Monday, April 20, 2009

Guest Blogger: Janelle Mowery

Doors and Windows

I’m about to give away my age, but do you remember that TV game show Let’s Make a Deal? That’s right. The one where contestants sit with so many others, yelling and waving their arms, hoping to get noticed by Monty Hall? When chosen, the contestant is asked which door they prefer. . .door number one, two, or three. . .never knowing for certain what awaited them once they made their selection.

I see publishing as something quite similar. So often we do everything we can to get noticed. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s our job. Work hard to get our writing to its absolute best, then wave it around to get it noticed. The trouble comes when we barge into the doors before invited, not truly caring what’s behind them, just so long as they open.

When I first started trying to publish my stories, I ran into so many doors, I felt fairly certain my face must look like a heavyweight boxer after fifteen rounds. Well, that’s not exactly true. I had a brief open window that had me flying with hope until it, too, closed and I smacked into it just like the birds that hit my windows from time to time. Though at the time it was difficult to admit, my writing wasn’t ready. Spiritually, neither was I. You see, I was trying to get published on my own. . .my plan, my way, my timing. That just never works out well. But God let me know I wasn’t to give up. I just hadn’t taken all the right steps yet. The steps God wanted and planned for me to take. As I look back at them now, I am humbled and amazed.

I continued working hard, learning all I could, and applying everything to my manuscripts, and then sending out those manuscripts. Then the call came. It was Susan Downs, editor for Barbour’s new mystery line, announcing that she wanted to contract the story I coauthored with Elizabeth Ludwig. God had opened a door. There’s nothing quite so pleasing as waiting on the Lord’s timing.

Much too soon, that door closed when Barbour announced they were going to end the new mystery line. I won’t say I wasn’t deeply disappointed. I was. But I had seen for myself the way God works. We serve an awesome God. Within two weeks after that first door closed, God opened another one. Harvest House wanted to contract my three book historical series.

In one of the articles Kim Vogel Sawyer posted for Writes of Passage, she said, “He always has my best interests at heart. Whatever He plans for me is better than anything I could plan for myself, and it also brings blessing. Which means it's always worth waiting for.” And in another post, she says, “Worship HIM and watch doors of goodness swing wide!” She also mentioned a song by the group This Hope called "Break My Plans" that touched her heart. It absolutely grabbed hold of mine. Take a moment to listen.

God’s way is always best. Give Him your plans, your heart, your will. If our Lord is working on building us mansions, certainly a few doors and windows won’t give him any problems.

27 comments:

Allen Skipper said...

I like your blog.

Aaron McCarver said...

Wow, Janelle! What a great way to start my week--a needed reminder about Who really should be in control of all we do. Thanks and congrats again on your contract, or maybe I should say, "Great work, God!" on Janelle's contract!

Andrea said...

Wow! This is so powerfull, Janelle.
Thank you for reminding me that no matter what happens, it is His will at work in my life.
What a blessing. Thank you for sharing.

Janelle said...

Thank you, Allen.

Janelle said...

Hey Aaron! Great to hear from you. I so enjoyed getting to know you better at CBE. What fun. Thanks for your comment.

Janelle said...

Thank you, Andrea. I appreciate your comment.

Debby Mayne said...

Great post, Janelle! I think you touched a nerve for so many of us who tried too hard too soon. God really does know what we need and what we can handle. It's very liberating to submit to Him.

And congratulations on your success! I have no doubt you'll continue to experience wonderful things as long as you keep the wonderful attitude you have now.

Marcia Gruver said...

I have an insider's view of Ms. Mowery and her touching journey. I had the privilege of strolling alongside her for most of the way. I watched God take her ambitious dream and mature it into a ministry. This little girl and her heart for God are the real thing. Love you sweetie pie!

Anonymous said...

I just love you Janelle. You have tasted that the Lord is good! And I totally agree with you when you said that God's way is best. Why is it so hard to remember that? Anyway, you forgot to mention your "first" editor. The most important one! ME! Your sister! That's okay. Now they ALL now.

Gotta love me!
MerriDee

Linda Kozar said...

Great article and analogies Janelle! And you're right--God does provide. I was kind of down about the mystery line's demise as well. Just as I discovered I LOVED writing mysteries, the rug was pulled out from under me--and I had plenty of good company:) BUT God opened the door for my devotions with the new book from Howard/S&S and I am so grateful. Will I still write mysteries? I hope so, but now I'm working on a historical.

Kim Vogel Sawyer said...

Your sweet spirit always shines through, Janelle, in what you say and do. You're a real blessing, dear one. Keep seeking Him--joy will always follow. :o)

Eileen Key said...

Amen. God is good ALL the time!

NancyMehl said...

Wonderful sentiments, Janelle. You've detailed my journey, too. God's plans are so much better than ours!

Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

Janelle said...

Thanks so much for your comments, Linda, Eileen, and Nancy...my fellow mystery writers.

Janelle said...

Hey Debby. Good to hear from you. Thanks for commenting.

Janelle said...

My dear Marcia. Not only does God bless us with perfect plans and open doors, He gives us wonderful friends for our journey. You've been one of God's richest blessing to me. Much love.

Janelle said...

And my dear Kim. You are such a beautiful example of a Godly servant. I always look forward to spending time with you. Hugs, dear lady.

Janelle said...

And what to say about my dear sister, MerriDee...my very first and all important editor. You've always been first on my list of encouraging people. You're right...gotta love ya.

Candice said...

Janelle, such good words that we can apply to every area of our lives. I need to be reminded of this over and over again. Thank you.

Sandra Robbins said...

Great post, Janelle! I'm so thankful we've been able to make this journey together. God has blessed us so much, and I needed to be reminded that He's faithful to those who believe. Love you, girl!

Sandra Robbins

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

I've been asked over and over...how do you co-author a novel? Well, now you ALL know. It's easy when you're working with someone whose spirit and heart for God are as sweet and sincere as Janelle's.

Thanks for the wonderful post, gal. You are a blessing and encouragement to us all.

Barbara said...

Thank you for your words of encouragement to us!

Barbara

Janelle said...

Hey Sandra and Candice, you've both been such a wonderful blessing. Thanks for commenting.

And also to you, Barbara. Thanks so much for the comment.

Janelle said...

To Lisa, my co-author, my friend, my sister, I will never stop thanking God for putting us together. You've been by my side from the very beginning. I'm beyond blessed.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, Janelle, what a great post. We serve an awesome God and if we can only remember that and let Him be in charge, life is so much smoother and the bumps in the road, well, they're still there but it's different. More like a thrill ride than an accident. :)

I had such a good time with you and Elizabeth in Dallas. Hope you're planning to be at ACFW in September.

Vickie McDonough said...

Very well said, Janelle! It's great to hear your story and see how God is opening doors and rewarding your years of faithfulness to hone your craft and to wait on His timing.

I can't wait to read your historicals!

And I have to know, what is that a picture of--and I don't mean the one of you. Is that a bird smack?

Janelle said...

Hey Mary and Vickie, great to see you pop in and comment. Loved seeing you at CBE in Dallas. Makes me impatient for the conference in Denver.

Vickie, that picture is of a face print on a window. Look again. You'll see it. It's not my face...yet. My face print is on our bedroom door. Don't ask. Just know my nose hurt for days.