May 1, 2023

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14

Pitching My Book

At my fourth attempt to present my completed work to an agent, I sat at the round table, my palms and pits sweating, my mouth dry, my heart kaboom-boom-booming. I’d pitched before, but not with five other writers vying for the same result I hoped for. Patiently waiting while the others gave their spiel, I silently rehearsed what I would say about Run in the Path of Peace—the Secret of Being Content No Matter What.

Gate One

The first conference where I pitched, the agent replied, “It’s a little light.”—referring to my book being only 20,000 words. Good to know.

Gate Two

The second appointment at a later conference, I waited and waited while writers preceding me exceeded their time limits. Which meant my time slot had dwindled to a couple of minutes. Eventually a woman appeared and said her husband—the agent I was going to pitch to—wouldn’t make it but I could give her my materials. I handed them over and voilà, everything I had worked so hard for disappeared. Although I later followed up—twice—via email, I never heard from them again.

Gate Three

On my third go around at yet a different writers’ conference, again authors scheduled before me crowded into my allotted time. When I finally met with the agent, I hurriedly tossed out my pitch. His reply? “That isn’t the title of your book.” I looked at my notes, felt confused, and responded, “Yes, it is.” Then I got it. Duh—another good to know.

Gate Four

So, as I sat at this fourth attempt to pitch at the round table event, I felt prepared. I had lengthened the book and had come up with a different title. At last, I was on. When I was done, this agent smiled and said, “When I hear pitches and receive submissions, I only accept 2%. Then if I move forward with them, only 2% of those are accepted by publishers.” I swallowed a lump of well-here-it-comes. He looked me dead in the eyes. “Yours is one of those.” Yikes! Did I hear correctly? Before I had a chance to get too wild, he added, “Send me your completed manuscript and I will run it by my business partner.” I thanked him as I sensed fellow writers’ jealous glares. I hotfooted it out of there and promptly emailed him my material. Then waited. And waited. And waited. At last, weeks later I trembled as I opened his message. My heart sank when I read that his partner didn’t share the same vision for my book. But because the conference-agent believed in Run in the Path of Peace, he encouraged me to self-publish. Onward!

That Was Then. This Is Now.

Fast forward a dozen years. A few months ago, I received an email inviting me to be a book vendor at a women’s renewal conference. One of their speakers had read Run in the Path of Peace and recommended it to them. Although it meant I would need to drive an hour-and-a-half negotiating heavy traffic, I accepted. Once there, I met many wonderful women, some who bought my book and others who signed up for this Sowing Seeds blog. Recently, one of those ladies contacted me with a testimony of how the message of my book came at a time when she desperately needed it.

Had my book been traditionally published, it would have gone out of print by now. But because I self-published, I am able to order copies at any time. I am convinced God opened that gate for such a time as this dear woman’s need.

Some say, “When God closes a door, He opens another.” I prefer to look at it as there are many gate thresholds I must step across on my journey. When I consider all those I encountered to produce Run in the Path of Peace, I can see how God used experience after experience to get it to where He could use it for His glory and to benefit the sheep of His pasture.

Your Gates

I hope looking at your journey in this light helps you recognize there are no failures in your life. Only passages you must traverse. If you have ever beat yourself up over something you said or did, now is the time to reframe those as learning experiences. For you would not have gained wisdom and strength without them. Even now, there are more gates through which you will travel.

The Gate From Earth to Everlasting Life

Just as I trekked past numerous gates for the eventual successful and rewarding outcome of getting my book published, so have I passed through numerous gates to arrive at the most important one of all—the narrow and small one identified in Matthew 7:13-14—the gate allowing passage from this earth to life beyond.

Last month in Sowing Seeds I asked “Who do you say Jesus is?”

God’s Word shows us Jesus is that gate. I pray you are one of the few who has found it.

Prayer:   Father God, I lift up each of my readers to you for assurance that eternal life is theirs through Christ Jesus.

Thought For The Day:  “Heaven is where Christmas came from. And if we give it permission to do so, someday it will take us back there with it.”—Craig D. Lounsbrough