I recently read this in 750 Engaging Illustrations and thought it was encouraging:
“When Andy Griffith, star of the classic television program that bore his name, entered his fifties, he found it increasingly difficult to find work in Hollywood, and his personal finances became tighter and tighter. He wrote in Guideposts that finally he and his wife Cindi decided things would be easier if they moved from Los Angeles back to Andy’s home state of North Carolina; so they put their home up for sale and waited for a buyer. Unfortunately the real estate market was down, and no one gave them a decent offer for their home. Months passed, and Andy grew depressed.
Then one day the Lord gave Cindi an insight. “Maybe it’s a good thing we couldn’t sell the house,” she said. “Maybe it as God showing us grace. If we moved to North Carolina now, you might indeed never work again. What we need to do is stay here and stoke the fire.”
And stoke the fire they did. Day after day they went together to the office of the talent agency that represented Andy. They sat in the lobby, chatted with agents, and went with them to lunch. Eventually the work started to come in: four TV movies that year including the pilot for Matlock, a show that ended up running for nine years.
Sometimes a closed door is a signpost from God. He has a better way for us to go.”
I know I’ve seen that to be true in my writing. In 1998 I got a call from my agent–one that I’d been waiting for. A publisher was interested in my children’s books … and they were going to give me a contract for NINE books. I was thrilled! The thrill only lasted for a few weeks. Later, we got a call that “the publishing direction had changed.” (We’ve all heard that before!) I never did sell those books, but after that I got a contract to write study notes for the Women of Faith Study Bible and later a novel and a non-fiction book in the same year. A totally different path, for sure!
More recently, in 2005, I was expecting a three book historical fiction contract. In fact, the editor had pitched the idea to me! That contract didn’t come to pass as expected. At the time I had no fiction contracts and didn’t know what I was going to do. Yet (after many tears) I trusted God had a plan. I prayed and surrendered my fiction to him. Since that time I’ve connected with four other publishers for 6+ novels (more are in the works). It’s nothing I expected but I’m thankful for this path. I’m truly learning to “stoke the fire” and look to see what God is about to do!