When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan: Guest Post with Author JoAnn Durgin
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 third 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 my friend, author JoAnn Durgin.
While I didn’t have a so-called “plan” for my life, I had a few aspirations when I was younger: graduate from college (check), get a good job in a fabulous city (double check, in Dallas, Texas), travel to Europe (check), and hopefully one day find the man of God’s choosing, get married and start a family.
Yes, all those things happened, but I’ll say this: the Lord kept it interesting with many unexpected twists and turns along the way! Perhaps the best example of “when life doesn’t go according to plan” is my personal love story with my husband, Jim (with sincere apologies for the bullet points). Hold on tight ‘cause you might get a little dizzy …
●Met Susan through a mutual friend and immediately recognized her as the woman behind the friendly “voice” from a courier service my law firm often used.
●Susan and her fiancé, Marshall (a Dallas Seminary student), set me up on a blind date. They prayed about the guy they wanted me to meet. Both came up with … Jim Durgin. He’d sworn off blind dates. I was resistant and skeptical. We went out with the group but later shared snacks and private conversation at TGI Friday’s for over three hours.
●First “real” date was a formal banquet. Jim wore a midnight blue tux—6’2”, dark, seriously handsome. When I heard his gorgeous tenor … infatuation! Then discovered I was his third date in as many nights. Okay, then …
●Went out as “just friends” for well over a year.
●Infamous “Red Lobster date.” Jim questioned my spiritual condition. I ran away. He was right; I was hurt. He attempted contact; I ignored.
●Jim traveled to Europe with a seminary singing group and wrote novels on postcards. He explained. I read, I cried and burned them (yes, I regret it).
●I slid my Mustang partially beneath a moving truck one morning. I walked away with glass hanging in my hair, but praising God for His protection.
●Joined a “Free to Be Thin” Christian diet group. I had the book but needed the workbook and remembered Jim worked at the seminary bookstore. Ordered the workbook and said, “Tell Jim I said hi.” Jim (“J.D.”) waited for me when I picked it up a week later. With that irresistible smile, handsome as ever.
●Dated for a few glorious weeks. Infatuation turned into love, but where could it lead? Jim invited me to his graduation. Even his parents couldn’t attend. I needed to go so he’d know someone was there for him. Huge church. Prayed and the Lord led me straight to him (helps that Jim’s tall). Against the odds, we decided to try dating long distance. One of the best evenings of my life!
●Unexpectedly lost my job at the law firm (the one thing keeping me in Dallas) the very next morning.
●Jim accepted a ministry job in Visalia, California. I moved back home for a few months.
●My Mom and I had already scheduled a European vacation. Lots of terrorism that year. We cancelled the trip last minute; another cancellation got us onboard a booked cruise ship.
● Met a woman and her two children on the ship … from Visalia, California.
●I’d always detested it when a woman “moved for a man,” but one phone call changed my perspective. The lady from the cruise ship? Her wonderful, generous husband offered me a job.
●Moved from Indiana to California.
●Engaged on Valentine’s Day 1987 in Carmel, California; “Anonymous” (and still anonymous 25 years later) paid for our engagement ring.
●Married on Jim’s birthday in September 1987 (he’s never forgotten his anniversary).
God’s plans are so much more imaginative and better than anything we can dream on our own. Many blessings, friends!
When have God’s plans been more imaginative — and better — than anything you ever dreamed of?
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JoAnn is the author of The Lewis Legacy Series published by Torn Veil Books and Meet Me Under the Mistletoe from Pelican Group/White Rose Publishing. A full-time estate administration paralegal and member of the ACFW, she lives with her husband, Jim, and three children in southern Indiana. Visit her atwww.joanndurgin.com or at Author JoAnn Durgin on Facebook.
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