Friday, March 20, 2020

Encouragement in the Midst of Disappointment by JoAnn Durgin

Meme with John 16:33

Encouragement in the Midst of Disappointment 

In the midst of these uncertain times in dealing with the unknowns of the coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s quite easy to grow discouraged. This isn’t like the Nor’easter snowstorms in Boston when our family was forced to stay inside. They only lasted a day or two. This is more like when school was canceled the entire month of January when I was a senior in high school due to ice-covered roads. At least we can get out and about—for now. However, if even one of us contracts the virus, that can all change in a heartbeat.

As we’re all aware, when events we’ve anticipated for weeks or months (even years!) are canceled, it’s a huge disappointment. Sports matches and tournaments at all levels are being postponed indefinitely or canceled. Most schools across the nation are going online with students studying at home. Personally, we’re rescheduling our son’s graduation trip to Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia (I’m praying there’ll be a graduation ceremony!). My husband and I have tickets to the Downton Abbey exhibition at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, next week, but I fully expect to hear it’s been closed. Two concerts I expected to attend later this month have been rescheduled. I’m sure you have a rapidly growing list of your own…

Something important to keep in mind: you are not alone. We’re all facing this crisis together, and I mean all of us—every single person in the world. No one is immune. When you think about it, that’s quite astounding, isn’t it? The expression, “This, too, shall pass” immediately comes to mind. I pray by this time next year, an effective vaccine for COVID-19 will have been widely distributed and this worldwide pandemic will be a memory.

As authors, none of us are immune to occasional setbacks and disappointments in our writing career—rejection letters, weak sales, a negative or unfair review, failure to place or final for an award. You could be suffering from lethargy—emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually. You might lack inspiration. Perhaps a manuscript isn’t coming together the way you’d hoped.

We can’t avoid discouragement, but we can handle disappointments more effectively if we maintain a positive mindset. I realize that can be a difficult proposition, even for believers. A No could actually be God telling us It’s not the right time. Or Try again later. Although our plans may be canceled, postponed, or disrupted, that doesn’t mean God’s not in control. The Almighty is always on His throne. As Matthew West sings, “He’s the God who stays.” Amen! We have no reason to fear and no reason to panic because we have His promises and assurances. And when we can switch the focus from our earthly desires and disappointments to accepting the will of God, then we can experience His glorious peace, a peace like none other.

One verse I’m reminded of frequently is John 16:33, especially appropriate now: “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” The best way to overcome discouragement? Pray and then surrender your burdens at His feet.

In closing, what we might interpret as a disappointment may actually be a blessing in the long-term. When I was laid off from a job in late 2009, I used the time off to submit my debut novel to publishers, which led to its publication a year later. If you find yourself at home during these uncertain times, try and use your time productively—reconnect with your family, be more faithful in devotions and Bible reading, exercise more, catch up on your rest, try a new recipe, and indulge in those things you never seemed to find the time to do before. And as writers, I’d suggest spending more time writing. And I’m going to pray the Lord will use our current circumstances to draw more souls to Him. Won’t you join me in that prayer?

Until His Nets Are Full,

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~Romans 8:28

Facing Disappointment with a Godly Perspective #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads
Disappointments can be a blessing long-term! #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads
We have no reason to fear or panic because we have HIS promises and assurances! #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @Gr8tReads

Catching Serenity
Catching Serenity

A woman torn apart by secrets. A man held prisoner by the truth. Can the greatest love of all set them both free?

Serenity McClaren had it all before her life crumbled around her like the sandcastles on her beloved beach, causing her to flee Croisette Shores and the only home she’d ever known. Nearly five years later and living in Atlanta, she receives a mysterious, unsigned note: “Come home, Serenity. Things aren’t as they seem. Time to find your answers.” Returning to South Carolina, she prepares to face her demons and the ailing father she left behind, hoping to make peace with both.

Child psychologist Jackson Ross is a man with a surprising past. He’s ready for the quiet life and eager to establish his practice in the quaint, coastal village. After he hires Serenity to decorate his new office, he’s drawn to the beautiful and enigmatic woman yet sees she’s haunted by a past she can’t escape. Wanting to help her, he begins to suspect one of his young patients may hold the key to unlocking Serenity’s secrets. Jackson follows his instincts and discovers the shocking truth, but how can he tell the woman he’s grown to love what he knows—and set her free—without compromising his professional ethics and losing her forever?

Catching Serenity, a poignant story of faith, hope and love, and discovering the everyday miracles from an all-powerful God.

JoAnn Durgin
USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Lewis Legacy Series, Prelude, the Starlight Christmas Series, Catching Serenity, Hearts Design, Gentle Like the Rain, Whisper to My Heart, the Serendipity Christmas Series, the Treasured Vow Series, the Wondrous Love Series, If You Believe, Echoes of Edinburgh, Portrait, and The Valentine Verse. Her most recent release is Love on Assignment in Millcreek, Book 1 of The Millcreek Christmas Series. She’s also written three novels under the pen name of Julianna Desmond, her latest being Only A Whisper Away.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana.

Feel free to connect with her at or via her website at


  1. Standing on the promises of God. Great message. Thank you.

  2. Very wise and encouraging thoughts, JoAnn! I included the John 16:33 scripture in an Insta post a few days ago. It's perfect to meditate on and cling to in the midst of earthly uncertainty.


We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!