Open Doors and Birthdays

I am reminded of the fact today that it was 29 years ago that my wife and I loaded up my old truck and her Datsun B-210 and moved to the mountains of North Carolina. I can remember this because we moved from Michigan right after celebrating my 29th birthday on August 1st with friends.

Witin several weeks of arriving in North Carolina, we had found an old house to live in for free if we fiixed it up and had been married by an Episcopal priest on top of the big hill behind what was to be our home for the next seven years.

In the most rudimentary of spiritual terms this is what I would now call an open door—in other words as we move through life and make daily decisions that affect which paths we travel and which ones we don’t—it is like some doors are open to us to walk through and some doors are closed. Not that there is any big screen image flashing in front of you as you walk through or past another door—or for that matter different types of prizes hidden behind them. It is a sense that you have that in the big sceme of things this way is right and that way isn’t.

The scriptural basis for this statement or belief is from Isaiah 30:21 which says:

21 Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the (AU)way, walk in it,” whenever you (AV)turn to the right or to the left.

In life we are often presented with several options pertaining to the direction of our lives and need to choose just one and move on. Which job do we take or what car is best for us or what major in college do we study are just some of the decisions we are faced with.

If you believe in open doors then the converse is also true: you believe in closed doors.

Sometimes what was once an open door or window of opportunity that you enter into and run with for a time changes to a closed door.

For example: I worked for 3 1/2 years for a small independant newspaper in Ashe County. A door was opened for me to get the job. During this time my wife began to make baskets and we started doing art fairs and this little hobby turned into almost a full time thing. It seemed like a door was being opened to begin this new thing while at the same time a door was closing on what had previously been an open door event (my getting the job with the newspaper) once upon a time.

The point I am trying to make here is that it is sometimes hard to see what was once an open door—a God leading if you will—turn into a closed door. What was once a full bore blessing becoming something that is no longer the path you need to be on. It is hard to see that something that once had the mark of God’s blessing not being something that you would continue doing. Change is always difficult but when an open door time turns into a closed door situation, it is best to get re-aligned as soon as possible.

Sometimes we get little signs along the way and over time that things are beginning to shift in the spiritual and natural dynamics of our lives.

When Sandi and I found our fixer-upper free starter house in was like paradise to us—we were located several miles from the nearest town and right in the middle of several hundred acres of farm and woods land. We had the run of the place since it hadn’t been lived in for many, many years. The guy who owned it was happy for us to be there and gave us free rent for fixing it up for the first five years. When we first found it the house was in rough shape but not beyond repair—I thought it was just the place for us and Sandi almost cried from the other point of view. She came around pretty quick and we had two of our four children in that very house.

As the years went by and we began to feel a little less permanent in our surroundings, little things began to happen that called our attention to the door of that reality was slowly shutting. It was indeed a blessing but was now not as fullfilling—the owner had begun to let people use the property around us to plant christmas trees and get hay and so forth and we began to feel more of a push towards something else even though we were a little unsure of what that might be. So we went from feeling like we had everything to knowing that we didn’t in about 5 years and stayed for a couple more after that before moving to Boone and the house we currently live in. We really didn’t have any money for a new house but started looking anyway and things just kind of fell together (an open door) for us to get a low rate mortgage without much of a downpayment.

The blessing of a free house became less and less of one until we started looking for another—at which point that door began to open wide and seeing that made the move a lot easier. I guess you could say it was from blessing to blessing and not really get caught up in the transition phase when things don’t look or feel to comfortable. There are always valleys to go through as we move from the mountain top to the mountain top.

Maybe I have explained myself well or missed the mark today but what I do know is that Sandi and I are looking for the next open door and our prayer is that we would see it and walk through it without letting too much time go by. It is nice to still be on the road and riding out the rest of our lives.

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5 Responses to Open Doors and Birthdays

  1. Carey says:

    I am pleased and inspired by that entire rambling account of open doors during seven years of time…but this especially: ” I guess you could say it was from blessing to blessing and not really get caught up in the transition phase when things don’t look or feel to comfortable.” There is still an open door between brothers, even though the tribes have moved apart due to the closing of doors.Carey

  2. Ben Cotten says:

    I know how you feel, Terry. It seems that the last 9 years of my life has been filled with doors rapidly opening and closing sometimes seemingly in the same breath.It feels a bit like I’m a blind man being led by the hand through an unfamiliar maze. At each turn there is a new frightening, yet exciting, pathway. I’m learning (I hope) to hesitate less at each threshold, trusting that the One who opened the door knows what lies beyond it.

  3. Terry Henry says:

    It is probably short-sighted of us to think in terms of days or weeks—although important not necessarily how we need to chart our success or lack thereof.

  4. Reed says:

    Terry, I have spent a good bit of time looking back over the past 6 years during the last few weeks. I knew the door was open to go to grad school back in 2001. When I finished, I was “sure” that a job in higher ed was next. After all, why else would I have gotten a MA? Not so fast my friend. The door was steadfastly shut. Even after “great” interviews the jobs always went to someone else. One in particular was disappointing. It was working with International Programs as Virginia Tech. My preferred area in Student Development at a school where I had lots of friends already. When it did not happen I questioned God as to why not. I felt peace that I was not supposed to be there. Disappointed, but peaceful at the outcome. It was as if I had missed something that was not going to be pleasant… In the meantime my friend Kevin had taken me on at the start of his construction company. It was an open door for provision while I was looking for the “higher ed” job. Now, 4 years later, I work full time for a rapidly growing construction company and have a part time “higher ed” teaching job. The doors that open sometimes close and sometimes put you out into a hallway for you to utilize to find the next door. As Julie Andrews so aptly put it in The Sound of Music. When God closes a door He opens a window. I propose a toast to this discussion. Here is to the ride of our lives! Cheers mates!

  5. Terry Henry says:

    From a pencil pusher to a nail pounder—well put my friend.

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