Monday, June 21, 2010

A Reversal of Destiny

Missy Tippens, here. And I’m wondering if any of you has been at the point of giving up in your writing? Rough contest scores? (I once tied for 35th place out of 36 entries!) Rejection? Tough critique? And even if you’re published, have you had a proposal rejection that discouraged you? Well, read on, and I hope you’ll find some encouragement where I have.

I was blessed to take part in my first Beth Moore Bible study this past spring. We studied the book of Esther. An excellent study I highly recommend! I’ve always loved the book of Esther, but this study really opened my eyes to the idea of reversal of destiny.

Esther—a Jewish girl who hides her identity, becomes Queen of Persia and finds herself in a place where she has to risk her own life to try to save her people. You may be familiar with the verse in Chapter 4 where her guardian, Mordecai, charges her to intercede on behalf of their people (the end of verse 14): “Who knows? Perhaps you have come to royal dignity for just such a time as this.”

Several things Beth Moore said in the study really struck me. First off, the timing was awful for Esther. Her husband hadn’t called her to him in 30 days. So this is a huge expectation to ask her to risk her life in approaching the King. Plus, appealing to the King will reveal her identity as a Jew. But either way, she’s toast (since she’ll be annihilated with her people). So Esther was in quite a dilemma. But as Beth says, the worst time in the world for us just may be God’s time.

You know, the idea of destiny really appeals to me. It makes me feel as if there may be something big just around the corner (a new sale, an award, some fabulous recognition!). However, in the study, Beth says that the idea of destiny makes us feel special, BUT we’re put here with a purpose beyond ourselves. We, too, are here for some group of people.

--from Ephesians 1:11 Even when we’re blind to the evidence, God “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.”

--from Philippians 2:13 God “works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

Another thing Beth said that spoke to me was this: As God sheds light on our destiny, He often shines that light after a crisis. He often uses something to pivot us. And after the fact, we see that the crisis was critical to the path.

Have you ever felt like God spun you on your ear and sent your life in an entirely different direction? Like you had a reversal of destiny? I’m talking about in your writing or otherwise.

Before I sold, I had been writing for over ten years. Okay, I’ll admit it. It was actually more like 12 years. Along that journey, I nearly gave it all up several times, but each time, God provided some little encouragement that kept me going. And it’s really amazing how I got my first sale. An editor who’d had my submission for a while had left the company. I was so, so bummed when I heard the news she’d left and realized I had to give up on that manuscript. But then a wonderful editorial assistant found it and emailed me. And of course, that major pivot point led to two rounds of revisions and then The Call. (The Editorial Assistant is now an Assistant Editor, and more importantly—for me anyway—she’s MY wonderful editor!)

Recently, my critique partner, Lindi Peterson, shared an email with our F.A.I.T.H. blog group. She’d been having a tough time, feeling discouraged and down. But after listening to a sermon about being an encourager to others, and while praying/thinking, she heard this voice in her head: Do For Me

She was beside herself excited, feeling a renewal of her spirit. At the end of Lindi’s email she said of God, “He's paving the way for great and amazing things to happen for His glory.”

Later that same week, she got The Call. Yes, great and amazing things!

Mary Connealy shared with me a pivot point in her life. She says, “I remember so clearly reading a copy or Romance Writer's Report, the monthly magazine from Romance Writers of America, and seeing this tiny article announcing the beginning of Love Inspired. It was like a light bulb went on for me.I'd been writing for years already, and writing these CLEAN romances, and watching the market move steadily away from CLEAN. It was down to mostly just Silhouette Romances left that didn’t require (or, to me SEEM to require) premarital sex. And I wasn't going to write that. So that left me with ONE place to submit my books. And as I looked into Love Inspired I found the whole world of Christian fiction just opening up. And there I was with all these books written. They didn't have a faith thread but they had characters who conducted themselves as Christians. The faith thread was there, it was just unspoken. It was very easy to add it. It was a huge turning point in my writing career (though it still took me a long time to get published).”

And we all know how that story is turning out! :) Mary has published, what, like 5 gazillion books already??

So again, I’ll ask, has God turned you on your ear lately? If so, be encouraged that God is working. He has a plan, and He wants each of us to be a part of it! It may not be an easy path. And it very well may not be on our time schedule! (Do I hear an amen to that?) :) But God does have a purpose for each of us. We just need to remember it goes beyond us.

I’d love it if you’d share a turnaround story (it doesn’t have to be a first sale story). Or just share with us if you feel discouraged right now so that we can help cheer you up. And goodness, if you stayed with me this long, you deserve a prize! I’ll do a drawing for your choice of one of my books (as available) or any Steeple Hill book of your choice that’s available on e-harlequin when I order the prize. Please leave contact info if you’d like to be entered.


Missy Tippens’ next release for Steeple Hill Love Inspired, A Family for Faith, will be out in April 2011.


  1. What an encouraging post, Missy! :) The book of Esther in the Bible is a wonderful example, and thank you for sharing your story (and other authors' stories), as well.

    I know God is at work in ways we often don't recognize in our own lives. I'm not sure if I have any examples that fit exactly with your post, but I will say this:

    I really wanted to go to a Christian college, and my senior year of high school I had narrowed my choices down to Multnomah University and Corban College (both in Oregon). Even though I'm a California girl, I love Oregon, as well. :)

    Anyway, I thought I had it all planned out (or at least mostly planned!)--I was going to go to Multnomah, with its small campus and sweet little chapel that I loved when I visited there. But then opportunities abounded at Corban, and it became quite clear where I was supposed to go. My plans for a major changed from Elementary Education to Language Arts Education/Creative Writing to English (which is what I decided on before I went to school and what I've stuck with!).

    And guess what? I have bee blessed beyond measure at Corban! Corban is now a University, too, and they even put in a sweet little prayer chapel right near where my dorm is this last year (my first year!).

    And as an English major, I feel like I have many directions I can go (hopefully, if it is God's will, my English degree will help me become a novelist and maybe an editor). It is a great, wondrous comfort to know that God has a plan and He knows what's best. I'm excited to see what He has in store for the future!

    Thanks again for sharing this! It's "Vacation Week" on my blog, so how about I share some of our lemonade and scones that we've been enjoying? ;) Feel free to join us if you need some R&R. Today I'm hosting author Laura Frantz with a vacation-themed interview. :)


  2. Great post, Missy. I don't know if I've given up at any time, but I do feel at times there is greater discouragment to my writing than other times. At those times, I don't produce much in the way of ne writing.

  3. Missy,

    This is such an encouraging post! I do love the book of Esther and I remind myself when discouragement tries to creep in that I have been placed where I am for "such a time as this."

    Thank you for sharing!


  4. Missy,
    I love the book of Esther and want to find a way to do that study. And I love the idea of reversal of destiny. Sounds like a title of a novel!
    I love hearing stories of how God is working in people's lives.

  5. Missy, this was such an uplifting blog as I am at a turnaround point in my life right now only I haven’t quite turned fully around to get a glimpse of the blessings on the other side.

    I have had turnaround blessings though and I thank you for reminding me of them. One happened a number of years back when I had made the decision to go back to school. I was a single mum so the decision was very hard to make but I had prayed about it and felt directed to move on with my life. As it was we existed below the poverty line as I dragged my daughter to housecleaning and caregiving jobs. We were both exhausted and ready for a change.

    I applied to a college library program and an adult high school secretarial course. I wanted the college program but the Lord kept directing me to the high school one. I, of course, ignored His direction until I was backed into a corner. I wasn’t accepted into the college program!

    I was devastated, but forced myself to move ahead with the secretarial course.. So, what did God know that I didn’t?

    The secretarial course had a co-op placement component. I was placed in the college library.

    One month into the co-op (which was mornings only) my boss offered me a job at the circ desk for the afternoons. (It paid three times my wage as a housecleaner!)

    My college contract was up at the end of April – just in time for me to start my summer job babysitting for two mothers I met at the college who were waiting for the new daycare centre to open in September – right in time for me to start my library program (I got accepted on my boss's recommendation)…and go back to my new permanent part-time job at the library.

    As a college employee I got my courses for $20 a piece! And I was given flex hours so that I could work around my class schedule.

    I realized then that the Lord and I had the same plan all along – His way might have taken me a year longer but it brought me abundant blessings that eased my financial burden .

  6. Kav, darling, I'm hereby stealing your story as a wonderful Love Inspired.

    Just so you know.

    Honey, that is a GREAT story of God's timing, your will, strength and determination and abiding faith and love.

    I love it THIS much.

    Missy, what a great post. I am over-the-top inspired by this, the heartfelt warmth and reminders. This gives you an official Ruthy "Get-out-of-Ruthy-Snarkdom-Free-Card" good for one day (and one day only, prizes limited to the actual winner and may not be transferred without written notification and M&M's to the Snark aka Tyrant with at least a minimum of three-days notice) and I'll even supply my KEURIG coffeemaker for today, with a full assortment of coffees and teas for our friends, Romans and Countrymen.

    Or whoever stops by.

    Wonderful post, Missy. I can't even find a thing to make fun of.


  7. Hi, all! I'm about to run out the door to take my son's truck to the shop (his a/c will only work part of the time, and in 99 degrees heat, that's not fun!)

    I'll be back asap with biscuits for everyone from Dairy Queen!!

    As I rushed to the bottom of the comments, I think maybe I saw that Ruthy was just nice to me. Surely I didn't see that right! I'll try to overcome my shock enough to eat my biscuit! ;)

    Be right back...

  8. I love the book of Esther. My niece who has special needs loves the Veggie Tales story of Esther because "Essie is brave like me."

    When I was going to school and stressed over not writing, I felt God telling me not to write for 6 months. So I quit for six months. Didn’t write a word. Then the 2009 Genesis contest opened up. I prayed and asked if it was time to write yet. I submitted my chapter hours before the deadline. Jim Rubart called to say I had finaled in the contest. At the ACFW conference, three wonderful things happened--Tina James requested the full, Rachelle Gardner requested the full, and I took second place for my category in the Genesis. Rachelle Gardner is now my agent and my full manuscript is sitting on Tina James' desk, awaiting a response--preferably a "Yes, I want to buy this book." :)

    I truly believe those things happened because I listened to God about not writing for six months to focus on school. At the age of 40, I graduated summa cum laude with my degree! Another milestone that came out of being obedient to God's call and His always perfect timing.

  9. Thank you for this encouragement, Missy. I think we're doing that Beth Moore study at our church in July so I'll have to make sure I sign up!

    In 2004, I had been writing for almost five years(and dreaming of writing for almost fifteen years) but had very little to show for it. My husband was traveling alot for business so I was acting as mom and dad to our two girls. And I hated where we lived, away from everything and everyone I loved. Writing had not just taken a backseat, but had completely gotten out of the car!

    Though I was horribly discouraged, I applied for a scholarship to the ACFW conference and received one. But that wasn't enough to encourage me--in fact, I almost gave my scholarship up, feeling that someone who had worked at the craft deserved it more than I ever could. But my wonderful husband talked me into it, assuring me that he felt sure that God was going to show up and show out.

    But I didn't see it, at least not the two days. I prayed, asking God why He wanted me there. Then Saturday night in the very last breakout session, I went to a class called 'Write your novel in Eight minutes a day.' Seeing how I couldn't find time to write, I figured this was the class for me.

    The minute I sat down, His still small voice spoke to my heart--write for me. Don't worry about how much you get done now, don't think about getting published. Do this for me. Mary Griffinth didn't know what to make of me--she hadn't spoken a word and I was in tears!

    In the six years since that moment, God has encouraged me along the way with blessings along the way--a story in Guideposts, my testimony in Chicken Soup for the Soul, the 2008 ACFW Genesis Award in Historical Romance and just last week, a final in the TARA contest. But more importantly, I've grown in my faith--I can look back now and see how God worked in my life. And I know that He's not done with me yet!

    Blessing for your writing week!

  10. Thank you for such an encouraging post, Missy, just the thing for a Monday morning.

    A turnaround point came just this year in my life. I studied to be a military historian and believed that's where God wanted me. I work with a non-profit that supports the Navy, but I've been discontent. Last October the Lord kept whispering in my ear about writing a faith based novel. I thought it was some kind of joke. I love Christian fiction and have read tons of it, and even tried to write a couple of stories in college, but I couldn't write a Christian romance. I stubbornly started researching for a military history book, but nothing fit together and I struggled with the research. In the meantime, God kept putting ideas for a novel in my mind. Even when I gave in and sat down to write (this Spring) I was determined to write historicals. Once again, He had His way and my first M/S is a contemporary romantic suspense and my current project is a contemporary romance. God always knows what He's doing because I am having the best time writing these and doing the research for these projects.

    Thanks for reminding me of His wonderful faithfulness even when we think it's not possible.


  11. Oh, Missy, this is so awesome because my ladies group just finished Beth Moore's Esther study too!!! It was so great. We all just loved it. And that Reversal of Destiny idea has been playing in my head like a song that won't go away. But I love it. And that's been one of the themes of my novels. Reversal of Destiny and Reversal of Fortune. The day Beth Moore talked about Reversal of Destiny, the co-leader of the study looked at me and said, "That's you, with your writing!"

    They all heard me ask for prayers about my writing, have seen me cry about rejections and discouragements. There were times when my chances of getting published, especially my medievals getting published, seemed bleak to none. But then God made it happen in a big way with Zondervan! Don't you love it when that happens?

    And it happens to my heroines a lot. I love that dramatic turnaround, that major turning point where everything that could have gone wrong or stayed bad suddenly becomes this amazing triumph! Maybe that's what I love so much about fairy tales. The poor little scullery maid, Snow White, becomes a princess marries to a wonderful handsome prince who carries her away to a beautiful castle.

    The Reversal of Destiny thing has happened to me in a major way a couple of times in my life. God is such a great author! He can write my story any time!!!

  12. For Such a Time as This. To quote another line. 'Does any body really know what time it is? I don't, but thankfully, the Creator of time does. Usually when I'm in the middle of making plans, God reminds me he has a plan and he made me specifically for it.
    With all God has done in my life and in my writing I'm still amazed. The biggest thing that amazes me, is how easy it to turn my eyes from what God has in store.

    Oh that I should be like Esther and remember I'm here, in this time, this moment for such a time as this.

    Thanks so much for the reminder Missy.

  13. Oh, Missy, what a beautiful post this morning, and such an uplift to so many people, including me!

    I love the statement, "BUT we’re put here with a purpose beyond ourselves." I think for writers, that is one of the hardest things to come to grips with -- His purpose, not ours. Because as writers who pour ourselves heart and soul into our work, there is such a human need to be acknowledged and praised for our work, but the reality is, it's for His glory, not ours.

    For me, when I take the emphasis off my glory and put it where it really belongs -- His -- there is such a peace and joy, underscoring what John the Baptist's words that we must become less so He can become more. Not easy to do for fallible human beings, but it's definitely where the peace is!

    Amber ... that is SO cool that they just built a little chapel at Corban near your dorm!! God SO loves giving us the desires of our heart, doesn't He???

    Kav, Patty and Kirsten -- your stories are SO inspiring!!! Thank you for sharing them.

    And, Lisa, saying one for you RIGHT NOW, girl, for supernatural favor and that God's blessings abound.


  14. I'm back! I'll hook up my coffee IV and be right back...

  15. Wow ladies, where to begin?

    Missy - you have the gift of encouragement and it shines through. Thank you for this!

    Everyone - your stories are love inspiring. :)

    Seriously - it IS encouraging to read God's plan inbetween and ON the lines. Thank you for sharing.

    Is Ruthy starting a new prize?

    Turn arounds - so many in my life. Sure hurts at the time, but as you say, you, well, turn around later and God opens your eyes and you SEE. What a life we lead!!!

    may at maythek9spy dot com

    One shorter one that springs to mind would be moving here. Hubby was working in Venezuela (on the Guyana side) and I was isolated somewhat in our quite lovely apartment compound. But I had a laptop and the Internet and began searching for a place for us to retire to one day...

    Long and short of it, we found 2 realtors, and when we moved back to the States, we took that Memorial Day weekend to look for property. We had sent a detailed list of exactly what we thought we were looking for. The 1st realtor showed us some nice things but... not "it". The 2nd realtor picked us up early that next morning and said, "I have the place you're going to buy, but I'll show you everything else first." At day's end, he drove us out to a different part of the county. As he did we kept getting more and more excited. When we drove up to the old cattle gate, we put our fingers over the top like Kilroy, turned to each other and said, "This is it!"
    And it was.
    Wshew. What a ride. We lived in our barn with the dogs and horses while we built the house, but that would be a book.

    Oh wait, part of that story is! :)

    Have a splendid week everyone. I'm starting an editing project, prayers would be appreciated!!!

  16. Amber, that's so cool that you've found everything you wanted plus some at Corban! Isn't God amazing? And that's so exciting about your major. Good luck with your studies!

    Thanks for the lemonade and scones!

  17. Walt, it's really hard to try to work through the discouragement. I've been there. But I've also found that jumping back in helps me get over it more quickly. As long as I keep working and trying, then there's hope. (Plus, I'm just plain stubborn!) :)

    Thanks for stopping by. You know, every time I see an Einstein Bagels, I think of you! Thought of you Saturday after GRW when I saw one at Toco Hills. :) (BTW, we missed you at the meeting.)

  18. Amen to that, Edwina! I hope we can remind ourselves of that ever single day. It can sure help us face the tough times.

    I hope you can make our W.O.R.D. meeting tomorrow night!

  19. Missy, this post was written just for me!! Thanks! It is so do have that gift! I will check on that Beth Moore study! Please enter me for one of your books...I have AFC and loved it.
    Many other comments here inspired me, also. Blessings~~~

  20. Missy, I love your post! The book of Esther is a favorite of mine. Like Mary, I was writing for the secular market and getting no where. I don't know why it took me so long to realize where my stories fit. Within months of turning to Christian fiction, I finaled in the Inspirational category of the Golden Heart. Great validation I was where God wanted me to be. When Love Inspired opened the Historical line, I was ready to walk through that open door. My reversal of destiny didn't take courage like Esther's, but it did take turning my will over to God.

    I brought fruit and dip this morning. It's officially summer and the longest day of the year.


  21. Thanks, Missy for this wonderful post.

    I had a mini-turnaround point recently. I'd almost given up writing - getting very discouraged by rejections, especially from one particular publisher. I started thinking maybe I need to change from inspirational to regular romance. Going through an upheaval in my spiritual life didn't help matters.

    However on a whim I entered the purely inspirational contest, Touched by Love, to see if my latest work would even be a blip on the radar. And I became a finalist! That was the acknowledgment I needed to tell me I'm on the right path, just be patient and keep on writing.

    I still think I have more to learn before I get published. Like you said, God's timing is everything. Until then, I soldier on...

    Thanks for sharing all these great stories everyone. Amber, your blog is beautiful!

    Have a great week everyone!


  22. Hey, Lindi! So glad you stopped by! And thanks for letting me share your sale story. :)

  23. Kav, all I can say is Oh. My. Gosh. That is such an amazing (chill-bump producing!) story! Absolutely unbelievable. Of course, why are we ever surprised? God is so generous and loving.

    I hope the college classes go great in the fall!! We'll be here to cheer you on! :)

  24. Yep. It's really here online for the world to see. Ruthy was nice. NICE! And even gave me a Get-out-of-Ruthy-Snarkdom-Free-Card. Wow. I'll have one peaceful day in my life. I think I need to plan well and spend it wisely.


    Thanks for loaning the Keurig, Ruthy! I'm offering to share my Green Mountain Double Black Diamond K-cups. Love the nice, rich, extra-bold coffee! And even better when adding the rich, Italian Sweet Cream creamer.

  25. Oh, Lisa, I just love your story!! You're brave just like your niece and Essie! :)

    Congrats on finishing school--and with such high honors!! And what a pivot point that contest was! And now, as a result, a complete on an editor's desk... We can't wait to hear you've had your good news!!

  26. Patty, what an amazing testimony to your faith! Your story made me all teary eyed. (sniff, sniff) Thanks for sharing how God has been working and encouraging you. I'm sure your faith and persistence have been a great example for your daughters.

  27. Patty, I also meant to say that I LOVED your husband's quote!! "God will show up and show out."
    Love that!!

  28. Kirsten,

    Isn't it sometimes comical how hard we try to do our own thing? Even when God is directing us otherwise? I do the same thing! I get something in my head and just plow ahead.

    Thanks so much for sharing how God has pushed you toward something you're enjoying so much! I truly believe God wants us to love our work and to feel fulfilled. It's a lesson I'm still learning.

  29. Melanie, I've been so blessed, too, by a women's Bible study (here and at my previous church). A group of ladies who've prayed me along the writing journey. I'm sure your ladies were as thrilled as you were when you sold. :)

    What a great idea to use the reversal of destiny idea in a story! I guess all romance is that to a degree. But it's something that could used as a premise. I'll be thinking on that now! :)

    I know I've said this about a gazillion times already, but I can NOT wait for your book to come out!

  30. Thanks for the uplifting post. :)


  31. I forgot food. What is a Monday without food.

    And since it's the day after Father's day, try this trifle...

    Layered angel food cake, homemade vanilla custard, whipped cream and fresh strawberries...

    Layer twice, then add last layer of angel food cake, "frost" with whipped cream, garnish with fresh berries.

    So lovely. And easy. And very impressive.

    If nothing else, I like to be impressive.




    I might just shred that card, 'cept I gave it to you in front of God and everyone.


  32. Tina P., love your quote/song!! :) So fitting for this topic. :)

    Another quote I didn't include but love was when Esther declares a fast on her behalf. Then she says, "After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish."

    Oh, to be so brave! To be so determined!

    We don't usually face life and death dilemmas in our everyday lives. We just have to push beyond disappointments and challenges and sit down at the computer to write what God has put in our hearts. We can do this!!

  33. Missy,

    It's also funny how God shows us when we're on the right track. My father has been the biggest supporter of this adventure. He's always supported me in whatever I've done, but I can tell you romance books are not really his thing. So, when he was ecstatic that I was writing them and spent hours on the phone (also not his thing) letting me bounce ideas off of him I knew I must be headed in the right direction. :o)

  34. Thank you for such an encouraging post. Things are going well for me right now but it's the little things of life that threaten to discourage and dishearten me, like my husband having to work a crazy shift that leaves me feeling like a single parent at times! Now I'm determined to look for the hidden blessing in that circumstance.


  35. Wow, Missy used me as a good example....for ONCE!!!!!!!!

  36. Just wanted to add that I am loving reading how God has worked in everyone's lives!

  37. Julie, AMEN to that! You know, God truly led me to the Beth Moore study. I was already attending a different study, but I kept seeing the ad for this Esther study in the bulletin. A friend of mind had raved about it, and I really wanted to do it. But then I forgot about registering. The night before it started while lying in bed, I suddenly remembered it. I told God that if He wanted me to attend it, He'd have to remind me in the morning.

    Well, before my feet hit the floor the next morning, I thought: Beth Moore Esther study. :) It was hilarious. I just laughed as I got ready to go.

    Once I arrived, and we watched the intro video, I started thinking, gosh, I wonder if God has some big-time destiny for me that He's preparing me for. And I got that "Maybe I'm special" feeling I was talking about.

    Then BAM, God hit me with those words Beth said--and took me down a notch! LOL It was a great reminder that I'm on this earth to love and glorify God. Not to seek affirmation or some fantastic success! :)

  38. KC, what a great story about finding your perfect place to live! Thanks for sharing.

    And I'll be praying for the editing project!

  39. Such an inspiring post and an important reminder, Missy! Loved reading everyone's personal stories, too!

    I have a turnaround story of my own--too long to share here in the comments, but it's told in detail on my blog, Writer at Random, in the September 2007 & August 2008 archives.

    Yes indeed, God is the Master of Reversal of Destiny! I wish I could be better about consistently trusting Him through the dry times.

  40. Okay, I just had to go to the door to get a package from our mail lady. My new skin care products arrrived!! I'm such a sucker for infomericals. (You want to sell something to me, just put it on tv!)

    So the other day I'm flipping channels, and I'm suddenly looking at Cindy Crawford's gorgeous skin-- then and now--and I'm hooked. Meaningful Beauty. I ordered the starter kit. So look out! I bet y'all's eyes will hurt from my glowing, youthful skin soon. (Hush, Amber and Hannah, I don't want to hear about your honest-to-goodness youthful skin!!) ;)


  41. Jackie, you're so sweet! I'm glad you were encouraged. And I'm so glad you enjoyed A Forever Christmas!

  42. Janet, that turning our will over to God seems to be a big part of a pivot point! But it sure is difficult sometimes, isn't it?

    Thanks for stopping by!

  43. Yay, Sue!! That's so exciting to hear how that happened!

    Will you be able to be at RWA for the FHL awards ceremony??

  44. Ruthy, I'm sticking out my tongue at you! You can't take it back. You have to be nice! :)

    Your recipe sounds so yummy! I have one similar. Ice an angel food cake with a mixture of flavored yogurt and Cool Whip. I really like peach yogurt stirred into the cool whip. Or strawberry. I also cut the cake in half so it's like a 2-layer cake.

  45. LOL, Kirsten! My dad has been very supportive as well. I shared about it on my personal blog this weekend. :)

  46. Mary B., it can sure be difficult while raising kids! Especially if you're the primary caretaker. Hang in there. And remember that it passes way too quickly! You'll blink and they'll be grown. Maybe the precious moments you have with your kids now are the hidden blessings.

  47. Thanks for the Monday encouragement, Missy -- I always need that! Some of our ladies journeyed through the Esther study last year and loved it. I need to go back through my book for some refreshers. :-)

    Everyone's turning point stories are so inspiring. Our verse at VBS last night was Jer. 29:11 (love, love, love that one!). Like I kept telling the kids in different classes last night, God has the coolest, most awesome, incredible plans for each of us -- so amazing that we can't even begin to imagine what they are! I just love that about Him. :-)

    Things are still playing out, but I think I might be in the midst of a turning point with my writing. I started fiction with YA and finaled in Genesis about 5 months into the learning process after joining ACFW. Took some of the final round comments too close to heart and decided I didn't have a voice for YA (yep, crybaby quitter here; but I'm a little better now). Dabbled in several other genres until settling in historical romance about 2 years ago. Have gotten great feedback and some gems of encouragement from a couple of authors I soooo respect. I've loved it, but the idea of someday trying my hand at writing for kids always lurked. The prospect grew to a more official thought in the past couple of months and then an official nudge that wouldn't sit quietly in the background.

    I started sharing chapters with a new crit partner this spring, so didn't know what she would think or how to handle it -- I still love my HR, but really want to work on kids' things for the moment (stories for upper elem/middle grades). I kept praying about it, kept thinking I needed to email and give her a heads up -- and then she emailed me first (just last week, actually). Turns out she's also feeling led to work on a children's book and to put her HR on the back burner for the moment. She asked if I'd be interested in reading that as she works on it, even though it's not what we originally became CPs for. Um ... yes ... I think that would be great. :-)

    We had a great cyber laugh when I emailed her back and I think we both feel more comfortable with shifting gears for the moment. After all, what are the chances that CPs who've been focusing on historical romance for the past 2 or 3 years would both suddenly have the desire to change markets and write for kids instead?! We decided it must be a God thing. Now we just need to get busy and see what He plans to do with it!

    Thanks again, Missy, and everyone else. Have a wonderful writing week!

    - Leigh

  48. OK, that was waaaaayyyy longer than I thought it would be. Guess I've taken up all my Seekerville space for the week in a single shot! :-)

  49. Love this post except for the part where I have to wait until April for your next book. But I will persevere!

    I was in one of those really discouraging times in my life. Talking (okay, crying) to one of my friends on the phone about how rough things were, I remember saying, "I just wish the Lord would SAY something to me for a change."

    The doorbell rang and I opened it to the UPS man who handed me a package. While I continued to bemoan my life to my friend, I opened the box and inside was a glazed decorative tile I had ordered weeks before. What did it say? "Moons Change, Tides Change, Things Change, Have Faith." Chills went up and down my spine.

    Now I may have ordered it, known it was coming, but for it to show at that very moment when I needed God to speak to me was a blessing.
    It still sits here near me in my study, as I type.

    Isn't it a blessing that we get the messages we need to hear via a tiny article, a Bible study, an encouraging word, even a little piece of clay?

  50. Mary, Mary, now when have I ever used you as a BAD example?? Well, except for when I've teased you about dropping dead bodies into stories. And when I've told you you failed to give me a spew alert before you said something.

    Beyond that, I've never shared your faults.


  51. Myra, I'll be sure to check it out!! I also thought of Chery's story when I was writing this post. I hope she'll stop by and share it.

  52. Hi again,

    No, sadly I won't be able to attend the Nationals this year, even though I'd love to go to Orlando!

    Leigh, love your story. Amazing. Must re-read that book about Coincidences and how with God there's no such thing. Forget the exact title, even though it's on my dresser at home. Read it many years ago, and it was so interesting. It's in my 'to be re-read' pile!


  53. Hi Missy, I also took the Beth Moore study on Esther. I always come out with so much from her studies. What a timely post for me. I love hearing about how God works in our lives.

    I have too many stories to tell. Probably a book. LOL One of my best involves the story I was going to tell all you Seekers at ACFW last fall. I will when the time is right. smile I'm finally learning to listen. sigh

    Wow, a get out of Ruthy snarkdom free card. What a gift.

    And all the food. Yummmmmm Goes great with all of these lovely stories and testimonies.

  54. Leigh,

    I love that verse!! It was the theme verse of His Forever Love! That's really cool that it was the theme of your VBS.

    I hope all goes great with your new cp! That really does sound like a God thing. :)

    And NO, don't even think you wrote too long! There's no limit around here. :)

  55. Missy,thank you. I love the story of Esther. She was obedient and God made an experiment out of her, didn't He? Such an amazing story.

    I started to write this post late last night but we lost power to part of our home. Sounds like a huge electrical headache. I rigged up my Internet connections to other parts of the house via an extension cord. Not sure how long it'll last though.

    Anyway, sometimes I get discouraged when I read. I see how well done the stories are and I think that I could never produce anything close to being that good.

    I was kind of having one of those up and down weeks about a week ago. I can do this-no I can't. But I was committed (determined) to enter a contest that asked for the first two chapters. This is an ms I finished the first draft of back in Dec, and picked back up two weeks ago.

    As I was saying, I was having a moment, but decided I needed to open the chapter two file and just get it over with. I came across a place where my hero saw a shooting star. When I read that I thought about the scripture where God named even the stars. I looked it up, and I read over a few of the preceding verses, and I started weeping. My story involves the restoration of Jerusalem/restoration of the heart. And there it was. All together.

    The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem; He gathers in the exiles of Israel. He heals their broken hearts, and binds up their wounds. He reckoned the number of the stars; to each He gave its name. Great is our Lord and full of power; His wisdom is beyond reckoning. The LORD gives courage to the lowly, and brings the wicked down to the dust. Psalm 147:2-6

  56. Julie H.S., I'm always so amazed at how God speaks to us through little ways that really inspire. What a cool way to get a comforting message through a tile!

  57. Well, Sue, we'll be cheering for you!

  58. Well, Sandra, you've left us hanging with that teaser! Maybe for your next post?? :)

  59. Wow, Renee! What an amazing story. Sounds like you're definitely in the right place (this particular story) at the right time! I'm so glad you committed to entering the contest!

    Also...I, too, have closed books and cried because I just knew I'd never write like that. But one thing you have to remember is published books you're reading have been edited! Editors make our books so much better than than they were when they started out. The editors can be objective and spot problems. They can make suggestions and ask questions that help us improve. So don't let that stop your momentum! You'll be there someday--working with your very own editor to help polish your stories. :)

  60. Thanks Missy!
    A nice reminder of an amazing bible study. We learn a lot in a Beth Moore study and I try to go over them again so that all those 'gems' will sink in!

    What great stories today...

  61. Yeah, Debra, I've been really inspired by the stories shared today.

  62. God makes different writers because he makes different readers.

    That matches my theories about Christmas trees, too.

    And everyday dishes.

    I'm deep, as you can see. And no, Sandra and Mary have never gotten get-out-of-snarkdom-free cards.

    I will enumerate on the reasons why. You guys 'r smart. You'll figure it out.

    But Missy....

    Too dagburned nice.

  63. Thanks, Sue and Missy. My CP and I decided this must be the right thing for us at the moment since God isn't in the business of coincidences!

    And I feel like I've come full circle -- I entered that first mss in Genesis as YA because that was the closest category. Now that I've been learning for a few years and got brave enough to open the file again, it's actually a juvenile/middle grades fit. So at least I'm not starting from scratch! Once again, God's persistence beats my hard-headedness.

    My first word verification was "quiri". Think that could be a new spelling for "query?" :-) Then it timed out and my second verification is "whenam." As in, "When am I going to buckle down and get these stories written so I can 'quiri'?!"

  64. Missy,
    Thank you for this email today. SO MUCH.
    To write or not to write? Yep, that's been my question lately.

    For the past month I've been praying and struggling with the whole 'writing' thing. I keep asking God if I should just place it aside for a little while until life slows down a bit. Especially after some pretty tough contest scores and hitting #30 on my rejections list, I was thinking maybe now is not the time.

    During the month I developed two new novel ideas (one as a three-book series) - but still, I kept asking God:
    Should I write?
    Can I write?
    Is now the time to write?

    I didn't have peace to stop, but I felt the walls closing in on me if I kept going. (Great conflict, btw)

    In all honesty, I can't seem to stop writing anyway. Story ideas are EVERYWHERE, but I really started questioning my ability and my opportunity.

    Anyway, a good friend send me an encouraging note about my writing - out of the blue. Then I found out that I finaled in a contest I'd forgotten about and a publisher asked for a proposal of a story I'd pitched.

    It was the sweet touch of confirmation, but also a reminder...
    God first
    Getting lost in the discouragement, or making the 'desire' to write my personal idol, will never be in the will of God.
    But when I seek Him first, cast my cares on Him, and pray - then comes the peace.

  65. Thank you for your sharing today. I will keep plowing on, even though at times I may feel like I wonder what God has in store for me in my writing.

    My turn around point came in college. I started out being a pre-vet major and kept going that way even though I struggled a lot in my major. Late in my college career, the door was slammed on me in that area when I was told I had to change majors or risk not graduating because of my low GPA in science. So I chose human development--the quickest way I could get out with the classes I'd already taken and headed in the direction of working with kids. Well, now I'm halfway through my teaching career, and I've seen how God has been working in my life through the students, parents, coworkers, and my own life as well. I've had the opportunity to share God's love with so many people as a teacher than I would have as a veterinarian. God knows what He's doing. :)

    cynthiakchow (at) earthlink (dot) net

  66. Missy, it took me 14 years from first page to first sale. Not that I'm happy about that. :-)

    And those years were long and without the comradeship of other writers at the touch of a key here on the Internet.

    But God's timing is wonderful. Like Mary C I had been writing for a market that hadn't opened yet. But I was in Dallas 1996 a row ahead of the editor who launched Love Inspired. You better believe I caught her before she got very far.

    Good memory!

  67. PS-I recently posted my 2010 Christian Fiction Market Update on my site Drop by and click Christian Book Publishers for the latest on these markets.

  68. What an encouraging message! Thanks Missy!!

    So many times God has turned things around for me. When I graduated from college I had no job prospects and the summer mission team I had applied for was filled. I didn't want to go home and live with my parents who were not believers yet. But I moved home, took a job working a summer day camp my church was offering and I ended up meeting my husband who was the director.

    We have been married and serving the Lord together for over thirty years. He has a plan for each of us. Stay faithfully on His path and He will direct you. : )

    carrie (at) turansky (dot) com

  69. Oh, wow! More wonderful, touching stories!

    And Ruthy, that's so true about Christmas trees!! And stories, too. :)

    Leigh, your word verifications were hilarious! :)

    Pepper, congrats on that final and on the request! Isn't that sweet confirmation wonderful? I hope it'll keep you going along this journey.

  70. Cynthia and Carrie, your stories of God leading you in career and job choices are amazing. And Carrie, I know you must wonder what would have happened if you hadn't gone home! Of course, I'm sure God would have redirected you somehow. :)

    Lyn, it always makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one on the decade plan of publishing. ;) Thanks for sharing the link to your annual market update!!

  71. Hi Missy:
    It was so good to see you Saturday.

    Gosh, I've had so many turning points or slam on the brakes and change gear moments that I think I have whiplash, LOL.

    Recently I finaled in the Daphne's and was quite prepared to write a secondary characters story. And then my son-in-law handed me a copy of Before We Kill and Eat You, a true story of a pioneering missionary in his family. Truly poor narrative writing, but really inspiring God moments.

    So now, I'm writing an inspy romantic historical in 1918 Liberia, Africa. And there's another one in my head for 1856 Mobile, AL. Go figure.

    All I've got to say is that when God has a change of plans, well, he doesn't do things in a small way!

  72. Hey, Debbie! Such wonderful new story ideas! I hope the writing flows right out of you.

  73. As always, Missy, your blog post was encouraging. :-)

  74. Missy:

    As others have said, timely and encouraging.

    Esther is a great example of courage.


  75. Wow - what a great post, and what great responses from everyone else. I'm sure in my 46 years, I've had plenty of turnarounds. Unfortunately, I can't see over the one I'm waiting for, now. And actually, it's not so much for me, as for my husband. He's in the midst of a job change that has hurt him badly, and while he has a job, and we KNOW God has a plan, it's hard to stand by and see the love of your life hurting.

    I'm not published, and like Pepper mentioned, I've wondered if there's even any point. Yes, I got the non-finaling scores, haven't won any contests, and a sale would sure help about now! ACFW was in the budget - until the job change.

    But, like Esther (and yes, I did this study about a year ago, little knowing I would need to dig that workbook back out NOW!), all these happen for a reason, for such a time as this...

    Thanks - and definitely put me in the drawing for one of your books!


  76. Gina and Helen, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad it was encouraging for you. You're always an encouragement to us!

  77. Regina, I'll be praying for your hubby's job change. I have a feeling, though, you'll figure out later that all that happened was for the good.

    Hang in there!

  78. Okay, it's dinner time! Should I admit I served Hamburger Helper tonight?? :)

    I did make broccoli, though. And we had fresh cherries. So I added a healthy twist. :)

    How about some hot, chewy brownies for dessert? Sound good?

  79. Great post Missy! I've felt discouraged recently because of rejections. Maybe I need to stop thinking only about myself? lol
    I can't think of a turnaround time right now... but thank you for the wonderful post! :-)

    Oh, you know, do you think you ladies could talk about how many stories you queried before selling? I've been thinking about how many years it takes for someone to sell, and how many books writers have, but I wonder how many of those written books they'd queried?
    (yep, I'm trying to figure out my odds here!)

  80. Jessica, I completed 3 manuscripts before I sold one. I can't remember clearly the numbers, but of those three, the first never left the house (and never will!) :) I don't think I ever submitted my second one either. I just had some critiques on it.

    I send the third one to one publisher and probably an agent or two. Got rejections.

    The next one sold. However, before it sold, I wrote two more books that made the rounds.

    You know, I don't think I ever wrote a true query. Most of my submissions came from contest requests or appointments at conferences.

    Jessica, don't get discouraged if you have more than someone else. Julie won the prize for the most rejections at ACFW one year. And she sold not long after that! :)

  81. Thx Missy for the prayers for the editing project. We're a team of 3 and all bring something different to the mix. It's an interesting combo.

    And YES - if y'all are ever out this way, you can come see our place. :) Definitely Divine provision.

    And YAY children's writers! WAHOO! Why do we all have this nudge? Must be somethin' to it!!!

    Or is it that all these romances have spawned lots of spawn?

    Enjoying the stories. But now... back to my task! Y'all have a good rest of the evening. I see the food was scarfed up already. That's OKAYYYYyyyy.... No really.

  82. Thank you for the uplifting post. I think my biggest turnaround was when I got my RA diagnosis. I have a severe case and it was a long journey to find anything to help me. It did turn my whole life around in many different ways, my daughter's too since they had to help care for me when I was at my worst. Thankfully I am better now, but I never take anything for granted anymore.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  83. Linda, thanks for your reminder not to take anything for granted! I pray that you continue to do well!

  84. Missy,
    So glad I didn't miss your wonderful blog today. The comments have warmed my heart...each lovely examples of the Lord working in the lives of His people. Thanks, everyone, for sharing.

    Pre-publication, I was targeting the old HQ Intrigue line. They had a manuscript of mine for over a year and rejected me. A few months later, Steeple Hill senior editor Krista Stroever spoke at a GRW meeting about the Love Inspired Suspense line expanding. I was able to pitch and Krista said she'd take a look at my proposal if I added a faith element. The revised story went on to win the Touched By Love and I got the call just a few days after the RWA National Convention that year. When readers tell me they enjoy my stories, I always thank God for steering me toward Steeple Hill and the Christian market. He knew where I needed to be.

  85. Debby, so glad you stopped by before bed! What are you doing up this late?? :)

  86. Wonderfully inspiring! Glad God put you here!

  87. I LOVE this, Missy! The phrase ‘Reversal of Destiny’ is exactly what my writing partner (Carey) and I have experience this past week!! I took the same Beth Moore study on Esther last year but had forgotten this key phrase about destiny.
    Carey and I had been praying for God to send us the right agent for our YA manuscript. So we queried a select group of agents over a month ago and one of them resonated with both of us. After praying about it, we both felt strongly God had led us to this particular agent. But last week while I was on vacation I got the dreaded (form letter) rejection email – from the very agent we knew God had chosen for us. It was heartbreaking but we both thanked God for the rejection and were determined to move on. (Although I have to admit I had a few feel-sorry-for-myself days ;)
    Well, last Friday, our top agent emailed us back and said she had been a little crazy to pass on our story because she couldn’t get it out of her head! She wants to work with us on a few revisions and go from there! I’d say that qualifies as a ‘Reversal of Destiny’ of the God-wasn’t-done-with-the-situation variety!
    Don’t give up girls! Just put your trust in Him!! :D

  88. Wow, Lorie, that just gave me chills!!! Thank so much for sharing your story! I'm excited for you and your writing partner!! :)

    Eva Maria, thanks for stopping by!

  89. I drew our winner and the name will be posted on the Weekend Edition. So please come back this weekend to check! And, of course, to enjoy one of Tina's fantastic posts. :)

  90. Lorie forgot to say that she was on vacation when our top agent rejected. Right after she read the email, she came out of a restaurant and written in the sky was "Trust God." She has a great picture of that moment.

  91. Thank you for the article on destiny. Knowing the Lord is in control gives me peace. I don't have to do things myself. I don't have the strength, but He does.