Friday, September 20, 2019

When Life Gets in the Way by JoAnn Durgin

Meme with the verse from Jeremiah 29:11

Ever felt like everything that could go wrong…did? When you think about it, wouldn’t life be boring without its annoyances, hindrances, stumbles, or grievances? I’m a firm believer that everything, from the minutia to the major events in our lives, happens for a reason because God is in the details. Simply stated, it’s what Jeremiah 29:11 tells us: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

Last September, for the first time, I’d been invited by a reader to join her and some of her South Carolina girlfriends at a beach house in Myrtle Beach for a week. We arrived at the beach on a Saturday, but Hurricane Florence took aim toward South Carolina, and we were ordered to clear out by Tuesday. Mumbling and bellyaching, I drove on the opposite side of the highway along the mandatory evacuation route. Not only that, but Florence also disrupted the remainder of my planned trip.

So, where do you go when you’re weary and disappointed? In my case, I trekked through the mountains to my beloved Gatlinburg, Tennessee, for a personal mini-retreat. For the first time in years, I spent three days doing what I wanted when I wanted, including talking with the Lord, reading my Bible, and praying a lot. I also spent quality time working on my novel, Portrait. I returned home rested and rejuvenated—just not in the way I’d originally intended.

Now for this year’s trip to Myrtle Beach… I’d already decided to fly, but in the days leading up to my Saturday departure, Hurricane Dorian threatened the eastern coast of the U.S. By Friday, the hurricane had moved on. When I arrived in Myrtle Beach, I discovered the water and the elevators at the condo had been turned off but that service “should” be restored by Monday. Okay, I thought, taking a deep breath, I can rough it for a few days. Did I mention the condo is on the fifth (top) floor of the building and the stairwell is brutally muggy inside—a concrete cave with steep steps?

Thankfully, the water flowed freely on Monday morning, and the elevator was up and running by evening. In retrospect, the lack of those things was annoying mostly because they inconvenienced me. With so many blessings—friends, family, opportunities—I have no reason to complain.

Just as in our everyday lives, inconveniences and annoyances (a/k/a setbacks and disappointments) are an inevitable part of our writing journey. Whether it’s a delay or missed deadline, a rejection, a pesky issue with an agent or publisher, slow sales, or a less-than-stellar review, we can give our troubles to the Lord with full confidence they’re in His control.

An episode of The Big Bang Theory recently reminded me of a very real truth. The mother of one of the main characters frequently quotes the Bible. When someone snipped, “Maybe one day you’ll read another book,” she said, “When God writes another one, I will.”

While we certainly hope readers will find our books, reading about the issues faced by the men and women of the Bible reveals how we are not alone in our humanity. As we’re called to write for God’s glory, let’s rise to the challenge in a way that conveys His grace, mercy, and love—in spite of ourselves. Because, after all, everything else is really only a stumbling block along the way.

Blessings, friends,

What to do when life doesn't go "your" way.
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads
Everything happens for a reason because God is in the details!
#seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads


Once upon a time, when she believed in fairy tales, ten-year-old Lianna Chandler had a dream. As the princess of a faraway land, she stood by the shoreline at sunset as her prince galloped toward her on a magnificent white horse. Now, sixteen years later and happily prince-less, Lianna co-manages an art gallery and is a promising portrait artist in the charming land of Carmel-by-the-Sea. When she meets Evan Michaels, a man who embodies the handsome prince of her childhood dream, can she move away from past heartbreak to embrace her own happily ever after?

Evan Michaels learned early on that life wouldn’t hand him anything. Using his fists and street smarts, he fought his way out of a bad childhood to make his own way in the world. With divine help, he’s now a partner in an international shipping firm based in San Francisco. Although he’s proven himself to the world, something is still missing. When he meets the beautiful Lianna Chandler, Evan believes he’s found the woman of his dreams…until he takes a phone call that could change everything. Will the secrets and shame of Evan’s past come tumbling down around them, leaving their love in ashes?

JoAnn Durgin
JoAnn Durgin is a USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty contemporary Christian romance novels, including her signature Lewis Legacy Series. A native of southern Indiana, JoAnn likes to say she’s “been around in the nicest sense of the word” after living in four states across the country before returning to her hometown with her husband and three children. When she’s not writing, JoAnn loves to travel and spend time with their first grandchild, Amelia Grace. Feel free to connect with her at or via her website at