter is now four months healthly and beautiful. I’m despression free and can hear God more clear then ever before thank you

    Reply
  18. Cathy McCoy

    Lysa, I just finished reading chapter 6 in Its not supposed to be this way. I so needed to hear these words at this very moment. Thank you for sharing your heart and your deepest hurts.

    Reply
  19. Melissa Labieniec

    Thank you for letting us in and for allowing us to go through the hurts of this life with you! Thank you for uplifting our souls by pointing us to the real reason for our hope and our joy. Thank you! Praying for you always!

    Reply
  20. Ana

    It is Christmas as we are all prepared to get the blessings of our lord Jesus. We have decorated our our house with Christmas tree, stars, lights and Christmas wreath on the front door, are now waiting for that best day in our calendar.

    Reply
  21. Judy Thebus

    Dear Lysa, thank you for being so real and sharing your testimony. I’m a single mom to an amazing 6 year old son. Seperated from my husband 2 weeks after I gave birth to our son. The divorce felt like death, But God! 6 years of just being single with my son and i’m a work in progress. Keep encouraging and writing. Love you!! God bless!

    Reply
  22. Sharon

    My husband lives on the computer I have caught him watching porn why would he bring that disgusting stuff into our home. He changed after retirement and he has changed his will and I know he is hiding much from me. I have mobility problems and he will not help me I need holding bars in shower and bathtub I bought them online but he will not install them. He expects me to preform like I always have I am in pain. I have lost a son to death I have another son missing I have lost a business and I am tired! I need some hope. Why do I need these trials and pain?? It hurts so bad.

    Reply
    • Cathy Quillen

      I pray for you. How are you doing? I pray things are better!

      Reply
  23. APilgrim

    This was sent to me a month ago via email, and I read the title and thought I needed to read it. I read the title every day or so for these almost 4 weeks of this email sitting in my inbox and decided to read it today. Thank you for your encouraging words. I have been experiencing an “upset normal” for quite some time. I feel God’s presence in my life, but this just made me realize that what I am enduring is nothing compared to what Jesus endured for me. This was a very timely reminder for me in my low times and I am so thankful that Jesus gives us friends to encourage us through the words of others as this thought from you came to me through a friend.

    Reply
  24. Katie VanNoy

    Dear Lysa–
    The day you released your book ‘It’s Not Supposed to be this Way’, my husband was praying to God to reveal to him what to do regarding employment/job situations. He had been thinking about a job change for a long while, but was just starting to think about it seriously. Two days after this prayer, God answered and the company fired him. We never thought this would happen to us. My husband is a smart, hard working guy–often staying late to help the company with no compensation, mentoring new employees, etc–and he was the LAST person I would expect to be fired. He was our bread-winner and I am ashamed to say, we do not have great savings to fall back on. It was tough to swallow at first, but after he told me about his little chat with God a few days before, I knew that I had to trust that God had a better, much greater plan for us.

    We went into survival mode–cancelling subscriptions like Netflix, only buying necessary food and paying necessary bills… We knew we could make it work, it would just be tough until he was able to get a new job. Pretty soon we started receiving random things in the mail–a class action check from a place that I worked more than 3 years ago that randomly came… Nielsen sent us a couple studies in the mail that scored us $20 extra here and there. A mail-in rebate came back from over 6 months ago that was forgotten about… And to top it all off, my photography side business was going RIDICULOUS. I had the usual return customers come for the Christmas photos, but then I all of a sudden started receiving business from people that I had never known and also people who I may have known, but have NEVER gotten photos from me before.

    Fast forward to now–my husband has excepted a job that seems 100x better than his last AND we were able to still give Christmas gifts to our loved ones/pay the bills. This was such as scary experience for us, but God has a plan. It seems crazy to think this, but it seems like our momentary devastation was a necessary alteration in our lives. We’ve learned a lot… Trust in God above all–He will provide, start that savings so we can try to avoid that level of stress again, and in the process, create a better budget. Your book was so relatable in this time of trouble and reminded me that I am not alone, that God uses even what seems to be evil for eventual good, and that I need to have patience and realize I’m not the one who is in control!

    Thank you so much for your carefully thought-out words and stories. They truly do make a difference!

    Reply
  25. Andrea

    A friend of mine shared your page on FB. I’m currently going thru a messy marriage, however, it was me who was unfaithful. I won’t share all the details as to why because in my mind there should be no reason for it, altho there were. I know the biblical thing to do is trust God and work on my marriage with my spouse, however, my heart has been so hard and it’s been so very difficult. I plan on purchasing your book to see if it will help me!

    Reply
  26. kristin

    im tired and broken. the past 1-1.5 years has been brutal in my marriage. 6 years ago my husband cheated on me. our first child was only 9 months old. i thought we overcame the trust issues and ironed everything out. i forgave my husband for his wrong doings but i know he never forgave himself. 4.5 yrs ago god blessed us with twin boys and i thought it would be life changing for the better but its been the opposite. my husband gambeled and didnt provide much he took misc. trips with freinds. i returned to work and provide for kids myself and husband when needed. hes 100% detached from us. he wants nothing to do with us he doesnt provide or support all expenses are mine to take care of. i am tired and my faith is running on E based on how much ive given and tried. he has 0 love for me he doesnt do anything to make it better or be present. im broken its all crumbling. he refuses to participate in anything with us. he hasnt spoke to or seen my family in a year. i really need gods help and guidance as i feel so alone 🙁

    Reply
  27. Leigh

    Dear Lysa (Lysa’s Team),

    Your realness has spoken into the lives of many women. It is comforting when we understand no one is exempt from disappointments or devastations in life, and can share encouraging words of how to walk through those times…even when it seems hopeless.

    I am writing to ask a question I’m sure you have answered many times, I just can’t seem to find a response. I realize this may not receive a response, as you do not manage your website, but it’s worth a shot.

    When you shared publicly about your husband’s continual sin and reason for your marriage ending, did you ever feel it wasn’t honoring to share the specific details of his sin? I completely understand sharing in a safe place where it can be discussed, but I struggled when it was publicly announced and wanted to ask the “Why?” or “For what purpose?” behind sharing the details. For example, I can see why it may be necessary to share there was infidelity or addiction, but I struggle with “meeting a woman online, 2 years, continual sin, substance abuse, etc.” Again, I am only asking about sharing this publicly (in the moment), seeing now the story wasn’t finished. Despite the situation, I feel there is a great maturity when you protect and honor others, even when it’s undeserved.

    Also, it was inspiring to read all you did to save the marriage and how much endurance was invested. If I remember correctly, even Art shared words of praise for your grace, forgiveness, and more. However, was it all “one sided”, or did you also feel there were things to be shaped/changed as a wife? In no way am I saying his sin was justified, just asking if you felt anything needed to change on your side, as well?

    As a woman who desires to grow in honor & maturity, I am just asking what your thoughts are looking back and asking for clarity.

    Thank you, in advance, for any response or clarity that can be given!

    Reply
  28. Brassyhub

    ‘God has a perfect plan for a path to a renewed joy and a redeemed future that’s probably one you can’t even fathom.’ No. Not in this life anyway. I have to learn to live without hope.
    After 30 years of an increasingly sexless marriage, my wife ‘came out’ to herself and to me as a lesbian. She’s never felt the desire for me that she has felt for a number of close women friends. She’s only once acted on her attractions, a brief affair with a friend many years ago now. For us both, our sexuality seems more of a curse, a malediction, than a blessing. A source of frustration and not of connection. God cannot, or does not often, change sexual orientation. And He has not made me peacefully asexual. There simply is no mending from this brokenness. We will be sexually incompatible, mismatched, until one of us dies. Divorce or an affair would be traumas that move away from us in time, into the past. This trauma is there afresh each and every day. I love my wife, but she doesn’t, cannot, desire me; and that is a daily agony.
    So our marriage has been entirely sexless for the last six years. We remain ‘monogamous but celibate’, we live more as brother and sister, as friends, rather than as husband and wife. Others see us as a loving older couple, still fond of each other, and they’re not wrong. But I feel that I have been amputated of an important part of me, my sexuality. I’ve been in a major car smash; I’m handicapped, for life, and no-one else can see it. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t feel this pain, mourn this loss.

    Reply
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