Monday, June 7, 2021

When God Has a Different Plan

Jill Weatherholt

When I signed my first contract with Harlequin Love Inspired in 2015, a question asked often was, “Are you going to quit your day job?”

In 2015, when I entered the Blurb to Book contest offered by my current publisher, writing was a hobby. It was something I did to relieve stress. My best friend, and mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. Escaping into my story world was a balm for my heartache.

As I advanced in the contest, I realized my hobby had an opportunity to go in a different direction. Today, I know it was all part of God’s plan, but back then, I was clueless as to what He had in store for me.

At the end of the contest, a contract for my first book was offered. It was a dream come true.

But wait—early on, I’d never dreamed of becoming a published writer. I’m not one of those authors who knew when they were a child that they wanted to write books. I didn’t even know it when I reached adulthood. In my thirties and early forties, there was no desire to see my name in print. Sure, I loved to read since I was a child, but writing a book? It just wasn’t on my radar.

Then something shifted. At the time, I couldn’t explain it. Suddenly I became obsessed with all things related to writing. I found myself journaling about how I wanted to be a writer. I was hooked on reading author websites and learning about their journey to publication. I wasn’t sure where this desire was coming from, but I was unable to escape it. I began to study the craft. I wrote short stories for fun, and even entered a few contests. In fact, one of those contests was with Southern Writer’s Magazine. They were the first to ever publish something that I’d written. Then another story was published, and contests were won.

But it was one month after I turned fifty-years-old, when things took a major turn. On August 17, 2015, I received a phone call from New York. I remember I was at my day job. When I saw the New York area code on my cell, I let it go into voicemail thinking it was a solicitor. A few minutes later, the same number popped up on my screen again. For a second time, I ignored it. Then it dawned on me, and my heart began to race. Harlequin is in New York. Wasn’t today the day the editors were going to offer a contract? I panicked. What if they didn’t call a third time? What if they moved on to the next contestant?

My fears subsided when I saw the same number appear on the screen. From that moment on, my world changed. It became a series of constant deadlines, and a future filled with writing synopses—something that doesn’t come easy for a panster like me.

It wasn’t until after I signed that first contract that I realized God knew what I wanted before I even did. How amazing is that? He instilled that determination. He gave me this wonderful gift. Knowing this is what keeps me pressing forward on those days when I sit down at my computer and wonder, how in the world I’ll ever get this book written. When I find myself overwhelmed by life, extensive edits and not enough time. I relax and remind myself who’s in control of my writing journey.

Six years later, I’m still at the same day job, continuing to publish books and helping to care for my mother. Is it tough to keep all the balls in the air? Of course, it is. Is it okay if I accidentally drop one of those balls? Yes, it is, thanks to God’s grace and this amazing gift He’s given me.

Jill Weatherholt. By day, Jill Weatherholt works for the City of Charlotte. At night, and on the weekend, she writes contemporary stories about love, faith and forgiveness for Harlequin Love Inspired.

Raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., she now resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, but her heart belongs to Virginia.

She holds a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and Paralegal Studies Certification from Duke University.

She shares her life with her real-life hero and number one supporter. Their relationship grew on the golf course, and now they have one in their backyard.

Jill believes in enjoying every moment of this journey because God has everything under control.

Visit Jill at