My Story


I’m just a Long Island girl who’s passionate about grace, authenticity, and good red wine. I moved to South Africa when I was 19, where I pioneered and led a nonprofit organization for 13 years. The bests and worsts of my life happened on that beautiful continent, and Africa will hold my heart forever.

Life changed drastically after my marriage and ministry came to a screeching halt at the hands of infidelity and divorce. Starting over in every possible way is exhausting and lonely, but by the grace of God—and countless hours of therapy—I’m still standing.

I now live in Nashville, Tennessee (and am convinced that living in Africa prepared this Yankee for life in the South)I’m a Nonprofit Communications & Development Strategist, a freelance copywriter/editor, and the founder of One Word 365

I’m an extroverted introvert who lives with more questions than answers. I laugh really loudly, dance in the car, and burst into random off-key songs. I hate choosing favorites, am on a lifelong search for the perfect margarita, and write occasionally but candidly about searching for God in the question marks of life and faith.

Most days, you can find me on Twitter »»


111 Responses to “My Story”
  1. So sorry to hear what you have gone through. My wife and I divorced in 2002 due to my unfaithfulness and addiction. You can watch a video of our story at

    By God’s grace we remarried in October of 2008 after six years of divorce.

    God bless!

  2. Amy Kim says:

    Hi Alece,

    I just stumbled upon your blog by way of Don Miller’s blog.

    Your story is incredibly heart-breaking, but incredibly inspirational. I truly believe that God has his hand on you and your ministry in Africa.


  3. Just wanted to mention I ADORE this picture! :)

  4. Your story is powerful… and I’m glad you have so many people (including me!) who love u and are rooting for you. And you’re right – your story is FAR from finished!

  5. Ours too is a story of brokenness. Feel free to visit the newly created site to share our story – for His glory. My heart is drawn to you, as I identify with so much of your experience. I would love to connect with you more!

  6. Vineet says:

    Hi Alece
    I pray that I would never do to my wife, what was done to you and I thank you for being willing to share your pain and restoration through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is able to do more than we can imagine and he is the lover of our souls. I pray that you will be able to find joy in the Lord every moment and that He will continue to lead you in your inspirational work in Africa. When I lived in the Middle East, I made several friends from different parts of Africa and I cannot wait to go and see them in their homeland and celebrate Jesus with them and their loved ones.
    Your brother in Christ,

  7. Jim T. says:

    Hi Alece,
    I have read your blog frequently over the past months. Your story and mine are simular in many ways, and my marriage broke up back in 1996, so I now have the benefit of reflection. God sent a wonderful woman my way and we have a great marriage that walks with God always, we have been married almost ten years now. Healing was a long process, but He will heal us if we are patient. I thank you for the wisdom your site imparts to others who are broken and healing. God Bless

  8. Minister says:

    Hi AleceI pray that I would never do to my wife, what was done to you and I thank you for being willing to share your pain and restoration through our Lord Jesus Christ! He is able to do more than we can imagine and he is the lover of our souls. I pray that you will be able to find joy in the Lord every moment and that He will continue to lead you in your inspirational work in Africa. When I lived in the Middle East, I made several friends from different parts of Africa and I cannot wait to go and see them in their homeland and celebrate Jesus with them and their loved ones.Your brother in Christ,Vineet

  9. I m so happy to have stumbled upon your blog. I am a South African girl who’s lived away from her continent for 11 years, having married a Canadian … I am so sorry to hear about your experience … But I love your heart. Blessings …

  10. Morag Roy says:

    Thank you for your raw portrayal of the devastation of adultery and divorce. My journey with divorce was 21 years ago, so I can partially share some of your pain, but each pain is unique. Each wound needs to be examined, washed clean and allowed to heal. Thank you for not glossing over or cheapening forgiveness….it is a tough journey. Your story mirrors my beautiful nieces story. I hope as she begins her healing journey that your frank words will carry her some of the way.

    I have the privilege of being born and bred in Africa [Zimbabwe] and know how that continent and its people wrap themselves firmly around your heart. I return from my present home, Australia, each year and work with Youth For Christ in Bulawayo. Their ministry is with children in crisis. Thank you for continuing the work of Thrive Africa. I wish/pray our Aussie young people could have the love for God and courage to overcome trauma that the children of Africa Thrive on!

    May God continue to bless this ministry and redeem you, precious young woman, from the ashes!
    Morag [Ragsie in South Africa!]

  11. joseph cantone says:




  12. Julia says:

    Hey am soo glad I stumbled across your blog!! I have this heart for missionary work and have done some..seems to just be in my system and i love the new cultures and challenges, and definitely will interest me to keep up with you. Blessings and love be showered upon you!

  13. Iris says:

    Found out about your website from an infidelity website – someone suggested reading your story. My heart goes out to you as I am currently – right now as I type this – in the middle of trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces from my husband’s multiple affairs. It is such a long story but I found out in 2009 that my husband had been unfaithful. I stayed because I thought that’s what God wanted me to do but then a few months ago, he left me saying that he was confused about his feelings for me (and the last woman he had an affair with – turns out that they have feelings for one another). He came back home after a month. Still, I’ve stayed – trying to do what I thought God was telling me to do but as of yesterday , I told my husband that I can no longer do this. After school is out, I’ve decided to leave him and our home. There are some underlying issues that are not being addressed and until they are, we are going to end up back where we are right now – and my heart just can’t take that. Thank you for your story – for your honesty. I will keep you in prayer! Please say a prayer for me as well!

  14. Dawn Groves says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and your journey. I came to your blog because a friend shared a link to it about One Word and wandered over to read you story. You have put a voice to my life of the last 3 years. You have said the words and felt the pain that I have lived. Your transparency has really blessed me!

  15. Hi Alece,

    I am so sorry that your heart got hurt. God is so faithful in restoring a broken life and I know he is going to do awesome things in and through you. Praise God for your passion for South Africa, I am a South African living in the UK but still have a heart for Africa.

    I have written three books on my story and how God has done amazing things in my life. I can send you the PDF’s if you would to have a read and perhaps even review them on your blog.


  16. Linda says:

    So you are Rob’s friend Alece, author of the one word resolution? I can’t believe I found you! I’m going to get one of those little signs for my blog to encourage deeper conversations about faith in a non-threatening way. (People can be so touchy!)

    My word is “Know”… as in, Be still and KNOW that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

    I look forward to coming back and reading your story. Sorry to hear you’re going through some stuff now. In spite of the struggles, what an interesting life you have! God bless you…

  17. Teresa C says:

    Hello Alece,

    I am so sorry to hear about your pain, but I know God is in control, even of this. Sometimes it’s so hard to understand people, situations or God even. But I know this will work our for your good and His Glory. Thank you for opening your heart and sharing your story, blessings to you and thank you for stopping by my little blog.

  18. Sanele says:

    Although your story brought me to tears as i read it earlier today, I must say I love how with God there’s always hope/sunshine after darkness. so I liked how you didn’t conclude your story with despair, but hope:

    “While I wish this wasn’t part of my plot, I take heart knowing that God isn’t done with my story yet. He’s still writing.

    My first break-up won’t be my last chapter. ”

    Promise that God will see you!

  19. Ginnie F says:

    Alece, I had the privilege of meeting you on my mission trip to Thrive in 2004! You picked us up at the airport in “JoBurg” and gave us all hugs. On the trip to Thrive I got to sit up front and talked with you about your life and the ministry. I remember thinking to myself what a strong christian woman you are and how I admired you. You obliviously still are today an dI am so glad to see you are doing well in-spite of what has happened. Thank you for being an inspiration and a Godly sister to look up to. God is going to continue to bless you and do amazing things thru you! God Bless~Ginnie

  20. jenn says:

    Thank you for being brave enough to share your story. I’m sure many other people will find healing through your experiences. (There were several posts I wanted to comment on as I read your story, so I decided to just comment here instead.)

    I have a story that is similar to yours in some ways, and different in others. And both of us had to deal with so much publicly instead of privately. You because of your work, and me because my husband was all over the news in middle TN. (It was more than just infidelity, but I learned everything at the same time – and it was immediately public.)

    I admire you because 5 years later, I still haven’t had the courage to tell my whole story. Obviously many people already know it, but I don’t talk about it. Through my blog people know I’m a single mother and that I’m divorced. They know my ex-husband is in prison. They know I was pregnant when he left. But I always fear rejection if I say anything more than that. Some stories are just too ugly to tell… I don’t know if I ever will, or if I should.

    Anyway, thanks again for your story. God bless.

  21. A good blog. I am adding you to my blogroll. If you would rather I didn’t, let me know.

  22. Cindy Holman says:

    So sorry to hear about what happened to you. I’ve walked a similar journey – only in our case it was me that was emotionally in a situation with another man. Our marriage was saved – but there was a high cost for us and me personally – felt like my right arm had been cut off in having to release those feelings and build again with the man who had become distant from me. We have rebuilt our marriage and lives – celebrate 30 years in September. I always felt like God was telling me no and that somehow beauty would come from the ashes of a broken heart – and He is faithful if not silent to those issues that baffle us. I know that God has a plan for the brokenhearted – and that He is very near to you. I enjoyed your guest blog on Karen’s blog today – I feel like you and I could be real friends :)

  23. The best is yet to come by Frank Sinatra says:

    A friend of mine always tells me ” The end of the matter with God is always good, so if it’s not good, then its not the end of the matter.” I don’t know if thats true but I like it anyway. You seem to have a wonderful relationship with God and I pray that you will find healing for your heart. The reason I’m writing to you is because I am in charge of helping new believers connect with God and with ministry at my church. My hunch is that you may have some wisdom on this subject and was hoping you might have some time to share some thoughts with me. Thank you.

  24. I’m loving catching up on what you’ve been up to for the last couple of years! I can’t believe it was ten years ago that I spent those two summers in South Africa! I have a new friend at work who is from Joburg and I was just telling her about you the other day. I’m glad you’re staying strong and building a new life for yourself back here in the states. If you’re ever in San Francisco, let me know!

  25. Tara says:

    I was referred to your blog through a mutual friend that we share. I feel your pain as I, too, am walking a very similar path. My husband has left me twice… the first time with three hurting, angry teenagers. This second time, pregnant with our fourth child. I believe God has called me to stand for my marriage and believe in the promises He has given me, despite the current circumstances. I know your anger, hurt, frustration, questions… I also know your contentment, joy and peace. Although there are still some days of tears, the peace and strength God has given me is amazing! My journey continues as my story is very intertwined in many different struggles and blessings. I wait for God to move and for His timing… He is a faithful God and absolutely NOTHING is impossible with Him. I look forward to reading more about your story… there is always hope when you find someone who has struggled in the same way you have, but with God’s grace and love have found the healing and redemption that He provides. :)

  26. We’re praying for you.

    God said He will never leave us or forsake us.

    When all else fails He remains.

    His love is better than life. (Psalm 63)

  27. ana says:

    Do you believe remarriage after divorce is OK? My parents take John Piper’s stance against it.

    • ana, not sure if you’ve seen the slew of comments that have followed your question. feel free to come back and read through them.

      i am not a theologian or a scholar, but–for me–i am not against remarriage after divorce. from your short comment, i’m assuming you are divorced and possibly wanting to remarry? i’d say talk with your pastor and study through Scripture on your own to make a determination of what YOU believe. regardless of your parents’ belief, you alone need to live out the convictions (and peace) of your own heart…

      i know it’s not an easy road. and i’m so sorry that it’s one you find yourself on. i am praying for you today.

  28. Ana,
    How do you interpret Matthew 19:9 NIV84?

    I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

  29. Yet another reason I am glad I remarried my ex-wife! :)

  30. Ana,
    Jesus said there is one exception.
    If you believe the Bible, then John Piper must have not taken this one and only exception into account.
    Jesus said it. Its so.

  31. Tara says:

    Ana and Christ Centered Teaching…

    I am not an expert, a theologian or a Biblical scholar… I am just a wife in the middle of a separation/divorce who has studied this subject for the last 3 years as I have and will always stand for my marriage, no matter what the court records say.

    I do agree with John Piper, Voddie Baucham and the many others who are now beginning to take this stand on divorce and remarriage. I do agree that our “interpretation” is not completely correct as we translate into our language and culture of today. Voddie states that Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience (I believe), and that the “divorce” he spoke of was only during the betrothal period (the engagement) and not actually the actual marriage.

    Do I believe God can redeem any situation, even if there is a divorce and remarriage… absolutely! I do not judge anyone who has lost a spouse due to infidelity, divorce and remarriage. However, I do believe we as a culture, a society and a church have become too accepting of it.

    Our churches stand on that Bible verse and say it is okay. They offer divorce recovery classes. They offer blended family classes… Very few offer “Standing in the gap for your marriage” classes or “Praying for your Prodigal Spouse” classes.

    Our churches use the term “Free Will” as the clause that if a spouse leaves, God will allow them that choice. They encourage us to pray until the divorce papers arrive. They they tell us to move on and “recover”.

    Really? Is this really what God would have of the very first institution that He established at the beginning of mankind? This unique, holy representation of God himself and His bride?

    We as a people, as a church, cry out to God to save us… to save our churches… our nation. Yet, our foundation is shaky and our walls are crumbling from within because our marriages and our families are falling apart. Why are the divorce statistics almost as high within the church as they are outside of the church? There is something seriously wrong with this…

    I read a “Story” after my husband first walked away from me and my children (almost 3 years ago)…. it was from satan… there was a comment that read something like this: “When I have the husband, I will have the family. When I have the family, I will have the church. When I have the church, I will have the community. When I have the community, I will have the nation. When I have the nation, I will have the whole world.”

    I believe our churches need to stand up and fight against this. We need to come together and pray for hurting marriages… for spouses who have walked away… for healing, reconciliation and redemption. “For Nothing is impossible with God!!” (Luke 1:37) If God truly “Hates” divorce, then we as a church need to hate it as well and fight against it as much as we can!! We need to love all of those involved and not be quick to judge… but rather stand beside the betrayed spouse and never give up on praying… never give up on God and what He can do in the situation. We need to stop looking at the circumstances and realize that God can move mountains and work behind the scenes in ways we will never know this side of heaven.

    We need to change the statistics within the church. We need to take back our marriages and our families. We need to be the example!!

    To listen to Voddie Baucham’s sermon on this topic: ……. I believe it is entitled “The Permanence View of Marriage”… “Gospel Healing for Hurting Marriages” is also a very good one!!

    Much love to you all!

    Forever standing for my marriage,

    Tara :)

  32. Piper, Bachum and D.A.Carson are friends and even publish books together.
    Carson believes in the exception in Matthew and also the one in Corinthians

  33. Ann says:

    Hi Alece – I came across your blog via the One Word 365 site. What an incredible story and journey you have been on! Thank you for sharing with such honesty. Enjoyed reading your posts. Will be back for more :)

  34. Amy Hunt says:

    I despise “favorites,” too!

    Great stuff here. Truly. Beautiful worship sprawled out in this space.

  35. So glad I found your blog. Delightful, really! I so enjoyed roaming around! Thanks so much for sharing your journey. Can’t wait to read more!

    Cindy Tunstall

  36. It’s neat to see the obvious faith of readers who walked similar broken paths. Very encouraging!

  37. Eddy says:

    From someone who fell to infidelity and the break up of marriage I am getting where you are coming from. This is my first visit to your blog so thanks for making it available and can’t wait to read what you have on board.

  38. Lyn Leahz says:

    Hi Elise! Great website! God bless you for all you are doing for Christ!

  39. Came across your website looking for a good image of “enough” for a tattoo. Found a lot more than I was bargaining for! Thank you for saying “yes” to yourself and to this world we live in.

  40. Alece,

    I really enjoy reading your blog. I was a summer intern for Thrive back in 2009 and have always considered it to be one of the most foundational experiences in my life.


  41. Hello, Alece! Mike Morrell asked me to contact you because he really appreciates your blog and thinks you’d be an excellent candidate for his Speakeasy Blogger Network. Do you like to review off-the-beaten path faith, spirituality, and culture books? Speakeasy puts interesting books in your hands at no charge to you. You only get books when you request them, and it’s free to join. Sign up here, if you’d like:


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  1. [...] story humbles me.  Her mission inspires me.  The example her life exudes pushes me to be more gracious, [...]

  2. [...] Another highlight of my weekend was getting to meet Alece in person.  This girl is inspiring.  If you don’t know her, you need to go read her story. [...]

  3. [...] crying because I laugh so hard. Truthfully, Alece’s blog is a must-read-again-and-again. Her beautiful-redemptive-brokenness is expressed in a way that celebrates life, inspires, challenges, and is authentically her. She was [...]

  4. [...] can read: Her Story – HERE Her Mission – [...]

  5. [...] in the Desert Tonight I read Alece‘s post entitled Guarding My Heart. She talks about the walls that she has built to protect [...]

  6. [...] I talked to her we reminisced mostly about our time at Teen Mania. I read more about her on her blog and WOW, I didn’t know the real grit. She has lived in South Africa for 10 years. She heads [...]

  7. [...] Alece, at Grit & Glory, delivered an inspiring challenge regarding the new year–she disrupted thinking a usual with the idea of a one word non-resolution resolution.  Alece picked one simple, powerful word to live by for the year.  Her idea was contagious, so we’re going to start the year with a focus on one word, too. [...]

  8. [...] onto this awesome thought/idea by Alece on her BLOG.  If you had to pick one word as your resolve / life word for the next year, what would it [...]

  9. [...] blogger, tweeter, and Catalyst Conference attendee Alece Ronzino suggested on her blog, Grit and Glory, that some of us might be better served scrapping the [...]

  10. Freedom says:

    [...] taking Alece’s challenge to focus on One Word in 2011. Will you be bold and daring to do the same? It’s so [...]

  11. [...] Alece Ronzino is on to a profoundly simple idea. [...]

  12. [...] or listen even. But once in a while in my blog hopping I’ll stumble upon this, this and that and my heart [...]

  13. [...] Reading Alece’s narrative, her journey from broken to whole, reminded me just how much I relied on Christ to get me through my own journey. I know that I often express my discomfort and disagreement with aspects of my religion. But when it comes down to it, it is what grounds me, it is what gets me from point A to B. I try and take credit for all the progress I’ve made, but I know it’s not just me. Very little of it is probably me, actually. While I know I haven’t given enough time or respect to the things that matter the most, I know my solid testimony that I nurtured so early on in my life still exists, and that it still buoys me, even if I’m not actively feeding. I think it might be getting hungry though. I find myself turning to Christian bloggers, reading their words, feeling them not only speaking to me, but stirring things deep within me. [...]

  14. [...] a moment ago that January announced another new year beginning. Was it really six months ago that Alece, at Grit & Glory, sweetly disrupted our thinking as usual with the idea of a one-word [...]

  15. [...] little corner of the web she’s walking with us through life. Whether it’s telling us her story, sharing her first garage sale experience with us or sharing her Monday Morning Confessions with [...]

  16. [...] writing my comment at Grit and Glory by my friend Alece, I decided to listen to the songs in my iTunes library. One of the first songs that played was The [...]

  17. [...] my darkest moment, i found their stories.  unmasked, raw, and real.  teaching me it was okay to be broken.  reminding me i wasn’t [...]

  18. [...] my darkest moment, i found their stories.  unmasked, raw, and real.  teaching me it was okay to be broken.  reminding me i wasn’t [...]

  19. [...] by Alece, at Grit & Glory, 2011 started with a one-word non resolution: Humility. As Christmas approaches [...]

  20. [...] you Alece} GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); [...]

  21. [...] we needed a word to be our muse. I was inspired by the One Word 365 movement championed by Alece who writes at Grit and Glory. I love the concept of having just one word to focus on for the year, [...]

  22. [...] so thankful to Alece and the community of OneWord365 for motivating and inspiring me daily to live that one word that [...]

  23. [...] Alece has lots of folks there with words of their own who are also sharing! [...]

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  25. [...] A New Yorker changed by Africa, Alece is learning to embrace life in the key of plan B. She blogs from the heart, sharing candidly about the grit and glory of life after infidelity, divorce, & the loss of her ministry in Africa. To read more of Alece’s story, CLICK HERE. [...]

  26. [...] writes on her blog, My story is one of brokenness, but also of redemption. I’m a New Yorker who lived in South [...]

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  28. [...] – – This post is my OneWord halfway mile marker. Read more on my One Word.  Meet Alece and learn about the OneWord2011 project. Catch up with the community. This entry was posted [...]

  29. [...] the best ones. * * * This post is my OneWord 2011 wrap-up. Read more on my One Word.  Meet Alece and learn about the OneWord2011 project. Catch up with the community. This entry was posted [...]

  30. [...] – – This post is my OneWord halfway mile marker. Read more on my One Word.  Meet Alece and learn about the OneWord2011 project. Catch up with the [...]

  31. [...] year I join my friend Alece in choosing one word that I want to embody my year. In 2011, the word I chose was courage. As 2010 [...]

  32. [...] in the book, “Wrecked” by Jeff Goins. For a short background of who she is, visit her My Story page. Her blogs that correlate the spiritual principles she’s learned through her years in South [...]

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  34. […] years ago, a friend challenged to stop making resolutions and start focusing on one word that would change our lives […]

  35. […] building on each other since 2011 when I first chose a word for the year. My beautiful friend Alece introduced me to the concept of choosing a word for the […]

  36. […] building on each other since 2011 when I first chose a word for the year. My beautiful friend Alece introduced me to the concept of choosing a word for the […]

  37. […] year I join my friend Alece in choosing one word that I want to embody my year. In 2011, the word I chose was courage. As 2010 […]

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