When There's Nowhere to Go But Up


I didn't really have to be at the airport on New Year's Eve since I wasn't traveling anywhere, but here I was standing in an elevator, going nowhere.

That was when I wondered why I thought this was a good idea. 

It all started when I decided to enroll in the security pre-check program offered by TSA, hoping to make my travel plans for 2017 a little less stressful.

I filled out the online application and searched the calendar to schedule the required in-person appointment. 



I was pleasantly surprised when a window popped up with the first available slot for the very next day, which was New Year’s Eve, but I would have to go to the airport. 

I live close to the Orlando airport and although it's a busy place with challenging parking, I thought I could handle it.

So bright and early on New Year’s Eve morning, passport in hand, I headed out for my appointment at the TSA office.

I thought things were going splendidly as I navigated traffic and managed to nab a parking space on the second level of a full 6-story parking garage.



I headed to the ticketing terminal, where the directions I was emailed said the TSA office was located on the third floor.

I got into the first elevator I spotted, along with another couple and their luggage, and I hit the button for the third floor. 

It took a few minutes before we noticed we weren’t going anywhere. The button for the third floor wasn't even lit up.

I hit the button to re-open the door and nothing happened. That was when I started to panic a little until the nice man from Ohio told me he was pretty sure I’d hit the door-close button instead of the door-open button.

{There's nothing like an elevator experience to help strangers become friends.}



We all breathed a sigh of relief when the doors opened. The Ohio couple and I then moved onto the next elevator and headed to the second floor, where a load of people and their baggage joined us.

Then the elevator took us right back down to the first floor. We hit the button again for the third floor and nothing happened.

Baffled, the couple from Ohio and I looked at each other. Were we in some sort of twilight zone and hadn’t realized it? 

Once again, we got out and headed to a third elevator when we finally noticed the signs.



The first two elevators had sheets of notebook paper taped to the doors saying neither of them would access the third floor. 

Of course when the doors were open, the paper disappeared.

I guess I’d walked into the open elevators and never saw the signs that were only visible when the doors were closed.

Apparently just one elevator could take us where we wanted to go. 

And it took three tries to get there.



It reminded me of the times in my life when doors inexplicably open and close, delays unfold, and confusing directions don't quite get me where I want to go.

There was the year after college when I took a job I didn't like just to get my foot in the door. When opportunities failed to emerge, I wondered why I had to stay at that unchallenging job much longer than I wanted to before I could shut the door on that season and move on.

I recall the year I was so excited to plan a new house, shrugging off my builder's advice on what to consider for resale value, so sure it would be my forever-home. But years later I sold the house and reluctantly locked the door for the last time, not entirely certain where I'd live next.

And the time a door opened to the possibility of a promising new relationship, only to realize we were headed in different directions and the door swung shut, painfully closing on my hopes and dreams too.



I can imagine you too have probably had doors unexpectedly close or stay tightly locked, no matter how hard you pounded your fists on them or tried to jiggle the handle.

But sometimes a door is cracked and we get a glimpse of what's ahead. Sometimes it takes more than one try to get where we're going. And sometimes out of the blue, a door miraculously reopens that long ago was closed.

Maybe when the way ahead confuses us or the crowds and uncertainty overwhelm us, up is the only way forward

That's when we raise our desires, hopes, petitions and even the questions, up to God.



"For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." -LK 11:10

And maybe it’s the doors that catch our fingers in them as we try to keep them from closing -- the doors that we try to pry open but can't, that bring us what we didn't know we needed. 

That's when we realize that only God can open the doors.

We might think we have the talent, the confidence, the skills to open all the doors we want to walk through, but really it's up to God. 

He is the one who calls us, tenderly allures us and leads us  --even if it's to the wilderness -- and there he will provide himself as the hope, the strength, and the guidance that we need.


“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope." - Hos. 2:14-15

So here in the fresh new days of this year, I have to think there are doors of hope yet to be opened for all of us. 

It might not be time for it to fully swing open yet but maybe there's a little grate in the gate, giving us a glimpse of days that await, flowering with new adventures and friendships, and a space to breathe, rest and savor life’s pleasures.

{I'm wondering if you can see it too?}




I’m really not quite sure how I managed to find the TSA office. 

On the third floor I finally got out of the elevator and randomly headed left, even though both directions held what looked like miles of airline check-in desks. 


I rounded a corner and there miraculously in front of me was the landmark banking center sign I was looking for with the TSA office across from it.

I got my fingerprints scanned, answered a few questions and paid the fee. 


The agent told me I’d be approved in a few weeks and receive my traveler number.



He wished me happy future travels.

I retraced my steps back to the elevators and out to the parking garage. 


I looked at the garage elevators but I knew I was parked just a few flights up from the ground floor.

So I opted to take the stairs. 






A little note on the photos: all the doors are in St. Augustine, Florida.

I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Click the image to join me there to read posts from my blogging friends.




Comments

  1. Oh, Valerie, I am so grateful you're in my life, that we wait together for open doors. I've learned the hard way that there's no use in trying to kick them in, jimmy the locks, or keep shaking the knob.

    I trust the Doorkeeper, He's the One with the key. That's why I love being here with you today. Thanks for speaking deep in my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda,
      I love what you said about the doorkeeper (wish I'd thought of that for my post!) and he's the only one with the key -- so articulate and beautifully said. Eager to walk into 2017 with you -- whatever doors may open to us! xo

      Delete
  2. I love how you relate your everyday experiences to spiritual truths, and I'm so glad you didn't get trapped in the elevator- that had me feeling panicky just reading about it!
    Thanks for the reminder that we can trust God to open the right doors at the right time, that it's about handing it over to him, not trying to force things for ourselves.
    Happy New Year! Hope you have a wonderful 2017!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lesley,
      I was so glad the elevator opened back up too! :) I find it's hard sometimes to know whether we should try harder to open a door or let it go, but maybe that's where we turn more deeply to God's guidance and listen a little harder for his whisper. Happy new year to you too! xo

      Delete
  3. LOVE all the door photos! And, of course, the wisdom of looking up and directing my heart towards the only One who can really help me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anita,
      Until I put this post together, I really had no idea I'd taken photos of so many doors! :)

      Delete
  4. Dear Valerie, Oh your words struck home with me once again, at just the right time! This: "He is the one who calls us, tenderly allures us and leads us --even if it's to the wilderness -- and there he will provide himself as the hope, the strength, and the guidance that we need." brought tears to my eyes, as God confirmed His own word to me. Thank you for bringing the light of Jesus with you wherever you go, and opening the door to HIS heart for us! Your door photos expressed this so beautifully, and had me peering in through those open gates along with you! Hugs to you this New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bettie,
      Isn't it fun to peek through those gates and grates? As I thought about the difficult places we sometimes find ourselves, like a wilderness season, those are the times that we ought to lean into and allow ourselves to dig deeper to see what God has for us even there. I'm praying that this new year brings some special, unexpected blessings your way, Bettie! xoxo

      Delete
  5. There is such hope here, Valerie. I can so picture myself many times in life banging on those closed doors with closed fists, but I'm gradually learning to look up and leave the door openings and closings in His hands. Though I still pout sometimes... It struck me, too, how sometimes He leads us into the wilderness and how I too often I resist. But as you say, even there He gives us the "hope, the strength, and the guidance that we need." Thank you for encouraging my heart today. I love all the photos of the doors, too! Blessings in 2017! Love and hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Trudy,
      So happy to enter another year of blogging with you, friend! Sometimes we look at the wilderness through the wrong lens, don't we? If we turn it around and view it as a place apart where God is showing us new sides of himself and letting us discover there is more of him to know, then it's almost a privilege to be taken there. So grateful for you - happy 2017! xoxo

      Delete
    2. I love this insight, Valerie! To look at the wilderness as "a place apart where God is showing us new sides of himself and letting us discover there is more of him to know." Yes, I need to learn to put on the right lens. :) Thank you, friend!

      Delete
    3. I need to always have this thought before me, too Trudy, since discovering him in anyway we can is a pure gift! :)

      Delete
  6. So good I had to read it twice... especially this line--> "We might think we have the talent, the confidence, the skills to open all the doors we want to walk through, but really it's up to God." Amen... such confirmation to just relax and It kind of sums up how my job seeking of the past 2 years has gone, especially every time it ended with a closed door. It just wasn't time ;) But I'll keep knocking and asking! I'm so excited to see where the New Year beckons us!! And I'm all for being prepared-- cleaned out some closets and made room for all the good to come this year and it looks like you're on the same streamlining track when it comes to travel! Eager to see where the doors open for you this year my friend! ♥ ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy 2017 Heather!

      I can relate to a season of job-seeking with many closed doors and realizing my plans are not my own sometimes. And sometimes it's just not the right time for whatever we've gotten in our minds to do! I'm praying for fresh revelations and opportunities to come your way as you work out your creative inspirations and share them with us! xoxo

      Delete
  7. Absolutely love the sentiment of this post and the photos!! Imagining your TSA adventure had me cracking up! I can imagine your face when the elevator acted up not once but twice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brittany, You know this adventure to the airport was quite the stretch for me -- but I actually got my TSA number already - mission accomplished!!!

      Delete
  8. Did I mention I absolutely LOVE photos of doors and entrances?? Beautiful photos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm glad you enjoyed them -- doorways are fascinating and I can't wait to capture some in Rome in a few months! xo

      Delete
  9. You weave your words beautifully, Valerie and I love the door photos. I enjoy contemplating words with photos that offer lovely thoughts as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Debby,
      Thanks for your kind and sweet words! xo

      Delete
  10. I love the way you write. You draw me in with your words and I realize when I get to the end of your posts that I have almost been holding in my breath to see how things would unfold. I needed this post today. I just wrote something in my journal about how I'm a little frustrated with how things are unfolding (well, lack of unfolding, rather) and I am tired of all the closed doors. I'm going to let go of this frustration and instead, choose to look through the little grate! Heaps of love and happy new year, friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kylie,
      It's so good to see you here again -- I've missed you and missed reading your words! You have encouraged me tonight. I know the feelings you describe of being frustrated facing closed doors when you're anxious for something new and fresh to be breathed into your life. But I'm praying you hang on! Because I know if you walk through this difficult season, eventually the light returns and the door cracks open and you'll walk into a new place of purpose and promise! xoxo

      Delete
  11. What beautiful door Valerie. I need to visit Florida again! When is it the best weather in St. Augustine? :) I hadn't thought about how we can learn also from the closed doors, or the ones we are trying to pry open. I do question why it seemed God led me to one door that I did walk through, only to be thrown out! I think it may have been to not get my identity in where the door was leading, but rather in the Leader. Still learning and you have helped shine His light on me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn,
      St. Augustine's weather is beautiful in the spring and fall (I think) and hot in the summer but not unbearable since it's on the coast and a bit north of Orlando. You should definitely visit! Oh I love what you said about following where the Leader is taking us and sometimes that door is closed for a reason, as you beautifully written. Praying for a year full of open doors for you Lynn! Happy New Year! xoxo

      Delete
  12. Hi Valerie- :) I hope you had a beautiful Christmas and New years too!! So happy to see this in my inbox! I love it! The door photos are amazing- Each one makes me so curious about what is behind them- I love your beautiful words and the verse too. Such an encouraging an wonderful image “the door of hope!” I am going to be looking for one of these now- and asking God to show me to a door of Hope- Thank you!! Great to connect with you tonight! sending hug and love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susie,
      So good to hear from you and hoping your holidays were incredibly enjoyable with your entire family at home! I'm curious to look behind the doors, too, which is why I love it when there's a little grate or window for me to peek through! And sometimes I wish we had a little window on our lives to peek through too! :) This new year offers us new doors to open, I'm sure, and I'm praying with you for that door of hope to swing wide open for us! Missed reading your thoughts this week! xoxo

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much Valerie! You are so kind! Things have been kinda overwhelming the last couple of weeks with a sick dog, a bunch of Dr visits for me including an ER trip, relatives from Japan here and tomorrow wisdom teeth coming out for our 2nd child :) Anyway God is faithful and providing each day his tender care. I am hoping and praying he gives me words and time soon. I miss sharing - (and feeling like I have anything worth sharing if you know what I mean!!!! ;) ) So thankful for you and your beautiful blog and this space where God shows himself to me through your words and pictures each week! Thanks for the prayers and love xo

      Delete
  13. Happy new year, Valerie! I hope it was good.
    I was so afraid that your elevator door wasn't going to open and that you had a story to tell about that which would probably be good too but I am glad they opened for you : ).
    Sometimes I think I camp out at close doors. I don't try to open them...ok maybe every once in awhile I might try but it feels like life is camping out in front of closed doors. Would you call that hope? Or would that be stubbornness? I don't know. I just know that I have waited at some doors before and they did open. Maybe hope...I don't know. But something to think about as always. Hope you are well and glad you got the TSA office.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kristina,
      I've been trying to find your email address to see how you're holding up -- hoping things in your life are settling in and this new year finds you well! I have to admit that I'm with you on not being to discern hope from stubbornness and I don't know either! That's when I pray for perspective and clarity and I know eventually either I'll move on or that door might crack open a bit! Praying for you! xoxo

      Delete
  14. Such an amazing post, as always! I loved your thoughts on doors. I have often thought of that verse that says unless the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. God truly closes doors that no man can open and opens doors that no man can shut. It is so futile of us to keep banging on them and trying to force them open, if it is not His will that we walk through them. I need to remind myself of this often! I loved seeing all of the beautiful doors, too! God bless you, sweet friend. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cheryl,
      I'm loving that verse you shared about houses God builds in our lives. Timing is so important in God's frame of reference and we impatiently wait in front of doors that are sometimes not meant to open yet. Thanks for reading, friend and Happy New Year! xo

      Delete
  15. Best blog post of the new year I've read thus far by anyone! ;) I love it! I shared a quote to Twitter, and I will share prayers for you in the new year that we may open and close the necessary doors as God calls us to enter and exit in surprising ways! <3 jenn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jenn,
      So nice to see you here, friend -- I've missed reading your thoughts! Yes, praying with you for open doors during this beautiful new year! xoxo

      Delete
  16. Ah, Valerie ... I loved reading your words today. Especially this: "Maybe when the way ahead confuses us or the crowds and uncertainty overwhelm us, up is the only way forward." I know this applies to pretty much everything, but that last phrase brings hope and direction to one very specific area of my life right now. Exhale!

    Also, I can't help but wonder ... what exactly was the advice your builder gave you about resale value that you shrugged off? And did it make any difference when you sold your house? (Sorry, I'm easily distracted by home/construction-related topics!) Hugs, friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lois,
      Oh I'm so glad these thoughts are your thoughts too (they are a consistent theme for me)!

      As for my house -- it was a 2 bedroom bungalow with a den that I wanted to make an office with an arched doorway but the builder said if I let him put French doors on it, it could be counted as a 3rd bedroom that was more attractive to buyers. I really wanted the arch so I kept it and in the end another single gal bought my house so she didn't care about the 3rd bedroom! The builder also tried to convince me not to remove a tree when he cleared the lot saying buyers like established trees, but the tree was sort of a pest-kind that had deep roots and I didn't want it so close to my house -- I had him remove it! He also tried to talk me into real wood kitchen cabinets but I had my heart set on white that weren't real wood -- in the end that didn't matter either but I can see the wisdom now of real wood cabinets! :)

      Delete
  17. I love your story here and how you play into an application of faith and trust. Yes, I can see some doors cracked a little bit here in the New Year and I am looking forward to what God does in moving it all in the direction He chooses as I press into Him. Thanks for these encouraging words and beautiful pics! (Stopping by from Holley's place)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rachel,
      Thanks for stopping by! When God moves, he moves us too, doesn't he? So glad you're here!

      Delete
  18. For me, a situation like that would be a sign from God that I really should take my life path into my own hands and take the stairs up. It's harder, but predictable for a short amount of time and the work makes reaching the goal more valuable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ben,
      Nice to see you around here again! :) Taking the stairs up -- yes, that is hard work but somehow the journey is what's most important and where we learn the valuable lessons!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Thanks for reading -- I love to hear your comments! To leave a comment, you can choose an ID in the "comment as" box or just choose anonymous. Choose your ID first, write your comment in the box and hit publish. Your comment will be visible just as soon as I can post it!

Popular Posts

Contact Details

I'd love to hear from you! Contact me at valerie@gracewithsilk.com or use the contact box at the bottom of the sidebar.