When the Door Slams in Your Face

“We are no longer interested. Sorry.”

The paperwork arrived from the attorney. Finally, the long-awaited sale of my business had come, allowing me to embark into full-time ministry. This is what we all wait and long for, right?

I signed, uploaded, and hit send, off to the new owners when a near instant reply came back.

“We are no longer interested. Sorry.”

How could this happen? How could months of showing and explaining and talking and working with attorneys to finally sell my business be gone so quickly? How could my dreams of going after my calling be gone just like that? How could God bring me this far to just slam the door? What about ministry? What about my writing and speaking? I cried. I more than cried… I bawled! I was heartbroken. I was hurt. I was frustrated. I was angry. I felt like my dad had put a new shiny red bike under my Christmas tree then yanked it back and said, “Just kidding. Mmmwwaahhhaaaa.”

Now, don’t judge. Yes, I know that God is a good God. Yes, I know His timing is perfect. If someone preaches that Christianese at me one more time… It wasn’t the head knowledge I needed. I needed my feelings of disappointment and sadness to be validated. I didn’t know God’s reasoning and I trusted Him. But it was hard.

I slowly picked myself up after a couple days on the couch eating Cheetos, grieving the loss of the ideal of my dreams being so close to a reality. Something in me had died. My faith had taken a serious hit. God knew how much I wanted this, how close I was. Why, if He loved me and was a good God, would he taunt and tease me with the opportunity. I went back to work the same person, but a little deflated and defeated. A wounded soldier who had lost that battle.

Thirty days later, it sold again, to a different owner and I was pleased but tiptoed into signing with trepidation. I went into full-time ministry and instead of rejoicing, OMG He did it, I was hesitant, waiting at every turn for disappointment. Slowly, surely, I gained more confidence in God and in our relationship.

I found out shortly after the sale that the previous “almost buyers,” had decided to start their own business, becoming the competition in the town bordering ours. None the less, the new buyer was doing well. A year or so later, our state passed a law making what we did illegal (we were an ultrasound center, showing moms pics of their babies in 3D for non-medical purposes). The new buyer had to shut down, they both did. Even though I was sad for her and apologized, she responded with grace that I couldn’t have known this would ever happen and that her bank forgave the loan. What a blessing. As I saw the struggle of the previous “almost buyers,” the Lord finally worked in my heart:

Those people would have sued you. You thought I was shutting the door, but my rejection was protection.

In that moment, my faith did what I pray it does for all of you. IT GREW. I apologized to God for being so mad and letting my disappointment affect my faith. I was convicted. If you have ever had a time in your life when a door was shut, I encourage you to shift your thinking. Rather than imagining a slamming door in your face, imagine the gentle shutting of a loving God who is guiding and directing you. He is the ONLY one that can see far into the future and ensure the best for you.

Here is a challenge: Write down every blessing God has given you. Replace your thoughts of worry, doubt, or frustration with one of praise. Read it often, share it with your children. Let’s develop and cultivate a home and future generations who are filled with thankfulness and praise.

Rebecca Bender is a nationally recognized and awarded expert on domestic sex trafficking. After escaping nearly six years of both labor and sex trafficking, she emerged as a Survivor Leader, providing consulting, training and speaking with some of the largest anti-trafficking groups and government agencies in the country, including FBI, Homeland Security, and former president Jimmy Carter. After writing her first book, Roadmap to Redemption, she founded the Rebecca Bender Initiative.

Embracing Joy