We are in the throes of having some major renovation work done at home. This has necessitated us moving out temporarily, but not so far away that we cannot nip back home most days to check on progress, pick up post and phone messages, water the plants etc. I take photos too, lots of them; the advantage of the handy smart phone with built in camera. These photos are creating a marvellous timeline of the changes as they occur and I’m sure we will look back on them in time and wonder, when the final transformation is complete. It also means I can keep the family up to date as well, my son especially, who lives an hour away and thinks he has a vested interest (his inheritance!) I’m sure he would be project managing it himself if he lived nearer…
One of the photos I took was this one of a blocked up window. There was something about it that really spoke to me, I think especially because of the arch at the top, that showed where the window had been. First they removed the window and then blocked it up with building blocks. Then a few days later the first layer of plaster went up; you could still see where the window had been but it was definitely looking more like a wall. And then the final plastering occurred and now there is no real trace of the window at all. It is in a room that was being used for little more than dry storage and had four windows that all needed replacing. As this one looked out on to another wall, we took the decision to block it up, and use the resulting wall space for some much needed shelving, in what will become our new office/writing room.
You might have heard the old adage, in Christian circles at least, ‘when God closes a door, He opens a window’. In fact if you are a fan of the old musicals, like I am, then a very similar phrase occurs in The Sound of Music, where Mother Superior is trying to counsel a distraught and confused, lovesick Maria about renouncing her vocation. The open window in her case is to leave the Order and marry her Captain.
In my experience, sometimes God closes a door and then goes on and blocks up a window too! Just so that we get the message that we are completely in the wrong room!
Some years ago I was faced with a major life decision. The time had come around, as it did every three years, to pay to renew my registration to practice as a nurse. I had not nursed in practice for a while. If I paid up I would have to not only find a job where I could practice my clinical skills, but I would also have to do some refresher courses to get myself up to date. If I did not pay to renew my registration, that was it. I could no longer work as a nurse without an extensive period of retraining. I had to decide whether that would be the end of my nursing career once and for all. It was such a tough decision, but one ultimately that I had little choice in. I was not well enough to work in clinical practice any more. And all the studying and training I had done over the years was seemingly going to be wasted. The window was going to be well and truly blocked up and the door slammed shut.
But like that blocked up window, traces of my past life remain. I can still remember enough to advise friends with medical queries, keep an eye on my husband’s blood pressure, and talk my daughter through new -born baby care from a midwife’s perspective. But nursing is not a window that I am ever going to be able to re-open. And actually I’m fine with that. Because just like that room, and that (once window now a) wall, are going to have a completely different use when all is done, so my life has taken a completely different path. If you had told that nurse/midwife ten years ago, that one day she would be an author of Christian historic fiction, she would have laughed out loud!
I am actually really glad that God plans the ongoing renovation and remodelling of our lives and not us. He knows that closing certain doors, and even blocking up the odd window or two, is not the end of what He has for us. Sometimes it takes time and reflection, to look back and see just how good a building designer He is. So if you are feeling like doors and windows are closing all around you, take heart. He could be that He is leading you into stepping into a whole new room altogether.
Joy Margetts is new to blogging, and new to being published. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. A work of historic fiction, set in mediaeval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, it is also a story of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Joy has also self published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.
More information on Joy and her writing can be found here www.joymargetts.com