Tuesday, June 21, 2011

closed doors, open windows

I've been reading a lot of Whitefield lately, spending so much time with dear George I think Randy is a bit jealous;) His amazing writing and all the truths therein keep coming to mind. One in particular bears repeating here...

That God never disappoints us one way, but He opens a door to do good in another.
Journals, Friday, December 1, 1738

This past spring it became clear that my summer schedule as planned was not going to fly. The one thing I was most looking forward to was my Kentucky book launch in August. I ignored all the little checks that tell you something isn't feasible and assumed a do or die attitude:) Who wouldn't want to get dolled up in a reproduction silk gown in 90 degree heat and sign books and drink tea and eat scones for a day? (Well, plenty of people, actually, but this history-loving author finds it hopelessly appealing;).

Several things happened that essentially wrote a big NO across my calendar for that particular event yet I was determined to make it work. And then I received notice that the tea room had closed. How's that for confirmation? It's since moved and reopened in another location but they no longer have that charming historic house. Disappointment crowded in along with circumstances that made it impossible to reschedule.

It seemed I had to give up my plans before the Lord could hand me His. Only then did He open the door for me to go to Pennsylvania for research. A few days later Paul was asked to play fiddle for the local radio and at a summer venue during the time frame I was to be in Kentucky. So I stopped complaining and started praising, wishing I would have trusted and praised Him when all those doors were slamming shut instead.

I apologize with all my heart to readers who were willing to travel to see me! Lord willing, we'll meet. I do hope to return to the area in future and have another book event there. The good news is that I can pour my resources and creativity into a book launch right here on the blog starting August 1, something I couldn't do while traveling. I'm so excited to tell you what giveaways we'll be doing beginning with release day and how much I love the book trailer I just received for The Colonel's Lady! But that would be a certain spoiler. So just stay with me and enjoy the fun...

Closed doors and open windows are something we are all familiar with. Have you had an experience where something was taken away only to receive something better instead? Does trusting come easily to you or do you tend to complain instead of praise?


  1. Ah sorry it couldn't work out for you. God has a way of humbling us, wouldn't you say?

  2. Well, I thank God everyday for that really loud guy who moved upstairs in the condo that I was buying. Ended up moving out of there and met my husband in the new apartments, the only place in Charleston that had a place to lock up my sailboat on the premises! No condo but 24 years with my sweetie so far!

  3. I'm glad God showed you some satisfying reasons why it would not have been good for you to be gone for your book launch, Laura. You must be so proud of your son! Your research tour will be awesome, and I'm looking forward to whatever you do to celebrate your book online :)

    I think one of the things that makes dealing with closed doors difficult is when my definition of what's good for me or someone I love is not the same as God's! That's when I'm tempted to fear instead of trust. But I guess learning to have God's eternal perspective is what life's all about.

    I love this song: "If we could know beyond today as God doth know, why dearest treasures pass away, and tears must flow; And why the darkness leads to light, why dreary days will soon grow bright. Some day life’s wrong will be made right. Faith tells us so . . .

    If we could see, if we could know we often say, but God in love a veil doth throw across our way. We cannot see what lies before, and so we cling to Him the more. He leads us till this life is o’er, trust and obey."

    I'm pretty "talkative" tonight. Must be 'cuz I'm enjoying my summer! Blessings!

  4. Casey, YES, humble is the word:) I hope I am getting better at listening to that still, small voice over time but then something like this happens and reminds me of how far I have to go!

  5. Carrie, I had to chuckle over what was certainly not a laughing matter at the time but sent you your Prince Charming in the end:) A classic example of what I was trying to get across in this post!! Wow - 24 years and 2 kids and several moves later, and you still call him sweetie! Love that;)

  6. Renee Ann, I'm in the mood for a chat tonight as my post is pretty long - so am delighted you feel talkative, too! Oh, to sit together and have some ice tea on that porch of yours (at least I always think of you as having a porch. I certainly don't here!).

    Bless you for the beautiful song. I read over and took to heart every word. I remember author Betty Norberg speaking at a conference I attended a couple of years ago. Her talk centered on how the Lord is looking for a woman He can trust and who trusts Him. I've never forgotten it and my prayer has been to be that kind of woman. I sense you feel that way, too.

    It is humbling in hindsight to see those closed doors and realize He has our best in mind all along, so why did we doubt?

    Like you, I often struggle with my definition of good and fair vs. God's eternal perspective which is denied us, at least here. Sometimes when I pray for people's healing and they die, my mom reminds me that my prayer was answered because complete healing is theirs in heaven. And really, given the choice, they'd not return.

    Bless you for your encouragement and support. So happy you're out of school and loving it!

  7. Love what you shared from the Bette Nordberg talk(I've read some of her books but haven't thought of her in years), and I love porch talks. I have a great front porch!

  8. I must say that throughout my experience of moving this spring, I've kept Romans 8:28 in mind. And I must say it was very true, in the end, it all worked out for the good. Now if I can just finish unpacking the final boxes, lol. I seem to have little motivation to finish them. But I am determined to do so this weekend.

    No apologies are necessary, our plans are often vastly different than His. ;) I'm certain you will enjoy your research trip to Pennsylvania, and it's wonderful that Paul will be able to play his fiddle on the local radio!

    I always try to praise, but complaining is much more my natural state, at least in my inner-most thoughts.

    I just read what you and Renee Ann wrote about good and fair vs. God's eternal perspective, and it goes so well with what's happened in my family for the last two years. The journeys of my grandmother's cancer and my grandfather's Alzheimer's. Both of which, to my human mind are extremely unfair. But I have to believe that God has a plan in all of this. I don't believe I will know that plan here on earth, but someday the curtain will be rolled back, and I'll see the beauty He's made from all of this.

    I think I've gone much more serious than I planned, when I started writing this. :)

    Have a wonderful week!

  9. Yes, I have experienced things just like this. That sad thing is that I would try to knock the door down that the Lord has closed with my own banging fists. I hate when I get so wrapped up in the closed door! I need to learn step back and wait before I get slivers in my fist from banging so hard. Hopefully I am at a place in my walk of Faith that I know the Lord will have another door waiting for me that I can just walk through! Aren't you so thankful that we have Someone who cares for even the tiniest details of our life. He knows what is best for us!

    Thank you Laura for sharing openly about your struggles.


    PS..We had VBS at church this week and a group of moms were sitting around talking about books. Guess who's name came up?!?! One of the ladies said "She sure can write outside of the box" To me, that is a compliment!! It tells me that your writings are unforgettable!! I felt so proud inside that we are friends! Of course I had to tell them that TCL was coming the 1st of August!!

  10. Laura, there will be hidden blessings all along the way no matter which doors open and close.

    My Ohio book launch was a lot of fun, yes, and I wouldn't change it. It was, after all, an open window. :-) But it was also very stressful and made the launch of my first novel more nerve-wracking. There were some things that happened as a result of this stress that were not positive. So maybe you need a calmer time, for whatever reason.

  11. Awhile back when you announced the Kentucky book launch, I was so happy, but something told me even then that this wouldn't come off. Can't say what caused that, but I put your announcement on my calendar with a question mark beside it. You know I'm disappointed, but I understand things do happen and usually for the best. I do hope you're still planning on bringing Paul to "his" Berea event. I so look forward to meeting that young man.

  12. Oh Laura, so sorry your book launch party won't work out, but it's encouraging to see how God is working in other areas. I praise the Lord for your willing spirit.

  13. Yes, yes, I need the reminders, too. Isn't it good how God reminds us that what He has for us is so much greater than what we were planning. I can be really slow to realize that sometimes.

    Our plans for the summer are very much up in the air now for pretty much everything. I have not RSVPed for the wedding in Philly and I feel like God is showing me to leave everything up in the air for this summer. I needed the rest of June to recover so that's turned out well and I have a feeling we are going to have some medical things going on in July for Chris. I don't know what that will entail yet but I feel like God wants us to keep the calendar free for the summer so that we can focus on regaining health. (Please keep Chris in prayer as he is having increase of bleeding/bruising).

  14. Oh, I just KNEW you have a porch, Renee Ann! And somehow I knew you and Betty's books would be a winning combination:) She is an exceptional speaker - very witty and deep - an interesting blend. She really made an impact on me when I first began in publishing. Hoping you get some porch time today!

  15. Love your thoughts, Michelle. You've had a lot of heartache as I know how dear your grandparents are to you. I still remember you telling me about your visit with your grandpa not long ago.

    Like you, complaining comes much easier to me than praising, though as I get older that is turning around. I don't complain much verbally, just internally - again like you! But guess it doesn't matter as He hears it loud and clear!

    Romans 8:28 is one of my very favorite verses, too, and one I use in my new series. My heroine, or lead, has something terrible traumatic happen to her and her only refuge is this verse.

    Wish I could help you unpack some of those boxes;) I love arranging things!

  16. Stacie,
    Oh, you've made my whole morning! Can't thank you enough for being an "out of the box" advocate;) And thanks for the TCL mention! Love VBS and always have. Fun to think of those moms talking books.

    Love the "slivers" you spoke of. Often we do injure ourselves by forcing doors down and jamming windows open. And I am so thankful God knows us far better than we know ourselves and plans accordingly, right down to the minutest detail just like you said.
    So much easier to walk through an open door!

  17. Rosslyn, Your insights mean so much here. I followed your trek as you went from the southwest to the midwest and admired you all the way! I think your publisher must love you as you put your whole heart into your launch. But you're right, sometimes it comes at a high cost afterwards. I could sense your "gladness" when you returned home though it was a wonderfully successful beginning for you.

    So love your new cover!! But I've always had a fondness for the violin. Your next book sounds just as intriguing as the first. I think it's remarkable that you tie all that history into your stories and place real people in reader's hearts!

  18. Naomi,
    So glad to see you this morning! And thanks for your "willing spirit" comment. I sure want to be that way even in disappointment. This was a good lesson in that it showed me that this was more about Paul than my books, something I always want to be sensitive to.

    Praying this is a blessed, open window day for you!

  19. Julia,
    I'm so glad to get an update on you and Chris. Prayers will increase/continue. Though we've never met I think of your family so much. Am also thankful you're holding the summer open-handedly and just waiting for what the Lord reveals to you one day at a time. Some seasons of our lives are like that - we need to listen and wait rather than schedule and hurry.

    Prayers with you, C, and the littles all the way!

  20. Dear Anon,
    Thanks so much for your understanding. Interestingly enough, having Paul in Berea fiddling holds far more appeal to me than any book event I could ever do. Oh, what a happy day that will be! I've even been talking to the boys about college in Kentucky. Don't know that they'd qualify for Berea but there are some fine schools there. Maybe one that specializes in music?!

    Bless you for your comments. They really mean a lot to me.

  21. I think its good that you can recognize the situation for what it is and not be too upset that it didnt work out as you'd planned. That happened to me recently.
    I'd approached a shop weeks ago about possibly carrying my art, although it wasnt a perfect fit. I didnt hear back from them and came to the conclusion that it was for the best because I didnt think they fit me or my art as well as I'd first thought. Then unexpectedly I was asked to sell my art in a shop that is perfection for me, and was so thrilled! Ironically, a few days ago I got an email from the first place politely telling me they didnt want to carry my art. I just had to laugh and think "good! Cause I've changed my mind about you!" lol....

  22. God's plans are always better than what we plan for ourselves! I'm even thanking Him for the lightning that struck my computer and kept me offline and out-of-touch for almost four weeks!

    Since my vacation to Kentucky three years ago, things related to Kentucky keep cropping up for me and I long to go back. Maybe one day I will meet you there!

  23. Hi Laura! I haven’t been by your blog in what seems like forever (boy, do I miss it AND you!) but I finally have some time before I head to my nana’s house, read your post and just had to comment. Thank you for this and your attitude towards your closed door. Sadly, I tend to fall in the latter category of complain instead of praise. My will always gets in the way and it never fails to disappoint me. It’s hard to trust sometimes, hard to walk down an uncertain road but Christ has never failed me before and I know He won’t fail me now. Many doors have been shut, especially lately, but He has given us many windows to feel His warmth and light shining through. Perhaps it’s all a lesson in trusting Him and a way for Him to showcase His awesome power as He builds our faith? Whatever He does and whatever He’s doing I know it will be good and be another praise report in the testimony book :)

    Thank you again for all your prayers for my Papa Joe. He’s still in the hospital and it’s all still uncertain and I know he’s scared, as are we all. But the Great Physician is with him and there are no greater hands to be in. And thank you again for your constant calm post. So beautiful. The Lord always uses you, my friend :)

    Don’t know when I’ll get to visit again so I’m sending big hugs and praying your days are beautiful and your windows are open wide until we speak again :)


  24. That is amazing how God worked it all out for the best. Very cool!

    (Any chance you're coming down Portland way for a booksigning?)

    have a fantastic day!

  25. Heather, Yours is such a great example of why we shouldn't despair even when a door seems closed because another often opens right ahead that is far better than we could imagine. In your case, it was the perfect fit:) The same thing happened to me with several publishers who were interested in my work when I first submitted in the CBA. Turns out THE ONE I wanted but who didn't want me in the end would have been a very poor fit. Of course I didn't realize that until later and am still so thankful. Should have kicked up my heels then and there that day;)

    Congrats on being at the right shop! I'm smiling right along with you!

  26. Mary, I'd so love to have lunch with you there and meet you face to face:) The thought just delights me! Happy Kentucky grew on you after that visit. I still remember the pics you posted awhile back.

    As far as that unexpected blogging break you took, I imagine it was a stream in the desert experience:) You were missed but think the rest must have been GREAT!!

  27. Love that you said God has given us many windows with His love and light shining through. So true! I know this is a hard time for you, lots of adjustment and uncertainty. Am so sorry to hear he's still in the hospital though I know it's the best place he could be. Am sure you probably feel like you're on staff by now - and am thinking the staff loves you:)

    Prayers continue for you and your family. Thanks so much for taking time here when I know you don't have any right now. I posted A Constant Calm with you in mind as it was right at that critical time though I didn't know when you'd get around to seeing it. It's sure one post I needed at the time, too. And that picture - so lovely! And one I can't take credit for.

    Praying Psalm 139 for you, dear Amanda.

  28. Oh Kristen, I would really love to do that! I've never been to Portland except to fly in and out. If only Ann Shorey and I and some other area authors could get together:) Thanks for the great idea. I feel spoiled today as I heard from you twice, both here and Quills! Bless you so much!

  29. Thank you so much for your prayers. That means so much. We're really looking forward to Monday to begin to get answers about what's going on with Chris.

    Do your kids read a lot during the summer? Wondered what sort of books they like. Though I guess Paul is keeping pretty busy with his music this summer, sounds like. That must be so exciting for him!

  30. Julia,
    I'm so glad you asked:) My mom (a retired elementary reading teacher) just told me about a great site called ReadKiddoRead.com which is dedicated to giving parents and teachers a resource for turning children of any age on to great books. Mega-selling author, James Patterson, is behind this site (Alex Cross series and also author of YA fiction). I haven't had a chance to take a look myself as Mom just told me about it but you may find it very helpful.

    Sadly, my boys don't like to read! But they test at the college level for it! It breaks my heart but Randy isn't a reader either. SO...I make them fulfill a daily reading quota during the summer. Right now Paul is reading one of the Hardy Boys books and Wyatt is finishing, strangely enough, a Janette Oke book someone at church gave him with a male lead, then he's going to read God's Smuggler/Brother Andrew.

    You and Chris keep coming to mind very frequently so I know the Lord is keeping us close in prayer. When I wake up at 3 am thinking of you, something is afoot;) Thanks for letting me know about Monday. I pray you'll have answers quickly and that it's something that can be dealt with easily, perhaps with medication.

    Don't mean to write a novella here but hope today is a good day for you both and the littles. And you get some NY sunshine and reading time:)

  31. The above comment from "Anonymous" was from me, Gin. Don't know why it posted that way. I don't *think* I changed the setting from my Google ID. Whatever. Just wanted to make sure the fiddler would be here in Berea. I'd hate for that to be cancelled, too.

  32. Dear Laura,

    Just wanted to let you know that I am so enjoying your devotionals, especially from George Whitfield's journals. My favorite quote of his is "I am never better than when I am on the full stretch for God." So true. Also, I used the one about George Mueller and his heart for God as an intro for my small group as we began our study of A.W. Tozer's The Pursuit of God. Thank you for sharing how God is speaking to you through these spiritual mentors of the past. Keep them coming!

    Laura B.

  33. Hello Laura,
    I'm at one of those closed door places right now. A loved one is moving out of state and I am saddened yet know the Lord will expand our life with his blessings in his time.

    Being at your book signing in your reproduction silk gown sounds like a wonderful wonderful thing.. I'm sorry it couldn't be, but....you will probably do that very thing many times over before you know it. ( how exciting for your son to be on the radio! Good for him.)

  34. Laura,
    So nice to meet another Laura:) And find we share a love for those historical saints! It's really encouraging to know that you find these devotional posts worthwhile and treasure them like I do. Sometimes I wonder if anyone is really reading and taking them to heart? Bless you for confirming that. Love that you used the one Mueller quote for your study. I know it blessed others, too. I'll be sure to post more Whitefield quotes as I come upon them. I'm about 2/3 through his Journals but only 1/4 through his biography and am still finding countless treasures:) Tozer is another favorite of mine.

    Here's another that might make you smile and shows Whitefield's depth and even a bit of his humor -

    "If it were not for the corruptions of my own heart, which are continually stirring, what have I to disturb my peace?" But as long as those Amalekites remain in my soul, I shall never be perfectly at ease. Lord, keep my from striving."

    Bless you, Laura, and all that you're doing for Him!

  35. Maggie Ann,
    I know how it feels losing a loved one through a move but you have a beautiful, expectant attitude and you're so right - God will bring His blessings in His time. I often think how much more fortunate families used to be in "olden days" when they often didn't ever go more than 30 miles from the place they were born. But our society is so vastly different. Wonderful to think that in heaven there will be no distance or separation!

    I'm encouraged by your saying there will be other opportunities to wear my dress and have other venues. That sure blesses me. I really believe since He gifted me with the gown, He'll gift me with the occasion to wear it. And He's so creative it will be fun to see how that all comes about:)

  36. Gin, I just KNEW that was you;) And even if you keep being anonymous, I'd still know every time. Must be that Kentucky connection! It's not you, truly, it's a Blogger issue. I can no longer use Blogger except via Google Chrome as I come up anon. every time, even for my own blog. Many others are experiencing lots of frustration as well.

    My biggest hope is that Paul will play in Berea at some not to distant point in future. I know they have some wonderful fiddling camps there. And I know someone there he'd love to meet:)

  37. Dear Laura, Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a comment for me. That blessed my day! May the Lord return the blessing, many times over, to you.

  38. Bless you, Maggie Ann, for being so gracious! Your blog is really an oasis and I know it blesses far more than me!