Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available in print and e-book format for under $10! You can find it here.
Jennifer loves helping aspiring authors grow in their craft, and has editing slots open beginning in November. Find out more here.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
Rejoicing in Closed Doors
by Jennifer Slattery
Have you ever felt discarded? Wondered if perhaps God was done with you? Like maybe He’d set you on the shelf to collect dust.
I’m fairly certain the fulfillment of every calling precedes with a bit of waiting. Of molding that feels more like deep-vein chiseling.
After nearly a decade of fruitful ministry, we moved, then moved, then moved again. Eventually, we attended a home church while we searched for a church our entire family felt, well, at home in.
This period of relaxed time with other believers was wonderful on an emotional and social level, and yet, without ministry outlets, I felt as if I was shriveling spiritually. Honestly, I worried 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”, truths, and ideas swirling through my brain. My love for writing was born and now, six 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 an eye on the goal. This 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. He came to seek and save the lost and invites us to join Him in this mission.
He’s also 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.
About Beyond I Do, Jennifer’s latest release:
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more.
Ainsley Meadows, raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignite a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer.
Okay, ya’ll, have you every been in that place where it feels like God has forgotten you? I have. I think I’m just coming out of it now, at least I hope so. What was God’s next step in your big-picture plan? Share with us, so those of us in the midst of the closed doors can remember to rejoice. 🙂