It's Not Supposed to Be This Way with author Lysa TerKeurst

New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst unveils her heart amid shattering circumstances and shows readers how to live assured when life doesn't turn out like they expected.

About the Book

What do you do when God’s timing seems questionable, His lack of intervention hurtful, and His promises doubtful?

Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness.

Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she's also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God. In It's Not Supposed to Be This Way, Lysa invites us into her own journey of faith and, with grit, vulnerability, and honest humor, helps us to:

  • Stop being pulled into the anxiety of disappointment by discovering how to better process unmet expectations and other painful situations.

  • Train ourselves to recognize the three strategies of the enemy so we can stand strong and persevere through unsettling relationships and uncertain outcomes.

  • Discover the secret of being steadfast and not panicking when God actually does give us more than we can handle.

  • Shift our suspicion that God is cruel or unfair to the biblical assurance that God is protecting and preparing us.

  • Know how to encourage a friend and help her navigate hard realities with real help from God's truth.

Q&A with Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst

Lysa TerKeurst

Q. Why did you write It’s Not Supposed to be This Way?

LT: Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. We have this feeling that things should be better than they are. People should be better than they are. Circumstances should be better than they are. Finances should be better than they are. Relationships should be better than they are. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. And underneath it all, we’re disappointed. I deeply and personally understand that ache of disappointment. That's why I wrote It's Not Supposed to Be This Way. This is so much more than a book for me. If I could only give one life message, this would be it. I want to help others find the hope God has given me in the midst of the most heartbreaking season of my life. I want them to be able to find unexpected strength when disappointments leave them shattered. I want them to know how to wrestle well between faith and feelings when their life gets turned completely upside down.

Q: You say we have to wrestle between two perspectives: feelings and faith.

LT: I have honest feelings where I want to throw my hands up in utter frustration and yell about the unfairness of it all. To deny my feelings any voice is to rob me of being human. But to let my feelings be the only voice will rob my soul of healing perspectives with which God wants to comfort me and carry me forward.

My feelings and my faith will almost certainly come into conflict with each other. My feelings see rotten situations as absolutely unnecessary hurt that stinks. My soul sees it as fertilizer for a better future. Both these perspectives are real. And they yank me in different directions with never-ending wrestling. To wrestle well means acknowledging my feelings but moving forward, letting my faith lead the way.

Q: How do you define hope – especially when reality is extremely painful?

LT: Hoping doesn’t mean I put myself in harm’s way. It doesn’t mean I ignore reality. No, hoping means I acknowledge reality in the very same breath that I acknowledge God’s sovereignty.

And, I’ve learned one more important fact: my hope isn’t tied to my expectations finally being met in my way and in my timing. No. My hope isn’t tied to whether or not a circumstance or another person changes. My hope is tied to the unchanging promise of God. I hope for the good I know God will ultimately bring from this, whether the good turns out to match my desires or not. And, sometimes, that takes a while.

Q: What is the first step toward healing?

LT: Feeling the pain is the first step toward healing the pain. The longer we avoid the feeling, the more we delay our healing. We can numb it, ignore it, or pretend it doesn’t exist, but all those options lead to an eventual breakdown, not a breakthrough.

The feeling of the pain is like a warning light on the dashboard of a car. The light comes on to indicate something is wrong. We can deny it. We can ignore it. We can assume it’s a little glitch in the operating panel. We can even go to the mechanic and ask him to turn off that annoying little light. But if he’s a good mechanic, he would tell you it’s foolish not to pay attention to it. Because if you don’t attend to it, you will soon experience a breakdown. The warning light isn’t trying to annoy you. It’s trying to protect you. And pain is much the same. It’s the pain we feel that finally demands we slow down enough to address what’s really going on below the surface.

. . .if you get desperate enough you’ll go all in with living slow for a while. You’ll quiet down all the outside noise so God’s voice can become the loudest voice in your life.
— Lysa TerKeurst, It's Not Supposed to Be This Way

Q: How do we get confused about God’s best for our lives?

LT: I want to assume that my definition of best should be God’s definition of best. And that my definition of good should be God’s definition of good. I want to write the story of my life according to all my assumptions. Therefore, it’s impossible to escape the truth that I don’t want to relinquish control to God. I want to take control from God. And then I make the most dangerous assumption of all: I could surely do all of this better than God.

We may be afraid of all the disappointment of this broken world. But God isn’t afraid. He’s aware. So very aware of His ultimate plans and purposes. It isn’t to keep us from getting shattered. It’s to keep our souls connected, so deeply connected to Himself. And let’s be honest, if we weren’t ever disappointed, we’d settle for the shallow pleasures of this world rather than addressing the spiritual desperation of our souls.

Q: We’ve heard people say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” Is that in the Bible?

LT: No, that’s not actually in the Bible. And it’s simply not true. I know I’m not the only one who feels they’ve been given more than they can handle. I see the wide-eyed expressions on people all the time. The world is filled with people who are dealt more than they can handle. And, surprisingly, the Bible is also filled with people who were given more than they could handle.

God doesn’t expect us to handle this. He wants us to hand this over to Him. He doesn’t want us to rally more of our own strength. He wants us to rely solely on His strength. If we keep walking around, thinking that God won’t give us more than we can handle, we set ourselves up to be suspicious of God. We know we are facing things that are too much for us. We are bombarded with burdens. We are weighed down with wondering. And we are all trying to make sense of things that don’t make sense. Before we can move forward in a healthy way, we must first acknowledge the truth about our insufficiency.

God doesn’t expect us to handle this. He wants us to hand this over to Him.
— Lysa TerKeurst, It's Not Supposed to Be This Way

Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and the New York Times bestselling author of It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way (Thomas Nelson). Connect with Lysa at

Our Reviewer’s Take

Gold Star Review

(Originally posted in our November 24, 2018 In Review section)

Lysa TerKeurst, the New York Times bestselling author of Uninvited, has yet again written a heartfelt recounting of shattering disappointments and painful circumstances while also framing them for readers from God’s perspective. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way touches on the life-long question of the whys, matched with the innate desire to know all the answers and be in control. Challenging, engaging and insightful, the author’s easy and friendly style of writing will draw you in like close friends sharing their most intimate struggles. Additionally, the end-of-chapter reminders, Biblical references and reflections to ponder, make this book the perfect choice for individual use or small group study. More than a devotional or self-help book, readers will find personally relevant themes as well as encouragement to trust God in His promises, learn to let go and let Jesus “take the wheel” in their own lives. (THOMAS NELSON, Nov., 272 pp., $22.99)

Reviewer: Annie Sturt


J. Autherine's Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul

J. Autherine’s inaugural collection of poems and inspiration is a love offering to strong, vulnerable women who lead with their hearts, love deeply and sometimes fall hard. Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul is a deep, gritty, raw look at the thrill of loving unconditionally, as well as the mental and physical toll that it takes when peace and harmony are lost in the process. The author draws inspirations from her own journey spanning 30 years, and also dives deeply into the vulnerable hearts of women globally, including her experience growing up in Jamaica. She captures the pain and struggle of women who love deeply and pour into others without first filling their own jars.

We asked Janet what readers can expect from her book - and what her favorite aspect of the book is. Here’s what she had to say:

“The poems speaks to the heart of women on a broad range of subjects - starting a new relationship only to have the person disappear (ghosting), struggling to maintain self-esteem, the need to love someone from afar because of dysfunction, being unable to let go of the emotional grip of an unhealthy relationship, dating post-divorce, and the sheer joy of finding and loving the person who is right for you.  Most importantly, it provides empowerment by holding a mirror to our common struggles.

One of my favorite poems is titled, The Art of Loving a Broken Vessel.  We are often taught that we have to be perfect to be worthy of love.  The poem reminds us that we are worthy of love in every step of our journey.”

A broken vessel needs love the most
Repair it with gentle hands and a kind heart
Apply patience to the bumps and rough edges
Fill the vulnerable places with love
Turn its broken pieces into perfectly imperfect art

Another poem in the collection - Strong Sisters Unite - “was inspired by women of color who, in addition to the normal struggles that women face, are also faced with racial discrimination, stereotyped as sassy and difficult to get along with, considered the fixer/healer/organizer of our relationship our churches and our society,  being called hurtful names in songs that should be uplifting our sisters, mothers and daughters.  We are not allowed to be vulnerable and display a variety of human emotions, such as pain and anger.  We have been increasingly weighed down by the fear of losing our sons to violence and police brutality because they are not allowed to be children and not seen as humans.  We say an extra prayer for our husbands, brothers and sons when they leave the house.  The time to exhale will not be given to us; we have to take it and care for ourselves (meditation, counseling, support groups, spa days, sister circles), care for each other so that we can care for our children and change our society.”

The world knows that we are strong because
our strength is legendary
We are Harriet Tubman, Michelle Obama, and Rosa Parks.
We are Oprah Winfrey, Nanny, and Mae Jameson
We are Shirley Chisholm, Portia Simpson and Maya Angelou

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Jerry Jenkins's new book 'Dead Sea Rising' may be his best yet


With 195 books and over 70 million copies sold (including the blockbuster Left Behind series), Jerry B. Jenkins is no stranger to the publishing industry - or to readers.

Twenty-one of his titles have reached the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists. Jenkins has been featured on the cover of Newsweek and his writing has appeared in Time, Reader’s Digest, Guideposts, and dozens of other periodicals. He and his wife, Dianna, have three grown sons and live in Colorado. He also owns the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild which coaches thousands of aspiring writers in both fiction and nonfiction.

His new series - The Dead Sea Chronicles - promises to be a ‘heart-stopping adventure of historical proportions’. The first book - Dead Sea Rising - releases November 13th from Worthy Publishing, and we at Hope By The Book are excited to have the opportunity to chat with Jerry today.

About the Book

Nicole Berman is an archaeologist on the brink of a world-changing discovery. During her first dig in Jordan, she believes she has found concrete evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history books forever. But someone doesn’t want the truth revealed. While urgently trying to connect pieces of an ancient puzzle, a dangerous enemy is out to stop her.

“Jerry Jenkins’ dialogue is equal to the best of Nelson DeMille, his storylines equal to the best of John Grisham. And now Dead Sea Rising . . . this book may be Jerry’s best.”

“Jumping back and forth in time at a breakneck pace, Dead Sea Rising is a thriller as only Jerry B. Jenkins can tell it. Biblical history combines with gripping contemporary mystery. Just be aware—you’ll be hooked.”

Q: Just for fun: If you were an archaeologist, which city or artifact would you most love to find?

Jerry: I’ve long been fascinated by the time of Jesus, First Century Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and great strides have been made between our first and most recent trips to the Holy Land (about 30 years apart). We’re seeing more and more of the archaeological level where Jesus actually walked. A dream dig would uncover artifacts directly tied to Him.

Q: You are a prolific writer, with 195 books to your name, including 21 New York Times bestsellers (seven of those debuting at #1). What is the best advice you would give to aspiring authors?

Jerry: Two things: First, don’t start your career with a book. That would be like 5-year-olds beginning their education in graduate school. Write and sell shorter stuff as you learn the craft—getting a quarter million clichés out of your system, collaborating with editors, polishing your prose. And second, never set out to write a bestseller. Write from your passion and give yourself to the things you can control: your work ethic, thinking reader-first, and hitting your deadline. Leave sales and reviews to the marketplace.

Q: What can readers expect from your book, Dead Sea Rising? What is your favorite aspect of the book?

Jerry: I worked hard to infuse the novel with lots of setups and payoffs designed to keep readers turning the pages. My favorite aspect is the alternating chapters that weave a contemporary story with one from four thousand years ago in ancient Mesopotamia. Archaeologist and biblical consultant, Dr. Craig Evans, keeps me on track in areas not in my wheelhouse. He’s been a joy to work with, as he has the ability to keep the cookies on the lower shelf where I can reach them.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Dead Sea Rising and its heroine, archaeologist Nicole Berman?

Jerry: It was truly a collaborative effort with Worthy Publishers and editors I’ve long worked with. Having families face similar pressures four thousand years apart came to me during the writing process.

Q: Why do you think readers continue to find this type of Biblical history/contemporary thriller so irresistible and compelling?

Jerry: Well, I hope they do! Readers are becoming increasingly discerning, and no author dares just assume their interest and, in essence, mail it in. The more I write, the more I want each book to be better than the last, so I give it my all and hope readers like it.

Q: Which books have helped you find hope lately?

Jerry: I’m reading Jim Watkins’s modernization of Thomas à Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. And while this may seem dichotomous, I’m also reading the multi-volume biography of Winston Churchill. Strangely, though he lived through some of the most tumultuous times in world history, I find hope between the lines.

Jerry, thank you so much for chatting with us today! It’s such an honor to have you at Hope By The Book!

Preorder the Book

Ted Dekker on his new book & the power of story

Author Ted Dekker is well-known for his masterful and unique storytelling - with over ten million copies sold and bestseller lists galore. But it’s the symbolism and underlying spiritual truths in his stories that he most wants readers to connect with.

His new release, Rise of the Mystics (Oct 2018) is the follow-up novel to The 49th Mystic (May 2018) and concludes Dekker’s Beyond The Circle series. He says the two books in this duology are “without a doubt the most important novels I have ever written” and based them on the spiritual insights he gleaned from writing The Forgotten Way and The Way of Love, his nonfiction books.

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Some say that the gateway to a greater reality and the mystery of how one can live in two worlds is only the stuff of dreams. They are wrong. Rachelle Matthews discovered just how wrong when she dreamed and awoke in another world. There she learned that she is the 49th Mystic, the prophesied one, tasked with finding five ancient seals before powerful enemies destroy her.

In The 49th Mystic, Rachelle found the first three of those five seals through great peril and mind-altering adventure. But two seals remain hidden, and the fate of both worlds hangs in the balance.

Rise of the Mystics begins the final volume of high stakes in Rachelle’s quest to find an ancient path that will save humanity. If she succeeds, peace will reign. If she fails, the world will forever be locked in darkness.

Our Reviewer’s Take

Ted Dekker spins a story of good versus evil in a way that will grip readers from the first page.  Dreams, prophesies, and ancient seals lead to twists and turns never expected, all while keeping vital Biblical aspects at the core. One girl's life altering journey is the only thing keeping two worlds from the dark, overwhelming shadow of fear. Love might be the only saving grace. (REVELL, Oct., 416 pp, $24.99)

Reviewer - Alysha Worthen

Q&A with Ted Dekker

The 49th Mystic and Rise of The Mystics are both much more than an entertaining story. What was your purpose in writing them?

TD: With even a cursory look at the world of faith, it becomes clear that Christians are really no different from people of other faiths or of no faith. This defies Jesus’s announcement that those in his way will be known for a radical kind of love that holds no record of wrong. So the question we ask is, What does it mean to be in his way? And are we in it now? I wrote these novels to plumb the depths of those questions.

HBTB: ‘a radical kind of love’ - we certainly need more of that these days!

You have some very dynamic characters in both The 49th Mystic and Rise of the Mystics. Which character has made the biggest impact on you?

TD: Without a doubt, Rachelle. She really is all of us—certainly me—journeying through wild adventure to know herself in the midst of great change and challenge.

HBTB: A place we all find ourselves in eventually …

In the Circle series, you introduced readers to Thomas Hunter. In Rise of the Mystics, Thomas makes another appearance. Why does he play such an important role in this finale?

TD: Although this is Rachelle’s story, and although she is tasked with saving Thomas, she can only do so if he helps her in her role. They have a symbiotic relationship. Both are critical and interdependent.

HBTB: So much truth there to ponder on, particularly as we interact in community.

You have alluded to the fact that story is a great tool for understanding truth. Why do you think that novels can convey truths so effectively?

TD: We live and think in a story that we each call “my life.” Everything we think is really a story of what something is. Thus, story is paramount to our human experience, which is why Jesus used it as his primary mode of teaching. We are all looking to change the story of our lives. In fiction, we take that journey of change through a series of events involving worthy characters who change as a result of those events. And we are invited to change with them.

HBTB: Yes! We love this answer!

What do you hope readers gain from reading Rise of the Mystics?

TD: An addictive read and a shift in thinking about their own purpose for existence, whatever that shift might be. And for Christians, a whole new way to think of what it means to be in the way of Jesus.

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Ted Dekker is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels, with over ten million copies sold worldwide. He was born in the jungles of Indonesia to missionary parents, and his upbringing as a stranger in a fascinating and sometimes frightening culture fueled his imagination. Dekker’s passion is simple—to explore truth through mind-bending stories that invite readers to see the world through a different lens. His fiction has been honored with numerous awards, including two Christy Awards, two Inspy Awards, an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, and an ECPA Gold Medallion. In 2013, NPR readers nationwide put him in the Top 50 Thriller Authors of All Time. Dekker lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Lee Ann.