We’ve all heard it said: “When God closes a door, he’ll open a window.” I never paid a lot of attention to that until the door of the life I’d pictured—retirement, travel, relaxation—was slammed in my face with the death of my wife. I used journaling as a coping mechanism, hoping to eventually turn segments of that material into a book for others who’d lost a spouse. While struggling to learn the basics of writing for publication, I tried my hand at composing some short pieces, and after a while I began to get notices of acceptance. Not too long afterward, a publisher bought my completed book, which is still in print as The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of ASpouse.
By this time, I’d retired from my medical practice and was devoting more time to writing in the genre of Christian fiction—specifically, medical suspense. I repeatedly received replies from publishers saying, “This just isn’t right for our house,” or “You’re not quite ready for publication.” After garnering so many rejections, I decided that, although God had undoubtedly called me to write my non-fiction book and a number of articles for periodicals, I’d been mistaken about a call to write fiction. After all, if that were the case, I’d have had something accepted by now. So I quit. This time, I was the one slamming the door. And I didn’t see any open windows beckoning me.
At a Christian writer’s conference, I’d met a woman, Rachelle Gardner, an editor for a well-known Christian publisher. When she left editing to become an agent, I began to follow her blog. One day she announced a contest—the writer submitting the best first line of a novel would win a critique of the first chapter of their latest book. I pulled a line out of the air, submitted it, and won! The winning line? Things were going along just fine until the miracle fouled them up. (That story’s incomplete, but still on my hard drive). I sent Rachelle the first chapter of my latest novel and her reply was quick and incisive: “Send me something that needs editing.” I couldn’t believe it. This industry professional actually liked my fiction.
Not too long after that, Rachelle was representing me as my agent, and within a few months I had a contract for publication of my first novel. I’ve now had four novels of medical suspense published, and am under contract for three more. I have to admit that, even though I quit, God didn’t. His timing, as it always is, was perfect all along.
Now I’ve revised my version of the old saying. After my experiences, I believe that when God closes a door, in his own time He’ll open a window—even if He has to stand behind us and push to get us through to the other side.