Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Carla Laureano & When Life Didn’t Turn Out the Way You Prayed

February 6, 2018 Author Interview, Carla Laureano, Christian, contemporary, giveaway, romance 13

I am absolutely delighted today to host one of my favorite, go-to authors – Carla Laureano. You’ve heard me talk (ad nauseam) about #myJames, the swooniest of the swoony book boyfriends. I’ve been dying for a new release from her and it’s finally here!! AND THE WORLD REJOICES!!! I know I’m rejoicing 😀

Denver chef Rachel Bishop has accomplished everything she’s dreamed and some things she never dared hope, like winning a James Beard Award and heading up her own fine-dining restaurant. But when a targeted smear campaign causes her to be pushed out of the business by her partners, she vows to do whatever it takes to get her life back . . . even if that means joining forces with the man who inadvertently set the disaster in motion.

Essayist Alex Kanin never imagined his pointed editorial would go viral. Ironically, his attempt to highlight the pitfalls of online criticism has the opposite effect: it revives his own flagging career by destroying that of a perfect stranger. Plagued by guilt-fueled writer’s block, Alex vows to do whatever he can to repair the damage. He just doesn’t expect his interest in the beautiful chef to turn personal.

Alex agrees to help rebuild Rachel’s tarnished image by offering his connections and his home to host an exclusive pop-up dinner party targeted to Denver’s most influential citizens: the Saturday Night Supper Club. As they work together to make the project a success, Rachel begins to realize Alex is not the unfeeling opportunist she once thought he was, and that perhaps there’s life—and love—outside the pressure-cooker of her chosen career. But can she give up her lifelong goals without losing her identity as well?

   

Carla Laureano is the RITA® Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram


When Life Didn’t Turn Out the Way You Prayed

By Carla Laureano

I fully believe in the power of prayer. My relationship with prayer, however, has changed over the years. I grew up in a Christian home and attended a Christian school, so I was well familiar with Philippians 4:6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Faced with this irrefutable scriptural evidence, I believed that if I prayed for something, God would give it to me because he loved me. I understood, of course, that I probably shouldn’t pray for a pony; while God could totally do it, my parents would veto that blessing. Ponies don’t belong in suburban backyards.

Then I grew up. My asks were no longer about getting a good grade on a test or resolving an issue with junior high school friends, but serious ones about my career or my marriage or the health of an unborn child. And that’s when my relationship with prayer changed.

Almost three years after the birth of our first son, my husband and I decided it was time to think about expanding our family. We were ecstatic when we got pregnant right away; I was thrilled because, in comparison to my first pregnancy, I was feeling great. No morning sickness, no fatigue. This was surely the sign that everything was going to go smoothly.

My recollection of everything that happened next is honestly a little murky. I think the blood tests were off, so my midwife sent me for an ultrasound. I was praying through the days before the scan that the results would be normal, and by the time we walked into the doctor’s office, I had full confidence that everything was going to be fine. And then that dreaded pronouncement: “I don’t see a heartbeat.”

There’s nothing worse than the sudden realization that the baby you’d hoped and prayed for might not be coming after all. The doctor sent us home to wait, intending to do another scan in a couple of weeks in case we’d gotten the dates wrong and I wasn’t as far along as we’d all thought. I didn’t make it that far. I’ll save you the details, but the miscarriage was rough and could have proven fatal for me had I not gone to the hospital when I did.

We of course grieved the loss of the child. I’d always been pretty pragmatic and never expected that I would escape hardship or difficulty, even if I hoped it would work out that way. This seemed to prove out that belief. But other members of the family couldn’t believe I’d lost the baby. We’d prayed so hard over the situation, had so much faith in the outcome. So when your prayers seem to be ignored, where does that leave your faith?

I didn’t have an answer. Intellectually, I knew there is evil and death in the world, and God doesn’t always intervene. For years after that loss, I struggled with the concept of prayer. I did it, of course, but my faith ebbed in the name of practicality; I was always afraid to let myself fully believe that my prayers would be answered.

And then I came across a quote, the source of which I no longer remember, that essentially said, “Prayer is not a way for us to get what we want from God, but a way to align us with His will.”

I’d always read Philippians 4:6 with the belief that presenting your requests to God equaled him granting them, when in reality I should have been reading the emphasis as: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Prayer is not about what God can do for me, but giving my anxieties and fears to God and thanking Him in all situations because of the hope I have in Christ Jesus.

Two months after the miscarriage, we got pregnant again. Ironically, whereas the last pregnancy had initially been symptom-free, this one was high risk, fraught with every problem imaginable. For a while, it seemed that each weekly scan came with a new potential issue. We certainly prayed for the health of that child, this time with an undercurrent of Your will be done. There was nothing to do but trust that God loved this baby and would take care of us no matter the outcome.

That baby is now eight years old, and one of my greatest joys in life (though, admittedly, the source of most of my gray hairs). I’m always aware that had our second child been born, the eight-year-old I know and love would not exist. And so while I wish we hadn’t had to go through the pain, I’m forever grateful for what God has given us.

Do I understand why some prayers are answered and others aren’t? Do I understand why sometimes hopes go unfulfilled? I don’t. But I trust that God is able to work every situation for our good and for our holiness. I believe that someday at His side, we will see the whole picture and understand how all those situations, good and bad, fit together. And for now, that’s enough.


Oh Carla, thank you for sharing your story with us. That deeply touched me & I know it did my blog readers as well. ♥

Giveaway Info

This giveaway is hosted by Tyndale House, not RimSP
Click on the above graphic to enter!

What about you? What is something that touched you about Carla’s post?

Carrie

13 Responses to “Guest Post (and a Giveaway!): Carla Laureano & When Life Didn’t Turn Out the Way You Prayed”

  1. Carolyn Astfalk

    One of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve experienced is looking at that monitor, waiting to see a heartbeat and – nothing. After three miscarriages, even though I’d had two healthy babies, I was sick with dread at subsequent pregnancy sonogram appointments, feeling as if I were headed to an execution instead of seeing my baby for the first time.

    And yet, we know there is a plan. And though I carried those babies only a short time, their lives were precious. Their ETERNAL lives! There were still blessings surroundings those losses. And I look forward to meeting those babies, still so loved, some day in heaven.

    Thank you for sharing your story, Carla.

    • Carla

      Oh Carolyn, do I know that horrible feeling well, as well as that sick anticipation at every other visit after. It makes me appreciate my healthy, funny, crazy kiddos even more than I might have otherwise. Thank you for sharing your experience with us too!

  2. Sally Bradley

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Carla. Needed this reminder today.

  3. Susan Snodgrass

    I had leaky eyes reading this. It’s so profound for your faith when you go through such deep valleys. We’re in one right now and learning that trusting God is not always easy, but it’s always the best. He is going to work things out for our good in the end, even though that end may be in Heaven. I love Him so and I never want to be a moment out of His presence. Just today I was reading how Job, upon learning everything he owned was gone, fell to the ground in WORSHIP! What a wonderful example for us to have in our walk with the Lord. I confess I’ve not done that. At first. Thank you, Carla, for sharing this wonderful testimony and writing The Saturday Night Supper Club. I loved it and the light of Jesus shone through!

  4. Heidi McCahan

    Carla and Carrie, first let me just say that I STILL think about (and swoon a little) over James from Five Days in Skye. He will always and forever be one of my most favorite fictional guys. I’m pleased to hear that Carrie agrees. 🙂
    On a more serious note, thank you for writing such a beautiful post and sharing this tender part of your journey. Thank you, especially, for reminding us that our God works all things for our good and His glory. Congratulations on your new release, and I look forward to reading it.

  5. Jan Hall

    This post reminded me of the times I prayed and the answer was no and the time I got what I prayed for but not quite how I expected it. I prayed we would be able to move to our little cabin on the lake. My hubby developed throat cancer and I lost my job. So, we moved to the lake.

    • Carrie

      Oh wow, Jan. Yes, sometimes the answer comes in unexpected ways. Not ways we would have wished for. But we can always trust God has His best for us in mind

Leave a Reply