As a writer, I tend to cringe at clichés. You know the one that says, “When God closes a door, He opens a window”?
As cliché as it is, that sums up the story I’m about to share.
Last year I thought my writing career was dead. I’d been on submission for several months with a fiction book proposal (after almost 7 years of writing for publication), but every door closed in my face. I got wonderful rejection letters, with compliments on my writing, but they just couldn’t make a spot for me.
In the midst of waiting to hear back from publishers, I attended the Hearts at Home Conference for moms. As I attended sessions, I felt a stirring that God might want to use my passion for words in a new way. I remember telling one of the conference speakers that I thought I might have a non-fiction book in me someday.
Little did I know how soon “someday” would come.
As I went through the summer, it became clear the doors to my fiction dream were being closed completely. I went through a period of mourning, including all of its lovely stages of anger, sadness, and depression. (I blogged about it here.)
I started meeting with a life coach, but even with her positive input, I struggled to see how God could possibly turn my dream into a reality.
I remember one particular week my coach gave me homework: Write a vision statement that outlines where you see yourself in a year.
I was at such a low point, I honestly didn’t see anything good. I started with the “softballs” and focused on the areas of my life that I was sure about — marriage, health, etc.. But when it came to my writing career, I didn’t dare let myself get too crazy. I’d already gotten the answers I needed: My career was done before it even started.
I finally wrote down a vision statement for my writing, but let’s just say it was full of “pansy” language. I envisioned blogging and feeling good about my direction — all things that were pretty much where I’d been before.
But my life coach said that *safe* isn’t good enough. She challenged me to dream bigger, to God-size my vision. So I did.
I still remember writing my new vision. Just like Sarah in the Bible laughed when God said she would give birth to a son, I laughed while I wrote the following words: “In a year I’ll be offered a book contract, with interest from multiple publishing houses.”
This was laughable because I didn’t even have an idea for a book that would be ready in a year, let alone getting publishers’ interest. I knew how slow the publishing world works.
But I couldn’t shake the idea of God-sizing my vision, so even though it seemed crazy, I left the words there.
A few months later, my prompting toward non-fiction started to take shape. I talked to my agent about a new direction, and she helped me plan how it might look.
Around Christmastime last year, a book idea formed and wouldn’t let go. I proposed it to my agent, and she gave me the green light to develop the proposal.
I sent her the proposal at the end of April this year. Three months later I had interest, and a month-and-a-half after that, I found out I was being offered a contract. And get this. I had interest from not just one publisher, but THREE.
Do you think God had something in mind when He asked me to God-size my vision last summer?!
Now let me stop right here and say something.
I’m not going to try to be upbeat and say, “Rah-rah, This can happen to you too!” Because I’ve been on the other side of publication and heard those same words. And as true as they are and as well-intentioned as those who say them are, it drives the nail deeper in the coffin.
You might think, “Great for you. Apparently God loves you enough to give you your dream. What does that say about me while I sit here with my dream unfulfilled?”
My friend, I’ll tell you what it says. It says that God created you for a path only you can walk. You might feel forgotten and alone and worthless, but He doesn’t make mistakes. YOU are not a mistake.
Maybe my story will inspire you to believe your dream can come true too. But if not, I hope it will press you closer to your Savior — the One who made you with His own hands, who sacrificed everything for your eternal destiny, the One who never leaves a story unfinished.
Wherever you’re at, THANK YOU for celebrating with me. Please know that I treasure you as my reader and friend.
Windows do lead to beautiful destinations!
(If you’re curious about the specifics of my book, keep scrolling…)
All right, here are the official book details…
I’m writing a prayer/devotion book for those who are facing illness, injury, or hospitalization. It’s titled Prayers for Hope and Healing: Seeking God’s Strength as You Face Health Challenges, and it releases from Harvest House Publishers on October 1, 2017. More details are available HERE.
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Thanks so much, friends, for your encouragement and support.
Be well and blessed!
window photo by PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek/BigStock.com
beach photo by Brayden Heath/Lightstock.com