When The Right Door Opens

I barely have the strength to continue. I’d climbed that hill at the Mount Hermon conference center already once. My feet ache. The key wouldn’t unlock my room door. It allowed me into the building but not into my room. And now this new key isn’t working either. Darkness covers the sky. Loneliness surrounds me. I hadn’t slept the night before, actually days before, and I’d been on an airplane all morning, conference all day and night. The first time I’d flown alone since I was a 20-year-old.

Tears flood my eyes. Stopping on that cement path, I gather my coat around me. What are you doing here, Shelli? I throw my arms out to the open sky. “Lord, what am I doing? What is this carrot I’m chasing?” I’ve heard this whispered into my ear so many times, from behind my back. “Do I need to let it go, Lord? What my family must think of me …”

And I think of all the many things that transpired to get me here, to this place. One door open after another. “Would you like to write a blog post for my upcoming release?” a friend asked. Sure. And through that, I connected with a lady whose book helped me over 20 years ago when I dealt with infertility. I wrote a blog post about her. And through that blog post, that author’s friend contacted me–“Have you ever been to Mount Hermon Writers Conference?” she asked. No. “There’s a writing contest. You should enter.” And not long after, I received an email saying I’d won a trip to Mount Hermon.

Shelli, these doors aren’t coincidental, the trustworthy voice speaks straight into my heart.

“I’ll give it all up, Lord, if that is what you think best. I need your direction.” A not-so-pretty cry seeps out of my being. I struggle for breath, talking right out loud. I don’t even care if anyone is around, if anyone hears me. But I feel like I’m the only one on the planet. “My work needs so much help, Lord. What am I doing?”

DSC_2835 (2)I get one more room key. Bless their hearts. They could tell I was distraught.

The next day, I meet with an editor from a publishing house. She wants my whole manuscript. I’m shocked. The next day, I feel so free–I have an open door. By sheer accident, I sit down with another editor at dinner, because my friend is sitting there. When I share what I write, the editor pulls out her business card. “I want your proposal,” she says. My friend bangs on my leg underneath the table. I keep my composure, on the outside. Another open door?

The next day, I meet with the agent of my dreams, Wendy Lawton from Books & Such Literary Management. She’s so brilliant, and she represents amazing writers. I could never deserve her. What are you doing? You’ll never be ready for this. 

“Do you think you’re ready, Shelli?” she asks.

“I think so,” I say, staring at the ground and wondering where that hint of boldness came from.

“Let’s do this then.”

20180424_172245 (2)I walk to lunch in a daze, sit down at the table, and poke at my salad. I can’t believe … I have an amazing, knowledgeable person to help guide me now …

My dear friend–the one who banged on my leg, my roommate, Jennifer–finds me after lunch. “Well?”

“Sit down,” I say to her. I’m laughing to keep from crying.

She knows. Without saying a word, she knows. She embraces me the Canadian way, as she mocks my Texas talk in fun, like always, always teasing that I need an interpreter. And I love it. “You have an agent.”

I keep laughing.

DSC_2858 (4)In the quietness of our room, I ask Jennifer, “Do you want to know about that first night room key mix-up?”

“Okay …” she says.

Shelli (4)“I had been in the wrong building all along, the one right next door to ours … the men’s building.” It had been dark, you know. I’m new here, you know. “The key allowed me into their building, just not into what I thought was ‘our’ room. A man came out into the hallway because he heard a woman’s voice, and he knew a woman shouldn’t be in there.” I was so embarrassed. He probably heard me crying. “Then he got locked out of his room.” The funniest thing. “And I had to help him get back into his room.”

The door didn’t open, because I wasn’t in the right place. When you open your hands and release …  when you continue on … when you find yourself in the right place, the door opens.

28 thoughts on “When The Right Door Opens

  1. Wow–wonderful news, dear Shelli. Insert a happy-hallelujah dance here. 🙂 I love your key story, and I love how you pointed to the key to a writer’s desire–Him.

    I’m terrible with keys even when I’m at the right door. A man rescued me in a parking lot when my lock froze and wouldn’t budge, no matter how hard I tried. But our faithful God knows when we need a helper who can deice a door.

    These words of yours I know–and live with–intimately: “What my family must think … I could never deserve her.”

    Congratulatory blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, sweet Wendy Mac. I can’t believe it. And yes, the way is so discouraging sometimes, most times. I have so much to share with you about Mount Hermon. It was such an incredible place. So relaxed. It was what I needed. You would love this conference. And I’m so terrible with keys, too. I have it now to where I hardly need to use one. I enter the house through the garage, with the garage opener. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We must be sisters because my kids remind me to lock my car because I can’t forget about the time I got locked out of it. ❤ Mount Hermon is on my wish list; it sounds like a glimpse of writerly Heaven. I'd love to hear more about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. jerushaagen

    What a beautiful story of God at work and the awesome way He opens doors just when we need them! I’m so thankful He’s given you such hope and the gift of open doors for your writing, Shelli. What an awesome God we serve!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary Kay Moody

    Oh, Shelli, what a tale! And what an encouraging lesson. My heart goes out to you ~ being new at a writer’s conference can be overwhelming ~ any most always brings tears to me at least once!

    Congratulations on signing with Wendy. I know we all will be blessed by the fruit of that collaboration. Like Wendy Mac, I’m doing a happy dance for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Mary Kay. You are such a blessing to me. Your words always encourage me. A new writer’s conference is so overwhelming, you are right … but God brought the sweetest people across my path to make me feel right at home. He’s so good. ❤

      Like

  4. Linda Woodard

    Shelli, you are such an inspiration to so many people, and all those who know and love you. I am so privileged to call you a friend and to know your work. God has blessed you abundantly and will continue to use you in an amazing way. Looking forward to the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jane Pontone

    What an amazing story!!!!
    With such a big heart to share……the door opened wide for you Shelli rightly so to embrace your beautiful gift that you long to share x
    I’m so very happy for you Shelli xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh friend. I might be shedding a few happy tears for you right now. I am definitely happy-dancing . . . On the inside. I’m sitting in a coffee shop as I write this. That could look a little strange if I let the dance out. 😉

    I couldn’t be happier for you. What an amazing woman you get to work with! EEEEEE!

    I loved your key story. One time, when I was in college, I walked up to my car. Stuck the key into the door to unlock it. Unlocked it,but for the life of me, I couldn’t get the thing to start. Then, I realized my actual car was parked about two spots down. Oy. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeanne, thank you so much. You got me tickled with your key story, too. I know … it’s terrible when it opens the main door … that really throws you for a loop. It opened this, but won’t open this. Odd. If it didn’t let you in, you’d clue in real fast that something was wrong. ❤ I'm writing you now to share about Mount Hermon. 🙂

      Like

    1. Deb, you are such a blessing to me. Little did I know over 20 years ago that you would come to mean so much to me in real life. Back then, you were this author that I’d never come to know. And now, I know you. I enjoyed Mount Hermon with you so much … sitting and talking, crying together, dining together, laughing together. I’ll always cherish those moments. You make me smile, and you are so funny, too. I love your sense of humor. I can’t wait to see you again. I love you. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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