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