Lisa Burkhardt Worley, former sportscaster and now a minister of the gospelBookmark this
Finding the father in a fatherless life
Have you ever looked closely at a pearl? It is beautiful. You can even see your reflection in it if you look closely enough. But did you know it took years of irritation to turn that pearl into beauty?
“God allows heartache to be a part of your life so that you can overcome those experiences and do His work,” says Lisa Burkhardt Worley, author, speaker and founder of nonprofit Pearls of Promise. Many of you may remember Lisa as the local sportscaster on KENS TV in the 1980s and 1990s. She also worked with ESPN. It sounds like a dream life. However, she has also had a lifetime of trying encounters. These moments shaped the purpose and philosophy of her ministry. Since its inception in 2009, Pearls of Promise has impacted thousands around the country.
Lisa’s life-changing circumstances motivated her to vocalize the nonprofit’s mission sharing a message of hope, love and forgiveness to women who have suffered wounds that inhibit them from being the best versions of themselves. She and her team of four other women have shared their stories on several communication platforms including talk shows, print and digital publications and speaking engagements at retreats, conferences and church groups.
Lisa is a nine-time award-winning author and co-author of eight publications. Her most recent book, The Only Father I Ever Knew: How a Fatherless Child Finally Found True Love, released in May 2019, is a story that helps those without a father understand God’s role in their lives.
“I had the career I’ve always dreamed of,” she recalls of her dream job as a sports anchor and reporter. “I was successful. I was at the top. And things, so I thought, looked promising. And then suddenly, I lost it all. I was angry, confused. I blamed God. I hadn’t given credit to God for any of my blessings, but was quick to blame Him for the loss. It was during that time, and for the first time really, that I grew closer to Him.”
She understood then that things happened the way they did because she had closed her heart to God’s calling and His will for her. And that He had to take everything away so she would be open to it again.
“I was given this platform to do God’s work and I didn’t use it,” Lisa says. “I willingly and remorsefully sought to start over with His will in mind.”
With her newfound purpose, Lisa founded Pearls of Promise.
“Its name is really fitting. A pearl, when forming, is under a lot of friction and irritation. It can take years to form, but when it does, this beautiful piece is created,” Lisa says. “God takes the irritations in our lives, the dysfunctions and troubles and turns them into these opportunities to start anew if we will just let Him.”
Research shows the power of parenting, especially when we are young. But Lisa never really had parents. Her father died suddenly two months before she was born. Lisa’s mother never recovered. She became unstable and coped by taking up a life of addiction. In many aspects, Lisa recalls, she went through life parentless.
“My mother couldn’t move on and spiraled down a hole she would never get out of. She became mentally ill and numbed her life with prescription drugs and alcohol,” Lisa remembers. “Throughout my life, I had resented her absence but later forgave her because I realized God forgave me for all the mistakes I made. This allowed me to be empathetic with my mother and I began to love her after realizing how difficult it must have been to watch her husband die right before her eyes while pregnant.”
Her escape and refuge was sports. Lisa was very athletic and played several sports in her teenage years. That passion would later fuel a fire to her successful television career.
“I’d put all my effort into sports and doing it well. It’s what got me through some very difficult times,” Lisa says. But it was during her freshman year in high school, when a friend introduced her to the gospel that she discovered the life she really longed for.
As Lisa moved on to college, that foundation became a distant memory. She found temporary fulfillment in the stereotypical life of a college girl. Although regretful of those first two years, Lisa says it was there that she learned of God’s grace.
Today, Lisa and her team use their past experiences, knowledge of the gospel and the power of prayer to share with others across the nation about God’s amazing love. Visiting incarcerated young women, speaking at both secular and faith-based groups, and continuing to reach the masses through their books, blogs and talk show opportunities, the Pearls of Promise team has big plans for the future.
“If we can change one person’s life, to help them forgive, love, and give them guidance to the Father, then we have done what we set out to do,” Lisa says. “This is our mission. This is God’s plan and our passion. And we will continue to do what we can, how we can, wherever we can to spread the Word of God.” Years of heartache and resentment have made it possible for God to call Lisa a pearl — His special pearl of promise.
Be A Light.
Pray. Ask God to give a message to Pearls of Promise and to be heard by those who need it most. Give. The ministry operates totally by faith. Ask God if He would like you to sow into this life-giving ministry. Sign up. Visit the website and sign up to receive Lisa’s weekly blog. Invite. Ask Lisa to speak at your next women’s retreat or church gathering.