When Cynthia Howerter gave up law school to become a stay-at-home mom it was a detour that impacted her children’s lives. It also gave her the opportunity to pursue her writing.
Her new anthology, co-written with La-Tan Roland Murphy, could also impact your life. God’s Provision in Tough Times is filled with real life stories—encouragement from some of today’s top Christian writers—that illustrate God’s provision, even in difficult financial times.
What sparked your personal writing journey?
When I gave up my career to be a stay-at-home mom, I began writing short humorous stories to amuse myself. It wasn’t long before I shared the stories with close friends who encouraged me to continue writing. After my children left for college, I asked God what He wanted me to do next. I heard Him say, “Write. You have a story to tell.” Soon after, I began writing daily. My husband and a close friend who was familiar with my writing strongly encouraged me to attend a Christian writer’s conference which propelled me further into professional writing.
Has God ever provided an unexpected “detour” in your life that turned out to be positive?
I had planned to go to law school, but I felt the Lord telling me to walk away from my dream and be a stay-at-home mom. Rather than concentrate on a career, I focused on being the best mother I could be to our two children. A former teacher, I used those skills to work with our son and daughter. Although it was obvious to my husband and me that our son was very bright, he struggled to learn. I worked with him every day after school, teaching him how to study and how to deal with the frustration of not being able to learn easily.
Numerous professionals evaluated our son and told us that he had a low IQ and would be lucky to graduate from high school. Because of my training as a teacher, I knew the professionals were wrong and we ignored their opinions, listening instead to that small still voice. My husband and I encouraged both of our children to set goals and pursue them while we worked with them to achieve their ambitions. The boy who would be “lucky” to graduate from high school was eventually correctly diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and recently became a medical doctor. Our daughter practices orthopedic medicine. Had I not obeyed the Lord and given up a law career, neither of our children, especially our son, would have achieved their level of success.
How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith is my life, and I find that I cannot write without drawing on it in some manner. Sometimes I write about my faith and other times, it’s my faith that dictates the type of writing I do. When I use faith in my writing, I try to keep it subtle as most people don’t like religion pushed at them, and my goal is to attract people to God—not push them away from Him.
The book is an anthology containing twenty-five true stories about the ways in which God provided for each writer during their personal unemployment and financial hardship experiences. All of the stories are candidly written by La-Tan Roland Murphy, our fifteen contributing writers, and myself. Our darkest times are fully exposed so that we can show the incredible power of God’s provision in our lives when all looked lost.
One of the biggest surprises for me was learning that readers who have never experienced unemployment found that their faith was strengthened as they realized that if God could get someone else through horrendous situations, He can do it for them. The book we thought would only appeal to unemployed or underemployed people turned out to deeply touch a broad audience. Our contributing writers are: Dan Walsh, James L. Rubart, Eva Marie Everson, Deborah Raney, Ramona Richards, Cecil Stokes, Torry Martin, Roger E. Bruner, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Alycia W. Morales, Beth K. Fortune, Tamara D. Fickas, Dee Dee Parker, Felicia Bowen Bridges, and Eddie Jones.
How did you and La-Tan meet, and what was the catalyst for the book idea?
La-Tan and I met twice at a Christian writer’s conference, but only for five minutes or less each time—enough to say “hi” and exchange business cards. After my husband’s nearly two year period of unemployment ended, many of our friends strongly encouraged me to write about what we’d gone through, but I didn’t feel that our experiences could fill an entire book. I shelved the idea until I met the publisher, Eddie Jones of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, at a conference. After hearing snippets of my story, he asked me to prayerfully consider writing an anthology about the various aspects of unemployment. I actually was not interested in doing this, but soon after the conference, the Lord spoke to me and told me to put aside the novel I was currently writing and begin the anthology. I asked the Lord to provide a co-author to share the numerous responsibilities of producing an anthology and He gave me La-Tan’s name. I called La-Tan, not knowing if she had ever experienced unemployment, and learned that not only had she and her family personally experienced unemployment, she had prayed minutes before, asking God to allow her to write an anthology for Him. From the start, God’s Provision in Tough Times was God-ordained.
God often uses our writing to teach us something. What did you learn (about life, faith, and/or even yourself) in the process of writing this book?
I learned that whatever God asks me to do, He’ll provide all of the necessary tools and abilities so that I will be successful.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Coffee. I love to curl up with a hot cup of coffee whether I’m meditating on my writing or savoring an accomplishment. My husband and I have our coffee shipped in from a master coffee roaster in Pittsburgh, so there’s always an assortment of fresh coffees to choose from. When I want something really special, I make French-pressed coffee. My co-author, La-Tan Roland Murphy, loves coffee as much as I do, so when we get together, we always have coffee.
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
When I was younger, I played the piano and trumpet and sang. I have a piano, but rarely have time to play, so I’ve lost the ability to play well. But not a day goes by that I’m not singing and humming. I often hum as I brainstorm, and I love to write with instrumental music playing in the background—usually movie soundtracks that I select to help me set a mood.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I’d be a traditional hymn. During times of trouble, it’s the hymns I grew up singing in church that come to me. Their beautiful tunes and words of faith provide comfort. When I sing in the shower, it’s nearly always one of these familiar hymns.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
I would be the strong, female lead. While part of me appreciates stability, there’s a huge part of me that thrives on spontaneity and fresh, new challenges that push me past my comfort zone. I get bored very easily, and am always looking for new experiences, many of which are never predictable.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I love animals of all kinds. When I was young, we lived next to a farm that had Shetland ponies. When the ponies grazed near our property, I used to climb on the back of a pony and hang onto its mane as it walked. When our children were growing up, we had a wonderful Lhasa Apso who lived to be fifteen years old. After she passed on, we purchased two gorgeous Himalayan cats. Beckham and Willoughby provide a lot of love and laughter for my husband and me now that we’re empty-nesters. The lads have learned to tolerate our daughter’s German shepherd when she comes for visits, but if the truth were known, they’d probably prefer her to stay home.
Thank you, Cynthia! It’s great to have you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Thank you so much for having me, Kathy! It’s an honor to be here today.
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For more information about Cynthia, visit her website.
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