How to Find Joy In the Unexpected, Turtles In the Road

Through the month of September, I’m highlighting some of my favorite authors. Rhonda & Kaley Rhea, a mother-daughter dynamic duo deliver the whole package: suspense, laughter and sweet biblical truths to soothe your searching soul when it comes to finding God in the midst of the struggle. Haven’t laughed this hard in a long time!

Turtles in the Road is refreshing and enthralling at the same time. Don’t miss this read! Here’s what Rhonda & Kaley have to say about their book:

Live, Love, Snort-Laugh

We convince ourselves we’re both pretty mature. And then we see somebody run into a door while texting and it all becomes very clear. Because, telling you now, we can laugh. For like, 20 minutes. Not just little, under-the-breath chuckles either. No, we’re talking about laughing so hard no real sound comes out. Just those weird, wheezy throat-squeaks. Then tears. Possibly some snorting. That kind of laughter.

Is it wrong that we laughed uproariously at our own book? Surely no two writers ever had so much fun at it.

But one of the things we’ve loved, in addition to all the fun and the laughing and the snorting, has been the blessed opportunity to deal with real issues—right through those snorts. In the book, Turtles in the Road, we came across topics like dealing with disappointment, how to find God’s will, how to know where to serve—all kinds challenges and questions people face in everyday life.

Finding Joy on the Pages of Life

Piper, the main character, for instance, was so sure the Lord called her to be a pastor’s wife. So when her pastor/fiancé breaks up with her, she has no idea what the Lord wants her to do. She wrecks her car swerving to miss a turtle and ends up stuck in Nowheresville and she’s even more confused. And while the circumstances can be all kinds of funny in a book, when we hit those kinds of struggles in real life it can be anything but. Not the stuff of snort-laughter.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He kicked off His teaching with the Beatitudes, His beautiful list of “blesseds.” The word translated “blessed” here is from the Greek, “makarios,” and it means contented, blissful…“happy.” But then we look at those Beatitudes and see that “poor in spirit” and “mournful” top the list. It’s a list that takes us all the way to “persecuted.” Happy? Really?

In His day, these words of Jesus were groundbreaking. He changed the way people thought about joy. And though it’s been studied from every direction since, the concept is still revolutionary. Outside of Christ, people generally understand happiness to be all wrapped up in their ability to do whatever they want, whenever they want. They think it’s mostly about having things and money and power. But Jesus taught from that mount—and by His life—that we’re called to think differently.

The Truth About Joy

“Makarios” refers to a happiness that doesn’t depend on circumstances. The first two Beatitudes, “blessed are the poor in spirit” and “blessed are those who mourn” (Matthew 5:3-4), usher us into this new way of thinking. It’s the Gospel way of thinking. Real happiness doesn’t happen until we come to grips with the fact that our soul is utterly impoverished apart from Christ and until we deeply mourn over our sin. Embracing the Gospel causes us to look at every single one of those Beatitudes in an entirely new light.

Our prayer is that we can continually embrace that kind of Gospel thinking and living and that it will spill over onto those around us and onto our readers. Oh blessed joy! … Maybe sometimes even the wheezy-snorty kind.


To win a free copy of Turtles in the Road, comment below and share one unexpected or surprising turn or twist in life and what you learned! Winners will be drawn on Wednesday, September 27th and announced here!

Meet Rhonda & Kaley

Mother/daughter writing duo, Rhonda Rhea and Kaley Rhea, are TV personalities for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ in mid-Missouri. They’re both thrilled to be teaming up with Monica Schmelter at WHTN in Nashville for a new book and TV series coming soon. Rhonda is also a nationally-known speaker, humor columnist and author of 11 other books, including Fix-Her-Upper, a new nonfiction project coauthored with Beth Duewel. Rhonda is married to her pastor/husband, Richie Rhea, and they have five grown children. Kaley works at Missouri Baptist University and she and Rhonda both live, love and snort-laugh in the St. Louis area.

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Order Turtles In the Road Here!