From my heart…

As you have heard me teach over and over, every family and every marriage has its challenges.  For the past few months Mark and I have been in such a season. It grieves me to share this with you, but Mark has chosen to separate.

If you are reading this you are an important part of my community and I would ask that you would pray for my family.  I may be less visible and accessible for a season and I would appreciate your understanding.  I need to circle my wagons and care for my broken heart and my children’s broken hearts.

My blog will continue to bring encouragement to you…sometimes from me as I walk through this dark season…and sometimes from fabulous Hearts at Home speakers who are stepping up and asking to bring encouragement to you while I care for my family.

We have been surrounded by close friends and family who are loving us through this difficult time.  I have not been alone since Thursday evening.

I honestly don’t know how people go through these things without knowing the God who will never leave them. I can promise you that He is the one holding me up right now.

Update: May 2012: Mark has returned to his family and his marriage.  We are grateful for God’s continued healing in our lives and we trust that He will use this dark and difficult season for His purposes.

Update: June 2013: Mark and I are celebrating 30 years of marriage and we are so grateful!

Update: January 2015: Check out our 10 Day No More Perfect Marriages Blog series that not only tells the story of our hard marriage season, but also shares wisdom for battling the “slow fades” every marriage experiences. 

Update: February 2017: Check out our new book No More Perfect Marriages that not only tells our story but also helps every couple become aware of and know how to stop the seven slow fades every marriage experiences! 


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71 thoughts on “From my heart…

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this, Georgia and I are sad. We are here for you to talk or just listen. We will be praying Jill.

  2. Oh Jill! I’m so sorry to her this. You have been and still are such an encouragement to me when I read your posts. May God fill you with peace and love during this time. You will be in my prayers.

  3. Jill, my heart hurts for you all. I know you don’t know me, but I have learned much from your family over the years. I will lift you up in prayer.

  4. I’m a regular on the message board. I am so very sorry to learn this. My heart is breaking for you. I do know that nothing is beyond God’s ability to restore or repair. You are so wise to cling to Him right now. I am praying for both you and Mark, as well as your family.

  5. Jill, we are praying for you, the kids, and Mark. God can move this mountain and we pray for peace, and healing. Love and prayers

  6. Oh Jill, I am so sorry that you are going through this too. You are right. Lean on God as only He can get you through this. It’s really hard to understand why this is happening, but He is still on His throne. I will be praying that He works in and through this situation to bring healing to your family.

  7. Sorry to hear this Jill. Although you will be kept in prayer somehow I dont believe that God would want this.”What God has joined let no man put asunder”. It seems that you have resigned yourself to Mark’s decision. Dont give up yet, with God’s help I’m sure you both could work it out. If you grill your mind with the belief that there is nothing that God cannot fix, no mountain he cannot move-with just some faith as small as a mustard seed, IT WILL WORK.

  8. I am very sorry to read that you, each member of your family, are going through such a difficult phase, which hurts more than words can tell, and so deeply…
    I’m glad you’ve found a God who will help you go through such hard and raw times, as He is the One who’s able to get us on our feet again and again, even when there does not seem to be strength and hope left… Trust Him, recovering will take a long time but it will, as Spring does, suddenly bring you little pieces of peace…
    I’ve been through the shattering of a marriage, I still marvel at little miracles of deep peace within myself, when I thought it would never ever be possible…
    Keep Faith.

  9. I have been following you for about one year and feel so blessed to have come across your website and blog. I will keep you in my prayers. I can only pray that you will be encouraged, comforted, and lifted up by the Lord and those around the world you have impacted in such a positive way! Thank you for being so honest and open.

  10. The enemy is strong, our God is stronger. Be assured that when we walk with Him, the victory is ours. Praying for your family and for a story of redemption and restoration to unfold before your very eyes. You have encouraged and prayed for us and now, for such a time as this, we rise up to encourage you and pray for you.

  11. My heart grieves for you, and I will pray that your close circle of friends and family can be of immediate support and that the prayers of those that you know and the prayers of us that you’ve never met but that have been blessed by you will get you through this time.

  12. Oh, Jill…praying for you and for your family during this difficult time! You have encouraged me when I contacted you about a similar situation…I am still walking in it. I know God is there for both you and me, and I will keep you in my thoughts, heart, and prayers.

  13. Jill, I am so sorry. Please know I am praying for you right now and will continue to cover you and your family during this season. Thank you for your transparency — and your God-honoring willingness to share from your heart.

  14. Jill,
    I am so sorry to hear this and my heart hurts for you. We do not know each other personally, though I have loved Hearts for about 4 years and got to speak with you a few times. I have prayed and will continue to hold your family up in prayers. Our pastor today told us to hold onto the rope that God is offering to us, He will never let go on his end. She also suggested to keep a small piece of rope in your purse as a visual reminder. I don’t know if this helps, but it was a comforting thought to me.

  15. May God give you His peace, strength and wisdom as you walk through this season of life. Praying for you, Mark and your family.


  16. I was surprised to see something on a Sunday morning from you. I am, like you, very sad to hear this news. And I am angry too. Not at you or Mark but at Satan who has invaded your life and has claimed this victory for himself. But I do know that our awesome, powerful, and wonderful God will really be the victor in all of this. He can easily move the mountains and will have His way. Be courageous Jill. He loves you and has a plan. I will continue to pray.

  17. Jill, I’ve been so encouraged by the Marriage Mondays with Mark’s input. And most recently, by the Letting Go of Hurt blog. It really spoke to me about unforgiveness in my heart toward my husband. So, God will use this for good in His time. He is building your character (and mine) to match the assignment He has for you. Praying.

  18. My heart goes out to you, Jill, and your family during this time. I have heard you speak several times, and I am always blessed by how honest you are about life. Know that you and Mark are in my prayers. “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9-10

  19. So sorry to hear of this news Jill. I will be keeping you and your family in my prayers…including your marriage. May this separation be temporary and just one of those seasons. I can only imagine your pain…praying your heart will heal and each day God will be your comfort, strength and peace.

  20. Jill, I can’t even imagine how hard this is, and I wish I knew exactly what to say to help. I will pray for your strength in this, and for God to reveal His mighty plan that is clearly at work in all of this.

  21. Praying James 1:2-4 for you…believing God’s word true and knowing that ALL trails in life are meant to bring God glory and to further conform us to his glorious image. Praying your faith will be strengthened! You will come forth refined…by Gods garace!

    2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

  22. Jill – I am praying for you and the kids at this most difficult time. When I first heard about it, I thought it couldn’t possibly be true. Then when I realized it was, I immediately prayed for you. Our God is big and He can bring Mark to repentance and bring him back to Himself and your family. Know that you are being uplifted to the throne of grace by many, many friends.

  23. Jill–I’m so very sorry to hear this! You and your family will be in my prayers, prayers that God will heal your marriage and that you and your children will feel His love and presence and peace. God bless you all!

  24. Dear Jill,
    I am praying for you, Mark, and your precious family……..I am praying for your peace and strength in the midst of this storm.

    When I walked through divorce four years ago, the Lord showed me time and time again how faithful He is. He has continued to be my everything and He has never left my side.

    I praise God that you have the gift of faith and that you know God so very very well. Rest in His arms and look for the beauty and redemption in this that only He can bring.

    Love you as a dear sister in Christ,

  25. Can’t begin to imagine all of your emotions going through you at this time. I will pray for you and your family through this difficult and challenging season.

  26. Jill-it grieves me to read your post today…please know that you and Mark will both be in my prayers as well as your children. This is the devil at work…be strong and know that you can both overcome this trial with God on your side. Praying for you!
    —Jenn from NW Indiana

  27. Jill, I am so sorry to hear this. About a year and a half ago God took my family through an incredibly painful similar situation. My parents came close to divorcing. My dad had an affair and for months he didn’t want to turn from it. It was one of the MOST painful things we have ever been through as a family. It affected EVERY aspect of our lives. But, as I look back over those painful months I am so amazed at how powerfully the hand of God rested over all of us. My mom was a rock – and I don’t know how she was. The strength of God just radiated from her and she refused to let go of my dad. I am the oldest of 6 and through all of this my siblings and I all connected on a deeper level than we ever had before – and we were all very close to begin with. We developed deeper relationships with each of my parents as they worked through their issues. God is so faithful and has restored much of what was lost. My parents are together and have better communication, a deeper relationship and a renewed love for each other. While it was extremely hard to walk I can truly say God brought so much good from – and through – the pain. Hold onto Jesus Jill and trust his promises. We’ll be lifting you and your family in prayer.

  28. Jill, Praying for you and your family! May you feel God’s love and all the prayers of those who have been blessed by your ministry surrounding you in the days and weeks to come.

  29. Jill,

    Matt & I are both so sad to hear this news. As you and Mark both were instrumental in helping to save our marriage, we will be praying for you, Mark, and your family. So saddenned by this news for all of you…our hearts are with you bot..

  30. Jill,
    You don’t know me personally but I feel like I know you through your blog and because I have been to so many Hearts conferences. I felt sick to my stomach when I read your post. My husband and I have gone through a really tough season as well. It appeared at times that we would separate and possibly even divorce…that’s how bitter and angry we both felt. It is certainly not easy being married. And there is an outright assault on marriage these days. I am sure you know that being in such a thriving ministry to mom’s all over the world has put you and your marriage and your family in the enemy’s crosshairs. The devil hates you (and all Christians for that matter) and he wants nothing more than to destroy all that is good. And I know that doesn’t make you feel better but it is true. But God loves you and He wins. Remember…He wins. I am a strong believer in your ministry of Hearts At Home and have been to at least 10 conferences. You do a fantastic job, Jill. Please know that I am praying for you. And I am praying for Mark. May you cling to the promises of God and do not give up.

  31. Oh, Jill…I am so saddened to read this. You, Mark and your family will certainly be in my prayers. I have to share, that a few years ago my husband had more or less made the same decision…it seemed there was no hope and that our marriage was destined to end in divorce. I did not give up (although I wanted to many times) and in time our God worked in my husband’s heart. He restored our marriage and we are now at a stronger place than we have ever been before. I pray that God’s work be done in you lives…and that he restore a peace in your heart.
    Much love…..

    • I should add that when this all occurred with my marriage I had just returned home from my first Hearts at Home conference. The timing was such a blessing as I’m not sure I would have had it in me had I not just been blessed by such a wonderful experience and having attended Mark and your “Love for a Lifetime” session. Many prayers for you… You are in my heart.

  32. Jill– your books have so impacted me. you feel like a friend & we’ve never met.
    my heart ACHES for you….& for Mark…& your family…& friends.
    I pray a season of healing.
    I am thankful you are surrounded by family/friends. I’m thankful for their encouragement. I pray GOD places His righteous people in Mark’s path.
    you mean very much to many….

  33. Jill,
    Your blog has been such a blessing to me over the last few months. When you are doing what God asks of you, the enemy will attack. My husband and I have gone through many struggles, and even the pain of his addiction, only for him to be healed and our marriage to be better than it ever was in the 18 years before. My point is this: Our Lord Jesus is Restorer and Healer, and nothing is impossible with our God! I will be praying for your family as you go through this valley, and I hope you know how many lives you have touched. We are all beside you, praying for you, and believing for our Father to do a miracle.

  34. Jill – I am so sorry to hear this. You have encouraged SO many over the years and I hope it will help you in some way to know that you have many friends praying for your family right now. Our God is an AWESOME God and NOTHING is impossible to him. I am praying for healing in your marriage and God’s peace in your family.

    So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
    Isaiah: 41:10

  35. You’ll never know the impact you and Hearts and Home had on my life. I spent a brief season living in Normal, IL with a new baby and without extended family, a new stay at home mom, I was lost. Listening to you speak and attending Hearts at Home changed my life and my perspective – permanently.
    It grieves me to hear this and I am praying for all of you that God will provide peace and guidance in this incredibly difficult time.

  36. Oh Jill,
    I will be praying for you and your family. I will be praying for Mark and his heart. I don’t know all of the situation but will be praying for God’s will and for forgiveness and healing. Your blog and your books and facebook study have been a real blessing and encouragement to me and my family. I have my husband reading your books too. May you have God’s comfort and grace with you.

  37. My heart sank as I read your post. Your organization is a wonderful inspiration and what a blessing it is that you have such a wonderful team to take the helm so you can focus on this family matter. I love you, Jill, and will be praying for you, Mark, and your family. Take care and God Bless. Your Sister through Christ!

  38. I heard you speak in CO this past fall and loved you. I hurt for you. When I just came across this on another blog I thought I’d pass it on to you…

    He may not tell you how He will care for you, but He does assure you that you will always be in His care—1 Peter 5:7

    He may not tell you when He will answer your prayer, but He does assure you that it will be in His time and for His purpose—Ecclesiastes 3:1

    He may not tell you where you will be in a few years, but He does assure you that He is leading you on the right path—Psalm 23:3

    He may not tell you what He will use to shape and mold your life, but He does assure you that He is conforming you to the image of His Son—Romans 8:29

    He may not tell you why you are going through certain difficulties and trials, but He does assure you that nothing will separate you from His love—Romans 8:37-39

  39. May God surround you with His loving arms and bring you some peace. Prayers for you and your family.

  40. Jill, I am heartbroken for you. I’m praying for healing and strength for you and your kids, and for faith to trust that God will work all things together for good in your life, though this will undoubtedly be a very difficult season for you.

  41. I will be praying for you and your family, Jill. May you know God’s peace and love at this hard time!

  42. Jill, you are an inspiration to us all. I am going through a similar situation. Know that I lift my prayers up for you and your family. I pray for peace, calm and wisdom for you in the days to come. I know that God is carrying you just as he has been carrying me. I love you, Jill.


  43. Jill,
    I can truly say I know how you feel & what you are going through. I was in this same place about 11 years ago. During this time, my husband & I were not walking with the Lord…yet. But, He is greater than our circumstances. God restored our marriage and we learned how to love each other through His eyes. I pray for you and your family in and through this season. My heart goes out to all of you.
    In Him,

  44. Don’t know why I’m just seeing this… I’m so sorry to hear this. Satan is alive and well and still in the deception business. I pray that the scales will be shed from your husband’s eyes. This will be (if he continues) the worst and most devastating mistake he will ever make…ever! I encourage you to listen to the Scruggs “I Am Second” testimony God is still in the marriage business! Also, David Uth Pastor First Baptist Orlando, did a marriage series and used my sister and her husband (Lori & Terry Rigdon) as examples of how God can restore the most broken of marriages. When I read/hear these stories, it helps restore my faith that the God who created marriage wants to enhance and sustain marriage! I am praying for you all!

  45. Jilk~~I read the first paragraph and could not go any further until I prayed and God put this Humpty Dumpty back together.
    32 years ago December 30, the light of my life left. God led me to Psalm 16:11. I could accept the first part of that verse without question but the other two parts I simply had to accept them on faith. I knew He would show me the path but it was quite some time later I realized joy and pleasure were not dependent on my husband but this would come about thru God’s unfailing love.
    An illustration in the next Sunday’s Standard teacher’s book caught my attention and I declared this is what I’d be: I’d be a bouy! It floats out in the water, doing what it was designed to do. I’d be–like Bob Lowry would say–like a Weeble. I might wobble but wouldn’t fall down. I’d stay afloat! I knew when the winds ceased, the waves calmed the bouy would be right there! Oh, it might have paint knocked off and vandals may have attempted to destroy it, but with dings and dents and scaling paint, it’d still be right where it was supposed to be. The only reason this could be accomplished? The bouy is anchored and I’d stay anchored in the LORD, Jesus Christ.
    Since I’m retired, my schedule is rather flexible. What do you need me to do for you?
    With an ache in my heart and confidence in God and you, Press on!

    • Kay, my sweet friend from Lincoln Christian College days….thank you for your note. My heart is so broken, but I love the picture of the bouy! Thank you!

      If you are ever in the Central IL area…please look me up!

  46. Oh Jill, my heart broke for you when I was recently informed of this news by a loving friend. And even now, tears fall down my face because I know this pain. Two years ago my husband left me for another woman, whom he started a relationship with long before he left and is still with her. But some how, our amazing God has carried my kids and me through this valley. I’ve been a homeschooling mom to my 4 kiddos for 10 years. Last year I also returned back to college and am excelling!! After 2 years of God just carrying us through this, we are having to make some more massive changes. I will have to go to work for the first time since my first child was born (she’s 15 yrs old), the kids will all have to enter public school (we are all excited about this, but there is anxiety of so much change with this for the kids and I), and we have to move out of our house, so we will leave Ky and head back to Florida to be closer to my family. And yet…through all the junk, heartbreak, pain, and grief…healing continues, joy blossoms, and hope…hope is still alive and kicking!!! God has grown me and my kids so much through this. We are stronger, more confident, and actually, so full of joy and an unexplainable peace! Just two days ago my 9 year old son told me, “Mommy, some times I’m so happy that I can’t stop smiling.” Yes, that brought a tear of joy and thanksgiving to my eyes. God is good…no matter what! Praying for strength, hope, healing, and joy to rein in your life as well…no matter what! Many hugs and much love sent to you, my friend.

    • Thank you so much, Jennifer. I’m so sorry that you, too, have had to feel this pain. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

      I love your phrase, “Hope is still alive and kicking!” I have never lost hope in the midst of this journey. For that I am thankful.

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