Tuesday, May 01, 2012

When God Closes A Door...

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.


James Castellano said...

Great story of persistance and being patience. We all need to hear these from time to time.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, James. Appreciate it.

Jackie S. said...

So glad you were persistent! I'm looking forward to reading your four books....have all on Kindle but #4. I plan to read them all when I get that one.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Jackie. To give credit where credit is due, I gave up--God didn't. And I'm glad.
Hope you enjoy the books. FYI, they're all freestanding, and can be read in any order (although I thought #3 was going to be the last in the series, so I revisited the town where #1 was set--but there are no spoilers in it).

Carol J. Garvin said...

Thanks for sharing your experience, Richard. I keep reminding myself that God's timing is always in my best interest. Last year I queried RG, too, but that ms wasn't of interest to her. I was discouraged and stopped querying but continued to write. My magazine articles regularly find homes, so I'm sure if my fiction is meant to be published some day, God will prod me in the right direction and open the appropriate door.