Thanking God for Closed Doors

When my older brother’s children would stay at my parent’s home, my mom and dad would often close some doors so that my nieces and nephews wouldn’t get into things they shouldn’t. Naturally, their little hands would reach for those doorknobs.

There’s something about closed doors that we inherently dislike. The mystery of what’s on the other side tempts us to pry open doors we have no business entering.

As a writer, I know my professional life will have its share of rejection letters, but recently, I’ve received nothing but them. Thank you, but our publishing house is changing directions. Thank you, but we’re no longer representing fiction. Thank you, but this project doesn’t meet our needs at this time. 

On the plus side, every one of the rejections has been positive. The agent, editor, or publishing board liked my writing and the potential to work with me  in the future… but not today.

Closed doors hurt, especially when we keep our noses too close to them. That’s why I had an honest talk with God. Why all these closed doors? What are You trying to tell me?

And then the truth smacked me: God is closing doors, because I need to focus on the amazing open doors staring me in the face. Next month, the last book in The Rogues trilogy publishes, becoming my sixth book published. Completing this project is a blessing and accomplishment, and I’m thrilled for my readers to enjoy The Reactionary, the final saga in Portia’s story (releasing February 19).

Beyond that, I’ve been praying over a decade to meet and marry a godly man. The dating road was strewn with disappointments, as many of you can relate. I’m thankful for my single years, but they weren’t always easy. However, as I’m preparing for marriage now, I realize it won’t always be easy either, but it will be worthwhile. According to Sacred Marriage, the union of two sinful people offers the greatest opportunity for sanctification possible. In other words, both singleness and marriage have their joys and challenges.

The bottom line is that God has answered my prayer for a godly husband in James, and this is perhaps the biggest open door of my life (apart from my salvation).

In fact, by closing so many writing doors, God is allowing me to focus on and enjoy the wonderful opportunities before me. If He had opened doors for more projects at this point in my life, I would likely become overwhelmed with all the commitments and unable to give myself wholeheartedly to what matters most.

So today, I’m thanking God for closed doors and ignoring the enemy’s whispers that God is through with my writing. Instead, I choose to celebrate the writing journey that is before me, and even more than that, the adventure of becoming Mrs. James Parnell.

Photo credit: Aja Skye Photography

Has God closed any doors for you recently? If so, what open doors might He want you to focus on during this time instead?

~ Kristen


Thanking God for Closed Doors – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)


The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

Springtime in Florida means greenery is in full bloom everywhere except my front yard. My poor yard. I’ve never had a green thumb, and when I bought my home, the previous owner clearly hadn’t possessed one either.

But I do water. Or God does. But I suppose that to have green grass, one should have something other than weeds in the first place.

I digress. This post isn’t about my lost-cause lawn. It’s actually about relationships and commitments in general-and sticking with them.

What are you watering?

I heard a pastor use this phrase when giving a talk on marriage. He said that there are three phases to marriage: 1) infatuation, 2) disillusionment, and 3) commitment. I’m not married yet, but from what I’ve read and witnessed, that sounds about right.

The pastor said that most marriages fall apart in phase two when people wake up and realize their partner isn’t perfect (hello!) and think that the grass looks greener elsewhere. And that’s when he made this statement: The grass is greener where you water it.¹

In other words, relationships require work, but what we nurture grows.

While this principle applies to relationships, I think it also applies to any area of our lives where we’ve made a commitment.

Is your water bucket getting low?

Maybe your commitment is to a job or ministry. Signing the contract or getting the training was exciting, but now, you’re just worn out.

For me, my commitment is to a three-book writing contract I signed in November of 2016 with Write Integrity Press. It was such an exciting answer to prayer, and today, I still thank God for this opportunity.

But that’s not to say the last year and a half have been a joy ride. Sometimes, I feel exhausted and borderline burned out.  At the moment, I’m working through some tough-love edits to my third book. Maybe I’d rather go sit at the pool after work, but that choice won’t help my messy manuscript make its deadline.

How to keep our commitments green

So how do we keep our commitments “green” when we’d rather retreat to other pastures?

#1. Remember our covenants and contracts.

When people say I do, their vow includes all the for betters (which they can imagine) and all the for worses (which they have no idea are coming). The husband and wife pledge themselves to each other before God and witnesses.

When I signed my book contract, I made a commitment to my editor that I would deliver a three-book trilogy within a certain time frame. Ironically, this last year has been one of the busiest of my life. Sometimes, I share a laugh with God and say, “Really? We’re going to do this now, too?” I’ve struggled to write in the in-between moments and sometimes had to say no to very good things I wanted to do in order to sit on my couch and peck at my keyboard.

But that’s the thing. Commitments often require choices that aren’t glamorous but yield more lasting satisfaction.

#2: Remember, this is a season.

Some seasons last longer than others. When you’re dealing with fatigue, disappointment, or worse, remember what Solomon said:

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV)

Thinking back to previous blessings or answered prayers can  help to draw ourselves out from tunnel-vision mode and realize that both highs and lows end at some point.

Take a deep breath and tell yourself: This is a season. It won’t last forever. (Repeat until you feel the floor becoming level again.) Give your situation some perspective, and remember that ultimately, God orders our seasons for a purpose designed to benefit us (Romans 8:28).

#3: Remember who walks beside us.

Ultimately, the best consolation is that we never have to face any part of our journeys alone. Tired? Weary? Disillusioned? Heartbroken? Jesus knows how all that feels.

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15 NKJV)

We can take our cares to this all-knowing and understanding High Priest and find “grace to help” just where we need it (Hebrews 4:16).

The “grass” or commitments of our lives may seem brown at times, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep watering them. On the contrary, we should water them more, because God has entrusted them to us. With His enabling power, we can be faithful and trust the growth and results to Him.

~ Kristen


¹ For the series on marriage, visit Church of the Highlands.


The grass is greener where you water it. – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)