Single and strong with Darlene Marshall


I first met Darlene Marshall at an event for Discovery Science Place. Her obvious love of kids, education, and her beautiful spirit drew me to her instantly. I knew immediately we were going to be life-long friends.

When I found out Tony Johnson was her brother, I about fainted. Could two such outstanding humans share the same family? I took them right up on their offer to worship one Sunday at Corinth Baptist because I wanted to meet the rest of this amazing family.

When I asked her to tell the story of how such a godly woman could end up divorced, I knew I was asking a lot. Nobody but me would have the nerve to even ask the question bluntly. Yet, we see the problem everywhere; amazing women discouraged by marriages that fail. On the other hand, here was my friend Darlene, single and strong.

With tenderness typical of her heart, Darlene told me how the man she loved began to suffer all kinds of symptoms, probably due to the concussions he received as a talented boxer. Her words reflect the growing understanding Americans are gaining about how physical conditions, for example concussions in athletes, can affect the whole family.

Here are just a couple of the tips Darlene shared when I interviewed her for Fireside Talk Radio.

#1 Find a Focus. Finding a focus is one way to get to the next level in the midst of sorrow. Her kids’ well-being was Darlene’s focus. For example, she chose to keep her married name in order to match her kids’ last name.

#2 Forgive Yourself. Even when it is unavoidable, Christian women inevitably deal with guilt about divorce. Forgiveness is necessary, though, according to Darlene.

I also asked her the most important truth she has learned so far in life.

“You don’t have to be tough. Tough means we keep people and things from hurting us. Tough is outward. Strong in inward,” she answered.

As Christians, how do we get over our judginess of others and ourselves when it comes to divorce? Darlene suggests pursuing the same purpose God always intended for us, no matter what challenges we face, married or single. She says her experiences taught her to develop confidence in the future God had for her and her children.

If you or someone you love has been through divorce, you don’t want to miss Darlene’s encouraging message. I invite you to go to to learn more about my friend Darlene or catch our podcasts, Single and Strong: Excellence after Divorce and Serving God After Divorce, on Fireside Talk Radio.

To me, Darlene is proof that divorce is not an ending when it comes to serving God. I cherish her story and all that brought her to the moment when I met this remarkable friend.

Cathy Primer Krafve, aka Checklist Charlie, lives and writes with a Texas twang. Contact her at


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