The Three Ultimate Questions in Life with Lori Ann Wood author of The Divine Detour

Lori Ann is the author of the book Divine Detour: The path you’d never choose can lead to the faith you’ve always wanted.

The book Divine Detour is created based on Lori Ann’s personal experience and insights into how she survives the tragedy in her life that causes her to make a detour.

In this episode, Lori Ann shared her experience of having a serious heart condition, how she fought this adversity, and how it led her to write her book Divine Detour.

Lori Ann talks about how she had a normal life, being a teacher, a wife, and a mother, all according to plan.

But life struck as she was diagnosed with a serious heart disease, which put her life hanging by a thread.

For a long time, Lori does everything she can to heal, but it seems that her disease won’t let go. But Lori won’t just sit and do nothing, as she is an active high, functioning heart failure patient. She found out that writing doesn’t take that much energy. And so this is where it began for Lori to write her book Divine Detour.

Lori Ann tells how her book started because her friend left a notebook for her while in the hospital. She uses this notebook to write questions, not to doctors, but questions about life. Because her husband encourages her to keep writing, this notebook eventually becomes the book.

Furthermore, Lori talks about the question everybody asks when you detour in life, which is also the question Jesus faced. The following questions are the question of worry, the question of doubt, and the question of control.

Lori Ann Wood’s story is spiritual and a life-changing example of one who had been thrown into a detour in life and experienced a drastic change but still fought to find the purpose in life.

This episode of The Beyond Adversity Podcast is a must-listen for anyone who is detoured in life and currently on the path to finding the meaning of life — those who want to see an example of a person who goes through hard times but finds the Divine Detour.

“The Beyond Adversity Podcast with Dr. Brad Miller is published weekly with the mission of helping people “Grow Through What They Go Through” as they navigate adversity and discover their promised life of peace, prosperity, and purpose.|






Dr. Brad Miller 0:00

Lori Ann Wood welcome to Beyond Diversity.

Lori Ann Wood 0:03

Well, thank you so much happy to be here.

Dr. Brad Miller 0:05

Good. So you've got a new book called

Dr. Brad Miller 0:08

Divine Detour. And you're cruising along

Dr. Brad Miller 0:11

pretty good in life. And then something

Dr. Brad Miller 0:14

happened of a healthy nature cut to set the

Dr. Brad Miller 0:17

framework for what your books are about and

Dr. Brad Miller 0:19

what kind of adversity you had to

Dr. Brad Miller 0:22

had to face in your life.

Lori Ann Wood 0:24

You're right, I was having a normal life, I thought,

Lori Ann Wood 0:28

a pretty planned life. And this was about

Lori Ann Wood 0:31

seven years ago, I had a medical evaluation.

Lori Ann Wood 0:35

And it was for just a general evaluation for life

Lori Ann Wood 0:39

insurance policy and they said, you have

Lori Ann Wood 0:41

less than 3% chance of ever developing

Lori Ann Wood 0:43

heart disease, you have no family history,

Lori Ann Wood 0:47

you have no risk factors. You have no

Lori Ann Wood 0:49

lifestyle indicators. I had low blood pressure,

Lori Ann Wood 0:53

low cholesterol, my numbers were excellent.

Lori Ann Wood 0:56

And then three weeks later, I was in my

Lori Ann Wood 0:58

doctor's office with what I thought was the flu.

Lori Ann Wood 1:01

I was just feeling sluggish. Not really that bad,

Lori Ann Wood 1:04

honestly, not myself, thinking I'm gonna get

Lori Ann Wood 1:08

a steroid shot, maybe an antibiotic, and he

Lori Ann Wood 1:13

ended up taking an x-ray of my chest. And

Lori Ann Wood 1:16

as he's leading me down to the X-ray lab,

Lori Ann Wood 1:18

he said if we're lucky, it's pneumonia

Dr. Brad Miller 1:21

Qualifier if we're lucky, sounds a bit ominous.

Lori Ann Wood 1:24

Yes, it was. What they found on that X-ray

Lori Ann Wood 1:27

was that my heart was very enlarged.

Lori Ann Wood 1:31

My Cleveland clinic doctor later told me it

Lori Ann Wood 1:33

was the largest heart she'd ever seen. A heart

Lori Ann Wood 1:36

was functioning at 6% that day, so I was direct

Lori Ann Wood 1:41

admitted into the cardiac ICU and I spent two

Lori Ann Wood 1:44

weeks there later learned that doctors didn't

Lori Ann Wood 1:47

think I was going to ever leave that hospital.

Lori Ann Wood 1:50

I was in pretty bad shape, but really didn't

Lori Ann Wood 1:52

feel that bad. Strangely enough, I spent all

Lori Ann Wood 1:55

that time with defibrillator pads stuck to my

Lori Ann Wood 1:57

chest crash cart outside my door, we just kind

Lori Ann Wood 2:00

of held on to see what was going to happen

Lori Ann Wood 2:02

next, I did eventually go home from that.

Lori Ann Wood 2:06

Obviously, I spent about nine months wearing

Lori Ann Wood 2:10

an external defibrillator, which is a life vest that

Lori Ann Wood 2:14

is a battery pack you carry around with electrodes

Lori Ann Wood 2:17

that will shock you when your heart needs it or

Lori Ann Wood 2:20

that for nine months, and then also they titrated

Lori Ann Wood 2:24

every medication they could find to its highest

Lori Ann Wood 2:28

dosage possible. And I'm still on all those

Lori Ann Wood 2:30

medications. And I still have my device, the

Lori Ann Wood 2:33

strange part of this story, I just wasn't getting a

Lori Ann Wood 2:36

ny better. I went for 16 months, and we were

Lori Ann Wood 2:39

trying everything. And really nothing was

Lori Ann Wood 2:42

working. And then I came down with appendicitis

Lori Ann Wood 2:45

16 months to the day from when I was

Lori Ann Wood 2:48

diagnosed with heart failure. They nobody

Lori Ann Wood 2:51

wanted to do surgery on me because my

Lori Ann Wood 2:53

heart was so weak. I did an echocardiogram, which

Lori Ann Wood 2:56

is how they checked my heart function and

Lori Ann Wood 2:58

found that it was functioning at near normal.

Lori Ann Wood 3:02

That really was as much of a surprise as far as

Dr. Brad Miller 3:05

only 6%. And now it was near normal.

Dr. Brad Miller 3:09

This is based on the treatments they were

Dr. Brad Miller 3:11

giving you or what were they telling you.

Lori Ann Wood 3:12

They didn't know, they had never seen anything

Lori Ann Wood 3:14

like that. Since then I've talked to a lot of

Lori Ann Wood 3:17

medical people who have said, I've never

Lori Ann Wood 3:19

heard of anybody have a single digit, what's

Lori Ann Wood 3:22

called an EF, which is an ejection fraction,

Lori Ann Wood 3:25

get back up to normal and survive as long

Lori Ann Wood 3:27

as you have. We just didn't know what but

Lori Ann Wood 3:30

my doctor did say that I was nearing the

Lori Ann Wood 3:33

window of when they were about to give up

Lori Ann Wood 3:35

on the treat. They usually don't let you go that

Lori Ann Wood 3:38

long without taking some more drastic measures.

Dr. Brad Miller 3:40

And just to back up a second here just to give

Dr. Brad Miller 3:42

a little framework, do you mind sharing about

Dr. Brad Miller 3:45

your context with me about that about how

Dr. Brad Miller 3:48

old you were at the time this all happened?

Dr. Brad Miller 3:50

Were you married? Did you have

Dr. Brad Miller 3:51

family kids? What was we working?

Lori Ann Wood 3:53

I just turned 51. I still had kids at home.

Lori Ann Wood 3:57

I had some in college married. Like I said I

Lori Ann Wood 4:00

had never really even been on a

Lori Ann Wood 4:02

prescription medication.

Dr. Brad Miller 4:04

So you're pretty healthy up to that

Dr. Brad Miller 4:05

point as well.

Lori Ann Wood 4:06

Extremely healthy. I did know that I was you know,

Lori Ann Wood 4:10

my husband runs marathons. And so I knew I

Lori Ann Wood 4:13

wasn't in as good of shape as him didn't recognize

Lori Ann Wood 4:16

the symptoms that I should have.

Dr. Brad Miller 4:18

But were you physically active?

Lori Ann Wood 4:19

I mean, I wouldn't say that I was someone

Lori Ann Wood 4:21

who exercised regularly. But I did walk regularly

Lori Ann Wood 4:25

busy doing all the things

Dr. Brad Miller 4:28

There was nothing holding you back your

Dr. Brad Miller 4:29

physical health and your lifestyle wasn't

Dr. Brad Miller 4:31

holding you back. Was'nt debilitating, and it

Dr. Brad Miller 4:31

sounds like you then you went through this

Dr. Brad Miller 4:32

whole scenario where you were debilitated

Dr. Brad Miller 4:38

for what a year and a half or more.

Lori Ann Wood 4:40

Yeah, before I had. I had taught college for

Lori Ann Wood 4:44

about 25 years. And so once I got this heart

Lori Ann Wood 4:49

failure, that I couldn't really stand up and

Lori Ann Wood 4:52

give a lecture for a couple of hours at a time

Lori Ann Wood 4:54

anymore. That was that was one of the

Lori Ann Wood 4:57

things but I was you know I had a lot of

Lori Ann Wood 4:59

different warning signs as far as inclines,

Lori Ann Wood 5:03

shortness of breath, I don't think I even knew

Lori Ann Wood 5:05

what that meant. At the time, I was passing

Lori Ann Wood 5:08

it off as getting older being out of shape,

Lori Ann Wood 5:12

all the things. And then when it came to

Lori Ann Wood 5:16

what it was, and it was staring me in the face,

Lori Ann Wood 5:19

I could see those symptoms in the rearview

Lori Ann Wood 5:22

mirror that were screaming at me that I didn't

Lori Ann Wood 5:25

really take seriously at the time, kind of the

Lori Ann Wood 5:29

weird part of my story. I was trained to be a

Lori Ann Wood 5:34

community educator for women heart,

Lori Ann Wood 5:37

which is a an advocacy advocacy group.

Lori Ann Wood 5:42

For women with heart disease, we were

Lori Ann Wood 5:46

trying to at Mayo, and one of the things that

Lori Ann Wood 5:49

I learned early on is that heart failure is

Lori Ann Wood 5:54

considered to be a chronic progressive

Lori Ann Wood 5:56

disease. Chronic means it never goes away

Lori Ann Wood 5:58

progressive means it just gets worse.

Lori Ann Wood 6:01

It only goes in one direction. As I was rolling

Lori Ann Wood 6:05

all of that around. In my mind, I didn't like

Lori Ann Wood 6:07

the chronic part, because I was not familiar

Lori Ann Wood 6:10

with that. I was familiar with terminal

Lori Ann Wood 6:14

and curable, but not chronic. And the strange

Lori Ann Wood 6:17

thing was, that was why we were so shocked

Lori Ann Wood 6:19

when my heart failure. And my heart function

Lori Ann Wood 6:23

went up to near normal after 16 months that

Lori Ann Wood 6:26

to finish the story. That was in 2017, when it

Lori Ann Wood 6:34

climbed into normal 16 months after my diagnosis,

Lori Ann Wood 6:38

but then about a year, year and a half after that

Lori Ann Wood 6:43

my heart function dropped, and I was an

Lori Ann Wood 6:46

active heart failure. Again, what was happening,

Lori Ann Wood 6:49

I later learned is that during that downward

Lori Ann Wood 6:54

progression, that heart failure has, you can

Lori Ann Wood 6:57

have some spikes that go up on that graph.

Lori Ann Wood 7:00

But still, your overall direction is still downward.

Lori Ann Wood 7:04

And so I was in one of those spikes. Okay,

Lori Ann Wood 7:07

when I got that near normal reading, and I

Lori Ann Wood 7:11

thought that was the end of my story.

Lori Ann Wood 7:12

Obviously, I thought I was everything was

Lori Ann Wood 7:15

finished, and it was done. Right now I'm on

Lori Ann Wood 7:18

that trajectory, I have plateaued at a lower level

Lori Ann Wood 7:23

than the normal down there. I am a very

Lori Ann Wood 7:27

high functioning heart failure patient.

Dr. Brad Miller 7:29

So you said you're high functioning, so you're

Dr. Brad Miller 7:31

still a heart patient. But are you able to do most

Dr. Brad Miller 7:33

of the things that you want to do now?

Lori Ann Wood 7:35

I have adjusted my expectations for what

Lori Ann Wood 7:37

I can do. I've had several of these conversations

Lori Ann Wood 7:40

with my doctor, because I was one of those

Lori Ann Wood 7:42

that were like, What do I have to do to get

Lori Ann Wood 7:45

back to where I was, I'll do it. Okay, and we

Lori Ann Wood 7:49

titrated all the meds and we did everything

Lori Ann Wood 7:51

we could do. And then they ran out of bullets,

Lori Ann Wood 7:53

I can function really well. But my day is very

Lori Ann Wood 7:57

short. Because the double whammy of

Lori Ann Wood 8:01

heart failure is that it zaps your energy

Lori Ann Wood 8:04

because your heart is working so hard to

Lori Ann Wood 8:06

do what it's doing, it wears you out. But

Lori Ann Wood 8:10

the medication that treats heart failure also

Lori Ann Wood 8:13

causes fatigue. Oh, boy. So you my day is

Lori Ann Wood 8:17

very short. But I try to pack in there what I

Lori Ann Wood 8:22

can pack in there. You know, I told you I

Lori Ann Wood 8:24

taught college before. And I couldn't stand

Lori Ann Wood 8:27

up there and lecture anymore. But I did find

Lori Ann Wood 8:30

that I could sit at my desk and type

Lori Ann Wood 8:33

It didn't take near as much energy.

Dr. Brad Miller 8:34

And therefore you became a writer.

Dr. Brad Miller 8:38

you wrote a book.

Dr. Brad Miller 8:39

Tell me more a little deeper for me what led

Dr. Brad Miller 8:42

you to write this particular book, Divine Detour.

Lori Ann Wood 8:45

I had a friend drop a little notebook by my

Lori Ann Wood 8:48

hospital room when I was in ICU. And

Lori Ann Wood 8:52

I think she I had, you know, kids at home I

Lori Ann Wood 8:54

was, she probably meant for me to write instructions

Lori Ann Wood 8:57

about what to do with the kids or to doctor's

Lori Ann Wood 9:01

notes or whatever. But what I use that notebook

Lori Ann Wood 9:04

for is when I would wake up in the middle of the

Lori Ann Wood 9:06

night, I would just write my complaints in there.

Lori Ann Wood 9:10

My questions, and these weren't questions for the

Lori Ann Wood 9:13

doctors. These were just questions about life and

Lori Ann Wood 9:16

faith and grounding. And I just wrote questions and

Lori Ann Wood 9:20

questions and complaints. And my idea was, I'm going

Lori Ann Wood 9:25

to get those out of my head. When this is all over.

Lori Ann Wood 9:28

I'm going to throw that notebook away. And it's all

Lori Ann Wood 9:31

going to be done. I kind of thought of it as a little

Lori Ann Wood 9:34

bit like catharsis, that I just wanted it out. And

Lori Ann Wood 9:38

then I was going to get rid of it. My husband kept

Lori Ann Wood 9:41

telling me though, he said, you know, you need

Lori Ann Wood 9:44

to just keep write, keep writing things down.

Lori Ann Wood 9:46

We were in the middle of this story that we didn't

Lori Ann Wood 9:50

want and things were not going in the right

Lori Ann Wood 9:52

direction. Yeah. And he kept telling me be writing

Lori Ann Wood 9:55

this down, be writing this down. And I didn't want

Lori Ann Wood 9:58

to because it was Isn't the story I wanted. But those

Lori Ann Wood:

writings eventually and those complaints and

Lori Ann Wood:

questions, eventually formed this book, they really

Lori Ann Wood:

migrated into three questions. These are the three

Lori Ann Wood:

questions that everybody asks. And especially

Lori Ann Wood:

when you get thrown off on a detour,

Lori Ann Wood:

that's when it begs to be answered,

Dr. Brad Miller:

Let's talk about your books called the

Dr. Brad Miller:

Divine Detour. And so the detour part, we kind

Dr. Brad Miller:

of get, you're cruising along as a college teacher,

Dr. Brad Miller:

and you're pretty healthy, and you're married,

Dr. Brad Miller:

got kids, and the detour is wham, heart disease

Dr. Brad Miller:

comes and you're on a different path path.

Dr. Brad Miller:

The divine part, let's talk about that. What

Dr. Brad Miller:

makes this a divine detour and not the

Dr. Brad Miller:

ugly detour or they broke our heart to detour,

Dr. Brad Miller:

or any number of things that we could say

Dr. Brad Miller:

here, what makes it a divine detour.

Lori Ann Wood:

I think it started out differently. But it's I remember

Lori Ann Wood:

a friend being in my hospital room that was a

Lori Ann Wood:

doctor in a different, not a cardiac doctor, but

Lori Ann Wood:

a different area. And I had maybe been in the

Lori Ann Wood:

hospital, not even a week at that point, everything

Lori Ann Wood:

was still new and crazy. And he said, Your

Lori Ann Wood:

numbers are abysmal. And furthermore, the

Lori Ann Wood:

heart is the only muscle in the body that can't

Lori Ann Wood:

repair itself. Once you lose muscle in your

Lori Ann Wood:

heart, it's gone. I still didn't know what any

Lori Ann Wood:

of that meant. But I knew it wasn't good.

Lori Ann Wood:

And I knew that things were going to change

Lori Ann Wood:

in a big way. So I took that notebook, I took

Lori Ann Wood:

those questions, started writing about them

Lori Ann Wood:

on a blog, people were asking me questions,

Lori Ann Wood:

and I didn't want to reiterate it 100 times.

Lori Ann Wood:

So I just put it on a blog. And then that kind

Lori Ann Wood:

of grew into more questions, more general questions.

Lori Ann Wood:

And people started saying, You know what,

Lori Ann Wood:

I'm not on the detour that you're on. I maybe I

Lori Ann Wood:

lost my child, or I am going through a divorce

Lori Ann Wood:

or I facing bankruptcy. That's a detour. It's

Lori Ann Wood:

different than your detour. But I'm asking the same

Lori Ann Wood:

questions that you're asking. That's when I

Lori Ann Wood:

knew that that divine part was taking shape.

Lori Ann Wood:

And so what happened with my writing, which

Lori Ann Wood:

eventually became articles and parts of

Lori Ann Wood:

anthologies, and then became I eventually wrote

Lori Ann Wood:

this book, that those three questions are the

Lori Ann Wood:

same three questions that Jesus wrestled with

Lori Ann Wood:

in the desert before he began his public ministry,

Lori Ann Wood:

when you think about it, that was a detour for him.

Lori Ann Wood:

He was ready to go, he had this plan that he

Lori Ann Wood:

was going to do public ministry, and then God

Lori Ann Wood:

said, You know what, we're gonna go to the

Lori Ann Wood:

desert first. During that time in the desert. We

Lori Ann Wood:

call them the temptation. So three temptations

Lori Ann Wood:

when Satan tempted Christ in the desert.

Lori Ann Wood:

Anytime we're faced with a temptation,

Lori Ann Wood:

we're asking ourselves an internal question.

Lori Ann Wood:

We're asking if it's worth it, we're asking

Lori Ann Wood:

what our value system is. We're asking if it

Lori Ann Wood:

makes any difference, those questions, those

Lori Ann Wood:

things that Jesus wrestled with were what I

Lori Ann Wood:

was wrestling with in my own desert.

Dr. Brad Miller:

So let's be clear from it and kind of set the

Dr. Brad Miller:

framework of your book and what our conversation

Dr. Brad Miller:

is, you've mentioned now, three questions.

Dr. Brad Miller:

And the and the temptations are the questions

Dr. Brad Miller:

Jesus faced in the wilderness experience.

Dr. Brad Miller:

And part of what we teach here on Beyond the

Dr. Brad Miller:

diversity is this wilderness experience that

Dr. Brad Miller:

people go through when they have adversity

Dr. Brad Miller:

to go through a bad experience or a wilderness

Dr. Brad Miller:

experience. They got to get through that to get

Dr. Brad Miller:

to the other side. I like to call it the promise life

Dr. Brad Miller:

and my teaching. But what are they,

Dr. Brad Miller:

let's just state them, what are the

Dr. Brad Miller:

three questions and let's start to get into

Lori Ann Wood:

the three questions. The first one I call the

Lori Ann Wood:

question of worry. And the question is

Lori Ann Wood:

this life all there is when we think about the

Lori Ann Wood:

account in Scripture about Jesus in the desert,

Lori Ann Wood:

Satan was saying, Tell the stones to become

Lori Ann Wood:

bread. So if this life was all there is, go ahead

Lori Ann Wood:

and eat that bread worry about today, worry

Lori Ann Wood:

about your immediate needs, worry about your

Lori Ann Wood:

comfort. And that should be your main focus.

Lori Ann Wood:

And so that's the first main life question is

Lori Ann Wood:

this life all there is? And the second question

Lori Ann Wood:

is what I call a Question of Doubt. That question is,

Lori Ann Wood:

Is God always good? We're saying okay, I get it.

Lori Ann Wood:

There's a god. But is he always good? Because

Lori Ann Wood:

what I'm feeling right now doesn't feel so good.

Dr. Brad Miller:

Because bad things do happen. And there's all

Dr. Brad Miller:

books long time ago when bad things happen

Dr. Brad Miller:

to good People, and it does happen, you know

Dr. Brad Miller:

where bad things happen, we don't get it, you

Dr. Brad Miller:

know, I had a, there was a truck just thinking

Dr. Brad Miller:

about it in my church, I go to now where a two

Dr. Brad Miller:

year old child died unexpectedly and you'd said

Dr. Brad Miller:

that's when a child dies. That's a really hard

Dr. Brad Miller:

one to figure out there, you know, to deal with

Dr. Brad Miller:

the family is having a hard time. But let's focus

Dr. Brad Miller:

on your story. Now, you have this, you have the

Dr. Brad Miller:

question of worry and the question of doubt.

Lori Ann Wood:

And the third one is the question of control.

Lori Ann Wood:

Is God's plan where I'm headed on this detour?

Lori Ann Wood:

Is that enough? Or can I write my own ship and

Lori Ann Wood:

get back on the road? I want to be on? And can

Lori Ann Wood:

I be in control of this? And so, you know, there

Lori Ann Wood:

were things along that question that I wrestled

Lori Ann Wood:

with, so let's so many things that came up

Lori Ann Wood:

with the question control that might have been

Lori Ann Wood:

the most difficult one for me. You know,

Lori Ann Wood:

you're asking things like, am I wasting my life?

Lori Ann Wood:

Why am I on this dead end path? That doesn't

Lori Ann Wood:

make any sense? It's not what I planned.

Lori Ann Wood:

It's not what I saw coming. It's not what I hope for.

Dr. Brad Miller:

This has to do with a sense of finding

Dr. Brad Miller:

purpose or meaningfulness in your life.

Lori Ann Wood:

Yes, yes. Like, you know, you're talking about,

Lori Ann Wood:

you're worrying about disappointment, waiting,

Lori Ann Wood:

and failure on your own part, and then just trust.

Lori Ann Wood:

You know, this isn't looking good, but I do I trust.

Lori Ann Wood:

Do I trust this to a higher power or do I just try

Lori Ann Wood:

to plow through this and make this happen?

Lori Ann Wood:

And those were the three main buckets that

Lori Ann Wood:

everything on my detour was migrating into.