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Grateful for the Pain by Normandie Fischer


Normandie Fischer


Pain can shatter us, toss us off a cliff, and render us immobile. Or it can hone and refine us. I recently read the words of a man who discovered he had a horrible form of cancer. Although his disease was incurable and soon-to-be terminal, he rejoiced. He knew the end of the story.

How did he get from the pain to the joy?

One of my worst rejections forced me into the new and frightening role of Single Mother. I thought my world destroyed that day, my years of clinging to faith a mockery. I didn’t leap, as that man with cancer had, to show myself strong and full of grace. Instead, it took days and months and years before I could look up and declare a true thank You for the pain, one that I actually meant. The first thanks had been obligatory: one is supposed to praise, no matter what. To say, “Thank You,” before one feels the truth of it.

Have you ever been there? Been at the place where all you can do is question why? Felt unlovely, unwanted, ignored, cast out? Hurt physically or mentally beyond what you thought you could endure? And wondered what celestial game had tossed you out with the garbage?

What did you do about it?

Some of us dump God. Or church. Or men or women or friendships or….  The list goes on. We find anything and everything to blame.

And some, some few, grab the hem of His garment and hold on. Stand at the Red Sea, as it roils in front of us and the Egyptian Army gathers behind, and we say, “Thank You. Praise You. I trust You in the middle of this mess.”

And something happens. Maybe not immediately, but one day something happens. We may have to walk through days where failures abound and the world’s tilt leans away from us, but one day we do wake to find the pain easing, the hurt less, the heart full, and the New Plan unfolding in our life.

I’m living another New Plan now. But if I hadn’t faced the pain of that rejection, if I hadn’t become a leftee from marriage, I might never have known the joy that the Father had in store for me. A new day, a new life, and a best friend of my very own. We’re fifteen years into a life lived together with the God Who turned our mourning into joy.


Part of my New Plan was also publication. My agent actually sold two of my books, and now I have six on the shelves. My pain and my failures not only provided fodder for my made-up worlds, but they allowed me to climb into my stories and hurt with my characters, and I’m that much richer for the journey.

What about you? What are you doing with the hard places in your life?

Normandie Fischer is a sailor who writes and a writer who sails. After studying sculpture in Italy, she returned to the States, graduated suma cum laude, and went to work in the publishing field, moving from proofreader up the ladder to senior editor, honing technical tomes, creative non-fiction, and, later, fiction.


She and her husband spent a number of years on board their 50-foot ketch, Sea Venture, sailing from San Francisco to the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, and on through the Panama Canal. They now live in coastal North Carolina, where she takes care of her aging mother and, whenever possible, enjoys her two grown children and two grandchildren. She is the author of six novels.

Sailing Out of the Darkness

Love conquers all? Maybe for some people.

When Samantha flies to Italy to gain distance from a disastrous affair with her childhood best friend, the last thing on her mind is romance. But Teo Anderson is nothing like her philandering ex-husband or her sailing buddy, Jack, who, despite his live-in girlfriend, caught her off guard with his flashing black eyes.

Teo has his own scars, both physical and emotional, that he represses by writing mysteries—until one strange and compelling vision comes to life in the person of Sam. Seeking answers, he offers friendship to this obviously hurting woman, a friendship that threatens to upend his fragile peace of mind.

Journey with Sam over the cobalt waters of the Mediterranean. Sip and sup with Sam and Teo in Italian cafes. What happens next will keep you turning the pages as consequences escalate, and the fallout threatens them all.

Normandie’s links:




Amazon Author Page:


Sailing out of Darkness links:



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Surrendering A Stormy Marriage by Kelly Klepfer

Posted by Julie on September 17, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Life Lessons, surrender |


It was a dark and stormy night. Not literally. The sky was clear. We could see for miles. However, the inside of the van was alive with lightning and thunder. As difficult as it is to admit, my husband and I were supposedly fighting for our family but there we were again trying to rip each other to shreds.


Let me back up and give some basic details of why we were there and why we were in such deep, deep trouble.  We were high school sweethearts and married shortly after I graduated. Being Baptists we had a lot of practice putting on nice and polite and hiding our real inner uglies. Right after marriage and our first baby our church split in a very public and vicious way. We fled church and in doing so we fled from Christ. Years later we were still reeling from the destruction. My husband developed an alcohol addiction. I developed the mentality of a victim and kept a long list of what he’d done to me ready for flinging at him in any situation that warranted it. My first crushed heart incident was when he chose alcohol over us. We survived through “Christian” counseling. God was nominally involved due to my refusal to give Him more than lip service. The second was when he chose another woman over alcohol. I found out on our anniversary while we were getting ready to go celebrate. She called me to tell me she was pregnant. Let’s just say that was an unforgettable date night.

This time we survived by immersing ourselves in church.

His little girl became involved in our family. We’d pick her up for a weekend a month then take her home and I’d share my concerns with him. I had a lot of material on my laundry list of unacceptable behaviors.

This hurricane of a night was no different. I pointed out some areas needing improvement. He defended himself. I got more and more agitated. Finally he waved both arms in the air and screamed at me. “I don’t understand what you are saying. I’m doing the best I can. It’s like you are speaking Chinese.”

I gave up and pulled into myself and began to pray. Actually. I was weeping and railing against God. Pointing at Him and mentioning what He was doing wrong. Why the heck wasn’t my husband a better husband? He owed me and our kids. And I was so angry at the idea that our marriage could end over this after it had survived alcoholism, no love, and an affair. I let God have it in tornadic blasts of rage and helplessness and hopelessness.

He let me vent. And then He spoke a quiet question into my heart. I have no doubt it was from God because this question was no where in me. He asked. “Why do you think you are right?”

Silence filled with sniffles and moans. No words came. I couldn’t answer that question. Not to the One who could see right through the lies. Coincidentally, our church was offering an inductive Bible study on marriage starting just days later. I told Him I’d go and I’d try being a wife the way He designed it.

I went alone. And 17 years later everything has changed. Including my husband. My marriage. Our children. Us. And though we’ve still had plenty of rain and some bits of hail and even some high water, our foundation stands. God did some remodeling and replaced the shifting sands with bedrock. Perfection? No. Nothing close. Surrender works. God works. His plan, His suggestions, He’s the answer to all of it.


kellyKelly Klepfer had ambitions to graduate from the school of life quite awhile ago, but alas . . . she still attends and is tested regularly. Her co-authored cozy/quirky mystery, Out of the Frying Pan, is the culmination of several of the failed/passed tests. Kelly, though she lives with her husband, two Beagles and two hedgehogs in Iowa, can be found at Novel Rocket, Novel Reviews, Scrambled DregsModern Day MishapsInstagram, Pinterest, FacebookGoodreads and Twitter with flashes of brilliance (usually quotes), randomocities, and learned life lessons.

To purchase Kelly and Michelle Griep’s book, Out of the Frying Pan, click here.

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Character Confession: The Hidden Pain

Posted by Julie on May 25, 2013 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Last week I read about retired NASCAR driver Dick Trickle’s suicide. My parents dated by attending races at the Chemung Racetrack where then amateur Geoff Bodine was always put last in line to see how fast he’d get up front and win. Once married and with children our parents continued to watch NASCAR, much to my dismay at the time. But when I married and moved 7 miles away from the famed road course, Watkins Glen, I fell in love with the sport, too. Dick Trickle was beloved not just for the name that makes teens giggle, but because he drove the wheels off anything for years.

When I read about his death, he apparently had been suffering with a pain in his chest that doctors couldn’t figure out what it was or what to do to alleviate the pain. It was crushing, chronic, and life-altering. You have to be pretty desperate to take the option he did. I can’t imagine his suffering anymore than I can get a hold on the heartbreak for those he leaves behind.

But desperation I’m familiar with, and this isn’t an easy confession. I don’t know a lot of people who want to raise their hand and say I felt so out of sorts my mind conjured up fantasies where the pain could be gone. Thing is, those images never play out the consequences, and no one wins in a suicide. I so get that, and my heart breaks when I learn about a grieving family.


But for years I grew up and in a situation where hormonal imbalance dominated my thought life. When that time of the month came I could feel an emotional plunge and month by month, year by year it enhanced. By the time I was married I started hiding from my husband because the depression was so deep I was ashamed. There were times I got out a suitcase and put it on the bed thinking if I ran away I could spare him the experience. When the plunge abated I’d put the luggage back and go back downstairs and re join civilization.

It grew even worse after pregnancy, birth, and then the grief and physical change from miscarriage. For those that don’t experience depression there aren’t adequate words to explain what the mind does. But dark, void, hopeless and full of shame and fear were my constant companions, and trust me, they came without invitation and stayed. No one knew what to do with me. I heard from what I call Job’s friends, if only I’d done this or if I were stronger in faith, I’d snap out of it.  I could feel it coming on and retreat upstairs where I would weep, I mean those wracking sobs that give you a migraine, for days. And the desperation took me to a place where I went to the medicine cabinet and picked up a bottle and thought what if.

My faith, shaky as it was back then, was just enough to hang on, even holding the bottle, but refusing to open it. And when the feeling passed, I dried my tears and rejoined society. It was in my opinion, 1000% hormonal, for me.

As I aged, physical symptoms accompanied the feelings and because my faith was stronger, I decided to ask ladies to pray and find a doctor that would hear me out. I’m not a girl that believes pill popping is society’s answer to problems. Quite the opposite, actually. But for me and my situation, the doctor prescribed a daily medicine to balance me. I had a hysterectomy where we already knew I had severe polycystic ovaries, PCOS, but he found extensive endometreosis. The physical pain had been constant and life-altering. The imbalance was staggering.

And today the desperation is all but gone.

I had a short season where I believe God touched me and no medicine was needed, and it was fantastic. But for whatever reason, the situation returned, and I remain on medication. The one hormone issue I battle, especially in warm weather, is not a hot flash, but a temperature increase so sharp and all encompassing that it is evident everywhere. I have to change clothes sometimes several times. I get anxious in public when I suspect this will manifest. But that’s the worst thing I deal with, and I thank God those fantasies I used to go to have been permanently shelved.

The pain Dick Trickle suffered with was physical and apparently so intense this to him was his only option. For Matthew Warren, Pastor Rick and Kay’s son that recently passed away, his pain was emotional and perhaps more hidden from most people. Yet that desperation was real to both of them. It was a fantasy for a season for me.

Do I have a 1-2-3 solution for you or your loved one feeling desperate? How I wish I had an easy fix. But I will tell you taking every single thought, and for me my mind is a constant run even in sleep, to Christ made a vast difference. I am a visual person, so I had to picture myself taking my thoughts and letting them go at the foot of the Cross. That continues to help me. I picture my desperation as the devil and Jesus fighting over me. In my desperation the Holy Spirit shared with me that the devil doesn’t want me to know he is the true defeated one. His job is to make me feel defeated. So when those feelings came, I took thoughts to Christ and pronounced I was not defeated. And visual as ever, I pictured it as an arm wrestle between the devil and Jesus, and Jesus wins every time.

If this post hits home for you, may your hidden pain dissipate at the foot of the cross and in the arms of Jesus. May He erase desperation and replace it with hope and joy, and of course, a healing. 


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Pain, Healing, and Coming Undone

Posted by Julie on August 2, 2012 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

A couple weeks ago I was thinking about the pain associated with my wrist and how I underestimated it once the cast was off. With therapy I’m learning a lot of it was having no movement for so long. Once the cast was off the doctor instructed me to wear a brace, so I did. And boy, it hurt.

While I was thinking, K-Love was sharing with Kari Jobe about her song, Healer, and how blessed they were as anchors to hear her sing it live at church. Sure enough, they cue the same song.

And I came undone.

My wrist pain is someone else’s migraine is someone’s diabetes is someone’s cancer. God doesn’t invent these things, but He will use them to further His kingdom in ways we won’t understand.

May this song bless you as it did me.


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