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When Your New Year Starts with a No

When Your New Year Starts with a No

My New Year plans collapsed four days after the ball dropped. That has to be some sort of record.

A few days into the New Year, I received an unexpected phone call from the manager of a volunteer organization of which I had been a part. He told me in a brief two-minute call that I was no longer part of the ministry.

They were cutting me loose. They didn’t want me to write for them anymore. They were telling me no. I think the word “fired” was even used.

I’d spent more than a year with that organization, writing for young women and blogging and volunteering and even donating financially, and up until that awful call, there wasn’t any indication that I was doing anything wrong. It turned out that there was a breakdown in leadership and communication, and the organization apologized for surprising me, but whatever the reasons, my plans had changed. My New Year had started with a “no.”

A couple days before all this, I had spent some time setting goals for 2015. I wanted to back off some of the freelance newspaper and news magazine writing I was doing and really start making a push into writing and ministering to young women, but that idea crashed when I got that call.

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What a way to start the New Year.

What hurt the most about all this wasn’t that the manager called me on a Sunday before he stepped into a movie theater or that he said it was “best for everyone that we part ways.” What stung the most was that opportunity for ministry had been pulled out from beneath me, and I couldn’t understand why.

I wondered why God had allowed this season of renewal to be pummeled with rejection. It seemed unfair. I wondered quietly if, like we have always heard, God had closed this door only to open another, and I’d get an email or phone call with another opportunity.

But that didn’t happen.

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Or at least it hasn’t happened yet.

It’s true. With this news, I’ll be able to pursue other ministries, and I’ll have more time to devote to finishing the book I’ve been writing, and that’s all wonderful to think about, but the truth is bigger: I’m moving in a direction that God has promised to me.

Maybe you’re hearing that lately, that God is closing this door, but he’ll open a door or window for you soon. It’s more than just the hope of a new opportunity. It’s about the God of the universe moving in your life and shaking up your life so you can be exactly where he needs you. That’s the kind of God we serve, the kind who doesn’t just give us vague promises, but who reaches into our lives and tugs and fights for us.

This season of new became a season of “no” for me, and I think it was easy for me to be upset about that. The hard part is being faithful through this. I’m stuck on Psalm 130, which says, “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice … I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

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That waiting hurts. That waiting could be long, and I have to be OK with finally saying, “I don’t know, but I trust.”

I don’t know, but I’ll keep going.

I don’t know, but I’ll hold on.

I don’t know, but I’ll wait.

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I want to tell you that I’ve learned so much in waiting, but it isn’t an easy lesson to learn. Those days after that phone call, I wondered if I should even write anymore or if it was all a sign that I should try something else, so I asked my husband and my friends to pray for me, specifically, to pray that my eyes would stay trained on grace even in the midst of what seemed like a devastating blow, and they said yes. In the wake of that awful no, they said yes, and I needed that.

We weren’t meant to wait alone. That’s why a hug feels perfect when you don’t get that promotion or job or win. That’s why it feels so good to spend two hours at lunch with friends after a rough week. That’s why we gather and shake hands and meet for coffee.

I’m still waiting on the Lord, and I will continue waiting for his yes, and I will trust that this no was perfectly planned for me.

If in this new season of resolutions and goal-setting and fresh starts, you are facing a no; my prayer is that you’ll wait on the Lord. Wait in his word and find a handful of friends who will wait with you too.

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Because if this world is going to say no, if things aren’t going to go according to our plans, then let us respond mightily and whole heartedly, yes, Lord, yes. We will wait.

Related Posts:
Why I Thank God for Closed Doors
Why God Closes Doors

Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Texas with her husband. Previously, she worked for the Galveston County Daily News, the Houston Chronicle, the Abilene Reporter-News and the Lufkin Daily News.  Her website is at http://tx.ag/casanova and you can find her on Twitter @acasanova10.

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