In evangelical history, there are towering figures whose lives echo with both triumph and tribulation. Kathryn Kuhlman and Aimee Semple McPherson stand as a lighthouse with their ministries marked by the unmistakable touch of God, despite facing the shadows of divorce. Through their stories, we glimpse the profound truth that God’s grace knows no bounds, transcending human pain and society’s judgment.

At the tender age of twenty-one, Kathryn Kuhlman embarked on a journey of faith, igniting her own ministry alongside her friend, Helen Gulliford. Their fervor for spreading the Gospel carried them across the heartlands of America, from Boise, Idaho to the bustling streets of Denver. It was in Denver that Kuhlman and Gulliford established the Denver Revival Tabernacle, a mission of hope for countless souls seeking redemption.

Yet, during the popular revival meetings and the palpable presence of the Holy Spirit, Kuhlman found herself entangled in a controversy that would threaten to eclipse her calling. Her relationship with Burroughs Waltrip, a married (by some accounts) charismatic minister, became a feeding ground for scandal, casting a shadow over her ministry and nearly shutting it down.

They married in 1938 after he divorced his wife. Eventually, pressures of marriage in the ministry proved too much, and they divorced after a few years. The pain of divorce, compounded by the weight of public scrutiny, threatened to destroy her ministry. Amid this pain, she clung to the hope of God’s calling despite her past.

“You know, sometimes it’s a thousand times easier to die physically than to keep on living. You see, the Lord forgives, but people don’t,” she said. How true. Her journey through the valley of despair was fraught with tears and heartache, yet she emerged with a resilience forged in the furnace of suffering.

It was during this season of brokenness that Kuhlman experienced a profound revelation of God’s unyielding grace. Her greatest anointing manifested in the aftermath of her divorce, a testament to the transformative power of redemption. From the ashes of her shattered dreams rose a beacon of hope, as healings and miracles flowed freely through her ministry. It is said that people would literally fall under the anointing if she even passed by.

The story of Aimee Semple McPherson mirrors Kuhlman’s in its intricate tapestry of triumph and tragedy. Two tumultuous marriages that both ended in divorce marked McPherson’s own journey. This was only one of several scandals, yet her unwavering faith and pioneering spirit left an indelible mark on the landscape of evangelicalism.

Despite the storms that raged around them, both Kuhlman and McPherson remained steadfast in their conviction that God’s grace was greater than any sin or mistake. They refused to be defined by their past, choosing instead to embrace a future infused with divine purpose and destiny. They walked through the fire of religious judgement, knowing their assignment wasn’t finished until God said it was.

Theirs is a story of redemption and a testament to the unfathomable depths of God’s love. Even in the aftermath of divorce, they continued to shine as beacons of hope, their lives a testament to the enduring power of faith. Their anointing never left. The healings continued. The power and love of God showed up at each meeting.

Do you know why? Because God will always use a willing vessel.

“So, Dana, are you saying God will use a Christian that continues to sin?” Well, yes, in a way. God uses us despite our sin. I have seen a lot in my 30+ years in the ministry. I have sat under some ministers and felt the anointing when they entered the room; only to find out later, they were having an extra-marital affair! You see, the anointing and miracles are for the Body of Christ’s benefit, not the person ministering.

God will use a willing vessel be it a self-righteous Pharisee (Paul), an adulterer and murderer (King David) or a divorcee like you or me to see His purposes manifest on this earth. These stories remind us that God’s grace knows no bounds. No matter how far we may stray or how deeply we may fall, His love remains constant, His mercy inexhaustible.

So, the next time someone tells you that you can’t minister in church, remind them of these stories. In the end, it is not the mistakes of our past that define us, but the grace that carries us forward into a future filled with hope and promise. Like Kuhlman and McPherson, may we embrace the unyielding anointing of God’s grace, knowing that in His hands, even the broken pieces of our lives can and will be transformed into something beautiful.

We are promised beauty for our ashes; but ashes must be offered to Him as a sacrifice.