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As a writer, I tend to cringe at clichés. You know the one that says, “When God closes a door, He opens a window”?

As cliché as it is, that sums up the story I’m about to share.

Last year I thought my writing career was dead. I’d been on submission for several months with a fiction book proposal (after almost 7 years of writing for publication), but every door closed in my face. I got wonderful rejection letters, with compliments on my writing, but they just couldn’t make a spot for me.

In the midst of waiting to hear back from publishers, I attended the Hearts at Home Conference for moms. As I attended sessions, I felt a stirring that God might want to use my passion for health and wellness in a new way. I remember telling one of the conference speakers that I thought I might have a non-fiction book in me someday.

Little did I know how soon “someday” would come.

As I went through the summer, it became clear the doors to my fiction dream were being closed completely. I went through a period of mourning, including all of its lovely stages of anger, sadness, and depression. (I blogged about it here.)

I started meeting with a life coach, but even with her positive input, I struggled to see how God could possibly turn my dream into a reality.

I remember one particular week my coach gave me homework: Write a vision statement that outlines where you see yourself in a year.

I was at such a low point, I honestly didn’t see anything good. I started with the “softballs” and focused on the areas of my life that I was sure about — marriage, health, etc.. But when it came to my writing career, I didn’t dare let myself get too crazy. I’d already gotten the answers I needed: My career was done before it even started.

I finally wrote down a vision statement for my writing, but let’s just say it was full of “pansy” language. I envisioned blogging and feeling good about my direction — all things that were pretty much where I’d been before.

But my life coach said that *safe* isn’t good enough. She challenged me to dream bigger, to God-size my vision. So I did.

I still remember writing my new vision. Just like Sarah in the Bible laughed when God said she would give birth to a son, I laughed while I wrote the following words: “In a year I’ll be offered a book contract, with interest from multiple publishing houses.”

This was laughable because I didn’t even have an idea for a book that would be ready in a year, let alone getting publishers’ interest. I knew how slow the publishing world works.

But I couldn’t shake the idea of God-sizing my vision, so even though it seemed crazy, I left the words there.

A few months later, my prompting toward non-fiction started to take shape. I launched a health & fitness website and talked to my agent about my new direction. She helped me think and plan how it might look.

Around Christmastime last year, a book idea formed and wouldn’t let go. It veered off the path I’d originally envisioned, but it still tied in with wellness. I proposed it to my agent, and she gave me the green light to develop the proposal.

I sent her the proposal at the end of April this year. Three months later I had interest, and a month-and-a-half after that, I found out I was being offered a contract. And get this. I had interest from not just one publisher, but THREE.

Do you think God had something in mind when He asked me to God-size my vision last summer?!

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Now let me stop right here and say something.

I’m not going to try to be upbeat and say, “Rah-rah, This can happen to you too!” Because I’ve been on the other side of publication and heard those same words. And as true as they are and as well-intentioned as those who say them are, it drives the nail deeper in the coffin.

You might think, “Great for you. Apparently God loves you enough to give you your dream. What does that say about me while I sit here with my dream unfulfilled?”

My friend, I’ll tell you what it says. It says that God created you for a path only you can walk. You might feel forgotten and alone and worthless, but He doesn’t make mistakes. YOU are not a mistake.

Maybe my story will inspire you to believe your dream can come true too. But if not, I hope it will press you closer to your Savior — the One who made you with His own hands, who sacrificed everything for your eternal destiny, the One who never leaves a story unfinished.

Wherever you’re at, THANK YOU for celebrating with me. Please know that I treasure you as my reader and friend.

Windows do  lead to beautiful destinations!

(If you’re curious about the specifics of my book, keep scrolling…)

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All right, here are the official book details…

I’m writing a prayer/devotion book for those who are facing illness, injury, or hospitalization. It’s titled Prayers for Hope and Healing: Seeking God’s Strength as You Face Health Challenges, and it releases from Harvest House Publishers in Fall 2017. More details will be coming soon on my Books page.

In the meantime, if you haven’t subscribed to my email newsletter, I’d love to have you join my community by filling out the form below.

My newsletter is the best way to make sure you don’t miss an update. (And word on the street is I’m having a huge multi-book giveaway in the month of November!)

Rest assured that I do NOT spam or give your information to anyone else. I send updates every couple weeks at most, and usually they’re short and sweet with the most important blog and book news.

Thanks so much, friends, for your encouragement and support.

Be well and blessed!
Sarah

 


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When God Opens a Window: My Publication Story
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16 thoughts on “When God Opens a Window: My Publication Story

  • October 31, 2016 at 4:04 pm
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    Well, you made me cry – twice!! Once because I’m so blasted excited for you, and once because God and I had a LONG TALK about book barrenness recently, and this was just a good reminder that He has my path mapped out, and if it never involves traditional publishing, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed as a person! 🙂 Celebrating with you today!! 🙂

    • October 31, 2016 at 8:58 pm
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      THANK YOU, Bekah! I guess I should have warned you to keep tissues handy. 🙂 Praying for your journey as well, my friend.

  • October 31, 2016 at 5:34 pm
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    Congratulations!!! I’m thrilled for you, Sarah!!!! I loved hearing the story about your journey to publication and how you were willing to explore and embrace a new direction when the Lord chose to take you down a different path. I’m especially delighted with the part about THREE publishing houses having vied to publish your book. You’re a great writer, and soon readers will know that. I’m excited that the Lord is going to use your passion for people, health and caring to reach others for Him. I wish you all the best as you eagerly await your Release Day.

    • October 31, 2016 at 8:59 pm
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      Thank you, Keli! You’ve been such a supportive friend along the way. So grateful for you!

  • October 31, 2016 at 8:41 pm
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    Sarah, I can relate to your story on so many levels. I’m so glad you persevered and let yourself continue to respond to the dream God placed in your heart. I’ll be praying for you as you write the words God has for this book that will encourage many!

    • October 31, 2016 at 9:00 pm
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      Thank you, Ginger! I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s faced closed doors along the way. I’m grateful for your prayers!

  • November 1, 2016 at 3:03 pm
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    Sarah…this is amazing! What a journey and congratulations on this new step. The devotional sounds excellent and will be a huge blessing to those who read it. So excited for this open door for you!!!!

  • November 2, 2016 at 2:58 pm
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    Congratulations, Sarah! I am so exited for you! You are obviously a wonderful writer and I can’t wait to read and pray through this book. I love how God works… thanks for sharing your inspiring story!

    • November 2, 2016 at 9:11 pm
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      Thank you, Angela! I’ve loved sharing part of this journey with you.

  • November 7, 2016 at 6:51 pm
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    Sarah! So beyond thrilled for you! God is so good — I love how He took the twist in your story and turned it into blessing.

    • November 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm
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      Thank you, Cara! He’s good at plot twists, isn’t He? 🙂

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