When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan: Guest Post by Debut Author Patricia Bradley
My novel, Catch a Falling Star, asks the question: Is life about accomplishing plans … or wishes coming true … or something more?
Today’s post is the tenth in the “When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan” Wednesday blog series, 11 guest posts by authors and writers, including Deborah Raney, Rachel Hauck, and Susan May Warren, who explore the question: What do you do when life doesn’t go according to plan? Today’s post is by debut author Patricia Bradley.
In 1980 I was thirty-five years old and had a dream of getting a book published. I had it all planned. I’d write the book and publishers would bid on it.
Okay you writers out there, quit rolling on the floor. I quickly learned life doesn’t always go according to my plan. Thirty-four years later my first novel will reach the bookstores. Along the way I received enough rejection letters to paper one side of my office, and if I’d sent it out to more people, I could have papered my whole office.
I’ve had people ask me why I kept writing when I kept getting rejected. Sometimes I asked myself the same question. Did I ever think about quitting? Certainly. But something in me wouldn’t let me quit.
In 1998 I laid my writing on God’s altar, willing to pick it up in any form He desired. I claimed Psalm 37:4-5: Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
And what did He do? He gave me the privilege of working 8 years in the abstinence program, first co-writing an abstinence curriculum, then taking that curriculum into Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama schools, teaching children how to make good choices. For 7 of those 8 years, I didn’t have a creative fiction thought to enter my head.
Then one morning in 2007 during my quiet time with God, a character popped into my head. And someone was trying to kill her—my task in the abstinence program was finished. God had released me to go back to my beloved suspense stories.
And so if He gave me permission, then of course I would soon have a book published. I think sometimes when we read Psalm 37:4-5 we forget to read the 7th verse: Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him.
In Jeremiah 29 God tells us He has a plan. Thirty-three years after I started writing, on October 17th my manuscript, Shadows of the Past, was presented to the Revell pub board and won unanimous approval. Ten days later I was offered a 3-book deal from Baker Books, the parent company of Revell.
Life didn’t go exactly as I planned, but it did go as He planned.
My plan = 1 book. God’s plan = 3 books.
God’s plan is always better than ours.
What has God taught you as you waited for your plan — or was it His plan? — to be revealed in your life?
What has God taught you while you were waiting? Click to Tweet
What unexpected opportunity have you found while you waited for your dream to come true? Click to Tweet
Patricia Bradley’s debut novel, Shadows of the Past, releases February 1, 2014 from Revell. She lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum and workbook. But her heart is tuned to murder and suspense. Patricia’s mini-mysteries have been published in Woman’s World, and you can check out her short story in WW, “Blood Kin”. When she’s not writing or speaking, she likes to make jewelry or throw mud on a wheel and create odd and unique pottery.