Friday, August 19, 2011

Rejoicing In Closed Doors by Jennifer Slattery

Do you ever struggle or get frustrated when doors leading to opportunities slam shut? Our guest today is Jennifer Slattery. She’s here to share what she’s learned about doors closing on her own journey to publication. Thanks for offering encouragement this Fortifying Friday, Jennifer! ~ Dawn


Rejoicing In Closed Doors
by Jennifer Slattery

I've got your attention with that title, don't I?  A while back I read an article discussing the use (or, according to this writer, the underuse) of writing gifts in the church, and her comment in many ways reminded me of some bemoaning I did a few years ago.

After nearly a decade of almost full-time ministry, we moved and I suddenly found nearly every door closed. As one moved turned into another and yet another, I grew anxious to teach! Eventually, we attended a home church while we search for a church home—with no outreach events to plan and launch, no dramas to facilitate or classes to teach. Honestly, I felt like God was through with me. And it broke my heart...

Now, as I look back, I realize what a blessed gift that brief desert period was because that was when I picked up my keyboard. I believe that was my island of Patmos—a time when God stripped away everything else to free my time for writing. Although I wrote upon request for our old church—writing curriculum, newsletters, dramas and short stories for Sunday school programs—I never took my writing seriously before.  It was one of those "fill-a-need" things.

Once the ministry doors slammed shut, I needed an outlet for all the "lessons" and ideas swirling through my brain. My love for writing was born and now, three years later, I look back on that painful time with gratitude, realizing it was all part of God's big-picture plan.

What about you? Are you standing before an open door, looking back at all those "training" steps God led you on, or are you perhaps trudging through the valley? When trudging it can be easy to think God's forgotten us, that maybe He's done with us, but in Scripture He promises to fulfill His plans for us. He promises to carry His plans to completion. Even now, as you hover between the disappointments and rejoicing, God is at work with one eye on the goal. Which means, you can rest in whatever stage of the journey you're on knowing God will do what needs to be done in you to prepare you for His big-picture plan.

 I use that term, big-picture plan, a lot. For me, it's a reminder of how completely other God's plan is from mine. I might angst over a promotion, a move, a house...God angsts over lost souls. I often get distracted by today, but God's worried about eternity. His came to seek and save the lost. He also is at work conforming us into His likeness, which means He will do what it takes to strip away inferior priorities, pride and selfishness so that we can be cleansed and open vessels ready to do His will.

Whenever we find ourselves fighting against His will, we know His work in us is not complete.


Jennifer Slattery writes for Christ to the World Ministries, (http://www.christtotheworld.com) The Christian Pulse, Samie Sisters and Reflections in Hindsight and is the marketing representative for the literary website Clash of the Titles (http://www.clashofthetitles.com). She's also written for Afictionado, the Romantic Times Review, The Breakthrough Intercessor, The Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Bloom, and is a frequent contributor to The Barn Door Book Loft. You can find out more about her and her writing at her devotional blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud. (http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com)


3 comments:

  1. Amen, Jennifer! Sometimes I forget that I only concentrate on my brushstrokes, but God sees the entire painting. It's tough wandering through the desert, but I'm thankful God uses that time to fill me up with what I need for the task ahead. So glad you filled your time with writing. Awesome post! Thanks for the reminder to rejoice in closed doors!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jennifer, GREAT POST! I have found that those "closed doors" are often subtly disguised "open doors." My greatest "failures" have given me some of the best friend connections I've ever made. And some of those desert times have taught me skills I would need for the mountain times.

    Never think that anything God teaches you is worthless. He uses EVERYTHING--every time of our lives, every moment, every season, every person--to further His Kingdom and to bring us all exactly where we are meant to be... into His loving embrace!

    Have a blessed day, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dora, what a beautiful analogy! I'll need to hold on to that image the next time I'm tempted to throw a carnal fit!

    Staci, thank you for your kind words and the reminder to focus on the lessons learned and not just the journey. :-)

    Blessings to you both and may God's gentle, loving hand guide you each day!

    ReplyDelete

We'd love to hear your thoughts! Please leave comments. We'll moderate and post them!